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Vegetative Stage

Last updated: May 14, 2021

What Does Vegetative Stage Mean?

In horticulture, the vegetative stage refers to the phase of plant growth that occurs after germination/seedling stage and before flowering, during which the plant develops the majority of its foliage, a strong root system, and truly flourishes.

During the vegetative stage, plants are busy carrying out the process of photosynthesis, consequently accumulating and stocking different types of resources like CO2 and nutrients that are required for reproduction and flowering.

While the plant receives at least 12 hours of sunlight per day, it remains in the vegetative stage, but as the night grows longer and the day grows shorter the plant starts to enter its flowering stage.


Cannabis plant in its vegetative stage.Cannabis plant in its vegetative stage.

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Maximum Yield Explains Vegetative Stage

The vegetative stage sees the development of additional leaves and tillers, while encouraging a gradual but noticeable increase in the plant’s height.

During the vegetative stage, plants require all of the nutrients essential to plant growth, but they are especially hungry for nitrogen. Upon finishing the vegetative stage, the nutrient feed should switch to a higher potassium and phosphorus blend to promote huge flowers.

In most cases for outdoor plants, the plant’s vegetative period occurs in late spring through summer. The exact number of days required to reach full maturity varies according to different plants or strains, growing environments, and inputs. Cannabis plants typically reach the vegetative stage 3-4 weeks into its life cycle and can last up to 16 weeks.

Plants tend to be quite fragile during the vegetative state. If you’re growing plants indoors, it’s important to ensure that they have at least 18 hours of lighting to encourage growth. Grow lights with bulbs higher in the blue spectrums are highly recommended for indoor plants going through their vegetative periods.

The vegetative stage is often simply referred to as the 'veg' stage' or the 'growth stage'. It is always followed be the flowering stage, otherwise referred to as the 'bloom' stage. Because the plants in each stage require slightly different lighting and nutrient parameters, it's not uncommon for commercial growers to utilize separate rooms for vegetative and flowing stages. This allows them to have a perpetual grow room, with no downtime in their production.

(To learn more, check out Transition to Veg Phase: Hardening-Off and Transplanting and Starting Off Right: Feeding Cannabis in the Vegetative Stage)

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Plant GrowthPlant TypesPlant ScienceCannabis

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