Although White Widow only has 50% sativa genetics, she smokes like pure Haze, for a totally cerebral high. The buzz starts off as a tingle across the face before it explodes into a huge euphoric cloud of happiness. It’s slightly trippy if you aren’t used to smoking this type of weed, so take care if you usually associate herb with a more physical stone. The taste is crisp and refreshing, with an unmistakable pine flavour, accented by clean notes of tart citrus.
The 7 Easy Steps of Growing Marijuana
Legal cannabis is becoming the norm across the United States and in many other countries of the world. Hooray!! Although not official, it is ostensibly legal in most of Europe and if not legal, then certainly tolerated.
So, you have come to the decision to grow your own cannabis. Well done! Soon you will be part of a rapidly growing culture. The phenomenon of homegrown marijuana that is sweeping the world.
Growing your own cannabis is a fun and inexpensive way to put high-quality buds in your jar. Marijuana is a hardy plant that can grow in a wide range of climates, in greenhouses or indoors all year round.
CANNABIS IS YOUR FRIEND
Like all gardening, cannabis growing is a skill developed over time. It is easy to learn but takes a happily stoned lifetime to master. There is no reason to be intimidated by growing your own. The process is not complicated and can be as inexpensive or expensive as you like.
Understanding the fundamentals of cannabis growing is a good place to start your marijuana growing journey. Making informed decisions early will maximise your end yields. These seven basic steps will give you an excellent knowledge base to become an expert marijuana gardener.
STEP 1: CHOOSING YOUR CANNABIS SEEDS
The choice is staggering. Sativa, indica, ruderalis, any number of hybrids, all available at a click. You know what you enjoy from personal experience. What strains have fitted your groove in the past? What strains have performed as a satisfactory medicine for your particular ailment? They are probably a good place to start.
With your personal taste in mind now consider your growing circumstances. Are you growing in a small cupboard where small fast-maturing plants like autoflowering strains or indicas will be the most effective use of your space? Or do you have a nice big backyard where you can grow one or more monsters directly in the soil or in large pots?
STEP 2: CANNABIS FUNDAMENTALS
In order to grow at its best and give you the juicy buds, you love cannabis requires some fundamental things.
LIGHT: For healthy vegetation marijuana needs over twelve hours of light per twenty-four hour period. Indoors this is controlled by you with timers. Outdoors germination must be delayed until the plants can be exposed to more than twelve hours of daylight and receive at least eight hours of direct sunlight per day.
GROWING MEDIUM: Organic growers will use some kinds of soil every time inside or out. However, soil isn’t the only choice. Neutral mediums that are entirely nutrient dependant include coconut coir, perlite, vermiculite or rock wool. Aeroponics, purely hydroponic or deep water culture do not use mediums at all. The suspended root matrix gets nutrients directly from the nutrient mix.
AIR: For strength and proper exchange of gases, cannabis requires fresh moving air. Outdoors this is no problems your plants will be exposed to breeze and gale alike. Indoors your plants will need a fresh air intake, stale air exhaust and a fan for air movement. Still, environments encourage pests, moulds and weak growth. A buildup of aspirated gases will stunt plant growth.
WATER: Like all living things cannabis needs water to grow, thrive and carry out its biological functions. If you live somewhere with regular rainfall your outdoor crop may get all it needs from nature alone. Large cannabis plants are notoriously thirsty. If you are going big then you will certainly need to supplement water between rains.
Indoors water becomes the medium that carries nutrients. Unmodified water is used to flush hydroponic and soilless systems regularly. The pH of your water is very important. The canny cannabis grower has a good pH meter as part of a comprehensive grow kit.
TEMPERATURE: Cannabis is a very hardy plant and can survive cold and heat well. Just like you or me though, it can get stressed and not function well in the extremes. Cannabis can freeze or boil to death. It can stop growing or go into stasis. It will go into survival mode if the temperatures are too high or too cold for too long. Twenty-seven degrees centigrade is the accepted ideal for vigorous cannabis growth. Indoors this is easy to achieve with fans, air conditioning units, heating and cooling mats. Lights will certainly generate heat that needs to be vented.
Outdoors you need to pick your time. Know your particular climate well. Have a sun cycle app or chart to make sure you get your timing right. Too early and you risk your plants going into flower immediately, then re-vegging when the daylight increases. This is unwanted. Your flowers will not form properly when blooming begins. Too late and you will have small plants with fewer flower sites.
NUTRIENTS: Like all living things cannabis also requires fuel to grow. A good friable soil mix that is rich with compost, living organisms, vitamins and minerals can supply your plants with enough food for their whole life cycle.
Watering with compost tea and other organic mixes like molasses or feather meals improve soil quality and encourage healthy plant growth.
With hydroponics or neutral mediums you supply all of the plant’s lifeblood with pre-formulated nutrient blends. Usually customised for marijuana especially. Specialised concoctions are made exclusively for whichever soil-less medium you choose.
HUMIDITY: Outdoors you don’t really have any control over this factor and you are at the mercy of your climate. The upside is that the variations in humidity and the robust biological functions needed to adapt to a changing grow environment makes your plants exceptionally strong!
Indoors humidity control is very important from seed to flower. Leaves aspirate atmospheric moisture as part of their day to day functions. Properly balanced humidity makes for a healthy pest and mould-free environment.
Cupboard, grow tent or dedicated grow room. Directly in the soil or in pots outdoors. Even in a companion planted garden your marijuana will need to satisfy all these needs to grow well and supply you with high-quality resin soaked nuggets.
STEP 3: LIGHTS FOR INDOOR CANNABIS GROWING
With legalisation, there has been an absolute explosion in the choices of lights and grow chambers for growing cannabis indoors. Your budget then will be the deciding factor.
GROW CUPBOARDS: Fully customised for cannabis and ready to go sophisticated grow cupboards made by people with decades of experience are available. If you have the thousands of dollars to spare. Lights, fans, separate clone, veg and flower chambers, timers and carbon filters all ready to plug and play.
LIGHTS FOR EVERY BUDGET: At the other end of the scale, you can have a rudimentary yet very efficient CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) or small LED panel (Light Emitting Diode) setup for less than three hundred dollars. Growing great buds in a spare cupboard. Other compact fluorescent lights like T5 battens come in a range of spectrums for vegging and flowering and can fit in a small space well.
