It is difficult to give an exact description of your plants growth rate and lifecycle, since the difference species of plants that can be grown varies greatly.
You can start your plants either from seeds or clones. They should be allowed to grow in the germination and/or vegetative plant stages until they reach about 12-18 inches in height. Also make sure that roots are visible coming from the bottom of your netpots. At this point, you will switch from the vegetative to the flowering stage by changing the photoperiod, as described in the lighting section. During the flowering stage of growth your plants will continue to flower.
Gender Identification: Some people find it necessary to remove male plants to eliminate pollination because female plants are often the ones that produce prized buds and flowers. In order to remove the male plants first you must sex your plants. This is only necessary if starting from seeds, since all clones will be the same sex as the parental donor. First, get a magnifying glass and look at where your stem branches off into new growing tips. With males you can see they have a more bulbous, almost nut-shaped growth, which clusters together at the base of the nodes and tips of the growing terminals. Females on the other hand have tiny white or yellow hairs, known as pistils, protruding.
If you want to figure out which plants are male and which are female early on, then get a small black plastic bag or something similar that is lightproof, and a plastic coated twisty tie. Select a plant that you would like to sex and choose a growing tip. Take the paper bag, place it over the top of the selected tip and seal with the twisty tie. Then, to simulate the flowering phase, simply remove the bag after the 12hr dark period, and replace when the 12hr day cycle ends. After 7-10 days the growth-tip you covered should start showing signs of its gender.