The first step to starting a successful garden is learning how to cultivate cannabis seeds. If you hope to have a considerable harvest at the end of your growing cycle, you must pay close attention to each step of the way. Marijuana growing is an art, and it isn’t always one that you can learn quickly or easily.
In this guide, we’ll give you all the information you need to start your grow and maximize its yield. Then, we’re going to show you how to identify when it’s time to transplant your seeds and how to do so. Lastly, you’ll learn how to choose the best cannabis strains for your preferences and where you can find the best cannabis seeds to get you from start to finish.
How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
Germinating cannabis seeds is perhaps the most crucial step in any new cannabis garden. If you don’t know how to do this properly, you won’t have any plants to nurture and grow. Here are three steps to follow to get your new plants started on the right foot:
Step One: Inspect Your Seeds
The first step to germinating any successful plant is inspecting the seeds. The critical thing you’re looking for during this inspection is a dark and robust color. While green and white-colored seeds are likely to sprout a cannabis plant, these varieties will likely produce weaker plants. The downside is, you probably won’t know how well the plant is doing until it reaches the vegetative state.
When inspecting the seeds, you must be gentle with them. However, the darkest seeds will most likely produce vigorous, capable plants, even if their outer shell is slightly damaged. The best rule of thumb to use is to err on the safe side and only plant the seeds which are dark in color.
Step Two: Prepare Your Environment
The environment you grow in is even more important than choosing the right seeds. When it comes to the environment around the cannabis plants themselves, temperature is one of the main things to focus on. Humidity is important, too, but seeds will naturally soak up moisture in every way they can. Temperature, however, helps them to determine when to do this.
Cannabis plants are the most productive when they’re grown in temperatures between 71-77 degrees Fahrenheit. In the night time, they can survive temps as low as 63 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once you’ve these temperatures regulated, you can move on to perfecting other essential aspects of your growing environment.
- Marijuana plants prefer a damp environment. However, a wet environment is not ideal. Make sure to avoid these conditions wherever possible.
- Cannabis seeds thrive when relative humidity is between 70% and 90% at all times.
- When it comes to lighting, fluorescent is always your best bet. Cool White code 33 lighting yields the best possible results for any new growth.
- If you’re cultivating a hydroponic or Rockwool setup, make sure your pH value is somewhere between 5.8 and 6.2 .
Step Three: Choose Your Germination Medium
Your next big decision in the germination of cannabis seeds is the medium you choose to work with. Here are the top four germination methods that you can try:
The Wet Kitchen Towel Method
The wet kitchen towel method is one of the most common methods for both new and experienced cannabis gardeners. For this method, you can opt for cotton pads or ordinary paper towels. Either way, you’ll get similar results, so choose the option that’s most comfortable for you.
Planting Directly in Soil
Planting seeds directly in the soil is one of the safest ways to germinate them. One of the biggest benefits of using this method is that it doesn’t require you to move the seeds when they’re in their most fragile state. It’s also much easier to maintain the proper temperature for seed growth when planting in soil. This is because unlike paper towels or a glass of water, soil is much less prone to temperature fluctuations.
The first thing you need to do when using this strategy is to purchase a high-quality soil. Then, soak the soil in water. Some people even add a root-stimulating fertilizer at this stage. When planting the seeds, you only need to make a hole about 10-15 millimeters deep, and you must ensure you don’t pack the soil on top of the seed too tightly. Gently cover the seeds with your pre-soaked soil and then lightly spray the top of the soil to promote a moist growing environment.
You can also use a spray bottle full of water as an alternative to pre-soaking soil. If you choose to go this route, mist the top with water once you’ve formed your seed holes. When using this method, you should see the sprout start to break through the top of your soil about 4-10 days after planting them.
Using Stone Wool Blocks
The use of stone wool blocks as a germinating medium is usually reserved for more advanced cannabis growers. This is due to the fact that it can be challenging to maintain the right temperature and moisture level when using the blocks. You can use a warming mat underneath them to maintain the temperature, but the downfall of this method is that it can rob the seeds of moisture when not cared for correctly.
If you’re up for the challenge, you’ll need to start by pre-soaking the stone wool blocks to get them ready for the seeds they will host, which is done the same way as you would soak soil. This ensures that the wool absorbs all the moisture it needs to help your plants to germinate successfully.
Once you’ve soaked the blocks, it’ll be time to tackle the task of maintaining moisture within them. Maintaining the moisture be achieved by purchasing a plastic tray with a lid or a large cake tub. The enclosure created when you encase your stone wool blocks and seeds within these devices will prevent too much moisture from escaping. This way, you don’t parch your cannabis seeds, and you can move through the growing process with much less effort.
When using the stone wool blocks method of germinating seeds, you should see sprouts start to form in as little as 1-2 days.
The Glass of Water Approach
Although this is possibly the least successful method you can try, it’s ideal for beginners due to its simplicity. Start by half-filling a bowl or glass with water. You’ll want to make sure the temperature is around 71 degrees Fahrenheit for the best results. When using this method, you should see sprouts start to form within the first 3-5 days.
How to Clone Cannabis Plants
After some trial and error in the growing process, you’ll eventually find the perfect potency and growth cycle for you and your garden. Now, let’s look at how to actually clone your plants.
Step One: Choose a Mother Plant
Choosing the right mother plant is perhaps the most critical part of the cloning process. Since cloning will produce a second plant that’s identical to the original, you absolutely must be particular about the mother that you choose. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a mother plant to clone:
- Yield: The idea of cloning is to create exact duplicates of the best cannabis plants in your garden. If you prefer to cultivate plants that put out a high yield at harvesting time, you should choose mother plants that you can rely on to do so.
