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What's The Fastest Way To Grow Marijuana?

by Nebula Haze

"I need to harvest as soon as possible. What's the fastest growth method? What can I do to speed up the time to harvest?"

This marijuana plant was flowered directly from seedMany of our readers write in to ask about speeding up the time to harvest.

So, how long does it take to grow marijuana? 

Short Answer: From Day 1 of your marijuana plant's life to a smokable harvest, you are looking at 2 months - 7+ Months. 

Many factors will affect the total time, but the average grow takes 3-4 months. 

Long Answer: These factors have the greatest impact on total time to harvest: 

  • Plant strain (strain has biggest impact on growing time)

  • Desired yields (do you want to grow a few grams, a few ounces, or a few pounds?)

  • Growing method  (differing grow methods/setups can add or subtract a few weeks)

Huge marijuana cola can't wait to be harvested

So as you probably know, there are two parts of the life cycle of the marijuana plant, the vegetative stage and the flowering stage. 

The vegetative stage can be shortened by getting the plant to grow faster when she's young. Yet the length of the flowering stage (the time between when flowers first start forming and when the plant is ready to harvest) is almost completely strain-specific. 

That means that once you've started growing a specific strain, there isn't a whole lot you can do to speed things up during the flowering stage. 

Many Indica hybrids (such as AK-48 and Northern Lights) have very short flowering periods of only 7-9 weeks, which is a shorter flowering time than most other strains.

Hazes and Sativas often take much longer. For example a Haze strain takes 3-4 months in the flowering stage before being ready to harvest. 

Every different strain has pros and cons, yet if time is a factor for you, pay close attention to the length of the flowering stage when deciding which strain to grow. Many seed banks such as Nirvana list the length of the flowering period as part of their stats for each strain.

Some strains, such as auto-flowering strains, go through their whole cycle regardless of light cycle or anything you can control. These strains tend to be ready to harvest in only 2-3 months from seed (though you should definitely expect smaller plants with relatively small yields when choosing an auto-flowering stage). 

Auto-flowering strains of marijuana contain higher levels of CBD, a cannabinoid which has been associated with many medical benefits. So they may be the perfect choice for a medical marijuana user who needs to harvest quickly.

Learn more about the difference between regular and autoflowering strains:

3.) Give Plants 24 Hours of Light a Day During the Vegetative Stage

As long as you give your plants 14+ hours of light a day, they will stay in the vegetative stage. Yet if you give the plant more light than that, she will grow faster.

Some growers believe it's healthier to give marijuana plants 18 hours of light a day max, with a 6 hour dark period during the vegetative stage.

In my personal experiments, I haven't noticed any difference between giving plants 18 hours of light a day and 24 hours of light a day during the vegetative stage regarding plant health and vibrancy.

Regardless of which is best for plant health, it's a proven fact that marijuana plants given a full 24 hours of light a day will grow faster during the vegetative stage

Therefore, if a short time to harvest is important to you, I recommend going with the 24 hour light period during the vegetative stage for fastest growth, so you can start the flowering stage as soon as possible.

4.) Initiate The Flowering Stage Sooner

This micro marijuana plant was started as a clone and was forced to start flowering immediately.

You may not realize that regular (non auto-flowering) marijuana plants can be flowered directly from seed. 

When I say "flowered," what I mean is that you can change the light schedule so that it forces your young seedlings to start making buds right away.

You can get a marijuana plant to start flowering by ensuring that she gets 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness each night, often referred to as the 12-12 light schedule. 

This makes the plant "think" winter is coming, and she'll start making buds as soon as she's able. This means that your "flowering stage countdown" begins as soon as she grows her first set of real leaves.

So for example, Northern Lights has a flowering stage length of about 8 weeks. If you flowered a Northern Lights strain plant from seed, your buds would be ready to harvest in only about 8 weeks.

Some growers will also flower marijuana clones as soon as they have formed roots, for basically the same effect.

However, as pictured to the right, you can expect a very small plant when flowering from such a young age, since she didn't get time to bulk up during the vegetative stage,

5.) Grow Indoors 

While outdoors can be more convenient for those who happen to live in a place with great growing conditions, this isn't the fastest way to grow and harvest your crop. 

Growing indoors gives you the ultimate control over how big your plants get, how long to keep them in the vegetative stage, and more. 

With a well-chosen strain and a good setup, one can harvest several ounces of buds in 2.5-3 months indoors, which is nearly impossible to do outdoors in that timeframe.

6.) Pay Attention To Your Plants and Quickly React to Problems

This ensures your plants grow as fast as possible. Every time your plants get sick, it slows down their growth while they try to recover.

Plus, by reacting quickly to problems, you will save yourself the stress of trying to deal with a huge problem that's gotten out of control, since you've been watching out and adjusting along the way.

The more you tend to and baby your plants, the better they will grow, and the faster you will be able to harvest.

Learn more about the most common plant problems right here:

7.) Make Sure You're Feeding Plants The Right Type of Nutrients During Each Stage of Growth.

Fox Farms for Soil makes a great organic marijuana nutrient system when growing in soil

In the vegetative stage, it is important that you give your plants the right nutrients needed to get optimal growth. 

Now if you're starting with a good soil (Fox Farms Ocean Forest soil is a great choice), you may not need to supplement any nutrients at first, as the nutrients you need are already in the soil. 

If you're growing hydroponically (directly in water, or in a soil-less medium like coco coir), it is essential that you provide all the nutrients your plant needs right from the beginning.

However, even if you are growing in good soil, by the time you get to the flowering stage, your plant will likely have used up most of the nutrients in the soil, and you'll often get the best results, fastest growth, and biggest yields by supplementing extra needed nutrients during the flowering stage.

A big thing to remember about nutrients in the flowering stage is that when you feed too much nitrogen compared to phosphorus, this can slow down the ripening process and cause you to have to wait longer until harvest. 

This is why you need to either mix your nutrients by hand, or choose  a nutrient system that is specifically formulated for the flowering stage of a plant like marijuana.

By providing the right nutrients at the right time, you'll reduce your overall time to harvest.

Learn more about the best marijuana nutrient systems here: 

Now that you're equipped with the information to get you to harvest as soon as possible, I'd like to address another common question we receive about time.

Growers often write in to ask us how much time it will take per week to grow a marijuana plant. We understand that many of you have busy schedules, and want to know if growing your own weed is a realistic goal for you.

The truth is, you can grow weed in only 20-30 minutes a week when you use the right technique, and the following article reveals the best way we know to make that happen using a hydroponic tactic known as "bubbleponics."

Click here to learn more:

Beautiful marijuana buds that have been kept short with Low Stress Training (LST)



Nebula HazeAbout Nebula Haze:

Medical marijuana has saved my life, and I'm dedicated to showing you how easy it can be to grow your own medical-grade buds.

I have made it my mission in life to build the best FREE growing resources available for new and advanced growers, while also working to get marijuana legalized for everyone.



Are You Ready To Go Pro With Your Garden?


Click here to learn more about growing elite marijuana!I know you are dedicated to growing the best marijuana possible or you wouldn't be reading this right now.

Marijuana plants are not as easy as a  houseplant, but learning how to grow isn't as crazy complicated as a lot of growers make it seem.

Learn how easy it is to grow medical-grade buds: 

Still, you need to learn this plant's language if you want to grow real chronic buds and get great yields. 

So you could spend years and years learning from trial and error... 

Or you can take the shortcut to consistently producing outstanding results by learning from real growers who have done all the work for you.


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Happy growing!