TABLE OF CONTENTS
How many leaves does a marijuana plant have? Cannabis plants vary in appearance and structure depending on their genetics, stage of life, and growing environment.
As a plant grows, its leaf count grows with it. However, Leaf counts usually do not tell you much about the plant unless you suspect stunted growth.
Growers wondering about the number of cannabis leaves on a plant may be confusing leaves for leaf fingers, also known as leaflets, lobes, points, or segments. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at cannabis leaves, their growth, and what the number of fingers says about a plant.
How Many Leaves Does a Marijuana Plant Have?
Without looking at a picture of a cannabis leaf, do you know how many fingers a cannabis leaf is supposed to have? If you don't know, that's all right. It's not a straightforward answer.
As the cannabis plant matures, the number of leaf fingers on a leaf changes. Generally, most people are familiar with the signature 7-point leaf, but cannabis plant leaves can have between one and 13 leaf fingers, depending on various factors.
When the cannabis plant is young, its leaves usually have fewer leaflets. As it goes through its vegetative stage and flowering stage, the leaf finger number grows with it.
During germination, a couple of round cotyledon leaves break through the shell if they are in the right environment. Learn more about germinating cannabis with our blog post showing you how to germinate seeds using the paper towel method.
Once germinated, the seedling will develop two serrated cannabis leaves with a single leaflet. The next set of leaves generally has three fingers. After that, the next set has five fingers. Starting at the fourth set of leaves, the leaf will have seven leaflets and continue to produce these as the plant matures.
In some cases, mature plants can sometimes produce 9-finger cannabis leaves. Some growers attribute this to fast-growing plants that receive tons of light. Cannabis leaves can develop 11 or up to 13 fingers on their leaves. If this happens to you, don't worry. That's totally normal.
What If Your Plant Has Weird Leaflet Numbers?
In some cases, you may notice cannabis plant leaves with different leaflet numbers than the normal ones listed above. While this can be a normal occurrence, it can also indicate a health problem. Here, we will show you what different leaflet numbers mean and when to worry.
So far, we have been discussing the plant's fan leaves, which are used to take in sunlight to stimulate photosynthesis. However, as your plants mature and start to develop flowers, you will likely see single leaflet sugar leaves growing from the buds.
This is completely normal. Sugar leaves usually have a fuzzy covering of trichomes that can be used to make concentrates, tea, cannabutter, and other cannabis products. Sugar leaves will be much smaller than the plant’s fan leaves.
In rare cases, one-lealet leaves can indicate a genetic mutation, which does mean your plant has a health problem. Some cannabis strains can grow one-leaflet leaves throughout their entire lives and still produce a decent yield.
However, if you're mature plant begins to produce one leaflet fan leaves that appear rounded instead of serrated, it could mean that the plant is going back into its vegetative stage, also known as re-vegging.
A re-vegged cannabis plant may grow round and pointed leaves with one, three, or five fingers. Some cannabis growers purposefully do this in a technique known as monster cropping to produce a bushier plant.
Three-Leaflet Cannabis Leaves
In a young plant, three leaflets on a leaf are normal. In some cases, the plant can keep growing three-finger leaves due to a genetic mutation. On other occasions, however, it can be a sign of a larger issue.
What causes plant health problems that result in three-finger leaves?
- Stress – Any environmental stress can produce three-point leaves. It could be anything from temperature fluctuations to underwatering and more.
- Lighting – If the lighting changes dramatically, such as switching from fluorescent to LED lights, your plant can develop three-finger leaves.
- Change in lighting schedule – If your lighting schedule changes, including when transitioning from the vegetative to the flowering stage, plants can revert to producing three-finger leaves.
- Re-vegging – If you accidentally or intentionally return your plan to its vegetative state, it can grow three-finger leaves.
Are you interested in learning about the differences between male and female plants? Do you want to learn how to grow healthy plants at home? Whether you plan to grow indoor or outdoor plants, enrolling in Cannabis Training University’s Master of Marijuana online program can help you become a cannabis growing expert. Enroll today!