How to germinate non autoflowering weed seeds

Growing Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds [Guide]

Do you desperately want a cannabis garden but don’t have the time to dedicate? If so, autoflowering seeds are potentially the answer to your prayers! These unique strains flower automatically rather than waiting for a specific lighting cycle. Generally speaking, your plants will begin flowering after a vegetative stage of just 2-4 weeks.

The autoflowering phenomenon has only gained traction in recent years. Strains of this nature include Cannabis ruderalis genetics, a species of marijuana first described by D. E. Janischewsky, a Russian botanist, in 1924. When you cross ruderalis genetics with indica or sativa varieties, you get plants that grow and flower without intervention.

This guide outlines everything you need to know about autoflowering cannabis seeds. This includes tips on growing them, pros and cons, and five of the best strains on the market.

Autoflowering Cannabis: What Is It?

With regular ‘photoperiod’ marijuana plants, an outdoor grower must rely on the seasons. Meanwhile, an indoor grower must change their lighting cycle. For instance, to force your plants to enter the flowering stage, you need to create a 12/12 light cycle. The change in light duration lets the plants think winter is coming, and it starts flowering accordingly.

As the name suggests, autoflowering marijuana strains flower automatically rather than waiting for a specific light cycle. These plants produce buds when they are ready, which means there is no reason to mess with your lighting.

While the yield and potency of photoperiod weed remain higher, the gap is closing. As breeding techniques become more advanced, it is now possible to produce autoflowering marijuana strains with significantly increased levels of THC. They also produce far bigger yields.

For example, strains such as Amnesia Haze Automatic produce up to 14 ounces of bud per square meter planted. Royal Gorilla Automatic contains up to 20% THC. With fewer disadvantages than ever before, it is no wonder that ‘auto’ plants are becoming increasingly popular.

It takes as little as eight weeks from seed to harvest. Therefore, you can enjoy several batches of autoflowering plants each year. While they were traditionally small and squat, even that aspect is changing. Auto Sweet Soma seeds can produce plants that grow as high as 155cm, for example! You can still get small plants such as Royal Jack Automatic that seldom grows taller than 80cm if you wish.

Your Exclusive Autoflower Grow Guide

When using auto-flowering cannabis seeds, make sure your plants have as much support as possible throughout the process. Ideally, you will begin your autoflower grow indoors with artificial lights you can control. This tactic reduces the likelihood of error and increases the possibility of a strong start.

Autoflowering Marijuana Seeds

Proper germination is pivotal to the healthy development of your autoflower marijuana plants. You can go down the traditional route of using soil or try a container with a growing medium. The paper towel method is probably the easiest way to germinate your autoflower seeds.

After your seeds begin to sprout, the next step involves transplanting them. Ideally, you will only do so once because autoflowering seeds are susceptible to transplanting shock.

Transplanting auto-flowering seeds is more complicated than their photoperiod brethren. However, it is a myth to suggest it is impossible to do so more than once successfully. You can re-pot an autoflower if you are extremely careful. If you need to transplant your autos to a larger pot, make sure they end up in the same soilless growing medium or soil as before. Also, complete the process before their dark period when their growing medium is dry.

Avoid Early Cuttings with Autoflowering Marijuana Strains

We don’t recommend taking cuttings during the early growth stages of auto-flowering weed. The plant will autoflower at a specific point. Therefore, the age of the cutting will merge with the age of the parent plant. This means they will flower at the same time. If you grow a cutting of an auto-flowering plant, the final version is significantly smaller than the parent when it reaches the flowering stage.

Training Your Autoflowering Weed

It is best to complete the training process during the vegetative stage. It is essential to act fast because this stage is only a couple of weeks long in autos. We recommend using a low-stress training (LST) method, such as pulling the plants down sideways to help boost upwards growth. When they start flowering, prune them for up to a week into the flowering stage and do NOT top them.

You shouldn’t prune an auto-flowering plant in the same way as its traditional counterpart. First and foremost, all pruning should begin early in the life cycle, or else you risk hindering its growth.

Best Lighting & Climate for Autoflowering Marijuana Plants

With autos, you are allowing plants to flower when they should be in the vegetative growth stage. This means you can autoflower rather late in the season (September) or very early (March). Please note that the plants can only grow with adequate warmth. Exposure to excessive levels of moisture could result in rot.

