Introduction to growing marijuana

Introduction to growing marijuana
growing basics of marijuana

Marijuana is an annual plant. This means it germinates, grows, flowers, reproduces and dies within a year.

It germinates during the spring, grows until mid-summer and then creates buds which contain the seeds to reproduce.

When the seeds are ripe, the plant dies off and those seeds germinate again next spring.

This process is true for many plants, so why is this important to know when growing marijuana?

Because you need to know why the seeds do not germinate until spring and how a marijuana plant knows when to stop growing and when to reproduce.

In this course, I’ll explain the basics on growing marijuana and all you need to know about our favorite plant.

If you have any questions, please contact one of our grow experts on the forum.

The short life of a marijuana plant

The seeds of a marijuana plant don’t become active until they’ve been in a cold environment for a longer period of time (winter).

Once the temperature increases and the seeds get enough water, they’re ready to germinate.

Timing is important too. If the seeds get wet in the fall after heavy rain, they won’t germinate.

And if the temperature rises in spring, but there’s no water available, they’ll stay inside.

Mother Nature made it so that the seeds won’t germinate until the temperature is right and there’s enough water available to ensure the highest chance of survival. Pretty smart, right?

And that’s how Mother Nature taught the plant to recognize the coming of winter.

When the days get shorter, starting in mid-summer, the plant gets fewer hours of sunlight a day.

This is a sign for the plant to initiate the reproduction process. From that moment on, the plant starts developing buds in which seeds can be produced for posterity.

So generally speaking, it takes half a year before you’re ready to harvest.

And marijuana plants don’t grow in the winter, so you can only harvest once a year.

But since the plant is programmed in a certain way, we can take advantage of that so we can harvest 4 to 6 times a year!

I’ll explain later how this works. First, I’ll tell you more about the features of marijuana plants.

Download my free marijuana grow guide and start growing high quality strains.

Male and female plants

There are both male and female marijuana plants. The male plants fertilize the females, who then do all the work and create the offspring. Just like with humans ;).

We’re therefore interested in the females. The buds of the male plant can’t really be smoked and hardly contain any THC and CBD.

In contrast, female plants contain a lot of THC and CBD and produce many more buds.

It’s best when a female doesn’t get fertilized by a male. In this case, she will put all her energy into producing THC and CBD, and not in the production of seeds.

It sometimes happens that a marijuana plant is hermaphroditic and has both male and female features.

Hermaphrodites can, therefore, fertilize themselves, but luckily this is a rare phenomenon.

If a plant experiences a lot of stress, for instance by being exposed to very high temperatures, it can become hermaphroditic.


Marijuana is a special plant that has been used for centuries by different people because of its powerful medicinal characteristics and pleasant psychological effects.

There are two substances in marijuana that are most interesting to us, THC and CBD.

THC stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol and it is a psychoactive substance. This means that it’s active in the brain.

It mimics a different substance called anandamide, which means “happiness.”

cbd vs thc
cbd vs thc

Anandamide is very important in parts of the brain that deal with memory and higher cognitive processes and has control over fine motor skills.

That’s why you think you have brilliant ideas when you’re stoned… It also plays an important role in pain, depression, memory, fertility and hunger. Medicinal users greatly benefit from this.

CDB stands for cannabidiol, which also is a psychoactive substance. CBD isn’t made by the plant itself, instead, it is an oxidation product of THC.

CBD influences the effects of THC, and can strengthen or weaken certain characteristics.

Especially for medicinal users, it’s important to grow a type of marijuana that suppresses, for instance, pain or depression and also suppresses the psychedelic effects, so you won’t become super spaced out.

There are many more Cannabinoids. These are, however, present in very small quantities and don’t affect what you feel as much.

Different types of marijuana

Marijuana can be categorized into three different types; Indica, Sativa and Ruderalis.

