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Growing Cannabis: the Essentials for Beginners

So, you’re interested in growing cannabis? This blog will go over all of the essential information which any beginner will need to know before buying their first seedling. Learn more about how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) works and our cannabinoid-terpene table if you want to know more about what effects cannabinoids can have on the body. You can learn how to set up an indoor grow room relatively inexpensively and easily, too.

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Remember, in most states you’ll need a medical marijuana card to legally grow cannabis:

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Table of Contents

The Essentials – The Cannabis Plant Grow Cycle

For this section, we are talking about cannabis growing in a soil medium, as this is easiest to explain, although the general pattern is the same with other growing mediums.

Germination – 24 hours to 2 weeks.

This is where you can spray two to four sheets of paper towels (kitchen towels) with some water so it’s damp but not soaking, put a seed in between them and onto a plate, and wait for a taproot to emerge. Keep the room temperature somewhere between 70 and 90˚F.

Cannabis seed germinating in soil. Author: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Source

Seedling Stage – 2 to 3 weeks.

You transfer the germinated seed to a small pot of soil or whatever other medium you are using. During the seedling stage, it will produce two leaves that open outward from the stem to start receiving sunlight. This is when you start seeing a mini cannabis plant. Seedlings should be kept at 77˚F with a humidity of around 60%. Cannabis likes a light cycle of 18-hours of white light per day once the leaves have emerged. Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer at this point.

Vegetative stage – 3 – 8 weeks.

By this time, you will need to transfer your mature seedling to a larger pot. You can tell when the seedling is ready to be transferred, as the roots will outgrow the plant pot. Cannabis plants grow rapidly at this stage as they take on more nutrients and carbon dioxide.

You can also do some vital checks at this point. One is checking for the sex of the plant. Females will start developing two white pistils. Males grow pollen sacs. If you see these sacs, remove the plant from the vicinity before it pollinates the females and ruins your harvest.

Flowering male cannabis plant. Author: Rikva. Source

You can also see if the plant is going to be big and tall (often labelled a sativa) or short and bushy (often labelled an indica) at this point by looking at the leaves. Sativas have thin, narrow leaves, indicas broad leaves.

This stage is not needed if you are growing a Cannabis ruderalis variety. For feminized cannabis seeds, there isn’t a need to spot and get rid of males at this stage.

Cannabis plant showing the first signs of female flowers. Author: Rotbuche. Source

Keep the temperature between 68 and 77˚F, and the humidity between 50% and 70%. 18 hours of light and 6 hours of dark. Light wattage of around and 125 Watts. Cannabis ruderalis skips this stage entirely, and moves onto the next stage (flowering). More nitrogen (N) than phosphorus (P) and potassium (K).

Cannabis Plant in vegetative stage. Source. Author: Plantlady223

Flowering stage – 6 – 14 weeks

This is when the vegetative plant is fully mature and is ready to start growing buds/flowers, and you begin to see the trichomes (little white hairs that are the powerhouse of cannabinoid and terpene production).

The plant will need to be transferred to a bigger pot. The plant now needs 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark. Indicas tend to finish flowering in about 6-9 weeks, and sativas 10-14 weeks. Most growers tend to go for a maximum of 14 weeks’ flowering.

Prevent light leaks during dark times during the flowering stage. Light leaks can cause the plant to get stressed and produce both male and female organs (called "hermaphroditism", "hermying", "hermied" or "hermies"), even in feminized varieties.

Hermaphrodite cannabis plant. Source

Keep the temperature somewhere between 68 and 77˚F, with the humidity at around 50%. Stop giving the plant nitrogen (N) now, but up the intake of phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Once the plant is in the last week of flowering, flush the soil with distilled water and refrain from adding any more nutrients.

Flowering Cannabis Sativa – Early Skunk strain. Author: Botanica. From Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 4.0.

Watch this time-lapse to get a great sense of the journey your cannabis plants will take:

Time to harvest!

Once your plant is mature enough, it needs to be chopped and dried. But first, you need to know when to chop the plant. Some say you should harvest the plants when 70-90% of the pistils have browned.

