You are hereHow Long Does It Take to Grow Weed?
How Long Does It Take to Grow Weed?
I get asked this all the time, so today I decided to answer, once and for all, how long it really takes to grow.
How long does it really take to grow weed?
The short answer is, from Day 1 of your weed plant's life to actually smoking your harvest, it takes...
8 weeks - 7+ Months
But that's a huge range, right?
That's why most growers won't give you a straight answer. The honest truth is, many factors will affect the total time.
So a more fair answer might be to say that the average grower takes 3-4 months to grow, harvest and quick-cure a few ounces to a pound of buds per plant (depending heavily on your strain choice and setup).
And, for at least the first time you grow, you also need to consider the time needed to get your equipment and seeds/clones.
I'm going to give you the total breakdown, so you can plan out exactly what your grow needs to look like in order to achieve the harvest times you desire:
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Total time needed: 0 days - 4 weeks
Here's the breakdown...
Get equipment - 0 days - 2 weeks
Get seeds or clones - 0-4 weeks: if you have instant access, this doesn't take any time. If you order from a seed bank, this step takes about 2-4 weeks to get seeds.
Total time needed: 6 weeks - 5+ months
Here's the breakdown...
The length of this stage is a matter of personal preference. You get to choose how long your plant spends in this stage, because you're the one to 'flip the switch' and get your plant to enter the next life stage, where she starts flowering.
When you start with a seed, even with an auto-flowering plant, you will always have at least 2-3 weeks of vegetative growth before any buds start forming. Growers generally allow their plants to stay in the vegetative stage from a few weeks to a few months.
The size your plant achieves in this stage has a lot to do with your final yields, since bigger plants produce more.
Some people put their seedlings or clones right into the flowering stage if they want to harvest quickly (and grow extremely small plants). For example, super-stealth growers who are growing in small hidden spaces, like out of a computer case (or better yet, a space bucket), would want to put their seedlings into flowering nearly right away to keep their plants as small as possible.
I personally recommend at least 3 weeks or more in the vegetative stage with 18+ hours of light each day for the best results. Plants that are forced to start flowering sooner than that don't yield much compared to how much work you put in, and the plant usually won't start forming any flowers until about week 3 anyway.
A good rule of thumb...
Your plant will likely double in size (or more) from when you first put her into the flowering stage, so make sure you end the vegetative stage before your plant reaches half the final height you want, or she may overgrow your grow space during the flowering stage!
To give you an idea as to what your FINAL plant will look like depending on how long she spends in the vegetative stage...
← This plant didn't spend any time in the Vegetative Stage. She was given 12-12 lighting almost immediately after sprouting. She's so small that she spent her whole life in a solo cup. I weighed down the bottom of the cup with rocks so she didn't fall over.
← This plant spent about 4 weeks in the vegetative stage, with some plant training to create a well-managed indoor plant, before being changed over to flowering. (pic thanks to Endive from GrowMedical420.com - view a complete grow journal by this grower!)
← This girl (one of my very first plants, from 2004) spent a little more than 3 months in the vegetative stage before I realized to turn her over. She got way too tall for her space and started falling over. Click for a closeup. :)
Here's the breakdown...
The length of time needed to stay in the flowering stage depends heavily on the strain. Once you have switched your plant into the flowering stage Here's a list of popular strains by length of flowering period:
Short (6-8 weeks)
Medium (8-12 weeks)
Sterling Haze (one of the few hazes that doesn't take forever to finish flowering, because it was crossed with Northern Lights)
Long: (12-14+ weeks)
Almost any Haze strain, including one of my all-time favorites to grow, Haze 1
As you can see, most strains are in the mid-range as far as how long they take to flower.
And remember, there's a 2-3 week harvest window for most plants, and keeping your plants in the flowering stage for a bit longer tends to increase your yields. This is because the plants tend to really bulk up their flowers once they've become 'ripe'.
So oftentimes, even though you could harvest at the shortest recommended time, waiting an extra week or two will give you an extra 20-30% more yields.
Note: Please realize that a 6-week plant is going to produce just a few grams of smokable harvest. With a 4 week vegetative stage, the time from seed to harvest averages 3-3.5 months for me growing with CFLs in coco coir, and with that setup I get about 6 ounces, depending heavily on strain.
2 weeks is considered the minimum time to cure your buds, but I personally cure all my buds for a month or longer.
Curing really seems to make the effects of buds feel less 'speedy' and be better suited to medical applications like treating anxiety, reducing pain, and improving feelings of depression.
Total post harvest time needed: 2.5 weeks - 2+ months
So, after you've bought seeds and equipment, that brings me back to my original answer...
Total Time To Grow (and Be Ready to Smoke) Your Own Weed: 8.5 weeks - 7+ Months
If you haven't started growing your own weed yet, today is the day!
In response to the need for more tutorials aimed at new growers, Nebula co-founded GrowWeedEasy.com in 2010 with fellow grower Sirius Fourside.
Since then, Nebula has published dozens of growing articles in print and online, and continues to dedicate herself to serving the medical marijuana growing community.
"My mission is to show other medical marijuana patients how easy it can be to grow weed out of your closet."
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