Improving the tailorability of hydrochar synthesis is an effective way to enhance its performance and utilization efficiency. In this study, the growth rate, morphology, and molecular structure of hydrochar were controlled by regulating the pH and temperature of the hydrothermal carbonization process. Growth process analysis indicates that hydrochar has three growth periods: induction, rapid, and stable growth periods. It is mainly controlled by 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), which is formed by converting glucose and its transformation products. The regulation of acid can significantly shorten the induction period of hydrochar, even under low-temperature conditions (<180 ℃), and increase the growth rate of hydrochar. However, the degree of hydrochar adhesion varies: the lower the temperature, the greater the degree of its adhesion. Molecular structural analysis demonstrates that hydrochar mainly consists of furan structural domains and aromatic clusters, and its surface is rich in oxygen-containing functional groups. The degree at which hydrochar was aromatized was improved by increasing the reaction temperature (160–220 ℃); whereas the regulation of acid reduced it and increased the content of oxygen-containing functional groups on the hydrochar surface. Based on these results, it is proposed that hydrochar formation has five stages and three growth periods with or without acid regulation.