HPS (High-Pressure Sodium) and MH (Metal Halide) lamps are traditional types of grow lights. A 1000W HPS with reflectors can efficiently light a 1.5 x 1.5-meter space and provide excellent growth. Similarly, a 600W MH lamp will light the same sized space and give you world class flowers at the end of the grow cycle. The heat factor generated by these lights must be considered. If not exhausted efficiently your grow space will quickly become too hot for healthy cannabis growth.
STEP 4: GERMINATION AND CANNABIS SEEDLINGS
Beginning your whole cannabis grow adventure is the germination of your seeds. Each viable seed contains all the information needed to grow the strain of plant you have chosen. All they need are the right conditions and the life cycle will begin. Seeds won’t germinate until three specific needs are met. Water, correct temperature (warmth) and a good location.
Growing cannabis is an organic process without strict sets of rules. It is not a linear system to learn, but an art to be mastered. There are a number of equally effective methods for germinating cannabis. Over time you will find the one that works best for you.
STRAIGHT INTO THE MEDIUM: Place seeds directly into your medium, this way you can avoid any transplant shock. More often it is easier to germinate in a small pot of your chosen medium then pot on to the garden or bigger pots.
PAPER TOWEL: Seeds are placed on moistened paper towel on a plate and placed in a warm dark place. Usually covered with plastic or an upturned plate to retain moisture and humidity. After a few days to a week, your seeds have sprouted.
JIFFIES, PLUGS AND ROCK WOOL STARTERS: Easy to maintain as you can have fifty seeds germinating in a very small space. Once the seedlings are established they can be put in their final position without damaging roots.
IN WATER: Simply soak seeds in enzyme enriched water until you see the tap root appear then put in your medium. The seedling will quickly strike and break the surface about a week later.
GERMINATION STATIONS: Offering substantial control over the germinating environment germination stations provide humidity, temperature control and can accelerate germination times.
When your plants have broken the surface and the cotyledons have shed the seed husk and opened to reveal the first set of true leaves photosynthesis has begun. Now you have a true marijuana seedling on its way to becoming a heavy resinous indoor miniature or booming outdoor tree.
STEP 5: THE VEGETATIVE PHASE OF CANNABIS
The moment green leaves meet the light photosynthesis begins in earnest. Your plants start to metabolise and the vegetative phase has begun.
INDOORS: Lights are set to an eighteen hour day, six hour night light regimen. This doesn’t have to coordinate with the actual daylight hours, you can set it to times of day that suit you. Running electrical equipment during off-peak periods can save you a lot of money.
Your plants are happy in an organic soil or they are being fed nutrients designed for the vegetative phase. Lots of fan-forced breezes keep temperatures under control and strengthen your young plants. Exotic disciplines can be used like adding carbon dioxide to the environment. Low-stress training and scrogging can be used to increase the growth rate and flower potential of indoor cannabis.
How Long Does The Vegetation Phase Last?
The vegetative phase can last as long as you like. Depending on whether you want lots of small plants taking up your space as with the Sea Of Green grow method. Or, choosing a few larger plants topped and mainlined to produce large flower clusters.
OUTDOORS: Cannabis grows rapidly once the daylight hours start to increase during spring and on into summer. Unlimited root room and good genetics can see a plant grow to three or four meters during the vegetative phase.
Most contemporary plants are topped and under-shucked continually during the whole growth phase. This encourages an even canopy that will fill with homogeneously sized buds during the bloom stage. Cannabis will continue to vegetate while there are more than twelve hours of daylight. The further away from the equator, you are the shorter vegetation time your cannabis will have before starting to flower.
STEP 6: THE BLOOMING PERIOD OF HEALTHY CANNABIS
Blooming, flowering and budding all refer to the same phase of growth for the marijuana plant. The next few months will be exciting times as aromas start to develop. Interesting floral arrangements also begin to emerge that are particular to your choice of strain. The blooming phase has distinctive chapters that are common to all cannabis plants and begin when vegetation finishes.
Outdoors the first stage of flowering can be seen when Summer’s heat has passed and autumn approaches. Indoors you control when the flowering begins by changing the lighting schedule to a twelve hour day, twelve hour night photoperiod. <<<<< Depending on species cannabis responds to hormonal changes that make it continue vegetating or begin blooming. There are typically two types APD and autoflowering: DIFFERENTIATION: At the very beginning of the flowering phase a noticeable change in growth pattern happens. Rather than the striving and stretching symmetry of vegetation the branch growth begins to zig-zag and compresses with less distance between nodes. Differentiation is very noticeable. BLOOMING: Flowering follows the same stages in all species, but for different lengths of time. A quick indica will be cured and in the pipe weeks before a long maturing sativa. Soon after differentiation, proper flowers will start to form. Calyxes will emerge at branch internodes quickly forming pistil covered puffballs. Much desired resins are already forming in young trichomes on the pistils, calyxes and leaf surfaces. The puffballs of calyxes start to stretch along their own spike. This makes room for fresh fluorescent clusters and bud-specific leaves. Unlike sugar leafs, these new leaves are thicker, smaller, often heavily crinkled and covered in trichomes. They are eventually partially submerged by the swelling flower clusters. Over the weeks these flower clusters multiply and form large colas covered in resin swollen trichomes. Left to mature further the calyxes and the trichomes swell with copious amounts of desirable resins. Full maturity quickly approaches. During the last few weeks, nutrients are ignored and your plants will be flushed out with clean water. This guarantees a pure flavour free of nutrient and built up salt aftertastes. Now covered abundantly in trichomes, pistils are shrivelling back and changing colour. Deep orange, mauve, brown or scarlet may emerge depending on species. The swollen resin sacks begin to change colour in waves all over the plant. First, going from clear to milky then milky to amber. The flower clusters are so swollen they seem to have turned inside out. These signs mean it is time to harvest the results of your hard work.
The Different Stages Of Blooming
STEP 7: HARVESTING, DRYING & CURING FOR BEST QUALITY BUDS
When Is My Cannabis Mature?
