Cannabis growers don’t make the headlines. Still, as states approve permission to grow, sell, and possess, citizens can and will grow their own. They may use their harvest for personal recreational use or medical therapy. But, grow they will!
Growing cannabis is not like any other houseplant. If you plan to nurture a few plants in your kitchen window or a sizeable crop in a grow room, you must start with seeds. That takes little more education than you’d think.
A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Cannabis Seeds
- It takes two! Holly, gingko biloba, willow, yew, laurel, and many other plants are dioecious. That is, to reproduce, you need a male and a female plant. Cannabis, too, is dioecious.
So, to create the most potent marijuana, female plants are kept from male plant contact to avoid a drain on their flowers. The most valued cannabis product is without seeds (sinsemilla), plump with resin pods.
But, if you want seeds, you must mate the male and female. Once the male pollinates the female, female produces seeds. Unfortunately, that will kill her, and the seeds will drop.
- Some plants cross-gender. They become monoecious as the result of some environmental stress. A Darwinian survival mechanism, such plants produce both male and female flowers.
You can produce the hermaphroditic condition intentionally. Feminized seeds produce buds on every plant. You can feminize the seeds with treatments that fool the natural sexual development. Growers may use Silver Thiosulfate, Colloidal Silver, or Rodelization methods. But, it’s not a plan for beginners.
Because most feminized seeds produce imitations of their female parent, they tend to produce male and female flowers. Because that reduces the yield and potency, most professional growers avoid them altogether and not use them for breeding.
- Buy seeds smart. It’s tough to recognize sex in seeds; it’s easy to find seeds around your growing plants. In both case, you want to trust credible sources. High Times listed these sources best for 2017:
- Swamp Boys Seeds developed McFly White Fire #3, Nookies, Triangle Kush, Trigerian, Nookies, The White, and more. They distribute through SeedsHereNow.com, SoleSeeds.com, NeptuneSeedBank.com, Greenline Organics Seed Bank, and other authorized dealers.
- Source Genetics won awards for Cookie Monster, Gluekie Monster, and Schlemons. When Brian Kaiser interviewed the legendary O. G. Kush Man for Frank at Square Space, Kraiser opened with, “The THC levels of his flowers are incredible and their flavors are equally impressive.”
- Top Dawg Seeds, creator of JJ’s Nigerian Haze, Tres Dawg, and Star Dawg, offers scores of strains through dispensaries throughout the Bay Area and other locations in California.
There are many more reputable seed breeders and dealers. But, with a little self-education, you can prepare yourself for a visit to your dispensary where your budtender should be able to pick out for strain, quality, and growing support.
- Seeds want to germinate. They are engineered to do so. In the wild, they would fall to the ground, and under the right conditions, they would sprout and grow. But, you want to do this more carefully to get the value from the price you paid.
The right conditions allow an epicotyl to sprout from the seed. Some growers use tweezers to fold the seeds in a damp paper towel until the epicotyl breaks through a crack in the seed. It will be the source of the plant stem and leaves.
The easier way may be to place the seed 0.25-inch into a potting soil in a starter pot or plug. Covering the seed with the soil, you keep it moist and warm (70°F) until you have a seedling.
- Invest in the best. Quality cannabis comes from quality seeds. It helps if your seeds come with an explanation of their genetics. Breeders take pride in the products they create over time, blending and merging genetics for health, safety, flavor, and psycho-physical effects.
You can observe some qualities in color, size, and feel. In most cases, you want to favor plump round seeds. You want seeds that are dark and rich in color. And, you want to confirm the seeds are free of mold and pathogens.
- Store seeds well. When you consider price per seed, cannabis seeds are not cheap. The cost reflects the science and patience that produced them, the risk taken by breeders, and the expense of distribution. So, you should care for your seeds.
If you grow at home, the grow space decides how many plants you can raise at a time. Most growers try to cycle their grow, so they always have something blooming. But, you must take care of those extra seeds or seeds waiting planting.
Seeds should be handled with care. Touching them risks transference of your germs to the seeds and the final product. So, most growers use gloves and tweezers to handle them. They store them well in containers certified as organic-worthy. They prefer amber glass containers with tight lids stored in dark cool places. Refrigerating or freezing seeds or storing in plastic kitchen bags may compromise the moisture and degrade the seeds over time.
All you need to know
Growing cannabis takes time and patience. Cannabis seeds, seedlings, and plants do not take care of themselves. Raising weed from seed is not like planting and ignoring a philodendron houseplant. It is more like fussing over homegrown African violets or orchids.
For those who care about their strain of choice, it is worth the trouble. For many, it is a fascinating hobby. And, most of all, it saves money for and provides a source for medical marijuana needs.