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How Long Does It Take to Grow Weed Indoors?

This is one of the most common questions we receive from curious soon-to-be indoor cannabis growers: How long does it really take to grow weed? What’s the growing timeline?

It’s actually a really good question! Every new marijuana grower should know how much work they’re signing up for! The short answer is…

The Average Indoor Grow Takes 3-5 Months

The long answer is: from Day 1 of your weed plant’s life to actually smoking your harvest, it can take… 8 weeks – 7+ Months! That’s a huge range, right?

That’s why most cannabis growers won’t give you a straight answer. The truth is, there are many factors will affect the total time until you have ‘ready’ buds, by days, weeks or even months. This includes your strain, your setup, and how big you plan to grow your plants (bigger plants need more time!). So instead of giving you a huge range, an easier-to-swallow answer might be to say that the average grow takes 3-5 months for indoor growers.

This includes the time needed to grow your cannabis plant from seedling to harvest plus an additional 2 weeks (or more) which is used to cure your cannabis buds after harvest (making them more potent and better smelling).

Additionally, for at least the first time you grow, you also need to consider the time needed to get your equipment and seeds/clones.

This article will give you the total time breakdown, so you can plan out the details of your grow in order to achieve the harvest times you desire:

Ultimately, How Long to Harvest Marijuana Depends on the Desired Yields, Strain and Grow Style

Today I will show you how to plan your grow so it takes the amount of time you want!

Jump to the Section of the Tutorial You’re Interested in:

  1. Before You Start Growing Weed (0-4 weeks) – Get seeds and supplies so you’re set to start growing!
  2. Time Needed to Grow Weed, From Seedling to Harvest (8 weeks – 5+ months)
  • Germinate Your Seeds (1-7 days) – Learn about fail-proof methods to germinate perfectly in soil/coco or hydro.
  • Vegetative Stage (3 weeks – 8+ weeks) – In the vegetative stage, the cannabis plants are growing just stems and leaves. On average, most indoor growers vegetate their plants for 4-8 weeks. Seedlings are able to start flowering as early as 3 weeks from germination, but the resulting plants will be tiny. Most growers choose to let plants vegetate for longer because giving them more time to grow results in bigger plants, which tend to produce bigger yields as long as you have enough light to cover all the bud sites. That being said, you can still produce quite a bit of bud with a lot of small plants growing at once as long as you fill up your grow space.
  • Flowering Stage (5 weeks – 16+ weeks) – This is when plants start making buds. The length of the flowering stage depends heavily on the strain/genetics, with an average of about 8-12 weeks for most strains. Some strains are bred to have very short flowering stages (for example, most auto-flowering strains will naturally start flowering at around 3 weeks old and some are ready to harvest just 5 weeks later, for a total of only 8 weeks from seed!). Other strains can take months in the flowering stage before they’re ready to harvest. Typically, longer-flowering strains produce higher yields than short-flowering ones because the buds are exposed to more light-hours and have more time to fatten up, but that’s not always the case.
  1. Post-Harvest (This is when the smell/taste/look you love shows up) (2-4+ weeks) – After buds are harvested, they still need to be dried for about a week (sometimes a bit less or more), then placed in glass jars to “cure” for at least 2 weeks. This post-harvest processing dramatically improves the taste, smell and the perceived potency of the buds. It also reduces the chance of buds causing headaches or unpleasant “speedy” effects. Don’t skip this step! It will account for nearly 50% of your final bud quality! Learn how to dry & cure your buds to perfection.

If you choose the right strain, you could be smoking your own buds as soon as 3 months from germination!

Before You Start Growing Weed

Total preparation time needed: 0 days – 4 weeks

Here’s the breakdown…

Get equipment: 0 days – 2 weeks
This includes purchasing your equipment and/or waiting for it to show up in the mail. Once you have your marijuana growing supplies, you’ll need to setup your growing area and equipment. Depending on how you purchase your equipment and how quickly you setup, you could be ready the same day or in two weeks (after factoring in shipping time).

Check out examples of new grower shopping lists to learn exactly which supplies you’ll need.