Depending on species cannabis responds to hormonal changes that make it continue vegetating or begin blooming. There are typically two types APD and autoflowering:
DIFFERENTIATION: At the very beginning of the flowering phase a noticeable change in growth pattern happens. Rather than the striving and stretching symmetry of vegetation the branch growth begins to zig-zag and compresses with less distance between nodes. Differentiation is very noticeable.
BLOOMING: Flowering follows the same stages in all species, but for different lengths of time. A quick indica will be cured and in the pipe weeks before a long maturing sativa.
Soon after differentiation, proper flowers will start to form. Calyxes will emerge at branch internodes quickly forming pistil covered puffballs. Much desired resins are already forming in young trichomes on the pistils, calyxes and leaf surfaces.
The puffballs of calyxes start to stretch along their own spike. This makes room for fresh fluorescent clusters and bud-specific leaves. Unlike sugar leafs, these new leaves are thicker, smaller, often heavily crinkled and covered in trichomes. They are eventually partially submerged by the swelling flower clusters.
Over the weeks these flower clusters multiply and form large colas covered in resin swollen trichomes. Left to mature further the calyxes and the trichomes swell with copious amounts of desirable resins. Full maturity quickly approaches.
During the last few weeks, nutrients are ignored and your plants will be flushed out with clean water. This guarantees a pure flavour free of nutrient and built up salt aftertastes.
Now covered abundantly in trichomes, pistils are shrivelling back and changing colour. Deep orange, mauve, brown or scarlet may emerge depending on species. The swollen resin sacks begin to change colour in waves all over the plant. First, going from clear to milky then milky to amber. The flower clusters are so swollen they seem to have turned inside out.
These signs mean it is time to harvest the results of your hard work.
Harvesting The Marijuana Plant
There is no set way to harvest. Be rakish and learn by doing.
Some will wet trim which is removing all the leaves while the plant is still standing then break the plant down further. Hanging branches to dry or laying individual buds on a drying rack. Some will remove the large sugar leaves only then harvest and hang the whole plant.
There are no set rules except be careful when handling. You want to disturb the delicate trichomes as little as possible.
Drying And Curing Cannabis
Dry your buds in a dark cool place with little humidity. Ideally, this process is very slow and should take a minimum of two weeks.
Check things often for over drying or moulds
When dry, thin branches will easily snap. Thick branches will still be slightly flexible.
The chlorophyll has degraded and the green of growth has been replaced with species dependent colours. Fawn, tan, a pale green or even deep blue and purple can emerge as the buds true dry colours develop.
Storing Cured Buds
At this point loosely pack a well-sealed glass jar with your treasure. Open the top or “burp” the jar once a day for the first two weeks. This releases built up humidity that can moulder your buds. Once the flowers are dry to the touch only burp the jar once a week. You don’t want weeks of hard work to be wrecked by lack of attention.
How Long Does Cannabis Take To Cure?
You can cure for as long as you like. Remembering that the psychotropic compounds drop a water molecule when properly cured and become more psychoactive. This takes at least six weeks when cured under ideal conditions. The longer the cure the smoother the result. Keep your jars in a dark cool place. THC breaks down into other cannabinoids over time when exposed to light.
If you are unsure about bud dryness sample your wares as they dry so you have a future reference. Dry cannabis doesn’t really feel completely dry because of the waxiness of the resins. You will develop the feel and skill quickly.
Enjoying your own well-grown cannabis is not difficult. Some attention and patience can reap stinky benefits even from the smallest of spaces.
Happy growing friends!
TOP 6 CANNABIS STRAINS THAT ARE EASY TO GROW
GREEN PUNCH: FAST, BEGINNER-FRIENDLY SATIVA
Most sativas are finicky and require lots of time and experience to be able to do their thing. But smokers can’t stop raving about the energetic high and delicious taste. If you’re throwing caution to the wind and starting off with a sativa anyway, Green Punch is a great choice.
This Purple Punch X Green Crack cross can take all your mistakes in stride no matter what you throw at her. She won’t care if you over or under water, if you don’t mix your nutrients just right, if the pH is a bit off or you have a few minor light leaks. She’ll still yield very well! After just 55–60 days of bloom, Green Punch will reward your efforts with up to 500g/m² of beautiful, multi-coloured buds that are dense and totally saturated with resin.
Green Punch’s high, on the other hand, doesn’t take it easy on novice smokers. At 20% THC, the power is dead serious, starting off with Green Crack’s raging energy and focus, before settling down, hours later, into a pain-relieving physical stone that’s the perfect way to wind down. Thank Purple Punch’s touch of indica for that final touch of peaceful calm. The smoke is smooth, silky and filled with hints of tart citrus, ripe blueberry and sweet grape.
EASY BUD: STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
Autoflowering hybrids are popular because they’re both fast and simple to grow. Easy Bud is no exception to that rule. She gets straight to the point with fast finishes, short heights and a very forgiving nature. If you’re on the hunt for cannabis seeds that are virtually guaranteed to give you some nice buds even if you’re still figuring this growing thing out, Easy Bud is the way to go.
Easy Bud is a smart choice if you don’t have a lot of space. Indoors, she’ll stay under 60cm, but get fat and chunky. The branches will be sturdy enough to hold her 275–325g/m² payload without needing any type of complicated support system. Her white indica heritage results in green buds that sparkle with a frosty sheen of resin, nestled within healthy, dark green leaves.
If you’re not an experienced user or you need a little more wake-and-bake in your stash, Easy Bud has your back! The THC is in the mild range at 12%, for a functional stone. The buzz takes the edge off, allowing you to chill, but it probably won’t lock you to the couch even if you have zero tolerance. Even hard-core stoners could use a few of these flowers just in case one of their lightweight, or overly paranoid, mates shows up.
CRITICAL: SERIOUSLY SIMPLE CUP WINNER
Super easy and a Cannabis Cup winner? That’s exactly what you’ll get with this medium-sized cash cropper. Although it’s simple enough for pure newbies, Critical delivers enough potent weed to attract the attention of professional growers. Whether you’re new to the game or go by the “work smarter not harder” creed, this 7-week Afghani X Skunk could easily become your go-to variety after just a single try.
When grown indoors, Critical is easy to work with because she never gets above 140 cm tall. If you need shorter plants, use either low or high-stress training techniques, depending on what you prefer. The plants will recover quickly either way. The colour is predominantly green with some autumn hues showing up during the last week. Even beginners can see up to 600g/m² after a very rapid bloom period.
