How To Grow Marijuana From Seed

marijuana seeds ready for planting - featured image

Cultivating marijuana from seeds doesn’t need to be complicated, however, there are a few basic principles that you need to get right if you want a successful grow. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essentials: from choosing the right seeds and soil to mastering the art of germination and cultivation. 

We’ll also cover lighting, watering, and common pitfalls to avoid. Whether you’re a seasoned grower looking to refine your technique or a complete novice starting from scratch, this article has something for you. 

Should you grow indica or sativa cannabis seeds?

Before you even plant a seed, you’ll need to decide between Indica and Sativa strains. Each has its own set of characteristics and effects, so your choice will depend on your personal preferences and needs.

Indica effects

Indica strains are known for their relaxing and calming effects. They’re often recommended for evening use and can help with sleep and relaxation. Physically, Indica plants are shorter and bushier, making them better suited for indoor growing or limited outdoor spaces.

Sativa effects

On the other hand, Sativa strains offer more uplifting and energizing effects. They’re generally better for daytime use and can boost creativity and focus. Sativa plants grow taller and leaner, requiring more space and light, which makes them more suitable for outdoor cultivation.

marijuana nuggets

Feminized, regular, or autoflowering seeds?

Understanding the different types of cannabis seeds is very important before you start growing. You have three main options: Feminized, Regular, and Autoflowering seeds. Each comes with its own set of advantages and drawbacks.

Feminized seeds

Feminized seeds produce only female plants, which are the ones that produce smokable flower. Choose feminized seeds if you are a beginner or if you want to avoid the hassle of identifying and removing male plants, which don’t produce usable buds and could pollinate your female plants, leading to seeded buds.

Regular seeds

Regular seeds can grow into either male or female cannabis plants. While this gives you the option to breed, it also means you’ll have to identify and separate male plants to prevent them from pollinating the females. This option is a bit more labor-intensive but offers a more natural growing process.

Autoflowering seeds

Autoflowering seeds are the easiest to grow, and ideal for beginners. These plants automatically switch from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage without needing a change in light schedule and flower in under 10 weeks. However, they usually produce smaller yields compared to feminized and regular seeds, although their small size makes them ideal for indoor growing. 

Autoflowers don’t have to be small though, you can get autoflowers that are created to produce bigger yields by crossing strains such as Big Bud and Critical with ruderalis (autoflower) genetics. 

Where is the best place to buy cannabis seeds?

Selecting a reliable source for your cannabis seeds is vital for a successful grow. Not all seeds are made equally so give yourself the best start by growing with good quality genetics. For quality assurance, you should always purchase from a well-known online cannabis seed bank that offers a wide range of strains and provides detailed information about each one, helping you make an informed decision.

Check out online reviews of cannabis seed banks to ensure you’re buying quality seeds that germinate. Customer reviews and ratings can offer valuable insights into the reliability and quality of the seeds, as well as the customer service of the seed bank. Also look out for seed banks that offer a germination guarantee, if a seed bank doesn’t stand behind its genetics from the offset it’s probably best to avoid it.

What is the ideal climate for growing marijuana?

Climate plays a pivotal role in the success of your cannabis cultivation. While marijuana is a relatively adaptable plant, it thrives best in specific conditions.

Warm temperatures

Cannabis prefers a warm climate, with daytime temperatures ranging between 75-85°F (24-29°C). Nighttime temperatures should be slightly cooler but not below 50°F (10°C) to avoid stress on the plant.

Humidity levels

Humidity needs vary throughout the plant’s life cycle. Seedlings prefer higher humidity around 70%, which gradually decreases to about 40-50% during the flowering stage.

Light and dark cycles

Cannabis plants need lots of light, around 18-24 hours during the vegetative stage and a 12/12 hour light/dark cycle during flowering. Make sure to provide consistent light exposure for indoor plants.

marijuana germination

What is the best way to germinate marijuana seeds?

