Find out what autoflowering seeds really are, as well as day neutral growing preferences right here at Atlas Seed. Marijuana Growth Cycle Stages: Germination, Vegetation & Flowering Marijuana goes through different stages of growth before you even begin to see the beautiful buds flourish. Watching cannabis
What are Autoflowering Seeds and Day Neutral Growing Preferences?
Cannabis ruderalis, colloquially referred to as “day neutral,” or autoflowering cannabis, is a variety of hemp and cannabis that initiates or triggers into flowering irregardless of light cycle changes Therefore autoflowering seeds are produced from day neutral or autoflowering cannabis plants. While regular, “photoperiod,” or “photo dependent” hemp and cannabis flip into flowering phases depending on the amount and type of light, autoflowering cannabis flips into flowering based on its own inner timing that is light cycle independent. Because ruderalis varieties developed at higher Siberian latitudes, it is thought that they evolved a different mechanism for finishing their reproductive cycle in order to successfully produce seeds in their shorter growth period.
While the majority of Atlas Seed autoflowering varieties finish their full life cycle in between 60-80 days, it is important to keep in mind that while the trigger for flowering is not light cycle dependant, the full vegetative and flowering potential of our autoflowering varieties are dependant on light and heat. Therefore one of our faster finishing varieties planted in temperate, “4 season latitudes,” roughly between April and August would take 70 days to mature; but the same variety planted in “shoulder seasons”, or early spring and late fall, would take as long as 90-100 days to fully mature. So again, autoflowering varieties flowering is not photoperiod dependent as with all other cannabis plants, but it’s overall lifecycle, as with all plants, is.
Day Neutral Growing Preferences
Day neutral cannabis, scientifically known as C. ruderalis or colloquially referred to as “auto-flowering” cannabis, prefers long, dry, and sunny days. During establishment the plant requires regular watering to maintain even moisture. The soil should never drop below 50% of full capacity, and on hot days (above 80° F) should stay above 80%. Early applications of a balanced vegetative feeding program are critical to developing a well branched, large plant. The goal is to create as many flowering sites as possible within 3-5 weeks of growth, at which point they will begin to show signs of flowering. At this time it is best to maintain a strong vegetative
feeding program and begin to slowly introduce more phosphorus, potassium, and micronutrients to prepare for the plant’s reproductive (flowering) phase. The plants should continue to grow quickly and stack up flowering sites from weeks 3-8. During Weeks 8-12 the flowering
sites will bulk up and become dense, especially at the very end of the cycle.
Plants that grow during the summer when the days are long, warm, and sunny will ripen and be ready to harvest faster than in the winter where the shorter and colder days with less light can add an extra 10-20 days on the time to harvest. These plants have a strong appetite for light and heat! The more light they receive, the faster they grow and come to maturity. True autoflowering
plants can come to maturity even under a 24 hour daytime light cycle (no darkness/night). Weak, low watt lighting typically used to keep clone plants “in veg” will not speed up the growth of autoflower plants or prevent them from flowering.
One of the most important parts of growing day-neutral varieties is to minimize transplant shock. Any shock resulting from improper transplanting can contribute significantly to reduced yields. Unlike other agricultural crops, especially vegetables and flowers, day-neutral cannabis varieties want to be transplanted as fast as equipment and handling will allow for, or within 10 days of emergence. The sweet spot is between day 7-10. Each day after there is a marked reduction in overall plant size leading up to day 14 where we do not recommend transplanting after that.
Marijuana Growth Cycle Stages: Germination, Vegetation & Flowering
Marijuana goes through different stages of growth before you even begin to see the beautiful buds flourish. Watching cannabis grow through all four stages of it developmental process can be quite the experience. If you’re looking to get some insights on how the marijuana grow cycle work and responsibilities that come along with each stage, then you’ll find this article extremely helpful. For extremely serious growers, go ahead and find some time to visit California or Colorado for a full tour of a cannabis growing facility.
4 Key Stages in the Marijuana Grow Cycle
At every stage, you need to provide the best environment for the plant to thrive and that can be challenging at times. Generally, cannabis is considered an annual plant i.e. its complete lifecycle can expand over a year. However, most varieties of marijuana can grow indoors within 3 to 5 months.
The first stage of any plant begins with a seed. The seed needs to be germinated and there are several ways to do that. Even at this early stage, quality is crucial. The indication of a quality cannabis seed is that it should be dry, hard, and brownish in color.
In germination, the germ inside the seed breaks out in the form of a root. This germinated seed can then be introduced to a growing medium (e.g. hydroponics). Most home growers use the good old paper towel method to germinate the seed.
The germination stage can take anywhere from 24 hours to 7 days depending on its variety. The Sativa seeds usually take longer to germinate in comparison with Indica weed strains. When the first two leaves form, the plant loses the seed husk and this is where the next stage begins.
This stage perhaps requires the most care. The plant at this stage is susceptible to disease. You have to be very careful about how much water or fertilizer you give to the seedling. Too much water or fertilizer may hamper growth.
The most important need of the plant at this delicate stage is light. It needs as much light as possible. You can provide the light indoors with best LED grow lights that provide full spectrum and are quite cheap to buy. Ample light and water will allow the plant to develop stronger roots. As a result, you will start to see the characteristic marijuana leaves.
The shape of the leaf and the number of leaflets may vary depending on the kind of marijuana you are growing. At this stage, the leaves usually have just one leaflet. Once the number of leaflets per leaf becomes 5-7, the seedling stage is over. This entire stage can take 2 to 4 weeks.
During the vegetation stage, the growth accelerates. Your plant can grow as much as 5 inches in just one day. You need to supply the right nutrients to the plants at this time for it to start growing buds. The supply of nitrogen is crucial at this points as it helps provide chlorophyll and protein.
The water intake of the plants also increases at this stage. Again, the light remains a vital component for growth. You need to have the best lights for all cycles of marijuana growth. Most grow lights have a vegetation mode that is optimized for this stage of the marijuana plant.
The duration of the vegetation stage varies greatly from one variety of cannabis to another. However, if everything is done right and the plant is growing in a healthy way it should gradually move to the next stage of growth within 2-3 weeks.
This stage is perhaps the longest of the marijuana growth lifecycle (4 to 12 weeks). It can be divided into two sub-phases: pre-flowering stage and flowering stage. The pre-flowering stage begins when the days become shorter and plant receives less light. Of course, you can control that indoors.
This is also the time when you will know the sex of your plant. Female plants produce flowers or buds while the male ones produce pollen. Once you can identify the sex of the plants, it is time to isolate the females to avoid production of seeds.
During the pre-flowering stage, the plants need a lot of water. Some growers even use special fertilizers to enhance the formation of buds. Potassium and phosphorus-based nutrients are great for this stage and may speed up the process. Finally, in the flowering stage, you will see grown buds with milky pistils and a pungent smell.
The time it takes for your weed plant to grow from a small seed to those beautiful buds is highly dependent on the kind of marijuana strain and how you control the environment. Growing weed on your own can be a challenge but it is also a one of the best learning experience as a cannabis enthusiast. You only learn what each stage requires after trial and error.
I find that treating each stage equally important and preparing for it in advance can have a positive effect on the plant. When your hard work is paid off and you smoke your very own strain, it will all be worth it.
If you are interested in learning more about how to grow marijuana or its growing process, feel free to check out one of our in-depth marijuana growing facility tours available in multiple legalized state.