Get seeds or clones: 0-4 weeks:
If you have instant access (like knowing a grower, or ordering seeds from a seed bank in your country), this should take only a little time. If you order from a seed bank overseas (especially US residents), expect a wait of about 1-4 weeks to get seeds.

Time Needed to Grow Weed, From Seedling to Harvest

Total growing time needed: 8 weeks – 5+ months

Here’s the breakdown…

Seedling Stage
Germinate your seeds: 1 – 7 days
Seedlings can sprout in as little as a day, but by 3-5 days they should be good to go. If you have access to clones, you can skip this wait.

Learn my fail-proof method to germinate your seeds in soil/coco or hydro.

Vegetative Stage
Vegetative Stage: 3 weeks – 2+ months.
The length of this stage is a matter of personal preference. Most cannabis plants need at least 3 weeks in the vegetative stage before they will start making flowers, but after that you get to choose how long your plant spends in this stage (unless using an auto-flowering strain), because you’re the one to ‘flip the switch’ and get your plant to enter the next life stage: flowering.

When you start with a seed, even with an auto-flowering plant, you will always have at least 2-3 weeks of vegetative growth before any buds start forming no matter what you do. Growers generally allow their plants to stay in the vegetative stage from a few weeks to a few months.

The size your plant achieves in the vegetative stage has a very large effect on your final yields since bigger plants produce more bud sites than smaller plants. However, you need enough light to cover all the bud sites or they will never develop properly. Light is like food for bud growth!

These vegetating plants are about 4 weeks old from germination

To give you an idea as to what your FINAL marijuana plant may look like depending on how long it spends in the vegetative stage…

This plant didn’t spend any time in the Vegetative Stage. It was given 12-12 lighting almost immediately after sprouting. It’s so small that it spent its whole life in a solo cup, and its only light came from CFLs. I weighed down the bottom of the cup so it didn’t fall over. It ended up yielding about 0.75 oz.

These auto-flowering plants spent about 3 weeks in the vegetative stage before they automatically started flowering, and were ready to harvest just 5 weeks later. They were about a foot tall at harvest and yielded approximately 2 ounces each. Read the step-by-step tutorial to grow plants exactly like this.

This marijuana plant spent about 6 weeks in the vegetative stage before being changed over to flowering and yielded just over 6 ounces at harvest. View the complete grow journal with instructions on how to grow your plant so it looks just like this at harvest!

These cannabis plants were vegetated for about 8 weeks before being flipped to the flowering stage. Although they were grown in the exact same conditions from seed to harvest, their final heights are remarkably different because their strains had vastly different genetics. The smaller plant produced 6.6 ounces, while the big plant produced 9.3 ounces. Strain can make a big difference! Learn about growing different strains together.

These cannabis plants were vegetated for about 9 weeks before being flipped, in the exact same setup as above, and produced over 10 ounces each. Besides an extra week of veg, the biggest difference between this grow and the one above was simply the strains.

This human-sized plant (one of my very first plants) spent a little more than 3 months in the vegetative stage before I realized I needed to turn it over to the flowering stage. It then spent another 12 weeks in the flowering stage before it was ready to harvest because it was a long-flowering strain. It got way too tall for its space (taller than me!) and started falling over. However, despite the huge size and more than 5 months of growth, it only ended up yielding about 6 ounces. This is because it was under weak CFL grow lights. Though there was a lot of buds, the lack of strong light made them airy, without a lot of weight. Click the picture for a close-up. 🙂

Some people put their seedlings or clones right into the flowering stage if they want to harvest quickly though this makes for extremely small plants. For example, super-stealth growers who are growing in small hidden spaces – like out of a computer case – would want to put their seedlings into flowering nearly right away to keep their plants as small as possible. It’s also important to remember that container size and grow lights make a big difference. Small containers constrain the roots and keep plants from getting as big as they could, and small lights prevent buds from fattening up as much as they could.

I personally recommend at least 4 weeks in the vegetative stage with 18+ hours of light each day for the best results. Plants that are forced to start flowering sooner than 4 weeks don’t yield much compared to how much work you put in. That being said, keeping plants relatively small does have some benefits!