Others look at the color of the trichomes, which start off white, then turn amber, and finally brown. Many say the ideal time to harvest is when around about half (50%) of trichomes are amber. Too clear, and it can be too soon (but can produce a more energetic effect). Too brown, and the cannabinoids lose their potency (although some may prefer slightly less psychoactivity).

A grow facility worker exhibits the day’s flower harvest, which is ready to be hand-trimmed. Author: Cannabis Tours. Source

Pruning

You will need to remove the leaves from the bud. Some of the leaves will contain lots of trichomes. These can be saved to make extracts, tinctures and edibles. It is best to do prune after your plants have been chopped, but not before drying, as pruning after drying is more difficult.

Drying cannabis buds. Notice the lack of leaves? Cut them off before hanging them upside-down to dry in a dark room. Author: Cannabis Training University. Source

Drying – 1 – 2 Weeks

You need to dry your cannabis plants in a dry room away from sunlight for about 7 – 14 days. Your cannabis plant will be ready for chopping into smaller buds for jarring once the plant stem snaps when you bend them. This is an extremely important stage, as good drying will prevent your cannabis from developing mold or mildew.

Curing

After you’ve chopped, pruned and dried your cannabis, it is usable, but it is not at its best. You will want to put your cannabis into a mason jar (no more than 3-quarters full) with an airtight seal. You will then leave it in there for 2 weeks – 1 month, opening the jar once a day to let the cannabis breathe. This will break down the sugars and chlorophyll in the bud/flower, and you will get a far more flavorsome product with a well-defined effect.

Cured cannabis in mason jars at a dispensary in Denver, Colorado. Author: My 420 Tours. Source. CC BY-SA 4.0.

Pruning, drying and curing is as important as the growing and harvesting part, and should not be rushed. Many people who have grown excellent plants can lose some or even all of their hard work at this stage, and you do not want your buds to go moldy because you rushed at the final hurdles. There is a vast chasm of difference between well-cured cannabis and cannabis that hasn’t been dried properly.

What Are Marijuana Plant Cuttings?

For those who are new to horticulture, cuttings are a means of vegetative propagation. Taking a cutting means cutting off a piece of the stem or root of the source plant (called the mother plant), which is then placed in a suitable medium (e.g. moist soil). Cuttings are taken off a mother marijuana plant that is kept in permanent vegetative stage, and planted into soil ready to go into flowering. Many use this method to keep a hold of a phenotype of cannabis they particularly enjoy, and can make future grows faster, as the grower does not have to go through the vegetative stage every time they grow. Many dispensaries sell cuttings in states where patients can legally grow.

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What Nutrients Are Required for Growing Cannabis?

Just like humans, plants need nutrients to grow healthy. In the case of fruit and vegetables, the three main macronutrients which a cannabis plant requires are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). The three main micronutrients cannabis requires include calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sulfur (S). Macronutrients are needed in greater amounts than micronutrients. Nevertheless, micronutrient deficiency can be a problem if not treated.

Nitrogen

Nitrogen is a major component of chlorophyll, which the plant needs to convert sunlight into food for the plant. Nitrogen is also found in the soil, which is fixed by bacteria for the plant, allowing the plant to build amino acids and proteins.

Nitrogen deficiency is characterized by the lower leaves turning yellow and falling off.

Phosphorus

Plants use phosphorus for photosynthesis, storage and transfer of energy, respiration, and many more things besides. Phosphorus is also the link between base pairs in DNA. Phosphorus is essential for the development of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is like the powerhouse of cells in both plants and mammals.

Phosphorus deficiency is characterized by weak, spindly stems, stunted plant growth, and bluish-green leaves.

Potassium

Potassium regulates the opening and closing of stomata, and therefore regulates CO2 uptake. This makes potassium essential for evapotranspiration, and helps the plant "breathe". Potassium triggers activation of enzymes and is essential for production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Potassium deficiency is characterized by reduced root, seed and fruit/flower development, and brown scorching and curling of leaf tips as well as chlorosis (yellowing) between leaf veins. The leaves may also display purple spots on their undersides.

Calcium

Calcium plays a very important role in developing and maintaining plant cell walls, helping the plant grow. Calcium helps to maintain chemical balance in the soil, reduces soil salinity, and improves water penetration. Calcium neutralizes cell acids.

