So you’ve decided to grow marijuana from seeds. This gives you full control over your plants’ genetics, resilience, and, ultimately, the quality of the bud you’ll harvest. But where do you begin? This isn’t a potted basil we’re talking about; cultivating cannabis successfully requires a bit more finesse. Whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned grower looking to brush up on the basics, we’ve got you covered. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know from selecting the right seeds, understanding male versus female plants, the ins and outs of germination, and the ABCs of caring for your plants until they’re ready for harvest.
What is the difference between Indica or Sativa cannabis seeds?
One of the first decisions you’ll face is choosing between Indica and Sativa strains. Both offer unique characteristics and both have different effects when smoked so its important to understand what you want to smoke before you start growing.
Indica strains are known for their relaxing and sedative effects. Think “couch lock,” body highs, and deep relaxation. These are the go to strains for evening use, or when you’re looking to manage conditions like insomnia or chronic pain.
Sativa strains are known for their uplifting, cerebral effects that give you a sense of creativity and being sociable. They’re generally better suited for daytime use, giving you an energetic buzz perfect for staying active and focused. Sativa strains can also help manage mood disorders and fatigue.
So, weigh your options up. Are you looking for relaxation or something a bit more uplifting and lively?
The difference between Feminized, Regular and Autoflower Seeds?
After you’ve made the decision between Indica or Sativa, the next question is what type of seeds to get: feminized, regular, or autoflowering. Each has its pros and cons, depending on your grow goals, experience and the space you have available for growing.
Vegetative stage light cycle: 18/6
Flowering stage light cycle: 12/12
Growth Time: 16 – 24 weeks
Feminized seeds produce only female plants and it is the females that produce the buds you’ll be smoking, hence why feminized seeds are the more popular. Growing feminized seeds eliminates the guesswork and effort involved in identifying and removing male plants. If you’re a beginner or you want a straightforward growing process, feminized seeds are great because they simplify the growing problem and remove one of the main risks of growing regular cannabis seeds which is pollination. If you female plants become pollinated you’ll end up with seeded bud and your entire harvest could be a waste.
Vegetative stage light cycle: 18/6
Flowering stage light cycle: 12/12
Growth Time: 16 – 24 weeks
Regular seeds will give you a mix of male and female plants. They’re great for breeders looking to experiment with plant genetics. However, as mentioned above, be prepared to identify and remove male plants, as they can pollinate your females, leading to less potent buds. Regular seeds are great for growers on a budget too, as they are around half the price of feminized seeds.
Light cycle: 18/6 for both vegetative and flowering stages
Growth Time: 8 – 12 weeks
Autoflower seeds are game changers if you’re tight on time or space. Autoflowering seeds switch from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage without needing a change in light cycle. You can grow the average autoflower plant from seed to harvest in as little as 8 – 12 weeks and they reach an average height of 100cm. This makes them perfect for the indoor home grower, especially if you are limited on space.
With a few autoflowers you can quite easily harvest more than enough bud for your own consumption. However, commercial growers may be better off with feminized plants.
Buying cannabis seeds online
Once you’ve settled on the type and cannabis seeds you want, the next step is to figure out where to buy them. For a secure and quality purchase, it’s advisable to buy from well known online cannabis seed banks.
The advantages of using reputable seed banks include a wide selection, guaranteed quality, and often, customer support to guide you through the growing process. Online reviews are an excellent resource here; be sure to check them out before making a purchase. Reading through other growers’ experiences on websites such as grow diaries will give you insights into germination rates and the quality of strains available.
What is the perfect Climate for Growing cannabis?
Climate plays a crucial role in how your marijuana plants grow. Even the best seeds won’t reach their full potential if they’re not in a suitable environment. Here’s a breakdown of the ideal conditions for growing marijuana.
For most strains, a temperature range of 70-85°F (21-30°C) during the daytime and a drop of about 10-15 degrees at night is optimal. Too hot or too cold, and your plants may experience stunted growth or other issues.
How to monitor: Using a grow room thermometer
How to control: Aircon, fans or heaters if its too cold.
Young plants thrive in higher humidity, around 60-70%. As they mature, lower this gradually to around 40-50% to discourage mold and mildew.
How to monitor: Using a grow room humidity monitor.
How to control: Dehumidifier or humidifiers.
Whether you’re growing indoors or outdoors, good quality light is essential for photosynthesis and bud production. Outdoors, that means plenty of sunshine; indoors, high quality LED or HID lights can replicate the sun’s benefits. Outdoors try to pick a location that gets at least 8-12 hours of direct sunlight. If you think you will struggle to provide this then you will probably be able to achieve better yields indoors under some good quality LED or HID grow lights.
If you are growing indoors good airflow is important for preventing mold and encouraging the stems of your plants to strengthen. Make sure your grow space is well ventilated, especially if you’re growing indoors. Get yourself a rotating fan and keep one on in your grow room to help keep the air fresh and to replicate the wind when grown outdoors.
How do you Germinate Marijuana Seeds?
Germination is the first step to growing weed but often one of the most common parts that inexperienced growers get wrong. Here is a couple of simple ways in which you can germination your cannabis seeds.
