Now that you’ve started growing weed and you’ve likely got some seedlings, it’s time to talk about how to care for your marijuana plants and what they need to grow healthy and strong.
Here are more articles on specific topics on how to care and maintain marijuana plants:
What care does a cannabis seedling need?
After germination, your weed seedlings will be delicate as they grow up and acquire more leaves. You won’t need to water them that much or that often—too much water at this stage can drown delicate marijuana seedlings. You’ll likely only have to water them once every 4-7 days, but it depends on your climate and setup.
Hold off on nutrients when your cannabis plants are still seedlings—they’re too delicate for them now. Just plenty of light, and water when they need it.
How to care for a marijuana plant in the vegetative stage
The vegetative stage is the “teenage” years of weed plants, as they grow up and leave the seedling stage. They’ll even want to leave the house and get transplanted into a bigger container. Moving a weed plant into a bigger container will allow its root network to expand, and allow it to grow big and strong.
Marijuana plants will need more water as they get bigger and you can start giving them nutrients, but nutrients are still optional early in the vegetative stage. Indoor growers usually start a nutrient regimen here, but if you’re growing outdoors, it’ll be easier to hold off on them until you transplant your weed outside and into the ground, where you can mix in fertilizer with the soil.
Be sure to give your growing weed plants “grow” nutrients here, which are heavy in nitrogen for vegetative growth.
After several weeks, top plants to encourage them to grow out, instead of up. Don’t worry about chopping off the top of your plant—it’ll be worth it in the long run to give the entire plant an even amount of light.
You can start pruning as well, to remove dead leaves and branches that will get shaded out. Slimming down your plant will allow it to focus its energies on producing bigger, better buds that will get more light, increasing yields.
It’s a good idea to set up a screen—known as a trellis or scrog—to give your weed plants support. This will also allow light to hit more of the plant, giving you higher yields, and will also open up the plant to allow more airflow, reducing the risk of mold and pests.
How to care for a flowering weed plant
Pot plants should be set up for the most part before entering flower. You don’t want to move plants around at all during flowering. Before flowering, cannabis plants should be:
- Transplanted into their final pots (or the ground)
- Done topping
- In a trellis or scrog
You can still prune marijuana plants a couple weeks into flowering, but hold off after that.
Cannabis plants will really be thirsty in flower as they pack on weight and bud out, and you’ll need to increase their water. Keep a schedule and water them every couple days.
If growing indoors, you’ll want to switch to “bloom” nutrients—nutrients higher in phosphorus and potassium for bud production. If you haven’t already, you can add these nutrients to outdoor plants too, by top dressing. Keep an eye on your weed plants and make sure they don’t develop nutrient deficiencies.
If growing indoors, you’ll also need to change your cannabis plants’ light cycle to 12 hours a day. If growing outdoors, the beginning of flower happens mid- to late August.
Before harvesting, remember to flush your plants by giving them only water a week or so before you chop them down.
Read more of Leafly’s guide to growing marijuana
- How to grow weed: Basics of growing marijuana
- 4 stages of marijuana plant growth
- Marijuana plant anatomy
- How to grow weed indoors
- How to grow marijuana outdoors
- Cannabis seeds 101: How to grow marijuana from seed
- How to clone cannabis plants
- Marijuana seedling and plant care
- How to harvest marijuana plants
- Troubleshooting common cannabis plant problems
- Buyer’s guides for cannabis seeds and growing equipment
- How to grow marijuana using hydroponics, aeroponics, or aquaponics