We recommend growing autoflowering plants indoors if possible. Ideally, your plants will grow in a room with a temperature of 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit with 50-70% humidity.

Plants with ruderalis genetics are tougher than those without but still require light to produce food for themselves. Many autoflower growers still believe that providing light 24/7 is best for their plants. This process enables them to absorb CO2 during the photosynthesis process continually. Ruderalis plants grew for a long time in the northern hemisphere. In that situation, they were exposed to 24 hours of light a day on occasion.

24-hour lighting will result in fast initial growth. However, it usually slows down after a few weeks because the plant is without adequate rest. The 18/6 schedule offers a delicate balance of plenty of light with ample rest. You also save money on your energy bill! For instance, in one month, using an 18/6 schedule against a 24/0 schedule saves you 180 hours’ worth of light!

The 20/4 schedule is potentially a happy medium. However, the 18/6 option is the most sensible because your plants need a few hours of darkness each day for specific metabolic processes. Whatever additional yield you attain from constant lighting is more than offset by the increase in your lighting bill!

Feeding Your Autoflowering Plants

The latest generation of auto-flowering plants are more prominent than their predecessors and produce a bigger yield. As a result, they need more nutrients than their first-gen counterparts. Even so, on average, an auto-flowering plant still requires fewer nutrients than photoperiod plants. Make sure you water them for the first two weeks as they begin to grow.

There is no need to add nutrients during this period. By week three, you can begin adding nutrients and increase the feeding rate weekly. Remember, the vegetative stage is short, so you need less nitrogen. Light feeding is ideal unless you notice a nutrient deficiency. You’ll need to alter the nutrients once the plant hits the flowering stage.

Harvesting Autoflowering Marijuana Plants

The best method of harvesting auto-flowering plants is to take the colas and allow the lower buds to become denser before harvest. As these plants grow so quickly, they usually don’t have time to develop a canopy. As a result, you need to keep the buds that are lower down on the plant. These days, it isn’t unusual to find automatics that produce up to 22 ounces per square meter.

Since you can grow 4-5 batches a year, it adds up to a lot of buds! We also recommend preparing the next crop as you are harvesting. Pop seeds before you collect your existing plants to ensure your garden is continually producing. The fact is, you don’t need to worry about changing lighting because your plants automatically flower!

Curing & Storing Autoflower Weed Strains

Many of the same drying, curing, and storing rules apply with auto-flowering cannabis plants. You can dry your buds by hanging them upside down for a few days. Store them in airtight containers but ensure there is a bit of space in each jar. Initially, open the jars once a day for a few minutes.

After a week, opening the jars once every 2-3 days will suffice. Your bud is ready for use once there is only a small amount of moisture left. Transport your weed to a sealed container and use it within a few months.

Where to Find Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds

It is relatively easy to buy autoflowering seeds online. There is an increasing number of reputable websites that sell them. Alternatively, you can find them in a local dispensary, but purchasing the best autoflower seeds is a challenge at first.

When making the decision, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What level of THCand CBD are you looking for?
  • Do you have a preferred taste and aroma?
  • What kind of growing conditions will you plant the seeds in?

It is also crucial to purchase feminized seeds. Otherwise, around half of your crop will consist of male plants, which could ruin everything. If you have a small grow room, purchase an indica strain because they usually grow smaller. If you have a larger space, buy sativa autoflower strains. They are typically bigger and provide a higher yield.

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Now, let’s take a look at five autoflowering strains worth considering for your cannabis garden.

Five Awesome Autoflowering Strains

1 – Amnesia Haze Auto

Amnesia Haze Automatic combines 30% ruderalis, 20% indica, and 50% sativa genetics. It is a nice option if you want a sativa-dominant strain that doesn’t take forever to flower. By the standards of autoflowering strains, it is a large plant that can reach 120cm in height.

What interests growers is the fact that it can grow from seed to harvest in just ten weeks! In the past, autoflowering strains were fairly weak, but Amnesia Haze Automatic contains up to 18% THC. Its yield is up to 14 ounces per square meter planted, which isn’t a million miles behind many photoperiod strains.

Apparently, it is a crossbreed between The Bomb, Ultra Haze, Champagne Haze, and a few other popular strains. Users claim that it offers a nice sweet and spicy taste. Also, it offers an uplifting cerebral high that can be used to manage the symptoms of depression and perhaps boost your appetite.

