How to Germinate a Bag Seed
F inding a seed in your bag of weed used to be regarded as an insult, an indication you scored some inferior product. But it’s a new millennium, and growing cannabis is perfectly legal in some states and territories. While buying seeds online is still recommended for reasons we will detail further, finding a healthy seed can be as valuable as an ounce of gold. Or at least the cost of the bag.
- Can You Tell if a Cannabis Seed is Male or Female?
- How to Store Marijuana Seeds Properly
- Feminized Cannabis Seeds Explained
- How to Start Seeds
In this article we review the steps to germinate cannabis seeds, tips and tricks in the process, and how to keep your seedling healthy.
Germinating a seed is the first step in the growing process, and a cannabis seed will sprout with a voracious hunger, so if you are about to germinate seeds, start thinking ahead about where the seedling will eventually be moved to. This includes lighting, ventilation, and something to feed the lady. Those things don’t need to be decided before you begin, but try to have a plan in place by the time the second set of leaves emerges — as soon as two weeks.
The Germination Process
Begin by soaking the seed overnight. Soaking the seed saturates it with moisture, and moving it shortly after to a warm home tells the seed that it’s someplace comfortable, and it’s time to grow. Tap water is fine for this, but a micronutrient solution like liquid seaweed may be included.
Once your seed has soaked, the most common method for germination is the “paper towel method.” Wet a piece of paper towel and wring dry, then fold in half. Place the seeds between the halves of the damp paper towel, and slide the whole thing into a ziplock bag. Seal with some air inside. Leave this bag someplace comfortably warm for about a week, checking frequently for spots of mold. After about a week, a taproot should emerge.
Then it is time to transfer the seed into a proper growing medium. Be careful plucking your seed from the paper towel!
A grow medium is the “stuff” the seed will sit in. The easiest option is soil, healthy black earthy scooped up from your yard, or potting soil purchased from any garden center. Rock wool cubes are a common option for hydroponic growers, but can later be transplanted into soil as well. Compost and worm castings are great for a seedling, but it will need to be transplanted into a more diverse mixture later.
It is far too early to begin any nutrient cycle, or to introduce any fertilizers to the soil. Now that the seed is confirmed as alive, and placed into a more comfortable medium, simply make sure that the seed is watered and warm.
The first set of leaves to emerge are called “sucker leaves,” and their sole purpose is to drink in as much light as possible to fuel the growth of the more recognizable serrated leaves, which will begin to grow over the next week. After that you’ve got a proper seedling, and in a few weeks it will be ready for a bigger home!
For further guidance and resources about growing cannabis, see our Beginner’s Guide to Growing Marijuana, or our guide to growing for personal use.
Cultivating a Healthy Cannabis Seedling
The seedling that emerges will be as tender as an infant, and susceptible to diseases and cross-contaminations, so keep your germination station as sanitary as possible, and wash your hands before handling them. Avoid rubber or latex gloves at this stage as they have too much grip, and one wrong movement of your finger could accidentally grab and tear the soft plant material.
A seed’s health may be fortified by soaking it with a solution rich in micronutrients, like liquid seaweed. Be advised, however, that these will be very diluted solutions. Carefully read the mixing instructions of any product you purchase.
Seedlings can be protected against certain diseases by including worm castings in the medium. Research out of Cornell University has shown the microbial life in worm castings colonizes the seed’s surface, making it more difficult for pathogenic microbes to establish themselves.
Disclaimers and Downsides Regarding Found Seeds
It’s worth pausing to remember that seeds shouldn’t wind up in your bag of cured, smokable cannabis. So before planting anything, let’s assess what this seed is, and how it got there.
Only female cannabis plants produce flowers, and if they are pollinated by male plants, then they produce seeds instead. So all the cannabis we smoke is from unpollinated female plants — or nearly all of it.
When female plants are stressed — for instance, by drought conditions or nutrient problems — an evolutionary alarm can induce them to produce seeds with only their DNA. The problem with these “hermaphrodite seeds” is that the offspring, having benefited from this process, will be more prone to repeat it. If this is how a seed got in your bag, it can result in seedy weed, even under the closest care.
