You gotta be patient.
But it’s not easy.
The second you plant something, you want to harvest the results. Or see some kind of immediate progress.
You certainly don’t want to wait for months.
Unfortunately, waiting is just part of the game. How long exactly do you have to wait for your cannabis to start budding?
Keep reading to find out, plus some tips on speeding things up a bit.
- 1 How Long Does It Take For Weed To Start Budding
- 1.1 Why Does It Take So Long For Weed To Grow Buds?
- 1.2 Growth Stages Of Cannabis
- 1.3 Can I Speed Up The Process?
- 2 Time Needed For Weed To Bud: Final Thoughts
How Long Does It Take For Weed To Start Budding
Most cannabis varieties start showing buds after about 9 weeks or so. Not all strains are the same, and some take even longer.
Why Does It Take So Long For Weed To Grow Buds?
Cannabis is a flowering plant that produces buds when the plant is at the peak of the growth cycle and is ready to reproduce. It would be awesome if the buds came sooner, but in nature, things have a way of taking their sweet time.
Growth Stages Of Cannabis
Unfortunately for impatient weed smokers and growers, there is a natural growth cycle for cannabis that takes up to 11 weeks or more until you get those precious buds.
Here is a breakdown of those stages, and why they are important. Keep in mind that these stages are dependent on environment, light availability, and geographic location.
The stages outlined here assume we are growing in the northern hemisphere.
This is the first stage of growth. It is when you start with the seed, and it sprouts and begins to show little leaves. There are special germination kits used to help this process along, where moisture is important, and the temperature needs to be warm.
As the first stage of growth, it is important to start out with good seeds. The germination is complete when the seed shoots out the stalk and begins to show the first little round leaves.
After the seed has sprouted, it becomes a seedling. This stage can last up to 3 weeks.
During the seedling stage, it is important to make sure the seedling is getting plenty of light every day, and the soil is moist but not saturated, as this could harm the roots.
During this process you will notice more of the leaves with the jagged edges you are familiar with, starting to fan out and catch more light.
The Veg Growth Phase
This is when the plant really gets its momentum and starts to gain leaves like crazy. The name ‘vegetative stage’ is definitely appropriate.
The biggest mistake new growers make during this stage is to not increase the amount of water they are giving the plants. You must remember it is producing a ton of leaves and growing so much every day, which takes more energy and much more water.
This is the longest growth phase of cannabis and can last up to 16 weeks! You will know when this phase is over because you will start to see tiny little buds appearing (Yes!).
The Payoff Stage AKA Flowering Stage
This is what you have been waiting for, and it is finally here. You will start to see white hairs and small buds pop up all over the plant, which will let you know it is the flowering stage.
The first part of the flowering stage is where the white hairs and mini buds start popping up.
The next part of the payoff phase is when new buds are no longer showing up, but the existing buds start to fatten up. This is technically called the mid-flowering phase. You will start to see the tiny buds from last week becoming fatter and full of resin and hairs.
Finally, we come to the final stage of flowering. In this phase the buds start to get heavier, and thicker and begin to increase in fragrance. You will notice they become stickier too. This is the time when you need to watch carefully to know when to harvest.
Can I Speed Up The Process?
Yes. There are volumes written about this topic because weed smokers are notoriously impatient to get their weed! There are hacks and tricks you can do along the way to help your harvest come sooner.
Start Off With A Faster Growing Strain Of Cannabis
Some of the indica strains reach the final stage much faster than sativas do, so if you are in a hurry to get to harvest, try planting some indica seeds.
Blast Your Plants With Light During Veg
This will speed up the process and cut some time off your growth cycle. You could provide light 24 hours a day during the vegetative state and shorten the length of this cycle. This is not something we generally recommend, though.
There is some added strain on your plants if you do this since there is no time to rest. Also, if you are going to give them 24 hour a day light, you will need to almost double the amount of water you are giving them. On the other hand, you won’t need grow light timers.
Trim Lower Leaves
You can trim off all the leaves and branches on the lower part of the plants. This is known as lollipopping marijuana, because the end result is a plant that looks like a lollipop: a stick on the bottom and a large bush on top.
Not much light reaches the lower part of the plants, so there won’t be any solid buds down there anyway. But whatever does grow still uses some nutrients.
Getting rid of it all means those nutrients are used for the remaining part of the plants, helping them grow faster and larger. Get a good pair of weed trimming scissors for this.
Stay On Top Of Your Soil Content And Nutrients
Healthier plants grow faster. The better you are taking care of your plants, the happier they will be, and the faster they will grow.
This sounds like a boring suggestion, but it is one of the best ones here. If you have proper soil mixture, and nutrients being fed to your plants at the right time, your plant can speed past the others in the growth cycles.
Each cycle of growth is happening for a specific reason that benefits the plant. Since each phase is different, the nutrient mixture, watering volume and soil content, can all be tailored to help the plant along in each individual phase.
One good example is to add more phosphorus and potassium during the flowering stage and cut back on the nitrogen. During the veg stage when your plant is exploding with growth and new leaves and fatter stems and stalks, it wants more nitrogen (and way more water).
If you pay special attention to each growth phase and what your plant needs to get through it faster, you can speed up the time to harvest by quite a lot.
Time Needed For Weed To Bud: Final Thoughts
We all want our marijuana plants to bud as quickly as possible, but you can’t hurry nature. Waiting is just part of the game.
There are a few things you can do to speed things up a little, and we encourage you to implement our tips for that. Another thing you can do is have separate grow areas for the different stages of the grow cycle.
You have seedlings in one are, vegging plants in another, and flowering ones in another. This allows you to double up on the number of harvests you have. It doesn’t actually speed up the process, but it ensures you have budding plants twice as often.