It’s easier than you think!…

2 – White Widow Auto

This autoflowering option is a new cross of White Widow, which is widely regarded as one of the finest strains around. It looks just like its photoperiod counterpart with wide dark green leaves and glistening trichomes. While it has many traits that made its traditional version so popular, the auto version has a total crop time of under 85 days!

The buds provide users with an indica effect, and its woody, intense aroma and taste combine beautifully with a hint of lemon. White Widow Automatic has been bred for several years to ensure genetic stability. The plant can grow to 100cm, although it is more likely to hit 50cm. The overall yield is up to 9 ounces per square meter, although some growers claim they have attained a yield of 16 ounces.

White Widow Automatic is potent, with a THC content of 15-20%, and is often used to help with pain, insomnia, stress, and nausea. For best results, grow it under 24/7 light as much as you can. It is 20% ruderalis, 40% indica, and 40% sativa.

3 – Quick One Auto

Quick One Auto’s creators didn’t take too long to decide the name of this autoflowering strain! It was one of the first members of the Royal Queen Seeds collection and is a cross of Northern Lights, Ruderalis, and The Williams Wonder. It contains 30% ruderalis, 60% indica, and 10% sativa genetics.

When Quick One was released, it was among the fastest-growing strains ever. While there are even quicker growing autos these days, Quick One is still lightning with a total grow time of around 8-9 weeks. However, you may want to give it an extra week for a more mature final plant.

Its yield can reach a decent 12 ounces per meter square indoors but is just 6-7 ounces outdoors. It offers a fresh, herbal aroma with a pleasant taste that has citrus notes. Quick One won’t grow much taller than 50cm, making it ideal if you’re stuck for space. Its THC content of 13% is low by today’s standards, but it is still a good smoke for novices.

4 – Easy Bud Auto

Easy Bud Auto isn’t a household name, which is a great shame. As you can probably guess, it is among the easiest autoflowering strains to grow. Therefore, beginners should be casting their eyes toward it. It is a durable plant, and there are few growing conditions where it won’t provide at least a few grams of high-quality buds.

It was created by breeding an indica-dominant hybrid (possibly White Indica) with an unknown ruderalis plant. It has 30% ruderalis, 55% indica, and 15% sativa genetics. Royal Queen Seeds created it, and its total growing time is 8-9 weeks, whether you grow it indoors or outdoors.

Its height ranges from 40-70cm and works best when using organic nutrients and soil as your growing medium. It doesn’t require many nutrients and thrives under most light sources. It can provide up to four ounces of bud in optimal growing conditions. With a THC content of 12%, it won’t provide a devastatingly potent high, but it is an easygoing smoke that offers decent body intoxication.

Easy by name, easy by nature!…

5 – Royal Jack Auto

This autoflowering strain is a cross of Jack Herer and a Ruderalis plant. It is named after the legendary activist who wrote The Emperor Wears No Clothes. The strain’s genetic makeup is 30% Ruderalis, 30% Indica, and 40% Sativa. With a total growing time of around nine weeks, you could benefit from several harvests per year if you are motivated.

Royal Jack Auto shouldn’t grow any taller than 80cm, and its yield is around 4-5 ounces per plant. Overall, with a THC content of around 16%, this autoflowering option provides you with a relatively potent, Sativa-dominant high that could boost your level of creativity. Users are also rewarded with a fresh and peppery scent from what is a very satisfying smoke.

The Pros and Cons of Growing Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds

By now, it probably seems like a no-brainer to grow auto-flowering marijuana any chance you get. However, some disadvantages come along with the host of benefits that autoflower strains provide. Here is a brief list of the pros and cons of autoflower marijuana vs. regular marijuana.

Pros of Autoflower Marijuana Strains

Greater Variety

The shorter growing season means you have a higher level of autoflowering varieties. Imagine having the opportunity to grow five different strains in a single season! Multiple harvests are especially useful if you enjoy the growing process and are keen to sample as many marijuana types as possible.

Uncomplicated Setup

If you grow marijuana the traditional way, you’ll typically require a specific grow room and a separate flowering room. With autoflowering weed, you only need a single space. If you have several rooms, you can time your growing to guarantee a harvest every few weeks.