 Indica plant
  • Originally from Asia, Morocco, and Afghanistan
  • Is a small plant with wide, thick leaves
  • Has a flowering time between 7 and 9 weeks
  • Produces a relaxed high
Sativa plant
  • Originally from warm countries around the equator, such as Jamaica and Thailand
  • Is a large plant with long, thin leaves
  • Has a flowering time between 9 and 12 weeks
  • Produces an energetic high
ruderalis plant
ruderalis plant
  • Originally from cold areas such as the Himalayas and Russia
  • Is a very small plant with thin leaves
  • Has a flowering time not dependent on the season
  • Is only used for crossing autoflowers
Sativa plant
  • Originally from warm countries around the equator, such as Jamaica and Thailand
  • Is a large plant with long, thin leaves
  • Has a flowering time between 9 and 12 weeks
  • Produces an energetic high

Nowadays, everything is a cross between Indica, Sativa or Ruderalis. To do this, we take the best features of two plants and create a new plant.

For instance, Sativas make a lot of buds, but they’re not very compact and contain little THC.

Indicas make fewer buds, but they are very compact and have a high THC content.

To create a plant that is capable of producing a lot of compact buds with a high THC content we combine the two.

We can do the same thing with other aspects such as growth features, smoking effects, scent, taste and the medicinal characteristics.

I always recommend that beginners start with a plant that is easy to grow, and produces a big yield, such as Super Skunk, White Widow or Super Silver Haze.

Types that are more difficult to cultivate or with smaller yields often have a different characteristic that makes them worth the effort, such as a very high THC content or a unique flavor.

marijuana seeds

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Marijuana seeds

A plant always starts from a seed. It is, of course, possible to make or buy clones, but they also started out as a little seed.

In addition to determining what type of marijuana you want to grow, you also have to choose the type of seed you wish to do it with.

There are three different possibilities regarding seeds:

cannabis seeds
Marijuana seeds

These seeds produce both male and female marijuana plants.

So you have to make sure to remove all males before they are able to fertilize your females because this harms the quality and the yield.

I only use regular seeds when I want to make clones or seeds.

Feminized marijuana plant
Feminized seeds

These seeds only produce female marijuana plants. Through special treatment methods, there are ways to make sure a marijuana plant only produces seeds that grow into female plants.

Starting with feminized seeds is the easiest option because you don’t have a risk of fertilization.

Different types of marijuana autoflower
Autoflower seeds

These seeds produce marijuana plants that are not sensitive to the light cycle and start flowering automatically.

You can harvest outdoor all year long with these. For indoor growers, there aren’t many advantages to using autoflowers, because you can determine the light cycle yourself.

Harvesting 6 times a year

As you now know, marijuana plants grow until the moment decreasing sunlight makes the days shorter. They will then create buds to reproduce.

They need that light, and since we’re growing indoors, we will have to provide them with artificial light.

We, therefore, can also determine how much light they’re getting over how many hours each day.

We can mimic the summer, when they’re growing, by lighting them for 18 hours a day.

Or we can mimic the start of the fall, when they start flowering, by lighting them for 12 hours a day.

It’s really that simple. Light them for 18 hours and they’ll grow, light them for 12 hours and they’ll stop growing and start flowering.

The growing process takes about 4 weeks and the flowering process about 9 weeks, which means 13 weeks for a full cycle.

If you have an extra space to let the plants germinate and grow, you can harvest up to 6 times a year.

This space doesn’t need to be big, it’s just for the first couple of weeks.

Growing only female plants

There are three ways to cultivate female plants only. The first is by using regular seeds and removing the male plants before they become fertile.

There’s a clear distinction between male and female seeds, and you can’t afford to make any mistakes.

If you fertilize the females by accident, you’ll end up with poor quality marijuana with tons of seeds.

The second method is buying or creating clones. The advantage of clones is that they’re all genetically identical.

The disadvantage is that they’re hard to get and you don’t know anything about their quality.

At one point, it may be a good idea to create clones from your strongest plants yourself.

The third and easiest way is to buy seeds that only produce female plants.

I always advise inexperienced growers to start with feminized seeds, because you have to pay attention to so many other things already.

I’ve been producing female seeds for years and I can guarantee you that there’s never a male one in there.

This was a bit of basic overview of marijuana plants and their life cycle.

Everything you just read will be applied in the course later, and we’ll obviously go more into detail on this. Click the button below to go to the next chapter.