The Stages of Cannabis Growth
Cannabis growth is made up of a series of stages that plants undergo during their lifecycle. Each stage during the cannabis cultivation process requires its own unique demands, including different levels of light, water, and nutrients.
It can take anywhere from 4 to 8 months to grow a cannabis plant, this varies based on where you’re growing. If you have an indoor grow room, your plant has the ability to flower after only a few weeks!
The quality of your plant depends on your knowledge of the cannabis growth stages and the lifecycle of your plants.
Cannabis Growth Timeline
1. Germinating: 1-7 days
2. Seedling: 2-3 weeks
3. Vegetative: 2-8 weeks
4. Pre-Flowering: 1-2 weeks
5. Flowering: 6-8 weeks
1. Germinating Seeds
2. Seedling Stage
3. Vegetative Growth
How to tell if your plant is a male or female
Female: Two pistils (the pistil contains the reproductive parts of a flower) will be growing on the buds (flowers grow above these leaves, one cluster on each side).
Male: Small green sacs full of pollen will be seen on the node areas.
- If there is a high color ratio of white to red pistils your cannabis will provide a euphoric THC high.
- If the color ratio is more red to white, your cannabis will provide a calmer, CBD-stoned feeling.
- If you harvest once half the trichomes are opaque and the pistils haven’t turned brown, your cannabis will provide a balanced THC/CBD high.
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What causes seeds in buds while growing cannabis?
What does it mean to find seeds in your marijuana buds? Is it something to be worried about? This is something that happens while buds are forming in the flowering stage, but can be prevented with the right steps. Learn more below.
There’s a seed in my bud!
Sometimes you don’t see the seeds until they fall out of your buds
What causes seeds?
Seedy buds are the result of pollination. What does that mean? Cannabis buds are flowers. Like other flowers, they make seeds when pollinated. Cannabis buds get pollinated when they come into contact with cannabis pollen while the buds are forming.
Seeds happen when pollen gets on the hairs (pistils) of buds as they’re forming. In other words, seeds in weed are caused by pollination.
This bud is full of fat seeds because pollen got on the pistils during bud development.
Pollen typically comes from the pollen sacs of a male cannabis plant. Male plants spray pollen everywhere when their flowers are mature. Sometimes female cannabis plants will produce pollen (known as herming) due to genetics or stress. Any source of pollen, whether the plant is male or female, can pollinate buds in the vicinity and cause seedy buds.
If you’re not growing with feminized (all-female) seeds, about half the plants will be male and grow pollen sacs (male flowers) that release pollen. Unless you want seeds, male plants should be removed from the grow room immediately because they will otherwise seed all your buds.
Seeds are caused by the presence of male flowers while buds are growing. Male flowers release pollen that pollinates buds and causes seeds to grow.
Any time you see “bananas” or “balls” it’s important to separate that plant immediately to prevent possible pollination. These are the result of a hermaphrodite plant (“herm”) and these structures also release pollen.
Example of a hermaphrodite plant making seeds
You may notice a bunch of little yellow growths in these buds. They almost look like mini bananas. This plant is “herming” or growing male flowers that spew pollen everywhere. If this plant isn’t removed from the grow space, it will pollinate itself and all other plants in the area, causing seedy buds
This is the same plant. You can see that some of the pure white hairs have turned brown early. This is because those hairs were pollinated. If this plant were allowed to continue flowering, there would be a seed growing at the base of all those brown hairs.
You may not realize that seeds are forming while your buds are growing
But once they get really seedy, buds may look like they have huge plump calyxes/bracts (female flowers) or they may even be misidentified as pollen sacs (hermie/male flowers).
When handling the buds after harvest, you may see seeds or hear them as they fall onto the surface below
Does it mean the weed is bad? No!
If it’s very seedy the buds may not feel as potent, though a few seeds here and there won’t make much difference in bud potency. The main problem with seedy weed is that you are getting less smokeable bud for the amount of total mass there. If it is seedless, you will get more bang for your buck. Seedless bud (sinsemilla) is considered to be the highest quality and most potent type of weed.
Seedy weed is still good to smoke
However, cannabis plants waste energy developing seeds that could have been used to fatten buds. When a bud has lots of seeds, it often isn’t as big and plump as it would have if the plant had not been pollinated. Notice how all the mass of this bud is in the seeds. The rest of the bud is airy and small.
Are seeds good to grow?
I’ve seen some growers get impressive results with bagseed (seeds you find in a “bag” of weed), but overall results seem to be hit or miss. Plants can grow in odd ways and often either the yields or quality isn’t as expected. The problem is that seeds often don’t “breed true” to the buds that they came from.
“Found” seeds can sometimes produce excellent results
But sometimes the plants grow poorly or buds don’t turn out anything like the buds you found the seeds in
That is why many growers either stick to clones (which are exactly the same as the “mother” plant) or purchase seeds of a stabilized strain from a trustworthy breeder. Starting with stable genetics helps ensure each of the plants will grow the way you expect, and buds have the smell, yield, and potency you want.
If you’re not sure what strains to get, here are a few recommendations. These strains produce excellent weed and are generally easy to grow. These seeds are all feminized, which means they will only grow female plants (no pollen to worry about!) Click the links for more information.
– top-shelf looks and smell with classic effects reminiscent of 90s buds but stronger. Easy to grow. – this version is MUCH more potent than regular White Widow. The buds tested between 24-26% THC. Don’t plan to do anything else that day ? – for those who are looking for a face melter. These buds test up to 28% THC and produce buds with quintessentially “American” looks and smell. The mental and physical effects may be too intense for most beginners. is a good choice for commercial growers with high THC up to 30%, big yields, and a short flowering time. is a potent Sativa hybrid with great yields and uplifting unique mental effects is an autoflowering strain that produces photoperiod-quality buds in about 70 days from seed to harvest.
Platinum Cookies is essentially a more potent version of the popular Girl Scout Cookies strain.
How can I tell if it’s a viable seed?
Good seeds are often dark and relatively hard. Very pale or white seeds that can be easily crushed between the fingers often don’t sprout. However, I have been surprised to find some very flimsy seeds sprout and produce amazing plants (we aren’t breeding them for hard seeds after all) so when in doubt, I highly recommend doing the true test to see if the seed is viable – try to germinate the seed and see if it sprouts.
The best way to tell if a seed is viable is to try to germinate it and see what happens.