As of October 17, 2018, the cultivation of cannabis seed is permitted in accordance with the requirements of the Cannabis Act and Regulations. Want to control budget or have trouble finding clones? Learn how to grow cannabis from seed with this 10-step guide. Male vs Female Cannabis Cannabis is a dioecious plant, which means it has male and female flowers on separate plants. When the male plant enters the reproductive stage, it will develop male pollen sacs. The female plant will produce flowers ready to accept the pollen. This also means that cannabis is not true to seed,
Regulation of cannabis seed
As of October 17, 2018, the cultivation of cannabis seed is permitted in accordance with the requirements of the Cannabis Act and Regulations.
CFIA’s role in the regulation of cannabis seed
The CFIA regulates the import, export, certification and grading of cannabis seed under the following acts and regulations:
The CFIA’s Seeds Act and Regulations and Plant Protection Act and Regulations regulate cannabis seed in the following ways:
- delivery of the pedigreed seed crop inspection system
- labelling requirements of the Seeds Act and Regulations will apply to seed of cannabis
sativa outlines the import requirements for plants and seeds
- The Seeds Act and Regulations will regulate the import of cannabis seed. The ABCs of Seed Importation into Canada outline these requirements
Cannabis with novel traits
Cannabis could also be subject to assessment under the Seeds Act and Seeds Regulations as a plant with novel traits, if a novel trait was introduced in to the crop.
How to Grow Cannabis From Seed In 10 Easy Steps
Whether it’s to control budget or because it’s hard to acquire clones, many are interested in learning how to grow cannabis from seed. Growing marijuana has never been easier or more accessible. Our guide to growing cannabis takes you from the planning stages to the final stages of your harvest. If you’re ready to start growing your favorite strain, keep reading.
Step 1: Sourcing and Germinating Seeds
If you can’t or don’t want to grow from clones, seeds are a great (and some may say better) alternative. Finding high-quality seeds is easier said than done. Dispensaries in states with medical or adult-use cannabis may carry cannabis seeds. In states without cannabis laws, finding seeds is strictly limited to online cannabis seed banks.
Do your research on the many available seed banks that ship to the U.S. While many say they ship worldwide, they may exclude the U.S. in the fine print. Seed banks differ in seed selection. They also offer a variety of payment methods and discreet shipping. Some of the most popular seed bank sites include Attitude Seed Bank, True North Seed Bank, Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds, and Seedsman.
Cannabis seeds require germination to jumpstart the growing process. The simplest way to achieve this is through the paper towel method. During this process, the germ in the seed breaks through the outer shell forming a root, also known as a taproot. Germination can take a day or up to a week. Germinated seeds can be placed in the growing medium.
Step 2: Location and Light
Cannabis can be grown indoors or out. However, most towns that allow for home cultivation require gardens to be secured and away from public view. Regardless of where you choose to grow, your space must have the right amount of light and space to grow.
If you’re growing outdoors, consider any large trees that may cast a shadow or shrubs and bushes that can limit its space. North American growers should plant their garden in a space that faces the South to increase the amount of light it gets.
Growing indoors? Consider the height of your space and garden. Don’t forget about including the hanging lamp height in your calculations. Grow lights need to be a certain distance away from lights to prevent burns and avoid stretching if the light is too weak.
Indoor growers can grow in basements, garages, rooms, and even closets. Many growers start off with a grow tent, which provides a contained space for cannabis gardens. Many tent options come with all the necessary pots, lighting, filters, and fans needed to start growing from seed.
Once you’ve chosen your preferred space to grow your garden, it’s time to consider lighting, an integral part of the process. Most growers choose metal halide (MH) lamps during the vegetative stage. They switch over to high-pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs during the flowering stage.
Others may stick to their fluorescent and LED options. These can provide the right level of supplementary lighting for HID lamps. If you’ll be depending on LED lamps for your garden, make sure they have a full spectrum of white light. Full-spectrum LEDs are a bit more expensive than conventional HID lights, but they can save you money on energy bills. 250 to 400-watt HID lights can work for small gardens.
