What Do Marijuana Seeds Look Like

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How do I germinate marijuana seeds? 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. Find out how to tell if a weed seed is good by looking at visual characteristics. Learn ways to determine if a seed is viable and discover where to get them. If you're looking to start growing your own marijuana, the first place to start is with the seed. What should you look for? How can you tell a good cannabis seed from a dud? Chris Bond tells us.

How do I germinate marijuana seeds?

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. Avoid touching their white root if possible; the taproot is very fragile and easily snaps off!
  • Plant Root Down – When planting germinated seeds, point the white root downwards into the growing medium to prevent the seedling from having to reorient itself.
  • Plant Knuckle Deep – When planting germinated seeds, they don’t have to be placed too far under in the growing medium, about a half inch to an inch (1.3 cm – 2.5 cm) down from the surface of the medium should be enough.

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.

  • Perfect for cloning or starting seeds with a humidity dome (standard 10-inch by 20-inch dome like this one – 7-inch height recommended for cannabis seeds or clones)
  • Easy to transplant to new destination
  • Just add water and seeds, that’s it!
  • Whole tray can be refilled with any type of Rapid Rooters (from bag or mat)
  • Comes with 50 Rapid Rooters, ready to go

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.

See also  Crop King Marijuana Seeds

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.

Root down!

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

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!

See also  Best Marijuana Seeds For Hydroponics

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

Seedling
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

12″ ~ 2-3 gallon container

24″ ~ 3-5 gallon container

36″ ~ 5-7 gallon container

48″ ~ 6-10 gallon container

60″ ~ 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!)

How To Tell If A Weed Seed Is Good?

Every cultivator knows how critical seed quality can influence the growth outcome. If you get duds, they won’t sprout. Some bad seeds will germinate but won’t reach their potential yield. It’s essential to know how to tell if a weed seed is good if you want your cultivating efforts to pay off.

Join us as we explore the characteristics of seeds and how to differentiate the good ones from the bad. We’ll also show you how to select the right vendor and where to buy quality seeds, so you get value for money and a bountiful harvest.

Let’s start with answering the question, what do good weed seeds look like?

How to tell if a weed seed is good

If you buy your seeds from reputable seed banks, you can be sure of getting quality seeds almost all the time. You’re more likely to get poor seeds from your local dealer. However, if you know how to tell if a marijuana seed is good, you can rule out bad ones immediately.

One way to judge the quality of cannabis seeds is by looking at their appearance. Be aware, though, that seeds from the same plant can have unique characteristics, just as with human siblings. Quality seeds will differ visually.

What do cannabis seeds look like? Here’s a summary:

  • Color – ranges from green to brown
  • Shape – some are spherical while others are pointy
  • Size – there are small and large seeds

Now, let’s find out how to tell if a marijuana seed is good. Here are a few signs you can look for:

Aesthetics

The appearance of weed seeds can indicate their quality. Typically, the outer shells of superior cannabis seeds have dark colors, such as black, brown, or grey. Avoid seeds with lighter hues—white, pale green, and yellow are of poor quality.

High-quality cannabis seeds will not have damaged shells. There won’t be cracks that expose the inside of the seed. You’ll also notice a healthy waxy coating when you look at the seeds under bright light.

While appearance offers a guide, it’s not a reliable indicator of a seed’s quality.

Shape and size

Healthy marijuana seeds may differ in size but look alike in terms of shape—they’re round or symmetrically shaped like a teardrop. Poor quality seeds usually have deformed or flat shells.

Seed size varies between cultivars. Larger ones are easier to grow because they have more stored energy and can potentially develop into healthy plants.

The weight of the seeds also matters when evaluating quality marijuana seeds. If you have two seeds and the smaller one weighs more than the larger seed, the former is of better quality. The bigger seed is lighter because it loses moisture and nutrients as it ages.

Firmness

Darker high-quality cannabis seeds are hard when you touch them. To feel how firm a seed’s shell is, without using excessive pressure, squeeze it with your thumb and index finger. If the seed doesn’t crack or bend, it’s viable.

Bad marijuana seeds are usually supple or soft. It’ll save you time and effort if you identify them and exclude them at the onset.

Age

Your cannabis seeds will degrade over time, so it’s important to choose freshly harvested ones up to four months old. If you preserve them well, healthy marijuana seeds can remain viable for some time.

It’s impossible to know a seed’s age unless it’s from your own plant. When buying seeds, you probably won’t know the age unless you buy them from a seed bank known for quality genetics. Check the data they provide.

Float test

Having inspected the seeds by sight and touch, a quick way to separate viable seeds from bad marijuana seeds is to do a float test. Fill a glass with distilled water and drop in the seeds you intend to germinate.

Check after an hour. Germinate the seeds that sink. Most growers dispose of the floaters as they probably won’t sprout. Even if they do, it’s unlikely you’ll get a healthy plant.

If you want to know how to tell if seeds are viable quickly, use the float test.

See also  Buy Weed Seeds Denver

Experiment

Suppose you don’t have time to inspect every seed for viability, germinate all your seeds and watch what happens. You can put them in soil or use other germinating methods. The quality of the seedlings will tell you if you’ve used healthy marijuana seeds.