Calcium deficiency initially appears as localized tissue necrosis leading to stunted plant growth, necrotic leaf margins on young leaves or curling of the leaves, and eventual death of terminal buds and root tips. You can tell calcium deficiency by paying attention to new growth spots in particular, as this is where a lack of calcium shows up first.

Magnesium

Magnesium plays an essential role in photosynthesis, contributing to the plant’s green color and helping it fix energy from the sun’s rays. Magnesium is also used by plants (not just cannabis) for the metabolism of carbohydrates and cell membrane stabilization.

Magnesium deficiency is characterized by interveinal chlorosis, or yellowing between leaf veins, which stay green, giving the leaves a marbled appearance.

Sulfur

Sulfur helps form important enzymes and assists in the formation of plant proteins. Sulfur is essential for nitrogen-fixing nodules on plant roots, and is also necessary in the formation of chlorophyll.

Sulfur deficiency in plants is characterized by yellowing or pale green coloring throughout the plant. Younger leaves suffer from yellowing, with their tips becoming necrotic.

When it comes to feeding your cannabis plant, the general rule of thumb is that, if you are using soil, less is more. This is because soil usually contains enough nutrients.

Tomato plant showing magnesium deficiency. Interveineal chlorosis (yellowing) of leaves. By Scot Nelson. Source

However, sometimes a little help is required. Here’s a guide as to what nutrients the cannabis plant requires, in what ratios, and when:

Vegetative stage feeding recommendations:

Early veg stage (N:P:K ratio): 2:1:2 – 4:2:3
Mid-veg stage (N:P:K ratio): 10:5:7
Late veg stage (N:P:K ratio): 7:7:7

Flowering feeding recommendations:

Early bloom (N:P:K ratio): 5:7:10
Mid-bloom (N:P:K ratio): 6:10:15
Mid–late bloom (N:P:K ratio): 4:7:10
Late bloom (N:P:K ratio): just use water in the last week of the flowering stage, to flush out

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Growing Cannabis Indoors vs. Outdoor vs. Greenhouse – Which is Best for Me?

Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Most people start off growing indoors, as they start to learn more about the plant and its growth patterns indoors. Indoor grows usually have fewer variables to be concerned about. Outdoor growing is satisfying and can produce excellent results, but can require a bit more understanding of the cannabis plant’s biology. You also need to be able to choose the right spot for an outdoor grow, which can take some time and effort.

Which Strain of Cannabis Should a Beginner Grow?

We recommend that beginners choose something that is hybridized and is vigorous, that is forgiving of mistakes and has been a long-term success for many growers. Feminized seeds or ruderalis varieties are usually bgeinner-friendly. However, ruderalis plants may contain less THC compared to Cannabis sativa or indica.

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Some suggestions for for a beginner’s strain include:

Northern Lights (NL) – An Afghan variety that grows short and squat, and finishes in about 8 weeks of flowering. A variety of cannabis that revolutionized the homegrown cannabis scene, and still going strong.

Skunk #1 – A cross between Afghan, Acapulco Gold and Colombian Gold, Skunk #1 has been used in many crosses since as it is both stable and has pedigree genetics stretching back generations.

This means Skunk No. 1 individuals with unique characteristics (phenotypes) still show up in cannabis grows today. Skunk No. 1 is a parent of the famous UK Cheese. Developed and maintained by legendary breeders like Sam the Skunkman and Mr. Nice’s Nevil and Shantibaba.

Blue Dream – A cross between Mr. Nice’s Super Silver Haze (SSH) and DJ Short’s Blueberry, Blue Dream is an offspring of the genetics from two elite breeders. Blue Dream is widely available and loved by beginners and connoisseurs alike for its flavor and effect. Cuttings are often available to buy in dispensaries throughout the West Coast of the US.

Cheese/Blue Cheese – Cheese comes from Skunk No. 1, and Blue Cheese is a cross between DJ Short’s excellent Blueberry and UK Cheese. As it is made to grow in the UK climate, Cheese and Blue Cheese are good choices for those who are not always in warm climates.

