“A good window to the soul of your plant is to look at the leaves and know what’s going on,” she says. “It can be really difficult for people to trust what they see with their eyes when cannabis farming. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a plant that people who are growing it are so nervous to grow it… People don’t necessarily trust their instincts with cannabis, but they should.”
If you live in a place where it’s legal, here are some basics to know before you get started:
Less than 12 hours of light a day will trigger the plant’s flowering phase. So, if you wanted to force a plant to flower, you should time its exposure accordingly. Or, just wait a few months until the days grow shorter, and let nature run its course.
Once a person gets a plant, they can continue to read about how to cultivate it on Leafly or High Times, consult a go-to guide like Frank’s aforementioned Insider’s Guide , or even attend a workshop with the author himself, who occasionally teaches at Fig Earth Supply, a Los Angeles garden store. That’s not to mention the highly personalized consultancy services like those offered by Hicks at Green Carpet Growing.
The resources for prospective pot growers today are incomprehensibly vast.
The minimalist’s setup.
What if you just want the herbal equivalent of a handful of cherry tomatoes? “There’s nothing wrong with having a teensy tiny plant with buds on it,” says Hicks. “It’s cute, it’s ornamental, it’s fun.”
More than 16 hours a day of light will keep plants in their vegetative state, when they’re growing stronger and bushier without producing flowers. So if you wanted your outdoor plant to get a little bigger before it flowers, you might prolong its vegetative state by bringing it into a warm closet with the lights on every night.
All these resources can be overwhelming to the casual gardener, as they’re often geared toward those who are willing to invest lots of time, space, and money to harvest the highest yield possible: High Intensity Discharge lighting! Grow tents! Exhaust fans!
In places where recreational marijuana growth is legal, you can find clones at cannabis nurseries, farmer’s markets, dispensaries, and even delivery services.
For the last year or so in Los Angeles, I’ve enjoyed legal access to marijuana. It’s easy enough to go to a dispensary or get it delivered. But you know what might be more fun? Growing it—and spring 2018 seems just the time to give it a go. (Here in California, adults over 21 can grow up to six plants at home for personal use, so long as they’re locked up and not publicly visible. Several US states and Washington, DC have similar laws.)
I’m a lazy gardener, not a farmer. This is the same approach I’m taking to growing my own weed.
“It’s like a recipe,” says Hicks. “There are certain parts that have to be done correctly and at a certain time to get you from point A to point B to have product at the end.” (See: Willamette Week’s accidental “Pot Massacre of 2017” due to heat and over-fertilization.)
A recent search of WeedMaps, which is sort of like a cross between Seamless and Yelp for cannabis companies, showed that a clone of LA Confidential—a strain with a reputation for being easy to grow, according to the online resource Leafly—was available for delivery in Los Angeles for $12.
Depending on where you live, if you got a healthy clone from a dispensary today, there’s nothing to say you couldn’t just plant it in nutrient-rich soil in a sunny spot, and have flowers in the fall. By then, you will have read all about how to harvest, dry, and cure them.
Rather than investing in a high-powered indoor setup, Hicks says using the natural power of the sun—either outdoors or on a sunny (but private) windowsill—is a good approach for the minimalist. And while many are particularly nervous when it comes to growing pot, looking at the plant itself will give you some guidance, Hicks says.
Clones vs. seeds.
Still, it’s not quite so easy as plopping a pot of basil on the windowsill. Yes, it’s called “weed” because it grows like one, but cannabis is a complicated plant, and its cultivation has many steps where things can go wrong.
“You don’t have to have a gigantic grow room, or a huge outdoor cannabis farm,” says Grace Olivia Hicks, the co-founder of Green Carpet Growing, a San Diego, CA-based cannabis cultivation consultancy. “Cannabis doesn’t have to be far away—it’s within reach now and it’s also legally acceptable.”
What’s more, with a clone you can be sure you’re obtaining a female that will produce desirable flowers, also known as buds, if you play your cards right. (“Male plants are the bane of marijuana growers,” wrote Mel Frank in the Marijuana Grower’s Insider’s Guide. “They’re necessary for breeding and hybridizing, but otherwise they’re in the way.”)
Just like those of us planting tomatoes in the spring, weed gardeners are faced with a choice between starting with seeds or small plants. In the cannabis world, many start with the sprouted cuttings commonly known as “clones.” While sprouting a seedling in a wet paper towel has its charm, clones leave far less margin for error.
I do not have a particularly green thumb. Any gardening success I’ve had—mostly with the pots of cherry tomatoes and herbs on my patio—has been due to good luck and strong sun.
