Growing Stage Overview

Growing Stage Overview

Every healthy plant, including cannabis, undergoes several growing stages over time. French researchers explained that plant development is characterized by a series of qualitative (germination, flowering, etc.) and quantitative (number of leaves, number of flowers, etc.) changes in structure. Knowing each stage, its characteristics, and duration is essential for caring for the plant effectively. Therefore, this article briefly goes through each stage and summarizes the main information to help cannabis cultivators grow a healthy weed garden.

What Is a Growing Stage?

Cannabis has four main stages of growth, during which the seeds develop into plants and release flowers. Let’s summarize these stages.

Germination Stage

It is the first phase of cannabis growth, which happens as you purchase the seeds from the seed bank and place them in the growing medium. Germination involves triggering the growth process, which can be compared to waking up. The seed coat breaks at the end of germination, releasing the root and first leaves.

You can skip the germination stage by using vegetative stem cuttings for propagation. This method involves using pieces of the mother plant that have already developed and placing them into the new growing medium. If you need to save some time and ensure your garden contains genetically uniform plants, cuttings are the preferred growing method.

Seedling Stage

Growing weed after germination is the next stage of the plant life cycle, called the seedling stage. This is when the seeds are transplanted into the new growing medium, where they will develop a vigorous root system, strong stem, and leaves. You can use soil or a hydroponic system for planting marijuana seeds after germination.

marijuana seedling stage

At the beginning of the seedling period, leaves have only one leaflet. As the cannabis plant grows, leaves increase in size and take the familiar shape that distinguishes marijuana from other plants. One can compare the seedling stage to adolescence, as the plant becomes stronger and is ready for its main phase.

Growing Marijuana: Vegetative Stage

Once the plants enter this phase, they begin to grow stronger and higher. It is important to maintain the right environment to control the growth because too much light will cause the plants to invest all their energy into growing more leaves instead of flowers. Trimming and shaping are often used at the vegetative stage to manage growth and allow airflow to the roots.


If you do everything right, your plants will know when it’s time to reproduce and release flowers. During the flowering phase, you will notice the emergence of precious buds with medical and recreational properties. You can harvest them and prepare them for further use when they develop fully.

How Long Does Each Stage Last?

The duration of each phase may vary depending on the cannabis strain and environmental conditions. Generally, marijuana plants develop according to the following schedule:

  • Stage 1: 1-7 days
  • Stage 2: 2-3 weeks
  • Stage 3: 2-8 weeks
  • Stage 4: 6-8 weeks

However, don’t be surprised if your plant does not follow this plan, as timing depends on many factors that vary from grower to grower.

Still, knowing the approximate duration of each stage is crucial for determining optimal timing for specific interventions, such as the following:

  • Planting the seedlings into the soil
  • Changing the environmental conditions (e.g., watering)
  • Collecting harvest, etc.

You can also use this information to predict the flowering and harvest dates. Given that cannabis cultivation requires much time and energy, being able to plan your actions at each weed growing stage is very important.

How Do I Know That the Next Stage Begins?

Novice cultivators may feel confused when distinguishing between the stages, which is not surprising. The transition between successive developmental stages is not always obvious, which serves as a source of uncertainty and doubt and often results in untimely interventions.

examine weed plant

We recommend the following tricks:

  • Examine the plants carefully every day. In this way, you will know how they look and notice even the slightest changes.
  • Check cannabis photos available online. These may give you a better understanding of how seedlings, adult plants, and flowers should look.
  • Ask for advice. If you know experienced cannabis growers, don’t hesitate to ask for their help.

Notably, different marijuana strains may go through these stages differently. Researchers note that there is genetic variation in cannabis plant growth across cultivars, which explains differences in growth cycles. Another study confirmed that plant variety matters and added that production conditions such as light, temperature, plant density, fertilizers, and duration of the flowering growth stage also explain growing stage differences. It means that you need to learn as much as possible about your strain to be able to identify the stages and provide more effective care.


To conclude, cannabis undergoes four main growing stages. Each stage requires specific interventions and care, so be sure to monitor your garden regularly. If you create favorable conditions for development, your plants will transition through these stages naturally, ensuring generous yield.