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All About the Flowering Stage of Cannabis

The flowering stage of your cannabis plant’s life cycle may be one of the most exciting and most rewarding. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time and effort to get there.

For most commercial cannabis growers, working towards this stage is what makes the growing process worth it. However, that begs the question: what happens during the flowering stage, and why is it so important? To help you get a better understanding of this crucial phase of the plant’s growth cycle, we’ve broken it down week by week. This way, you know exactly what to expect when your plant enters these final weeks.

What is the Flowering Stage?

Technically speaking, the flowering stage is the last major phase your cannabis plant will go through before being harvested. While you see a significant amount of plant growth in the other stages, the flowering stage is where you get to see your buds growing the potent, sticky trichomes we all know and love. Up until this point, the plants still do not look like your sparkly, crystal flowers. Throughout this phase, however, that’s when things start to change for your plants.

Typically, the flowering stage is said to last about eight weeks, though it does depend on the grower and the growing conditions. During this time, if you’ve accidentally grown any male plants, this will become obvious, as well. In the case that this does happen, make sure you throw away those plants before they risk spoiling the rest of your harvest. Pay close attention to the development of your plant’s sex organs during these next few weeks.

Walking Through the Flowering Stage

The flowering stage can be a long and complicated one. To help you become familiar, we’ve walked through the process week-by-week. This way, any commercial grower will know exactly what to expect during these next two months or so. Let’s start with the first two weeks.

Weeks 1-2

As your plants are just beginning to enter the flowering stage, you’ll notice quite a significant amount of growth. While your plants have come into their shape by this point, during these first two weeks, they’ll truly start sprouting depending on their strain. In fact, many commercial growers refer to these few two weeks as “the stretch,” because it seems as though your plants are finally stretching awake and to their final sizes.

After spending a week or so sprouting upwards and outwards, during the second week of the flowering stage is usually when you start to see actual cannabis flowers growing on your plants. The flowers are the parts of the plant you harvest for smoking, extraction, etc., so this is quite an exciting time.

Many growers also begin to sprout white pistils growing throughout the plant during this week. These pistils are the sign of actual cannabis buds, so keep an eye on these small white hairs. (Tip: if your plant does not end up growing these white hairs, this could be because it is male. Male plants do not grow pistils.)

Weeks 3-4

During weeks three and four of the flowering stage are when the growth of the plant itself starts to slow, but the growth of buds and flowers begins to truly flourish. Until now, your biggest sign of cannabis buds were little white hairs; during this stage, though, these start to turn into tiny buds.

As your plant starts to switch from growing out to growing flowers, you might be able to spot a few sparkly trichomes on your flowers during week four. To ensure healthy growth during this stage, make sure to give your plants added nutrients. This guarantees strength, potency, and a better harvest. Do not neglect nutrients and water during this crucial stage.

Weeks 5-6

Make sure your grow area is well-ventilated because it’s during weeks five and six that the buds really begin to show their pungency. As you know, good cannabis is going to give off strong, distinct odors depending on the strain. In week five, as the buds continue to grow throughout your plants, they will also start to emit their unique aromas. This lets you know that your plants are flowering at full-force.

More good signs during this stage are the darkening of pistils and trichomes becoming an opaque, almost creamy white. This lets you know that your plants are just about ready to be harvested, dried, and cured. Don’t be surprised if you notice your plants getting much wider during these stages. This “fattening” of your plants is a sign that they’re healthy and growing as they should be. Just make sure they have enough space to do so comfortably.

Weeks 7-8

Finally, you’ve reached the last few weeks of the flowering process. You may not see a whole lot of change during this last week or so, but, we promise, it’s happening. Soon, your plants will be sprouting full-sized buds, sparkly trichomes, and sticky resin. Whenever you see clear changes in your plant’s trichome and pestle colors, it’s likely time to move on to the next stage in your cannabis’ life cycle: the harvesting stage.

Being Patient & Attentive

Yes, the flowering stage of cannabis may take quite a bit of time. However, these eight weeks or so are integral in the process of letting your cannabis flourish. It is during these weeks that you learn what your cannabis is going to look like, smell like, and whether or not it’s even usable. During such important processes requires a lot of time, dedication, and care-- just like the rest of the cannabis growing cycle.

In order to successfully make it through this stage, make sure to be attentive with your plants. Pay attention to even the smallest changes and growths overnight. Notice when the smells start to develop, and if certain components, like pistils, simply never do. All of this will give you firsthand insight into the beauty of what your plants are going to become.

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