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The Life Cycle of the Cannabis Plant Explained

Have you ever thought of growing your own cannabis? You probably have. It’s become a new trend after all. There are so many cannabis enthusiasts that are making cannabis growing their new hobby nowadays. And as you’re not allowed to grow much of this herb as a normal user, a lot of people are even getting a medical marijuana grower license.

But do you know how to actually start with growing cannabis? No? Well, that’s a problem.

Growing your own marijuana is surely very easy. In fact, cannabis is one of the easiest plants to grow, as it can thrive in almost all conditions. However, you still need to know the basics at least. I mean you can’t expect it to grow on itself.

So, what’s the first thing you should focus on?

Well, the most important thing you need to learn about before you start growing cannabis is the plant’s life cycle. You definitely can’t grow something if you don’t know about what it actually goes through, right?

So, shall we start?


Germination means the act of getting the plant trapped inside your seed out. It’s when the embryo inside the seed breaks through its hard shell and comes out to form a small root. This root then, when planted inside a pot or container, holds the growing medium and starts pushing itself up.

But how to germinate your seeds?

The process is actually very simple. All you need to do is:

  • Take four paper towels and soak them in water.
  • Place two of these towels on a plate and spread the cannabis seeds on the top.
  • Take the other two paper towels and place it on another plate.
  • Use the second plate to cover the first one in a way that the seeds are in the middle of both plates.
  • Keep this setup at the room temperature. And keep checking it to make sure it is still wet.

You may have to wait for somewhere between 24 hours to 10 days. And once the taproots have emerged, you can place the seeds in the growing medium.

Seedling Stage

Once you have planted your germinated cannabis seeds in the growing medium, they will start to grow. A tiny marijuana plant will sprout out of the soil and will begin developing somewhat familiar characteristics. In the beginning, the plant will have two leaves so that it can start catching the sunlight. And slowly, as the plant will grow, it will start sprouting more and more leaves.

It is this time only when the plant starts developing its full-fledged root system too. And when this happens, it officially is a seedling.

The plant usually spends around 2 to 3 weeks in this stage. However, this time may also extend up to 6 weeks, sometimes. It actually depends on the type of strain you are growing and also on certain environmental factors.

In the seedling stage, you should keep the plant at around 77℉. And the relative humidity should be approximately 60 percent. However, these factors may vary from strain to strain.

Vegetative Stage

This particular stage is one of the most important stages of the life cycle of the cannabis plant. This is the time when your plants will actually flesh out and grow the most before they enter the flowering state.

In this stage, the cannabis plant grows the fastest in terms of height as well as width. And this means, they also require the most nutrients at this time. In terms of height, we’ve even heard of plants growing 2 inches in just 24 hours.

You’ll also be able to see certain distinguishing characters of the plant by the end of the vegetative stage. The sex of the plants will be somewhat clear. And you will be able to define if it is a Sativa or an Indica.

The vegetative stage usually takes between one and five months to complete, depending upon the strain and how you take care of the plants. So, just keep the temperature around 68 to 77℉ and humidity between 50 and 70 percent, and you are good to go.


This stage is the last and the most important stage of the life cycle of the cannabis plant. It is at this time your plant will develop the product you want to consume.

When your cannabis plants will flower, their sex will be clearly visible. So, if you find any male plants, you can remove them very easily. The plants in this stage will also start producing resins on the surface of the leaves. And the trichomes will also develop. If you see this happening that means the plants’ cannabinoids are developing really nicely. However, the potency of the final product will significantly depend on the amount of time the plants spend in this stage.

In this stage too, you should keep the temperature between 68 and 77℉. And humidity should be around 50 percent.


Figuring out when to harvest is probably the trickiest part of the whole life cycle of the cannabis plant. You’ll have to observe the plants very closely to check if they are ripe or not. There is a lot at stake here, including the taste, smell, weight, potency, etc. And so, your timing should be correct.

A good way of finding the right time is to look at the pistils closely. If they have started turning brown, and the leaves have turned yellow, it’s the perfect time to harvest your plants. Medical marijuana doctors and experienced growers usually recommend you should harvest your buds when around 70 to 90 percent pistils have turned brown. If you wait for all the pistils to turn brown, the cannabis may overripe. And if that happens, your bud won’t taste as good. The effects of the overripe marijuana are also not very pleasant.


After harvesting, now is the time to prune your buds. This is to make sure your bud is in good shape and is smokable. You can either go for either wet pruning or the dry one. And both have their own advantages. But if you ask an experienced grower, they prefer the former. Generally, the wet pruning is a lot easier as compared to the dry one. This is because, in the case of dry pruning, the leaves usually get curled. And this makes the task very difficult.

After you are done pruning, you may use the sugar leaves you just removed off your bud for edibles. You can also collect the resins and use them for dabs- they are actually really potent.

Once you are done with everything, it’s time to dry and cure your cannabis.

That was all you needed to know about the life cycle of the cannabis plant. Now, it’s time to do it practically. It may take one or two tries to get everything correct, but you shouldn’t give up. Slowly, you will learn everything. And once you’ve got a nice grip on the process, you may even apply for a medical marijuana grower license to increase your growing limit and take your cannabis gardening journey to the next level.