Growing your own marijuana plants is a fun and practical way of ensuring a steady supply of high-quality buds. This can be done either through cloning or germinating seeds. While cloning does have its perks, most people choose to start from seeds because the plants are generally more vigorous and diverse compared to clones. It is also much more convenient since seeds are widely available – thereby making it an attractive option for first-time growers.
Marijuana: From Seed To Sprouts
There’s a lot to know about nurturing marijuana plants. Once you get the hang of it, the experience is bound to be pleasurable and rewarding. Lucky for you, we’re here to guide you in growing marijuana plants from seeds – step by step.
Step 1: Choose Your Seeds Carefully
Choosing the right kind of cannabis seed is dependent on two things. One is your growing preference. The second, and this applies only to a degree, is limited by the type or size of growing space.
Kinds Of Marijuana Seeds
In general, there are four types of cannabis seeds. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages.
- Regular. If you are a breeder who wants to grow marijuana the way nature intended it to be, regular seeds are a perfect choice. These kernels have a 50% chance of developing into either male or female. Depending on genotype, regular seeds require 7 to 14 weeks of flowering.
- Feminized. For smokable buds or practically all other consumption methods, then opt for feminized seeds. Doing so ensures hassle-free cultivation and an abundant harvest because feminized seeds don’t sprout male plants. Like regular seeds, its flowering duration is around 7 to 14 weeks.
- Autoflowering. Autos are perfect if you are starting out or, by nature, an impatient person. It automatically flowers after 2-4 weeks of vegetative growth regardless of the season. All in all, it only requires 10 to 12 months to grow from sprouts to bud-bearing plants. But because these plants tend to be small, it yields less compared to photoperiod strains. Fortunately, you can plant several batches all year-round to increase the overall yields.
- Fast version. This relatively new type of seed is a photoperiod mixed with Ruderalis genes. The result is a plant that yields much like a photoperiod but with reduced flowering time. Fast version seeds are your best choice if you wish to harvest soon without compromising yields. The selection of strains, though, are limited.
Quality Of The Seeds
When it comes to ensuring the plant’s healthy growth, both nature and nurture play important roles. Showering it with TLC can only get you so far if the seeds are of inferior quality, to begin with. Hence, starting out with high-quality seeds ensure sprouting plants with superior traits because they are genetically predisposed to bear such characteristics.
When shopping for seeds, buy from reputable dispensaries and consider the following factors to be sure that you’re getting the best there is.
- Physical Appearance. Matured cannabis seeds that are ready for germination appear dark brown with light, tiger-print accents. The shell should feel hard, and it should not easily crack when pinched.
- Ease Of cultivation. Some genotypes are beginner-friendly, while some are best left to the experts. Indica strains, for example, are generally easy to nurture due to its compactness and short flowering time. Its dense foliage, however, makes it prone to mold attacks. Sativa strains, on the other hand, need more maintenance due to its tall structure and long flowering time. It has wide internodal spacing, though, making it less prone to molds.
- Yielding Potential. Some strains naturally produce more than others. So be sure to check the published, potential yields and see if it fits your needs.
- Flowering Duration. Feminized and regular seeds have flowering durations that take anywhere from 7 to 12 weeks. Fast version and autoflowering seeds, on the other hand, require significantly less time to develop.
Step 2: Germinate Your Seeds
After getting your hands on high-quality seeds that fit your needs, the next step is to germinate, jumpstarting its growth. Although there are many ways to pop marijuana seeds, the most straightforward and fool-proof technique is the paper towel method. This works whether you’re in a location with a cold or temperate climate.
- A beaker
- Two plates
- Six sheets of paper towels
- 200 ml of purified water
- Liquefied seaweed (optional)
- Cannabis seeds of your choice
- Fill the beaker with 200 ml of purified water mixed with a drop of liquefied seaweed then mix it thoroughly until homogenous. Adding the seaweed extract is optional, but it is beneficial to seedlings because of the trace amounts of magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, and nitrogen it provides – all of which are essential for healthy plant growth.
- Submerge the seeds in the mixture then stir it. Set aside and let it sit for 24 to 48 hours.