Germination is the process where your cannabis seed sprouts and begins to turn into a seedling. Doing it right sets the stage for a healthy plant. Here are some proven methods for effective germination.

Paper towel method

Place your seeds between wet paper towels and then into a plastic bag. Keep the bag in a warm, dark place. Check daily for sprouts, which usually appear in 2-7 days.

Direct to soil planting

Plant the seed directly into a pot filled with seedling soil. Water lightly and cover the pot with plastic wrap to maintain humidity. Remove the wrap once the seed sprouts.

Water soaking

Soak seeds in a glass of water for 24-48 hours. Once they sink and a small tail appears, plant them in soil.

Using seedling plugs

Seedling plugs are pre-fertilized organic materials that offer an easy way to germinate seeds. Insert the seed into the hole, water lightly, and wait for germination.

How long do marijuana seeds take to root?

The time it takes for marijuana seeds to root can vary, but there are general timelines you can expect. Understanding this helps you plan your growing schedule more effectively.

Germination stage

During the germination stage, which typically lasts 2-7 days, the seed sprouts and a small root emerges. You’ll know germination is successful when you see this tiny root.

Early root development

Once planted in soil, it takes about a week for the root system to start establishing itself. During this time, you’ll notice the seedling growing its first set of leaves.

Root maturity

By the end of the second or third week, the root system should be well-established. At this point, the plant is ready to enter the vegetative stage, where it will focus on leaf and stem growth.

How long does it take to grow marijuana from seed to buds?

The time it takes to grow marijuana from seed to harvestable buds varies depending on the type of cannabis plant you’re growing: Autoflowering or Photoperiod.

Autoflowering plants

Autoflowering cannabis plants are the quicker option. From seed to harvest, they generally take about 8-10 weeks. These plants automatically transition from the vegetative to the flowering stage, eliminating the need to adjust light cycles.

Photoperiod plants

Photoperiod plants require more time, usually around 4-5 months from seed to harvest. Unlike autoflowers, they require a change in light cycle to trigger the flowering stage. The vegetative stage alone can last anywhere from 4-8 weeks, followed by an additional 8-10 weeks for flowering.

How do you water marijuana plants?

Watering is a critical aspect of cannabis cultivation, but it’s not as simple as just pouring water onto the soil. Here’s how to do it right for optimal plant health.

Frequency

The frequency of watering depends on various factors like the stage of growth, climate, and type of soil. Young plants need less water, while mature plants in the flowering stage require more. Always check the soil’s moisture level before watering.

Amount

Overwatering can lead to root rot while underwatering can stress the plant. A good rule of thumb is to water until you see a small amount of water drain from the bottom of the pot. This ensures the root zone is adequately moistened.

pH levels

Maintaining the right pH level in your water is crucial for nutrient absorption. The ideal pH level is between 6.0 and 7.0 for soil-grown cannabis plants and 5.5 to 6.5 for hydroponic systems.

TIP: Get yourself a pH meter to test both your water and soil. You can pick one up from Amazon for as little as $10-$15 and then you can use either pH up and down solutions to adjust your water.

Water quality

Use clean, filtered water free from contaminants. Tap water often contains chlorine, which can harm your plants. Let tap water sit out for 24 hours to evaporate the chlorine or use a water filter.

What nutrients do marijuana plants need?

Proper nutrition is vital for any plant, and cannabis is no exception. Understanding the nutrient needs at different growth stages can make a significant difference in your yield and plant health.

NPK ratio

NPK stands for Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K), the three primary nutrients essential for cannabis growth. These elements are usually represented as a ratio on nutrient packages, like 10-10-10 or 20-20-20.

Vegetative stage nutrients for growing cannabis

During the vegetative stage, your cannabis plants will need higher levels of Nitrogen to support leaf and stem growth. A balanced NPK ratio with a higher Nitrogen content, such as 3-1-2, is generally recommended.