- Hardiness: The last thing you want to do is clone a fragile or weak cannabis plant. Always choose from the plants in your grow that have the most stable stalks, haven’t struggled with disease, and are healthy.
- Roots: Strong roots are a great indication of how well a marijuana plant is thriving and surviving. When choosing a mother plant to clone, select a plant that has a full and plentiful rooting system throughout the growing medium.
- Buds: Since you’re trying to clone the best of the best of your crop, it only makes sense to go with mother plants that produce potent buds. The clones you create will give you the same results you see.
- Age: The best mother plants to clone should be at least two months in age. Before this point, you’re running the risk of your plant being too young to produce healthy and steady roots during the cloning process. The longer your mother plant has been in the vegetative stage, the better.
After choosing a mother plant and before cutting your stems, you must be careful to prepare the plant properly. At least 1-2 weeks before you begin the cloning process, decrease the amount of nitrogen given to the plant by ten percent. This promotes root growth in cloned cannabis plants, consequently making your job that much more straightforward.
Step Two: Cut a Stem Off Your Mother Plant
Once you’ve chosen the perfect mother plant to split a clone off of, it’s time to cut a stem off the body of it. The best time to take a cutting is when your mother plant has reached its vegetative state. It’s not impossible to clone a plant in the flowering stage, but you’ll have a much harder time getting cuttings to root when they’re harvested in this stage.
When taking a cutting off of a mother plant, always cut from the bottom at an angle, like you would cut flowers to fit into a vase to promote water absorption. Also, be aware that the end of the branch that you take is where your roots will begin to grow. Make sure your cuttings have at least 6-8 inches of height and that at least two sets of leaves are present on the branch.
For a clone to be successful, new branches must sprout. To prevent your plants from getting dehydrated, you should also cut the ends off the leaves present on the branches. Spray your new baby plants several times a day to make sure they get the hydration they need to grow and thrive in the environment you’ve created for them.
Immediately after taking your cuttings, you should wrap it and put it in the dark. This process called etiolation, and it aids in the rooting process of new clones. This process of root formation requires some oxygen, but there’s a bit of a tricky balance.
To prevent rooting clones from being exposed to too much oxygen, you can immediately dunk your cuttings into water and then add a rooting solution. Avoid leaving your stems in water, as it will deprive your plants of the oxygen needed to grow strong and healthy roots.
Step Three: Root the Cuttings
When rooting cuttings, the rooting medium you use will make a big difference. Some of the best options out there are rooting cubes or small peat pots. There are also rooting solutions that are gel or liquid-based that work well for this stage, as well.
Once you’ve placed your cuttings into the growth medium of your choice, make sure to keep them moist. Be mindful of the temperature in your growing environment to protect your plants from dying. Your cuttings need about twelve hours per day. If you’re consistent and pay close attention, you should have strong roots in a few weeks.
How and When to Transplant Germinated Cannabis Seeds
Once your cannabis seeds have germinated and you’ve completed the rooting stage, you can move on to transplanting your plants. The methods to transplanting your new plants will differ based on whether you’re growing in soil or hydroponically.
The process of transplanting soil-grown cannabis seeds is relatively simple. First, choose a pot that’s large enough to support the size that your plant will eventually grow to be. Fill it with soil, leaving enough space for both the roots and the soil already present around them. Pat the soil down gently and firmly once you’ve secured the plant into its new pot.
If you started your clones in water, you must bring the entire growing area with it. This means bringing all the water with you when bringing the plants into their new home.
You mustn’t expose your roots to air at all during the transplanting process. You should also be careful to provide as close to the same growing environment as they started in, as well.
Choosing a Cannabis Strain: Factors to Consider
Before you even begin considering germinating seeds or making clones, start with selecting the right cannabis strain for your goals. There are a few factors you’ll need to consider, which are outlined below.
Sativa vs. Indica Strains
Sativa plants are ideal for consumers who prefer high levels of THC in their marijuana. Known for its energetic effect and “high” feeling, Sativa strains give users the “typical” side effects of laughing and becoming a food connoisseur. Medical marijuana consumers use Sativa strains to battle depression, PTSD, ADHD, and fatigue.
Indica is well-known for its relaxing and stress-relieving effects. Since this strain has a higher percentage of CBD than THC, it’s ideal for medical marijuana users who struggle with pain, insomnia, muscle spasms, and anxiety.
Autoflowering vs. Photoperiod Strains
All cannabis plants fall under one of two main categories: photoperiod and autoflowering. Photoperiod strains receive their signal to produce flowers from the sun when winter is coming. This means that they take a longer time to build a crop, and they need specialized lighting setups flower and reach their fullest potential.
Autoflowering strains, on the other hand, don’t require any signals to produce their flowers. Conversely, they begin producing flowers once they’re around three to four months of age (from germination that is). Additionally, it only takes a few months for buds to be ready for harvest.
Best Places to Buy Cannabis Seeds For Sale Online
Now that you’ve everything you need to start your new cannabis garden, you can begin shopping for cannabis seeds. Online retailers such as Sensiseeds, Seedsman, GrowersChoice, and SeedSupreme are some of the more popular websites that you can purchase online from.
If you live in a state where marijuana is legal, there may be a brick and mortar store that you can visit for all your cannabis seed and supply needs. Make sure to do your due diligence and research the quality of their equipment and the level of their staff’s knowledge before making a decision. This will protect you from getting ripped off or growing sub-par cannabis plants.