As the plant matures, it will go through phases. Phase 1 is sprouting the seedling, then the seedlings eventually start vegetating (phase 2 -of which there are 3 sub phases; early, middle and late vegetative phase…where much of the growth occurs before flowering begins ). During this period, we wait until there are about 4 to 5 nodes before most TRANSITIONING (training; LST, HST, TOPPING, FIMMING, SUPERCROPPING, etc.) takes place. We transition them from their starting environment (a pod, cup, rockwool or root plug) to their next phase. At this point they have enough root and size to where we begin changing things. One of the first things is moving them to a larger container. By now, the small plant should be ready for a new home. This transition can be directly to the final growing environment or a transplant to a larger / different environment (larger container, into the ground).
To manage, we tend to transplant a starter to a small container and eventually to a larger or FINAL place where the plant finishes all its growth stages and is ready for Harvest. The concept is to try to not go too large so watering/feeding is appropriate to the container size. There are those who frown on placing a plant in a too large environment as feeding and watering are not effective. Why feed or water 5 gallons when your plant is 3″ tall? Roots also like to get a LITTLE crowded, not much but a little. At this point in time, we can prepare for topping, fimming, training…Light requirements can change as well as temperature and Rh (humidity). Depending on the genus and strain, a couple of things happen. In Autoflowers, we can begin to determine the sex by about 4-6 weeks. Unless you are breeding or want seeds, we cull, kill or remove male plants from the environment. In Photoperiod plants, this can take longer as vegetative states are controlled by the amount of light the plant receives and some environmental issues. This is where nutritional and environmental conditions need to be addressed. All this leads to FLOWERING, our ultimate goal