Flowering time generally refers to the total length of time on average a living cannabis plant of a particular genetic strain phenotype takes to fully develop dense, mature and ripe flower buds during the flowering stage of growth. Under optimal controlled conditions, flowering times can differ substantially between traditional indica dominant varieties, sativa dominant varieties and ruderalis auto-flowering varieties.
On average, indica strains usually complete flowering anywhere between 7-9 weeks from the point of initiating bloom phase. More classically narrow leaf sativa lineages routinely require longer flowering periods, typically 9-12 weeks or even longer to fully develop buds. Meanwhile, autoflowering varieties stemming from ruderalis genetics exhibit ultra-fast flowering times, with some finishing in as little as 4 to 6 weeks total from seed to harvest. Longer flowering periods naturally require more time, space, nutrients, grow lights, and overall electricity to generate their yields.
Gaining familiarity with standard documented flowering times for strains when planning grows from seed to harvest allows cultivators to accurately predict and schedule their expected completion and harvest dates in advance. With traditional photoperiod-dependent cannabis plants, properly initiating flowering requires carefully cutting back the daily duration of light exposure from 18 hours down to just 12 hours to signal the change in growth stages to the plants. Monitoring and tracking the flowering times of plants using precise environmental grow room controllers prevents costly errors and enables harvesting at peak maturity.