Germinating cannabis seeds is important because it gives the grower an advantage in cultivation and it speeds up the process The marijuana seed can be both inspiring and intimidating. Check out our guide to cannabis seeds before you start your first grow. 12 Tips for Sprouting Cannabis Seeds Every tiny cannabis seed represents a potential pound of cannabis flower. It’s crazy to think that so much abundance springs forth from such a small thing. If
How to germinate all types of cannabis seeds: Three methods
A seed is like an egg in many ways. Inside are very similar components: an embryo, a radicle, a plumule and cotyledons, and outside is a protective shell.
Germination is important because it gives the grower an advantage in cultivation and a faster start. And it makes sure you’re not planting a small rock where nothing will grow out of the ground.
The different types of cannabis seeds
For those who want to cultivate for recreational or medicinal purposes, the female plant is the only one that matters. Only she can produce the flowers we expect at the end of the cycle.
Cannabis is a dioecious plant, that is, it has a female and a male plant. The male flower produces pollen after calyx development, which, when it meets the flowers and pistils of a female plant, will be fertilized, generate a new seed, and guarantee the survival of the species.
Cannabis seeds have undergone several modifications and are currently available in three main categories: normal, feminized, and auto-flowering, also called automatic. Recently, a new category, quick flowering seeds, has gained popularity.
Regular or normal seeds
Regular seeds are mostly chosen by breeders and established growers seeking stable genetics. (Algirdas Gelazius/123rf)
If the cultivator’s desire is to perpetuate a variety or make improvements, he should choose seeds of the normal or regular type. They are created by crossing a male with a female plant.
We call them regular or normal because they develop naturally. This type of seed can produce species of both sexes. Here, the grower has no control over gender. The odds are divided. Regular seeds have a 50% chance of being a female plant and generating flowers, or 50% of being male, which will result in small bags which grow very quickly into clusters of calyxes and flowers with pollen grains, essential for the multiplication of the species.
Regular seeds are mostly chosen by breeders and established growers seeking stable genetics or new cannabis terpenes or profiles by pheno-hunting through regular seeds which become the mother stock for all feminized seeds. Traditional landrace growers continue a long tradition of growing flowers and pollinating their crops which lose commercial value but guarantee sufficient seeds for the next season. Traditional landrace growers are slowly disappearing from the most remote regions on earth due to feminized seeds and readily available hybrids seeds which fetch a higher commercial value.
- Breed and create new strains
- Equal probability of male and female plants
- Create pollen bank
- Sex of the plant is unpredictable
- Male and female plants can be confused by a novice grower
- Pollinating males will seed female plants, resulting in fewer flowers to be harvested by the grower
- Preparation of different grow tents
Feminized seeds are obtained by crossing two female plants. One of them is exposed to a high level of stress. (Shutterstock)
In the late 1990s, with the need to cultivate seeds that guaranteed the appearance of female plants, feminized seeds emerged. As the name implies, they are those that will result in female plants. Males are unlikely to appear unless cannabis is under stress or someone has offered it a “cat for a hare.”
In the beginning, these plants had quality problems or were genetically unstable. Furthermore, they could transform into hermaphrodite plants. Over the years, with improvements and new technologies, feminized seeds have achieved high levels of quality both in production and in taste and final effects.
Feminized seeds are obtained by crossing two female plants. One of them is exposed to a high level of stress until it becomes a hermaphrodite. After crossing them, feminized seeds are obtained.
Another method to get feminized seeds, and perhaps the most commonly used one, is the application of a solution of colloidal silver, a famous and easily found natural antibiotic. The solution placed on female cannabis plants induces the production of pollen, which fertilizes other female plants that will generate feminized seeds.
Feminized plants are photoperiodic plants and depend on hours of daily light to transition from the vegetative phase to the flowering phase. Photoperiod plants allow the grower greater control over the moment when the cannabis starts to flower by maintaining the light hours. Thus, growers can wait as long as necessary to remedy any problem with the plant still in its vegetative state, such as excess water or nutrients, or take clones or cuttings to ensure the survival of your favorite cannabis plants.
Less experienced growers should start with feminized plants until they get some experience. This is more likely to ensure that they are always healthy and within the correct growth parameters.