A good rule of thumb…

Your plant will likely double in size (maybe a bit less, maybe more) from when you first put it into the flowering stage; this is known as the Flowering Stretch. So make sure you end the vegetative stage before your plant reaches half the final height you want, or your cannabis plants may outgrow your grow space during the flowering stage!

Flowering Stage
Flowering Stage: 5 weeks – 16+ weeks

Here’s the breakdown…

  • Week 1-3 – Transition to Flowering
  • Week 3-4 – “Budlets” Form
  • Week 4-6 – Buds Start Fattening Up
  • Week 6-8 – Buds Ripen, Pistils Darken – some strains spend longer in this stage
  • Week 8-12+ – Flowering Ends, Final Flush, Harvest

The length of time needed to stay in the flowering stage depends heavily on the strain. Once you have switched your plant into the flowering stage they will stretch (the ‘flowering stretch’), form buds and then fatten.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite and best cannabis strains by the length of the flowering period:

Short (6-8 weeks)

  • Northern Light – Known for being especially easy to grow
  • Critical Mass CBD – High-yielding, medical, high-CBD, medium-THC strain
  • Quick Critical + – Based on their award-winning Critical+ strain but with a much faster finish
  • Blue Cheese – This version of Blue Cheese is not only fast flowering, the plants grow fast and should be flowered when the plant is only 1/3 the final desired size because it may triple in height after the switch. This shaves extra time off the vegetative stage. Great effects!
  • Frisian Dew – One of the best strains for outdoor growing (and buds may turn pink or bright purple!)
  • Shiskaberry – A gem by Barney’s Farm, this strain “lifts you up” and causes a strong “head high” that can be a great way to relax after a tough day, or for when you want to get in a creative mood.
  • Auto-flowering Ultimate – One of the most potent auto-flowering strains I’ve grown so far, ready in about 10 weeks from germination (7-week flowering stage) and just overall a healthy and high-yielding plant. I plan on growing another one in my next auto-flowering grow!
  • In fact, if you’re interested in a very short flowering time, most auto-flowering strains are ready to harvest less than 3 months from seed.

Frisian Dew plant growing outdoors with deep purple buds

Medium (8-12 weeks)

  • Original Amnesia – Strong effects and very easy to grow. View grow journal
  • Supreme CBD Durban – Medical strain, has a THC:CBD ratio of 1:1
  • Pineapple Chunk – An award-winning strain that’s fruity, vigorous and potent! Its yields are not necessarily the highest, but I believe it’s worth it for the extremely high quality of buds. One of my favorite strains I’ve grown, and I definitely plan to grow it again!
  • Liberty Haze – An award-winning strain that’s curiously strong and one of the few “haze” cannabis strains that doesn’t take forever to finish flowering. Good yields!
  • Gelat.OG – An amazingly well-done cross between Gelato and OG Kush, which are two extremely popular strains in the US on the west coast. Finishes on the faster side, yet has great yields, potency and smell!
  • Wedding Gelato – Another beautiful Gelato cross, this time with the famous Gelato 33 clone (a very specific cut of Gelato), with Wedding Cake (which has taken the west coast by storm in the last few years).
  • Strawberry Lemonade – As pleasant as it sounds, with high potency and uplifting effects. Also is typically very easy to grow.
  • Gorilla Zkittlez – Another west coast favorite, this is produces beautiful buds that are covered in crystals/trichomes and is also very high yielding.
  • Peyote Critical – This strain seems to get rave reviews from everyone who tries it. Buds produce powerful effects and occasionally the buds even turn purple.

Long: (12-14+ weeks)

  • Many Haze strains, as well as some Sativa strains, and generally any strains that originated near the equator.
  • Arjan’s Ultra Haze #1 – A cross between some of the best Haze strains in Southeast Asia. If you want to try something different that is almost impossible to find in the US or Europe, this is it! It produces psychedelic effects that defy its cannabinoid content. May be too intense for some people!

