The Hemp Vegetative Stage
When you are growing hemp, it transitions through several stages of growth. These stages are germination, seedling, vegetative, flowering, and harvest. The focus of this article will be on the vegetative stage of hemp growth. We could argue all day about which stage is the most important, but if you’re neglecting any of these parts of the hemp lifecycle, your harvest could suffer. If you have been searching for detailed information on the hemp vegetative stage, then keep reading, as we’ll break it down for you.
Breaking Down the Vegetative Stage of Hemp
It’s during the vegetative stage of growth that your hemp plants will build the foundational structure that will support them during the flowering period. It’s the ideal time to focus on training and pruning your plants. Once they begin flowering, your hemp plants will stretch, expand, and begin to form buds.
It’s also important to address any issues with your plants during this stage of growth. Hemp plants are most resilient during the vegetative stage and have the potential to recover from diseases and stressors. If the plants aren’t healthy when they transition into the flowering period, their yield and cannabinoid content may be diminished. Make sure to take care of any nutrient deficiencies, pests, diseases, and other potential problems during this period.
Pruning and Training Hemp Plants
Your goal for pruning and training your hemp plants is to allow the plant to put its energy into the right areas while avoiding any growth which isn’t beneficial. You want the most active nodes on the hemp plant to put all their energy into growing dense, CBD-rich flowers. By using high- and low-stress training methods, such as topping and super cropping, you can encourage the plants to form more branches, thus increasing their yield.
Water and Nutrient Requirements
From start to finish, the vegetative stage will last approximately sixteen weeks; however, this is dependent upon your location and when you planted the crop. Once your plants have entered the vegetative growth stage, it’s time to start checking your phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen levels. Generally, you want to have high levels of nitrogen, balanced levels of potassium, and low levels of phosphorous during this growth period.
You’ll also need to be mindful about how much water you’re giving your hemp plants and how you’re watering them. As the size of the hemp plant increases, so does its root footprint and size. So, you should start to water more heavily and further away from the stem of the plants.
Cloning During the Vegetative Stage
If you plan on taking clones for your next crop to preserve the genetic line, the vegetative stage is the ideal time to do so. Generally, between four and eight weeks into the vegetative cycle, the plants are established enough to provide healthy clones. If you wait until the plants begin flowering, the clones will need time to revert to the vegetative growth stage, which may prolong the rooting process.
Sexing Your Hemp Plants
Unless you are growing feminized seeds, you’ll need to keep an eye out for male plants. If the males pollinate the female plants, the flowers will become seeded, greatly diminishing the yield and CBD content of the plants.
It’s during the late vegetative stage that pre-flowers typically start to form. If you look closely at the junction between the petiole and the main stem of the plant, you’ll be able to see these pre-flowers. This is a very clear signal that your hemp plants are transitioning from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage.
Now is the ideal time to sex your plants and cull any males. However, if you’re using high-quality feminized hemp seeds, you shouldn’t have any male plants to worry about. Male hemp plants are low in cannabinoids and terpenes, and the pollen from them can cause female plants to do the same. Therefore, the sooner you identify and remove male plants, the better your female plants will be.
The Hemp Vegetative Stage – Conclusion
The vegetative stage is one of the most critical phases in the hemp plant’s lifecycle. It’s the time to build the right foundation for a healthy and productive crop. Use this time to train your plants, ensure that they are free from pests, diseases, and environmental stressors, and remove any male plants from the growing area. The work you put in during the vegetative stage will largely determine the outcome of your harvest.
Fortuna Hemp offers superior products, services, and educational resources to support hemp farmers around the world. If you have any questions about hemp cultivation, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information. Our friendly and professional team is standing by to assist you.
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