The Cannabis Cultivation Timeline: Stages of Development

First-time growers often have the same question: how long does it take for a cannabis plant to grow from a seed? Knowing the cannabis cultivation timeline is important, as it indicates when your plant is ready to be harvested. You can also use this information to learn about the growing process and signs of healthy and non-healthy growing practices.

If you want to promote strong, healthy plants with an improved yield, you should start the whole growing process with living soil. At SoHum Living Soils, we have taken all the guesswork out of growing plants by pre-amending SoHum with all the macro and micro-nutrients your plants need.

Cannabis Plants: The Stages of Development


The first of the four general stages of cannabis development is the germination stage. While the germination process typically takes anywhere from one to seven days, the entire germination stage lasts about one to two weeks. It can take time for the seed to become receptive to water. Ideally, you should use seeds that are hard, dry, and brown. Lighter colored seeds take longer to germinate.

You know your seed is ready to be transported to its growing place when a tap root appears, and it looks like it has popped. Make sure you plant it with the taproot facing down. As the plant germinates, you should see two round cotyledon leaves emerging from the stem to help stimulate photosynthesis. Once the roots are fully formed, fan leaves begin to grow, and your plant is now in its next stage of development.


While your plant is in the seedling stage, it needs approximately 18 to 24 hours of sunlight a day. The seedling phase lasts for approximately two to three weeks, during which time traditional cannabis leaves begin to grow. At the beginning of this stage, the leaves have only one finger, far from the five to seven most marijuana leaves should possess. As the plant progresses through this stage, each leaf acquires more fingers. Once every leaf has five or more fingers, the plant graduates to its next stage.

During this stage, pay attention to the plant’s growth, which should be short and dense with vegetation. If your plant is growing tall, it needs more sunlight. You may want to increase its exposure to appropriate lighting during this stage. Your leaves should all be a very healthy green color. Remember that your plants are particularly susceptible to mold and disease during the seedling phase. You can minimize this risk by removing excess moisture and keeping the nearby environment as clean as possible.


The vegetative stage can last anywhere from two to eight weeks. During this time, your plant needs 13 to 24 hours of sunlight per day. You should notice that your plant’s growth increases dramatically. You should transport it to a larger growing medium at the beginning of the phase, to help encourage the roots to spread. Most growers also use this time to start the topping or training process. At this stage, you should also notice a difference in the type of plants. Indica plants are dense and short, while Sativa plants are taller and less dense.

During this stage, you need to increase the amount of water you provide to your plants. As your plant progresses through each stage, you should water it further away from the stalk. For example, you should water a seedling close to the stalk, as the roots are still small. When watering a plant in its vegetative stage, you should water further away, giving the tips of the roots increased access.


Flowering is the final stage in your plant’s development. It takes about six to eight weeks, during which time you need to expose the plant to 12 hours of sunlight per day. Be careful to avoid increased light exposure, as it can inhibit further growth. This stage involves pruning and ensuring it is stalked and trellised.

After the buds are completely mature, you can begin harvesting. The best way to tell if your plant is ready is to examine its trichomes. You can do this by using a microscope. Your plant is ready if the trichomes are amber.

The team at Sohum Living Soils is here to answer your questions, whether you are a novice or an expert cultivator. visit us online at to find out more about healthy cannabis growing, including best practices and other recommended techniques. Contact us online, by phone, or stop by our Denver location.

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