How long the seedling stage lasts depends on the variety and on the environmental conditions. The main focus of the plant is on developing a root system. This forms the foundation for its later growth.
Cannabis passes through a series of stages in its life. The most important of these are the germination, seedling, growth and flowering stages. Each stage brings its own challenges. Novice growers need to be aware of these, to be sure of giving their plants the attention and care that they deserve.
Now the plant starts its main growing phase. Provided it receives enough light, it can grow up to two inches (5 cm) in a single day. It is obvious that the plant needs to be repotted if it is still growing in a small pot.
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Cannabis is an annual plant, so its entire lifecycle takes place within a single year, with most varieties reaching the end of their life after between four and ten months. In general terms, the following four stages of life can be distinguished:
All forms of life start from a seed of some kind. High-quality seed is the single most important factor for successful cultivation. Cannabis seeds should be hard, dry and brownish in colour. There are a number of different ways of getting the seeds to germinate. The easiest is the paper towel method.
No matter why cannabis is being cultivated, to see with your own eyes how a small seed grows into a bulky plant, which then starts flowering, is a moving experience every time.
As it grows, the plant also needs more water. Young plants are best watered close to their stem, but later on water should be distributed more widely so that the tips of the roots can absorb water more efficiently.
The time of vegetation depends on whether it is being grown indoors or outdoors. If a seedling has been transplanted outside, the length vegging cycle will vary based on when it is planted and in which region. Vegetation will end eventually once the daylight hours reduce towards the end of summer.
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.
Indoors, growers have full control over the light cycle. By maintaining a light schedule of 18 hours, cannabis plants can be kept in their vegetative state, meaning they can be grown for as long as needed until you put them outside or switch to a photoperiod of 12/12.
Seedlings (1 – 2 weeks)
Having a mother plant is useful for commercial growers as it saves loads of time in the beginning stages of the growing process. Cutting a clone will cause the shoot to produce hormones that stimulate root growth. Hormonal supplements are often used to aid the process and make the probability of rooting much higher.
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.
Today cannabis is super resilient and even more productive. Along with the rising levels of THC, there are now hundreds of cultivars, all with their own unique traits. Feminized seeds are bred to have specific characteristics like high yields or resistance against mould.
After the countless crossing of genetics, breeders have managed to adapt cannabis to suit their needs while still allowing the plant to live its life to its full potential. The inevitable result of human intervention has lead us to create an array of breeds with short flowering cycles and stable genetics, such as those found in feminized seeds or autoflowers.