As a 60% indica, 40% sativa, Critical has a fairly balanced stone that affects both the mind and the body for total relaxation. It’s very mellow, with no excess energy or anxiety. Get a little paranoid when you smoke high-powered weed? That won’t be a problem with Critical, even though it has an 18% THC level. This weed is as calm as they come. The flavour is classic: pungently sweet with earthy notes.
WHITE WIDOW: CRYSTALLISED PERFECTION
Known as the mother of the “White” family, White Widow has spawned countless hybrids, but the original Brazilian Sativa X Indian Indica is still the best and the easiest to grow. She’s won her share of cups, she’s dazzled generations of growers and no true stoner can turn down her snow-covered buds or her euphoric buzz. Compared to any other strain, White Widow is a real show piece!
White Widow is a classic Dutch strain, and that wouldn’t happen if she couldn’t thrive outdoors in colder temperatures. She does like a lot of light for super-high yields, so this hybrid is best grown indoors. Other than that, White Widow isn’t fussy. She doesn’t require any special attention or have any peculiar nutrient needs. Just use a good soil or other medium, don’t let your plants dry out, use feed designed for cannabis and you’ll have a spectacular harvest after just 9 weeks of flowering.
Although White Widow only has 50% sativa genetics, she smokes like pure Haze, for a totally cerebral high. The buzz starts off as a tingle across the face before it explodes into a huge euphoric cloud of happiness. It’s slightly trippy if you aren’t used to smoking this type of weed, so take care if you usually associate herb with a more physical stone. The taste is crisp and refreshing, with an unmistakable pine flavour, accented by clean notes of tart citrus.
ROYAL JACK AUTO: CARRYING ON THE JACK HERER LEGACY
With a shorter height and faster flowering period, Royal Jack Auto puts classic Jack Herer buds within reach of novice growers. This version stays true to the original strain, with medical-grade head highs and Jack’s signature spicy aroma. Pair this one with White Widow and your first few grows will feature a Dutch duo that’s hard to beat.
Royal Jack Auto is a fully autoflowering strain. That means she’ll start to show signs of bloom within two weeks of germination even if the lights are on around the clock. Flowers are fully mature and ready to cut in just 10 weeks total. Why not grow a few of these automatics side by side with some photoperiod strains? That way you’ll have fully cured, smoke-ready Royal Jack Auto in hand to make your second trim way more pleasant.
At 16% THC, Royal Jack Auto has a decent potency level for medical use or mild recreation. It’s even good as a functional morning smoke for the highly tolerant. The high starts off with a burst of creativity and motivation before it eases slowly into a chill body buzz for a pleasantly mellow ending. The taste is almost exactly like Jack Herer’s fresh herbal flavour.
SPECIAL QUEEN 1: TOP QUALITY AT A LOW PRICE
Few beginners make it through their first few grows without ruining a few seeds or killing a plant or two. Special Queen 1 is a classic Skunk mix that’s reasonably priced so you can harvest a nice supply of pungent flowers without breaking the bank. Save the more expensive seeds for after you learn the ropes.
Although she’s relatively cheap, Special Queen 1 is no slacker. After just 8 weeks of bloom, sometimes 7, these plants will be covered from head to toe in Sativa-dominant blooms that have a heavy, permeating smell. They’ll grow well just about anywhere including soil or hydro, indoors or out, trained or untrained. Yields are very generous at 550g/m² inside, or 550g/plant outside making Special Queen 1 just as appealing to professional growers as mere amateurs.
Special Queen 1 improves on original Skunk’s potency with an impressive 18% THC rating that gives this strain staying power. Even though the effect is a bit stronger and longer lasting, it’s still a classic high that’s mostly cerebral with a definite mood lift. Just a few puffs and your eyes will droop, your smile will widen and your thoughts will expand. Special Queen 1 has a sweet, fruity taste with a spicy edge.
There are benefits to the professionally made germination stations as they work very well and are pretty cheap to buy.
How do I germinate marijuana seeds?
Table of Contents
Introduction: Cannabis Seed Germination
Cannabis germination is the process of getting your seeds to sprout, and you know sprouting has occurred when a little white tendril pops out of the seed.
The little white tendril that emerges from a cannabis seed during germination is your plant’s first root, known as a “taproot.” All other roots made by your cannabis plant in its lifetime will sprout from the taproot.
The taproot – and maybe a few tiny early offshoots of the taproot – will get longer and longer, pushing the seed up, and after the shell breaks through the surface of your growing medium, the first leaves (these first round leaves are known as “cotyledons”) will emerge from inside the cannabis seed.
The cotyledons were already created as part of the plant embryo in the seed itself, so the cannabis seedling doesn’t have to grow them. In fact, the emerging first leaves are what break apart the shell after it’s cracked open by the taproot, as pictured here.
The next set of leaves after the cotyledons are your plants first “true” leaves and will have jagged edges (serrations). At least, they are the first leaves that your seedling cannabis plant has grown all on its own, unlike the cotyledons which were already formed in the seed.
Cannabis seeds can be expensive, don’t waste your seeds with bad germination methods!
(Wait, where can I get cannabis seeds?)
What Do Marijuana Seeds Need to Germinate?
Marijuana seeds need the following to get the best germination rates:
- Moisture – Keep things moist but not soaking (you can soak hard seeds for up to 24-32 hours, but do not leave seeds soaking in water for longer than that).
- Peace – Seeds need to be left alone while you’re waiting for the taproot to show up.
- Warmth – Keep things warm to get the best germination rates, but not too hot! Think springtime. Seeds can definitely germinate in cooler temps, but germination tends to take longer when it’s cool.
- Gentle – Be careful when checking seeds, and treat them gently when you have to move them. Avo >
When germinating cannabis seeds, think springtime conditions. In the wild, your cannabis seeds would germinate in the spring so they can be ready to take full advantage of long summer days!
Never let your young sprouted seeds dry up!
The main signal that tells a marijuana seed to start sprouting is the presence of moisture and heat. The combination of warm and wet (aka spring conditions) “tells” the seed to start burrowing their main root (called a taproot) through their shell.
