The Cycle of Life of a Cannabis plant: An epic story

From Seed to Harvest, discover each step of her growth

Image of a plant that just broke ground
2 Blue Thai Cannabis plants about 3 weeks old
Focus on a Marijuana flower
Final harvest after drying out the buds

As any yearly plant, Cannabis’s life cycle ranges from germination to flowering, after which the plant dies.
We can divide this life cycle in 7 stages, starting at germination and ending at the harvest of it’s sweat sweat flowers.

What are the stages of Marijuana’s life cycle?

  1. Choosing your seed
  2. Germination stage
  3. Sprouting or seeding stage
  4. Growth stages
  5. Flowering period
  6. Harvesting time
  7. Drying and curing the flowers

Let’s go over these different steps in detail:

Choosing your seed

The choice of your seed is crucial. The different families of Cannabis available have characteristics unique to each.
These changes range from environnement you must provide them to the effects they will produce.
The 2 main categories are Sativa and Indica plants.
You can also find a range of seeds that are hybrid, containing traits from Sativa and Indica families. Let’s go over these differences :

What are the differences between Sativa and Indica plants :

  Indica Sativa
Flowering period 45 to 90 days 70 to 120 days
Tempature and Humidity Weaker resistance to heat Stronger resistance to heat
Effects Chill high
Good after a long day working or chilling
at home
Hyper/Laughing high
Good for going out or having a
bunch of friends over
The Stretch About 2 weeks long,
plants with an Indica dominance will grow between 80% and 150%
during the stretch.
Same time period as its cousins, Sativa plan wills grow from
100% to 250% of its size during the stretch.
Do not underestimate this!
Orelse you might just have
your flowers touching your light
Growth during the
Flowering stage
Indica plants stop growing in hight once the stretch period
is over.
Sativa plants will keep on growing after the stretch,
although this growth is much slower.
What will the buds
look like
Generally Indica weeds have more compact buds.
This is due to the fact that they originate from colder
parts of the world.
Since Sativa plants originate from warmer area’s
of the world its buds will be fluffy and 
aired out.

Now I’m guessing you might want to store some seeds?
It’s actually very easy, there are just couple rules to follow

How to store your Marijuana seeds :

  1. Keep your seeds in a dark space
  2. Keep you seeds in a dry environment. Humidity will wake them up
  3. Keep your seeds at room temperature

And voilà! You can keep your seeds until you’re ready to get them started!

Germination of the marijuana seeds

Once you have chosen and received your seeds it’s time to get started with these babies.
There are different ways to get your seed to germinate, but here I will talk about the simplest way to do so.

What is the easy easiest way to germinate a Marijuana seed?

  1. Get 2 plates or saucers and 2 sheets tissue.
  2. Get the tissues moist.
    It is important to get this part right, if the tissue is too wet, the root won’t need to exit the seed.
    To dry though and the baby root won’t have enough to survive
  3. Place the seeds between the 2 sheets of tissue and on a plate.
  4. Place the 2nd plate over the first in order to keep the seeds in the dark and store them between 20°C and 25°C
  5. During the next couple days, keep an eye on the humidity of the paper.
    You will need to drop a couple drops of water regularly.
  6. Once you have a nice little root, carefully remove the seed.
  7. Place the seed between 5 and 10mm in your soil.
    It is important for the root to be facing downwards.
Check out our How-To guide on Seed Germination
Seed germination using tissue and 2 plates
Humidity and temperature at 21 degrees to get seeds to germinate followed by careful extraction
Plant the seed between 5 and 10 millimeters within your soil

image credits to Seisiseeds

The Sprouting or seeding stage

A couple days after placing your seeds in the soil, you should start seeing a little sprout come out.
Say hello to your Baby Mary plant, congratulations!

Now just like a infant, the path ahead is full of (fun) obstacles, get ready to rumble!!

Here are a couple images of one of my own little ones :
Day 0 : The baby plants just breaking the soil and standing upright

Day 0 : Cannabis sprout just breaking the soil
Day 0 the sprout is shedding its seed shell and standing up
Front angle of the sprout is shedding its seed shell and standing up

Day 3 – 10 : Standing up, going for the light and growing first main leaves

Balances issues showing up on Cannabis plant
Day 3 : The sprouts are in their tente and growing

With this run I learned that it’s really important to keep the light nice and close (~50cm) the first days.
As you can see they got so long that once they started growing the main leaves they got top heavy…

If that ever happens to you, just get a piece of wood or pencil to support them, in time they’ll get strong enough to stand on their own

The Growth of Cannabis

The vegetative stage is divided into 2 time periods, vegetative stage and the stretch.
Let’s go over these 2 fascinating times of her life:

The Vegetative stage

Big buddah cheese - Step 1 of vegetation stage
Big buddah cheese - Step 2 of vegetation stage
Big buddah cheese - Step 3 of vegetation stage
Big buddah cheese - Step 4 of vegetation stage

Once you plant has created her first main leaves, she will continue to do so, creating leaf and branch in sequence.
If you environnement is nicely tuned up these nots should be appearing nice and close to one another, which is perfect! Your future buds will be nice end dense.