Step 3: Medium and Container
The medium of your plant refers to the base structure of your plant’s roots. A container keeps your medium, nutrients, and water contained when needed. Outdoor growers can use dirt, topsoil, compost, and other soil amendments to create a thriving microbiome needed to feed the plant’s roots.
Indoors growers, on the other hand, are increasingly preferring soil-less growing methods. Mediums made from peat, sphagnum, and coco act like soil. They hold the moisture and air needed to absorb the necessary nutrients.
Many smart pot options have holes around the sides and bottom of the container to improve water drainage. These breathable pots allow roots to get oxygen during the dark cycle. The pots prevent water build-up, which can lead to root rot and mold.
Step 4: Nutrients
Choosing the right nutrients is important for the best growth possible. Cannabis plants require certain nutrients to grow its roots, foliage, and buds. Nutrient solutions usually include an N-P-K ratio (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium). Nutrient solutions come in grow and bloom formulas for vegetative and flowering stages, respectively. Grow formulas have higher ratios of nitrogen compared to bloom formulas due to their differing needs.
Start off by reading your nutrient solution’s instructions and create a diluted solution at ½ to …” the recommended dosage. Starting off with a lower-than-recommended dose ensures you don’t overfeed and ruin your crop. If within a week or 10 days you don’t see any signs of nutritional deficiencies, you can increase the dosage to the listed levels on the packaging. If however, your plant looks healthy, you can continue your feeding levels.
Ideally, you want to use organic fertilizers to avoid salt build-ups in the medium. Organic and veganic nutrients are pricier than synthetic fertilizers, but they produce a far better product. Organic nutrients are helpful to bring out the cannabinoid and terpenes from your strain.
Some outdoor growers choose to feed their gardens through a composted medium that has many of the minerals needed for the plant’s growth. Others use time-release pellets that contain nutrients that are slowly released into the medium.
Step 5: Vegetative Stage
A plant’s vegetative stage is the first (some might say most important) part of the growth process. Much of the plant’s size and yield are produced during this time. Some may say that longer vegetative periods can lead to bigger yields. Vegetative periods can last between a couple of weeks to a couple of months.
Plants will remain in a vegetative stage when the light-dark cycle has more light than dark hours. Indoor growers set light timers to provide their plants with a minimum of 18 hours of light per day during this stage. During its dark cycle, the roots develop, so every hour of light and darkness matters.
Many growers use MH bulbs during this stage. MH bulbs have blue wavelengths, which are necessary to keep your plants from growing tall and wild. Indoor growers may prefer this set-up to keep their plants short and bushy. MH bulbs can produce plants with short internodal lengths (the distance between the main stem and the branches).
During this stage, you can employ different training and pruning techniques to maximize growth and yields. For instance, topping a plant involves removing the top shoot of the main stalk near the end of the vegetative stage. When cut, the plant produces additional shoots under the shoot’s cut, where buds can form during the flowering stage.
Sexing Cannabis Seeds
Sexing cannabis seeds is vital for success. Whether a sensimilla grower or seed breeder it is important to know the boys from the girls.
Male vs Female Cannabis
Cannabis is a dioecious plant, which means it has male and female flowers on separate plants. When the male plant enters the reproductive stage, it will develop male pollen sacs. The female plant will produce flowers ready to accept the pollen. This also means that cannabis is not true to seed, i.e. seeds from a cross pollination will not directly represent the flowers they originated from and instead contain genetic material from both the mother and father plant. Because cannabis has both male and female sexes, you need to identify and understand the differences. Cannabis gender cannot be identified by seed or growth patterns and the only reliable method is to observe the reproductive organs that develop.
