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marijuana plant with 3 leaves

The Stages of Cannabis Growth

Cannabis growth is made up of a series of stages that plants undergo during their lifecycle. Each stage during the cannabis cultivation process requires its own unique demands, including different levels of light, water, and nutrients.

It can take anywhere from 4 to 8 months to grow a cannabis plant, this varies based on where you’re growing. If you have an indoor grow room, your plant has the ability to flower after only a few weeks!

The quality of your plant depends on your knowledge of the cannabis growth stages and the lifecycle of your plants.

Cannabis Growth Timeline

1. Germinating: 1-7 days
2. Seedling: 2-3 weeks
3. Vegetative: 2-8 weeks
4. Pre-Flowering: 1-2 weeks
5. Flowering: 6-8 weeks
6. Harvesting

1. Germinating Seeds

2. Seedling Stage

3. Vegetative Growth

4. Pre-flowering

How to tell if your plant is a male or female

Female: Two pistils (the pistil contains the reproductive parts of a flower) will be growing on the buds (flowers grow above these leaves, one cluster on each side).

Male: Small green sacs full of pollen will be seen on the node areas.

5. Flowering

6. Harvesting

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Everything you need to know about the 6 stages of cannabis growth. From selecting seeds to determining plant sex.

What Makes Cannabis Plants Grow 3-Point Leaves?

This article explores the cause of 3-point cannabis leaves.

3-point cannabis leaves (each leaf has 3 “fingers”)

Every cannabis strain is a little different, and some plants grow with more “points” on leaves that others. Most cannabis plants grow a few 3-point leaves as seedlings, but by the time a cannabis plant is mature, the leaves usually have more points.

The second set of leaves after germination usually has 3 points each. After that, leaves normally have more than three.

What is considered a “normal” number of points? Seven is the most common though it varies by strain. Seeing 5, 9, 11 or even 13 points isn’t that unusual. Though typically an odd number, occasionally you’ll see leaves with an even number of points. Your growing conditions affect this, too. Big, fast-growing plants in an ideal environment tend to grow leaves with more points.

Cannabis leaves most often have 7 points

Yet there is a lot of variation between plants, and even on the same plant. This leaf has 13 points if you count the two middle ones!

But what if you had a plant with “normal” leaves that starts growing 3-finger leaves? What does that mean?

What causes 3-point leaves?

  • Light stress – One of the most common culprits, especially if there is a significant change in grow light type or light levels
  • Unusual photoperiods – Such as when grow lights turn on and off at a new time, or the plant’s lighting schedule is otherwise changed. Sometimes you’ll see 3-point leaves after switching to a 12/12 light schedule to initiate the flowering stage.
  • Environmental stress – Extreme temperatures, stagnant air, underwatering, and other stresses can trigger the unhappy plant to grow 3-point leaves
  • Re-vegetating – If a plant starts making buds in the flowering stage and then switches back to the vegetative stage, it can cause leaves to grow with 3 points. Learn more about re-vegging.
  • Genetics – Some strains grow 3-point leaves due to genetics, such as any Ducksfoot strain. If plants are otherwise healthy and grow 3-point leaves from seed to harvest, you likely don’t need to worry.

It is a stress response when a healthy plant “reverts” back to 3-point leaves. Typically this happens when there are major changes in light quality or light schedule. For example, the following plants were switched from a fluorescent light to a powerful LED. A few days later, all the leaves were growing with only 3 points. In this case, there was nothing really “wrong” as much as different. The plants adjusted to the light and started growing regular leaves within a few weeks.

These plants started growing 3-point leaves after being switched from a weak fluorescent light to a strong LED

Here’s a closeup

A change in light schedule can also do it. Plants may grow 3-point leaves if you switch your grow light “on” period from the day to the night, or otherwise give irregular or uneven light schedules.

These plants are growing odd leaves due to re-vegging

For outdoor growers, you can’t control what’s happening in the sky. These outdoor plants in Australia began to grow 3-point leaves after massive bush fires created smoke that blocked out the sun. The odd light periods caused the 3-point stress response.

Smoke blocked out the sun, triggering 3-point leaves in these outdoor plants

Some strains such as the Ducksfoot strain naturally grows 3-point leaves even under perfect conditions

A Ducksfoot cannabis plant grows 3-point leaves from seed to harvest

If your plant is growing 3-point leaves in response to stress, all you need to do is correct the issue and/or wait for plants to grow out of it.

But if you see 3-point leaves appear suddenly on a plant that was growing typical leaves, don’t ignore it! Try to determine what’s causing the change. Learn more about the number of “points” on cannabis leaves.

What Makes Cannabis Plants Grow 3-Point Leaves? This article explores the cause of 3-point cannabis leaves. 3-point cannabis leaves (each leaf has 3 “fingers”) Every cannabis strain is a