A Plant’s Lifecycle

plant lifecycle

To understand how to care for your plants properly it is essential to recognise and understand the different stages of a plant’s lifecycle. In doing so you will be able to give your plants exactly what they need, when they need it, and as a result achieve larger, better quality yields. The more you understand your plant the better equipped you will be to achieve the best of the plant’s potential.

The 3 main stages of plant growth these are:

  1. Propagationthis is the start where new and young plants establish themselves.
  2. Vegetative (Veg)this is the overall growing and strengthening of the plant’s mass in preparation for flowering.
  3. Flower (Bloom)this stage is when overall plant growth slows and the plants produce their flowers and fruits.

To make this as simple as possible, we’ll break down each stage.

Propagation

Strictly speaking, a plant’s lifecycle begins with the germination of a seed. Whilst many people grow from seed, many choose to start their plants from a cutting taken from another mature plant that is replanted and raised to full bloom. There are pros and cons for choosing either, so do your research before you start and choose what works best for you.

During propagation your cuttings or seedlings should spend 1-2 weeks (some plants may take longer) in a propagator. This essentially is a mini greenhouse with a clear plastic lid that lets in light whilst retaining heat and moisture.

For the duration of propagation your lights should be on/over the plant’s constantly, 24 hours a day. To get the most out of your plants in this stage you should ideally use a propagation light. The perfect temperature range inside your propagator is 22C-27C (depending on your plant) and you need to aim for a humidity of between 70-90%.

To hit these conditions you will need to raise or lower the light, mist with more water or open and close the ventilation ports on the propagator.

Growers tip – Remember that cuttings do not yet have roots and will take in water through the leaves and stems. In this instance therefore, the inside of the propagator needs to be kept at the higher end of the humidity range at all times until the roots start to grow.

Vegetative

In the vegetative stage your plants will be going through a huge growth period, in preparation to produce the best fruits possible. It’s important to remember here that in the vegetative stage the aim is to grow the whole structure of the plant to be as large and strong as possible. What we’re trying to say here is that you want what is above the soil to develop, but also what’s below it. It is critical to give your plant the best opportunity to develop its root network to be strong and efficient at this stage. There’s an old saying…”bigger the roots, bigger the fruits”. And it’s well worth remembering!

If you want to get the best out of your plants, use a specialist grow light going forward from this stage in the plants lifecycle.

During the vegetative stage, set the light cycle to 18 hours on, 6 hours off. Keep the temperature at the plants canopy in the ideal range of between 21-28C with the lights on. When lights are off the temperature should dip by no more than 10C. During the vegetative stage, ideally, maintain a humidity level ideally above 60%.

How long you keep your plants in “veg” is completely up to you and all depends on what you are growing, and what you want out of those plants. In an indoor growing environment, most growers will “veg” for between 2-4 weeks, however, plants can be kept in Veg much longer if needed.

Flower

The Flowering phase will depend on what you’re growing and where. As an example however a common standard indoor flowering period is 8 weeks (with this is mind we will talk through the rest of this process as if we are talking about an 8 week flowering plant in an indoor growing environment). The Flowering stage is better understood when broken down into 2 sub-periods, “pre-flowering” and “flowering”. When moving into this new stage, if you are growing indoors you will need to change your light times once again. The light cycle should now be set to 12 hours on, 12 hours off. This will ensure that you get the most out of your plants. The plant’s canopy temperature, with lights on, should ideally be between 21-28C. When lights are off it shouldn’t be allowed to dip by more than 10C. The humidity level during the flower stage should ideally be below 40%.

Pre-flowering.

This phase is the period between the last week of the veg phase until the end of week 4 of flowering. Basically, the mid-point in the total flowering time. In the first 2 weeks of flower, your plant will make the transition from simply growing in size to concentrating its energies towards flower and fruit production. There should be rapid growth within these first few weeks, sometimes referred to as “the stretch”. In this first half of the flowering stage plants can quadruple in size. As the plants near the end of this phase the overall growth will slow down as flower/ fruiting sites begin to appear, marking the end of the pre-flowering period.

Flowering phase.

This is when the plant concentrates all its energies on producing more flowering sites. From here on in it’s all about getting the biggest tastiest most attractive flowers and fruit. If this stage is executed well then fruiting branches can become so laden down that they may need to be tied up to prevent snapping and/or damaging the rest of the plant.

So there you have a brief overview of the phases of a plant’s growth and bloom. When growing in an indoor environment the length of the plants natural lifecycle can be reduced massively. This, mixed in with the use of specialist fertilisers, means that not only can the length of the grow time be compacted down from 12 months into around 12 weeks, but the yields produced can also be much larger than you would see from the same plant growing in its natural environment.

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