If a seed’s root breaks through the shell and the water around has dried up, your seedling will die. Plain and simple.
Seedlings are fragile at first. Once sprouted, the roots need to stay constantly moist to stay happy and healthy. It’s important to make sure the seeds have access to water the entire time during germination, no matter which cannabis germination method you end up using.
Keep things warm!
Seeds germinate best in warmer temperatures and young marijuana seedlings do better with higher relative humidity in the air. When seedlings are young, they grow faster and healthier when they can absorb moisture from the air through their leaves while their roots are still developing. Dry air won’t kill your seedlings, but it doesn’t make things better. Again, think springtime conditions!
You can use an incandescent bulb (or two) placed over the marijuana seed germination area to help keep things warm. Incandescent bulbs are the opposite of what a grower typically wants: they can’t be used as grow lights, but they’re great at generating heat. Some people will also place a heating pad (the kind you get from a garden store for seedlings) underneath seeds to help aid germination.
Basically, you want to make sure any seeds or sprouts are kept warm and moist at all times, that their roots are unexposed to light, and that they get planted right away.
There are several different methods to germinate your cannabis seeds, and in this article we’ll go through some easy techniques that have proven to be effective.
How do I know if my seeds are good?
Assume all dark seeds are viable, even if seeds can be crushed
Generally, pale-green or white seeds will not germinate, but most dark seeds will germinate when given good conditions.
I used to believe that marijuana seeds were only “good” if they were extremely hard and very dark. One of the first tests I heard to check new cannabis seeds for viability was to try to crush them between my fingers. If the seeds could be crushed, they weren’t good, or so I was told. This has proven to be absolutely terrible advice!
Some of the best plants I have ever grown have emerged from seeds which were flimsy and could be crushed between my fingers. As long as you provide great marijuana germination conditions (as explained above), I’ve found that a lot of seemingly “weak” seeds germinate and produce amazingly hardy plants and great buds.
I do not believe the health of the plant is directly tied to the apparent “health” of the seed. If the seed germinates, it’s a good seed!
Here’s a picture showing several healthy and viable cannabis seeds
Remember! Most of the medical strains of marijuana we grow today (learn how to get seeds) have been bred over many years to produce plants that are easy to grow and which produce potent, medicinal buds. However, these strains have not been selected for the toughness of the seeds they produce since that isn’t important to us as growers. Just remember…
As long as a seed germinates, it’s a good seed!
Germination Method 1: Starter Cubes & Seedling Plugs (Recommended)
One of the best cannabis germination methods is to use specifically-made starter cubes and seedling plugs. These plugs make cannabis germination easy. You simply place the seed in the cube or plug, add water as directed, and seedlings automatically get the perfect conditions for germination.
Each cube or plug already has a hole specifically for you to place your seed. Just stick your seed into the precut hole and pinch the top closed a bit with your fingers. Don’t worry, you can’t mess this part up ? As long as the seed makes it in there, you should be good.
This is one of the easiest germination methods and doesn’t leave a lot of room for error. Cannabis seeds and clones can be expensive, and sometimes we have genetics we just can’t afford to lose. When that’s the case, germinate your cannabis with one of the following recommended options to ensure as close to 100% germination rate as possible.
Which Starter Cubes Work Best for Germinating Cannabis?
Rapid Rooters (Highly Recommended For All Setups)
Rapid Rooters are easy to work with – you just stick your cannabis seed in the Rapid Rooter (pointy side down), keep your seed warm and slightly moist, and let the Rapid Rooter do its magic.
Sprouts emerge and roots appear in just a few days.
Rapid Rooter starter cubes are suitable for all growing methods, including hydroponics, coco coir and soil. They work for every setup and come from General Hydroponics, a trusted company (the same one used by NASA) which is known for the quality and consistency of its products.
I highly recommend using Rapid Rooters over any other starter plugs. They are less prone to problems and work great with any growing medium (including hydroponic systems).
Pros of Rapid Rooters
- Easy to Use – You Can’t Really Mess Up
- No Prep or Setup – Open the Package and Go
- Some of the Best Germination Rates of Any Method
Cons of Rapid Rooters
- Can only get 50+ at a time (General Hydroponics currently does not offer fewer plugs per package)
- After opening the package, you only have a week or two before they dry out, so if you’re only germinating one or two seeds, you’ll end up having to throw many of the Rapid Rooters away.
There are a few different options for Rapid Rooters, which can be confusing if you’re not sure what you want. The 3 different options for Rapid Rooters are listed here…
Bag of Rapid Rooters
These are round on bottom instead of being a cube, which means they cannot stand up on their own. These are best suited to a hydroponic setup where the Rapid Rooter will be placed directly in the final destination. In our hydroponic setups, we’ve had near 100% germination rates with Rapid Rooters, better than any other seedling cube we’ve tried.
- Round on bottom (won’t stand up by themselves without support) unless you squish the bottom so it’s flat like this grower did (pic)
- Great for starting with Rapid Rooter directly in final destination (hydro, soil, coco coir, etc)
- Get 50 Rapid Rooters at a time
Rapid Rooters Mat
This type of Rapid Rooters comes in a mat of (usually 98) Rapid Rooters. All the individual Rapid Rooters are sectioned off and have a hole for the seed, but they must be cut or pulled away from the complete mat. Unlike the type of Rapid Rooters that comes in a bag, these ones are made into cubes and are flat on the bottom so they can stand alone. This makes them good for germinating in a shallow pool of water where the cubes need to be able to stand up on their own.
- Easily break cubes off the mat (already sectioned off with pre-cut holes)
- Already shaped like cubes with flat bottoms, so they easily stand up by themselves
- Good for seamlessly transplanting your seedlings somewhere else
- Get 98 Rapid Rooters at a time
Rapid Rooters Tray
The Rapid Rooters tray is perfect for seeds or clones. Allow your young plants to sit in the tray with water until their roots are well formed and ready to be transplanted to your final destination. The standard size tray fits most humidity domes. You can refill the tray with Rapid Rooters from the bag or mat.
As you can see in the pictures below, the Rapid Rooter Tray comes packaged up. Once you open the package, you will see 50 Rapid Rooters already set in the tray. The resting place for each Rapid Rooter has a hole on the bottom so water within the tray is wicked up. The top part comes apart from the bottom.
