We propose a detailed mechanism for the growth of vertical graphene by plasma-enhanced vapor deposition. Different steps during growth including nucleation, growth, and completion of the free-standing two-dimensional structures are characterized and analyzed by transmission electron microscopy. The nucleation of vertical graphene growth is either from the buffer layer or from the surface of carbon onions. A continuum model based on the surface diffusion and moving boundary (mass flow) is developed to describe the intermediate states of the steps and the edges of graphene. The experimentally observed convergence tendency of the steps near the top edge can be explained by this model. We also observed the closure of the top edges that can possibly stop the growth. This two-dimensional vertical growth follows a self-nucleated, step-flow mode, explained for the first time.