As their names would suggest, both Cheese varieties have quite the odor to them, so are not the most discreet of plants. Those who are looking for a phenotype of Skunk No. 1 that isn’t as funky-smelling or potent as Cheese may want to go for something like Orange Bud or the related California Orange.

Blueberry – A classic cross of Thai and Central American genetics by DJ Short, Blueberry is a legendary variety of cannabis that has made its way into many of today’s crosses.

OG Kush – As popular as Blue Dream, and like the other strains on this list has been used to create numerous other popular strains, such as Girl Scout Cookies (OG Kush x Durban Poison) and Headband. OG Kush is a cross between California’s Chemdawg and India’s Hindu Kush, invented in Florida.

OG Kush is widely available, relatively easy to grow, good yields – there’s a lot going for this plant. For those looking for Kush genetics of similar pedigree and unique terpene profile, Pre-98 Bubba Kush may be an alternative choice.

Any autoflowering or ruderalis variety of cannabis – Breeders have been working with the ruderalis plant for quite some time now, and have crossed it with a number of genetics in their own seedbank.

Autoflowering varieties negate the need for a vegetative period, and automatically go into flowering regardless of the light cycle (the wattage is still needed for bud production). Although not necessarily as potent as Cannabis sativa or indica, ruderalis varieties may contain plenty of CBD.

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Growing Cannabis Indoors – Soil, Hydroponics, Aeroponics

With indoor grows, you get a high degree of control over the environment, it’s easier to keep out of sight of the outside world, and you can get a regular yield.

However, indoor grows can take a lot of work when it comes to growing more than a few plants, and unless you are in a large house the smell and heat from bright lights can be an issue.

Growing cannabis indoors requires you to build a grow room. This is a tent where you can house your plants. Most start with a grow space of around 3 x 3 feet or 4 x 4 feet, and about 4 to 12 plants.

You will need a light for vegetation (about 125 watts), a light for flowering (400 watts – 600 watts for most grow rooms is sufficient), pots of various sizes for the germination, seedling, vegetative and flowering stage, a thermometer (you will want to keep the temperature at around 26℃ – 28℃, or between approximately 78℉ – 83℉), a fan to produce passive air flow, a humidity checker (hygrometer), a pH meter, carbon filters to draw out smell, and a stage to put your plant pots on. You will need to keep your grow room clean.

The inside of the grow rooms will contain refractive material to prevent light loss, and be completely dark when the lights are off to prevent light from getting in. Cannabis that does not receive appropriate dark time will get stressed and become prone to hermaphroditism (i.e. it will show both male and female parts) and self-pollinate, producing less bud/flower and more seeds.

Essentially, with growing cannabis indoors, you are recreating the ideal outdoor conditions the plant would thrive under. There are a few major ways to grow cannabis indoors.

Indoor hydroponic grow. By Plantlady223 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Source

Indoor Cannabis Soil Grows

This is perhaps the easiest and most beginner-friendly way to start growing cannabis. Get some good quality soil, plant pots, lights and a grow tent, and you’re pretty much ready to get started. With soil, you do not need to feed the plant too many nutrients, as the soil contains most of them.

Hydroponic Cannabis Grows

Hydroponics is where you grow cannabis using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. Basically, the plant will usually be in a pot surrounded by inert growing medium (e.g. perlite, vermiculite, clay aggregate, gravel or sand) and have a nutrient solution pumped through the inert material and into the plant (continuous flow solution culture). In some methods, the plant is kept in a reservoir of nutrients (static solution culture).

Hydroponically-grown cannabis can produce large, powerful yields, but requires a lot more precision in terms of knowing what nutrients your plant needs and when. You will also need to know more about the differences between strains and how they grow. The water needs to be aerated as well. Hydroponic grows are best left to those with more experience.

A hydroponic system set up. By Oregon State University. Source

Aeroponic Cannabis Grows

Aeroponics is similar to hydroponics in many ways, except the plant’s roots are kept in an aerated chamber saturated with fine drops of nutrient solution. The roots periodically wetted with a fine mist of atomized nutrients.

Aeroponic grows require fewer nutrients and less water compared to hydroponic grows, and unlike hydroponically-grown plants can be transferred to soil mediums without shocking the plant.

