soybean is an important crop in brazil. nonetheless, there are no reports on the use of plant growth regulator potential in relation to this crop in the national literature. to better understand the role of these compounds, a pot experiment was carried out to study effects of ga3 and cytokinin on the vegetative growth of the soybean. ga3 (50 mg l-1) was applied as seed treatment, leaving plants with water application as control. ga3 (100 mg l-1) and cytokinin (30 mg l-1) were sprayed on leaves at the physiological stage v3/v4, and 15 days after, cytokinin (30 mg l-1), also as foliar spray. seed treatment decreased plant emergence and initial soybean root growth, but as the season progressed, differences in root growth disappeared; plants were shorter, and presented a decrease in the number of nodes, in stem diameter, in leaf area and in dry matter yield. conversely, foliar application of ga3 led to an increase in plant height, first node height and stem diameter. leaf area and dry matter production also increased as a result of ga3 foliar application. there was no effect of exogenous gibberellin and cytokinin on the number of soybean leaves, number of stem branches and root dry matter. joint application of gibberellin and cytokinin tended to inhibit gibberellin effects. cytokinin applied to leaves during soybean vegetative growth was not effective in modifying any of the evaluated plant growth variables.