In general, most strains (besides auto-flowering strains) are in the medium range as far as how long they take to flower.

It’s not exact – There’s a 2-3 week harvest window for most plants, and keeping your plants in the flowering stage for a bit longer tends to increase your yields. This is because the plants tend to really bulk up their flowers once they’ve become ‘ripe’.

So often times, even though you could harvest at the shortest recommended time, waiting an extra week or two will give you an extra 10-30% more yield compared to harvesting as early as possible.

Utopia Haze is a mix of Brazilian landrace strains

Post-Harvest (before you smoke you should do this stuff too)

Total post-harvest time needed: 2.5 weeks – 1.5+ months

Drying: 4 – 10 days
Good marijuana buds can be dried in as little as 4 days, but ideally, drying should be a slow process taking up to a week or more. Making sure your plants have been thoroughly dried (but not over-dried) will lower chances of mold during the curing process.

Curing: 2 weeks – 1+ months
Curing really seems to make the effects of buds feel less ‘speedy’ and be better suited to medical applications like treating anxiety, reducing pain, and improving feelings of depression.

Additionally, curing gets rid of any ‘cut grass’ smell, harsh taste and other undesirable traits of some freshly dried buds. Over time with proper curing, those traits will be replaced by the ‘real’ smell and potency profile of your buds.

Two weeks is considered the minimum time to cure your buds, but I personally cure all my buds for a month or even a bit longer because the buds continue to improve for several more weeks.

So, after you’ve bought seeds and equipment, grown a plant from seed to harvest, trimmed, dried and cured your buds, that brings us back to the original answer…

Total Time to Grow (and Be Ready to Use) Your Own Weed:
8 weeks – 5+ Months

Average Time to Grow (and Be Ready to Use) Your Own Weed:
3 – 5 months

If you haven’t started growing your own weed yet, today is the day!

New Grower Shopping Lists – What You Need to Get Started

How to Grow a Pound of Cannabis – Step-by-Step Instructions from Seed to Harvest

7 Tips for Growing Top-Shelf Buds – How to Grow Better Cannabis than the Dispensary!

How Long Does It Take to Grow Weed Indoors? This is one of the most common questions we receive from curious soon-to-be indoor cannabis growers: How long does it really take to grow weed?

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GROW A MARIJUANA PLANT?

The idea of the following article is to provide you with valuable information about the growth of marijuana, its phases and some tips. First, we recommend you not to harvest your plants as soon as possible. Each variety and each strain follow a life cycle that we must respect if we want to achieve optimum development and a quality product.

The time of germination, growth and flowering of marijuana is relative; each variety follows a different tempo, even each strain, which is why it is impossible to determine or pre-establish a generic time for cannabis.

How long does it take to grow marijuana?

Anyway, we will try to give you some advice to guide you as best as possible and that you can control the growth of your crop. If we want to specify about the life cycles of the cannabis plant, we must highlight three main phases: germination, growth and flowering.

  • 1 The germination process.
  • 2 The Growth or Vegetative Stage:
    • 2.1 Determining factors:
  • 3 The flowering phase:
    • 3.1 End of Flowering and Harvest:
  • 4 Conclusions:

The germination process.

First, there is the germination process. This is usually the process that people give least importance to, but, it is of vital importance because if we do not do it correctly we can spoil the seeds. The techniques for germination are very diverse, from the typical technique that uses a napkin or wet paper, to the use of stimulators or planting the seed directly in soil, on a jiffy disc or in a glass with water.

Marijuana seed germination

The best thing to do is to use the napkin or wet paper and, as for the time, to re-emphasize that it is relative. It will not only depend on the conditions of water, humidity or oxygenation, we will also have to consider the quality of the seed, its fertility, the variety or strain in question. However, the seeds usually take between 24 and 72 hours to germinate. Sometimes we find seeds that can take 5,10 or 15 days to arrive.

The Growth or Vegetative Stage:

Secondly, we find the growth or vegetative phase. This phase is central to the development of the plant and therefore one of the main concerns for cannabis growers. It is in this phase, when the seed has been germinated and planted, in which the plant acquires its morphology and its optimal size to later be able to produce the flowers (our harvest).
During this phase the plant needs a lot of direct sun-light as it is developing.

