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You can grow your weed – stick it in a pot, sprinkle water, and just like that, you’re a proud weed grower. Okay, it might not be as straightforward as it sounds; there are steps and processes to ensuring your homegrown weed comes out healthy and potent. 


One key ingredient is the season: yes, there are seasons for growing marijuana.


Here at Elevate Holistics, we understand the effort and skill of growing marijuana plants, and we’ll tell you all about it. Below, you’ll find more details about these seasons and how you can get the best results for growing pot.


What is Weed Season?

The weed season describes the period when you can grow weed outdoors, including the spring, summer, and fall seasons.


As mentioned earlier, there are seasons for growing weed, and you have to pay attention to them if you want quality yields. In the northern hemisphere, growing pots can begin as early as March or as late as May, while flower harvest starts in September and can continue till November.


Planting can even kick off as early as April, with farmers and gardeners planting seedlings indoors.


In the southern hemisphere, it’s the other way round – seed planting takes place from September to November, and harvest time is March to May. But in the tropics, it is possible to harvest outdoor marijuana all year round.


Other factors influencing the ideal growing season are temperature, altitude, rainfall, and other environmental conditions, apart from season and location.

When Is the Best Time to Plant Weed?

Seasons for growing marijuana differ by region, but regardless, you should aim for maximum light during the summer and maximum growth before fall begins. Like other crops, farmers and gardeners usually plant as soon as the weather is warm enough and the days are long enough.


Typically, climatic conditions vary by region, so the best seasons for growing marijuana are not uniform. In California, the growing season is warmer, and farmers there can plant outside early and harvest later compared to New York, where the growing season is shorter.


Some marijuana plants are photoperiod; they respond to the amount of light they get, affecting their yield and quality. As a result, timing the outdoor planting of your marijuana is critical.


When the days get shorter, and the nights longer, a marijuana plant will switch from the vegetative phase to the flowering stage. With the coming of the fall season, marijuana will begin to flower as hours of darkness reach 12 hours per night.


Some varieties of marijuana, known as auto-flowering plants or day-neutral marijuana, are not light-sensitive. Unlike the ratio of light to dark hours required by photoperiod plants, they automatically switch from vegetative to flowering depending on the maturity period.


Many auto-flowering varieties are ready to be harvested in less than ten weeks after planting.

Are There Different Cannabis Growing Seasons for Different Strains?

Generally, marijuana varieties adapt to their local environment, and farmers and gardeners create strains suited to the local climate. Indicas tend to stay shorter and flower faster than sativas.


Equatorial sativas are known to have the longest flowering time, but if they are grown too far north or south, they may not survive long enough to ripen.

Growth Phase and Development of Marijuana Plant

Like every plant, marijuana growth and development happen in phases, and outdoor marijuana growers try to time the growth and development of their plants for optimal plant development. When growing marijuana plants, you have to be aware of the different growth phases and what each period requires.


Early Spring: Germination Stage

Germination is the first stage in the life of your marijuana plant if you’re growing from seed. It takes 3-10 days to develop and needs 16 hours of light daily.


When your seed pushes through the soil and sprouts, you will notice two tiny, round leaves, the first of many. These leaves will deliver energy from sunlight to the seedling and fuel further growth.


If you’re wondering the best time for germination, it is generally advisable to time it so it coincides with the spring equinox.


Also, if you’re growing from seedling instead, you don’t have to worry – your plant would have already germinated.

Spring to Early Summer: Seedling Stage

Growing marijuana plants requires close attention. Think of seedlings as baby plants. This stage lasts for 2-3 weeks, and the plant needs 16 hours of light daily. Like all babies, your seedling is delicate and needs lots of tender care.


At this stage, the plant will begin to develop traditional cannabis fan-shaped leaves. Note that a healthy seedling should be a vibrant green color.


You may become eager and decide to give your plant plenty of water. That’s fine, but be careful not to overdo it; its roots are still small and don’t need much water.


Instead, give it plenty of light, keep its environment clean, and pay very close attention because, at this stage, your plant is vulnerable to disease and mold.


In cooler climates, growers prefer to keep their plants indoors where it is safe and warm; they wait till the plant is between 6 inches and a foot tall and strong enough to handle the environment outside.