A seed is not guaranteed to sprout at all. Examine the seed for any obvious health issues. Immature seeds are lighter greys-to-green, while mature seeds are darker tan, brown, or even black. A healthy shape is a teardrop or nearly round, while bunk seeds will appear shrivelled or irregular. Finally, healthy seeds have a hard, whole shell, while cracked or brittle shells will likely not sprout, or produce a less healthy seedling.
A found seed is also not a guarantee to produce a replica of the strain you smoked, and may present latent traits from the strains it was bred from. Cultivating a complete copy of a phenotype is called “cloning,” and the cloning process must begin with a living plant, not a seed.
Remember, it could also just result in a male plant, which won’t grow any buds. None of this is guaranteed to happen with a bag seed, it’s just more likely than with a stabilized seed from a producer.
If you want to germinate a seed you’ve found, begin by soaking it overnight in water to saturate it, and soften the shell. Micronutrient solutions can be mixed in at this stage to fortify the health of the seedling (if you do, be sure to read the mixing instructions on the label).
The “paper towel method” is the most accessible way of germinating almost any seed. Once a taproot has emerged (after about a week) plant the seed into a small container with your chosen grow medium, like soil. Do not fertilize at this stage, as the seed and resulting seedling are very tender, and concentrated fertilizers are abrasive chemicals. Within another week, “sucker leaves” will sprout, synthesizing light to produce further growth.
Remember, found seeds are not always healthy or even viable. A healthy seed has a hard, unbroken shell and a dark color, while brittle or misshapen seeds may not produce a healthy plant, if anything at all. A found seed is also not guaranteed to replicate the precise phenotype of that cannabis you found it in.
That said, it’s almost always worth trying, and experimenting with whatever results. Growing cannabis can be an enriching experience, and perhaps even save you some riches. As long as you know what to look for from a seed, and how to handle them, finding one in your bag could be a golden ticket.
Growing regular cannabis seeds indoors
Contrary to popular belief, growing regular marijuana seeds (in which we find male and female plants) isn?t more difficult than growing feminized seeds. They are accessible for everyone, also for beginners. Until early 2000, everybody learned to grow marijuana using regular seeds and the selection of female and male plants was just another step of the grow, something fast and simple to realize, such as the germination process or switching the photoperiod.
Conspiracy Kush from TGA Subcool
Naturally, 50% of the regular seeds are males and the other 50% are female plants. Of course, several factors can alter this ratio, but if using more than 10 seeds it’s almost impossible not getting a single female plant (the chances of getting 10 males out of 10 seeds is lower than 1:1000). Some people think that environmental conditions might influence on this male / female ratio (good conditions usually bring more females), but this theory hasn’t been verified in a rigorous way yet.
So, generally we recommend you to germinate 15 or 16 regular marijuana seeds for every square meter in small flowerpots. Grow them for few weeks and then switch to bloom, right before removing the males and transplanting the female marijuana plants into the definitive containers. Normally, we use 6-10 plants per square meter during the flowering stage.
In this article we will show you a grow report of 16 regular seeds using a 90 x 90 cm (or 81 m2) grow tent. The crop took around 3 months (from early October until late December). We gave our plants a growth period of 3 weeks and, approximately, 10 weeks of flowering.
Equipment for the crop, nutrients and marijuana strains
This indoor crop was performed in a DarkRoom V2 90 grow tent, with a 400W HPS bulb for the flowering phase. We used organic nutritients from the following brands: Aptus, General Organics, BAC and Cannabiogen:
- Growth Fertiliser: Bio Thrive Grow (General Organics)
- Bloom Fertiliser: Organic PK Booster (BAC)
- Growth Stimulator: Start Booster (Aptus)
- Bloom Stimulator: Top Booster (Aptus)
- Regulator (Aptus)
- Delta 9 (Cannabiogen)
Feeding chart for this crop
The beneficial fungus Trichoderma Harzianum, which grows in symbiosis with the roots of the marijuana plant, was used in each watering throughout the crop. We would like to stress the importance of using Trichoderma from seedling and also after each transplant. Trichoderma allows you to protect the roots from attacks of fungal pathogens and improve the nutrient uptake by the roots.