The challenge here is wasting precious time using this method because you only see results when the germination process is over.

What does a healthy marijuana seed look like?

There are several ways to determine the viability of your seeds. One is by looking at the color of the seeds—healthy marijuana seeds are usually brown with varying shades from light to dark. You may also come across seeds with tiger stripes or turtle-shell patterns.

Seed colors may change due to genetics or environmental conditions, but they’re healthy if they remain in the range. It’s when they display a greenish shade that you have a reason for concern.

They’re not bad marijuana seeds per se, but green hues are a sign that the seeds did not have time to develop properly. There’s a high risk that these seeds will not germinate.

Another way to identify healthy marijuana seeds is to look at their size and weight. If they meet the color criterion, bigger seeds are usually healthier because they’re packed with nutrients and energy. However, you may have smaller seeds that are more viable if they weigh more than their larger counterparts.

Healthy marijuana seeds typically have a body shaped like a teardrop. If you notice seeds that are flat or distorted, they may have a genetic flaw. You’ll have issues germinating them, and if they do sprout, they’ll produce plants that are below par.

Another clue that’ll show that you have healthy marijuana seeds is the appearance of their shell. Good seeds will have shiny-looking shells as though there’s a layer of wax on them. Avoid seeds that look dull and have a matte finish.

How long are cannabis seeds viable?

Now that you know how to tell if marijuana seeds are healthy, the next question is how long are cannabis seeds viable?

The short answer is, it depends on how well you preserve them. Weed seeds get the signal to sprout when there’s heat and moisture. According to some cultivators, if you store your cannabis seeds in a dark and dry space, they can stay viable for as long as 5–10 years.

Pro tip: place a cotton ball with your seeds to absorb excess moisture.

Fresh, healthy marijuana seeds will germinate quicker than older seeds. While you can keep seeds viable for years, some of them may not sprout. The longer you preserve them, the fewer seeds will be productive.

Choose healthy marijuana seeds that are less than a year old. Some established seed banks may indicate the age of the seeds.

If they don’t, you can use the touch test that we mentioned earlier. Squeeze the seeds lightly with your thumb and index finger. If they’re firm, you’ve got young and healthy marijuana seeds. Older seeds may feel soft crack under pressure.

Where is the best place to order cannabis seeds?

Where’s the best place to order marijuana seeds? If marijuana is legal in your state, you can get your seeds from dispensaries or buy them online from seed banks. The latter may be your only option if state laws prohibit the sale of cannabis.

When buying seeds from dispensaries, be sure to check that their staff knows how to tell if a marijuana seed is good. If you’re not happy with the answers you get, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

You should do the same when shopping online. To get high-quality cannabis seeds, we recommend that you only buy them from reputable seed banks such as Homegrown Cannabis Co.

Stay away from small dealers that offer cheap seeds. There’s a high chance that you might end up with duds or low-grade seeds. It’s better to pay a bit more for quality marijuana seeds than endure the heartache of seeds that don’t sprout.

Most recognized online cannabis seed providers offer seeds at competitive prices. We have regular promotions such as Buy-One-Get-One (BOGO), which are money-savers. You get two packets of seeds for one price.

Established seed banks like ours offer a seed replacement guarantee because we stand by the quality of our marijuana seeds. If you have seeds that don’t germinate, we’ll replace them once at no cost.

Another reason to buy from reliable vendors is that they usually have an extensive collection of high-quality cannabis seeds. You’re likely to find the strain you want without searching many websites. Your order and private details are also safe because they have secure payment systems.

3 tips on how to get high-quality cannabis seeds

If you want healthy marijuana plants, you need to grow high-quality cannabis seeds. Sub-par seeds will only cause you to waste time and money because most won’t germinate. When they do, you end up with crops that don’t live up to their potential.

Getting high-quality cannabis seeds may not be as tricky as you think. Here are some tips to improve your odds of having seeds that’ll give you the crops and yield you want.

Choose the right supplier

Buying your seeds from an established seed bank is a reliable way to ensure you get only quality marijuana seeds. Most of these vendors pride themselves on providing customers with the best seeds. Homegrown offers replacement seeds if they don’t germinate.

You have a wide range of cannabis seeds to choose from. If you want sativa or indica cultivars, these seed banks will likely have the strain you want. Some may even have hard-to-find ones.

Get professional advice

When buying high-quality cannabis seeds, you want to know as much about them as possible. Reputable sellers have weed experts who prepare detailed information about the seeds and answer your questions.

These professionals will also advise you on the type of seeds that are suitable for your cultivation goals. You don’t need to figure out for yourself if you should grow regular, autoflower, or feminized seeds.

Create your own seeds

You can create high-quality cannabis seeds if you want to, but it’ll take some knowledge of the subject. You need to pollinate the flowers of your cannabis crop. To do so, you need the male part of your plant to send pollen to the female, which has flowers.

Except for plants grown from feminized seeds, most have both male and female parts. If you want to produce your own quality marijuana seeds, you should choose regular seeds.