If you grow in a typical manner, you have to ensure your grow room has light-proof sealing. It is a disaster if this gets breached. In contrast, a light leakage has no discernible impact on the flowering stage of your autoflower marijuana.

Durability

As autos contain ruderalis genes, they are more robust than other marijuana plants. Remember, they are based on plants that could grow in harsh Russian weather conditions. A typical cannabis plant will have its flowering and growth phases interrupted if there is a power outage. This fact could play havoc with their growth cycle. You don’t have this problem with an autoflowering plant.

Fast Blooming

There are auto strains with a flowering time of just five weeks! Add in a 2-4-week vegetative stage, and you could theoretically grow a strain from seed to harvest in only seven weeks. Bubble Kush Auto, for example, is ready to collect 7-8 weeks after sprouting. Therefore, you can enjoy multiple harvests each year.

Stealth Growing

While varieties of autoflowering strains are getting bigger, you can still find versions that grow to about 40-50cm. Consequently, you can plant them in a closet, tent, or even on a balcony! You could also hide such a plant in a remote field if the grass is tall enough! Also, autos don’t require a ‘support system’ to hold up long branches that could bend or break as the buds get larger.

No Messing About with Lighting

There is no need to change your light cycle to a 12-12 schedule. Therefore, you can keep a consistent lighting schedule all year round if you wish. With this possibility in mind, you can grow auto-flowering plants at different stages in the same room!

Cannabis seeds 101: How to grow marijuana from seed

Cannabis is grown from one of two sources: a seed or a clone. Seeds carry genetic information from two parent plants and can express many different combinations of traits: some from the mother, some from the father, and some traits from both.

In commercial cannabis production, generally, growers will plant many seeds of one strain and choose the best plant. They will then take clones from that individual plant, which allows for consistent genetics for mass production.

If cannabis is legal in your state, you can buy seeds or clones from a local dispensary, or online through various seed banks.

Cannabis seeds vs. clones

For the typical homegrower, it may be easier to obtain cannabis seeds rather than clones. Growing from seed can produce a stronger plant with more solid genetics.

Plants grown from seed can be more hearty as young plants when compared to clones, mainly because seeds have a strong taproot. You can plant seeds directly into an outdoor garden in early spring, even in cool, wet climates.

If growing outside, some growers prefer to germinate seeds inside because they are delicate in the beginning stages of growth. Indoors, you can give weed seedlings supplemental light to help them along, and then transplant them outside when big enough.

Most seeds that you will buy are regular seeds as described above, but here are a couple more types.

How weed seeds work

Cannabis can be either male or female—also called “dioecious”—but only females produce the buds we all know and love. For reproduction, males have pollen sacs and pollinate females, causing female flowers to produce seeds.

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Once cannabis seeds are mature, the female plant begins to die, and seeds are either dropped to the ground where they grow into new cannabis plants next spring, or the seeds are harvested for processing into seed oil or food products, or stored so they can be sown in the ground later and become the next generation of plants.

To get the buds found in medical and recreational stores, female cannabis plants are grown in an environment without males—or the males are removed from the area before they release pollen—so the females don’t create seeds. Females can then focus their energies on producing buds and not seeds—this high-potency marijuana is traditionally known as “sinsemilla,” meaning “seedless.”

Some varieties of cannabis can produce male parts alongside female flowers on the same plant, especially if exposed to environmental stressors. These plants are known as hermaphrodites, and sometimes they can self-pollinate to create seeds.

Pros and cons of using cannabis seeds

Check out Johanna’s full video series on how to grow weed on Leafly’s YouTube .

If buying from a reputable breeder or seed bank, growing from seed is the best way to ensure your plants will have solid genetics and start clean, meaning they won’t come with diseases or pests.

Also, buying from a reputable breeder or seed bank will give you a sense of what a particular strain will look and smell like, how it will grow, and how much it will yield at harvest.

The main drawback to growing from seed is there is no guarantee as to what you’ll end up with—if you buy a regular pack of cannabis seeds, it will be a mix of males and females. You’ll need to sex them out (more below) to identify the males and get rid of them, because you don’t want your females producing seeds.

Sexing marijuana plants can be a time-consuming process, and if you don’t catch males, there is a risk that even one males can pollinate your entire crop, causing all of your female weed plants to produce seeds.

One way to avoid sexing plants is to buy feminized seeds (more below), which ensures every seed you plant will be a bud-producing female.

