When the marijuana plant is in the vegetative stage, it only grows vegetative growth like leaves and stems. In the vegging stage, the plant does not grow buds/flowers at all. You can tell when the vegetative stage has ended because the plant starts growing gender-specific parts in addition to leaves and vegetative growth. For example, you know the flowering stage has started when the plant starts growing pistils/white hairs/buds if plant is a girl, and balls/pollen sacs if a boy.
At the beginning of this phase your cannabis plants should be roughly 3-4 nodes high, with stems 4-6mm thick. In nature, the vegetative period takes place in summer, when wild cannabis has long, sunny days to take full advantage of the sun. This causes the plants to shoot up, producing an abundance of new branches and leaves. The cannabis plants will also bulk up the thickness of their stems and branches to help support more weight as it grows. As the summer comes to an end, and the days get shorter it will trigger the next stage within the cannabis plant, the flowering stage.
The advantage of growing indoors is that you have full control of the light cycles, meaning you can transition your marijuana from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage when ever you want, keeping it in a vegetative state for as long as you need – you can use an 18/6 photoperiod whilst your cannabis plants grow, and when you are happy with the size of them you can switch to a 12/12 photoperiod to simulate the change of the seasons. This will trigger flowering within the plants. Most cultivators allow their cannabis to grow in the vegetative stage for 1 up to 4 weeks before forcing the change.
- Room temperature should stay between 72 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Your humidity is good if 45 – 65 percent can be maintained in your vegetative grow room.
- Your lights should now be ON for 16 to 20 hours per day (24 hour period) – Light timers or outlet timers control this for you. When your lights come on we’ll call this dawn (4:00 a.m. or whatever) – remember this for later.
- You should only water your marijuana plants when they are dry… not damp, let the top of the surface actually get crusty dry. Be sure to let your plants get dry before watering again. Besides appearance, you can “lift” the plant and check it’s weight. When really light – you know the plant is dry.
- Keep fresh air moving through your grow room. This is critical in keeping healthy plants. This also helps you keep a stable temperature and humidity level. Be sure you have an exit area for air to escape and replenish the room (even at night). Do not blow constant wind on any plants, keep it moving, not blowing on the plants.
- During this vegetative stage of growth your plants will like a few things like Nitrogen. If you have used a potting soil with nutrients or plant food enhanced soil, then it probably has a good concentrate of Nitrogen already.
Most cannabis plants need at least 2-3 weeks in the vegetative stage, but after that you get to choose how long your plant spends in this stage, because you’re the one to ‘flip the switch’ and get your plant to enter the next life stage, where it starts flowering. Growers generally allow their plants to stay in the vegetative stage from a few weeks to a few months. The size your plant achieves in the vegetative stage has a very large affect your final yields, since bigger plants produce more bud than smaller plants.