With cannabis slowly becoming legal in more and more states, it has gained newfound popularity for both recreational and medicinal purposes. However, good quality cannabis can be hard to come by or be very expensive; therefore, people have developed a keen interest in its growth and cultivation at home. This not only saves money but also yields large amounts of high-quality buds.
Growing marijuana can be incredibly easy and exciting; after all, it’s also called ‘weed’ because of how hard it is to screw up and its tendency to grow in most climatic conditions. However, there are some essentials that you still need to know about growing your own weed, and that’s why I wrote this guide on how to grow marijuana from seed.
Is weed legal in your State?
In states where marijuana is illegal, the chances are that growth is also unlawful. As of June 2021, there are a total of 18 states that have legalized cannabis use for recreational purposes. However, as many as 36 states have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, given that one has a doctor’s recommendation. Furthermore, some states like Mississippi have decriminalized weed but have not entirely made it legal.
The specific laws on growing vary from state to state; some allow home growing for both medicinal and recreational use while others only for medicinal purposes. Illinois is the only state that restricts home growing despite allowing recreational use of cannabis. For each state’s legal stand on cultivation, you can check out Wikipedia’s article on it or do a little of your own research.
It is critical to know this information before you begin any efforts on growing, or else you could be penalized and, in some cases, even face jail time if caught.
What’s better: Seeds or Clones?
There are two main ways you can grow cannabis; seeds or clones. Both choices have their own advantages and disadvantages, and there really is no correct answer to what’s best; the answer’s entirely subjective.
Here, we’ll be briefly going over the pros and cons of the two techniques to help you decide better:
- Availability: Marijuana seeds are readily available at different seedbanks, however, clones are much harder to find.
- Traits: With clones, you can simply check the attributes of the parent plant and find what exactly you’ll be getting from your plant since the clone inherits all the characteristics of the parent. The downside to this is that the plant will have all the destructive features like diseases etc., of the parent too. Marijuana seeds are trickier since there’s no way to know for sure what specific traits your plant will have.
- Ease of growing: Seeds are tough; even if you simply throw them in the soil and give them water, at least some of those seeds will germinate and grow into a plant. Clones are more delicate, and you need to be more careful with them. The environmental conditions need to be optimized to give them a good start and help them grow; otherwise, the cutting you planted might die off before producing anything at all.
- The strain of the plant: While clones have the same strain as the parent, you can’t tell about the strain of the cannabis just by looking at a seed. Unless you know which strain the seed came from, you’ll be lost on what you’re planting.
- Non-feminized cannabis seeds: Most sellers sell a mix of both male and female seeds, and you can only determine whether the plant is male or female or a ‘hermie‘ once they’ve grown a bit. After this, you need to get rid of the males immediately; otherwise, the males will pollinate the females, and you won’t get the desired buds. For this reason, feminized marijuan seeds are desirable since they will most likely grow into female cannabis plants only.
- Yield: Seeds give much more hefty produce than clones, and often breeders will even cultivate the seeds from the clone and grow the plant from scratch for better results.
For beginners, seeds are recommended since they are easier to grow. Commercially, however, cloning is preferred.
Feminized vs. Auto-flowering Seeds
When ordering seeds, you’ll come across three main categories; regular seeds, auto-flowering seeds, and feminized seeds. Regular seeds have not been genetically modified in any way and have no added chemicals; they’re the ones most commonly available. Most seed breeders prefer either feminized or auto-flowering seeds unless they plan on cross-breeding to produce other strains.
As the name suggests, these cannabis plants start producing flowers after a certain number of weeks (usually 3-4), regardless of the amount of light/darkness they’re receiving. They’re ideal for beginners since they have shorter life cycles and, most importantly, have high resilience. Plants from these seeds can be cultivated with moderate ease and don’t grow too much in size, so they are easy to look after.
The two main drawbacks of using these are less yield and low-quality clones. If you’re simply looking to experiment or don’t care about vast amounts of product, auto-flowering seeds should be your go-to.
Seeds that have been modified in a way that they produce only female plants are called feminized seeds. In cases when the amount of yield is a significant factor to be considered, feminized seeds will give more favorable results. They can, however, be a bit harder to cultivate than their auto-flowering counterparts but are pretty suitable for pollen. Feminized seeds will also give plants that are better suited for cloning.
Natural seeds are specially treated to make them feminized, and thus these seeds have chemicals in them. Their plants can also grow to be a bit large and require a considerable amount of space. With these seeds, you have to wait longer for flowers, and they’re only produced once the cannabis plant gets at least 12 hours of darkness a day.
How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds?
There are five key stages of marijuana plants, the most important of which is germination if you’re growing cannabis using a cannabis seed. It refers to the process in which a cannabis seed coating just cracks, i.e., tiny roots (taproots) sprout out of the seed. There are several ways to do this, but the most straightforward method requires four essentials; water, paper towels, air, and some dim, warm location to place this seed set-up in. Here’s what you need to do:
- Soak the paper towels in water, be careful not to drench them thoroughly; they should just be moist.
- Place the paper towels on some plate or just a clean place in an area with preferably little to no light and a warm environment.
- Place the seeds on top of this soaked paper towel and cover with another moist towel. You can also simply fold the seeds inside a single paper towel.
Once this is done, all you have to do is wait until the seed ‘pops’ i.e., starts sprouting. That’s when germination has occurred. This can take anywhere between 2-3 days to 2 weeks, depending on the climate of the region where you live. However, the chances of a seed popping after two weeks are negligible, and it is likely that it’s a dud and will not germinate. That’s when you should throw it away.
For a detailed guide on the optimal environmental conditions for growing weed indoors, check out Growing Weed Indoors Step By Step on the same topic.
Transplanting Germinated Seeds
This can be a delicate step as you’re moving the germinate seeds to a growing medium, and you have to be careful not to damage the roots while doing this. There are several different mediums available to transplant the seed, the most common and forgiving of which is soil. Growing in soil has several advantages, including sufficient nutrients, beginner-friendly, cannabis is grown in soil may have a better taste, etc., so that’s what we’ll be focusing on.
- Fill a pot with quality, aerated soil; it should not be tightly packed.
- Create a hole that is at least twice as deep as the width of the seed in the soil and place your germinated seed in it.
- Gently cover with more soil. Make sure that the seed, roots and everything, are entirely enveloped.
- You can separate the roots a bit to encourage outward growth, but don’t be too vigorous as you might end up damaging the seed.
Once this is done, spray the soil with some water. In the early stages, it is recommended not to directly water the soil and drench it as it might end up suffocating the seed. A week later, you should spot a seedling; that’s when you know planting has been successful. You can also make the buds bigger and more potent by providing particular nutrients, liquid plant food, etc.
Now you know how to grow marijuana from seed
You might want to do a little research on what’s the best season to start planting where you live. For example, if you’re living in Texas, you can grow in any of the warm months like May or June, and even March or April, although days with more sunlight ensure that the cannabis plant won’t flower too early, making them easier to take care of. However, in colder states like Alaska, the growth window is short, and it’s ideal to wait until mid-May before planting any seeds. Other than that, you now know all that’s needed about growing your own marijuana, so happy growing!
Also, if you grow indoor, no matter where you are, light leakage into the grow room can hinder the performance of your plants. You’ll want to use a PAR light meter to know how much light your grow lamps are providing to your marijuana plants.