Generally, apart from auto-flowering seeds, you have the control on how long it lasts. As long as you keep the light cycle in 18hours of light and 6hours of night, they will stay in this stage

What are the characteristics of Marijuana’s Vegetative stage:

  What you will see
Growth Steady growth during the period.
Make sur to cut the branches that won’t get enough light as the plant grows.
Better to have a few strong branches than a bunch of week ones
Branch and leaf density In sequence she will produce 2 new leaves, 2 new branches
Humidity Going down over time, it should start at around 65/70% humidity, ending around 50%
Temperature Really during her whole life you should aim around 25°
I know, I know, not easy….
Nutrients During this stage you will need to give her mainly Nitrogen.
She use and store it in her leafs in for photosynthesis as well as back up energy when she creates  her bud creation later on.I would also keep giving her root nutrients all the way up until the stretch.
Light cycle Keep about 18hours of light and 6 hours of night
Length in time As long as you want. As long as you don’t switch the length of light exposure they will stay in this mode

During this stage you must make sure to give the plant enough Nitrogen nutrients.
In order to get the right measure you really have to test and learn with the strain you have, although I have found that going a little under the dosage given in the bottle works out pretty well.

Quick Warning : After the stretch the plant reduces its intake of nitrogen, making it real difficult to fight nitrogen deficiencies during the flowering stage.
I’m not saying go all out on Nitrogen! Get hit with nutrient burn or Nitrogen toxicity and you’ve got a whole other set of issues on your hand!

The Stretch and Pre-flowering

You’re now ready to get you plants to the flowering phase of her life? Are you sure? Just like a teenager she’s going to throw some fits, and you won’t recognise what come out of it!
Alright if you say so, let’s go through the different aspects of the Stretch and Pre-flowering stages of your Marijuana, but first, couple pics of our own!

Bleu thai during the stretch phase
Bleu thai in it's pre flowing stage
Bleu thai having light and heat issues during the stretch phase
Bleu thai in it's pre flowing stage

Let’s get into what it’s all about

What are the characteristics of Marijuana’s Stretch stage:

  What you will see
 How to start it Change you light pattern from 18/6 cycle to 12/12 cycles.
Growth Very rapid! Depending on Sativa or Indica strains it can vary from 70% to… over 200%!
Sativa’s grow the most during this time, so get a meter out and start measuring to max hight in your space
Length in time 2 weeks long
Humidity 40% to 50%
Temperature Around ~ 25°C. Be sure to measure at the level of your Apex’s!
Nutrients Reduce the levels of Nitrogen given over time
Increase the levels of Potassium and Phosphorus.
Light cycle 12hours of light and 12 hours of night
Branch and leaf density  The Apex and branches will take in high very rapidly, keep an eye out in 2 weeks time you won’t recognise her anymore!
The leaf mass at this point won’t vary, and that’s a good thing, you want her focusing on the buds by the end of this

By the end of this phase she will start having some small flowers on her, congratulation’s you’ve entered the flowering phase! You’re once baby sprout has become a young adult.

Here’s a picture of what my Bleu Thaï looked like by that time

Bleu thai in it's pre flowing stage

You can start noticing the with hair like strands growing at the intersection of your branches and the top of the Apex, I present to you the early Flowering stage!

The Marijuana Flowering stage

Welcome to the finale stage of life of you Cannabis strain, you’d think you’re almost done huh? but not really… What you’ve done up to here are the foundations for what’s to come 🙂 now let’s get building up.

If you’re looking for marijuana flowering stage tips you’ve come to the right place.

As always, before we get started here’s a couple pics of one of own at this stage :


Close up on early flowering of bleu thai weed
Horizontal view of 3 branches of SCROG
Close up at night time of a flowering cannabis bud
Marijuana plant almost ready to be harvested

Harvesting your Marijuana plant

I find that choosing when to harvest your Cannabis is one of the toughest decisions, you can alway wait a little… but once the CBD starts rising it’s going to be one of those couch potato weeds… So kinda tricky.

Drying and Curing the flowers

Drying and curing you cannabis buds is just as crucial as the whole growth cycle. Mess up here and, at best, you’ll have tasteless weed.

In order to dry your buds you’ll want to hang them in a dark space for about 10 days before starting the cure period, and that’s where all the magic happens.
You can imagine curing like when a whiskey or wine is in the barrel for a couple years in order to develop its taste. With Cannabis it’s the same and can last from 2 weeks to over 2 years, in the right conditions.

The rules are pretty simple, at first you want to let the humidity exit the container, by opening it a couple hours a day, in order to avoid mildew. Once the buds are dryer you’ll want to keep steady humidity levels in order to avoid them drying up too much, giving you some dusty buds. We’ve covered all the tips over here, but keep in mind that you want to stay around 50% humidity.

Alright folks that’s all for this one! In the next series we’ll be covering the different steps of the flowering stage.
Until then, be safe and grow easy!

Check out our articles of the series

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