If you’re growing your own cannabis or planning on growing a batch in the near future, you need to learn everything you can about the cannabis flowering stages.
The cannabis flowering stages are where all the action happens and your marijuana plant develops buds that you can then mix into a batch of cannabis oil, grind up and roll in a joint, steep in a cup of weed tea, or whatever strikes your fancy.
In this article, the experts at Honest Marijuana take you on a guided tour of the cannabis flowering stages and give you tips for getting the most out of your precious pot plants.
What Is A Cannabis Flower?
The pièce de résistance of the cannabis flowering stages is the flower (a.k.a. cannabis calyx, bud, or about a gazillion other names).
See that “fluffy” thing at the very top of the plant in the picture above? That’s a cannabis flower.
It’s where all the benefits lie and is what every grower hopes to harvest a lot of at the end of their ganja-growing adventure.
Cannabis flowers have three parts:
- Sugar leaves
The trichomes are where all the action is (they contain the highest concentration of cannabinoids), but the sugar leaves — which don’t look anything like the instantly recognizable fan leaf (or pot leaf) — also contain a fair bit of cannabinoids.
The pistils are the red or orange-colored hairs that protrude from the body of the flower. They don’t contain any usable cannabinoids, so they’re pretty much just decoration.
There’s plenty to learn about the biology of the cannabis flower (we’ll give you plenty of resources later on in this article), and you could probably read about it for the rest of your life.
For now, though, it’s enough just to know what a flower is and the cannabis flowering stages it goes through before reaching maturity.
We’ll discuss those stages in the next section.
Cannabis Flowering Stages
As a general rule, most cannabis flowering stages progress through these general categories:
- Transition and stretch (weeks 1-3)
- Budlets form (weeks 3-4)
- Buds get bigger (weeks 4-6)
- Buds ripen (weeks 6-8)
- Buds ready to harvest (week 8 and beyond)
Let’s break these categories down and take the cannabis flowering stages week by week.
Week one is the transition stage between pre-flowering and full flowering when your plant switches from growing tall to producing buds.
During this transition, some strains will double in height from what they were a week earlier. Because of this rapid growth, week one is commonly known as “the stretch”.
During week two, your cannabis plant redirects more and more of its energy away from growing leaves and stems (i.e., height) toward producing flowers
As such, the stretch will slow and you may spot tiny pistils — white hairs that will later become buds — beginning to grow.
Three weeks into the cannabis flowering stages, your pot plants will continue to slow their upward growth and, eventually, come to a complete halt.
Don’t panic. This is a good thing.
The plant will now direct all of its energy to growing flowers for you and all your friends (or just you if you don’t like to share).
If you look closely, toward the end of week three, you might see the first signs of real buds — not just pistils — developing on your plant.
As week four of the cannabis flowering stages progresses, those budlets will get bigger — not as big as they will be in a few more weeks, of course, but bigger than they were to start.
You’ll know your plant is in the full-flower portion of the cannabis flowering stages during week five as the original buds get bigger and new buds develop along the main cola.
At this stage (or at the end of week four), your plant will also start producing trichomes, so you’ll start to smell a distinct odor. That’s fine (and good). Just make sure you have adequate ventilation if you’re growing your Mary Jane indoors.
Three things happen as week six of the cannabis flowering stages rolls around:
- Buds will continue to grow and progress further toward ripening
- Pistil hairs will start to switch from white to a light brown or amber color
- Trichomes will start to become opaque on their way to milky white
These are all signs that your flowers are not far from being ready to harvest.
Hang in there!
Week seven is all about patience.
Nothing much new happens, but the buds will continue to get bigger, the pistils will get darker, and the trichomes will get whiter.
One more week or so and your marijuana will be ready!
Most cannabis strains will be ready for harvest after eight weeks of development.
Here’s a quick and dirty cheat sheet to help you know when it’s time to move to the next stage. Your pot is ready to harvest when:
- At least half of the pistils turn dark and curl back in toward the flower.
