With growing awareness of cannabis therapeutic potential, more and more people are turning to the plant. Many of cannabis enthusiasts like to try their hands on growing their cannabis plants. As a new cannabis grower, you may have to face a unique set of challenges.

Since every growth stage has its typical quirks and foibles that distinguish it from the rest growth period, cannabis cultivation becomes a challenging endeavor for newbie growers. It could be overwhelming, but you no need to worry.

In the following lines, we walk you through the vegetative stage and explain to you how to take care of the unique requirements of the plants at this stage.

Cannabis Vegetative Stage

Cannabis Vegetative Stage

The plant develops stem and roots during this initial growth period stage. Since cannabis starts sprouting during this period, therefore, your plants need sufficient supplies of nitrogen.

Early leaves start fueling the growth of the plants by initiating a photosynthesis process. At this point, when your plants are germinating and beginning to stabilize, it is crucial to scrutinize the late-germinated seeds and stunted seedlings. By taking them out, you could ensure only healthy plants get light and nutrients.

Once your plants develop stable roots, all they need is good upkeep to reach their full growth potential and produce a good yield. If the nutritional and light requirements of the plants are met adequately, they continue to grow and develop appropriate structures essential for the flowering phase.

The supply of additional fertilizer, water, light, and carbon dioxide assist plants to grow and mature. Besides, it is critical to take care of the nitrogen needs of the plants. Make sure; you thoroughly address all requirements of your plants.

The vegetative phase is the most vulnerable stage of plant growth, and it is critical to keep plants healthy and stable. In this article, we will share useful tips and tricks to assist you in managing the vegetative phase and foliage development of cannabis seedlings.

The Leaves

cannabis leaves

The cannabis leaves sprout in a series where every series produces a certain number of leaves. Generally, a single frond appears in the first series, while the second series results in three leaves of plants. The third series putouts five leaves and so on.

During a period of two to three weeks of growth, your plants may undergo about 5 to 6 different rounds of development. A healthy plant must produce regular and steady leaves with every new series.

Later in this phase, your plant will be beginning to develop and grow outward.

Feeding Seedlings

Feeding Seedlings

Earlier on in their growth cycle, your plants need a lot of nitrogen. You can address these nutritional requirements of your cannabis seedlings easily using worm meal, blood meal, or bat guano based fertilizers.

Alternatively, you can feed your seedlings using organic fertilizers such as algae compounds, nettle blends, or fish compounds. The usage of organic fertilizers provides several benefits over chemical fertilizers. For example, excessive use of chemical fertilizers can damage your plants, while it is not an issue with organic fertilizers. Particularly for new cannabis growers, it is common to overfeed their plants.

With the first leaves start popping out, it is essential to measure the electrical conductance of your nutrient mixture. In the beginning, it should be near to 1. But later on, as plants grow and mature, it is all right to use higher electrical conductance.

  • After your plants experience 5 to 6 growth rounds resulting in different foliage levels, consider raising electrical conductance further up, to about 1.5.
  • Raise the electrical conductance to 1,5 – 2 once plants begin developing branches. It is always better to be careful about excessive nutrients and water.  
  • Overwatering may prove counterproductive since it leads plants to produce more branches than buds.
  • Ensure the roots of your plants can air out and rest between watering. As first leave appears on the cannabis plants, take care of their nitrogen requirements and consistently provide them an appropriate supply of nitrogen.

Remember to keep electrical conductance at around one during the initial growth stages.

Environmental Factors

Environmental Factors

For every stage of growth, you need to optimize the environmental factors to make them better suited to the growing needs of your weed plants. By effectively controlling light, temperature, and humidity, you can make sure your plants have the right set of environmental factors.

  • To better meet plants lighting requirements, it is always better to stimulate night by giving plants up to 6 hours of darkness in every 24 hours.
  • You can use sodium vapor, metal halide lamps to illuminate your plants. Alternatively, you can use LED lights that offer a smarter way to meet the lighting needs of your plants.
  • Maintain a temperature ranging between 68 and 78-degrees Fahrenheit. In the early stages of the growth, ensure soil is warm enough to allow roots to develop properly.
  • The growing room humidity level can affect the respiration efficiency of the plants as well as their overall health.
  •  With 50 to70% humidity level, your plant can grow well.

The genetics determine how your plants will grow, develop, and yield. In part, the effective manipulation of environmental factors plays a pivotal role in the development and yield of your cannabis plants.

By taking proper care and monitoring meticulously throughout the growth cycle, you can optimize your plants for potential high yield.

Vegetative Phase

Vegetative Phase Cannabis

A better growth period can lead to a productive flowering stage. It is critical to adequately meet the needs of your plants to allow them to develop before they flower.

Your plants need to have healthy leaves, resilient structure to sustain the weight of heavy buds, and a well-developed root system. Diligently monitor and maintain light, nutrients, carbon dioxide, and temperature of your grow room throughout the growth cycle.

Keep an eye on the watering requirements of your plant; it is essential to water them properly during the vegetative state. As plants grow larger, they require more water to grow satisfactorily.

At this point, it is easy for the plants to become dehydrated. Any curling or yellowing in the leaves indicates issues with irrigation and the conductance of your nutrient solution.

Temperature, Humidity, and Nutrients

Temperature, Humidity, and Nutrients Cannabis

Once your plants attain their maximum growth, it is appropriate to expose them to 24 hours of lighting. However, giving plants a dark period of six hours may help them grow well.

