The 4 stages of a weed plant


From seed to a mature crop-ripe cannabis plant, the plant goes through different stages and which are all important to understand. Each stage is unique and therefore requires a unique approach in the field of care. Think of things like lighting, water and possibly nutrients. In addition, each phase gives the grower information. For example,  determining the genus of the plant and whether the plant is healthy or not. The 4 stages of a weed plant we distinguish are:

  1. Germination of the seed
  2. Seedling
  3. Growth phase (vegetative phase)
  4. Flowering phase

Stage 1 (24 – 168 hours): Germination of the seed

The cannabis seed is the starting point of a cannabis plant. A seed can be seen as a sleeping cannabis plant waiting for water to come to life. This is called germination. The germination of a seed takes an average of 24 hours and can take up to 168 hours (7 days).

> Read our blog: how to germinate cannabis seeds

Stage 2 (2 – 3 weeks): The seedling

When the root appears, the seed can be placed in a growing medium and provided with 18-24 hours of light. In this phase, the root first grows downwards and the seedling will grow upwards. From the trunk grow the first leaves to ensure the seedling receives sufficient sunlight to become stable, strong and healthy.

The first leaves often have only one ribbed finger, but as soon as the plant grows, the leaves get more and more fingers. When the plant starts to develop leaves with the full number of fingers, we speak about a “seedling”.

Healthy seedlings can be recognized by their short size and dense vegetation where the leaves have a healthy vibrant green color.

Note: During the seedling stage, the roots are still small and the plant needs little water to grow. Therefore don’t provide a starting cannabis plant with to much water. This prevents over-watering. Because the roots are still close to the trunk, the plant should mainly receive water there. In addition, a seedling is susceptible to diseases and fungi so keep the culture environment clean.

Stage 3 (2 – 8 weeks): The growth phase

After two to three weeks the growth phase starts and the plant needs 13-24 hours of light. This phase is also called the vegetative stage. Before the growth phase starts is recommended to place the plant in a larger pot a healthy, nutritious soil so the roots and plant can grow considerably higher and wider. The growth is now starting. As the plant develops, the plant needs more water and the water must be further infused from the trunk.

The growth phase lasts about 2 to 8 weeks. This is different for each species, but also the grower has an important influence on this. For example by adjusting the light scheme. When the plant is at the end of its growth (the pre-flowering phase) it’s often possible to determine the genus of the plant. For the cultivation of weed, the grower must separate male plants from the female plants in order to prevent pollination.

> Read our blog: how to recognize the sex of a cannabis plant

Stage 4 (6 – 8 weeks): The flowering phase

The last stage of the cannabis plant is the flowering phase. This phase lasts on average 6 to 8 weeks and is the period in which the cannabis plant develops its resinous buds. In nature, cannabis plants bloom when the days get shorter. That is during autumn. However, indoor growers get their plants manually into the bloom phase by adjusting the lighting schedule to 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.

A plant can be harvested when the buds no longer produce new white hairs and at least 40% to 70% of the white hairs are brown and dry.