Just add you seeds and pour some water into the tray – the Rapid Rooters will do everything else for you.
Rockwool Cubes (Not Recommended)
It’s often hydroponic cannabis growers who use Rockwool cubes since these can be safely placed in hydroponic setups, hold a lot of moisture, and are resistant to mold. Rockwool is cheap and easy to find. It comes in convenient cubes. But it does have some major drawbacks…
Pros of Rockwool
- Cheap & Easy to Find
- Inert Medium (useful for hydroponic growers)
Cons of Rockwool
- Bad for the environment (unnatural material that does not break down)
- Bad for your health (especially your lungs) – wear gloves and cover your mouth/eyes when handling Rockwool
- Has a pH that is too high for cannabis, so it must be thoroughly rinsed and treated
- Poor cloning and germination rates
- Difficult for new growers
Rockwool cubes are bad for the environment
Rockwool is not a natural material – it’s made by heating rock and chalk to 3,000°F and air is blown through the mixture to create thin fibers of rocky material
It does not break down naturally and therefore after Rockwool is created, it will remain in that form basically forever, filling up landfills without breaking down for thousands of years.
Rockwool cubes can be bad for your health
Rockwool is dusty and needs to be rinsed thoroughly before use. Little pieces of Rockwool and dust can easily get in your eyes, skin and mouth. Small strands or fibers can get lodged in your lungs if you breathe in Rockwool dust, and it’s unknown if these fibers can ever get out again.
Protect yourself! Always use a mask, goggles and gloves when working with Rockwool.
Rockwool cubes have a high pH until they’re treated
New Rockwool cubes have a high pH – too high for healthy cannabis seed germination. Therefore it’s important to thoroughly rinse Rockwool cubes in pHed water, then let them soak in pHed water overnight before use. Since Rockwool holds onto a lot of water, after soaking they should be given a few days to dry out before planting seeds or making clones.
Rockwool cubes do not get great germination rates
Rockwool can be difficult to germinate marijuana seeds in, so I recommend most beginner growers sprout their seeds using another method like Rapid Rooters (mentioned above) which can also be used in hydroponic applications but are less prone to germination problems.
Many growers have placed seeds in Rockwool cubes, only to wait for weeks and never see seedlings appear.
Some growers seem to have no problems, yet many other growers suffer through very poor germination rates. Some seed companies will not honor seed germination guarantees if the grower uses Rockwool because it is notoriously bad for germination.
If you do use Rockwool, it’s recommended you germinate your seeds using another method like the paper towel method, then transplant your seeds to the Rockwool cubes after roots have already appeared.
Even when following all the best practices, we just have not gotten great germination rates with Rockwool cubes, and it’s common for new seedlings not to make it. When we were using Rockwool (before we switched to Rapid Rooters), we usually lost at least 1 seed out of a batch of 6 or 8.
We also had trouble rooting clones in Rockwool. Rockwool cubes just don’t hold enough air to get plenty of oxygen to the roots, and they tend to hold onto a lot of water and get waterlogged easily. Since Rockwool can hold a lot of water, it’s prone to “drowning” seeds
I highly recommend using Rapid Rooters instead for your hydroponic application (or any grow setup), as they are much more user-friendly and tend to get far better germination rates.
Jiffy Pellets (Recommended for Soil or Coco Coir)
Jiffy Pellets are used in a similar way to Rockwool cubes, though these tend to get much better germination results. Jiffy pellets are not suitable for most hydroponic setups where the roots are grown directly in water, but Jiffy Pellets can be directly transferred into soil or coco coir.
Pros of Jiffy Pellets
- Good Germination Rates for Soil and Coco Coir
- Good for Cloning – read a cannabis cloning tutorial using Jiffy pellets
- Come in dried pellets, so they can be kept for a long time
Cons of Jiffy Pellets
- Not suitable for hydroponic setups
- Must be soaked to expand each pellet before use
How to Use: Soak Jiffy pellets in warm water, which makes the pellets expand in size, as pictured below.
Once the compressed Jiffy pellets have expanded in warm water, gently squeeze excess water from each pellet and you’re ready to go. Treat them the same as Rapid Rooters.
Germination Method 2: Plant marijuana seeds directly in growing medium
Sometimes nature’s way is the easiest way. In nature, marijuana seedlings would sprout in soil, and they would emerge as their taproots start growing down.
As a grower, you can also plant your seeds directly in your final growing medium. This works in all growing mediums, though some can be tougher than others.
One of the biggest benefits of planting your seed directly in the growing medium is you don’t have to worry about shocking your young seedling during transplant. Because your seed is already in its final resting place, your new seedling will immediately start adjusting to the environment. Every time you transplant a sprouted seed, it can cause stress as the young plant needs to readjust its new surroundings.
- Soil – Plant seeds a knuckle deep (0.5-1 inch OR 1.3 cm – 2.5 cm) in moist yet not soaking soil. Use a light or a heating pad to keep things warm. This is one of the easiest marijuana germination methods for beginners.
- Coco Coir or other soilless growing mediums – Plant in a similar way to soil
Germination Method 3: Germination Station
One option for growers is to use a tool which has been specifically designed to provide optimal germination conditions like this germination station with heat mat.
You can make a DIY germination station at home by putting a plastic dome over a plate on a heating pad.
There are benefits to the professionally made germination stations as they work very well and are pretty cheap to buy.
When growers start their cannabis seedlings in a germination station, the seeds are usually germinated in a starter seedling cube.
One of the advantages of starting seeds in starter cubes is your sprouted seeds can easily be transferred right to their next growing medium or container.
I recommend Rapid Rooters as these starter cubes work great for cannabis seeds and can be used in any growing medium including hydroponics, soil, or coco coir. Other starter cubes include Jiffy Peat Pellets, and Rockwool cubes.
Once your seed has sprouted, just make a little hole in your growing medium, and place the entire pellet inside. Make sure growing medium is also moist yet not soaking, like your pellet or cube. The roots will emerge from the bottom of the cube and burrow directly into your growing medium.
Germination Method 4: Soak Marijuana Seeds in Water Overnight
Another method to germinate marijuana seeds is to soak them overnight in slightly warm water, usually done in a glass drinking cup.