Many of the disadvantages of aeroponics are shared with hydroponics. Aeroponic cannabis grows require constant supervision, and the initial cost of setting up can be high. In fact, aeroponics can have far higher startup costs than hydroponics. The system can break down easily, and the chambers need to be disinfected regularly.

Aeroponics can produce extremely high yields very efficiently, but requires much more technical know-how compared to soil grows. For many, the time and stress associated with hydroponics and aeroponics is not worth the extra yields. For people doing small, personal grows, soil usually does the trick, and the yields can be comparable if done right.

How an aquaponics system works. Author: MagicBeaver. Source. CC BY-SA 3.0.

Growing Cannabis Outdoors

With outdoor grows, you can use natural soil and sunlight to do most of the work, and many people prefer the results of outdoor cannabis with regards to its smell, taste and effect. However, growing outdoors can be legally risky, and there are a lot more variables to consider.

You now have nature to contend with, so the weather, pests and mammals are of greater concern. Unless you are blessed with year-round cannabis growing weather, you can only grow once or twice a year outdoors.

Growing outdoors is both simple and complex. Yes, you are letting Mother Nature do most of the work, and it can be a case of simply germinating a seed at the right time of year, putting it in a pot, leaving it outside in the sun, and transferring to healthy soil in the ground once the cannabis plant has good roots.

On the other hand, you have to be able to take the rough with the smooth outdoors. Guerilla growers have to be wary of law enforcement, thieves, and a greater number of pests, whilst backyard growers will have to be careful of concerned neighbors and that the plant is getting appropriate water and sunlight.

You are at the mercy of the elements outdoors. If everything goes well and is done right, you will get huge yields from plants allowed to grow outdoors to their maximum potential. If something goes wrong, you can lose entire crops, or get much lower yields than expected.

Growing cannabis outdoors is generally best done in equatorial or Mediterranean climates, where cannabis can grow naturally quite easily without our assistance. Still, some people can get excellent results growing outdoors in places like Australia, southern UK, France and many other countries that have temperate climates or unique microclimates.

The best time to grow in the Northern Hemisphere at a latitude of 25º and 50º, the best time to start growing outdoors is by the end of April or May, and harvesting between September, October and November. For the Southern Hemisphere at a latitude of 25º and 50º, planting time begins in September and harvest time is between March, April and May.

Greenhouse Growing

The greenhouse can meld together the advantages of both indoor and outdoor cannabis growing. Greenhouses can be covered to produce true dark time, and the cannabis is kept in a protective environment which can reduce the chances of pests (though not as much as an indoor grow).

On top of this, greenhouses allow in natural light, allowing for the full development of the cannabis plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes. Greenhouse growing also uses far fewer resources compared to indoor grows, so less energy is spent on lights and fans. The enclosed environment can also make it easier to hide from prying eyes, and you can use other plants to camouflage the cannabis.

However, greenhouse grows are still prone to the seasons, and a good amount of natural light is still required. Temperatures and humidity levels are also harder to control. Still, those who want to step into the world of outdoor growing, and who are in a suitable environment, ought to consider a greenhouse.

Cannabis flowering in a Greenhouse. Author: Cannabis Tours. Source. CC BY-SA 4.0.

Sea of Green (SoG) or Screen of Green (ScrOG)?

SoG and ScrOG are growing techniques used to train the plant in order to increase yield. The ScrOG technique focuses on producing multiple bud sites using a wire grid, the SOG technique does the opposite, forcing the cannabis plant to put all its energy into one main kola.

The SoG method requires having a "mother" plant kept in permanent vegetative stages. From this plant, you take cuttings, which you can put into flowering straight away. You take several cuttings from the mother plant, pot them, and put them under a 12/12 light-dark cycle straight away.

Cannabis being grown in aeroponics set up using the sea of green (SOG) method. Source. CC0, Public Domain.

You can grow many smaller cannabis plants using SoG, and is particularly suitable for those with limited space. ScrOG works better if you are just wanting to maximize the yield of a few plants. Both SoG and ScrOG methods are suitable for a 3 x 3 or 4 x 4 grow space.

