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Growing Cannabis As Fast As Possible: What You Need To Know

Use these tips to speed up your grow at any point between germination and harvest. Learn practical ways to make things go faster in either veg or flowering, inside or out. Don’t be surprised if one of the tricks for outdoor growers is a bit shocking. We weren’t expecting it either!

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There are plenty of reasons you might want to harvest early. Perhaps you’re moving house and have to pack up your grow room, or you grow outdoors in a northern country where the autumns are short, cold, and brutal. Perhaps you’re low on weed and hate to fork over your hard-earned cash in exchange for your meds. Maybe you live in a not-so-cannabis-friendly place and you think LEO is onto you.

No matter the reason, there are proven ways to rush things along, whether you’re growing inside or out. Still, you might have to compromise yield and potency in exchange for speed. Let’s take a look at what you can do to grow cannabis as fast as possible.

TIPS FOR FASTER INDOOR GROWS

Growing indoors is almost always faster than growing outdoors, mostly because you can control the lighting. You can tweak a few other things in the name of speed too.

GROW AUTOFLOWERING CANNABIS

As a general rule, autoflowering cannabis will mature at a faster rate than photoperiod strains because they contain a percentage of ruderalis genetics. Ruderalis evolved naturally in cold places like Siberia where the summers are very short. They had to develop the ability to produce flowers and seeds quickly to ensure the survival of the species.

Most autoflowering hybrids will start to flower two weeks after germination, and can be harvested about 7 weeks later. Quick One, for example, completes its full life cycle in 8 weeks and still yields up to 150g/plant.

Note that breeders are now reducing the amount of ruderalis they use to create autoflowering hybrids in order to increase yield and potency. As a result, some may take a little longer to be harvest-ready, or require a 20/4 or 18/6 light cycle for flowering.

Quick One
Strong Indica x Ruderalis
275 – 325 g/m 2
50 – 60 cm
5 – 6 weeks
THC: 13% (aprox.) / CBD: Low
10% Sativa, 60% Indica, 20% Ruderalis
100 – 150 g/per plant (dried)
60 – 100 cm
8 – 9 weeks after germination
Physical
Quick One
Strong Indica x Ruderalis
275 – 325 g/m 2
50 – 60 cm
5 – 6 weeks
THC: 13% (aprox.) / CBD: Low
10% Sativa, 60% Indica, 30% Ruderalis
100 – 150 g/per plant (dried)
60 – 100 cm
8 – 9 weeks after germination
Physical

TAKE PHOTOPERIOD STRAINS STRAIGHT TO FLOWER

You can force photoperiod strains to mature almost as fast as autoflowering cannabis by putting them in 12 hours of darkness every day from the time they germinate. It works, but your plants will not get nearly as big or yield as much as if you had allowed them to veg for the normal 4–6 weeks.

If you want to use this method, you can start with either clones or seeds, but you’ll need to grow a lot of them in sea of green (SOG) fashion if you want enough herb to hold you over to your next harvest. Most plants will be dwarf-sized and only yield 28g or less each.

VEG WITH LIGHTS ON 24 HOURS A DAY

This is a hotly debated topic, but you can leave your lights on 24/7 and your cannabis plants will be just fine. Unlike some other plants, they don’t need a dark period each day to be healthy. In fact, they’ll stay shorter, grow faster, and get bushier under a continuous light period.

By keeping the lights on all the time, you may be able to cut your veg time by a third and still have a good-sized plant by the time you start a forced bloom. If you try this technique, keep a close watch for deficiencies. If your plants look like they’re getting sick, reduce the wattage or hours of light to help them recover.

GIVE YOUR PLANTS LESS THAN 12 HOURS OF LIGHT PER DAY DURING BLOOM

If you’d like to jump-start the flowering process, put your plants in complete darkness for 48 hours before you start the 12/12 light cycle. Then, use a 11/13 light cycle throughout bloom. The extra reduction will trick your plants into thinking winter is rapidly approaching.

Starving a plant that wants to bloom for 9–10 weeks to force an early harvest can have a negative impact on yield. If you’re going to try this method, choose a cannabis seed with a naturally short finish time like Honey Cream. This is a high-yielding indica that only needs 6–7 weeks to complete its flowering cycle.

