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The Vegetative Stage of Cannabis

Vegetative stage of cannabis

The vegetative stage of cannabis starts when your cannabis seedlings begin to sprout fan leaves and foliage. Once the cannabis vegetative stage begins, your seedlings will need to be transplanted into a pot, then the real growing begins.

What is the vegetative stage of cannabis growth?

Seedlings transition to the vegetative stage once the plant grows its first fan leaves with a complete set of leaflets. There are no blossoms or “buds” to distract the plant from its goal of gaining strength. Air, light, and nutrients are necessary for the plant to thrive.

Cannabis vegetative stages
The different stages of vegetative growth in cannabis plants.

Roots that have newly sprouted are now searching for water and nutrients in their growth substrate. Make sure the substrate has enough air holes for the roots as well. Likewise, provide your plant with the best nutrients for veg stage.

When does the vegetative stage start?

How to know when to switch from seedling to veg

Cannabis seedlings emerge from the earth after their seeds germinate. The cotyledons of these immature plants are spherical and have a short stem. The first “real” leaves will appear at some point. Cannabis seedlings will grow and generate a significant number of fan leaves—structures necessary for photosynthesis—over the next 2–3 weeks. When that happens, it marks the start of the vegetative phase. It is the best way to know the cannabis vegetative stage length.

How long does a cannabis plant stay in the vegetative state?

Weeks 1-2

During this period of vegetative cannabis, plants develop quickly. For this reason, growers must constantly evaluate their setup and make any changes as needed. Easy Booster Tablets make feeding a breeze. Growers must keep a watchful eye on their irrigation schedules.

Cannabis vegetative state
Young cannabis plant in its vegetative state

Wait until the top 3cm of the soil is dry before watering again. Depending on the speed of the plants’ growth, the lights may need to be repositioned. A light burn may occur if a plant’s top is too near to the light source. It is best to keep the light source at least 30cm away from the plant’s crown. Leaf yellowing necessitates a more distant location. The cannabis vegetative stage requires high humidity during the first two weeks. It is possible to increase plant health by turning off the inside fans for a few minutes.

Weeks 3-4

To prevent male cannabis plants from pollination in the grow area, sexing is essential in the first three to four weeks of the cannabis vegetation stage. You must eliminate males as soon as possible if resinous flowers are to be produced. Pollination of the female flower will cause them to generate seeds and terminate the formation of resin. After germination, sexing may be done.

Cannabis pre-flowers in late vegetative stage
Cannabis pre-flowers indicate the sex of your plant.

Pre-flowers are tiny bits of tissue that indicate sex will begin to appear on both male and female plants. When it comes to pre-flowers, male plants create more spherical ones, while female plants generate teardrop-shaped ones. Learn more about cannabis sexing to ensure all your plants are female.

Weeks 5-6

When your plant gets to 5-6 weeks, a separate area is required for each. If you have a lot of plants, they will smother each other and block off the light. In this case, there are several factors at play. You can control the plants through training techniques, but the genotype of a strain will govern how big it grows. Calculating the number of plants to produce per square meter might help growers plan their growing area during the cannabis vegetative stage.

Weeks 7-8

By topping, growers can keep their cannabis plants at a manageable height while also increasing yields during the 6 weeks veg from seed. Growers may increase profits by encouraging lateral development by trimming the main stem at the top. As soon as a plant reaches 3–5 nodes, growers may execute topping. In the vegetative development phase, this is a method. It would help if you used a pair of sterilized scissors to cut off the tip of the main stem, allowing it to split in two. Repeating this method several times can yield additional bud sites; however, crops need a “healing period” after each top, which will lengthen the veg phase.

Vegetative stage of cannabis later weeks

The number of bud sites produced by larger plants versus those made by smaller plants is directly proportional to the size of the plant during the vegetative stage. If you don’t get enough light to cover all the buds, they won’t grow. Light is similar to nourishment for the formation of buds! During the later stages of veg, expect your plant to have grown significantly in size. Remember, when it comes to how long to veg cannabis, it depends on you as the grower.

Vegetative stage length outdoor

Spring and summer are the best times to cultivate cannabis outdoors when the plants are vegetative and beginning to flower. When the days become shorter in the fall, female Cannabis plants stop growing. Instead, to be pollinated by the pollen of male plants, they generate plump, sticky buds. Look for the first indications of blossoming outside and begin keeping track of the number of days until the flowers start to bloom.

Grow techniques for the veg stage

A cannabis vegetative phase is critical to its growth and development. Growers must ensure that their plants are in the best possible circumstances to maximize their growth and health. Yield is often equated with size. The more “bud sites” or “nodes” a plant has as it grows, the more blooms it may produce. However, size is not the only consideration.

Plant training allows producers to keep their plants small while getting high harvests. It would help if you used these techniques during the vegetative stage for your efforts to be effective, much before the first blooms appear. During the vegetative stage, several critical physiological processes take place. It would help if you had the proper nutrients for veg stage.

Remember, it takes a lot of labor for the fan leaves to turn light and CO2 into electricity. Expansion of the plant’s root system ensures that it won’t topple over while also helping it absorb essential nutrients and water. At this time of year, farmers must ensure that they are providing plants with enough light, water, and nutrients. How much light for the vegetative stage will depend on the growth medium.

Pests and diseases pose a severe danger to crops, and growers must do all they can to keep them at bay. In the end, the vegetative phase prepares the scene for the blooming process. The better-nourished the plants are now, the better prepared they will be for blossoming and a bumper crop later on.

How to transition from vegetative to flowering

How long should I veg my plants before flowering? If your plant has been in blooming mode for a long time, you may expect it to double in size (maybe a little less or a lot more). Look out for these as the first signs of the flowering stage. To avoid having your cannabis plants overrun your grow area during the blooming stage, make sure you stop the vegetative stage before your crop reaches half of the ultimate height you want!

Picture of Taylor Christianson

Taylor Christianson

Taylor is an indoor expert. Through their writing, they offer a masterclass on growing cannabis indoors, maintaining a productive growing environment, and guiding growers through all the stages of growth both indoors and outdoors. Combining multiple fields of expertise allows for Taylor to give in-depth insights into overall cannabis growing. About this Author

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