An outdoor ScrOG grow. By Cannabis Pictures. Source. CC BY 2.0.

There are countless guides to growing your own cannabis out there. Some are good, others are a bit more difficult. Out of all the guides out there, the best by far for beginners is probably Jorge Cervantes’ educational videos. On growing cannabis. Jorge does an excellent job, and is both thorough and approachable.

Advice for Those New to Cultivating Cannabis? Keep it Simple!

We recommend indoor grows to start off with, although greenhouses can be a good option as well, especially if you have experience with growing other plants in a greenhouse environment. Some people graduate from indoor grows to outdoor grows, as they learn more about the plant and want to reduce their impact on the environment. The sun also imparts a unique effect on cannabis and the terpenes that form in the plant.

Soil is a better choice for beginners compared to aquaponics or hydroponics, as less can go wrong with regards to nutrients. Soil, light, water is a lot easier to remember than precise nutrient doses and ensuring all the equipment is working properly.

Pick a hybridized cannabis variety or strain to grow. Skunk #1, Northern Lights, Blue Dream, Gorilla Glue #4, and Blue Cheese are some easy-to-grow varieties, and you can get a wide range of effects from all of them. Feminized and autoflowering seeds can make this even easier, as you do not have to sex or vegetate the plant first.

Start off small. 4 to 6 plants in a 3 x 3 space is usually sufficient to start with.

Healthy roots = healthy plants. Like a well-built house, it all starts from the foundation.

Pictures of Male and Female Marijuana Seeds

The journey to flowering starts at the seed. When you are planning on starting to grow your own weed, it is important that you are buying the right kinds of seeds. People often tend to underestimate the importance of a healthy seed and the kind of impact that it can have on the growth of your plant. This is more because of the lack of clarity and knowledge that people have about seeds which gives rise to such ignorance.

Over the course of this article, we shall be taking a closer look at why it is important to start really well – and more importantly, how to choose the perfect seeds for your marijuana plant.

Marijuana Seeds: Male vs Female Seeds

The first and the most basic of things that you need to know before we head any further into this article is the difference between male and female marijuana seeds. The bud that you smoke comes from female marijuana plants. This is because the male marijuana plants carry a pollen sac which bursts open and pollinates the female plants – and if that happens, the buds don’t grow. This is why it is important to not keep any male plants around female plants while growing weed.

Male and Female Marijuana Seeds

When it comes to seeds, however, how do you differentiate between male vs female marijuana seeds? The fact is, you cannot tell by just looking at the seeds. There is absolutely no way in which they can be identified visually and you have to either buy feminized seeds (more on that in the upcoming section), or you have to grow all your seeds at once and then wait for them to grow old enough to develop sex organs.

The moment you see marijuana plants with pollen sacs, start separating them from the growth that you have else they might end up pollinating your female plants and you will not be able to grow your weed then.

How Do You ‘Feminize’ Marijuana Seeds?

Almost all seed banks today sell you something called ‘feminized’ seeds. These are seeds that go through a special process that ensure that upon germinating, they turn out to be female plants.

When marijuana plants produce seeds naturally, you do not know if they are male or female seeds. Mathematically speaking, there’s 50% chance the seed that you have is going to be a male. This means that if you do not have an idea about the gender of your plants, there’s a chance you have to remove 50% of your harvest midway as and when the gender becomes apparent. This is too big a risk to take, especially if you are growing at a large scale. Hence, people prefer using feminized marijuana seeds.

With plants, and particularly with the cannabis plant, there is actually a method via which you can actually change the gender of the seeds. Spraying your female plants with silver thiosulphate solution can result in the plant producing only female seeds. While nothing guarantees a 100% reliability that the seeds produced are going to be female, the chances shoot up drastically.

Silver thiosulphate solution is essentially a mix of water along with silver particles, and the presence of silver basically triggers the production of certain hormones in the plants (primarily ethylene) which ensures that only female seeds are produced. This will lead to the generation of pollen sacs on plants that have female genetics, leading to the production of only female genetic traits. When you pollinate other (non-sprayed) female plants with the pollen from this one, the seeds generated as a result of this are almost always female.

