Small containers constrain the roots and keep plants from getting as big as they could, and small lights prevent buds from fattening up as much as they could. I personally recommend at least 4 weeks in the vegetative stage with 18+ hours of light each day for the best results. Plants that are forced to start flowering sooner than 4 weeks don’t yield much compared to how much work you put in.
That being said, keeping plants relatively small does have some benefits! A good rule of thumb… Your plant will likely double in size (maybe a bit less, maybe more) from when you first put it into the flowering stage; this is known as the Flowering Stretch. So make sure you end the vegetative stage before your plant reaches half the final height you want, or your cannabis plants may outgrow your grow space during the flowering stage! Flowering Stage Flowering Stage: 5 weeks – 16+ weeks. Here’s the breakdown… Week 1-3 – Transition to Flowering Week 3-4 – “Budlets” Form Week 4-6 – Buds Start Fattening Up Week 6-8 – Buds Ripen, Pistils Darken – some strains spend longer in this stage Week 8-12+ – Flowering Ends, Final Flush, Harvest. The length of time needed to stay in the flowering stage depends heavily on the strain. Once you have switched your plant into the flowering stage they will stretch (the ‘flowering stretch’), form buds and then fatten. Here’s a list of some of my favorite and best cannabis strains by length of flowering period: Short (6-8 weeks) Northern Light – Known for being especially easy to grow Critical Mass CBD – High-yielding, medical, high-CBD, medium-THC strain Quick Critical + – Based on their award-winning Critical+ strain but with a much faster finish Blue Cheese – This version of Blue Cheese is not only fast flowering, the plants grow fast and should be flowered when the plant is only 1/3 the final desired size because it may triple in height after the switch. Frisian Dew – One of the best strains for outdoor growing (and buds may turn pink or bright purple!) Shiskaberry – A gem by Barney’s Farm, this strain “lifts you up” and causes a strong “head high” that can be a great way to relax after a tough day, or for when you want to get in a creative mood.
Seedsman Fast Collection – Seedsman sells seeds from a variety of breeders, but they also breed their own strains. They created a selection of 3 of their most popular “fast” strains that need about 6-7 weeks in the flowering stage. Anything that’s been bred by Seedsman is a great choice, and you will get exactly what they describe (very reliable strains). Auto-flowering Ultimate – One of the most potent auto-flowering strains I’ve grown so far, ready in about 10 weeks from germination (7 week flowering stage) and just overall a healthy and high-yielding plant. I plan on growing another one in my next auto-flowering grow! In fact, if you’re interested in a very short flowering time, most auto-flowering strains are ready to harvest less than 3 months from seed. Frisian Dew plant growing outdoors with deep purple buds. Medium (8-12 weeks) Original Amnesia – Strong effects and very easy to grow. View grow journal Supreme CBD Durban – Medical strain, has a THC:CBD ratio of 1:1 Pineapple Chunk – An award-winning strain that’s fruity, vigorous and potent! Its yields are not necessarily the highest, but I believe it’s worth it for the extremely high quality of buds. One of my favorite strains I’ve grown, and I definitely plan to grow it again! Liberty Haze – An award-winning strain that’s curiously strong and one of the few “haze” cannabis strains that doesn’t take forever to finish flowering. Gelat.OG – An amazingly well-done cross between Gelato and OG Kush, which are two extremely popular strains in the US on the west coast. Finishes on the faster side, yet has great yields, potency and smell! Wedding Gelato – Another beautiful Gelato cross, this time with the famous Gelato 33 clone (a very specific cut of Gelato), with Wedding Cake (which has taken the west coast by storm in the last few years). Strawberry Lemonade – As pleasant as it sounds, with high potency and uplifting effects. Gorilla Zkittlez – Another west coast favorite, this is produces beautiful buds that are covered in crystals/trichomes and is also very high yielding. Peyote Critical – This strain seems to get rave reviews from everyone who tries it. Buds produce powerful effects and occasionally the buds even turn purple. Long: (12-14+ weeks) Many Haze strains, as well as some Sativa strains, and generally any strains that originated near the equator. Arjan’s Ultra Haze #1 – A cross between some of the best Haze strains in Southeast Asia. If you want to try something different that is almost impossible to find in the US or Europe, this is it! It produces psychedelic effects that defy its cannabinoid content.
In general, most strains (besides auto-flowering strains) are in the medium range as far as how long they take to flower. It’s not exact – There’s a 2-3 week harvest window for most plants, and keeping your plants in the flowering stage for a bit longer tends to increase your yields. This is because the plants tend to really bulk up their flowers once they’ve become ‘ripe’. So often times, even though you could harvest at the shortest recommended time, waiting an extra week or two will give you an extra 10-30% more yield compared to harvesting as early as possible. Utopia Haze is a mix of Brazilian landrace strains.
Post-Harvest (before you smoke you should do this stuff too) Total post-harvest time needed: 2.5 weeks – 1.5+ months. Drying : 4 – 10 days Good marijuana buds can be dried in as little as 4 days, but ideally, drying should be a slow process taking up to a week or more.