The vegetative period is the main growing phase for your cannabis plants. It is where they try to reach their full growth potential and bulge out into full-bodied, beautiful cannabis plants. At the beginning of this phase your cannabis plants should be roughly 3-4 nodes high, with stems 4-6mm thick.
In nature, the vegetative period takes place in summer, when wild cannabis has long, sunny days to take full advantage of the sun. This causes the plants to shoot up, producing an abundance of new branches and leaves. They will also bulk up the thickness of their stems and branches to help support more weight as they grow. As summer comes to an end, and the days get shorter it will trigger the next part of plants’ life cycle; the flowering stage.
The advantage of growing indoors is that you have full control of the life cycle. You can transfer your marijuana from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage whenever you want. By keeping it in a vegetative state for as long as you need, you can use an 18/6 photoperiod whilst your cannabis plants grow. When you are happy with the size of them you can switch to a 12/12 photoperiod to simulate the change of the seasons. This will trigger flowering within the plants. Most cultivators allow their cannabis to grow in the vegetative stage for 1 to 4 weeks before forcing the change.
Occasionally you may find a cultivator who goes straight onto a 12/12 photoperiod from the seedling stage, forcing the plants straight into bloom. There can be an advantage to this if you know what you are doing. It forces the plants to remain small, allowing a cultivator to fit many more plants into their grow room. A greater amount of small plants can produce more buds than fewer, larger plants do.
LIGHT DURING THE VEGETATIVE STAGE
Most cultivators will subject their cannabis to an 18/6 photoperiod using a HID light. Always make sure that the amount of light hours remains consistent. Inconsistent photoperiods can cause a lot of stress in a growing cannabis plant as it will not understand what is going on – possibly stressing it to the point where it goes into self-preservation mode, becoming a hermaphrodite.
In terms of colour band, a bulb on the blue spectrum will be best to encourage strong stem and leaf growth (see our article on colour bands).
NUTRIENTS IN THE VEGETATIVE PERIOD
Nutrients are an important part of your cannabis grow, they provide your plants with the essential components they need to perform their bodily functions. During this stage your plants are going to need a lot of nitrogen; it is pretty much involved in every aspect of growth.
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