Feminized seeds are very common and there’s nothing unnatural or out of the ordinary about them. Pretty much every seed bank today offers only feminized seeds as no one wants to risk their reputation by providing seeds that may result in male plants.

What are Autoflowering Seeds?

Now that you have understood what feminized seeds are, let us also delve a little deeper and understand what autoflowering seeds are. In order to understand the concept of autoflowering plants, you need to understand the concept of photoperiod first.

Under natural sunlight, marijuana plants tend to bloom best at the time when the sunlit hours reduce. This is basically the early winter period where the hours of natural lighting begin to lessem and nights start getting longer. Under artificial conditions, you can actually recreate this setup by turning off your light for a longer number of hours. However, in case you’re not sure about how to go about this, or if someone wants their weed to grow faster – you should check out autoflowering seeds.

Autoflowering seeds belong to the Cannabis Ruderalis strain – and it is neither indica nor sativa to be accurate. These are low-THC strains but ones which don’t really rely on photoperiod-based growth, and flower earlier compared to regular indica or sativa plants. These are season-agnostic and light-agnostic and can be grown anywhere. However, these plants have an extremely short vegetative phase. Autoflowering seeds are also ideal for people who live in places where summers are short or where it rains rather frequently.

These autoflowering seeds can be easily found at your local seed stores or even at seed banks that deliver online. There’s absolutely no risk in using these seeds and they are often recommended if you are a first-time grower or someone who isn’t really sure about how to set up the lights and how to change them based on the phase of growth your plant is in.

How to Choose the Best Marijuana Seeds?

Knowing everything about marijuana seeds that we do now, let us take a closer look at some factors that need to be kept in mind before such a seed is bought. You can use this list as a checklist of sorts while buying your seeds –

  • Texture

A good seed generally has a somewhat harder covering and a rough texture. The best way to identify a good seed from a bad is to take it between your thumb and the index finger and give it a twist and a pinch. A good seed will generally be a little hard and you won’t be able to press it easily. A seed that isn’t mature yet would be a little pulpy and softer. Even in terms of the texture, a seed that isn’t really ready yet would be much smoother.

  • Color

Color is a good visual identifier of whether your seed is ready. A good and healthy marijuana seed is generally brown/golden brown in color, as opposed to a ripe seed which hasn’t matured yet, which is generally very light in color. If you see seeds that are light green, yellow or white, you might just want to ignore them altogether as they aren’t ready to be grown yet. Light brown, dark brown, golden yellow or even black in some cases are the kind you should be going for.

  • Genetics

Before you buy a seed, try and check its genetics. Which are the parent plants that it comes from, and what is the composition of the parent plants. Most good seed banks will have the entire lineage of the seed presented to you either on their website, or via their customer support team. It is best advised to go through the lineage to know if this is the kind of seed that you want, because in case you don’t prefer the parent plants, or the parent plants of the seed’s parent plants, you might want to avoid it as it will carry some properties from those plants along.

  • Strain

Another important thing that you need to know beforehand is – which strain of cannabis is your seed going to result in? Is it a sativa-dominant seed or is it an indica-dominant seed? There are some cases in which seeds can actually have an even 50/50 split between sativa and indica and will end up giving you the best of both worlds. Others which are dominant on either strains will carry more characteristics of the dominant strain – this is why you need to check that before you buy your seeds.

  • Indoor vs Outdoor

You also need to know if you are planning on growing your weed indoors or outdoors. Seeds of different strains and lineages respond differently to their growth environments. Some seeds are better suited to grow outdoors, while others thrive in an indoors setup too. Hence, it is important for you to first know where you are going to be growing your cannabis plants and then choose the seeds based on that so that you can get the maximum yield per square foot, as well as your plants can thrive.

  • Autoflowering vs Regular

Based on your preferences and your level of experience, you might want to go for autoflowering seeds vs regular seeds. The benefits that you get with autoflowering seeds are that here you don’t really have to monitor too much or too closely as the plants that emerge from these seeds are rather low maintenance and don’t require you to change the lighting conditions, etc. Furthermore, they tend to grow faster compared to regular seeds.

