With cannabis becoming even more popular as legalization rolls out across the U.S., the myths surrounding consumption have been swept away. Today, the U.S. government estimates that 18% of Americans used cannabis at least once in 2019.
As more people explore the benefits of cannabis, it’s led to an explosion in home cannabis cultivation.
A Growing Trend
Home cannabis cultivation enables people to gain a new appreciation of different strains and even experiment with creating their own. In one study, 6.8% to 7.3% of respondents said they had engaged in home cultivation in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
Although this number may appear small, home cultivation is growing. It’s also important to remember that even in states where recreational marijuana has been legalized, home cultivation may still be illegal. Illinois is a prime example of this, restricting home cultivation to medicinal users.
However, the global cannabis cultivation market continues to boom, with an estimated value of $392.1 billion in 2022 and growing at 21.3% annually.
So, what does home marijuana cultivation entail?
Cannabis Growth Timeline
All cannabis follows a strict timeline, with slight variations based on techniques, growing conditions, and strains.
As a beginner, how long can you expect your cannabis to take?
· Germination – 1-7 days
· Seedling – 2-3 weeks
· Vegetative – 2-8 weeks
· Pre–Flowering – 1-2 weeks
· Flowering – 6-8 weeks
The finished product largely depends on your success at each stage. But the best way to ensure a quality harvest is with top-notch seeds, such as Royal Queen Seeds.
The germination stage requires that your seeds are mature enough. They should be shiny and light to dark brown, yet dry and hard.
Germination involves setting the seeds in a wet, dark place. Some growers may boost the process by exposing them to light and moisture to stimulate their hormones.
Germination finishes with the emergence of the cotyledon leaves and the radicle root.
Plants at the seedling stage require 18-24 hours of sunlight, humidity, and moist soil to grow. They’re exceptionally vulnerable to overwatering because of their fragile root systems.
You’ll also begin to see the traditional marijuana leaves at this stage, ranging from three to 13 fingers.
The seedling stage ends when the plant has the expected number of fingers on its leaves.
The third cannabis cultivation stage will begin with transporting your plants into larger pots. With more growing space, your plant will accelerate, producing more nodes and branches. You’ll also note that the stem becomes thicker and taller.
Growers will also begin introducing topping and training at this stage. You will also want to increase the amount of water to support the plant’s development.
Vegetative plants need moist air, rich nutrients, and soil space. Expect your plants to grow to two or three feet tall.
Pre-flowering determines the sex of the plant. If female, the flower’s reproductive parts, known as pistils, will appear on the buds. Male plants have green sacs of pollen on the node areas.
Before flowering, all male and intersex plants must be removed. When flowering, male plants will see their sacs explode, which can pollinate your plants and destroy the psychoactive characteristics of the female trichomes.
The flowering stage can be initiated manually by reducing the light a plant receives to less than 12 hours daily. Flowering will require 10-12 hours of complete darkness, so be prepared with blackout blinds.
The flowering stage is the longest part of the process, lasting from six to eight weeks. You’ll know when your plants are ready to be harvested because the trichome heads will turn amber, indicating higher CBD-to-THC ratios.
The final stage of home cannabis cultivation is harvesting. You will dry, hang, and cure to get the best from your cannabis.
Harvesting is a time-intensive process requiring patience and diligence. Note that curing is technically optional. Most growers believe that going the extra mile to cure your cannabis will improve the flavor and burn quality.
Try not to rush the harvesting process, or you could risk harsh cannabis or even molding if you dry too fast.
Home cannabis cultivation is growing strong, but beware that it’s an intensive process requiring an investment in equipment and a commitment to learning.
With the right equipment, seeds, and know-how, you can begin growing your supply of cannabis at home.
So, are you interested in growing your own cannabis?