Flowering stage nutrients for growing cannabis

As your plants transition to the flowering stage, their nutrient needs shift. Lower levels of Nitrogen and higher levels of Phosphorus and Potassium are required. A typical NPK ratio for this stage might be 1-3-2.

What light schedule is best for growing marijuana?

Lighting plays a crucial role in cannabis cultivation. The optimal light schedule varies depending on whether you’re growing autoflowering or photoperiod plants.

Autoflowering plants

Autoflowers are less sensitive to light changes and can tolerate a range of light schedules. However, a common practice is to provide 18-24 hours of light per day throughout their entire life cycle. This maximizes growth without requiring any changes in the light schedule.

Photoperiod plants

For photoperiod plants, the light schedule needs to be more controlled. During the vegetative stage, aim for 18-24 hours of light. Once you’re ready to trigger flowering, switch to a 12/12 hour light/dark cycle. This change mimics natural conditions and encourages the plant to enter the flowering stage.

Changing marijuana light cycles

For photoperiod plants, you’ll need to manually adjust the light cycle when transitioning from the vegetative to the flowering stage. Autoflowers, on the other hand, don’t require any changes in light schedule, as they automatically transition based on age.

How to train your marijuana plants?

Training your marijuana plants can significantly improve yield and make more efficient use of space and light. There are two main types of training techniques: Low Stress Training (LST) and High Stress Training (HST).

LST (low stress training)

LST involves gently bending the branches and tying them down to encourage horizontal growth. This exposes more of the plant to light, promoting an even canopy and more bud sites. LST is less stressful on the plant, making it a good option for beginners. Typically, you can start LST when the plant has at least 4-6 nodes.

HST (high stress training)

HST methods, like topping and supercropping, involve more drastic actions like cutting or snapping branches. These techniques aim to redistribute growth hormones, encouraging bushier plants and higher yields. 

However, HST is more stressful to the plant and requires some recovery time. It’s best suited for more experienced growers and should be done during the vegetative stage to allow the plant time to heal before flowering.

Potential issues to look out for when growing marijuana from seed

Growing marijuana from seed can be rewarding, but it’s not without its challenges. Being aware of potential issues can help you address them before they escalate.

Nutrient deficiencies

Yellow or discolored leaves can indicate nutrient deficiencies. Make sure you’re using the right NPK ratio for your plant’s growth stage and consider supplementing with micronutrients if needed.

Pests

Spider mites, aphids, and other pests can wreak havoc on your plants. Regularly inspect leaves and stems and consider using organic pesticides as a preventive measure.

Overwatering and underwatering

Both can lead to root issues and poor plant health. Stick to a consistent watering schedule and adjust based on the plant’s needs and the moisture level of the soil.

TIP: 

Use smart pots. These pots are made from a breathable fabric that allows water to drain through easily. When growing with smart pots it is very difficult to overwater your plants.

Mold and mildew

High humidity and poor ventilation can lead to mold and mildew. Ensure good airflow and consider using a dehumidifier in more humid climates.

Light burn

Too much light can scorch your plants, leading to yellow or brown leaves. Make sure your lights are at the appropriate distance and adjust as your plants grow.

What are the best strains to grow for beginners?

Choosing the right strain can make your introduction to cannabis cultivation much smoother. For beginners, high-yielding autoflowering strains are often the best choice. Here’s why.

Big bud autoflower

Big Bud is a popular choice for several reasons. First, it’s an autoflower, meaning it transitions from the vegetative to the flowering stage automatically, eliminating the need for light cycle changes. Second, it stays relatively short, making it manageable for small spaces.

Lastly, it’s known for its high yields, making your first growing experience rewarding.

Auto amnesia haze

Similar to Big Bud, Auto Amnesia Haze is another autoflowering strain that’s beginner-friendly. It’s fast-flowering and produces substantial yields without requiring any changes in light cycle. Additionally, it stays short and is easy to manage, making it ideal for those new to cannabis cultivation.

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