Life cycle of the rice plant

  • The rice plant usually takes 3-6 months from germination to maturity, depending on the variety and the environment. 
  • Agronomically the growth cycle can be divided into 3 growth stages: vegetative, reproductive, and ripening. 
  • Vegetative stage: tillering, gradual increase in plant height and leaf emergence. Start of tillering: ca. when the 5th or 6th leaf develops. 
  • Direct-seeded rice normally starts tillering earlier than transplanted rice (no damage during transplanting). 
  • Differences in growth duration are primarily due to differences in the length of the vegetative growth stage. (e.g. early maturing varieties have short vegetative stages). 
  • Heading = synonym for anthesis = usually defined as the time when 50% of the panicles have exserted. It takes 10-14 days for a crop to complete heading because there is a variation in panicle exsertion within tillers of the same plant and between plants in the same field.