Honey Cream
BlueBlack x Maple Leaf Indica x White Rhino
500 – 550 gr/m 2
60 – 100 cm
6 – 7 weeks
THC: 16% (aprox.) / CBD: Medium
35% Sativa, 65% Indica, 0% Ruderalis
625 – 675 g/per plant (dried)
180 – 250 cm
Early October
Psychedelic high

Honey Cream
BlueBlack x Maple Leaf Indica x White Rhino
500 – 550 gr/m 2
60 – 100 cm
6 – 7 weeks
THC: 16% (aprox.) / CBD: Medium
35% Sativa, 65% Indica, 0% Ruderalis
625 – 675 g/per plant (dried)
180 – 250 cm
Early October
Psychedelic high

CONSIDER SWITCHING TO HYDRO

Compared to soil or a soilless mix, hydro can reduce your veg time by a few weeks. This method delivers nutrients directly to the plant’s roots so that they practically grow right before your eyes. It won’t make the flowering period go much faster, but hydro usually produces heavier, denser buds and bigger yields. You might decide that, in this case, the time was well spent.

PROPER NUTRITION HELPS… A LOT

Sick plants need time to recover, so every time you overfeed, underfeed, or feed the wrong thing, you’re stretching the time until harvest. If you’re using nutrients designed for cannabis, they should come with instructions that tell you how much of what to use, and when to use it. Follow the directions, but keep the mix on the light side until you know if your plants are nutrient-sensitive.

Cannabis needs more nitrogen (N) when vegging and more phosphorus and potassium (P & K) while flowering. If you give then too much nitrogen during bloom, it’ll slow down bud growth and result in lower yields of fluffier buds. That’s the exact opposite of what you want!

Easy Combo Booster Pack

TIPS FOR FASTER OUTDOOR GROWS

Harvesting early outside is a little tricky. The obvious answer is to use autoflowering strains—and this does work. Depending on your weather, you may be able to harvest at least three times each growing season. Outdoor growers can also make photoperiod strains mature a little faster. Here are two things to try.

COVER OUTDOOR PLANTS TO FORCE BLOOM

Cover your outdoor plants with a tarp or other light-proof cover in the early evening and remove it the next morning. This works just like a grow tent to give your plants 12 hours of darkness each day to force them to bloom. As a bonus, you’ll end up with bigger, denser, more resinous buds when you’re done because the sunlight they do get, during the height of summer, will be much more intense than what they would receive during the fall months when outdoor cannabis plants normally bloom.

POLLINATE LATE, HARVEST EARLY

This last tip might shock you. Pollinate your flowers and they’ll ripen faster.

This doesn’t mean you’ll ruin your grow with a bunch of seeds. Pollinate by hand about a week before you want to harvest. As soon as the buds are fertilised, the plant will switch its energy away from flower formation to seed production and the maturity rate will escalate. The next week, when you harvest, the seeds won’t even be noticeable because they haven’t had time to form a hard shell.

CANNABIS SEED SELECTION IS KEY TO FASTER GROWING

If you want to grow cannabis as fast as possible, choosing a seed that’s been bred to mature quickly is key. It’s only common sense that it will be easier to hurry along a strain that will finish on its own in 7 weeks than one that prefers 12. Luckily, fast strains have been bred to meet every need and preference.

For those who prefer autoflowering hybrids, Northern Light Auto is a great choice. The original was already fast, but this improved version can go from germination to harvest in 10 weeks or less without any extra measures. Royal Cheese is a photoperiod strain, but this European favourite only needs about 6 weeks of 12/12 lighting to reach full maturity. Medical marijuana patients who are on a tight schedule should take a look at Medical Mass. This variety only needs 7 weeks of bloom to yield up to 550g/m² of CBD-enriched flowers.

CONCLUSION—HOW TO SPEED UP YOUR CANNABIS GROW

If you need to force your plants to mature faster than they naturally would, you can by trying one or more of the methods described above. Doing so, however, means that you will probably sacrifice both yield and potency in the process. For the best results, choose a cannabis seed that’s been bred specifically for speed. With the right genetics, you can minimise any type of compromise that you may have to make.

