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Growing 101:

The 4 Stages of Cannabis Cultivation

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Cannabis cultivation has become increasingly popular, as more countries and states legalize the plant for medicinal and recreational use. To successfully grow cannabis, it's essential to understand the four primary stages of its growth cycle. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into each stage, providing examples and expert advice to help you cultivate healthy, potent cannabis plants.

Stage 1: Germination

Germination is the first stage in the cannabis growth cycle, during which seeds awaken and begin their journey into fully mature plants. It usually takes between 24 hours and 7 days for seeds to germinate. To increase your chances of success, start with high-quality seeds from reputable suppliers, like Sensi Seeds or ILoveGrowingMarijuana.

To germinate cannabis seeds, you can use several methods, such as:

  1. Paper towel method: Dampen a paper towel, place seeds on it, and then fold the towel over the seeds. Keep the towel moist and in a warm, dark place until the seeds sprout.
  2. Directly in the soil: Plant the seeds directly in their final growing medium, such as soil or coco coir, and keep it consistently moist and warm.
  3. Starter cubes: Use peat or coco coir starter cubes, which are designed to hold the right amount of moisture for seed germination.

Stage 2: Vegetative Growth

The vegetative growth phase begins once the seedlings have emerged from the soil and have developed their first set of true leaves. This stage can last anywhere from 3 to 16 weeks, depending on the strain and growing conditions. During this time, the cannabis plants focus on developing strong roots, branches, and foliage.

To promote vigorous vegetative growth, follow these guidelines:

  1. Provide ample light: Use high-quality LED grow lights or HID lights to ensure your plants receive adequate light for robust growth.
  2. Maintain a proper temperature: Keep the grow room temperature between 70°F and 85°F (21°C and 29°C) during the day and slightly cooler at night.
  3. Fertilize appropriately: Use a well-balanced nutrient mix specifically designed for cannabis plants to ensure they receive essential macro and micronutrients.
  4. Train your plants: Techniques like low-stress training (LST) and screen of green (SCROG) can help control plant height and improve yields.

Stage 3: Flowering

The flowering stage is when cannabis plants produce their prized buds, rich in cannabinoids and terpenes. This phase typically lasts 7 to 12 weeks, depending on the strain. To initiate the flowering stage, adjust the light cycle to 12 hours of darkness and 12 hours of light.

During flowering, adhere to these best practices:

  1. Switch nutrients: Shift from a nitrogen-rich vegetative nutrient mix to a phosphorus and potassium-heavy blend designed for the flowering stage.
  2. Monitor humidity: Maintain relative humidity between 40% and 50% to reduce the risk of mold and mildew.
  3. Be diligent about pests: Inspect your plants regularly for signs of pests or disease, and take action immediately if you detect any issues. 4. Avoid stressing your plants: Minimize pruning, training, and other stressors during the flowering stage to prevent potential hermaphroditism.
  1. Observe trichomes: Use a magnifying tool to monitor trichome development and determine the optimal harvest time based on your desired potency and effects.

Stage 4: Harvest, Drying, and Curing

The final stage of cannabis cultivation is harvesting, drying, and curing the buds. This stage is crucial, as it directly affects the quality, potency, and flavor of the final product.

Follow these steps for a successful harvest, dry, and cure:

  1. Harvest at the right time: Observe the trichomes and pistil color to determine when your plants have reached peak maturity.
  2. Cut and trim: Cut the branches or entire plant, then trim away excess leaves to prepare the buds for drying.
  3. Dry the buds: Hang the trimmed branches or buds in a dark, well-ventilated space with a temperature between 60°F and 70°F (15°C and 21°C) and humidity around 45% to 55%. Drying typically takes 5 to 15 days.
  4. Cure the buds: Once the buds feel dry to the touch and the stems snap rather than bend, transfer them to airtight glass jars for curing. Open the jars daily for the first week to release excess moisture, and then every few days for the following 2 to 3 weeks. The curing process can take 2 to 8 weeks, depending on personal preference.


Understanding and mastering the four stages of cannabis cultivation—germination, vegetative growth, flowering, and harvest, drying, and curing—is essential for producing high-quality, potent cannabis. By following the expert advice and best practices outlined in this guide, you'll be well on your way to cultivating thriving cannabis plants and enjoying the fruits of your labor.

Patricia is a dance-loving, animal-crazy individual with a passion for spreading the word about the amazing benefits of CBD. When she's not busy grooving to her favorite tunes, you can find researching all the ways CBD can enhance our lives.