Average Grow Period for Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid Strains of Cannabis

Growing your own weed can be one of the most rewarding aspects of being a cannabis consumer. If you’ve got a bit of a green thumb and you’re looking forward to planting a ganja garden of your own, it’s vital you know that when it comes to growing not all strains are created equal.

Sativa, indica, and hybrid strains all grow differently and have varying degrees of time it takes to flower. You’re already likely aware of the differences between sativa, indica, and hybrid strains, but are you aware of the different growing periods for each? If you’re growing your own weed, knowing the average grow period and differences of growing each type are important to keep in mind.

The Life Cycle of Cannabis Plants

The average lifecycle of your cannabis depends on what strain type you're growingOnce your seeds have been sown and your cannabis plant becomes a seedling, it will experience two major stages of life before becoming that beautiful smokable bud. These are known as the vegetative stage (when plants are growing) and the flowering stage (where plants are producing buds).

Vegetative Stage

After your plant has been a seedling for anywhere from 3-6 weeks, it will enter into what is referred to as the vegetative stage. This is where your plant begins to grow, grow, grow, producing those big jagged leaves cannabis is famous for.

Whether sativa, indica, or hybrid, this is the time when the roots of your cannabis plant continue to expand, and your plant continues to grow larger. Did you know a healthy pot plant can grow up to 2 inches in one day?

Cannabis in the vegetative stateThe length of time a plant is in the vegetative stage is completely dependent on its exposure to light. If you’re growing weed outdoors, plants will stay in veg longer the closer to the equator you happen to be. More sun exposure means more time in veg.

Growing cannabis indoors, however, means you can manipulate your light cycle, essentially keeping plants in the vegetative state as long as you want. To keep a plant in veg without flowering, it should be kept under 18 hours of light per 6 hours of darkness. The longer your plants stay in a vegetative state, the bigger your plants will get, so you’ll want to keep that in mind if you have a smaller amount of space to work with. 

Flowering Stage

The flowering stage of cannabis is when your plants start to produce the flowers that will eventually become the buds you harvest. The flowering stage of a cannabis plant occurs after light exposure is reduced. Where cannabis plants will stay in veg forever if they’re kept under light for 18 hours a day, switching the light cycle to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness will initiate the flowering stage.

Cannabis in the flowering stageThe length of time plants are in flower depends on the type of cannabis you’re growing as well as the conditions you’re growing in. On average, cannabis plants will flower for 6-10 weeks. It could be longer, however, depending on the strain and the conditions you grow your plants in.

The Average Grow Period for Sativas, Indicas, and Hybrids

Sativa

Sativa strains of cannabis are known to grow long, tall, and lanky. This can be credited to the native habitat in which they grow. Sativas stem from regions near the equator, where the length of the day rarely changes regardless of what time of year it happens to be. Equal days and equal nights have led sativa strains to grow in short, consistent photoperiods. This simply means that the height of a sativa plant increases during both vegetative and flower periods.

When grown outdoors, pure sativa strains can grow to heights of 20 feet. Because they’re known to grow so tall, indoor growers generally stick to indica strains instead. Sativa typically has a shorter vegetative cycle, but once the plant begins to flower it can take up to 10-12 weeks until it is ready for harvest. It isn’t unheard of however, to have a pure sativa strain take 16 weeks to finish in flower. On average, the growing period for pure sativa strains is around six months.

Indica

Indicas have a shorter grow periodIndica strains grow short and fat and typically yield more than their tall, lanky sativa counterparts. They are also known to have shorter flowering periods than sativas, making them a popular choice for many experienced growers. Because indicas have a shorter flower period, indoor growers can have more annual cycles when growing and outdoor growers can confidently cultivate in climates where fall quickly turns to winter. The flowering period for indica strains is typically around 8 weeks. If you’re growing indica, you can expect your plants to be in flower for 8-12 weeks.

Hybrid

Hybrids are a blend of sativa and indica cannabis strains. While some growers stick to pure indica or sativa, most people growing weed are cultivating hybrid strains. And while hybrid cannabis strains are a blend of both indica and sativa, when cultivated they typically take on traits of one or the other.

Much like sativa strains, hybrid strains can grow quickly during the vegetative stage. When it comes time to flower however, they may take on the shorter flower periods common to pure indica strains. Typically, hybrid strains will stay in flower for 6-10 weeks until ready for harvest.

The average grow period of your pot plants is totally dependent on what type of weed you’re growing and the conditions you’re growing it in. If you’re growing outdoor, you’re dependent on the climate you’re growing in as well as the natural cycle of the seasons. Growing indoors, however, let’s you manipulate your environment a bit more.

Overall, the average growing period for all types of cannabis, sativa, indica, and hybrids included is around 3-6 months depending on the environment you’re growing in.

Jen Keehn

About the author: Jen Keehn is a Colorado-based writer focused on inspiring others to live their best lives. She writes regularly about recreational and medical cannabis, holistic health, addiction, and psychedelic therapy.