How to Make Buds Grow Faster and Harvest Cannabis Earlier Outdoors

Homegrown Cannabis Co 24 Sep 2021

Why on earth would you want to speed up the flowering stage? The conventional thinking is if you let nature take its course, the plants would have time to grow buds, develop more cannabinoids and terpenes. Now, you can do that indoors, where you have full control over the light cycle. But to harvest cannabis early outdoors – is that even possible?

Article originally published via our content partners at Homegrown Cannabis Co.

Why Would You Even Speed Up the Flowering Period?

There is one valid reason why you would. Imagine your flowering marijuana plants a month away from the harvest period. But the weather pattern is acting weird. What would happen to the buds if frost were to set in weeks sooner?

harvest cannabis early outdoors

Yes, speed up flowering to not waste what had been weeks or months of unwavering care you have given.

Besides saving the harvest, any other reason you could think of is more of preference (and impatience).

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How Do You Shorten the Flowering Stage Before Cannabis Harvest?

There are a few ways to do that – from strain and seed selection to finding ways to manipulate the light cycle. Yes, even when growing outdoors, you can trick or force the plants into flowering early.


As you are well aware, Sativa strains generally have longer flowering times than Indica. If you prefer quicker flowering time, start with genetics.

Among the 400+ Homegrown Cannabis Co. in-house genetics, some strains need only 6 to 8 weeks. Oh, if you insist on a Sativa, there’s one for you too.


  • Genetics: Indica hybrid
  • THC: 10-18%
  • Flowering time: 6-8 weeks; September
  • Yield: Medium
  • Effects: Trippy and euphoric
  • Medical: Inflammation and stress
  • Buy Maple Leaf Feminized Seeds


  • Genetics: Sativa hybrid
  • THC: 21%
  • Flowering time: 6-8 weeks; Late September
  • Yield: Medium to heavy
  • Effects: Giggly and cerebral
  • Medical: Pain and stress
  • Buy Hektol Feminized Seeds


  • Genetics: Indica hybrid
  • THC: 18%
  • Flowering time: 7-8 weeks; Mid-September
  • Yield: Heavy
  • Effects: Happy and relaxed
  • Medical: Pain and stress
  • Buy Sugar Black Rose Feminized Seeds


It is not only the genetics that matter but the type of seed too. Up until today, none can grow as fast as auto-flowering strains.


  • Genetics: Hybrid
  • THC: 18%
  • Flowering time: 5-7 weeks from seeds to harvest
  • Yield: Light
  • Effects: Euphoric and creative
  • Medical: Pain and depression
  • Buy Blue Amnesia Autoflower Seeds


  • Genetics: Indica hybrid
  • THC: 6-12%
  • Flowering time: 6-7 weeks from seeds to harvest
  • Yield: Light
  • Effects: Euphoric and relaxing
  • Medical: Anxiety and pain
  • Buy Fruit Autoflower Seeds


  • Genetics: Indica hybrid
  • THC: 15-20%
  • Flowering time: 7-8 weeks from seeds to harvest
  • Yield: Medium
  • Effects: Couch-locking and euphoric
  • Medical: Depression and insomnia
  • Buy Critical x Mazar Autoflower Seeds

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Now, not everyone is sold on autos. Although the present generation can crank out THC, they are still not as high as photoperiod seeds. Fortunately for you, there is one more option – fast version seeds. They remain reliant on light cycles and have the same vegging time as feminized seeds. But, because of Ruderalis genes, they average around 2 weeks quicker flowering time.


  • Genetics: Indica hybrid
  • THC: 18-22%
  • Flowering time: 6-7 weeks; Early to mid-October
  • Yield: Extra heavy
  • Effects: Euphoric and creative
  • Medical: Depression and stress
  • Buy White Russian Fast Version Seeds


  • Genetics: Indica hybrid
  • THC: 18-19%
  • Flowering time: 6-7 weeks; Mid-September
  • Yield: Heavy
  • Effects: Creative and euphoric
  • Medical: Spasms and stress
  • Buy Critical Fast Version Seeds

Force Flowering

Under normal circumstances, marijuana plants have around 14 hours of daylight during the vegging stage. You can cut this period – sort of – by reducing it to approximately 10 to 11 hours. In doing so, you would be brainwashing the plants into thinking that autumn is coming. They respond by starting the reproductive process.

Cutting down on the vegetative stage results in the plants being shorter. It does not matter, though, because you would be harvesting much sooner.

How do you do that?

You can build a wooden frame around the plants, and drape it with a dark-colored sheet to cast shade or cover the plants in darkness. Once you begin, you have to be mindful of the time and do it daily. Should you fail to drape them during the flowering process, the plants could revert back to the vegetative stage.

One more thing. Ensure that once you have the tarp up, the moisture level around the plants should be within the optimal range and that there is adequate circulation of air.

Note on clones:

Unlike seeds, growing clones skip the germination and seedling stage. Outdoors, however, the plants will go through the vegetative stage and still rely on the light cycle. You could, of course, force them to flower earlier.

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Harvest Cannabis Early In The Greenhouse

If you are willing to spend, you can grow marijuana in a greenhouse. There are plenty of choices nowadays, from small to large ones that fit the backyard. One advantage it offers is having much more control over the environmental conditions while harnessing the ultimate light source – the sun. You would have to invest in a unit that lets you have the option of shading panels to cut down daylight hours.

Relocate Your Cannabis Plants

If putting up a tarp or using a greenhouse is out of the question, there is one more thing you can do – but it is a lot of work. Assuming that you are container growing marijuana plants, you can move them indoors in a dark room after 10 to 11 hours of daylight. It could be a shed or your house; just make sure that the environmental conditions are optimal.

Pollinate to Harvest Cannabis Early

The last method of speeding the flowering process is extreme. You do this only in case of an emergency – such as frost setting in sooner than expected (i.e., 3 to 4 weeks before scheduled harvest time).

Pollinate the flowers, and you can harvest the buds after a week – more or less. It would be about the time when the plants begin to make seed pods with the seeds yet to form. Once the plants focus on producing seeds, their pistils dry up, receding into the calyx. It signifies that the ovary is turning into seeds. Be sure to harvest the buds before a shell forms.

Speeding The Flowering Process Is Not Madness: Harvesting Early Outdoors

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