The hemp plant was ruled federally legal for cultivation back in 2018. Since then, hemp farms have been popping up across the US left and right. Though it may be incredibly popular, growing hemp isn’t a simple process. In fact, it requires more time and dedication than the growth of most plants. That being said, Luna Cultivation is here to help those who are interested in starting the growth of a hemp farm.
Below, we’re discussing the growing stages of the hemp plant in detail. Doing this, you’re able to see exactly how the plant’s life cycle works and how to take care of the plant at every stage. While this may be a several-week process, the results are more than worth the effort behind growing hemp.
The Basics of Growing Hemp
One of the most important things to keep in mind about growing hemp is its legality. Again, hemp is federally legal in the United States; however, this comes with strict rules and regulations. Hemp is only considered “hemp” if THC levels are at 0.3% or below. If your plant contains THC percentages higher than that number, you have technically grown federally illegal marijuana.
The line here is very thin, so you must be incredibly careful as to the cannabinoid levels in the hemp you’re growing. While CBD doesn’t matter, THC is what distinguishes the plant from being hemp to being marijuana.
When it comes to growing hemp, the plant itself is incredibly versatile. Hemp can be grown in practically any climate that’s not widely extreme. For most places across the US, save for some desert regions, hemp will flourish. In general, it needs a bit of warm weather, some space, and to be grown right in the ground itself. Other than that, some licenses and some patience are all you’ll need.
Stage One: Germination
The first stage in the life cycle of your hemp plant is germination. Like all living things, your hemp plant must start from somewhere, and that somewhere is a feminized hemp seed. It’s important to ensure that you’re planting a feminized seed for proper results and potency.
Before planting your seed, make sure you’re growing in an environment that’s suitable and healthy for your plant. Always test the soil you plan on using before actually doing so, ensuring proper pH levels and a lack of toxins.
In general, make sure your seeds feel firm and moisture-free. Soft, wet seeds are a sign that your seeds are not yet mature. If your hemp seeds feel hard and dry, you’re ready for planting. The germination process can take anywhere from under a week to ten days, so be patient with your baby plant.
After about a week, your seed will essentially “pop,” and it’ll be time to transfer it. Now, your seeds should go from the pot to the ground itself. Within just a few weeks of being planted out in the field, you’ll likely spot a few fan leaves starting to sprout.
Stage Two: Seedling
Once your plant starts growing leaves, it’s considered a seedling. The seedling stage tends to last between 2-3 weeks, and it is where you’ll start to notice much larger leaves sprouting from your hemp plant.
To keep your seedling happy and healthy, guarantee proper watering--not over-watering--and light cycles occur. When grown outside, these plants must be under close watch to ensure that they’re not exposed to too much sun or inclement weather. If your plant is a bright green color, that’s a great sign that it’s thriving.
Stage Three: Vegetative
Your hemp plant has matured once it’s able to grow several full-sized fan leaves. Essentially, the plant will resemble the classic hemp plant look you know and love. At this point, your hemp now enters the vegetative state.
During this time, hemp plants experience a lot of growth. Plants will grow up and out, stretching themselves in and out of the ground. This several-week phase is a great time to gently prune and trim your plants. When you fail to do this, your plants can easily become overgrown, intertwine with one another, and could potentially die. Avoid this by keeping your plants at an even size: trim excess stems and sticks to create ample airflow, and ensure plants are evenly spaced apart. (If you’re thinking of cloning a plant, now’s the time to cut from your chosen mother plant.)
Finally, make sure you’re properly watering all of your hemp plant--not just the stalk--and giving it the nutrients it needs. Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus are all key to nourishing your hemp plants during the vegetative state.
Stage Four: Flowering
Though you see a lot of growth from your hemp plant during the vegetative state, it is the flowering stage that brings the buds you’ve been waiting for. This stage is the final step before harvesting your plant, and it can take anywhere from 8 to 11 weeks, so be patient.
Along with seeing your precious buds start to truly take form, it’s during the flowering stage where the sex of your plants becomes clear. If you did happen to grow any male plants, it is integral to toss them out to guarantee that they don’t ruin your crop. After all, these male plants just don’t produce the CBD that most farmers want or need.
As soon as you notice your buds becoming fully mature, the growing stages are officially over. The only thing that’s left to do is harvest!
Harvestation and Beyond
After your hemp plant has finished growing, it’s time to harvest it and utilize it however you choose. The versatility of the hemp plant is one that’s so impressive, it’s almost unbelievable. So, while the growing process may take a lot of time and even more dedication, it is more than worth it in the end for such a multifaceted product.
No matter what stage of the growing cycle your hemp plant may be in, Luna Cultivation has the information you need. We know how important it is to grow a quality crop, and with a plant as beneficial as hemp, we want you to succeed, too. From planting the seed to harvesting the flowers, we’re here to aid in your hemp growing process, every step of the way.