How to Optimize Plant Growth at Every Stage

From tiny sprouts to abundant harvests, plants go through distinct growth phases. As they do, plant energies and plant nutrient needs shift to support certain types of growth. By understanding the six stages of plant growth, you can meet your garden's nutrient needs at every stage — and enjoy bigger, better harvests for your efforts:
  1. Sprout
  2. Seedling
  3. Vegetative
  4. Budding
  5. Flowering
  6. Ripening

Seed germination and sprouting are the first phases of a plant's life.


Seeds contain all the nutrients needed to start the first phase of your plant's life. Depending on the type of seed you grow, germination and sprouting can take days or several weeks. In this initial plant growth stage, the seed sprouts and grows seed leaves, which look different than the plant's true leaves. It also exhausts its nutrient supply.

 At the seedling stage, plants develop roots, strong stems and their first true leaves.

2. Seedling

As roots develop, sprouts grow into seedlings. Your plant grows true leaves, which are smaller versions of how mature leaves will look. Nutrients provided at this second phase of plant growth support your plant through stages to come. Earth Juice Rainbow Mix Pro Grow 8-6-3 provides a strong foundation of primary plant nutrients, boosted by humic acid and a powerful blend of mycorrhizal fungi and other beneficial microbes.

During the vegetative stage, plant energies focus on robust green growth in stems, branching and leaves.


When seedlings move into the vegetative stage of life, plants focus on developing sturdy stems and green, leafy growth. Nitrogen plays a critical role during this third growth phase. Earth Juice Sugar Peak Vegetative 3-1-5 provides your plant with added nitrogen and other essential nutrients to support energetic stem and leaf growth at the vegetative stage.

In the budding stage, plant energies transition from vegetative growth to flowering mode.

4. Budding

As vegetative plants mature, they enter a transition phase. Plant energy starts shifting away from green growth toward producing buds, flowers and eventual fruit. Phosphorus takes on added importance during this fourth stage. Earth Juice Sugar Peak Transition 2.70-3.10-2.70 provides nutrients to promote stem and leaf growth while encouraging buds and blooms.

Earth Juice Rainbow Mix Pro Bloom 2-14-2, applied as a top dressing during budding, provides a boost of phosphorus to support healthy roots, buds and blooms to come. Plus, this bloom-enhancing blend encourages production of oils, resins and fragrances of flowers and herbs.

 The flowering stage sees fruit begin to form where flowers grew.

5. Flowering

During the flowering stage, buds become flowers and fruiting plants begin forming fruit where flowers grew. At this fifth stage of plant growth, nitrogen becomes less important. Potassium offers significant support for flowering, fruit production and overall plant health. Earth Juice Sugar Peak Flowering 2-4-5 provides potassium and other essentials to encourage and enhance flowers, fruits and vegetables — and essential oils and fragrances.

As plants enter the ripening stage, fruit matures and readies for harvest.

6. Ripening

In this final, sixth stage of plant growth, flowers and fruit ripen and mature. Plants no longer need added nitrogen for leafy growth as plant energy focuses on finishing your flowers and fruits. Earth Juice Sugar Peak Grand Finale 0-6-4 provides your plants with phosphorus and potassium to finish, ripen and maximize your harvest, including the essential oils, resins and fragrances you desire.

With Earth Juice, you can provide your plants with optimal nutrients at every stage of plant growth. We've helped growers and gardeners take their plants to the peak of performance and productivity for 30 years. Let Earth Juice help you reap the harvest that comes with the best nutrients for fruits and vegetables.

Always read product labels thoroughly and follow instructions, including application or dilution rates and recommended feeding frequency for your plant phase and feeding method.