From Seed to Flower: Understanding the Growth Process of Cannabis and Hemp

By  //  September 6, 2023

Just like virtually all life on planet Earth, hemp growth involves several phases. Each presents unique needs in regard to watering, feeding, lighting, transplanting, trimming, and trellising.

Inesa Ponomariovaite, a holistic health practitioner and expert on hemp, CBD, and CBDa believes the best CBD and hemp oils begin with a thorough understanding of each phase in the hemp plant’s growth.

As Ponomariovaite researched hemp growth and production, she discovered that other products fell far short of her standards. She launched Nesas Hemp to create a 100% organic product extracted from seed to bottle without chemicals, solvents, or heavy metals. Her painstaking research led to a product known as “Living Hemp.” She uses the entire plant and keeps it alive throughout the extraction process. Thoroughly understanding the hemp plant enables her to offer the purest and cleanest full-spectrum CBD oil. 

Phase 1 of hemp growth: Germination

Germination begins with a seed. The success of a hemp crop relies heavily on the seed’s quality. When farmers add moisture, germination begins. Before germination, seeds are viable in proper storage conditions for up to a year.

At the time of germination, the hemp seed’s outer shell rehydrates and splits. After this, the embryo begins to develop. In addition to water, the growing embryo also needs access to air and heat.  

First, tiny roots break through and spread downward. Next, the plant’s spindly stem and leaves emerge from the dirt. In ideal conditions, the germination period lasts between three and seven days.

A healthy hemp plant in this stage establishes a taproot and two spherical leaves. Some farmers allow plants to germinate in wet paper towels instead of the soil. This allows them to more strongly track each seed and nurture.

When farmers determine which hemp plants they will cultivate, they must transplant them to the soil. “The soil you use is critical,” remarks Ponomariovaite. “It must be of the highest quality because it provides the nutrients your growing plants need to thrive.”

Transplanting is an extremely delicate process, and farmers should take care not to injure the fragile plants. 

Phase 2 of hemp growth: Seedling

As a seedling, the hemp plant grows quickly. Roots extend below ground, and leaves sprout additional blades above. While seedlings start off with one blade, many varieties of mature plants eventually develop the iconic fan shape of five to seven distinct blades.

The seedling stage involves around three weeks, and during these days, the cannabis plant is at its most vulnerable. Seedlings can easily perish from drought, heat, or too much sunlight. They are also extremely susceptible to molds and illnesses. They need a sterile environment and soil that is not overly damp.

Healthy hemp seedlings are typically a vivid shade of green. New farmers often over-water young plants to attain that deep green color. However, factors such as soil nutrients and environmental conditions also contribute to each seedling’s color.

Phase 3 of hemp growth: Vegetative

The bulk of development occurs during the vegetative stage. The stem reaches its maximum height, with nodes spaced along its length. Each of these buds on the stem will develop into a new lateral branch.  

Each hemp variety requires farmers to space nodes to achieve optimal growth. While certain kinds of hemp grow tall and leafy, others remain short with branching foliage.

As the plant grows, it needs more water. Dry soil during this phase prompts the plant to grow deeper roots, at the cost of developing bushier leaves. Farmers also need to water further from the stem. Just as leaves branch outward above, the plant’s roots are expanding below.

This vegetative phase involves anywhere from three to sixteen weeks. At this stage, hemp plants need exactly the right nutrients. “We fertilize our plants organically,” says Ponomariovaite. “We use cow manure to enrich the soil.” 

Each cannabis flower is preceded by a flower head. This inflorescence, a central stem with flowering branches at its tips, marks the conclusion of the vegetative phase and the start of the flowering phase.

 Phase 4 of hemp growth: Flowering

As the inflorescence opens and flowers form, it becomes easier to determine a plant’s sex. While female plants have pistils containing the ovary and stigma, male plants reveal their sex with the presence of pollen sacs. Because fertilized female plants do not yield optimal levels of CBD content, farmers remove male plants before this can happen.

Protective appendages called trichomes cover the cannabis plant, but the glandular trichomes grow on bracts and protect the plant’s ovaries. These special trichomes contain cannabinoids. They also play a crucial role in generating flavonoids and terpenes, which later form metabolites.

Farmers harvest hemp flowers when metabolite content peaks. They determine this by checking buds for a high number of bracts relative to leaves. Because buds with the highest metabolite content are also the densest, farmers can judge them by weight.

Flowering begins when days and nights shift from 16 hours of light and 8 hours of dark to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark. Though this light cycle can be simulated in a greenhouse, it occurs outdoors during September and October.

During the eight to eleven weeks of flowering, farmers use a trellis to help plants support their heavy blossoms. They should also avoid pruning, so as not to disrupt the plant’s hormonal balance.

Farmers typically harvest sometime during weeks 6 and 7. However, harvesting is only the beginning. Ponomariovaite’s revolutionary cold extraction method maintains each plant’s molecular structure to yield hemp rich in healthy fats, vitamins, and CBDa.

 From the hemp plant to organic CBDa oil

“Hemp plants can only heal when they are healthy and thriving,” Ponomariovaite concludes. “Our care during the growth process ensures that we obtain the healthiest plants capable of delivering nature’s most powerful healing benefits. We continually examine our soil, water, seeds, and organic fertilizers to help every plant grow into its best self.” 

Thanks to this process, Nesa’s Hemp is able to deliver one of the highest quality organic CBDa oils on the market.