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Vegetative growth is the second stage of a plants lifecycle after germination. During this stage a plant will be photosynthesising as much as possible to grow as large as it can before entering the flowering period.
All plants have a vegetative stage where they are growing as fast as possible, with marijuana it is almost standard practice to grow Cannabis plants with little to no dark period to increase the speed and amount of growth.
Because of this vigorous growth plants may not always develop the way you want them to. One such phenomenon is called stretching. This can be observed through the spacing between new branches, if the plant is not receiving enough light there will be very little lateral growth, it will grow tall and lanky as it tries to grow closer to the light source. To avoid stretching during my stage of plant development, keep the light source as close to the plants as you can.