Growing for weed or seed
When you begin your growing journey, you will need to decide what your goal is. If you want to grow flowers for consumption or processing, you will want to ensure you only grow female plants that do not get pollinated. Seedless cannabis flowers are referred to as sensimilla and are more potent and flavourful than seeded cannabis flower. This is because when the female plant is pollinated, it stops directing energy to producing oils and cannabinoids. Instead, the pollinated plant focuses all its’ energy on producing seeds. Seeded cannabis is undesirable for medicinal and recreational growers yet it is first prize for many hemp and food crop growers, as well as breeders.
If you want to create seeds, you need to grow both female and male plants. You can separate your male plant as it starts to produce pollen. Then collect the pollen and pollinate only one or two branches on your female plant. By doing this you can enjoy the fruits of your labour and produce seeds for the next season. The other option is to simply let a male or two pollinate all the plants over the growing season. Leading to a harvest of hundreds to millions of seeds.
Sexing Cannabis Seeds
The best way to identify your plants gender is to wait until it is sexually mature and inspect the nodes or growth points. Plants show sexual maturity by displaying alternate branching and “pre-flowers”. These traits begin in the early flowering stages or late vegetative stages. Pre-flowers are reproductive organs that begin developing before the plant fully enters the reproductive stage and can be used as early identifiers. Male plants produce pollen sacs which look like round balls hanging off the plant.
Female plants produce bracts and white hair like pistils. Pollen sacs are rounder in structure where bracts appear more angular with a thin white pistil growing from within. It is wise to wait until you are entirely sure of your plants’ sex before deciding what to do with it. Not all plants produce the same looking organs and early identification can be tricky for some cultivars. Paying careful attention at all stages of growth will ensure that you are able to far better control the quality and results of your grow.
Cannabis sex isn’t that simple
As if cannabis isn’t woke enough, it can also occasionally be gender fluid. In cases of poor genetics, stressful environment or purposeful reversal, the cannabis plant can display both sexes at once. This is called an intersex trait or “hermie”. Hermies are traditionally undesirable as they may seed crops that are intended to be seedless. Thereby greatly reducing the value of the crop.
However, in recent times breeders have perfected the art of using these traits to their advantage. Femisied cannabis seeds are created by forcefully introducing intersex traits in a female plant. Then using its pollen to pollinate other stable clones of the same female plants. This means that the seeds made from the cross will be identical to the mother plant and almost always female. These are known as feminized seeds. Nowadays most breeders will use chemicals to induce this change in the plant, however almost any stress of the right intensity can induce intersex traits across the spectrum.
It’s easier than ever
Always ask first. If you are unsure about sexing cannabis seeds, there are many online resources you can draw from. Facebook groups make a great place to share and learn from others. Similarly online forums are an excellent resource to browse and interact with other growers without compromising your anonymity. But be warned, there are as many unhelpful opinions as there are helpful. As not all comments are from experienced growers. Try and find a community of people whom you feel comfortable with and have a healthy track record.
You should always source your genetics from reliable and trustworthy providers. There are few things more frustrating than finding an unwanted hermie a few weeks from harvest. In South Africa it is now very easy to access high end and reliable genetics. Whether you want to start from seed or clone, there are multiple vendors supplying feminised seeds and clones. For the aspiring breeders, some vendors even supply regular seeds and male pollen that you can apply at your convenience.
Get the right grow gear
There’s an old proverb about not building your house on the sand and how you should plan for success. Growing A+ cannabis requires a dedication and flexible budget for the happiest results. Don’t be afraid to invest a little bit in the correct grow medium and nutrients, it will make all the difference.
We hope that we have taken some of the mystery out of sexing cannabis seeds. Honestly though, it will be surprisingly easy to get the hang of sexing cannabis seeds in no time at all. You will spot the signs and differences quickly with a well-trained eye and should be well on your way to beautiful big buds. If you still need a little help spotting the boys from the girls? Please contact our grow pros for some top shelf advice.