The Cannabis Grow Bible
by Greg Green
The life cycle of the marijuana plant
We said before that a plant would grow in three main stages. Germination, Vegetative growth and flowering. Plants actually grow in 6 stages. Here is the life cycle of the cannabis plant.
This is the initial stage of growth and occurs when your seed’s embryo cracks open and the seedling produces a root. This root fixes itself into the soil and pushes the newborn seeding up and over the soil surface. Following surface contact two embryonic leaves open outwards to receive sunlight, pushing the empty seed shell away from the seedling. It takes anywhere between 12 hours to 3 weeks for seeds to germinate. Once the plant has reached this stage it goes into the seedling stage.
After the first pair of embryonic leaves are receiving light, the plant will begin to produce another small set of new leaves. These leaves are different from the last and may have some Marijuana characteristics such as the three rounded finger shaped points. As the seedling grows more of these leaves are formed and bush upwards along with a stem. Some stems are very weak at this stage and need the support of a small thin wooden stake tied to the seedling with some fine thread. The seedling stage can last between 1 and 3 weeks. At the end of the seedling stage your plant will have maybe 4 – 8 new leaves. Some of the old bottom leaves may drop off.
The plant now begins to grow at the rate which its leaves can produce energy. At this stage the plant needs all the light and food it can get. It will continue to grow upwards producing new leaves as it moves along. It will also produce a thicker stem with thicker branches and with more fingers on the leaves. It will eventually start to show its sex. When it does this it is time for the plant’s pre-flowering stage. It can take anywhere between 1 and 5 months for the plant to hit this next stage.
At this stage the plant slows down in developing its height and starts to produce more branches and nodes. The plant fills out in the pre-flowering stage. During this phase of the plant cycle your plant will start to show a calyx which appears where the branches meet the stem (nodes). Pre-flowering can take anywhere between 1 day to 2 weeks.
During this stage the plant continues to fill out. The plant will show its sex clearly. The male plant produces little balls that are clustered together like grapes. The female plant produces little white/cream pistils that look like hairs in a pod. Each of the plants will continue to fill out more and their flowers will continue to grow. It can take anywhere between 4 to 16 weeks for the plant to fully develop its flowers. During this time the male’s pollen sacks would have burst spreading pollen to the female flowers.
The female plant will produce seeds at this point if she has received viable pollen from a male plant. The seeds grow within the female bud and can take anywhere between 2 weeks to 16 weeks, to grow to full maturity. The female pistils may change colour before finally bursting the seedpods, sending them to the soil below. (Breeders like to collect their seed before the seedpods burst.)
These are the six stages of the life cycle of a cannabis plant. It is important to know that if the males are separated from the females and killed off then the females will not become pollinated. Let us go back a step and describe what happens here.