11 Different Rice Growing Stages

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If you’ve ever wondered about the main rice growing stages, this article is for you. Rice has three main growth stages; the vegetative, ripening, and harvest stages. It is an annual and semi-aquatic plant.

The rice plant is characterized by one major stem with a lot of tillers, each having a panicle. A panicle is a flowering head terminal.

It can also undergo ratooning, which is the process of producing nodes from the tillers after harvest. Generally, rice plants grow between 0.4m to 0.5m in height. In this article, we will be discussing the three main growth stages of rice.

Let’s get started!

Different Rice Growing Stages

There are three main stages of rice growth. Before we delve fully here are things you should know before planting your rice.

1. Land Preparation

It is expected that you prepare your land before you think of growing your rice. Ensure there is the availability of water to ensure the proper growth of your rice.

See Also: Grape Vine Growing Stages

2. Seed Preparation

Aside from land preparation, you also need to prepare your rice seeds for easy germination. It is better to soak your rice in water to be able to remove dead and infertile seeds.

This is dependent on the rice variety as there are numerous species of rice in the market.

That being said, let’s get down to business in the rice-growing stages.

The Vegetative Stage

The vegetative growth stage of rice is the earliest. It consists of different sub-stages which include; seedling, transplanting, tillering, and the photoperiod sensitive stage.   

1. Seedling Stage

The seed of rice is the grain that consists of rice bran and the hull or chaff. The hull houses the rice bran, which contains the embryo and endosperm.

The weight of a rice grain is about 10-45mg with a moisture content percentage below one while the height and width depends on the rice specie

The seedling stage begins with the appearance of the radical and elapses with the emergence of the tillers. 

The seedling stage may last between 12-21 days depending on the variety. During this stage, the roots grow fast and attach themselves to the soil for support and the absorption of nutrients.

This is later accompanied by the sprouting of leaves which grows upwards. The fourth leaf marks the end of the seedling stage.

2. Transplanting Stage

After the seedling stage, the transplanting stage follows. This stage is also regarded as the shock period. This is a result of the damages done during transplanting.

However, handling them gently, transferring them early, and providing adequate conditions minimize the risk of damage. This stage may last for 5-10 days.

3. The Tillering Stage

The stem of each rice plant has a node and an internode. The internode grows from the lower part of the stem to the upper part while the nodes develop a leaf and bud which later transform into tillers.

The tillering stage begins as the seedling stage ends with four or five leaves and the appearance of the first tiller which births the primary tillers.

These primary tillers birth the secondary and the latter grow into tertiary tillers.

The tillers are not forever dependent on the item as they can develop their roots in the long run. A good or high-performing tiller is one with a panicle. This makes it easy for grains to ripen fully.

Also, note that the number of tillers is hinged on different factors like:

  • Health of the rice plant
  • Availability of water and light from the sun
  • Genetics
  • The carefulness of the gardener

Talking about the root system of rice in this stage, note that the rice plant has two different types of roots.

  • The nodal root is formed from above the earth’s surface
  • The crown root grows just below the earth’s surface

4. The Photoperiod Sensitive Stage

This stage ensures that the rice plant reaches the reproductive stage when the environment is most favorable, usually when the rain sets. This stage starts as the tillers develop fully and ends at panicle initiation.

The Reproductive Stage

The reproductive stage of rice growth takes about 45 days. This is ushered in by the panicle initiation and it has three other stages;

5. The Booting Stage

This stage is also known as the internode elongation stage and may last around 15-20 days. The plant experiences fast growth here.

 Once you notice that the panicle is visible then, the booting stage is around.

During this period, the plant needs more nutrients as fertilization and “pregnancy” draw near.

6. Heading Stage

The booting stage is followed by the heading stage. Here, the panicle is fully off the leaf protective sheath. It usually lasts for 10 days.

7. Flowering Stage

During this stage, the rice plant develops its first anther and subsequent ones later and may last up to 15 days. Furthermore, the pollen from the anthers is transported by pollinators (insects or winds) to the stigma which houses the ovaries.

The ovaries are where the ovules are fertilized. It is advisable not to apply fertilizer at this stage as the chemicals may interfere with the pollination process.

The Ripening Stage

This stage lasts between 25-35 days and sets in after the fertilization of the ovules. It is also characterized by grain filling.

Grain filling is the process by which plant nutrients move from one part to another based on the availability of water, favorable temperature, and nutrients. 

This stage is broken down into four stages:

8. Milk Stage

Here, the rice endosperm begins to form a milky liquid that is prone to attack by piercing and sucking insects.

9. Dough Stage

The milky liquid turns into a paste-like substance. This in turn attracts birds thereby creating serious problems for you.

10. The Maturity Stage

At this stage, the grain is matured as the endosperm becomes hard. The leaves also change from green to yellow as nitrogen is being transferred to the seeds.

11. Over-ripe stage

If you waste time harvesting your rice at the right time be sure of having its vegetative parts dead at this stage.

Furthermore, if prolonged, it can cause the grain to fall off the panicle and begin germination immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take rice to grow?

It takes about 150-210 days for a rice plant to grow and mature.

What are the three stages of rice growth?

There are three stages of rice growth each broken down into smaller stages. They are; the vegetative stage, the reproductive stage, and the ripening stage.

How many months does it take rice to grow?

The rice plants take between 5-8 months to grow.

Is rice an annual, biennial, or perennial plant?

Rice is an annual plant. That is, it completes its life cycle within a year.

What’s the best time and area to plant rice?

It is wiser to plant your rice in late March in swampy areas or where there is the availability of water and other nutrients.


Rice is a staple food for millions of people across the globe. Planting rice is one of the beautiful things you can do this season. However, understanding rice growing stages is very important.

This ensures a great harvest and high-quality rice. Kindly watch out for the stages we discussed earlier and have your rice blossom this season.