However, the biggest benefit that regular seeds have, which is a big advantage over autoflowering plants – is that they generally tend to contain a higher THC%. Hence, if you want a stronger high, you need to go for regular seeds, but if you want an easy and fast growth, go with autoflowering seeds.

  • Male vs Female Marijuana Seeds

This is what we’ve discussed in quite some detail in this article. You need to ensure that you are buying feminized seeds as the male plants are anyway going to be of no special use to you and you will have to separate them from the other plants in order to ensure they don’t end up pollinating your female plants. However, even if you accidentally end up growing some male plants, don’t worry too much about it and don’t throw them away. Check our last section where we talk about what you can do using these plants.

  • Seed Bank

The seed bank where you decide to buy your seeds from also matters a lot. As much as possible try and purchase your seeds from a reputed seed bank like ILGM or Crop Kings Seeds or any other major such name. This is because getting them from a good seed bank gives you a peace of mind that in case something goes wrong and in case your seeds don’t germinate, you can always get a refund or a replacement. Moreover, these seed banks also have a much larger number of seeds that you can choose from.

Where to Buy the Best Marijuana Seeds From?

Seed Banks are absolutely the best places to buy marijuana seeds. In many parts of the world where it is legal to grow weed and to grow marijuana plants in your home, you can actually find physical seed banks where you can walk in and choose the seeds of your choice based on the strain that you want to grow. These seed banks also deliver seeds online to most other countries, often discreetly in case the laws of the land are a little too tight. We strongly insist that if your country doesn’t allow growing or possessing weed, you do not buy it.

However, in case someone still wants to order it, the seed banks ship seeds very discreetly, often hiding them inside a pen or a t-shirt or something similar. Most seed banks also promise a certain germination success rate. In case the promised percentage of seeds don’t germinate, or produce male plants, they also offer refunds and replacements.

When you buy seeds from seed banks – you have some distinct advantages. You know the complete lineage of the seed and you know what kind of a result you are going to get when you grow it. This means you know the THC/CBD composition of the resulting buds, the smell, and flavour that the buds will have, how tall your plants are going to grow, and a few other similar factors before you actually grow the plant.

Seed Banks have one more unique advantage – some seed banks (especially the top 10 ones) tend to hire their own specialized ‘breeders’ who cross-pollinate different types of marijuana plants and keep crossing the offspring plants until they get to a very distinct kind of a strain that becomes their proprietary strain and is available only with them. This gives you a very unique taste and a high that you can only experience when you buy from these seed banks.

What to Do with Male Cannabis Plants?

We know that the female cannabis plant is the one that is of primary importance given it bears flowers and buds that we smoke. However, what about the male cannabis plants? Are they totally useless? In case you’ve grown male plants and then later separated them before they pollinate the female plants, you don’t really have to toss them away. There’s so much more that you can do with these male plants as well.

One of the best things that you can do using the male cannabis plant is to make use of it to create hemp. Given that the stem has matured by the time you can differentiate between the male and female plants, you can use them to create high-quality hemp. Many fabric makers actually prefer the male plant hemp and they use it to make tablecloths and other different fabric products.

Given how much nutrition and minerals go into growing a marijuana plant, you might just want to return it back to the soil. You can make use of the male cannabis plants as mulch, by either simply chopping it and spreading it over the ground waiting for it to get assimilated on its own, or by putting it in a composting pit and then preparing finer compost using it. In any case, it adds to the quality of your soil.

While male plants carry very little THC compared to female plants, they still carry some THC – which means they are not completely rid of psychoactive elements. Cannabinoids in male plants are located in their leaves and stems. In fact, some sources claim that leaves of the male plant tend to have a higher THC concentration than female plants. Basically, you can use these leaves and trace THC content by extracting the resin out of them and putting it to use for different consumable products such as hashish, butane oil, or dabs, etc.

Conclusion

We hope that this article helped you understand cannabis seeds in a better way, including the difference between male and female marijuana seeds. The journey of a marijuana plant begins at the seed level and this is why it is critical for all growers to know and understand different aspects of a seed. If you still have any more questions or want us to cover something even more specific, feel free to leave a comment or drop us a mail and we shall get back to you as soon as we can!