Are you new to cannabis? Many first timers don’t know what growing marijuana looks like so we thought we’d do some explaining here.
Cannabis law across the country have changed over the years. Living in Colorado, so many friends across the U.S.A. are asking questions now as they know I’m in the heart of it.
Questions like, “Can you really find a dispensary, walk in, and buy weed?” Yes, it’s amazing isn’t it? Many of my friends have been consumers over 20+ years. Others, are curious and thinking about trying marijuana for the first time.
I’ve legally grown for 4.5 years in my basement for my own use, so as you’re reading, keep in mind that all the pictures and information is mine and are based on growing smaller plants and maximizing density given my height restrictions. As a regular user, I figured I could help answer some of the questions I’ve been asked most often. I’m going to try to keep this simple but feel free to ask any further questions in the comments area below.
Did you know that marijuana plants have different genders? Yup, that’s right plants are male and female.
Most growers don’t want the male plants. Males are more sparse, have less THC (the chemical responsible for the buzz) and do actually have balls. Just like a male dog or person, yes balls. They look like seeds in pods that are very round.In the plant world, males generate pollen and impregnate the females. When this happens, the plant grows seeds. Bingo! That’s the name of the game if you’re wanting to cross strains but if you’re just growing to consume, you don’t want seeds, ever. Most indoor growers who are not crossing strains genetically, quarantine them or destroy them.
So, let’s get down to the females. The females are typically much fuller which means they produce a higher yield, the consumable part of the plant. They’re also more potent.
Did you know that marijuana plants grow in different stages?
Many of us germinated seeds in grade school using beans and wet paper towels. Roots grow down and the top of the plant shoots upwards toward the light. Once some growth has been obtained you’ll have a root mass, the main stalk and branches with leaves coming off.
The first stage of baby plants are called clones. Clones are usually cuttings from a “mother” plant kept in the vegetative state to be exactly that, moms. The simple explanation is to cut a plant to include some branches and leaves. You plant it with chemicals that promote rooting and once the roots shoot out you now have a baby marijuana plant. Even though they are actually weeds they are very fragile at this stage so make more than you think you need. You can see these in 24hr lights or 18hrs.
Vegetative state is next and they tend to grow quickly. You will have a main stock with branches shooting off in random alternating and swirling patterns. The leaves of this plant are somewhat iconic and a simple google search will find you thousands of pot leafs to study. For the most part they start out as 3 fronds or fingers to each leaf and as the plant ages it will expand its numbers always by two. The leaves have the middle and longest frond like your fingers and as you go outward they get shorter. Farmers grow in this vegetative stage until they are running out of space and then switch to a 12 hour light cycle to convince the plant genetically that it’s at the end of its life cycle and needs to pro-create. This is where it gets good.
The female plant produces flowers with noticeable pistils. They look like whitish clear hairs that grow from the joints where branches occur both from the main stalk and from larger branches. They always grow from the part of the plant which is growing highest towards the light. Over time the buds will “stack” or fill in to form a hopefully huge cola. I’ve grown them as large as my entire forearm.
You should be able to notice the change in density. You’ll notice how the buds start sparse and only at the V connection of where the stalk branches. Then you’ll notice how it fills out and fills in that space.
Even blurry you can notice a bunch of colas that have already filled in. What you want and what every grower loves to witness is that at a point it looks as if a bunch of pixies visited your garden and sprinkled sugar all over your plants and they get very sticky and pungent smelling. That is the sign that the female plant knows it’s season is almost ended and it’s trying to catch any pollen passing by so as to reproduce. I call it pixie dust!
One thing that’s important to know is that you can keep a plant in vegetative state for many months so they can get huge. What you’re seeing here are plants limited to height. I only had about 4.5 feet to grow up so I topped heavily which produces more main branches and induced flowering at about 3 feet using light and chemical additives. I’ve seen them 14 feet tall and looking like ficus trees.
Once the marijuana plant has been dried it is measured in grams to pounds. The plant looks quite different once it gets to a dispensary. Curious what a gram, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 and an ounce of weed looks like in your dispensary? Don’t forget to check for Smokin’ Deals!