If you need to hurry your grow for an early harvest, this practical guide will show you how to speed things up, inside and out.

How To Get To Harvest Faster

“I need to harvest as soon as possible. What’s the fastest growth method? What can I do to speed up the time to harvest?”

How to Speed Up Harvest Time

Many of our readers write in to ask about speeding up the time to harvest.

So, how long does it actually take to grow marijuana?

Short Answer: From Day 1 of your marijuana plant’s life to a smokable harvest, you are looking at a window ranging between 3 and 7+ months!

Many factors will affect the total time, but the average grow takes 3-4 months. Learn more about the marijuana growth timeline.

Long Answer: These factors have the greatest impact on total time to harvest:

Plant strain – strain has the largest impact on growing time.

Desired yields – do you want to grow a few grams, a few ounces, or a few pounds?

Growing method – differing grow methods/setups can add or subtract a few weeks or even months!

7 Tactics To Get To Harvest As Quickly As Possible

Faster is not always better, but there are ways that you can speed up the time from seedling to harvest without sacrificing quality, potency or yields.

So today I’d like to share a short guide on how you can reduce the time to harvest, and how you can reduce the amount of time you actually spend tending your plants, and still get outstanding results.

If you’re serious about getting yields as quickly as possible, then these tactics will get you there the right way! Let’s get to it!

1.) Fewer Hours of Light Each Day in Flowering Stage

With photoperiod (regular) strains, you can manipulate the light schedule in the flowering stage to get buds to mature faster. Although most plants will start flowering when they get less than 13 or 14 hours of light a day (that’s when plants usually start flowering outdoors), it can take them a long time to “finish” and be ready to harvest with days that long.

Because of that, it’s recommended to give plants 12 hours of light each day, and 12 hours of dark to get the plant to start flowering, because plants usually finish maturing in about 8-12 weeks after the switch to 12/12.

However, some Sativa and Haze strains are from the equator, and they may not flower properly under a 12/12 light schedule. In that case, a grower can give a plant 10 or 11 hours instead of 12 hours of light a day, like a 11/13 or 10/14 schedule. This will cause the plant to finish flowering faster. In fact, this can be done to any strain to get it to finish flowering faster.

Give plants only 10 or 11 hours of light a day to get buds to mature faster

The one downside is that a shorter flowering stage with less hours of light each day mean that buds get less time to fatten and you will end up with smaller yields. Therefore it’s not recommended to try to get a plant to finish flowering in less than 8 weeks, as you’ll end up with very small yields. This technique is best used if you have a plant that’s been flowering for 2-3 months and doesn’t look like it plans on stopping any time soon.

How can this technique reduce yields? ​The less light you give your plant overall during its life, and especially in the flowering stage, the less your yields will be in general. A strain that takes longer to finish flowering usually produces bigger yields than a short-flowering strain because it gets so many extra light-hours where it’s making energy and fattening buds.

On a similar note, an auto-flowering plant gets pretty great yields considering it goes from seed to harvest in just 3 months. A big part of that is because they get 18 hours/light a day during their entire flowering period (compared to only 12 a day for regular plants)/ This gives the plant more light each day to produce buds, resulting in bigger yields.

2.) Choose A Quick-Finishing Strain of Marijuana

As you probably know, the life cycle for all marijuana plants is separated into two parts: the vegetative stage and the flowering stage.

The vegetative stage can be shortened by getting the plant to grow faster when she’s young. Yet the length of the flowering stage (the time between when flowers first start forming and when the plant is ready to harvest) is pretty much strain-specific.

That means that once you’ve started flowering a specific strain, there isn’t a whole lot good options to speed things up during the flowering stage.

Note: There are special light schedules, that involve lowering the amount of light each day in the flowering stage, which can sometimes get harvest to come a little quicker. For example a 10-14 schedule (10 hours light, 14 hours dark each day) during the flowering stage may get plants ready to harvest a week or two sooner for some strains, but lowering the amount of light each day combined with harvesting sooner really hurts your yields.