- At least half of the trichomes are cloudy, opaque, and milky white.
Either of the above methods will work for determining when to harvest after the cannabis flowering stages are complete, but your best bet is to use a combination of both.
Sometimes, the trichomes will start to turn cloudy but the pistils will still be white. And sometimes, the pistils will begin to curl but the trichomes will still be clear.
It’s only when both the pistils and the trichomes start to change that the cannabis plant is ready for harvest.
For a more in-depth discussion on reaping what you’ve sown, check out How And When To Harvest Marijuana Plants | The Complete Guide from the experts at Honest Marijuana.
Tips And Tricks For The Cannabis Flowering Stages
1) Read Up On Growing Marijuana
The best way to learn about the cannabis flowering stages is to get some dirt and some weed seeds and to start growing your own plants.
That said, it’s also super valuable to read up on growing marijuana.
Here are some valuable resources from your pals at Honest Marijuana:
- How To Grow Weed: The Organic Way
- Organic Marijuana: The Definitive Guide
- How To Grow Marijuana: The Ultimate Organic Guide
- The Definitive Guide To The Best Soils For Cannabis
2) Prevent Moldy Weed
Moldy weed affects the potency, the smell, and the flavor of your cannabis flowers — and not in a good way.
Plus, moldy weed can cause some rather serious health problems, so it’s vital that you know how to check your bud for rot and what to do if you find it.
The quickest and easiest way to check for mold is to:
- Look for slime, fuzz, dark spots, powder, or cobweb-like material on the flowers
- Smell the flower for any sweat or urine odors (these signal that mold is present)
- Feel the flowers for any damp or spongy textures
We discuss all things mold in our article, The 5 Best Ways To Check For Moldy Weed, Plus How To Avoid It, so give it a quick read today.
3) Trim Your Plant To Keep It Healthy
Trimming your marijuana plant during the cannabis flowering stages may seem counterintuitive — Why would you want to remove leaves that can potentially produce flowers? — but doing so keeps your plant healthy.
Get all the information you’ll need for this important activity from our article Trimming Weed: How To Trim Your Marijuana Plant In 5 Easy Steps
4) Top Your Cannabis For Larger Yields
Topping is pruning the crown of your cannabis plant in order to stop upward growth and promote lateral growth in the lower branches.
For more information on how to top your pot correctly, take a few minutes to read this article from Honest Marijuana: Topping Cannabis Plants: The Complete Guide.
5) Try An Autoflowering Strain
Adjusting light exposure for best growth can be a tricky task.
Instead of changing the light to suit your plants, change the plants to suit your light.
Autoflowering strains do not depend on the ratio of light to dark hours to switch from vegetative growth (height) to flowering growth.
For growers, that means that autoflowering seeds and strains don’t require as much work.
There’s still a lot that goes into nursing a cannabis plant to maturity. But you don’t have to worry about varying the amount of light the plants get like you do with regular seeds.
Experience The Best Cannabis Flowers On The Planet
If you want to experience the best cannabis flowers on the planet, get your weed from a high-quality, sustainably-sourced, organically-grown source like Honest Marijuana.
At our Rocky-Mountain-based grow facility, we employ world-class organic growing methodologies to provide cannabis connoisseurs with the purest marijuana experience on the planet.
We grow our plants the way Mother Nature intended: in organic soil without chemicals or pesticides. We even hand trim our plants so that they’re organic from the ground up.
Not only does that make all your smoking, dabbing, and edible experiences infinitely better, but it also means that every step in consuming our delicious product is better, tastier, and well worth the effort.
So don’t settle for an inferior cannabis flower. Get the best strains on the planet — the Honest Marijuana strains — and experience cannabis flowers the way they should be: perfect.
For more information on all things cannabis and to check out our 100-percent all-natural marijuana products, visit HonestMarijuana.com today.