Growing marijuana plants is not overly difficult, though some strains are easier than others. Education is key when it comes to choosing the right strain and growing conditions. Those who are new to growing medical marijuana seeds will first need to understand germination and the various growth cycles of marijuana plants.
The average growth cycle from germination to harvest typically takes between 4 and 8 months, though these numbers can slightly vary according to the strain and growing conditions. The following offers a brief description of each growth stage to give new growers a better understanding of the process of growing medical cannabis.
The germination growth stage takes the plant from seed to sprout and typically lasts about 5-10 days. During this time, great care must be taken to ensure the seed is protected and given the optimum growing conditions for a healthy sprout to emerge.
The seedling phase of growth lasts two to three weeks. During this growth stage, marijuana plants need around 18 hours of light a day. When sprouts begin to grow into seedlings, they will eventually begin to develop iconic ridged leaves. When a seedling has matured, it will typically have 5-7 blades per leaf, but some marijuana plants may develop more during this stage of growth.
The vegetative stage of growth allows the medical marijuana plant to begin to grow bigger and stronger. This stage of growth will last around 3-16 weeks, depending on the strain. Plants during the vegetative stage will require 18 hours of light a day. Most growers will need to transplant their marijuana plants into larger containers before this growth stage begins because growth can become rapid with some strains, especially Sativa varieties.
The flowering stage is what growers look forward to only slightly less than the harvest. This period of growth is going to last between 8-11 weeks, depending on the strain. During this phase of growth, growers will need to cut down on the light their plants are exposed to each day. For most flowering marijuana plants, this will be 12 hours a day. In the flowering stage, marijuana plants develop their bountiful buds, which is what they are prized for in the medical community.
Once each of these phases has completed, it will be time to harvest the buds. Care should be taken in harvesting, to ensure no undue damage is done to the plants that could disrupt their healing abilities.