When it comes to growing your own cannabis, it’s necessary to understand that you can’t just plant a seed and wait for growth. Cannabis is a plant that requires finesse and care during all its various growing cycles and stages. There are a number of considerations that go into not only keeping a cannabis plant alive, but also ensuring that you get the largest and most high quality yield possible.
If you have been following the Smokey Okie’s blog, you’ll remember that we wrote a series on how to care for cannabis during the vegetative stage. It was met with popularity, so we decided to continue that journey with a series that helps growers navigate the stage directly after the vegetative stage: the flowering stage.
Simply put, the vegetative stage is when the cannabis grows. The flowering stage is when cannabis begins to produce fruit. Understanding how long each stage should last and knowing when to help your plant transition to the next stage is key. Let’s unpack these stages a bit further so you can understand the key differences.
The vegetative stage of cannabis
The main purpose of the vegetative stage is for the plant to grow from a seed into a plant that is mature enough to produce fruit.
The length of the vegetative stage spans a vast amount of time. It can be as short as 3 weeks or as long as 16 weeks, depending on the type of strain or seed you are growing. Cannabis comes in all shapes and sizes, some growing short and bushy, some tall and skinny. The main takeaway for the vegetative stage is that (when growing plants indoors like we do at Smokey Okie’s) your cannabis plants will continue to grow in their vegetative state for as long as you allow them to, since the next stage is brought on by light reduction.
During the vegetative stage, all of the plant’s energy is focused on producing leaves. The key consideration for you as a grower during this stage is to ensure that you keep your plant healthy and strong to avoid any issues with fruit production down the road. You need to review the watering methods and amounts, fertilizer selections and recommendations on trimming and training your plant. You can find all of that information in our caring for cannabis during the vegetative stage series.
The flowering stage of cannabis
The flowering stage is when the plant begins to stop growing in overall size and begins to produce flower, or cannabis buds.
Typical flower time for cannabis is about 6-10 weeks, depending on the type of cannabis and the conditions. At Smokey Okie’s, we grow indoors and have greater control over our plants, which we find gives us the highest quality and largest yield of marijuana.
Within a few weeks, you will begin to see white pistils on your plant (if it’s a female plant) or pollen sacs (if it’s a male). By about halfway through the flowering stage, you’ll notice that the plant has stopped growing and is using its energy to grow buds. As the buds grow, they produce trichomes, which is the sticky external coating on your cannabis plant. Finally, usually around week 8, you will see that your cannabis has ample buds, with some buds even growing on the main colas (top of the branches). This is when you know you are ready to harvest your cannabis plant.
Your plant will not stop growing right away, and during the first few weeks of flowering, you can experience a stretch of growth, so ensuring a proper amount of space for your plant is essential. You may want to train your plant, as well as determine by how much you should increase nutrients in order to support the energy needed to fuel the production of buds.
When your plant is close to harvest, you will want to flush the plant. This means that you will reduce its diet to only plain ph-balanced water to remove any salts or minerals. This will help bring a quality and purity to the flavor of the strain once harvested.
In our next installment, we will be covering the key indicators that it’s time to begin flowering your cannabis plant. Be sure to stay up to date with all our cannabis thought leadership on the Smokey Okie’s blog.