There are four primary stages of marijuana growth, from seed to harvest. The vegetative stage comes after seedling and before flowering. It is the third stage in the growth cycle and is very important. So what do we mean when we say vegetative stage? Keep reading to find out.

What Happens During the Vegetative Stage?

The vegetative stage is when the magic happens. You have transplanted your plant into a larger pot and the roots and foliage are quickly developing. At this point, you are also topping or training your plants. Once a plant reaches the vegetative stage, it uses its leaves and sunlight to photosynthesize and truly grow so it can flower. Stems really start to take off while leaves increase.

Why is the Vegetative Stage So Important to Weed Growth?

While all the stages of weed growth are important, we believe the vegetative stage is the most crucial. Here is why: The more a plant can grow during this stage, the more flowers it can support down the road. During the vegetative stage, you are essentially setting a foundation for how your cannabis plants turn out. How big you allow your plant to grow during veg will ultimately determine how big it gets during the flower cycle.

Another important fact to consider is that you must start topping and training your plants in veg, to optimize what happens in the flower cycle. The vegetative stage can make or break your plants as far as yield goes.

What to Do During the Vegetative Stage

The reality is that the actions you take during the vegetative stage will play a vital role in your final yield. This means that if you are not careful, you can easily make mistakes. If you pay close attention to detail and follow the right protocols to a tee, you may reduce your risk of errors and increase your chances of success. Here are some tips to follow during the vegetative stage of marijuana growth.

marijuana plants

Train Your Marijuana Plants

To maximize your harvest, take the time to train the plant to grow multiple colas. Fortunately, all you need to do this is your bare hands. No fancy tools or technologies required.  Search for a spot on the main branch and use your fingers to manipulate it until you feel softness. You will find that the marijuana bends over on its own and heals itself in time. Just be careful and do not break the skin.

Your goal is to weaken the inside fibers to allow the plant to bend and bring more light to the lower areas. This will lead to more growth. So why is the vegetative stage a good time to do this? Your plant will be able to restore and prepare for flowering. There are many training techniques that are worth learning.

Choose the Right Grow Lights

There are various grow lights on the market that vary in price. Generally speaking, the more complex a grow light is, the easier it’ll be for you to grow. The good news is that as long as you use blue spectrum light, you should be good. Just like other plants, cannabis depends on blue light to keep plants bushier and shorter.

Simulate Day and Night Cycles

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to leave your lights on 24/7. While this is one option, it will speed up the growth. On the one hand, you can shorten the length of your veg cycle. On the other hand, your plants are getting zero time to rest, and this added stress could prove problematic.

If you would like it to naturally progress, it is important to simulate night and day cycles. Ideally, you would offer 18 hours of light followed by 6 hours of darkness throughout the entire stage.

Ensure Ample Watering

If you are growing a lot of plants, simple watering probably will not cut it. Chances are you will need a liquid transfer pump, sprinkler, or another tool that will save you time. Since yellowing leaves and other signs of dehydration are bound to happen, be prepared for a substantial increase in the need for water.

So how do you know when to water marijuana? It is simple.  All you must do is look for dry topsoil. If it still seems dry after you push your finger down an inch or so, it is time to water. Be sure to add the water near the base and extend outward. This will allow all the roots to access the water with ease.

Offer the Right Nutrients

Without the right nutrients, plants will not thrive. While there are a number of important nutrients, one of the most important ones for marijuana is nitrogen. Unless you provide your weed with the appropriate amounts of nitrogen, it will not grow as it should.

The good news is you can easily feed your marijuana with nitrogen and other nutrients. There are a number of natural fertilizers that consist of fish meal, blood meal, and bad guano. These are all loaded with nitrogen and other crucial nutrients that are essential during the vegetative state.

Do your best to stay away from chemical fertilizers as they are very powerful and can increase your risk of overfeeding. We will further discuss nutrients in the next post of this series so stay tuned!

Get Rid of Dead or Dying Leaves

Too much of anything is never a good thing. This statement holds true when it comes to growth. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much growth. If leaves overconsume, you may find their stems to die. For this reason, it is imperative that you look for any brown or yellow leaves that are dead or about to die. If you happen to see any, remove them immediately so that the energy can move up to where it could be used the most.

Watch the Temperature, Humidity, and Airflow

When it comes to temperature, we suggest you keep it between 68- and 78-degrees Fahrenheit in your grow room. The roots, however, should be at a slightly lower temperature. Maybe around 64- or 65-degrees Fahrenheit. It is also important to make sure your soil is fairly warm. This is particularly crucial in the early stages as your roots need to grow properly to set a good foundation for the rest of the plant.

Since humidity will have an impact on the efficiency and health of the plant, keep tabs on it as well. The humidity in your grow room should fall between 50% and 70%. As the marijuana matures, you will find that its sensitivity to humidity will go down.

We cannot forget about airflow as it can keep your plants in optimal health. It will bring in C02, get rid of excess oxygen, prevent mold formation, and keep the air fresh. Install some fans so that the air moves freely around the plants as they go through the vegetative stage. If you are growing outdoors in a polytunnel, arrange it to match the wind’s direction.

How to Determine the Gender of Marijuana Plants During the Vegetative Stage

Many people wonder how to tell the difference between a male and female marijuana plant. Here is the scoop: If you look at a plant with a laser focus and notice a tiny white fiber, it is female. On the contrary, if you see a small ball rather than a fiber, it is male. While this is the easiest way to figure out the gender, it is not necessarily the most reliable. Also, sometimes the sex organs are so small that you cannot see them with a naked eye.

The more reliable way to determine gender during the vegetative state is to take cuttings. You can take cuttings from a plant and root them in a different room. If you go this route, be sure to expose the rooted cuttings to 12 hours of light and day cycles. By doing so, your plants will likely flower within several days. Remove any male plants from the grow room.

How Long Does the Vegetative Stage Last?

The particular strain will determine the time frame of the vegetative stage. While some strains offer short phases, others take much longer. That being said, the vegetative state can last anywhere from 3 weeks to 15 weeks. On average, however, the vegetative state is 4 to 8 weeks. As soon as the vegetative state comes to an end, it is time to transition to 12 hour daily light cycles so that the flowering stage can begin.

Bottom Line

It can be very rewarding to grow weed. However, it can also be very complicated and overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done it before. By understanding how to handle the vegetative state properly, you will be able to watch your buds thrive and maximize your yields. As with anything, success with cultivation and the vegetative state takes patience and practice.

About Smokey Okies:

Smokey Okies is a marijuana cultivation company serving Oklahoma. We are a family-owned business which strives to provide quality cannabis to dispensaries as well as their patients and customers. Our flowers are grown indoors in our own facility. We take pride in our yield, plant quality, and prices.

We harvest our plants and commit to a fresh menu each week. We deliver to Oklahoma dispensaries on a regular basis and our wholesale showroom is available for those wishing to learn more about our inventory and harvests.

For sales inquiries, send an email to or contact us online.


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