Life Cycle of Marijuana Plants
As a healthy marijuana plant thrives, it should hit several stages of growth on its way from marijauna seed to weed. Knowing what these milestones are before you start will give you an idea of what to expect as you cultivate your crop. Ultimately, marijuana plants are living objects—they are as susceptible to chance and change as the rest of us. There are no foolproof guidelines that can guarantee you the best product ever. Even if you follow every suggestion in this grow guide to the letter, some plants simply might not thrive. It happens. That being said, people have been cultivating marijuana for a couple of thousand years now, and knowing what to expect as you grow will help you assess and deal with any speed bumps you may hit along the way. Here’s the complete marijuana plants life cycle.
Inactive Marijuana Seeds
All marijuana grows from single marijuana seeds produced by two parent plants that have reproduced “sexually”—meaning the marijauna seed contains genes from both a male and female “parent” plant. (Note: there are hermaphroditic plants that produce seeds without a partner, but this phenomenon is rare and fairly inconsequential for small growers.) Marijuana seeds are dormant until activated by exposure to water and light. Until this happens they are fairly hardy. The biggest danger tends to come from extremely low temperatures—anything below 20 degrees F will kill a seed. Download my free marijuana grow bible at this link for more information about growing marijuana.
Once a marijuana seed is exposed to light and moisture, a series of hormones within the seed activate the growing process itself. A single root will split the outer shell of the seed and grow downward in order to cull water and nutrients from the surrounding environment. Almost simultaneously, a green stalk will reach upward, and two round “cotyledon” leaves will appear above the soil. Germinating marijuana seeds can usually be triggered in a number of ways, several of which are discussed later in this grow guide, and a healthy seed should take no more than seven days to germinate fully.
For healthy plants, it will usually take three to seven days for a sprout to officially enter the seedling stage. This period of growth is defined by the establishment of a small yet stable root system, as well as the appearance of “true leaves” on your small marijuana plant. “True leaves” are green leaves that have the distinct shape exhibited by mature marijuana leaves—as opposed to the generic looking and round “cotyledon” leaves that first grew above the soil.
The seedling stage can last anywhere from three to six weeks, although variations may occur due to over- or underwatering. The general rule of thumb for seedlings is that they require a small but steady supply of water. As your marijuana seedlings grow, you will need to pay attention to the rate at which foliage begins to appear. After a stable root system has been established, the plant will begin to focus on chlorophyll production and begin to move into the next stage of growth, known as the “vegetative” state. (This transition from “seedling” to “vegetative” plant is particularly important for deciding when to transplant your crop.)
One of the most rewarding and critical periods of plant growth, the “vegetative” state occurs when a marijuana plant begins to produce large, green leaves at a rapid rate. This flourish of foliage is a direct result of an increased capacity for the marijuana plant to absorb and process nutrients and CO2. During this period, the root system will continue to expand outward while vertical height increases. Healthy plants can grow as much as 1,5 to 2 inches a day during the vegetative state.
Because marijuana plant cycles are triggered by changes in light (this characteristic is known as “photoperiodic-reactive”), it is possible for a grower to keep a plant in a permanent vegetative state. To do so, a person must carefully control the amount of light that shines in the growing environment. For marijauna growers who choose to plant outdoors and rely on nature for sunlight, the length of the vegetative state will vary depending on location. However, no matter where a grower plants, marijuana will begin to show distinctive gender characteristics usually around the fourth week of vegetative growth.
Ultimately, this final stage of the marijuana plants life cycle is the most important for growers and smokers alike. The flowering state occurs in both male and female plants when an individual plant is sexually mature and ready to reproduce. (Note: though this stage occurs in both male and female plants, it occurs at different times depending on gender. Generally, male plants will reach the flowering stage one to two weeks before their female counterparts.)
When a marijuana plant reaches sexual maturity, it begins to produce massive amounts of resin that appears on the outside of leaves. This sticky resin is highly concentrated on and around the reproductive organs of the plant (these organs are popularly referred to as the “buds” of the plant), and it contains tetrahydrocannibinol (THC)—the active intoxicating ingredient in marijuana. When looked at closely, the resin on a plant in the flowering stage will actually appear to be covered in tiny clear (and milky white) protrusions. These are called “trichomes.” The potency of the THC in these protrusions will vary depending on how long an individual plant has been in the flowering stage and whether the plant has been fertilized or not.
Ultimately, the purpose of growing your own marijauna is to harvest these buds, dry them, and smoke the best pot money didn’t have to buy. For now, it’s important to understand that the length of the flowering stage can vary depending on what cannabis strain you’re working with and how much control you have over your growing environment. Most strains of cannabis flower for six to ten weeks, although a few have been known to flourish for up to four months under ideal conditions.
Thanks for reading and good luck growing your own marijuana. Please like, share or comment the article. And if you have any questions about the marijauna plants life cycle go to our forum or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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