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The Vegetative State

What is the Vegetative Growth Stage?

The period of growth between germination and flowering is referred to as the vegetative growth state. During this phase, plants are busy photosynthesizing and accumulating the resources that will be needed in order to flower. Different types of plants show different types of growth habits. This is where you combine everything you've learned about growing cannabis and put it to action. Your cultivation skills will be put to the test during this state. Can you water your plants properly? Are they getting enough light, soil, and air? Your ability to control your plant's environment will be imperative to a successful vegetative stage.

A Few Things You'll Need:

marijuana fan leaf

A Time for Expansion: The Vegetative State of Cannabis

·         Analyzing the vegetative state of cannabis and tips on how growers can make the most of this time.

As any farmer knows, you have to work hard in the spring so you can reap the rewards in the fall. The harder you work in the spring, the more likely you’ll reap a larger reward. For cannabis, this philosophy holds true. The more that a cannabis plant can grow during its vegetative state, the more flowers it can eventually support. That’s why it’s so important for cannabis cultivators to make the most of cannabis’ vegetative state. 

When Does the Vegetative State of Cannabis Begin?

The seedling stage for cannabis lasts roughly 2-3 weeks depending on the variety. In that time, they go from seed germination to establishing a strong root foundation. Once the foundation is set, the vegetative state begins. 

During the vegetative state, chlorophyll production increases which allows for the expansive growth of foliage. The roots continue to expand out and as deep as they can.

While many may think that that the flowering stage is the most important part of the plant’s growth due to the increase in cannabinoid production, the quality of development during the vegetative state is integral to the success of the flowering stage. 

That’s why we offer the following tips to maximize cannabis growth during its vegetative state. 

Tips to Maximize Cannabis Growth During the Vegetative State

When tending to your cannabis plants during their vegetative state, focus on a few things:

  • Water

  • Supplemental fertilizers (if needed)

  • Air circulation and ventilation

  • Preventing and tending to any infestations of pests or disease


The aforementioned points are important to focus on because lighting can simply be set to eight or fewer hours of darkness. As long as the photoperiod remains within that framework, cannabis plants will continue through the vegetative process until they become genetically unstable, wither, and die. That’s why it’s also so important to know when to end the vegetative state.

When that happens will depend on two key factors:

  • Recommendations from geneticists on when to start flowering. These can often be found on the packaging of the seeds.

  • The size of your grow (larger grows allow for longer vegetative periods since they have more space).

If your timelines are known, you can focus on other aspects of vegetative growth, as well.

For example, bending and training branches may be a tactic to use when plants are still supple enough to direct your plants’ growth in a way that suits your needs.

Later in life, excess vegetation may start to appear to impede light. It may look like the plant is competing with itself (or others) for light.

While pruning may help reduce this type of competition, it should be noted that plants grow best when subjected to minimal stress. Over-pruning can do more harm than good. 

According to research from 2014, plant hormones shift when they experience damage. While their reactions vary depending on the plant and the type of damage suffered, pruning cannabis plants may have negative results on bud formation.

We hope the best for your cannabis plants during their vegetative state, so here are a few key ways to identify the need to transition your plants. 



In a perfect world, the vegetative growth stage lasts about 60 days. If you're coming up on two months, you'll want to flush your plants and start the transition. 


Once that grow tent starts reaching its limit, you know its time to switch. From that point your plants will either transition to flower with your help, or they will wilt and die. 


You can tell when the vegetative state has ended because the plant starts growing sex-specific flowers, in addition to leaves and vegetative growth.

Grow Your Own Medical Marijuana in Missouri

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