- Production of female plants
- Ideal for growers who want flowers
- Simplification of the cultivation process
- Not suitable for breeding
- Must be started from the seed
- Can turn into hermaphrodites
Automatic and autoflowering seeds
A few weeks after germination, autoflowering plants start flowering, regardless of the structure or health it presents at that time.(Shutterstock)
After feminized seeds, in 2008, automatic or autoflowering seeds appeared which were bred from Cannabis Ruderalis plants found in areas such as Eastern Europe, Russia, and Alaska. They flower in a shorter time, where there is no need for different photoperiods between the vegetative state and flowering, but they do require more attention.
Many people think that it is easier to cultivate, as it doesn’t need to change the photoperiod and the whole cycle happens in an “automatic” way. But not quite. A few weeks after germination, the plants start flowering, regardless of the structure or health it presents at that time. With that, the cultivator has no margin to correct eventual unforeseen events, such as excess or lack of nutrients, pests and diseases, and slow growth due to inadequate parameters.
- No need to change photoperiod
- Fast flowering time
- Lower yield
- Difficult and risky to clone
- Little time for care
Photoperiodic plants have the advantages of greater control by the grower during the plant cycle, a richer THC and CBD profile, better terpenes and higher production. There is also the advantage of producing clones from a selection of mother plants.
Autoflowering plants, on the other hand, have a faster cultivation, more than one harvest can be made during the year and the possibility of cultivation with the light always on.
|Type||Male||Female||Possible to clone|
Sativas, indicas, or hybrids?
Firstly, you need to decide whether you want to use it medicinally or recreationally. Certain cannabinoids are more present in certain genetics.
The differences between indica and sativa plants are quite significant, such as the shape, height and even the effects. Their morphological differences are much greater than those attributed to them in dispensaries and in popular culture, however.
Indica-predominant plants originally obtained from landraces in drier, more arid regions such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India have a shorter and more shrubby stature, a greater number of branches and a shorter space between nodes. This makes it a more compact and ideal herb to be grown indoors. They have a shorter flowering time, are easy to grow and especially under artificial light.
Indicas are more resistant to cold, require less water and do not handle high humidity well.
Sativa plants originally obtained from landraces in tropical and higher altitudes have a greater height, a “pine tree” structure, and the space between their nodes is greater.
Flowering times are longer and are usually a little more difficult to grow. They don’t like the cold, are more heat resistant and better suited for outdoor use.
Nowadays seeds that are predominantly sativa or predominantly indica are landraces which are still available from select breeders and keepers of cannabis history. Hybrids are more common and have some characteristics of each variety.
How to check if my seed is ok?
The best seeds have a rounded shape, are big and fat. The closer your seed is to these characteristics, the greater the chances it will germinate. (Shutterstock)
There are a few ways to find out if your cannabis seed is ready to be germinated or not.
You can start by using your senses of sight, touch, and smell to determine if cannabis seeds are good or bad.
To test using vision, you can resort to using a magnifying glass. The best seeds have a rounded shape, are big and fat. The closer your seed is to these characteristics, the greater the chances it will germinate.
Bigger, harder seeds are best. The surface should have a slight sheen.
They are dark in color (usually brown, black, or gray). The darker the color, the more likely they are to grow and produce a better plant. The dark bark means they came from a better-quality plant.
If they are pale, white, or light green, they were picked too early and are probably immature. This means they are not good and are unlikely to germinate. If they are light-colored and dusty, they are probably old and slower to germinate.
Another tip is to check if the seed has light streaks. Good seeds are usually darker and some look like they have tiger stripes and are also referred to as tiger backs.
You can’t always judge a seed by its color alone. It is necessary to know what is inside the seed. If you break a seed and it is oily and moldy, it is spoiled. If it’s black inside, it means it’s fermented and won’t germinate.
Other tests that can be done to verify that a seed is in good condition is the touch test. Just lightly squeeze a seed. If crushed easily, it probably won’t grow well. There should be no small cracks or holes. If they have these characteristics, they probably won’t germinate. They must not be wrinkled or cracked. If they aren’t cracked, you know they’re intact. If it resists the susceptibility test, the seed has a good chance of germinating.