Many Indica hybrids (such as AK-48 and Northern Lights) naturally have very short flowering periods of only 7-9 weeks, which is a shorter flowering time than most other strains.

Hazes and Sativas often take much longer. For example a haze strain (like Haze 1 from Nirvana) can take 3-4 months in the flowering stage before being ready to harvest.

Every different strain has pros and cons, but if time is a factor for you, pay close attention to the length of the flowering stage when deciding which strain to grow. The majority of seed banks list the length of the flowering period as part of their stats for each strain.

Some strains are ‘auto-flowering’ and go through their whole life cycle regardless of light cycle or anything you can control. These strains tend to be ready to harvest in only 2-3 months from seed (though you should definitely expect smaller plants with relatively small yields when choosing an auto-flowering strain).

Auto-flowering strains of marijuana contain higher levels of CBD, a cannabinoid which has been associated with many medical benefits. So they may be the perfect choice for a medical marijuana user who needs to harvest quickly.

Also, check out my recent autoflower grow if you want to see autos in action…

In this auto-flowering grow, I harvested more than 6 ounces in less than 3 months!

3.) Give Plants 24 Hours of Light per Day During the Vegetative Stage

As long as you give your plants more than 14 hours of light a day, they will stay in the vegetative stage. But if you give the plant more light than that, they have more time in the day to grow!

Some growers believe it’s better to give marijuana plants 18 hours of light a day max, with a 6 hour dark period during the vegetative stage.

This is because plants grown under 18/6 tend to be more resilient to problems. If you have a sick plant, just reducing the light period and/or light intensity a little bit can help it recover faster.

Regardless of which is best for plant health, it’s a proven fact that marijuana plants given a full 24 hours of light a day will grow at least a little faster during the vegetative stage (however, you may consider back down to 18/6 if your plant is sick to help it recover from problems faster).

Therefore, if a short time to harvest is of the utmost importantance to you, you may want to consider going with the 24 hour light period during the vegetative stage for fastest growth. Again, this won’t make the plant’s flowering stage go any faster, but it enables you to start the flowering stage a little bit sooner. Speaking of which…

4.) Initiate The Flowering Stage Sooner

You may not realize that regular (non auto-flowering) marijuana plants can be flowered directly from seed.

When I say “flowered,” what I mean is that you can change the light schedule so that it forces your young seedlings to start making buds right away.

You can get a marijuana plant to start flowering by ensuring that it gets 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness each night, often referred to as the 12-12 light schedule.

This makes the plant “think” winter is coming, and it’ll start making buds as soon as it’s able. This means that your “flowering stage countdown” begins within about a month from the seed being planted.

So for example, Northern Lights has a flowering stage length of about 8 weeks. If you flowered a Northern Lights strain plant from seed, your buds would be ready to harvest in about 11-12 weeks.

Some growers will also flower marijuana clones as soon as they have formed roots, for basically the same effect, though clones tend to start flowering a little faster than a plant put on 12-12 directly from seed.

That being said, flowering from seed is a very inefficient manner of growing. Plants flowered from seed don’t get enough time to grow stems where buds form.

If you want to initiate flowering early, it’s better to do so after after waiting just a bit, so you grow plants that are relatively small but can produce more than a couple of grams worth of bud. This is known as the “Sea of Green” (SoG) technique. A bunch of smaller plants is easy for new growers to manage, plus it gives you the option of trying different strains instead of getting of lot of one strain.

5.) Grow Indoors

Growing outdoors can be more convenient and vastly cheaper for those who happen to live in a place with great growing conditions since the sun and nature are doing a lot of work for you. But outdoor growing isn’t the fastest way to grow and harvest your crop. Though there is an exception….

Outdoors, you must plant in the spring, and wait until late fall to harvest. That means that oudoor grows can take 6+ months. Given the right conditions (high-yielding strain, direct sunlight all day, good soil, avoid pests, etc) you can grow huge plants in that time, that produce pounds of buds.

Yet growing indoors gives you the ultimate control over how big your plants get, how long to keep them in the vegetative stage, and exactly when they start flowering amongst other things. You also have a lot more control over how much bud you’ll end up yielding.

