Growing your own marijuana is an excellent way to save on costs. Also, it helps give you more control over the final product. Naturally, many people have questions, and the most popular question of all is what is the timeline for growing weed?
This is a popular question because most potential growers are only focused on the finished product and how to get there as quickly as possible. It’s an important question though because it helps to set expectations to realistic levels and helps new growers decide if they want to proceed or simply keep buying the product.
The truth is that answering the question “how long does it take for marijuana to grow” is difficult because different factors change the answer dramatically. The type and strain of plants adjust the growing time. In addition, choosing to grow indoors rather than outside also adjusts the growing time. If you use a hydroponic setup versus soil-based growing, that also changes grow times. We’ll dig into all those different variables down below. Hopefully, by exploring all the different options, it will be easier for a prospective grower to decide exactly what they want to do.
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Expect to Wait About 7 Months from Planting to Consumption
We can’t tell you how many people ask us “how long does it take to grow a weed plant?” Even though the answer has so many variables we always give the same answer to new growers. They should expect to wait about 7 months after planting before they can consume their product. If that sounds like too long of a wait you might want to continue to make purchases until your first grow is complete.
To give you a clearer picture, here’s a quick overview of the growing process. However, please note that the time estimates below are wide-ranging because of the inherent variables of this process.
The Growing Phases
Germination (1-7 days)
This is the time from when the seed is planted until it sprouts.
Vegetative State (3-8 weeks)
This is the time when the plant grows stems and leaves and no buds. This is one of the most important stages of growth.
Flowering (5-16 weeks)
This stage of growth is when buds begin to appear on the plant. This is the most exciting stage and when you can begin to assess how much your crop is going to yield.
Harvest (2-4 weeks)
When the bud is finished growing it can be removed, trimmed, dried and cured. This process is vital before any smoking can happen. It’s up to you whether you want to trim before or after curing, but either way, the curing timeline will be similar.
Even though it’s possible to grow a crop in just a few months under the right conditions, most growers tend to wait far longer than that for their harvest day. That’s why we tell growers to expect a 7-month grow and cure period.
Consider Your Time to Get Set Up
If you’re growing for the very first time it’s important to consider how long it’s going to take to get your setup in place, to get the necessary nutrients, grow medium and to learn what you’re doing before you start. You also need to get your clones or your seeds. We recommend clones for first-time growers because they are a bit easier to use than seeds. Either option works well though as long as you’re willing to put in the time to make the growing method work like it’s supposed to.
You Can Control the Grow Time to a Degree
As long as you don’t have an autoflowering strain of marijuana plant, you have some control over how long the full grow cycle takes. That’s one of the reasons we have such a hard time answering the question “how long does it take to grow a marijuana plant?”. That’s because you adjust the time it takes depending on how long you leave your plant in the vegetative state.
As a grower, it’s up to you to decide how long your plant is in the vegetative stage of growth where it grows leaves and stems. This can go for a few weeks or more than two months depending on the results you want.
This stage determines the size and overall yield of your final plant. If you want decent yields, it’s best to leave your plant in this stage for at least three weeks. Then, when the plant reaches half its full mature size, switch over to the flowering stage. Additionally, think of the size of your grow space to determine if enough light will get to all the buds of your plants or if it’s enough for when they reach their final height. With that information, decide when to switch to the flowering stage.
Some growers get very fast turnovers with micro plants by switching to flowering immediately after the vegetative state begins. However, these are the growers that grow in tiny spaces such as computer cases, and they get very small yields compared to the larger plants.
Considering Indica vs Sativa Strains
One of the biggest factors that influence our answer to questions like “how long does it take a marijuana plant to grow?” is the type of strain. In fact, choosing between a mostly indica strain versus a mostly sativa strain really influences how long the grow cycle takes.
Indica is Faster
Indica plants are known for their short and bushy shape and their high yields. This stout plants take on average two less weeks to flower fully during their grow cycle. Their shorter size and bushy yields make them a favorite for indoor growers as well.
Sativa is for Patient Growers
Sativa plants take between 10 and 12 weeks to go through their flowering stage. Interestingly, this is on average about two weeks longer than Indica strains. Sativa strains also have a long and lengthy build and are more difficult to grow indoors for that reason. Additionally, they tend to have lower yields and are less attractive for growers looking for high quantity harvests.