You can also minimize headaches and avoid the hassle of seed germination and sexing plants by starting with clones.

How weed clones work

Aside from producing cannabis through seeds, or sexual reproduction, you can also reproduce the plant through cloning, or asexual reproduction. A clone is a cutting that is genetically identical to the plant it was taken from—that plant is known as the “mother.”

Pros and cons of using cannabis clones

Through cloning, you can create a new harvest with exact replicas of your favorite plant. Because genetics are identical, a clone will give you a plant with the same characteristics as the mother, such as flavor, cannabinoid profile, yield, grow time, etc. So if you come across a specific strain or phenotype you really like, you might want to clone it to reproduce more buds that have the same effects and characteristics.

With cloning, you don’t have to get new seeds every time you want to grow another plant—you just take a cutting of the old plant—and you don’t have to germinate seeds or sex them out and get rid of the males.

One drawback of clones is they need to be taken during the vegetative stage of a plant—flower is too late—so if you have a small setup with only one light, it can be hard to keep clones alive while flowering other plants, because the two need different amounts of light.

Another drawback to clones is they can take on negative traits from the mother plant as well. If the mother has a disease, attracts pests, or grows weak branches, its clones will probably have the same issues.

Additionally, every long-time grower will tell you that clones degrade over time.

What are feminized cannabis seeds?

Feminized cannabis seeds will produce only female plants for getting buds, so there is no need to remove males or worry about female plants getting pollinated. Feminized seeds are produced by causing the monoecious condition in a female cannabis plant—the resulting seeds are nearly identical to the self-pollinated female parent, as only one set of genes is present.

This is sometimes referred to as “cloning by seed” and will not produce any male plants. This is achieved through several methods:

  • By spraying the plant with a solution of colloidal silver, a liquid containing tiny particles of silver
  • Through a method known as rodelization, in which a female plant pushed past maturity can pollinate another female
  • Spraying seeds with gibberellic acid, a hormone that triggers germination (this is much less common)

Most experienced or commercial growers will not use feminized seeds because they only contain one set of genes, and these should never be used for breeding purposes. However, a lot of beginning growers start with feminized seeds because they eliminate the worry of having to deal with male plants.

Top feminized cannabis strain families

A lot of classic weed strains that have been around for a while come in feminized form. Some popular fem seeds are:

  • OG Kush
  • Haze
  • Afghan
  • GSC (Cookies)
  • Skunk
  • Cheese
  • Gelato

What are autoflowering cannabis seeds?

Autoflowering seeds are also popular with beginning growers. They are easy to grow because you don’t have to worry about light cycles and how much light a plant receives.

Most cannabis plants begin flowering when the amount of light they receive on a daily basis reduces. Outdoors, this happens when the sun starts setting earlier in the day as the season turns from summer to autumn. Indoor growers can control when a plant flowers by reducing the daily amount of light plants receive from 18 hours to 12 hours.

However, a type of cannabis called Cannabis ruderalis, which developed in extreme northern conditions without much sunlight, will begin flowering once the plant reaches a certain age—they automatically start flowering regardless of the amount of light they receive, hence the name “autoflower.”

Pros and cons of growing autoflower

Because they grow and flower quicker, growers can fit in multiple autoflower cannabis harvests into the span of one regular harvest.

Autoflowers can be started in early spring and will flower during the longest days of summer, taking advantage of high quality light to get bigger yields. Or, if you get a late start in the growing season, you can start autoflowers in May or June and harvest in the fall.

Also, autoflower plants are small—perfect for closet grows or any small grow, or growing outdoors where you don’t want your neighbors to see what you’re up to.

A couple big drawbacks, though: Autoflower strains are known for being less potent. Also, because they are small in stature, they usually don’t produce big yields.

However, potency in autoflowering varieties has increased significantly since their initial introduction, with some breeders crossbreeding the low-THC ruderalis with other more potent varieties.

Tips for growing autoflower marijuana seeds

Autoflowering strains require some preparation, as they will grow quickly and start to flower whether or not you’re ready for them.

Climate considerations

Many marijuana growers start autoflowers early in the season, and at a different time than a regular crop, so keep the season and climate in mind when growing and harvesting—your plants still need warmth to grow, and rain can give them bud rot. Consider growing in a greenhouse to protect them.