This method is especially effective for seeds which have extra hard shells, or seeds which are older (more than a few years old).
The warm overnight soaking can help “wake up” older seeds.
Most viable seeds will start out floating, and then eventually sink to the bottom of your glass after a few hours of soaking.
If soaked in a clear drinking glass, you will see when the little white tap root first breaks through the shell.
Some seeds take longer than others to sprout. Especially older seeds tend to need longer to pierce through their shell. However, if seeds are left soaking too long, and haven’t yet sprouted, they can drown.
Therefore, do not leave seeds soaking in water for more than 24-32 hours.
After 24 hours, I recommend putting any still-ungerminated seeds in a warm, moist place to finish germinating.
Germination Method 5: Paper Towel Method
One way to germinate seeds is to wet a paper towel and then fold your seeds in it, then leave the paper towel in a warm place.
Use cheap paper towels! For some reason, the really cheap paper towels work best because they’re so non-porous. Seeds and their roots lay on top without getting stuck to anything. This is important! The more expensive “cloth-like” paper towels (like Viva brand) aren’t good for germination because the roots actually grow into them instead of laying on top.
If you germinate your seeds in a paper towel, there is the risk of hurting the tap root (the little white root that grows out of your seeds) when moving the sprouted seeds so make sure you are careful when you’re checking to see if the seeds sprouted.
There is also the possibility of having the towel dry out which will kill your new seeds so I recommend putting your paper towel under an upside down bowl or between two paper (or regular) plates.
Check on germinating seeds once every 12 hours or so (don’t disturb them or their roots). You can plant any seeds which have sprouted right away, or leave them for another day or two, to let the others keep up.
How to Plant Your Germinated Cannabis Seeds
After you see that your cannabis seeds have sprouted, you should plant them right away.
You don’t want to touch the little white taproot with your fingers, so either carefully move the seeds, or use tweezers. If you do touch or break the root, the seedling may still survive, but any damage to the root will definitely stunt and slow down growth right in the beginning.
Plant seeds so that the white root faces downward, about a knuckle deep into your growing medium. The top of the seed should be just below the surface of your growing medium.
It can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days before you see the young seedling emerge from the soil or growing medium. If your marijuana seedling hasn’t sprouted from the soil within 10 days after being placed root-down, it probably isn’t going to make it ? Even with the best practices and the best seeds, you will occasionally lose a seed. Many times it has nothing to do with you!
First sign of taproots. These are ready to be planted!
Rapid Rooters are nice, but not necessary. You can use them before you transfer your seedlings to their final container. The Rapid Rooter should be cut open lengthwise if you plan on using them for germinated seeds. I use big scissors.
Gently place the germinated seed inside, root down. Place the seed close to the surface so it doesn’t have far to go.
Sometimes you’ll have a taproot that is curved or bent. You don’t want to try to straighten it out! Open the Rapid Rooter you split, and lay the germinated seed down gently. The seed and root will naturally lay on the flattest side. Slowly close the Rapid Rooter, and you’ll see that the bent parts of the root will end up in the “crack” of the Rapid Rooter from where you cut to split it open from the side.
After closing a Rapid Rooter, it’s hard to tell it’s been opened. The texture of Rapid Rooters causes the seeds to stay in place and not “fall down” further into the hole once you’ve got it closed.
Sometimes the shell can get stuck on the seedling, but it will often fall off on its own. If it seems really stuck, you can help the seedling by gently removing it.
Within the first week of germinating seeds, you will notice that some seeds germinate right away and others take a little bit longer. This can be caused by a lot of things, from the age of the seed (old seeds have worse germination rates and tend to take longer) to simple chance. The amount of time does not necessarily have anything to do with how healthy your plant will be in the long run.
Once your seeds are safely planted, you can turn on your grow light. The heat from the lamp improves germination rates, and the light can help your new cannabis seedlings open their first set of leaves. In fact, the first set of leaves will often stay yellow until they get light.
If you will be transplanting your seedlings again, avoid transplanting until they are well established and have a couple of sets of leaves (nodes). Some growers will plant seedlings in a growing medium in a solo cup or peat pot, so they can just cut away the cup for easy transplanting.
When you move seedlings around a lot, it stresses them out and potentially stunts their growth. Too much stress can even kill them. So try to plan from the beginning so that you move your seedlings around as little as possible. once they get bigger, they are a lot more hardy and can stand a lot more stress and movement.
Here are some pictures to give you an idea of the timeline to expect
Sprouted seeds planted in Hydrofarm pellets and placed on soil
If you want, you can put bottles on top to help retain extra humidity (like a cheap humidity dome).
It’s a steady 85 degrees F in there, no idea about the humidity in the bottles.
Marijuana seedlings under T5 Grow Light
Day 7 from seed – View the full album by im4potato right here: https://imgur.com/a/PsJfT
Your Cannabis Seedling’s First Few Weeks
During the first few weeks of a young marijuana plant’s life, you have to be careful.
Marijuana seedlings, especially seeds from some of the most potent strains, tend to be a bit delicate.
Seedlings definitely won’t be able to withstand full-strength grow lights or nutrients. They need to have a moist environment, but also can easily be drowned or overwatered.
If you’re planting in soil, start with a balanced potting soil that doesn’t contain extra nutrients. I recommend Happy Frog potting soil mix for young cannabis seedlings, but any plain potting mix from your local garden store will do. Never use Miracle-Gro soil or any soil that has “time-released” nutrients already mixed in. After your plants have grown a few sets of leaves, you can transfer them to a stronger potting mix that contains higher levels of nutrients like Fox Farms Ocean Forest soil, or you can start supplementing with cannabis soil nutrients. Don’t want to use nutrients? Learn how to mix up your own super soil so it has all the nutrients your cannabis plants will need!
If you’re planting in coco coir, a soilless medium, or hydroponics, only add cannabis nutrients at seedling strength, or 1/4 the regular strength, until your plants have grown a few sets of leaves. Then you can slowly start working your way up to full strength nutrient levels.
With young marijuana seedlings, less is more.
You’re trying to give young plants a very small dose of nutrients at first. However, even with young marijuana seedlings, the pH of your water and growing medium is important. Some growers get lucky and happen to have water with the right pH, but if you’re noticing deficiencies and problems with your seedlings, definitely take the time to understand about marijuana root pH and how it affects the plant’s overall health.
