Cannabis Flowering Timeline: the 3 Stages

The cannabis flowering stage is an essential phase in the cultivation process, as it marks the transition from vegetative growth to the production of buds that contain psychoactive compounds, such as THC and CBD. Taking care of flowering cannabis is a complicated process that requires lots of attention to detail, just as it is when you grow marijuana seedlings. Improper caring during this phase is likely to affect the yield and quality of the bud you get, from its potency to the flavor & aroma.

In this guide, we'll explore 3 stages of the cannabis flowering cycle, and a couple of useful tips to help you harvest more (Be sure to combine this article with our guide on when to harvest cannabis, it will guarantee you a successful outcome).

At the end of the article, we'll be sharing some amazing cannabis flowers grown by our incredible Hey abby growers, along with their fascinating stories about their grow journey. Curious to see what those beautiful buds look like? Make sure to scroll all the way down to the bottom!

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When to Transition Your Cannabis to Flowering?

weed vegetative growth week 4 in Hey abby grow box

Last week of vegetative growth of plants in Hey abby

During the vegetation stage, the plant focuses on developing leaves, stems, and branches. However, in the flowering stage, the plant directs its energy toward producing flowers or buds rich in cannabinoids and terpenes.

The flowering stage is commonly believed to begin when transitioning your grow lights to a 12/12 cycle.

If you grow plants in Hey abby's marijuana grow kit, there're several indicators that can help you quickly tell the vegetative stage has ended, and it's the ideal moment to move to the flowering stage. (You can see full details of different cannabis growing stages in our previous guide)

  • Age: Your plants should be past the fourth week of the vegetation stage;
  • Size: It should be 8 to 12 inches tall with a total of 8 to 12 branches;
  • Nodes: At least 5-7 nodes should have developed on each branch;
  • Training: You should have completed some training tasks, such as Low Stress Training, to ensure you get higher cannabis yield in the end.

Pre-flowering Stage: First Signs of Flowering Stage

first signs of flowering stage

see the first signs of flowering stage

Pre-flowering is an important phase in the life cycle of plants, particularly cannabis. The pre-flowering stage is a short intermediary phase between vegetative growth and flowering, typically lasting for 1-4 weeks after the plant has been exposed to a 12/12 light cycle (12 hours of light on, and 12 hours of light off).

During this stage, the first signs of flowering stage become apparent, such as the emergence of pistils. Pistils are small hair-like structures that appear at the nodes of the plant, indicating that your weed plant is about to the flowering stage. Recognizing these first signs of the flowering stage is crucial for proper timing and care.

3 Stages of Cannabis Flowering

3 cannabis flowering stages

1. Early Flowering Stage: Stretching (Week 1-3/4)

Now your cannabis plant comes to the exciting flowering stage!

During the first few weeks of flowering, anticipate a vertical stretch in your plant's height, often nearly doubling its size. This is the time when managing the canopy and branches becomes crucial, as you'll want to prevent the plant from getting too close to the light source. The SCROG method is a great training technique to employ at this point. (Hey abby grow box features a Burn-Proof Mode, to protect flowers from burning automatically through built-in sensors)

cannabis vegetative stage

This is also an ideal moment for "lollipopping," a pruning technique that involves removing lower and weaker growth from the plant. The goal is to channel the plant's energy toward developing large top buds (or colas), rather than supporting weaker and smaller branches and bud sites.

It's best to complete lollipopping, trimming, and pruning by the end of the early flowering stage (around 4th week into flowering). In this phase, a properly-mixed cannabis fertilizer is as crucial. Your plant will require more Phosphorus (P) than Nitrogen (N) or Potassium (K), since P promotes the development of flower and bud sites.

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Pruner-B
Pruner-B

Pruner
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Trellis Net
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Training Tie (8 pcs)
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Training Tie
(for LST)

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Train Your Plants Like a Pro

Get plants growing fast with these super cool training tools & techniques

Pruner-B
Pruner-B

Pruner
(for Lollipoping)

$11.99
Shop Now
Trellis Net
Trellis Net

Trellis Net
(for LST/SCROG)

$3.99
Shop Now
Training Tie (8 pcs)
Training Tie (8 pcs)

Training Tie
(for LST)

$3.19
Shop Now

Mid-Flowering Stage: Bud Bulking Up (Week 4-8)

During the mid-flowering stage, you'll observe the buds starting to bulk up, accompanied by the emergence of numerous "stigmas" or white hairs. Often, these hairs are incorrectly referred to as "pistils." This is a critical phase to minimize any stress on the plant.

