The marijuana vegetative stage is when your plant develops from a seedling and prepares to grow the flowers you eventually smoke. Energy produced by the plant is put into growing healthy roots, stems, and leaves which support the buds created in the flowering stage of marijuana growth.
In this category we will cover when your marijuana plant is ready to start and finish its vegetative growing, along with what lighting, water, and nutrients to supply it with.
When is a plant in marijuana vegetative growth?
A plant is in vegetative growth when your seedling has finally developed its rooting system and starts to rapidly produce recognisable marijuana leaves.
During the marijuana vegetative stage, your marijuana plant will maximise its photosynthesis to produce as much green, leafy foliage as possible, using the light, water, nutrients and CO² provided in its environment. Optimising these elements can lead to a plant growing up to an inch a day!
A typical amount of time a marijuana plant spends in vegetative growth is 4-6 weeks but it can last as little as two weeks or for as long as you like, especially if you’re keeping a mother plant for clones.
Grow tip: Marijuana vegetative growth is an ideal time to take clones if you are particularly impressed with the strain you are growing.
If you’re growing indoors, you should be giving your plant at least 18 hours light in every 24 hour cycle. As well as needing lots of light, marijuana in vegetative growth also requires a whiter light to replicate that of mid summer. A bulb that is rated 6500k is perfect for vegetative growth.
Nutrients and Water
During vegetative growth use a fertilizer that is higher in Nitrogen. Your plant uses Nitrogen for stems, leaves and the other green parts of your plant. To tell if your plant is in need of watering you can test the soil to see if it is dry to touch. If it is, your plants need watering. Bear in mind that as your plants get bigger, they will need more water so it’s likely you’ll need to water your plants at least every other day.
Both under and over watering will cause the leaves of your marijuana plant to droop. It is easy to tell the difference; under watered leaves will be wilted and lifeless, over watered leaves will be firm and curled down.
It’s during preflowering that you are able to establish the sex of your plants. Marijuana grows its pre-flowers between the fourth and sixth week of vegetative growth, developing on the fourth or fifth point where leaves are connected to the main stem (internode) down from the top. Once a plant’s pre-flowers have shown, it is mature enough to induce flowering. Pre-flowers are also an early indicator of a marijuana plant’s sex, although It will be difficult to tell for certain until you’ve put your plant into flower. The diagrams below may help you to decipher what the sex of your plant is. You can also use our guide to male and female marijuana plants.
Transplanting during the marijuana vegetative stage is quite common when growing in soil and takes place to maintain a plants healthy growth. If a plant has outgrown its container, it will become root bound, stunting its growth and leaving your plant looking sparse. You can check your plant for root bound problems by removing it from its pot and checking if the roots have matted around the sides and the bottom of the pot. Avoid problems during transplanting by keeping the medium moist.
Grow tip: Pick up the pots to see if the roots are visable. If you can see the roots, it may be root bound and need closer inspection.
Training and Trimming
Vegetative growth supplies you with an opportunity to train your plant to increase the number and size of budding sites for when your plant goes into flowering. These techniques are used to put the plant under a small amount of stress, which makes it react and go into overdrive to fix the problem.
What problems can you face during marijuana vegetative growth?
Keep an eye out for split and wounded stems. Plants with wounds will be stressed, grow slower, and are inviting for pests and diseases. You can fix it by simply fastening a zip tie or something similar around the affected area, making sure you close it without squeezing it too tight and suffocating the stem. Remove the tie once the split has repaired.
If your plant seems to plateau and stop growing in its first weeks of the marijuana vegetative stage, it means growth has stunted. This can be caused by a number of factors; the grow environment being too cold, and over or under watering. Marijuana plants are pretty resilient and can recover from stunted growth. However, if you do not fix the issue quickly, there is a point of no return.
Nutrient burn or deficiency during the marijuana vegetative stage can occur in a variety of different forms and tends to show on a marijuana plants leaves. Problems with nutrients are normally caused when you are supplying the plant with the wrong amounts. Check your PH and PPM (parts per million) as this can affect the amount of nutrients your plant can take in. In most cases, the best way to deal with nutrient burn is to flush your plants. Once you have worked out what your plant is missing from its diet, take care to readjust your plants nutrients accordingly.