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How Cannabis Buds Grow: One Chapter at a Time

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Your cannabis plant will have to go through several stages before you can harvest it. As a grower, you have to be aware of the buds’ demands as they form through the growth phases. It is your duty to cater to their needs and respond immediately to any given situation. To know how to react in a particular circumstance and what to do in every growth stage, read on. We recommend reading Woahstork’s article on cannabis anatomy if you want to read more about this topic.

Growth Stages

Chapter I: Germination Stage (1-2 weeks)

Seeds of Marijuana

Credit: Jorge Barrios, Wikimedia Commons

This is the process you perform before planting your seeds. In case you didn’t know yet, you should know the sex of your cannabis seeds. There are various methods for this step—you can germinate using the paper towel technique, soaking method, soil method, peat briquette technique, and you can also use propagation kits. Use whatever method you find to be more convenient for you. But I advise you to germinate standard seeds before you germinate expensive ones, especially if you’re a beginner. This is to avoid wasting costly seeds. Even though practice won’t make it perfect, at least it’ll help you get used to the method.

For this stage, you’ll need to cover the wet seed and leave it in a warm and dark place for one day (24 hrs.). Keep it there until the taproot of the marijuana seed emerges. Once that shows up, that’s the sign that you should take the seed out from wherever you placed it, and plant it in healthy soil. This is when the taproot will start to fix itself to the soil and begin absorbing the nutrients from the soil to continue growing.

In due course, the cannabis seed will send a new stem up beyond the soil’s surface to start the seedling stage of its wonderful life.

Chapter II: Seedling Phase (2-3 weeks)


Credit: Avriette, Wikimedia Commons

You’ll know your plant has turned into a seedling once it has begun developing the standard marijuana leaves. As a shoot, it will yield leaves with a single ridged finger only. As it grows, the leaves will create more fingers. You’ll know the cannabis plant is mature when the individual leaves have between five to seven fingers each. However, in some cases, it could be more.

In this stage, you should know what a healthy seedling should appear like; it must be short with substantial vegetation. It shouldn’t look like it’s reaching for the sun, and its leaves should appear healthy and have a lively green color.

You should also be careful not to overwater the plant during this growth phase, as its roots are so tiny, they don’t require a lot of water to survive. Well, you shouldn’t really be overwatering the plant at any stage anyway.

Remember that at this stage, the cannabis plant is susceptible to mold and various diseases, so you must keep the surroundings clean. Always check the moisture as well. You can learn more about caring for your seedlings in Soft Secrets’ guide.

Chapter III: Vegetative Phase (2 to 8 weeks)


Credit: Plantlady223, Wikimedia Commons

In this stage, the stem will become taller and thicker. It’ll also start to grow new nodes which will bring forth more leaves and new branches even.

This is the time when your cannabis plant will need a lot of clean, warm water, flowing dry air, soil space, and organic nutrients that are abundant in nitrogen such as seaweed and liquid fish. It needs this much because it’s developing and yielding leaves and branches. All these will enable your cannabis plant to expand from an 8-inch little plant into a 2- to 3-foot plant in about three to six weeks.

The development of your marijuana plant will depend on how fast or slow the leaves can collect light and convert it to chemical energy. In short, the cannabis plant’s growth will depend on how well photosynthesis occurs. This is why the vegetative plant requires long hours of light—whether sunlight or not.

The marijuana plant will stop its upward increase once it begins getting less light. This is where the plant moves on to the pre-flowering stage.

Chapter IV: Flowering Stage (6-8 weeks)


Credit: Bsteinmann, Wikimedia Commons

This is the final growth phase of your plant. Take note that flowering happens naturally when the plant gets less light. This is the stage where the resinous buds grow.

Here are the changes you have to be aware of once your cannabis plant proceeds to the flowering stage from its vegetative phase:

  1. Your cannabis plant must be trimmed no more than 14 days into the flowering period because it can distress the plant’s hormones.
  2. It must also be staked and trellised so that the cannabis plant can support the buds as they grow.
  3. Gradually decrease the number of nutrients (so you won’t be able to taste them later on) and stop increasing the amount of water you give them.

Once the buds have become fully mature, then it’s high time to harvest.

Below we’ve included a time-lapse video we know you’ll enjoy.

Cannabis Seeds

Production Process

The plant makes use of sexual reproduction to make seeds and scatter them. They’re like humans where parents produce seeds. But unlike humans, cannabis seeds have genes from both the male and the female plants. This, however, isn’t applicable to seeds that are produced by a hermaphrodite plant, but as a home grower, you don’t need to know the complexity of that issue.


A single marijuana seed is coated with a waxy layer that conceals a little, dehydrated plant, waiting to experience warmth and moisture. It sprouts once water and heat get to it. Without those two elements, it grows way too old then dies. Because of this, cannabis seeds can’t be kept for too long.

Together with the little plant, there is the endosperm which serves as a food store of calories to help the plant develop.

Storing Seeds

Remember that cannabis seeds will remain inactive until they come in contact with light and water. These seeds, which are moderately robust, can live well in a cool, dark place as long as the temperatures are stable. You can keep them in a cellar or a fridge. The worst thing you can do with the seeds is to keep them below freezing temp, causing them to lose their life.

If you want to know much more about cannabis growth stages, you may want to check out the Cannabis Research A-Z website.

Featured Image Credit: 7raysmarketing, pixabay