Training plants

Because training happens during vegetative growth, for autoflowering plants, this period could be as short as a few weeks, which means time is limited. Try topping your autoflowers after they have three nodes, and stop once they begin to flower. You will want to prune them lightly.

Go easy on nutrients

Autoflowers don’t need lots of nutrients because they’re small and don’t spend much time in the vegetative cycle. They won’t need as much veg nutrients—such as nitrogen—but will need more bloom nutrients.

What are high-CBD cannabis seeds?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the chemical components—known collectively as cannabinoids—found in the cannabis plant. Over the years, humans have selected plants for high-THC content, making cannabis with high levels of CBD rare. The genetic pathways through which THC is synthesized by the plant are different than those for CBD production.

Cannabis used for hemp production has been selected for other traits, including a low THC content, so as to comply with the 2018 Farm Bill. Consequently, many varieties of hemp produce significant quantities of CBD.

As interest in CBD as a medicine has grown, many breeders have crossed high-CBD hemp with cannabis. These strains have little or no THC, 1:1 ratios of THC and CBD, or some have a high-THC content along with significant amounts of CBD (3% or more).

Seeds for these varieties are now widely available online and through dispensaries. It should be noted, however, that any plant grown from these seeds is not guaranteed to produce high levels of CBD, as it takes many years to create a seed line that produces consistent results. A grower looking to produce cannabis with a certain THC to CBD ratio will need to grow from a tested and proven clone or seed.

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How to germinate marijuana seeds

Germination is the process in which a seed sprouts and begins to grow into a new plant. Also referred to as “popping,” germination is the very first step in starting your weed grow.

Marijuana seeds can be acquired from an array of sources and can vary in quality. For more info on how to buy marijuana seeds, check out our Guide to buying cannabis seeds.

Cannabis seeds require three things to germinate: water, heat, and air. There are many methods to germinate seeds, but for the most common and simplest method, you will need:

  • Two clean plates
  • Four paper towels
  • Seeds
  • Distilled water

Step 1

Take four sheets of paper towels and soak them with distilled water. The towels should be soaked but shouldn’t have excess water running off.

Step 2

Take two of the paper towels and place them on a plate. Then, place the marijuana seeds at least an inch apart from each other and cover them with the remaining two water-soaked paper towels.

Step 3

To create a dark, protected space, take another plate and flip it over to cover the seeds, like a dome.

Step 4

Make sure the area the seeds are in is warm, somewhere between 70-85°F.

After completing these steps, it’s time to wait. Check the paper towels once a day to make sure they’re still saturated, and if they are losing moisture, apply more water to keep the seeds happy.

Some seeds germinate very rapidly while others can take a while, but generally, seeds should germinate in 3-10 days. If it’s been two weeks and a seed hasn’t sprouted, it’s probably a dud and won’t sprout.

A seed has germinated once the seed splits and a single sprout appears. The sprout is the taproot, which will become the main stem of the plant, and seeing it is a sign of successful germination.

It’s important to keep the delicate seed sterile, so don’t touch the seed or taproot as it begins to split.

Transplanting germinated cannabis seeds

Once you see the taproot, it’s time to transfer your germinated seed into its growing medium, such as soil.

  • Fill a 4-inch or one-gallon pot with loose, airy potting soil
  • Water the soil before you put the seed in; it should be wet but not drenched
  • Poke a hole in the soil with a pen or pencil—the rule of thumb is: make the hole twice as deep as the seed is wide
  • Using a pair of tweezers, gently place the seed in the hole with the taproot facing down
  • Lightly cover it with soil

Keep a close eye on the temperature and moisture level of the soil to keep the seed happy. It’s very delicate at this stage. Use a spray bottle to water it—over-watering can suffocate and kill the delicate sprout.

Within a week or so you should see a seedling begin to grow from the soil.

Germinating cannabis seeds doesn’t always go as planned. Some seeds will be duds. Others will be slow and take longer to sprout. But some will pop quickly and grow rapidly.

This is the beauty of seeds—often, you can tell which plants or genetics will thrive right from the get-go. This will help you determine which plants you want to take cuttings from for clones or for breeding if you want to create a seed bank of your own.

How to sex a pot plant

Check out Johanna’s full video series on how to grow weed on Leafly’s YouTube .

As we’ve mentioned, cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning male and female reproductive organs appear on different plants.

