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How long does weed take to grow outdoors? When grown outdoors, the time it takes for a cannabis plant to fully grow depends on a variety of factors including genetics, latitude, climate, and growing practices.

Generally, it can take about 5 or 6 months (or longer) for cannabis plants to fully mature outdoors. While this may be a slightly longer timeframe than indoor-grown plants, you can save on energy costs outdoors while producing a bigger yield.

How Cannabis Plants Grow

Cannabis is an annual plant that develops flower buds between late summer and fall. Every spring, cannabis farmers plant their seeds hoping to produce vigorous and hardy plants during their vegetative stage.

As the cannabis plants grow taller and wider, the summer solstice brings a longer period of darkness which stimulates the flowering stage. In autumn, the plant’s flowers are mature and can be harvested.

Cannabis grow times can vary depending on many different factors. Are you growing from a clone or seed? What is your climate like? What type of strain are you growing? What type of growing techniques do you use?


The length of time it takes for a cannabis plant to grow outdoors depends on your latitude. Latitude refers to the distance your location is from the Equator.

For instance, in the northern hemisphere, cannabis seeds are usually planted between early March or late May. After a few months, they are harvested anywhere between September to November.

In the southern hemisphere, the growing season is the exact opposite of the northern hemisphere. Farmers begin to plant in September through November. Harvesting occurs between March and May.

Cannabis farmers near the equator have the luxury of being able to grow all year long.


Beyond the latitude, other factors can determine the length of time it takes outdoor cannabis to grow.

 Environmental factors include:

  • Temperature
  • Altitude
  • Rainfall

In the tropics, where mild weather is the norm, cannabis plants may complete their growth cycle much sooner than in locations with extreme heat or cold.


When growing weed outdoors, the strain genetics you use also influence how fast or slow your weed can grow. Generally, indicas tend to finish much faster than sativas. Autoflowering strains usually finish flowering the fastest.

If grown in latitudes that are too north or south, sativas may not have enough time to fully grow in these environments due to the colder weather. In addition, a strain that was created in a cool climate may grow faster in a warmer environment.

Growing Weed Outdoors Timeline

Grow times for outdoor cannabis gardens vary depending on a variety of environmental and genetic factors.

Here is a general timeline of the stages of growth for outdoor-grown cannabis:

  • Germination: 12 hours to 8 days
  • Seedling: 1-4 weeks
  • Vegetative: 2 weeks-6 months
  • Flowering: 6 weeks-3 months
  • Harvesting: 1-3 days

The Stages of Growing Weed

No matter where you grow, cannabis has the same stages of growth: germination, seedling, vegetative, flowering, and harvesting.

Because you will be growing outdoors, you will depend heavily on your natural environment for your plant’s growth. Usually, outdoor cannabis seeds are planted in the spring and harvested in the fall.


During the germination stage, you will be germinating your healthy cannabis seeds. Germination takes the seed out of its hibernation period to start its growth. During this stage, your seed will sprout and begin to grow roots and leaves.

Germination can take anywhere from one day to a full week. You will know your seed has been germinated when its roots begin to develop along with a couple of leaves sprouting above the ground.


The seedling stage can last between 2 to 3 weeks while the plants begin to develop a solid structure of roots and stems. During this stage, your plants need between 18 to 24 hours of light per day.


During its vegetative stage, your plants will be mainly focused on growing their stems and leaves. This stage can take anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks (or longer). When your seedling gets too big, you can transfer it to a bigger pot to continue its vegetative stage.

During this stage, it is important to feed your plant higher levels of nitrogen to stimulate foliage growth.


When the days get shorter than the night, flowering can begin in photoperiod plants. Auto-flowering plants begin to flower after a certain period of time, not when the light cycle changes.

During the flowering stage, your plants will focus on growing their resinous flower buds. Flowering times can vary depending on when you plan to harvest.


The best time to harvest outdoors can vary by the garden. Generally, the best time to harvest is when most of the trichomes have changed from a clear color to an amber color. More mature trichomes can produce sedating effects while less mature ones can produce an energetic high.

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Learn to Grow Weed Outdoors at Cannabis Training University

Do you want to learn to grow weed indoors and outdoors?

No matter where you want to grow cannabis, enrolling in Cannabis Training University can give you the tools needed to make the most of your outdoor cannabis garden.

Learn how to source all your materials for cheap and set up your outdoor garden in the most convenient and effective location possible.

Our expert instructors give you the knowledge to care for your plants from the moment you plant the seed in the spring to the moment you harvest its buds in the fall.

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