Now we will shift our focus to producing great buds and maximizing your yield, starting with the vegetative stage. This is the stage when your plants grow the majority of their leaves and strengthen their root systems, focusing on photosynthesis as much as possible so that they will be large and strong enough to carry the weight of big, heavy buds. Vegetative growth is critical to a good harvest because without well-developed roots, strong branches and plenty of leaves, your plants will not be able to absorb enough nutrients to produce large flowers, much less hold their weight.
The Vegetative Stage
The total time it takes to grow cannabis from seedling to harvest is roughly five months. After four to six weeks of seedling growth, your plants will be developed enough to move into vegetative growth. This stage can take anywhere from one to two months. It is a short but essential time in your plants’ lives, with specific requirements for light, temperature, humidity and nutrients. In an indoor grow room, you can control all of these variables in order to help your plants thrive.
The stages of a cannabis plants life are mainly determined by lighting schedules. During vegetative growth, your plants need at least 16 or up to 24 hours a day of light. Outdoor growers rely on correct timing when planting their seedlings to make sure that their plants are able to be in vegetative growth for long enough before the days start to shorten. Indoor growers can control this schedule themselves.
During this time of rapid growth, your plants prefer a warm, humid environment. The temperature should be kept at 75 to 85 degrees, with a relative humidity level of 40% to 70%. Higher heat and humidity allow the plants to absorb moisture through their leaves while their root system is developing. Your plants may be able to handle temperatures as low as 65 degrees during this time but it is not ideal. Lower temperatures will cause them to conserve energy, slowing down growth.
Nutrients are an essential part of growing any plant, and cannabis is no exception. Cannabis has particular preferences for the three main nutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium) during each stage of growth. During vegetative growth, your plants require high Nitrogen, medium to high Phosphorous and high Potassium levels. Your plants are hungry during vegetative growth and they need a large amount of these macro nutrients, plus micro nutrients in order to thrive. Make sure to purchase a nutrient solution that is specially formulated for vegetative growth, as well as a separate solution for flowering.
In our next article we will go over the Flowering stage of growth. Timing is essential, and you must rely on your plants as guides rather than an arbitrary time schedule in order to decide when to switch over to the flowering stage. Check back in later this week to learn more.
Read Growing Cannabis for Beginners Part 1 here.
Read Growing Cannabis for Beginners Part 2 here.