With a well-chosen strain and a good setup, one can harvest several ounces of buds in less than 4 months indoors, which is nearly impossible to do outdoors in the same timeframe.

On a similar note, you might want to consider hydroponics over soil.

You can get faster vegetative growth with almost all hydroponic methods compared to what can be achieved with soil. That means that you could speed up time til harvest by using Deep Water Culture (DWC), Coco coir/perlite, or pretty much any non-soil growing medium. During the flowering stage, this isn’t as important, but this can shave weeks off your vegetative stage time (get straight to growing buds sooner!)

In my experience, top-fed Deep Water Culture hydroponics (also called ‘bubbleponics’) has given me the quickest growth of any hydroponics system I’ve tried.

6.) Pay Attention To Your Plants and Quickly React to Problems

I know this sounds like it doesn’t need to be listed, but it’s a more important job than people think. Every time your plants get sick, it slows down their growth while they try to recover. Every problem your plant runs into can add days or even weeks on to your total grow time.

Simply put: fixing a problem quickly equates to shorter time to harvest.

Plus, by reacting quickly to problems, you will save yourself the stress of trying to deal with a huge problem that’s gotten out of control since you’ve been watching out and adjusting along the way. We all know that problems tend to get much worse when left unchecked!

The more you tend to and baby your plants, the better they will grow, and the faster you will be able to harvest.

For example, the following plant problems will add time onto your grow

  • nutrient problems or a pest infestation can dramatically slow down growth, especially for young plants
  • heat stress or light burn can not only slow down growth in the vegetative stage, they can prevent buds from maturing properly in the flowering stage
  • accidentally re-vegging your budding plants will stop buds from maturing

7.) Make Sure You’re Feeding Plants The Right Type of Nutrients During Each Stage of Growth.

In the vegetative stage, it is important that you give your plants the right nutrients needed to get optimal growth.

Now if you’re starting with a good soil (Fox Farms Ocean Forest soil is a proven choice), you may not need to supplement any nutrients for the first 3-4 weeks, as the nutrients you need are already in the soil.

If you’re growing hydroponically (directly in water, or in a soil-less medium like coco coir), it is essential that you provide all the nutrients your plant needs right from the beginning.

You’ve probably seen ‘N-P-K’ numbers on the bottles of pretty much every nutrient line there is. These number are important to know since cannabis plants use more N (nitrogen) in the vegetative phase, and relatively more P & K (phosphorus & potassium) in the flowering phase. Conversely, giving your plant too much N in the flowering phase will actually slow down bud production. This means that you will harvest smaller yields of less-dense buds in addition to waiting longer for said buds!

This is why you need to either mix your nutrients by hand, or choose a nutrient system that is specifically formulated for the flowering stage of a plant like marijuana. By providing the right nutrients at the right time, you’ll reduce your overall time to harvest.

How Much Time Per Week Does It Take To Grow Cannabis?

Now that you’re equipped with the information to get you to harvest as soon as possible, let’s quickly address another common question we receive about time.

Growers often write in to ask us how much time it will take per week to grow a marijuana plant. We understand that many of you have busy schedules, and want to know if growing your own weed is a realistic goal for you.

The amount of time spent growing varies greatly depending on the method you use to grow, the size you let your plants get and the skill of the grower. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a growing method that’s conducive to spending less time plant-tending.

The truth is, you can grow weed in only 20-30 minutes a week when you use the right techniques and get used to the process of growing. The following article reveals the best way we know to grow lots of potent bud while using a minimum amount of time to do so. We make this happen using a hydroponic style of growing known as Top-fed DWC (aka “bubbleponics”).

Keep in mind that this is a fairly advanced technique, and should only be attempted by intermediate-advanced growers or particularly brave newcomers.

About Nebula Haze:

Medical m arijuana has had a huge impact on my life, and I’m dedicated to showing you how easy it can be to grow your own medical-grade buds.

I have made it my mission in life to make growing information available to anyone, both new and advanced growers, while also working to get marijuana legalized for all adults.

Learn 7 tactics to harvest your weed as quickly as possible… ]]>