Normally, the growth of the cannabis plant occurs in five stages before harvest. These are: Germination, Seedling, Vegetative, Pre-Flowering, and Flowering.
Germination is the first and most important stage of the life cycle of weed. Using the wrong mixture of nutrients can doom the marijuana’s ability to grow. Once the proper nutrients are given, the plant will grow outward and upward and move into the next phase of development.
During the seedling stage, the plant can grow quite a bit every day with a slow increase in the feeding of proper nutrients. This seedling stage can be lengthened or shortened depending on manipulation of the light source. While monitoring the plants’ growth over several weeks, they should show signs of their gender.
During the vegetative stage, the plants produce the familiar jagged leaves and grow larger as appropriate nutrients are provided. Just as in the seedling state, the vegetative state may be controlled by changes in lighting. Common changes in the plant’s development herald the growth of a healthy adult plant.
The pre-flowering stage starts near the end of summer for plants grown outdoors as the cannabis plant starts to be affected by decreased sunlight. Male plants will start to grow seeds within the buds prior to being absorbed by the female plants. If the plant develops too many seeds, it is not suitable for smoking. To avoid this, the male plants need to be moved away from the female plants to decrease the risk of contamination. The female plant not yet pollinated and without seeds produces a Sensemilla plant, or a plant without seeds, producing a better harvest and more enjoyment for smokers of weed. For indoor growers, changes made in the light source are crucial for plants in the pre-flowering stage.
The plants are finally mature enough to reproduce in the flowering stage when resin begins drain from the buds and leaves. This resin is referred to as “THC” and signal that the plant has reached adulthood. The flowering stage occurs only with reduced lighting allowing the plants to mature. This is also an important stage in the plant’s growth toward the harvest. Male plants usually mature quicker than female plants. Resin production depends on how long the plant has been flowering. The exact structure of the buds usually occurs after a few weeks. Once flowering begins, the plant will stop growing, but the buds continue to grow and get thicker. The plant’s food should now contain no nitrogen.
Harvesting is not an actual stage of development for the plant but is normally the most awaited plant state and easily equal to the vegetative stage as the most crucial time in the plant’s life. The plant is then ready for harvest with drying and curing. If this occurs too early or late, it will considerably decrease the harvest and affect the grower’s bottom line. In a very controlled environment, cannabis plants may live for a year or more depending on the type of marijuana grown and the taste. After the plant is kept in the vegetative stage with the appropriate lighting, it begins the eventual production of clones.