Before you act on this knowledge, make sure you understand your state’s weed laws. Some states still prohibit the home cultivation of cannabis. If yours is one of them, don’t despair. Not being able to grow pot doesn’t mean that you can’t buy quality marijuana seeds.

U.S. Federal law allows citizens to purchase seeds as souvenirs. You can preserve them until it’s legal to cultivate in your location, as long as you don’t germinate them.

Get your high-quality cannabis seeds today

Once you know how to identify quality marijuana seeds by sight and feel, you’re able to rule out the bad ones before you germinate them. There’s no experimenting involved, which is a waste of precious time.

If you’re unsure of how to inspect the seeds properly, use the float test. It’s simple to do and separates the seeds that’ll germinate from those that won’t.

The no-brainer way of getting high-quality cannabis seeds is by buying them from reputable seed banks like us. You’re assured of premium-grade seeds 99% of the time. If not, we’ll replace the ones that don’t work.

About the Author: Kyle Kushman

Kyle Kushman is a legend in the cannabis community. He is the modern-day polymath of pot: cultivator, breeder, activist, writer, and educator. After winning no less than 13 Cannabis Cups, there’s nothing this guy doesn’t know about indoor growing – he’s been there, done it, and is still doing it to this day!

10 Markers of a Quality Marijuana Seed

If you’re looking to start growing your own marijuana, the first place to start is with the seed. What should you look for? How can you tell a good cannabis seed from a dud? Chris Bond tells us.

So, you’ve decided to grow your own marijuana from seed. How do you know if those little, round nuggets in your hand will grow up lush and produce beautiful, productive buds? How do you know if they are duds? While ultimately the genetics will determine the destiny of those little weed seeds, and proper care will help them to realize their full potential, there are some markers you can assess to see if what you have is quality seed, indeed.

What to Look for in a Cannabis Seed

#1 Color

While all cannabis seed is not identical in color, there are some consistencies. Healthy, viable seed will be light to dark brown in color. Seed that is light green or even whitish in color is underdeveloped and should be tossed out. Healthy seed will also have a burled or turtle shell-like pattern on its seed coat.

#2 Sheen

A quality cannabis seed will have a waxy, protective coating. Seeds that appear dull are probably not as viable and should be avoided if given a choice.

#3 Shape

Quality cannabis seed will look like a plump teardrop. Flat or misshapen seeds will not likely produce quality plants.

#4 Texture

Quality seed will be firm. Cannabis seed should have a strong seed coat protecting the pre-emerged life inside. Any seed that is tender, pliable or squishy should not be planted; poor results will follow if attempted.

#5 Size

Size is relative, but if you are able to compare several seeds at once, the higher quality seeds are larger. When it comes to seeds, less is more. The fewer seeds that comprise any given amount, an ounce or a gram for example, is generally an indicator of higher quality seeds. The biggest seeds within a species generally have more energy stored within them and have a greater potential to mature into a productive plant. Note that indica strains tend to produce larger seeds than sativa strains so make sure the comparison is made among like seeds.

#6 Weight

Weight often goes hand-in-hand with size, but heavier seeds are generally of higher quality than lighter ones. The older a seed gets, the more potential loss of moisture and nutrients, reducing its overall weight. Damaged seed, which has been cracked can potentially lose those same necessary qualities.

#7 Float test

Quality seeds will sink in water. In glass or vessel, place room temperature water deep enough to full cover the volume of seeds to be tested. Place your seed or seeds in the water. After a couple of hours, anything still floating, should not be considered a quality seed. Soaking seeds will allow moisture to cross over the protective membrane and signal the seed that it is time to grow. As such this test should not be performed if the intent is to store the seeds after testing as it may render otherwise quality seed unviable if not meant to be immediately germinated afterwards.

#8 Storage

You may not have access to see or have verified information on the storage conditions of seeds, but if you can find this out, it is critical to maintaining quality seeds. While cannabis seeds can be viable for over 10 years in some instances, the best seed in terms of productivity is not more than 12 to 18 months old. It should have been stored in dark, cool and dry conditions to prevent mold or the onset of any fungal issues. Storing in a freezer can prolong seeds as well, essentially suspending time.

#9 Age at harvest

This is another aspect you, the buyer may not be privy to. Quality seed is harvest when fully mature. If seed was collected before the plant was able to load as much stored energy into it as possible, then that seed will be starting out life in a deficit. Color, as referenced above can be an indicator of whether or not a seed was harvested at the appropriate time.

#10 Cost

You get what you pay for and a cannabis seed is not exempt from this maxim. Quality seeds are not cheap (at least when compared to other agricultural seeds). This isn’t to say that inferior seeds can’t be overpriced, but if you find cannabis seeds proclaiming excellent genetics for sale at a price that seems too good to be true, caveat emptor.

This is not meant to be a definitive list, as new varieties of cannabis emerge on the scene all the time that may have “normal” traits that would otherwise be viewed as deficiencies in other strains. As always, do your homework, ask other growers who know and buy your seeds from a reputable source.

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