- The flowering stage of cannabis growth typically lasts 6-8 weeks.
- During week 4 of flowering, the buds will continue to grow and thicken.
- The leaves may begin to turn yellow or brown, and the plants will need more water and nutrients.
You’ve done your research, set up your grow room, and waited patiently for weeks as your cannabis plants vegetate. Now, it’s finally time for the flowering stage!
The flowering stage is when your plant goes from vegetative growth to reproductive growth. This is when your plant will start to produce buds, which is what you’re ultimately trying to grow.
The flowering stage can be broken down into four different weeks, each with its own set of characteristics. Typically, the flowering stage lasts up to 8 weeks, and there are some strains that will be ready after 6 or 7 weeks of flowering.
In this piece, we are here to take you through everything you need to know in order to make the most of your harvest and nurture your bud sites. Here’s a week-by-week guide to the flowering stage of cannabis growth.
The Week By Week Flowering Stage Guide
The flowering stage begins when your marijuana plants are exposed to prolonged periods of DARKNESS and get less light than usual. During this stage, your plants stop putting their energy into growing, channelling it into producing flowers instead.
These flowers are BUDS, and that’s what you smoke or eat in order to experience that glorious high. The flowering period usually lasts between 7 and 9 weeks, but this can VARY according to the growing conditions as well as the strain you’re growing.
The female plants are the ones that are used for bud production, and male plants are much less useful for the marijuana flowering stage. This is why so many growers CLONE female plants – it’s good for growing buds.
When Does Flowering Begin?
To give a little more context on what we mentioned before, the flowering stage starts when the cannabis plant is getting more DARKNESS than light.
So, if you are growing outdoors, then this will happen towards the END of the summer when the days become shorter and the nights are longer. If you are growing weed indoors, it will happen once you switch the LIGHTS to 10-12 hours of darkness.
Now that we have that cleared up let’s take a detailed look at the week-by-week flowering stages.
Flowering Week 1
The first week of flowering is when the cannabis plants really start to show signs that they are, well, flowering.
You will notice that the NODES (the area where the leaves and stems meet) start to grow more slowly. The INTERNODES (the area between the nodes) will also start to lengthen as the plant starts to stretch out.
The buds will also begin to SWELL up, and you might even see some pistils (the white hairs that eventually turn red or brown) beginning to form.
All of these changes are brought on by the increased amount of darkness that the plant is experiencing.
Pro Tip: If you are growing outdoors, make sure that your plants are getting AT LEAST 10 hours of darkness a day. If you are growing indoors, then make sure to switch the lights off for 10 hours every day.
Other than that, there’s not much you need to do this week. Just sit back and enjoy the show!
Flowering Week 2
The changes from last week will continue in your cannabis plant this week.
The plant will continue to STRETCH out as the internodes lengthen, and the buds will continue to swell. You might also see more pistils beginning to form.
All of these changes are happening because of the INCREASED amount of darkness that the plant is experiencing.
Week 3 Flowering
By week 3 of flowering, the cannabis plant will have pretty much stopped growing. The buds will be getting BIGGER and denser, and you might see some TRICHOMES (the tiny white crystals covering the buds) beginning to form.
The leaves might also start to change color, turning PURPLE or RED. This is called “leaf coloration” and it’s a perfectly NORMAL part of the flowering process.
At this point, you might also start noticing a change in your plants’ smell. This is because the buds are starting to produce cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) which have a STRONG odor.
Pro Tip: If you are growing indoors, now is the time to start thinking about increasing the amount of ventilation in your grow room. This will help to get rid of the strong smell of the buds and keep your plants healthy.
Flowering Week 4
By week 4, the buds on your cannabis plants will be getting even BIGGER and denser. The trichomes will be more pronounced, and the leaves might be starting to yellow.
You might also notice that the buds are beginning to form “clusters”. This is perfectly NORMAL, and it just means that the plant is getting ready to produce even more buds.
At this point, you might also start to see some “pistillate” flowers (flowers that have no pistils). These are usually small and insignificant, but they can be a SIGN that your plant is beginning to produce pollen.
Flowering Week 5
By week 5, the buds will be getting really BIG and dense. The trichomes will be very pronounced, and the leaves might be starting to turn yellow or brown.
This week is very similar to week 4, and there is not much change here in cannabis plants.
Week 6 Flowering
This is the beginning of the late flowering phase, and by week 6, the buds will be getting very LARGE. The trichomes will be very pronounced, and the leaves might be starting to turn yellow or brown.
For some strains, this is the right time to start the FLUSHING process, which is where you stop giving the plant nutrients and only provide it with pH-balanced water.
Basically, it’s now that the buds ripen, and you can start prepping for harvest.
Week 6 Flowering Tips
There are some strains that might be ready for HARVEST during the week 6 flower stage, and if this is the case, you will need to take extra care to ensure you are gentle with the plant.
You will need to pay CLOSE attention to your plants from this point, checking the trichomes regularly to see if they are starting to shift to a milky white color (indicating they are ready).
Week 7 Flowering
This is the final week of flowering for some strains, and the buds will be HUGE by now. The trichomes will also be very pronounced 7 weeks into flowering.
This is the right time for most strains to start the FLUSHING process. At this point, you should also decrease the amount of light the plant is getting. This means decreasing the number of hours of darkness per day.
For example, if you are growing indoors and your plant is getting 18 hours of light per day, you would REDUCE this to 12 hours of light per day.
Week 8 Flowering
After 8 weeks flowering, this is the final week of flowering for other strains; by now, the buds should be absolutely MASSIVE. The trichomes will also be very pronounced.
At this point, you should be FLUSHING the plant and DECREASING the amount of light that it is getting.
You should also be checking the trichomes REGULARLY, as this is the best way to tell when your plant is ready to harvest.
Week 8 Flowering Tips
The BEST way to determine when your plant is ready to harvest is to use a magnifying glass to look at the trichomes on the buds.
When most of the trichomes are milky white, this is a GOOD indication that the plant is ready to harvest.
If you wait too long and the trichomes turn brown, this means that the buds are starting to DEGRADE, and the potency of the THC is beginning to decrease.
General Tips for the Best Bud Harvest
In addition to being well-versed in the flowering stage, there are also some general tips and tricks you can implement for the best possible bud harvest.
- Sex your plants early. One of the most important things you can do for a great bud harvest is to make sure you are only growing female cannabis plants.
- Keep an eye on your plants so that you can fix any issues before they arise. This is easier for indoor cannabis growers than outdoor ones.
- Change the temperature and humidity gradually so that your plants have time to adjust to the new climate, making the flowering stage as smooth as possible.
- Never transplant close to the blooming period, as transplant shock can kill your plants.
- Always trim the excess foliage to keep your weed plants healthy and to ensure that they thrive.
- Provide any heavy buds with support, such as using sticks to hold up the stem. This encourages healthy growth and makes the plant stronger.
The flowering stage is important for cannabis growers, as it is when the plant produces its buds. Your plants will need more care and attention, and you’ll have to keep a close eye on them to ensure that you don’t miss the harvest.
We hope this week-by-week guide has helped you understand what to expect during the flowering stage, from week 1 to week 8.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your plant produces the best possible buds. We wish you luck and hope you get some really nice product out of this.