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weeks from seed to harvest cannabis

The biggest variability in how long a marijuana plant takes to grow will happen in the vegetative stage—after the seedling phase and before flowering.

Vegetative stage length: 3-16 weeks

How long does it take to grow a marijuana plant?

Seed germination length: 3-10 days

Be sure to keep a grow journal to track the progress of your plants. Looking back on your notes will help you learn from mistakes and maximize the quality and quantity of your buds.

If you need to determine the sex of your plants (to discard the males), they will start showing sex organs a few weeks into the veg stage. It’s imperative to separate males so they don’t pollinate the females.

With all the variables that come with growing different strains, it can be confusing knowing exactly what will happen during each phase. Beginner growers will benefit most from seeing the magic happen with their own eyes. The best way to learn about the life cycle of a cannabis plant is through experience. This guide will give you a simple starting point so you know what to expect once you have germinated your first seed.

A successful germination process is key to achieve healthy grows with big yields. A plant that does not have a smooth start will often end up being slow, under-productive or more susceptible to problems like fungus or rot. Some seeds just don’t germinate either because they’re either too old, dud (dead), or just couldn’t absorb enough water to weaken the outer shell enough.

Feminized Seeds

The first signs of flowering can arrive just 2 weeks after germination. By 4 weeks an autoflower will be in full budding mode. Most strains will be ready in under 10 weeks, from seed to harvest. Some take a bit longer but either way they are faster than feminized seeds.

Autoflowering plants descend from the Ruderalis family. This genetic history means they flower automatically and do not depend on a photoperiodic change.

Leaves will start growing opposite each other along the main stem, alternating at the internodes. The first sets of leaves only have 1 finger, not like the later leaves which have up to 7. Once there are 3 or 4 leaf internodes with leaves that have at least 5 fingers, they have grown out of their seedling stage.

Considering that you’ve germinated the seeds successfully, you can plant the seeds in their respective containers. Autos can be transplanted, yes, but leave that to the experts. They will do far better if you do NOT transplant them and instead plant them directly in the containers you’ve chosen.

How long do autos take from seed to harvest? There’s no exact answer, but most autos complete their growing cycles in just a matter of 7-11 weeks, that is the autoflower time from seed to harvest. Here’s how it works:


Remember that cannabis plants depend on the environment to thrive so make sure the conditions are within the acceptable range. During the vegetative stage you should keep the following conditions for the best plant growth possible:

Autoflowers respond very well to both FIMing and Topping if done properly, so make sure that you don’t do it too aggressively! Depending on how your plant grows (and if needed), it’s a good idea to provide support with a trellis net or bamboo stakes so you keep your plants in the upright position it doesn’t fall over.

Growing cannabis is like developing a skill over time. It takes time, patience, and you must be prepared for failure along the way. However, despite your urge to maintain a cannabis garden, a lot of factors can go against you. When you realize that it takes almost 4-5 months to harvest the buds (not to mention the extra time for curing) you may change your mind and settle for buds available in the dispensary. But, what if I told you that autoflowers are the solution to your problems? It doesn’t take a lot of effort to grow them, and you save the most important resource – time.