How Long Should I Leave My Plant in Veg State?

How Long to Veg

Want to know how long to leave your plants in vegetative state? Well, fortunately, we had the same curiosity and unearthed answers. This month we’ve reached out to a grower in grass valley, CA. He’s been growing, under permit (medical), both indoor and outdoor marijuana for two years. We thought we’d ask his help in explaining the complex variables that factor into answering the question: how long should a marijuana plant be left in veg state?

Veg Overview

[Anonymous], welcome, thanks for taking some time to talk with us. So, jumping right in, what are the first things you consider when determining veg length?

Normally, indoor growers will take their cuts right before flipping their plants to flower. This means they have rooted clones in growing medium 14-20 days after flipping to flower. If the grower stays on his or her cycle, he or she will typically veg those clones for 6-7 weeks before flipping to flower in a 9 week flower cycle. This is my baseline, however, 6-7 weeks of veg time may be way too much or too little for others. When starting your grow from seed, you would typically expect another 2-3 weeks of veg time.

Strains

Is there a rule of thumb for basing veg length off a strain?

All cannabis strains grow differently, just like humans. Sativa dominant strains grow tall and lanky while other indica strains will grow shorter and bushier. Take this into account when vegging. If your ceilings height is low and you are growing sativa strains, you may not want to veg very long. Many sativa strains stretch in the first 1-2 weeks of flower. On the other hand, if you were growing an indica, you may need to veg longer to accommodate for the plants structure and growth pattern. Honestly, I would decide how long you would like to veg for and find a strain that meets that requirement.

Size

If the plant has limited room to grow in, how would judge the veg time so it doesn’t get too big?

The height of your flower room can tell you right off the bat how long you should veg for. If you have low ceilings, you don’t need to veg as long or you will most likely run into a height issue and your buds may get too close to the light. Remember that in the flower cycle many cannabis strains continue to stretch for 1-2 weeks, growing tall, vertical colas. You may decide to cut 1-2 weeks on veg time if your ceilings are low to compensate for the stretching; however with low ceilings, it will be difficult to get your yield reaching its full potential.  If you have high ceilings and height is not an issue, veg your plants for as long as possible to increase your yield.

Lighting

How does daily light cycle affect the over duration of vegetation?

Do you have 2 rooms or only one? Many indoor growers have a flower room and veg room, so that while their harvest is flowering they are growing up another round of plants ahead of time. When harvest comes the flowering plants are taken down and the vegging plants flip to flower without missing a beat. This is the best way to maximize your annual harvest and it conveniently provides you with fresh new cuttings for the next round every time. If you only have one room, you may want to consider vegging for a shorter amount of time in order to increase the amount of harvest annually. To get the same yield with shorter veg time however, you will need more plants. So instead of vegging for 6-7 weeks every time, veg for 4-5 and increase your plant count to compensate.

How does the amount of lighting affect veg length?

How many lights are in your veg room versus plant count? If you’ve only got one light for vegging and you have more than 6-8 plants, it may take a while to get the size you want. Each plant is competing for light and the more plants you have the more light you will need to be able to give each plant what it needs to properly grow.  If you have one 1000w bulb and eight plants vegging under it, each plant is getting 125 watts (1000 / 8 = 125). The less light you have per plant, the longer veg time you will need. I would recommend at least 200w per plant while vegging; however the strain of your cannabis can be picky when it comes to light…

Environment

Are there external factors that could either expedite or delay the veg time?

Do you grow in soil? Hydroponically? Do you train your plants with low-stress training (LST)? Do you utilize the sea of green or screen of green method? These are things to consider when deciding on veg time. When growing in hydroponics or Coco, your plants will grow faster. Thus your veg time does not need to be as long as it would be if you were growing in soil. For example, it would take roughly 9 weeks of vegging for a cannabis plant in soil to become the same size of a cannabis plant vegging for 6-7 weeks in Coco. Think about that when trying to cut costs! If you plan to stress your plant with LST, you’ll notice different effects such as varied recovery times and increase in plant vigor. Take note of the effects on your plant and take this into account next time when vegging.

SCROGGING increases the area of your plant Canopy horizontally, typically having a smaller plant count than the Sea of Green method. Because of this your plants will need to have branches that can fill up your screen when flipping to flower, requiring a little more veg time if you are SCROGGING. I would recommend using Coco as a growing medium in order to speed up the growth process when filling your screen. The Sea of Green method utilizes a high plant count and a very low veg time. If you are using the Sea of Green method you may decide not to veg at all! Once your clones are in small pots, you can flip to flower immediately and create one fat cola on each cannabis clone.

Market

What if your crop is on a deadline to meet a sale date?

I always think about what time of year I would be harvesting when it comes time to choosing veg time.  There’s no point in vegging for 2 more weeks if it puts you in a late October harvest. The market is flooded! You may be able to get a much better price for your product and end up with the same overall income from sales by having it ready when there is high seasonal demand.

Conclusion

So, in a nutshell, how long should a marijuana plant be left in veg state? It depends on the strain, size, lighting, environment, and your intentions with the harvested crop. Want to begin mastering the proper veg cycle and increase overall yield? Start by becoming familiar with the factors listed in this article and experimenting with your grows.

Have any questions for our grower? Have addition tips or corrections? Let us know in the comments below!

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff

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