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How Long Does it Take to Grow Weed Indoors and Outdoors?

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How Long Does it Take to Grow Weed Indoor and Outdoors?

A common question all new growers ask is, what is the growth timeline for Marijuana plants? It’s a great question to ask before starting your tiny cannabis farm because it requires time, patience, and effort. Hence, it’s always best to understand what you are signing up for. This article will address the external factors and provide you with an estimated time length of growing your cannabis plant from the seed stage to the time of harvest. We answer the questions of how long does it take to grow weed indoors and outdoors.

First…what are the stages of plant growth and development?

Four Stages of Plant Development

Let us introduce you to the four plant stages: Germination, Seedling stage, Vegetative stage and Flowering stage.

  1. Germination:

    Defined as the process at which sprouting of a seedling happens from a seed.cannabis seedlings

  2. Seedling Stage

    This stage involves the germination from a seed. (See image above, once the cannabis seed sprouts is when its considered a seedling.)

  3. Vegetative Stage

    The plant at this stage is just stem and leaves.vegetative stage of cannabis plant

  4. Flowering Stage

    At this stage plant starts to make buds.flowering stage of cannabis

Factors to address When Growing Weed Indoors

To be honest, there isn’t a clear-cut timeline for growing cannabis plants since these plants are highly dependent on the environment. Growing a plant in one condition might be suitable than another, which would cause a difference in the time rate at which your plant reaches adulthood.

  1. Plant Strain

    1. Auto-flowering Photoperiod: In a natural outdoor environment, both Cannabis sativa or indica plant will start to flower in fall, when days are short. But another cannabis variety called Cannabis ruderalis – discovered in 1920 – lead to the creation of auto-flowering cannabis plants. Auto-flowering strains are resistant to how much light they can receive and therefore start to flower regardless, unlike non auto-flowering cannabis or “photoperiod” plants. Ideally, these plants can give you buds within 7 to 12 weeks. Photoperiod plants, as you guessed, requires certain amount of light to start flowering. These strains will take longer to grow (maybe even months, depending on the strain) as they go through all the stages of plant development at a natural rate.
  1. Growing method

    This article will focus on indoor growing primarily. Typically for outdoor growing, you have less control over the growing timeline since it is highly dependent on the weather. For indoor growing, you have more control! You can manually control your lighting and temperature conditions, monitor infestation if there are any and also force your plant to grow in a certain way.

    1. Indoor:growing weed indoors

      With 18hours of light exposure per day, growers tend to keep the plant at vegetative stage for 2-4 weeks. Then, switch the light schedule to 12h/12h (day/night) to promote flowering. This is the stage where most growers like to keep the plant for a long time to bulk up on the buds. The flowering stage usually lasts 6-14 weeks until harvest. We will discuss each stage in more detail below…

    2. Outdoor Growing: 

      cannabis out doorsExpect longer times until harvest when growing cannabis outdoors, this is because of the reliance on the sun distributing your plants light. The yields can be typically bigger per marijuana plant when growing outdoors.

Growing Weed Indoors from Seeds: Methods and Timeline

seed to harvest average time to indoor grow

Germinating the seeds –> (1-7 days): There are many ways you can germinate the seeds. Luckily, cannabis plants are one of the easier plants to germinate. A typical method used is: 1) soaking seeds overnight in water, 2) in a damp paper towel add the seeds, cover them and put away in a dark area for 3-5days 3) on the 5th -7th day you should see seedling sprouting from the seed – at this stage, seedling can be planted in soil.

Vegetative Stage in Pots –> (3weeks – 2+ months): Seedlings start to flower by 3 weeks but growers like to keep them at this stage for longer to improve yield. Bigger plants will guarantee greater yield as long as you maintain the bud sites well.

Flowering Stage –> (5 weeks – 4 months): This stage is dependent on the strain you have chosen to grow; whether it is an auto-flowering strain – flowers by 3 weeks, or a photoperiod strain – flowering time ranges from weeks to months.

  • Short (“Auto-flowering”) flowering strains (6-8 weeks):
    • Early Girl
    • OG Kush
    • Red Dwarf
  • Long flowering strains (8-14+ weeks):
    • Green Haze
    • Oldtimers Haze Green
    • Meao Thai

Post Harvest –> (2.5weeks – 1 months): Following harvest, drying takes about a week. A process called “curing” comes next, which takes about 2 weeks to one month. Curing is simply placing the dried buds in sealed glass jars and setting them aside. The curing step is IMPORTANT because this accounts for 50% of the quality of your final bud.


Growing Weed Indoors from Clones

For plant cuttings also known as clones, the germination stage is skipped and it’s just simply a cutting from a “mother” plant that is rooted in the soil. The plants, as the term “clone” suggests, are genetically identical. From the cuttings, you are already in the vegetative stage timeline and depending on your desired yield it should take about 3 weeks to 2 months until flowering.


A set timeline is difficult to place since there are a few important factors to consider when growing cannabis plants. However, approximately the average time to grow weed indoors is 3-5 months…with all things considered.


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