Because only female cannabis plants produce buds and you want them to focus all their energy on producing buds and not seeds, it’s important to identify and get rid of male weed plants so they don’t pollinate females. If females are pollinated, it will give you buds filled with seeds, making your weed harsh and unpleasant.

Cultivating males is important for breeders trying to cross new strains and genetics, but most people growing for buds will want to remove the males.

As mentioned above, you can skip the processing of sexing weed plants by growing with feminized seeds or clones.

If growing male and female cannabis seeds, they’ll start to show their sex organs, or “pre-flowers,” after 8-10 weeks from germination.

Cannabis plant sex organs appear on nodes, the points where branches grow off from the main stalk.

Males will have round balls—these will develop into pollen sacs, which will release pollen into the air when mature.

Females will have a round structure with long hairs—these hairs will develop into pistils, which will catch pollen in the air.

Pre-flowers can initially be extremely small and hard to identify with the naked eye, but you can use a magnifying glass to get a better look.

Can I grow a seed I found in a bag of weed?

Finding a cannabis seed in your stash is not ideal, but we’ve all been there before. Although much less common than it once was, it still happens. Sometimes you’ll notice one when grinding down some flower, or you’ll see one pop, spark, and crackle from the heat of a lit bowl.

These are referred to as “bagseeds” and whether or not you can grow one will depend on where it came from.

Is a bagseed good or bad?

Seeds found in finished cannabis buds can develop for a number of reasons. For example, a male plant may have accidentally pollinated a flowering female during the growing process. But more commonly, they’re a sign of stress and can be attributed to high temperatures during the final stages of flowering or an exaggerated spike in climate or environment.

Seeds can also form in plants with genetic disorders or instability, like hermaphrodites—plants that develop both male and female reproductive parts. Generally, stress and genetic disorders are viewed as bad, so temper expectations with any plant you start from a bagseed.

But sometimes you get lucky and find a mature seed in some really nice herb. Strains like the legendary Chemdog wouldn’t be possible without adventurous smokers planting and proliferating the seeds they found in a bag of kind bud.

So don’t discount bud because it has a seed or two in it. While not ideal, it could be the origins of the next great weed strain.

Ask yourself a few questions to decide if it’s worth the time and energy to grow the seed.

Was the seed found in good weed?

If you don’t like the flavor, effects, or even the look of the bud, then it’s probably not worth growing.

Are you ready to grow?

Growing marijuana takes a certain level of commitment: time, energy, and financial resources, so be sure you can commit to the whole process.

Is the seed viable?

For a seed to be viable, it must be mature enough to have a completely formed genetic blueprint, and it must be strong enough to germinate and pop through its hard casing and sprout its crucial taproot.

There are a few indicators that will give you a sense of whether the seed is worth germinating.

  • Tiger stripes—dark stripes on the seed which resemble veins on a leaf are generally good
  • Solid shell—a seed should be able to withstand a little pressure when pinched between your fingers; if it crumbles or cracks, it’s no good

Immature seeds tend to be light in color and have a soft outer shell.

In some cases, even if a seed isn’t completely mature, there’s still a chance it could be viable. But often these are extremely weak, take long to develop, and express other unfavorable characteristics. Growers usually discard weak plants to free up space.

You might also find a mature seed that has been physically damaged through poor handling, like rough trimming. In those cases, it probably isn’t worth the effort to try and germinate the seed.

But if the seed you found looks decent, you might as well germinate it and see what sprouts.

Time to germinate

Viable or not, there’s only one sure way to find out if a bagseed will grow. If you’re simply curious to learn and not as concerned with the overall outcome, you can plant a couple of bagseeds outside and see what happens.

If you’re ready for a more serious approach, make sure you have the space for a proper garden and pop the seeds to see what fruit they bear.

Even if your seed sprouts fast and grows vigorously, it still has roughly a 50/50 chance of being female and producing buds, instead of turning out to be a male.

Remember, once a seed germinates, the real work begins. Sexing, selecting, vegetative growth, flowering, and the eventual harvest all lie ahead.

How to buy cannabis seeds

Cannabis seeds can be found on numerous online seed banks, but note that it is illegal to bring seeds into the US and Customs will seize any cannabis seeds that they find in packages or on a person. In legal and medical states, you may purchase seeds at a dispensary.