Paper towel method
One of the most popular techniques is the paper towel method. Simply moisten a paper towel, place your seeds between layers of the towel, and then put it in a warm, dark place. Check daily for sprouts. Once you see a tiny root, it’s time to transplant.
Direct soil germination
Alternatively, you can plant the seeds directly into their final growing medium. Plant them about a half inch deep, water lightly, and keep the soil warm. While this method avoids the stress of transplanting, it’s less controlled than the paper towel method. Be careful when germination directly into soil not to pack down the soil too tightly on top of the seeds, this will prevent the seedling from breaking the surface of the soil and is often where many inexperienced growers go wrong.
Water glass method
Some growers prefer to soak their seeds in a glass of water for 24 to 48 hours. Once you see a little root emerging, you know the seed is viable and ready for soil. You can then plant it in the soil around half an inch deep with the root facing down.
Do’s and don’ts of cannabis germination
- Use Fresh Seeds: Fresh seeds have a higher germination rate. Check the appearance of your seeds; healthy ones are usually dark, brown, or tan with a smooth surface.
- Maintain Correct Moisture: Ensure your chosen germination method keeps the seeds moist but not soaked. Too much water can cause seeds to rot, while too little can prevent germination.
- Check pH Level: When using water, ensure it has a pH level of around 6. This ensures the environment is suitable for germination.
- Use Gentle Warmth: A slight warmth can boost germination rates. Aim for a temperature range of 68-77°F (20-25°C).
- Handle with Care: When transplanting or checking on your germinated seeds, handle them gently. The taproot is delicate and can be easily damaged.
- Don’t Use Direct Sunlight: During germination, seeds don’t need direct sunlight. Instead, place them in a warm, dark place until they sprout.
- Avoid Overwatering: While moisture is crucial, seeds shouldn’t be swimming in water. Excessive moisture can lead to rot.
- Don’t Plant Seeds Too Deep: If using soil or a similar medium, plant seeds about a quarter-inch (0.5-1 cm) deep. Planting them too deep can hinder their ability to sprout.
- Avoid Disturbance: Once you’ve started the germination process, try to disturb the seeds as little as possible. Frequent checking or movement can affect the success rate.
- Don’t Use Old or Stale Seeds: Older seeds have a significantly lower germination rate. If you do decide to use older seeds, be prepared for a lower success rate and potential variability in the resulting plants.
How Long Do cannabis Seeds Take to Root?
The time it takes for marijuana seeds to root can vary, but understanding the general timeline helps you plan and manage your grow cycle better. Here’s what you can typically expect.
After starting with your chosen germination method, you should see the first signs of a sprouting seed within 24 to 120 hours, or 1 to 5 days. You will begin to see the edge of the seed crack and a small, white root tip will begin to grow out of the shell.
Transplanting to soil
Once you observe the root tip, the seed is ready to be transplanted into its growing medium. After transplanting, it generally takes another 3 to 5 days for the seedling to emerge from the soil.
Now you are in the seedling stage, from here on in its about strengthening the young plant. For the roots to fully establish themselves this takes around additional 1 to 3 weeks. After this you are firmly in the vegetative stage of growth.
Factors affecting rooting time
Be aware that the speed of root development can be influenced by factors like seed quality, temperature, and humidity and soil density. Make sure you use a light and airy soil mixture to allow the roots of your cannabis plants to grow more easily.
How Long Does it Take To Grow a cannabis plant from Seed to harvest?
The time it takes to grow marijuana from seed to buds varies depending on the type of seed you’re using—autoflowering or photoperiod—and the specific strain. Here’s a general guide to help you estimate your timeline.
Autoflowering strains grow the fastes from seed to harvest, you’re looking at approximately 8 to 12 weeks. This includes all stages—germination, vegetative growth, and flowering. The quick turnaround is why most people grow them, but bear in mind that autoflowering strains typically yield less than their photoperiod plants because of the shorter vegetative and flowering stages.
Photoperiod strains require more time but often produce much bigger yields. From seed to harvest, the timeline usually spans between 3 to 8 months. Here’s a rough breakdown:
- Germination: 1 week
- Vegetative stage: 4 to 8 weeks (or more, depending on your preference)
- Flowering stage: 8 to 14 weeks
Keep in mind that these are approximate timelines. Factors like strain genetics, growing conditions, and care can either shorten or extend these periods. Sativas will generally take the longest to grow with indicas being a few weeks quicker.
How Do You Water cannabis Plants?
Watering seems straightforward, but when it comes to growing marijuana, there’s more to it than meets the eye. Proper watering is essential for nutrient absorption, cellular activities, and overall plant health.
Frequency and amount
Young seedlings require frequent but light watering. As they grow, you’ll need to adjust your watering schedule to deeper, less frequent sessions. Overwatering can lead to root rot, while underwatering may cause nutrient deficiencies and stress.
Quality of water
Always use clean, pH-balanced water for your cannabis plants. The ideal pH range is between 6.0 and 7.0 for soil grows and 5.5 to 6.5 for hydroponic systems.