The other test consists of placing the seeds in a container of warm distilled water for two hours. If they sink, they’re good. If they float, they are premature and probably will not grow and therefore are unusable. Healthy seeds are heavy enough to sink or sink once a little water is absorbed.
How to germinate my seeds?
To germinate seeds, four simple elements are needed: humidity, warm temperature, oxygen, and darkness.
Most seeds germinate between 24 and 72 hours, but some may take longer.
There are several methods to germinate a seed. The first and best known is germination on paper (it can be on napkins, cotton, or paper towels). In a pot, place a sheet of kitchen paper, separate the seeds so that there is a few inches between them and add another layer of paper on top. Both sheets should be damp but not soaked. If the paper loses moisture, add a little more water. Once the white root reaches 2-3 mm, carefully transfer the seeds to the pot. Do not close the pot, as oxygen is essential for successful germination. (You may also consider soaking the seeds for a few hours before placing them in the paper towels.)
Another method to germinate the seeds is with a glass of water, but it is not as effective as using paper. Place your seeds in a glass of water, preferably at a temperature of 22ºC. After 3-5 days, the seeds will start to open, and the small white radicle will appear. Then, just transfer to the soil already prepared to receive it. This is a simple method and suitable for first-time growers.
The grower can also place their seeds directly in the soil, in which case transplanting is not necessary. It is a safer option due to the fragility of the small root that appears when we germinate in a glass of water or on paper. Put the soil in the pot where your plant will be. Poke a hole to a depth between 10-15mm. Introduce the seed and gently cover it with more soil, but it is not necessary to compress it on top of the seed. Put some water on top to make the soil moist. After 4-10 days the grower will watch the plant sprout as the roots go under the ground.
Remember to always wash your hands and have all materials clean to prevent mold.
How to store my seeds?
Cannabis seeds should be stored in a cool, dry place. They can be stored in drawers and cabinets if there is no great temperature variation in these places. They can also be preserved in the refrigerator or even in the freezer.
Rapid temperature variations are the main problem when storing seeds and can harm genetic integrity.
If storing for just a few days or months, the grower can use a Ziploc-type bag, a glass jar, or an airtight container. If you want to keep the seeds preserved for a longer time, the most recommended method is in a closed vacuum package.
If you are going to keep your seeds in the refrigerator, choose a place further away from the door. That way, they suffer less from changes in temperature when opening the refrigerator.
Remember that by freezing your seeds every time they are thawed and refrozen, they become less viable.
By storing your cannabis seeds correctly and properly, they can last up to 10 years.
Special thanks to Sunshine Coast Genetics for helping fact-check this article.
Cannabis Seeds 101: Your Intro Guide To The Marijuana Seed
If you’re thinking about diving into the world of growing, why not start from the ground up? Here’s an introduction course to cannabis seeds.
If you’re a wannabe pot grower, you need to be an expert on all things cannabis seeds. This knowledge needs to be gained before you even purchase your first marijuana seed in order to ensure a successful grow. While we’ve given guides on how to begin the plant process and how to see it through to a bountiful harvest, you may be seeking more information about the seed itself. And so, without further ado, here’s our intro course to cannabis seeds.
Basic Plant Biology
To put it in the most basic terms, a seed is a plant that is in its embryonic stage. Like animals, plants reproduce by, well, reproduction. The process actually isn’t totally dissimilar from that of animals. In order to produce a seed, a plant’s ovule (like an ovum, or egg) needs to be fertilized by pollen (similar to sperm).
Once the ovule is fertilized by the pollen, a seed is formed. Like an embryo, a seed contains a wealth of genetic material. Inside that one tiny object is the future of the organism. And like animals, the fate and final outcome of the seed is almost entirely dependent on how you treat it in its early stages of development. Here’s how to set up your baby, er, cannabis plant, for health and success.
How To Germinate Cannabis Seeds
Before you plant your seeds, you’re going to want to germinate them. What is germination? It’s basically a process by which seeds become hydrated. When they are hydrated, the enzymes in them become activated and ready to grow. When a seed is properly and completely germinated, the beginning of a root emerges from the seed’s shell.