As mentioned earlier, it's best to avoid unnecessary pruning or trimming, unless you have to do so for proper air circulation and light exposure. Allow the plant to focus on enlarging its flowers rather than dealing with stress.

cannabis flowering stage week 4

As the mid-flowering stage progresses, you may notice that sites previously covered by hairs are now transforming into actual buds. While they might not seem to grow in size, they're actually filling out and gaining weight. In the upcoming weeks, the buds will become thicker and more substantial, and you'll notice an increase in trichomes that give the flowers a "frosty" appearance.

This is an exciting phase for growers, as you'll witness the fruits of their labor taking shape. To further support robust bud formation and resin production, remember to provide the right conditions, like humidity and temperature, and prepare proper light spectrum and intensity for flowering cannabis during this stage. 

To maintain the optimal humidity range (35%-55%) for your plants, make sure to use a humidifier for plants whenever you notice the humidity falling below the desired levels. This will help prevent issues like cannabis leaves curling up due to low humidity.

Late Flowering Stage: Ripening (After Week 8)

final weeks of flowering cannabis

In the final weeks of cannabis blooming stage, the buds are nearing maturity, and their potency and aroma are reaching their peak. You'll need to maintain the proper light for flowering and adjust nutrient recipes to support the plant's specific needs. Now, your cannabis flowers ask for more K than P, and more P than N. This change in nutritional needs contributes to the plant's final flower development, often referred to as "ripening".

A common practice among growers is flushing the plant before harvest. Flushing involves giving the plant only pH-balanced fresh water, allowing it to use up the stored nutrients within the plant tissues. How do you tell if your plant is ready to be flushed? Closely monitor the trichomes, that is the small resin glands on the plant's surface, with jewelers loop or magnification device.

pictures trichomes ready harvest

Initially clear, trichomes become milky or opaque as the cannabis plant matures, and towards the end of its life, they turn amber. This amber color indicates the conversion of THC to CBD/CBN, altering the plant's psychoactive properties to the more sedative side.

Proper flushing might lead to some yellowing or discoloration of leaves, signaling that the plant has exhausted its nutrient residues. Flushing is believed to be able to enhance the overall quality of the final product. Though it's still a controvesial practice among hydroponic marijuana growers. After flushing, the plant is ready for harvest, and subsequent drying and curing process.

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More Tips for Successful Cannabis Flowering

tips for taking care of blooming cannabis

Cannabis flowers grown in Hey abby

To ensure successful cannabis flowering, certain factors need to be considered. Here are some essential tips:

1. pH and TDS Maintenance

Maintaining the pH level of the water and nutrient solution is crucial for nutrient absorption and overall plant health. The ideal pH range for cannabis cultivation is between 5.8 and 6.2. Regularly testing and adjusting the pH level of the water and nutrient solution will help ensure optimal nutrient availability and absorption by the plants.

2. Water Change Frequency

During the flowering stage, the water requirements of the plants increase. If you're using Hey abby's intelligent small grow tent kit, we recommended to change the water more frequently, typically every three days, to meet the plant's increased demand for nutrients and hydration.

By maintaining proper pH levels and adjusting the water change frequency, you can provide an optimal environment for your cannabis plants during the flowering stage, leading to healthier plants and higher-quality marijuana buds.

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Hey abby grow box kits are primarily designed for hydroponics cannabis growing, but they can also be used to cultivate other plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. Currently, Hey abby has rolled out two exceptional models: the pro-level OG Edition, capable of producing up to 8 ounces of dried flowers, and the beginner-friendly 420 Edition, with an estimated yield of up to 6 ounces. After just one successful round of cultivation, Hey abby can practically pay for itself.

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Watch Flowers Bloom in Hey abby Grow Box

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cannabis blooming in Hey abby Grow Box_Kilo_3
cannabis blooming in Hey abby Grow Box_Kilo_3
cannabis blooming in Hey abby Grow Box_Kilo_1
cannabis blooming in Hey abby Grow Box_Kilo_2
cannabis blooming in Hey abby Grow Box_Kilo_3

"Abby got me back growing and I had never done or even heard of DWC. Researched and purchased abby with high hopes to Grow my own! And with a kinda less than great start I quickly learned new techniques and the abby discord was a great tool to share and learn as I progressed. From lilac deisel to GG4, Oreoz, Chernobyl, TheSoap, lemon creamsicle, creamsicle OG, OG kush, animal mints cake, London truffle, Baby Jokerz, and many more to come, I’ve harvested some great genetics and great yields!!"

by Hey abby Grower @Kilo

It's awesome to witness the blooming cannabis shared by dedicated Hey abby growers and to hear the stories they have to tell about their precious plants. We are deeply grateful to everyone who has chosen, or will choose, Hey abby to be a part of their cultivation journey. Let's eagerly anticipate the growth and ripening of even more high-quality buds in the days to come!

If you're interested in delving deeper, simply click the button to join our Discord server. There, you'll find an abundance of fascinating stories just like these, waiting to be discovered. Happy growing!