When Growing Weed Indoors:
From Seedling to Flowering
What to do After Your Seed Sprouts
How do you care for your plants through their different stages of growth? Cannabis plants will go through a seedling, vegetative, and flowering stage. Each stage is unique, so it is crucial to understand each part of the growth cycle to produce healthy plants.
Your cannabis seeds have successfully sprouted, time to be planted in your chosen medium. Just a few millimeters below the surface of your medium. Your little plant babies are delicate and easily damaged. So handle them with care. Plant them with the roots facing downwards as an easy way to give them stability.
The Seedling Stage
In this stage, cannabis in the seedling stage does not require intense lighting setup. Compact fluorescent lights or LEDs will work. The optimal light cycle for seedlings is 18 hours on and six hours off.
Remember seedlings are tiny and fragile, so you should water them accordingly. Major Rookie move is overwatering your seedlings that can wreak havoc on your whole operation. The temperature of the room you have set up to grow stays between 68 and 77 degrees known as the sweet spot. Important at this stage is humidity and some growers may use humidity domes to keep the seedlings in their comfort zone.
Seedlings may be managed in small containers later transplant them to their permanent container during the vegetative stage is common. This stage normally last about two to three weeks.
This stage is where growing gets exciting. The vegetative stage is when the plants have developed strong roots and leaves. If you are transplanting them into their bigger containers be careful. In this stage you will see rapid growth.
In this plant growth cycle you may see a series where new leaves pop up frequently, usually stopping at around 10 leaves. Branches may even start to develop, and expand in new directions. Space your plants according to their expected growth depending on if you choose indica, sativa, or hybrid. The vegetative stage, is where you can begin to train your plants by pinching or topping them, which typically ends up increasing your yields.
The more sunlight your plants have they will stay in the vegetative stage longer. Growing indoors allows you complete control on how long they stay in this stage. If you want them to stay in the vegetative stage and not flower, you can keep them in the same light cycle as the seedling stage (18 hours on, six hours off). If space is an issue, be careful how long you keep your plants in the vegetative stage. The longer they are kept without flowering, the larger the plants will become. Typically plants stay in this stage from three to 16 weeks.
Keep the Males Away
Very Important stage when moving to the flowering stage, be sure to determine if you have any male plants in the mix. If you do; you’ll want to throw them out because they will try to pollinate your plants, forcing the females to produce seeds. You’re trying to get them to flower, not go to seed.
Female plants have pointy green calyxes, tear-shaped flowers that grow little white pistils.
Males will not have this characteristic and instead will have small pockets filled with pollen.
Make sure you separate any males from your bunch before the pockets of pollen burst.
Feminized cannabis seeds should be used if you don’t want to deal with separating the male plants out.
If you have made it this far pat yourself on the back. The final stage begins in flowering when you cut back on the light, reducing it to around 10-12 hours per day. When you adjust the light, plants will sometimes have a growth spurt as they anticipate the coming of winter. Be sure to have enough space.
When your plants begin to develop resiny buds. It is going to require more nutrients. It’s important to not abruptly make changes to your schedule, but instead, ease from using growing to flowering nutrients over the course of a week or so.
Normally around the third or fourth week of flowering, your plants will stop growing altogether. Now they can focus all of their energy on making dense, aromatic buds loaded with trichomes.
Harvest time will vary, but somewhere between week six and eight is a good time to prepare. Determining harvest time by looking at the pistils and trichomes on your plants.
(Don’t rely on number of weeks to know when you should harvest, too many factors are at play). The pistils, or tiny hairs, should change from white to yellow until they are finally brown. This will vary slightly depending on the strain you are growing. A heavily-magnified item such as a jeweler’s loupe can be used to zoom in to the tiny appendages of your trichomes. The color is extremely important!
Clear trichomes mean the plant is not ready.
Milky means they are at peak THC levels.
Amber means they are beginning to decrease in THC levels.
Tips For Successful Indoor Growth
Follow directions as labeled on your nutrients and check for specific variations in growth for the strain you plan to harvest. Don’t prune your plants after a few weeks into the flowering stage as it can throw off their hormonal processes. It’s important to stick to your light regimen precisely, as exposing your plants to light during their typical cycle of darkness can mess up the flowering stage. If you can’t stop yourself from peeking at your plants during their “night”, you’re going to hurt your yield.
Interested in Growing Legal Medical Marijuana?
We offer the standard low $150 Medical Marijuana card in Missouri. Check out our Medical Marijuana Grower's page to meet with our Doctor about getting a card.