So how do you germinate your cannabis seeds? First, you have to determine whether or not your seed is even viable. According to the experts, an ideal marijuana seed should be dark in color with black stripes. If you have seeds that look like that, great! Germination should be successful. There are a few methods of germination, but the easiest one is the paper towel method. Simply put your seeds between two damp paper towels on top of a flat surface, like a tray, and keep that on top of a warm surface. A root should break through the seed in just a few days.
If a root isn’t showing up in the expected time, you may need to stick it in some water for a day or so. This will help soften up the exterior of the shell and make it easier for the root to emerge.
What is a Feminized Marijuana Seed?
You may have heard the term “feminized marijuana seed”. But do you know what it means? According to our very own cannabis strain expert, Danny Danko, “feminized seeds are the result of using “male” pollen from a hermaphroditic plant to fertilize a female flower, resulting in plants that can be female or hermaphrodites but never males.”
Are Cannabis Seeds Legal?
Okay, so now you know the basics of what seeds are and how to begin the planting process. Feeling inspired and planning your grow operation already? Great! But first thing’s first. You have to buy some. But where? Since cannabis is federally illegal, surely the embryonic form of cannabis is prohibited as well, right? Not necessarily. If you reside in a state with either legal recreational weed or a medical marijuana program, chances are, you will be able to purchase seeds without any issue. However, some medical marijuana programs do not allow the purchase or possession of cannabis seeds for home growing. So make sure you do your research regarding your state’s medical marijuana program or recreational cannabis laws.
Buying A Marijuana Seed Supply
Once you’ve done your research and you have determined that yes, buying cannabis seeds is totally legal, the next step is to actually make your purchase. So where do you buy them? More to the point, where do you buy quality seeds? Your best bet is making the purchase at your dispensary. You’ll have the peace of mind knowing that your seeds will be high quality. And if you need guidance on what kind of seeds to buy (ie what strain would work well in whatever environment or climate you live in), the people working in the dispensary should be able to help you out.
It might be tempting to buy your seeds online. You’ve probably seen ads for websites claiming to sell superior seeds at an attractively low price. We strongly recommend that you do not fall into this trap. As with many things, keep the motto “buyer beware” in mind. Purchasing anything online has its risks. But cannabis seeds are particularly tricky because of the federal prohibition. Where you buy your seeds is ultimately up to you. But we recommend that you make your purchase at a dispensary or a trusted friend or colleague.
Storing Your Seed
Once you determine the legality of cannabis seeds in your state, have figured out what kind of cannabis you want to grow and have purchased your marijuana seed of choice, what’s next? You’re going to have to store your seed. But what is the optimal way to do this?
It is ideal to store them before germination. To do this, you’ll need an airtight container that is either opaque or dark colored. Keep your marijuana seed in this container and then store the container in a cool, dry and dark area. To ensure absolute dryness, some cannabis growers like to stick one or two packets of food-grade desiccants in the container as well. If those kinds of chemicals scare you, however, some dry rice to soak up any potential moisture can work too.
Final Hit: What Do You Do With Your Cannabis Seeds?
So what do you once your seed supply is successfully germinated? It may just be time to plant it and begin the next phase of your cannabis grow process! This next phase involves choosing the right growing medium for your needs, the right environment (like a grow box or greenhouse) and the best grow lights (if you’re growing indoors) to ensure healthy plants.
12 Tips for Sprouting Cannabis Seeds
Every tiny cannabis seed represents a potential pound of cannabis flower. It’s crazy to think that so much abundance springs forth from such a small thing. If you’re looking to grow cannabis plants this summer, get started now with a visit to KindPeoples’ award-winning Genetics Department, where you can browse hundreds of strains in seed and clone form and pick the perfect plant to grow.
Once you’ve found the plants you’re looking for, getting started with growing cannabis is easy.
Simply follow these basic tips for germinating your seeds and planting them in soil.
- Look for viable, plump seeds with a telltale “tiger stripe” on the side that indicates maturity. Larger seeds tend to yield more vigorous and hardy plants.
The most common reason for lack of germination is overwatering. Don’t let your seeds get too wet or they can drown, and don’t soak for too long or they will begin to rot. If the seeds haven’t sprouted after 48 hours, let them go another day, but after 5 days the seed is most likely dead.