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Cannabis enters the vegetative growth stage after four to six weeks of seedling growth. Vegetative growth is maintained in most strains with 16-24 hours of light daily. Plants grow faster when they receive more hours of light. Marijuana will continue vegetative growth a year or longer (theoretically forever) as long as it receives 18-24 hours of light every day. During the vegetative stage, green leafy growth is rapid. Healthy plants will grow an inch or more daily. Strong, fast vegetative growth is essential for a heavy harvest. Plants that are stunted now should not be induced to flower because they will yield much less. Hold them back until they are stronger.
Proper levels of nutrients are important for fast-growing vegetative plants. Make sure you are following the manufacturer's recommended dosage when fertilizing. Some plants can take much more fertilizer than others.
In general pure sativa and sativa-dominant strains require less fertilizer. The photo at left is a good example of a Haze strain that received very littie fertilizer and suffered from over fertilization. One of the best ways to learn a strain's fertilizer tolerance is to experiment so that you will know exactly how much fertilizer this specific strain needs.
In general pure indica and indica-dominant strains can take higher doses of fertilizer. The photo at left is a good example of an indica strain that received high doses offertilizer before·it started showing signs of overfertilization. Check with seed sellers and Internet forums to learn more about which strains can take high and low doses offertilizers. Check for more specific information on fertilizer dosage and photos of under- and overfertilized plants.
When to Induce Flowering
After four to five weeks of vegetative growth, plants grow early male or female pre-flowers. Once these pre-flowers appear, plants are ready to enter the flowering growth stage.
Indoors you can control the life cycle of cannabis with light and dark. This light and dark cycle is called the photoperiod. Cannabis stays in the vegetative growth stage as long as it receives 18-24 hours oflight. Flowering is induced with 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness and 12 hours oflight per day. The 12/12 day/night photoperiod triggers most strains of cannabis to flower.
The vegetative growth stage is only two to four weeks long in most strains when grown indoors. Plants should be from 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) at the end ofvegetative growth. Ifthey are taller, artificial light will not be able to penetrate the foliage to the bottom.
Plants will need to be flushed at the end of the vegetative growth stage and possibly once in between after three weeks. I like to flush plants with three times the amount ofweak fertilizer solution as the amount of soil or soilless mix in the container.
This will flush or leach out all the extra built up toxic fertilizer saltsin the growing medium.
Mother plants enjoy a longer life from six months and occasionally as long as several years. Once a plant's sex is determined at pre-flowering, it can become a mother, clone, or breeding male.