Now, we are in the greatest photoperiod of the plant, between eighteen hours of light by six hours of darkness. The hours of darkness are also of vital importance as they will produce the correct exchange of gases. This exchange is essential for the optimal metabolic development of the plant cells of our strains. The length of time that plants should be growing will be determined by various factors such as environmental (temperature, light, humidity), plant (variety and strain) and external factors (fertilizers, soil quality or the grower’s experience).

Determining factors:

Another factor will be whether the plant is regular or autoflowering. In the second case, all phases are shortened, as they are genetically engineered plants designed to develop as quickly as possible. On the other hand, it will also depend on whether we plant it outdoors or indoors. It should be noted that in indoor cultivation also shorten the phases, and depending on our luminous power, the times will be lengthened or shortened even more. Therefore, to pre-establish the time of growth is very complicated; to general features we could say that in an interior the autoflowering seeds we would let them grow between 3 or 4 weeks, depending on the culture technique, and 6 or 8 weeks for the feminized or regular seeds.

The flowering phase:

On the other hand, we have the third phase, flowering. This phase is the last stage of plant development and one of the most important. The beginning of this period will be determined by the hours of light, outdoor, or by the development of the plant during the growth phase, indoor. Since the interior can control the moment in which we want it to start blooming, we must wait for the plant to have the right physiognomic characteristics to produce good buds.

In autoflowering varieties, the beginning of the flowering phase will mark them themselves, while in feminized or regular seeds, we should be the ones who, through the change of photoperiod, point out when they should start to flower (setting 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness). Another issue is outdoor, where the calendar will determine the tempo. As for determining the end of the flowering process, point out that it is something completely subjective. There are people who prefer to wait more or less, although there are certain factors that can give us a general idea.

End of Flowering and Harvest

End of Flowering and Harvest:

Firstly, the development of buds, which should fatten to cover most pistils. Secondly, the correct maturation and oxidation of the buds, which will be determined by the color and shape of the pistils and trichomes, which may be orange or brown in color. Finally, the hardness of the bud can also be an indicator of the time of cutting, although there are varieties that produce softer buds and therefore this indicator does not always work. However, we can point out that autoflowering plants will usually complete their flowering in eight weeks, whereas feminized plants can take up to ten, twelve or even thirteen weeks.

Conclusions:

By way of conclusion, as we have seen throughout the article, the duration of the periods is very relative and depends on a great variety of factors. However, some generic and approximate calculations can always be offered to guide the grower.

We establish, therefore, that for the correct development of an autoflowering marijuana plant, we must wait approximately three months; while for a feminized plant, the period is extended to four or five months. These have been some advices to help you with your crop, since Gea Seeds recommend you perseverance and a lot of patience to get the best result.

6 Comments

RD 24 October, 2019, 6:29 pm

I was told that once a plant has flowered that they die, it can never flower again, is this true

GeaSeeds 25 October, 2019, 7:48 am

Hello RD! Cannabis plants can live more than 5 years!

Kenpachi 23 June, 2020, 2:34 am

I have been doing this from 3 months but yet no flowers on my plants….. I’m growing them outdoors…. And seeds are regular…. Can u give some advice when will it start flowering…. Today 3 months are over since I have put seeds in wer napkin……

GeaSeeds 23 June, 2020, 9:54 am

Hello Kenpachi!
The flowering does not depend on the number of months since the germination.
The flowering depends on the hours of daylight.
In August and September (Northern Hemisphere), when it starts to decrease the hours of the sun, the plant will start to bloom.

Arefff 2 October, 2020, 1:15 pm

My bush has just started flowering, will it take me a few weeks to cut out a garden?

GeaSeeds 2 October, 2020, 1:43 pm

Yes, between 5-9 weeks more.
Depends on strain type

The idea of the following article is to provide you with valuable information about the growth of marijuana, its phases and some tips. First, we recommend ]]>