There are various methods to water your plants, including hand watering, drip systems, and automatic sprinklers. The best technique depends on your setup, the number of plants, and your availability.
Signs of improper watering
Pay attention to your plants for clues on their water needs. Drooping, yellow leaves usually indicate overwatering, while dry, brittle leaves can be a sign of underwatering.
The rule of thumb is to water the plant when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. Use your finger to gauge the moisture level, or invest in a soil moisture meter for more accuracy.
What nutrients should you give you cannabis plants
Nutrients are the building blocks that fuel the growth and development of your marijuana plants. Knowing what to provide, and when, can make a significant difference in the quality of your harvest.
NPK stands for Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K), the three primary nutrients essential for plant growth. Each plays a unique role:
- Nitrogen (N): Essential for vegetative growth, nitrogen aids in leaf and stem development.
- Phosphorus (P): Critical for root development and flowering, phosphorus is vital during the flowering phase.
- Potassium (K): Helps with overall plant health and is crucial for the metabolic processes within the plant.
Nutrients during vegetative stage
During the vegetative phase, your marijuana plants will need higher levels of nitrogen for robust leaf and stem growth. A nutrient ratio rich in nitrogen—something like a 3-1-2 (N-P-K) ratio—usually works well at this stage.
Nutrients during flowering stage
Once your plants transition into the flowering stage, phosphorus becomes the star of the show. It helps in bud formation and root expansion. A nutrient ratio like 1-3-2 is often recommended during this phase.
In addition to NPK, cannabis plants also need trace amounts of micronutrients like calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. These are typically available in most commercial nutrient mixes but are worth mentioning for those who opt for a DIY approach.
What is the best light schedule for marijuana?
The light schedule you will use depends on if you are growing photoperiod or autoflowering cannabis plants. Let’s break down the ideal light schedules for both autoflowering and photoperiod strains.
Autoflowering strains are simple because they don’t require a change in light cycle to trigger the switch from the vegetative to the flowering stage. However, they do best under a consistent light schedule. You can choose either an 18/6 schedule—18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness or 20/4 schedule. You can keep them on this one light cycle from the seedling stage right the way through to harvest.
For photoperiod strains, the light schedule changes when you want them to begin flowering. While this gives you much more control over the size of the plant, it can be confusing for beginner growers.
- Vegetative stage: During the vegetative phase, more light encourages better growth. Start your plants off on a schedule of 18/6, just like with autoflowers. You need to monitor the growth of your plants and decide when is the right time to change your light cycle and trigger flowering. There is no right or wrong answer here, its just depends on how big you want your plants to be and how quickly you want that bud. Most growers veg for around 5 – 8 weeks although you can do longer than this if you want.
- Flowering stage: To trigger flowering, you’ll need to switch to a 12/12 light schedule—12 hours of light and 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness. This mimics the natural conditions that signal the plant to start producing buds. When you read that a strain takes ‘8-10 weeks’ to flower, the moment you change the light cycle, is when that 8-10 week timeline begins.
When to change light cycle
For photoperiod strains, the transition to the 12/12 schedule usually occurs after 4 to 8 weeks of vegetative growth, or when the plants have reached half of their final desired height. Autoflowers do not require a light schedule change to flower (see our detailed guide on best light schedule for autoflower).
How to Train Your cannabis Plants?
Plant training is a set of techniques used to control growth and promote a more even canopy, better light penetration, and, ultimately, bigger yields. The two main approaches to training marijuana plants are Low Stress Training (LST) and High Stress Training (HST).
LST (Low Stress Training)
LST involves gently bending and tying down branches to create a more horizontal structure. The goal is to expose more bud sites to light without severely stressing the plant. Here’s how to do it:
- Identify main stems: Locate the main branches that you plan to bend.
- Bend gently: Carefully bend these stems toward the horizontal plane.
- Secure branches: Use soft ties to secure the bent branches in place, usually attaching them to the side of the pot or stakes in the soil.
LST is a less invasive way to train your plants and can be done throughout the vegetative and early flowering stages.
HST (High Stress Training)
HST methods involve more aggressive techniques that cause deliberate damage to the plant, triggering a healing response that can result in more bud production. The most common HST techniques are:
- Topping: Removing the top of the main stem to encourage the growth of two main colas instead of one.
- FIMing: Similar to topping but less precise, FIMming affects a larger portion of the plant to encourage multiple main colas.
- Super Cropping: Involves pinching and twisting stems to damage the inner tissues, making the plant bushier and allowing for more bud sites.
HST methods are typically used during the vegetative stage, and plants need time to recover before transitioning to the flowering phase.
Both LST and HST have their pros and cons, and your choice should depend on your grow setup, experience level, and the specific strains you’re growing. Training your plants effectively can lead to better light distribution, greater yields, and more potent buds.
You’ve got the full scoop on growing marijuana from seed to bud! From picking the right type of seed and understanding light schedules, to mastering watering and nutrient needs, you’re now equipped to kickstart your own cannabis cultivation journey. Train those plants and watch your garden thrive. Ready to get growing? You’ve got this! Don’t forget to like and share this article.
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