The quantity of light that cannabis is exposed to—also known as the photoperiod—will determine whether the plant enters its flowering phase. And because it’s an annual, you’re only going to get those flowers once. That’s why many growers try to save the flowering phase for when the plant is bigger and will produce more buds.
And if you fail miserably, just think of it like growing your own veggies. Sometimes gardening is a disappointing heartbreak. But it’s still fun, and you can always buy your kale at the store. And once in a while, you get to have your own homegrown tomatoes, warmed from the sun, sliced and salted on sourdough toast.
A wealth of resources.
Many Indica hybrids (such as AK-48 and Northern Lights) naturally have very short flowering periods of only 7-9 weeks, which is a shorter flowering time than most other strains.
Faster is not always better, but there are ways that you can speed up the time from seedling to harvest without sacrificing quality, potency or yields.
The more you tend to and baby your plants, the better they will grow, and the faster you will be able to harvest.
3.) Give Plants 24 Hours of Light per Day During the Vegetative Stage.
Yet growing indoors gives you the ultimate control over how big your plants get, how long to keep them in the vegetative stage, and exactly when they start flowering amongst other things. You also have a lot more control over how much bud you'll end up yielding.
Plus, by reacting quickly to problems, you will save yourself the stress of trying to deal with a huge problem that's gotten out of control since you've been watching out and adjusting along the way. We all know that problems tend to get much worse when left unchecked!
For example, the following plant problems will add time onto your grow.
Medical m arijuana has had a huge impact on my life, and I'm dedicated to showing you how easy it can be to grow your own medical-grade buds.
The vegetative stage can be shortened by getting the plant to grow faster when she's young. Yet the length of the flowering stage (the time between when flowers first start forming and when the plant is ready to harvest) is pretty much strain-specific.
In this auto-flowering grow, I harvested more than 6 ounces in less than 3 months!
When I say "flowered," what I mean is that you can change the light schedule so that it forces your young seedlings to start making buds right away.
1.) Fewer Hours of Light Each Day in Flowering Stage.
Simply put: fixing a problem quickly equates to shorter time to harvest.
So, how long does it actually take to grow marijuana?
Growers often write in to ask us how much time it will take per week to grow a marijuana plant. We understand that many of you have busy schedules, and want to know if growing your own weed is a realistic goal for you.
Some strains are 'auto-flowering' and go through their whole life cycle regardless of light cycle or anything you can control. These strains tend to be ready to harvest in only 2-3 months from seed (though you should definitely expect smaller plants with relatively small yields when choosing an auto-flowering strain).
On a similar note, you might want to consider hydroponics over soil.
6.) Pay Attention To Your Plants and Quickly React to Problems.
Now if you're starting with a good soil (Fox Farms Ocean Forest soil is a proven choice), you may not need to supplement any nutrients for the first 3-4 weeks, as the nutrients you need are already in the soil.
Many factors will affect the total time, but the average grow takes 3-4 months. Learn more about the marijuana growth timeline.
If you're growing hydroponically (directly in water, or in a soil-less medium like coco coir), it is essential that you provide all the nutrients your plant needs right from the beginning.
This makes the plant "think" winter is coming, and it'll start making buds as soon as it's able. This means that your "flowering stage countdown" begins within about a month from the seed being planted.
Some growers believe it's better to give marijuana plants 18 hours of light a day max, with a 6 hour dark period during the vegetative stage.
The one downside is that a shorter flowering stage with less hours of light each day mean that buds get less time to fatten and you will end up with smaller yields. Therefore it's not recommended to try to get a plant to finish flowering in less than 8 weeks, as you'll end up with very small yields. This technique is best used if you have a plant that's been flowering for 2-3 months and doesn't look like it plans on stopping any time soon.
It can take anywhere from 4 to 8 months to grow a cannabis plant, this varies based on where you’re growing. If you have an indoor grow room, your plant has the ability to flower after only a few weeks!
Female: Two pistils (the pistil contains the reproductive parts of a flower) will be growing on the buds (flowers grow above these leaves, one cluster on each side).
Cannabis Growth Timeline.
2. Seedling Stage.
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How to tell if your plant is a male or female.
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Male: Small green sacs full of pollen will be seen on the node areas.
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Cannabis growth is made up of a series of stages that plants undergo during their lifecycle. Each stage during the cannabis cultivation process requires its own unique demands, including different levels of light, water, and nutrients.
The quality of your plant depends on your knowledge of the cannabis growth stages and the lifecycle of your plants.
1. Germinating: 1-7 days 2. Seedling: 2-3 weeks 3. Vegetative: 2-8 weeks 4. Pre-Flowering: 1-2 weeks 5. Flowering: 6-8 weeks 6. Harvesting.
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