A Beginners Guide to Growing Cannabis Part 3: Vegetative Stage & Plant Training
We are now 3 to 5 weeks into our little growing journey, and your small plants are now ready to take off and grow big and strong. You’ve transplanted them into a larger container, your root systems are flexin’ hard, and the leaves are growing in.
Vegetative Stage of Cannabis
When your plant has reached the vegetative stage, it has one goal: grow lots of stems and leaves-not bud. This stage lasts between 3–8 weeks. During this phase, your job is to care for these baby plants (think of them as small children — completely incapable of fending for themselves). Yet there’s more to the vegetative state than just throwing them in a pot and giving them water. To grow the dankest of the sticky-icky you must train your plants, keeping them plants on a consistent schedule, and tend to their every need in to promote a successful flowering phase. This, mastery is the essence of the vegetative stage.
Training Your Cannabis Plant
Now that your plants are sprouting all these new stems and leaves, it is time to start training your plants. If you skip plant training, you will still end up with a crop, but it won’t be very…abundant (noob). Fortunately, learning to train your plants is simple. There are a few methods that give you, the grower, control over the size and shape of your plant.
Keep in mind: For your training to pay off, you must start with an excellent cannabis strain.
Just like the title sounds, low-stress training (LST) technique means to bend and secure parts of your cannabis plant to manipulate its growth. By bending stems and securing them away from the middle of the plant will allow your cannabis plant to grow in a broader, flat, shape. You can get a head start by using LST techniques with baby cannabis plants as their stems are still very flexible.
While traditional plant training supplies would mean taking a trip to the local hardware store for wire ties, pullies ( plant yoyos), and bamboo stakes, there are now plant-training products explicitly designed to enable home growers to train their plants bigger at home. Other methods of LST home-growers use:
The screen of Green is where you use netting over your plant. When the stems grow, you weave them through the essential. This means. However, your plants will produce lots of evenly spaced buds.
Supercropping is low-stress training’s super cool cousin. By bending your plant at a harsh (acute) angle, it causes your plant to stress in a way that promotes growth.
It’s called “Strategic Cutting” Linda, And It’s Classy
The two main types of cutting your plant to enhance growth are called Topping and FIMing. Either technique will result in your plant growing wider and more prominent with many colas. You are cutting your plant and removing some growth, so timing is everything.
FIMing or Topping too early could stunt the growth process. Be sure to educate yourself in whichever method you choose and implement them when your plant is in the early part of the vegetative stage.
Pro tip: If your plant is growing new leaves daily, it is an excellent time to begin Topping/ FIMing.
Light Cycle & Schedule
On average 14 to 24 hours of sunlight is recommended for optimal growth during the vegetative stage. Growing indoors gives you more control over the shape of your plant as well as the duration you keep your girls in the vegetative stage. If you are growing outdoors, the amount of sunlight (how long your days are) is the determining factor of your plant’s time in the veg stage.
In the home-grow community, there have always been different opinions on what makes the best lighting schedule for an indoor grow? A typical indoor grow light schedule is either a 24/0 or 18/6. This means keeping the lights on for 18 hours and off for six. Other growers like to keep their lights on 24 hours with zero off time. Keep in mind: growing your own cannabis allows you to make the decision that’s right for your grow and each plant in your garden.
Every cannabis strain you grow will be a different experience. You may have one strain that flourishes under 24-hour lighting, and you may have a different strain who becomes stressed with it and need a dark space every once and a while to grow optimally.
Caring for Your Plant
Your only job during this stage is to care for your plants. They are resilient, and they will grow rapidly. There are five fundamental needs your plants have (in no specific order):
All plants need CO2 to grow. If you are growing outdoors in a windy climate, put some windbreaks in place. Keep the air supply fresh and constantly circulating if you are growing indoors (you want your leaves to rustle).
Do not let your plants freeze. The optimal temperature for your cannabis plants is slightly above room temp 20–30C ( 75–85F).
If you have a hydro set up, you’re golden. If not, be sure that the containers your plants are in have adequate drainage holes and water the plants when the first inch of soil is dry when you touch it.
If you are growing outside, your plant will stay in veg until the days are shorter. If you are growing inside, your plants will stay in veg for as long as they receive more than 18 hours of light in a day. Every lighting system is different. Be sure to keep the light away from the top of your plants as recommended.
If you are growing organically, don’t worry about nutrients. If you are giving your plant nutrients you just follow the directed amount on the label right? Wrong, cut that to half the strength and slowly raise nutrient levels higher if you need to. To get the best results, mix the solution in before watering your plants. When using nutrients: always monitor your water’s pH level.
Depending on your style and reason why you’re growing, your plant will veg on average 8 weeks. During this time you can start training your plants, so they grow bigger buds and produce a higher yield. Cannabis plants are resilient and do most of the growth on their own, however, it is important for you to care for them by giving them water, nutrients, correct lighting, air circulation, and keep their room temperature just right. While a cannabis strain’s genetic makeup plays a significant role in plant growth, how you care for (and train) your plants will affect the outcome of your harvest.