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What Is A Plant's Vegetative Stage?

What Is A Plant's Vegetative Stage?

Q: What is the vegetative stage for plants? Aren't all plants vegetative? What happens during this stage of growth?

A: Plants that flower and reproduce by seeds go through different phases in their life cycle. After germination, these plants – including many of the familiar food and medicinal crops grown indoors –  quickly begin putting out more and bigger leaves. The stems become noticeably thicker, too. It's the peak of the photosynthesis process, as plants gather light and convert it into foliage.

During this vegetative stage, plants’ need for nitrogen, which provides the nutrients that energize the building of new cells, is highest. Organic fertilizers and amino-acid supplements contain readily absorbed proteins that feed healthy vegetative growth.

The vegetative stage can last for weeks or even months. It ends when plants begin the transition to budding, whether because they have reached their mature size or because the conditions have triggered the start of reproduction. That’s the time to switch a bloom stage fertilizer – excess nitrogen can inhibit the development of flowers.

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