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The Vegetative Stage


This is Part 5 of an 8-part series on becoming a Hydro Pro:

    We are back! And for today’s episode, we will explore one of the most important stages in your plant’s life cycle - the vegetative stage. We will cover everything you need to know about this stage and make sure you are well equipped to have robust and high yielding plants.

    So let us get started!

    What is the Vegetative Stage

    While this stage may not be the most exciting stage in your plant’s life, it is definitely the most important. Every decision you made for your plants during this stage will ultimately dictate your plants’ viability during the flowering stage and the quality and quantity of your final harvest.

    The vegetative stage is marked by 3 stages:

    This is provided that your plants grew in an ideal growing environment and were given the best care.

    How Long is the Vegetative Stage?

    This stage varies depending on the system and set-up you have. Growing your plants indoors or outdoors will affect the length of your plant’s vegetative stage.

    Nutrient Needs

    During this stage, your growing plants will need high amounts of nitrogen and potassium. To make sure your plants are able to absorb the nutrients it needs you can use foliar sprays.

    Why is this recommended? Your plant’s stomata or pores are much greater in number as compared to the roots. Hence it would be wise to let your plants absorb nutrients in all possible areas.

    Take caution though. Make sure you use a foliar spray 1 to 2 hours before the lights come on. Not doing so may have an adverse effect to your plants such as hot spots or burns.

    On the other hand, also avoid spraying your plant just after the light goes off at it may create a cold and damped environment for your plants which could invite other issues like mold and mildew.

    Lastly, you can use a foliar spray can be used all throughout the vegetative stage and should be stopped 1 to 2 weeks before the flowering stage.

    Vegetation Lighting

    Vegetative Stage

    Flowering Stage

    18 hours of light

    12 hours of light

    6 hours of dark

    12 hours of dark


    It is important to take note of these lighting schedules.

    If these plants are kept on 18 hours of light or more will just continue to vegetate and will never produce fruits and flowers. 

    Lighting Options

    Now, we have tackled this during our previous episode (click here to go to it) so let us just breeze through this:

    Compact Fluorescent Light or CFL

    • Blue Spectrum
    • White light
    • Excellent for Vegetation

    Metal Halide or MH

    • Blue Spectrum
    • White Light
    • Good for vegetation only

    High-Pressure Sodium or HPS

    • Red Spectrum
    • Amber light
    • Good for vegetative and flowering stage

    Watering Schedule

    As most plants prefer a moist medium, it's imperative to talk about the watering schedule. Ideally, you must water your plants 4 times in a 24-hour period.

    However, you must also consider your environment.

    If you have an arid environment then you may need to water your plants more than 4 times a day and if you have a moist environment, you may water them less frequently.

    Air Flow

    Airflow is also another important factor you must consider during the vegetative stage. Having an internal circulation fan aside from the exhaust fan will greatly help in air circulation. Also having a nice open area in your grow cabinet will also help.

    Shade management techniques will also ensure airflow and ultimately increase yields.

    Shade Management Technique

    • It encourages growth
    • Lowers humidity
    • Focuses plants energy right where you want it
    Pinching Back
    This technique helps plant find a new direction to grow so it can have more airflow and light
    Tie Downs
    • A good technique to expose the plants to more light
    • It also helps even out plants that are growing in different rates
    This technique will help you partition your plants so it is easier to tie them down or prune later

    And that’s it! We have finished another informative episode. See you in Part 6 where we are going to discuss cloning.

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