If you plan on eventually putting your marijuana seedlings under high intensity grow lights (such as HPS or MH grow lights), you may want to start them out with less intense fluorescent grow lights or compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). Or just keep your high intensity grow lights several feet away at first, and slowly move lights closer as your seedlings gets older
CFL bulbs (twisty/spiral bulbs as pictured to the right) are a great source of light for young marijuana seedlings
- CFLs provide the right types of light for seedlings
- CFLs are extremely cheap to buy
- CFLs are easy on your electric bill
- CFLs can be found almost anywhere, at your local hardware store, supermart, grocery store, or online
Keep CFLs or fluorescent lights about 6 inches away from your seedlings. Place your hand where the leaves are to make sure it doesn’t feel too hot. If it’s hot for your after 10 seconds, it’s too hot for your plants.
Once your seedlings have developed their first two sets of leaves, then you can move these lights as close as 2 inches away as long as the lights aren’t too hot.
Remember: If grow lights feels too hot to your hand after 10 seconds, they’re too hot for your marijuana seedlings
Make sure to keep a close eye on your seedlings to ensure they don’t grow too close to the grow lights and burn themselves. Seedlings can grow fast, and many growers have been surprised to find plants have actually grown into the light overnight.
If new seedlings are showing signs of stress, try moving the lights further away and see if that helps.
Once marijuana seedlings are about fourteen days old, they’re ready to start being treated as if they’re in the vegetative stage.
This Timeline Will Help Show You What to Expect
Two round cotyledon leaves, then two “real” (serrated) single-finger cannabis leaves
Next, the single-finger leaves expand, and the next set is usually 3-finger leaves
Next, the cannabis plant will start making 5-finger leaves
Finally, most cannabis plants stop at 7-finger leaves
If you look closely at the above plant, you can see that some of the newer leaves on this plant actually have 9 fingers. It is normal for there to be some variation between leaves – some plants will grow leaves with 11 or even 13 fingers. But the above guide will give you a general idea of what to expect.
Once your cannabis seedling is about fourteen days old, it’s ready to start being treated as if in the vegetative stage.
Make sure you learn about plant training techniques to make the most of your time in the vegetative stage!
Wait! My seed is growing upside down with the roots up; what do I do?
As long as the roots of a cannabis seedling are able to grow down, they will. Roots never grow upward on their own. Seedlings can sense the difference between up and down. Roots always try to grow down. Roots never grow upwards.
So how come sometimes it looks like a cannabis plant is growing with its roots pointing up?
When the seed end is still bent down, all you see is a U-shaped stem/root
Cannabis seeds can look a bit different when germinating. When in doubt, always wait a few days to see if leaves appear before you try to interfere.
Sometimes the stem of a brand new cannabis seedling can look like the roots growing out the top. But if you wait and watch, you’ll see that it’s all part of the plan. Hope these pics help someone!
Sometimes you’ll see what appears to be roots emerging from your cannabis seed, but this is actually the stem. The stem pushes the seed and leaves up, and the main taproot is currently burrowing down to support the seedling
As the seedling emerges you’ll be able to see the leaves (sometimes it will still have the seed stuck on the first leaves, like in the picture above).
The cotyledons (first, round leaves) unfurl, and then the regular cannabis leaves between to grow. Here’s another view of that same seedling from above. Even though it may have looked a bit weird at first, this seedling is completely normal and will grow just fine from now on.
What Size Pot Should I Use?
When growing cannabis plants in a container, you have to choose the size of your pot.
A general guide is to have about 2 gallons per 12″ of height. This isn’t perfect since plants often grow differently, but this is a good rule of thumb.
When in doubt, get a bigger final container size as opposed to a smaller one. Plants that get rootbound from being in a too-small container will grow more slowly and be prone to problems. It’s not good to transfer plants during the flowering/budding stage, so you want to have your cannabis plants in their final container at least 2 weeks before the beginning of flowering/budding. How do I get my cannabis plants to start flowering?
Final Container for Desired Plant Size – General guide
2-3 gallon container
3-5 gallon container
5-7 gallon container
6-10 gallon container
8-10+ gallon container
But what size pot should you use for your seedlings?
For fastest growth rates, it’s better to plant young seedlings or clones in a very small container, like a disposable plastic solo cup.
For new seedlings and clones, use a small container if possible
The reason you want to start with a small container is that your plant’s young roots thrive on oxygen. Cannabis plant roots “breathe” oxygen, just like we breathe air, and it’s important that young cannabis roots get plenty of oxygen so the plant can grow as fast as possible.
However, young plant roots do not drink much water yet. When you water seedlings or clones in a very big container, they will use up all the oxygen quickly, and the large size of the container will prevent the growing medium from drying out.
A big plant will drink up all the water quickly, but with seedlings, you’re basically waiting for the growing medium to dry out by itself. While you’re waiting for the container to dry out, your cannabis roots are sitting in a wet environment and not getting much oxygen, slowing down their growth rates.
Poke holes in the bottom of your cup so water can drain out easily!
By planting young seeds in a small container with holes in the bottom, the growing medium will dry out much more quickly, allowing you to water more often. The young cannabis will get plenty of oxygen and water.
Alternative to Solo Cup: Start plants in seedling cube
If you don’t want to have to transplant your young plants, you can start them in a seedling plug or cube and wait until you start seeing roots come out the bottom. At that point, they will be ready to be transferred to a larger container.
What happens if I plant seeds or clones in a big container?
Your cannabis seedlings and clones will definitely survive in a bigger container; they just won’t grow as fast for the first few days or weeks because they aren’t getting as much oxygen.
With a bigger container, you will need to wait longer between waterings, and during that time your plant roots will be getting reduced oxygen.
If you’ve planted your young plant in a large container, try to give only a little bit of water at a time (enough to wet the area around the seedling roots) until the plant is growing vigorously. Once the plant has grown a few sets of leaves, you should start watering cannabis normally so that water drains out the bottom.
One of the advantages of starting young plants in a big container is you won’t have to transfer them to bigger containers as they get older.
If you would like to take advantage of faster vegetative growth from transplanting, view the Complete Cannabis Transplant Guide (with pics!)