For today’s piece about vegging cannabis, we will assume that you have planted your seeds or clones already. After the process of propagation, small and fresh baby weed plants have now started to grow. You might have used seed starters, a special growth medium or a plastic dome to help them grow initially. Now you have brand new marijuana plants to take care of. It is time to find their spot in your grow room and start improving their health, strength, and shape.
Growing indoor gives you the opportunity to build just the right conditions for your plants. The growth phase is the heart and soul of your plant’s health - just follow our ideas and tips from this article. We have covered light, air, and water in a hydroponic system before and I recommend you to check out these resources for best practices for your cannabis plant.
ENTERING THE VEGETATION STAGE
The vegging stage starts once the plants have developed enough of a root system to take in water without a humidity dome that was used for seeds or cuttings before. Give your plants 5 to 10 days of transition. Slowly start increasing lighting and air flow.
Pro Tip 1: Lighting During Vegetation
In the vegetation stage, you will want about 18 hours of light for your plants. Use full spectrum lights. More Light = Faster Growth.
First things first: if your plant is in good condition, the factor that will limit or support your plant’s growth the most will be light. Don’t let them search for light while sitting in a dark spot. Also, don’t let your plants get burnt by the lamps if they're too tall.
The goal of vegging cannabis is to grow a strong and healthy plant. We will want the buds to be exposed to the light because this will get them to grow much more once transitioning to the flowering phase.
Pro Tip 2: Adjust Your Nutrient Mix For Vegetation
Use a nutrient solution with high nitrogen, medium phosphorus, and medium-to-low potassium. Look for fertilizers with NPK ratios of 2-1-1, 4-2-1, 6-3-2 or similar.
You'll want to change up your nutrient mix for each stage of growing from seedlings/clones, to vegging, to flowering. Your plants have different needs as they go through these stages and you need to feed them differently to keep them healthy.
Many nutrient manufacturers such as General Hydroponics, Advanced Nutrients and Fox Farm make this easy for you by selling nutrient "trios" with a pre-planned mixture for each stage of the grow cycle. For more info on picking your nutrients, check our our guide on the Best Nutrients For Growing Weed.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR VEGGING CANNABIS PLANTS
Give your plants some time for a strong vegetative phase. Grow it up to 18’’ inches tall, with at least 3 to 6 leaf branches, before switching to flowering phase.
Keep in mind how big you need your plants to grow. When using the same space, having a lot of plants will mean less time until the room is filled in buds. A smaller number of plants means the need for them to grow bigger and taller until the space is completely filled.
Different cannabis strains lead to very different shapes and sizes of plants. The balance between filling your space as much as possible and giving your plants as much room as possible might take some experimentation and learnings on your side. While a Sativa might grow another 150% after transitioning to the flowering stage, Indica will only grow about 25% more.
Pro Tip 3: Get The Right Weed Grow Pots
As a rule of thumb, 5 gallon fabric pots will work for most at-home setups, but for commercial applications or very large plants you may need to go up to 7 or 10 gallon weed pots.
Cannabis Pots: Best Grow Pots For Your Weed
The size of your plants will be determined by their roots. The amount of roots will be determined by the pots or net pots you are using. Give the roots room to grow and the plant will grow as well. If you plan to grow in soil, your plants will need to be watered frequently, especially if growing in a small container. In addition to more root space, larger containers will afford you a bit more leniency here as well. Lastly, breathable fabric pots (rather than plastic) will help ensure your plants get the aeration they need.
One of our favorite options for the best pots for growing weed are the 5 Gallon Fabric Aeration Pots from iPower, which you can usually find on Amazon in a 5-pack or 10-pack for under $20.
Pro Tip 4: Train and Shape Plants to Maximize Yield
Get familiar with tactics like topping, fimming, pruning, low-stress training, and high-stress training (AKA super cropping)
In the vegetative stage, you're setting the foundation for how your cannabis plants will develop. Your plants will in search of light - they will stretch as much as possible and get very tall while they try to reach the for more light. If left to grow naturally, there will be many blank spaces between the nodes and branches which will negatively affect your yield.
If you want to maximize your yield with dense, bushy plants, you need to get familiar with the various approaches and tricks that master growers employ:
Topping Cannabis Plants
Using a razor blade, cute the stem right above its second set of leaves from the top. Now your plant will focus on two colas and grow a strong Y-shape. Give your plant some time to rest after the topping because the procedure will slow down growth. But after a few weeks you could do the same process again.
Fimming is similar to topping. It's called FIM for "F*ck I Missed" because you pinch off ~75-90% of the tip from the main stem using your fingernails instead of a clean cut of the whole tip using a razor blade. Some growers find this to be more effective than topping because it can cause up to 4 or sometimes 8 shoots to branch off from the main stem rather than the 2 shoots you typically get from topping.
Cannabis Defoliation (Removing Leaves)
Removing leaves in the vegetative phase will slow down the growth process of your plant. Only remove leaves from a healthy plant. It will let you control the shape and growth speed of your plant. Use this technique to create a smaller plant that exposes its buds to the grow lights.
Low Stress Training (Bending)
These steps create a lot less stress for your marijuana plants because they are only tied down or bended. There is no cutting involved. Through bending, you can make your plant grow a horizontal rows of buds. Bend over branches that are taller than the rest. You can try tying them down or use weights. Super cropping is essentially a technique where you bend your plant until the bent point is slightly damaged.
Super Cropping (High Stress Training)
Unlike low stress training, high stress training is typically done at the end of vegging or very beginning of the flowering stage, and involves snapping the bud-bearing branches just below the newly emerging flowering cluster. The goal is to have the bud lay sideways so that it gets exposed to light along its entire length, rather than being shaded by neighbors. While a high-risk tactic that should only be tried by the most confident growers, when done well, this can significantly increase yields.
Pro Tip 5: Manage Grow Room Humidity While Vegging
Keep the humidity around 65% with temperatures between 72 and 85 degrees. Keep fresh air moving within your room using oscillating and inline exhaust fans.
Vegging Cannabis: Growing the Perfect Shape
In this phase, you are looking to grow your baby weed plants into big, healthy, bushy cannabis plants. If you have the space, it is best to grow your plants into a horizontal sea of buds that can then be beautifully exposed to light in the flowering stage and will create the best yield for you. Vegging cannabis is really a preparation for flowering stage. It sets the standards for your yield because now you are going to make the changes and tweaks that will later accelerate your yield in the flowering stage.