Vegetative Stage: Growing Nodes

Getting Lots of Green in the Vegetative Stage of Cannabis

The veg or vegetative stage is considered (by most) the 3rd stage following the germination and seedling stages; and is arguably the most important stage but also the easiest to screw up when you don’t understand the basics. The next 4+ weeks in veg (varies by strain); are going to be detrimental to your plant’s fruit yields come time to flower.

The vegetative stage ends when the plant has started flowering. This means that if you’re growing autos you need to pay a bit more attention to your goods; or you might miss out on some BIG gains! In this article, I’m going over things to know about this stage for strong and healthy plants; for their entire life cycle. If you want to grow marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, you need to know the basics.

Caring for Your Weed Plants During the Vegetative Stage

Plant care is about as important as self-care in the vegetative stage. Here are some tips on what you should do during this period:


This should go without saying but water is pretty much the most important part of taking care of anything living; especially plants. Water controls how alive the microbiology of the media is (soil, coco coir, perlite, etc.). If you’re using hydro methods for growing; then water is going to be a bit important because that’s where all of your nutrients are going to be.

The best type of water to use should always be dechlorinated (no chlorine or chloramines) and it should always be near pH perfect; the pH controls your plant’s nutrient uptake (how it eats to grow). The best pH range for most media like soil/coco is 6.2 to 6.8 and for hydro is 5.8 to 6.5. Always water enough daily to keep the roots hydrated but not enough to drown them (yes plants can drown); you can check the moisture by sticking your finger in the media down to the second knuckle. Water if dry, what I like to do is wait until my plant has about 3 nodes, and I water with 1/2 a red solo cup (8oz) every couple of days; or as I need to (still checking every day).

NOTE: at this stage, my plant is already in its permanent home (3gal pot^) so I know there is enough room for root growth and the 8oz of water won’t compact the media, suffocating/drowning the plant.

This is a good way to measure the right amount of water to give your plant early on (in my opinion); and gradually increase from there as you see that your media is drying out faster. It’s recommended that you develop a schedule to stay on top of watering and feeding, but some people like to wing it.


Light is almost as important to a cannabis plant as water; in the sense that without light there is no photosynthesis (plants creating food), but there are always plenty of free and paid options so no big deal. The more light they get, the faster and larger they grow. You can either use natural sunlight, or a grow light depending on your preference and budget. Sunlight is still the most cost-effective, but using a grow light like an LED is easier in situations where there is very little natural sunlight available.

Your lighting cycle controls how and when your plant starts to flower; as well as how tall your plant gets in veg and its yield. For a complete guide on lighting check back to this us later, but until then here is a great article right here.

Temperature and Humidity

Humidity and temperature are vital aspects at this point as well, but can become a non-issue; as long as you have good enough air circulation and an exhaust fan to filter out hot air and pollutants. The relative humidity or RH should be between 50-60% humidity during this stage, any more than that (without proper airflow); leaving residual moisture in the air and even on leaves causing mold and pests like gnats to flourish.

Temperatures in a controlled environment should range between 70-78°F (21-25 °C); an oscillating fan should be in the tent to help prevent wind burn.

NOTE: The development of a plant in higher and lower temperature environments may vary by strain; some nutrients organic and synthetic have also been known to help plants thrive in adverse environments. For more information about advanced growing environments check out this article.


You need to give your plants increased nutrition during the vegetative stage, but it’s recommended to feed at 1/2 the suggested strength for new growers or exotic strains. You want to be sure that you have enough room for error when feeding your plant; like a child, your plant won’t eat everything on its plate, only what it wants. With that said feeding can cause a plant to grow full and sick with nutrient toxicity; alternatively if not fed enough the plant becomes deficient and could lose green pigment in its leaves, burn (browning on edges of leaves), or even die.

These effects usually take place when either the pH is perfect and you give them too much food (nutrient toxicity); or when you’re pH perfect and aren’t feeding them enough (nutrient deficient). Another possible issue that can come up (though more easily missed) is nutrient lockout; this is when a plant has its necessary food but the pH isn’t correct resulting in a lack of food movement from the media or nutrient tank to the roots.

Essential Nutrients During the Vegetative Stage of Cannabis Plant

One of the most important things you need to know is what nutrients your plant needs. Luckily, there are dozens of different nutrient brands and types out there used during the veg stage of cannabis. Let’s dig deep and analyze some of these nutrients.


Some plants, like tomatoes and some grasses, naturally produce nitrogen in their leaves. Because of this, they do not need additional sources before the plant goes into its flowering stage. However, cannabis plants naturally do not create enough nitrogen by themselves. Because of this, you will need to add more as it grows into veg from seedling (3-4 nodes) to get those leafy greens that encourage photosynthesis.

This is meant to give your cannabis plant a strong foundation; and plenty of resources to produce energy before it starts flowering.

Note: that too much added nitrogen can hurt your plant causing leaves to look fluffy and dark green, so be cautious less is more!


This nutrient stimulates root growth, increasing stem tissue health and preventing diseases. Furthermore, this nutrient in particular aids in photosynthesis as well as plant respiration which prevents energy loss. Another little-known fact is that it also increases turgor; a plant’s stress response to adverse conditions (temperature, training, etc.) this can increase the speed of recovery, adding vigorous growth.


Potassium stimulates the production of sugars and starches for photosynthesis; increasing stem tissue health, root growth, and preventing diseases. Furthermore, this nutrient in particular aids in photosynthesis as well as plant respiration which prevents energy loss. Another little-known fact is that it also increases turgor; a plant’s stress response to adverse conditions (defoliation, training, etc.), and how the stomata in leaves open, this can increase the speed of recovery, adding vigorous growth.


This nutrient is mainly responsible for the strength and density of stems and branches. If you add too much magnesium, you will end up with weak stems that might snap or break under their weight (or the weight of your buds!).


This is yet another nutrient that aids with cell division (the process by which your plant creates new cells). This nutrient helps make your weed plants stronger and healthier. They are even said to be more pest-resistant when you add this nutrient in smaller doses.

The Importance of the Vegetative Stage

Remember, the vegetative stage is where your plants get their nutrients and use them to grow strong and healthy (and sometimes big). Without proper nutrition, your cannabis plant will not be as strong as it could – or should – be.

This is also the stage when numerous biological processes are taking place in preparation for the flowering stage. This is when the cannabis plant creates the newest material (such as leaves, branches, and roots).

Note that the weed plant requires enough sunlight, moisture, and nutrients during the vegetative stage. This ensures that the plant grows strong and healthy enough to survive when it enters the flowering stage.

Bottom Line

You should consider what kinds of nutrients you need during the vegetative stage since this will determine how strong your weed plant will be when it enters the flowering stage. If you want big, healthy buds, then you must have a proper supply of nutrients for your cannabis plants during their vegetative stage.

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