Consider Hybrids for the Best of Both Types
Today more growers are planting hybrid strains that are a mix of indica and sativa varieties. It’s possible to achieve shorter grow cycles, larger harvests and to get some of those sativa qualities that users look or in their herb. Hybrid plants tend to grow faster than sativa strains do, but they won’t always grow faster than Indica. If you’re wondering how long goes it take for weed to grow, start by considering the strain that you’re talking about because it makes a huge difference.
With a bit of knowledge about how strain and plant type affects grow times, it’s easier to choose what sort of strain you’ll grow yourself.
The Timeline Expectations for Growing Weed Indoors
About 3-5 months.
When growing weed indoors, expect it to take between three and five months for the grow. This doesn’t include the extra time it takes when growing weed from seedlings which take approximately one more week.
Generally, it’s faster-growing plants indoors than out for a few reasons. The first is that indoor plants can’t grow as large as they can outdoors unless you’re growing in a massive warehouse. This means that the plants spend considerably less time in the vegetative state when grown indoors. The second reason is that you have complete control over when the plant switches grow cycles and you can minimize contaminants when growing indoors. These things all lead to faster grow cycles as well.
The Timeline Expectations for Growing Weed Outdoors
About 4-7 months.
When growing weed outdoors it takes more time because they go through the natural growth cycles on their own. You won’t be able to manipulate the sunlight to push the plant through different grow cycles. That means that outdoor grows will add some time to your grow, but the total time added depends on the strain, your climate and how long you would have grown your plants for when growing weed indoors.
It’s important to note that when growing weed outdoors you need the right climate for a successful grow. Too much rainfall or humidity can cause issues with mildew and mold that can cause your crop to fail. That’s why marijuana is grown so heavily in areas such as California where humidity and rainfall aren’t serious issues.
How Long Does it Take to Grow Hydroponic Weed?
About 2-4 months.
Growing weed hydroponically is one of the fastest ways to grow and harvest marijuana today. That’s because when done properly you are giving the plant exactly what it needs to grow efficiently. With the right nutrient balance maintained throughout the growth cycle, your plant will grow faster and you’ll enjoy that sweet harvest sooner.
The downside of growing weed with a hydroponic setup is that pests are more problematic. You’ll also spend more on nutrients than when growing in soil and there is more room for making mistakes. Growing weed in the soil helps balance and ensures that your plant gets what it needs. This is one of the reasons soil is more user-friendly for new growers.
If you’re looking for the fastest harvests possible, hydroponic indoor grows are the way to go. Additionally, it might give you a harvest in as little as two months.
What is the Timeline for Growing Weed from Seed?
Growing from seed isn’t that much different than growing weed from a clone. The only real difference is that you need to add in about an additional week to your growing process for the seed to germinate and get started in its vegetative stage where it will build up its size.
Growing from seed is often the most affordable way to grow, and it means you can start more plants for the same budget. It’s also a cost-effective way for growers that harvest their own seeds to keep going over time with large crop cycles. It’s a favorite method for outdoor growers that wait many months between their crops.
How Long Does it Take to Grow Autoflowering Weed?
About 2-4 months.
In addition to vegetative growth times, most of the factors stated above play a role in the growth cycle when growing autoflowering weed. Interestingly, autoflowering plants switch from the vegetative state to the flowering state independently of the light conditions around them. That means that the biggest factor determining how long an auto-flowering plant takes to grow is in the strain you grow.
Autoflowering plants tend to be small in size but also grow quickly. On average, they switch to the flowering stage at three or four weeks of age. That makes them one of the quicker varieties of marijuana to grow in most cases.
Because auto-flowering plants grow so quickly they have smaller yields than photoperiod (traditional marijuana plants controlled by sunlight cycles) strains do. If you’re worried about messing up the light cycles with your first indoor grow, going with auto-flowering strains will help prevent you from doing that. They’re also a good option if you want to grow on a small scale or you want to operate a stealth grow that other people don’t know about.
The first step to getting started growing weed is to learn just how long you should expect your first crop to take you from start to finish. A good rule of thumb for new growers is around 7 months, but it’s possible to grow weed in much less time. Indoor growers harvest their plants in as few as two months with all the right conditions in place if they don’t mind a small harvest. At the same time, outdoor growers look for massive harvests that will grow from spring until autumn before harvesting, thereby collecting much larger quantities of marijuana. Decide on your ideal grow conditions, choose the strain you want to grow and plan the grow time according to the variables for best results.
Disclaimer: When choosing to purchase items through the links on our site, such as seeds, there may be restrictions due to your state’s laws. You can check the cannabis laws in your state if you have any questions about what you can and cannot purchase legally.