Continue with keeping your temperature between 68 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Similarly, do not stop monitoring humidity levels since the variation in humidity levels beyond specific points may leave a deteriorated effect on the growth of your marijuana plants.

Keep supplying nitrogen to the plants. Maintain the electrical conductance of your solution somewhere between 1.5 and 2. The growers who use soil need to add liquid fertilizers and monitor the moisture in it on an ongoing basis.

LED Grow Lights

LED Grow Lights Cannabis

LED grow lights can be the best lighting source for your indoor plants, typically, if you have long-term cultivation plans. LED grow lights getting popularity over traditional lighting systems due to their ability to provide a customizable spectrum.

Moreover, these lights use less energy and produce very little heat. Therefore, you no need to install any heat expulsion system to keep your grow room at the required temperature.

You can optimize plant photoreceptors by matching the spectral output of LED grow lights to their specific requirements. By customizing the light wavelengths to make them better match with each growth needs of each cycle, LED grow lights play a crucial role in enhancing the production while minimizing the energy wastage.

The LED illumination system can easily integrate with digital control systems that allow convenient manipulation of output spectral to meet the needs of each growth stage, such as the vegetative stage, flowering stage.

For example, deep blue 460nm and hyper red 660nm spectrum provide optimal growth and yield during the vegetative state.

Finally, LED grow lights have longer life spans. Usually, a LED grow light has a five times longer life span than traditional lighting systems such as HPS.

Air Circulation

As a cannabis grower, you need to make sure your plants consistently get a supply of fresh air so that plants can get the CO2 they need to grow. It is essential to keep air moving so that there are no hot spots, and leaves are always moving.

Determining Sex


Determining the gender of your plants is a vital task since it assists you to segregate and separate male and female plants in your grow room.

You can determine the gender of cannabis plants in two ways. The first involves carefully examining the 5th series of leaves on your plants. Perform this gender determining exercise before the flowering phase.

Indicas and hybrids with indica origins display their gender between leaves of the plants right before flowering.

By carefully examining, you will be able to spot a white fiber if the plant is female. In case the plant is male, it will have a small ball instead of fiber or tendril.

Though it is an easier way to determine the plant gender, it is not always reliable since sometimes the developed organs on the plants are very small, making it hard to detect them.

One better and more reliable method involves taking cuttings. Take cuttings of your plants when they are in the vegetative phase, and root them in another room. Expose the newly rooted cuttings to 12 hours of light and darkness.

The plants would flower within a matter of days. If any of them turn out to be male, you can consider removing it from the grow room.

Forced Flowering

Forced Flowering

After removing male plants from your grow room, you are all set to move ahead to the next stage. Critically examine, none of the plants should compete for the light.

Once plants are fully grown, start thinking about the flowering and harvesting related issues. Keep them well spaced to ensure getting a good yield. Also, examine roots, all the plants need to have enough space below the surface.

For plants with a too large root system, it is an appropriate time to transplant to larger pots. Roots experience enormous expansion during the vegetative growth phase. Therefore, stay alert to ensure plants are not suffocating.

Keep in mind, if your plant fails to pull up and absorb the required nutrients, it will not flower well.

Night and Day

cannabis day and night cycle

By adjusting the light cycles to mimic the season variations, you can force your plants to flower early. Use days with roughly 12 hours of illumination followed by nights consisting of 12 hours of darkness. Use an automatic switch to manage these variations in the light cycle by turning your lights on and off at regular intervals.

Consistency is vital once you start then stick to the lighting cycles. A single exposure to light during the darkness cycle can potentially ruin the flowering of the cannabis plants. When the flowering stage is interrupted, the plant might start growing again.

As a weed grower, you need to exercise ultimate care; any undesired light exposure or darkness may negatively affect the yield along with unpredictable side-effects.

If you mistakenly expose the plants to the light during a darkness cycle, try to repeat the process. And this time, do not interfere with it. Beat the temptations to look in on your plant while it is “night time”.

How long the vegetative stage lasts?

How long the vegetative phase should last is a matter of personal preference. Often, cannabis plants need three weeks in the vegetative stage before they started making flowers.

The size of your plants achieve during this phase matters a lot. Since larger plants can produce more bud sites than the smaller ones, it is critical to cover all bud sites under the light. Otherwise, they will never develop properly.

Look out for the following

Continuously lookout for the following, especially if you are a first-time grower.

  • As the plant matures, a few older and lower leaves tend to turn yellow or brown and die. The leaves turning yellow is usual during the last week or two before the harvesting since your plants pull out nitrogen from leaves into the mature buds.
  • Other than these exceptions, the leaves of your plants need to be green and healthy along the entire growth cycle.
  • If the leaves of your cannabis plants falling off, curling up, or dying at a rate more than a few leaves every few days, it is potentially a sign of an issue with the plants.
  • The rotten or bad smell points to bacteria, mold, or rotting. If you experience an unusual smell, investigate it, and find the source of the odor.
  • If you observe too slow growth, it is a sign of a problem with the development of your plants you need to figure out.

Final words

During the vegetative stage, cannabis plants experience rapid roots and foliage development. Therefore, as a weed grower, you need to be highly alert towards your plants’ nutritional, water, space, lighting, and temperature needs.

No matter how good genetically your seeds are, any carelessness at this stage can ruin your dreams of getting a good yield.

Since your plants start flowering after the vegetative stage, therefore, don’t leave any table unturned to get healthy and well-developed plants.

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