Even in warmer weather, growers opt to start their seedlings indoors to keep them safe from pests, disease, and mold.

Summer to Early Fall: Vegetative State

The vegetative phase lasts 3-16 weeks, and your plant needs 16 hours of light a day, including 6 hours of direct sunlight outdoors. At this stage, growth goes into overdrive; the roots grow deep, and more leaves develop. For weeks, the foliage will grow outward into a sizeable bush and upwards towards abundant sunlight.


When these happen, you have to start topping and training your plants to maximize yield and provide more even light distribution to the leaves.


As your plant develops large root systems, you will need more water and nutrients to fuel growth and development. Healthy soil is necessary; it will provide a good base for your plant to sit in and soak in the water and nutrients it needs to grow strong and healthy.


Growers prefer to grow female marijuana plants because they are richer in cannabinoids; as a result, they separate the males from the females. The vegetative phase is the best time for separation because this is when they begin to show sex organs.

Fall: Flowering Stage

The flowering stage is the final growth phase for marijuana plants, it happens for 8-11 weeks, and your plant needs 12 hours of light daily. This is where you see the fruits of all your hard work­ – the buds.


There are three phases in the flowering phase:

  • Flower initiation: This happens in weeks 1-3 when you notice the development of white, hairy pistles, which signify the coming buds. The plant will continue to grow but at a slower pace than the rapid growth of the vegetative state.
  • Mid-Flowering: The plant will stop growing in weeks 4-5, and the buds will appear.
  • Late flowering/ripening: from week six onwards, watch the pistils; when they go from white to brown, the buds are ready for harvest.

To summarize:

Stage Time of Year Duration Light Needs Main Features
Germination Early Spring 3-10 days 16 hrs/day Seeds sprout; tiny round leaves appear; align with spring equinox.
Seedling Spring to Early Summer 2-3 weeks 16 hrs/day Fan-shaped leaves grow; delicate, needs gentle care and less water; often grown indoors initially.
Vegetative Summer to Early Fall 3-16 weeks 16 hrs/day, including 6 hrs direct sunlight Rapid growth in leaves and roots; needs more water and nutrients; topping and training for yield; male and female plants separated.
Flowering Fall 8-11 weeks 12 hrs/day Buds form; initial slow growth then halts; watch for pistils to change color for harvest time


LEARN MORE: Cloning a Weed Plant – The Best Guide for Beginners | What’s the Deal With Growing Marijuana in Texas?

How Long Does It Take to Grow Marijuana?

You can go from germination to flowering and harvest in 4-8 weeks, depending on the variety you’re growing and where you’re growing. Due to differences in seasons for growing marijuana, growth time may differ. 


The quality of your buds and the health of your plant throughout the growth process depends on your knowledge of the marijuana growth stages and the lifecycle of your plants.


Are you interested in growing cannabis yourself but still need a few grow accessories and tools? Our friends over at MoGrowin have you covered.

Go from Germination to Bud with Elevate

Like a marijuana plant needs care and attention to reach maximum yield, we believe consumers need the best guidance to get the best results from marijuana planting and consumption. That’s why we’re here.


At Elevate Holistics, we have answers to the cannabis-related questions you have, from cultivation to cannabinoids and everything in between.


The best way to start growing cannabis for yourself is to get a medical cannabis card in your state. With Elevate, we’ll help you get your MMJ recommendation 100% online, 100% hassle-free.

Click here to book your same-day appointment and get approved for your medical card in minutes.

Get Your MMJ Card Right From Home

Elevate Holistics’ process is quick, affordable, and done entirely online. It’s never been so easy.

About the author

Ally Hilbert is the Content and SEO Manager here at Elevate Holistics, working to publish and run Elevate’s blogs and landing pages, as well as conduct keyword research, competitor analysis, and more. After having brain surgery at the age of 17, Ally became fascinated with medical cannabis and its benefits, and, at 18, had her first CBD-related piece published. Today, she’s been writing about cannabis for the past six years, and simply can’t think of a better company to get to do it for. When she’s not writing or editing, Ally’s side-by-side with her pup Sadie in Seattle.
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