What is the Flowering Stage of Marijuana Plants?

by Alfred van der Heide
marijuana flowering

The flowering stage of your marijuana plants’ lives is basically the last stretch of their development before harvest. Once your plants successfully get through this time in their cycles, you will be able to start drying and curing them until they are fit for consumption! But the flowering stage isn’t something that you should simply ignore. In fact, a lot of things will need to be done during this stage in order to come up with chunky and trichome-filled nugs!

If you read about marijuana strains, then you have probably come across what we know as the flowering period of these plants. Marijuana will essentially take around six to ten weeks on average in order to fully flower and mature. This, of course, depends on the overall climate and type of strain that you choose to grow. During that time, you’re gonna observe a lot of things in them.

What Happens in the Flowering Stage?

After the marijuana plants have fully developed the initial branches and leaves of their overall plant structure in the vegetative stage, they will mature enough to start flowering. When this happens, the marijuana plants will shift their energy into the production of flowers and focus more on the buildup of its potency and properties.

For people who are fond of growing marijuana plants outdoors, you can expect the flowering stages to trigger when the days of the year start having shorter hours of sunlight (which particularly happens in fall). On the other hand, indoor gardeners can actually trigger their flowering stages manually. This is done by reducing the amount of lighting they provide their plants and switching to the usual 12 hours light/12 hours darkness pattern.

A Week by Week Guide on Flowering

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As we have explained, there is more to just waiting and leaving your plants to develop during the flowering stages. If you do not properly care for them during these critical stages of their lives, then the quality and amount of bud that you will end up with can significantly lessen.

Week 1: The Transition From Vegging to Flowering

During this first week, the marijuana plant will start finishing off any development procedures that it feels it needs to do. This is in preparation of the cooler climates that will come in the near future. As such, you may notice instant growth of the plant’s height and foliage. This is when the plant stretches itself and will usually double its size and upward length.

During the week, it is crucial to ease your plants into a more concentrated dose of NPK. This gives them the required nutrients to boost their development. This will result in the main colas of your plant producing more and more fan and sugar leaves. Also, because of its rapid growth, any training techniques that you wish to perform must be done during this week!

Week 2: Formation of Pistils and Pollen Sacs (Pre-Flowers)

If you are using regular marijuana seeds, then this part of the flowering stage is extremely crucial for you. Your marijuana plants will begin to first display any distinguishable signs of their genders, which will make sexing them possible. This is the earliest stage in which you can do this. As such, you will want to get rid of any male plants during this time!

For male marijuana plants, they will start producing tiny batches of pollen sacs. On the other hand, females will grow pistils which look like small, hair strands protruding from the stems. These will also contain very tiny amounts of premature trichomes. Both these pre-flowers of marijuana plants could be found in between the nodes of the stems. However, if you are just growing feminized seeds, then you won’t have to worry about this. Again, start slightly increasing the nutrients for flowering during week 2.

Week 3: The Real Buds Start Developing

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In its third week, the flowers of your marijuana plants will start taking shape. You will begin noticing the structure of buds really coming together now. Of course, there will still be little to no mature forms of trichomes present so you still won’t get that rich, sticky texture and appearance.

Your buds will really start demanding a lot more now. As such, check the nutritional charts in your nutrient bottles for the proper amounts of dosages to give them. As such, they may give some telltale signs of dissatisfaction like stunted growth, dark spots, yellowing leaves, and more. Adjust the nutrient feeding accordingly.

Week 4: Marijuana Plants Will Fully Concentrate on Bud Development

Your marijuana plants will have probably stopped growing now, which means that you will begin to see the full effects of your training techniques if you performed any. With all the energy of the marijuana plant now being directed towards bud production, they will begin getting bigger and fatter with each passing day. The pistils of your plants will now start surrounding the buds as they start growing longer.

Also, a key part of the fourth week will be the development of trichomes! They will now be a lot more visible to the naked eye, which means that they will also start emitting a stronger scent. For any outdoor growers, now would be a good time to try and mitigate those smells from reaching nearby houses.

Week 5: Further Development of the Buds

As the fifth week of the flowering stage starts, you will begin to notice a lot more bud development. This will take place not only in the main cola anymore but in all the other parts of the stem. Checking the lower colas, you will see that those buds start becoming a lot fatter as well. Make sure that these inside buds get enough light and air circulation to keep them fresh and healthy.

It is also during this week that the pistils of your marijuana plants will start displaying a more brownish or amber-like color, which is a sign of maturing. Rapid bud growth can be expected from this time of the flowering stage.

Week 6: Final Stretch of Flowering Begins

marijuana plant

While the flowering periods of marijuana plants will depend on the types of strains that you grow, almost every one of them will start the final stage of flowering during the sixth week. As such, no matter how long flowering will take for your strains, the procedures will be pretty much the same after the sixth week.

This is when you will need to start reducing the amounts of NPK ratio you give the plants. In week 6, you will typically be giving the plants their last doses of nutrients in order to avoid them becoming overly dependent on these solutions. Also, this helps them avoid any nutrient burn that they might experience.

Week 7: Flushing Out the Soil and Balancing the pH Level

Two weeks (or more) before harvest, it is crucial to start flushing out the soil of your marijuana plants! What this does is it gets rid of any excess amounts of minerals and compounds that may have been building up in your growing medium. When you do this, the plants will have a sufficient amount of time to ripen the buds without anything that will interfere with its potency. You will get tastier and more robust buds after flushing.

Additionally, you will want to start balancing out the pH levels of your soil to the neutral measurement of 6.0. This ensures no alkalinity or acidity will disrupt the developing flavors and effects of your buds.

Week 8: Determining the Right Time for Harvest

Here we are at the end of the line at last! Any time during the eight weeks of flowering, most marijuana strains will start displaying clear indicators of harvesting. These indicators are having around 80% of the pistils displaying a complete amber and brown-like color. Also, the trichomes will not be as transparent as they once were. Instead, most of them will look a lot more cloudy and fat as the THC contents have fully built up inside of them.

Once the marijuana plants start displaying these signs, get ready with your tools because you are now ready for harvest!

The flowering stage of a cannabis plant is a delicate time that will require you to practice patience all throughout. It is not exactly that hard to maintain your gardens during the flowering stage but complacency can definitely leave you with lower quality buds!

Take the time to perfectly understand each week of the flowering stage. This will give you a general idea of what to expect once they start shifting their momentum into producing fat buds for your gardens!

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