- Stack three (3) sheets of plain paper towel, then take the four corners and fold it neatly into a square. Lay it on the plate facedown. The folded side with four triangles should be facing the surface of the plate.
- Pour a little of the water and seaweed mix on the paper towel. Make sure it is moist but not drenched. Then, put the seeds on top. Make sure to put an inch of gap between each seed.
- Fold the remaining paper towels the same way and put it on top as a cover. The folded side should be facing the seeds directly for it to soak up all the extra water.
- Slightly tilt the plate to get rid of any free-standing water under the paper towel.
- After ensuring that the paper towels are moist enough, cover it with the other plate. Then, put them in a warm, dark place. You could store it on top of the refrigerator or in drawers. Alternatively, you can use a heat mat to increase the success of germination in colder climates.
- Check the seeds every 12 to 24 hours to make sure the paper towels are still wet. Keep the seeds moist for 24 to 48 hours.
- After 48 hours, you should see the little sprouts called taproots. If you get a dud, soak it in the moist paper towel for 24 more hours to see if it will sprout. If it doesn’t, discard it.
Step 3: Plant The Sprouts
Once popped, the next crucial step is to plant the sprouts immediately. At this stage, the taproots are still very prone to damage, so you should perform this step carefully. To prevent damaging the roots, do not touch it with bare hands. For this step, it is best to use tweezers in moving the seeds.
- Prepare the growing medium. Fine soil, rooting cubes, and soil-less media are among the best choices as these substrates hold water and air evenly. Do not use dirt from the backyard or soil mixes infused with nutrients. Remember, the seedlings are far too young and sensitive to handle full-strength nutrients.
- As for the pot, you could use a solo cup or peat pot for easy transplanting. However, keep in mind that moving the seedlings around can stress them out and potentially stunt their growth. As an alternative, you could opt to plant the sprouts directly in its final pot. Just make sure it will not be water-logged.
- Saturate the soil or rooting cube with just the right amount of purified water. Use a clean stick to poke holes in the soil. Do not use your finger as it could introduce unwanted microbes in the soil.
- Using a sterilized tweezer, pick up the seedling and plant it in the holes you poked with the taproot facing downward.
- Bury it about a quarter an inch into your growing medium, making sure that the root ball is completely covered. Pack the soil around the roots securely – just enough to support the plant while new roots grow, but not so tight that the soil restricts outward root growth.
- Keep the seedling constantly moist by sprinkling some water around it.
Important Notes To keep The Seedlings Healthy:
- If you’re using coco coir, a soilless medium, or hydroponics, and you plan to add cannabis nutrients, be sure to add just a quarter of the regular strength of the nutrients, up until the seedlings have grown new sets of leaves. Afterwhich, gradually adjust the nutrient level until it reaches full strength.
- Marijuana seedlings cannot withstand full intensity grow lamps during its early development. So, opt for 30-watt CFL bulbs instead because its blue light spectrum will yield excellent results. Keep it about 6 inches away from the seedlings.
- Check your soil’s pH constantly. Aim for a pH level of around 7.0. If the pH level drops below 6.0, sprinkle a little bit of ground limestone on the soil before watering it. On the other hand, if the pH soars above 8.0, add a tiny bit of cottonseed meal, lemon peels, and ground coffee.
- If you opted to plant the seedling in smaller containers, you would need to transplant it into bigger pots once the roots start to reach the bottom of the container. Otherwise, it will get root-bound, which can stunt growth. Remember to transplant the plants gently to prevent shocking and stressing its young roots.
Step 4: Aftercare
If everything went well during the seedling’s early development, congrats! You’ll have strong, vigorous plants that would eventually produce high-quality buds. But to reach this point, you must nurture the plant by providing it with the care and essential resources it needs to develop.
Different strains would have different requirements in light intensity, temperature, humidity, water and nutrient levels, etc. So, be sure to check the aftercare suited for each strain.
Both nature and nurture are pivotal in the plant’s development. How vigorous its growth will depend on whether you planted high-quality seeds as well as the amount of care and hard work you dedicate to it. Growing marijuana plants from seeds certainly require time, dedication, knowledge, and experience, but one thing is for sure: savoring the fruits (or in this case, buds) of your labor is priceless.