The Organic PK Booster from BAC contains P&K (Phosphorus and Potassium), as well as Nitrogen (N) and all the essential micronutrients needed by the plants, so it?s possible to use it as complete organic flowering fertiliser for your marijuana plants. It also contains sugars (molasses) and other interesting natural ingredients.
We used Light Mix with a bit of Bio Super Mix to enrich the soil composition. The chosen cannabis strains to grow were:
- 8 regular seeds of Conspiracy Kush from TGA Subcool, a mostly Indica cross between Obama Kush and Space Queen.
- 8 regular seeds of 818 Headband from The Cali Connection, a hybrid of Sour Diesel and OG Kush, two famous geneticsfrom USA.
Germination of cannabis seeds
16 marijuana seeds were set to germinate between two dishes, using paper towels moisturized with water and Trichoderma.
Germination of cannabis seeds
You should make use of the microbial life as soon as possible so that the symbiosis will be effective from the beginning and the small radicle is protected against the attacks of fungi and diseases such as the Phytium or wilting. Normally, it will be possible to observe the development of the Trichodermas on the roots.
Keeping the temperature between 20 and 25° C, 100% of the seeds sprouted within 48 hours. They were planted into 3 litre pots during approximately 3 weeks of growth. It?s possible to use smaller plant pots during the first days of the plant’s life to create a more dense and effective root system.
Seedlings beginning their life
Growth of cannabis plants
From the beginning of the growth period we could observe traces of thrips in the youngest leaves, noticing the silver dots typical of this pest. We soon used a treatment using biological insecticides, spraying the plants with this mixture:
- Azaprot (Neem Oil) 2 ml/L
- Pireprot (Crisanthenum Pyrethrum Extracts) 2 ml/L
- Cinnaprot (Cinnamon extract) 2 ml/L
- Alliumprot (Garlic slurry) 6 ml/L
If you want, you can replace the Azaprot, Pireprot and Cinnaprot from Ecoprotec for Trabe’s Ain THC, Expelex and Bio Fungi C Grow.
Cannabis plants after 6 days of growth
Generally, when using natural insecticides, we recommend mixing different active ingredients to prevent insects, diseases or mites, thus improving the plant resistance from the start. This mixture allows you to fight with natural methods against a great diversity of insects and mites, using it either as preventive or to erradicate pests.
Cannabis plants after 12 days of growth
During the second week of growth, we stimulate the vigour of the plants spraying 5 ml/L of Delta 9 from Cannabiogen, a product rich in vitamins, amino acids and nutrients. After around 15 days since the beginning of the plants life, we start adding growth fertiliser (Bio Thrive) to the nutrient solution, gradually increasing the dose while looking for nutrient excesses.
Cannabis plants after 16 days of growth
During the last week of growth (3rd week), we apply another insecticide treatment before switching to bloom. At this point, we prune the tops of the plants to keep their vertical growth under control, what will also be beneficial for the development of side branches.
Cannabis plants after 21 days
During this growth period, the temperature varied between 22 and 31 ° C, while the humidity level was between 40 and 70%. At early Autumn the weather can be really hot in Spain, and the humidity level raised as the plants grew.
Pre-flowering of cannabis plants (weeks 1 and 2 of flowering)
The growing space was full and it was time to switch our plants into the flowering phase, reducing the growth photoperiod – 18 hours of light per day (18/6) – to 12 hours of light per day (12/12).
We divide the flowering stage in three consecutive phases, and each phase must be performed perfectly to ensure a good harvest. These phases are: the stretch, the bud development and the final ripening of the plants, the last stage before the harvest of marijuana plants.
When we switch to 12/12, the stretch period begins and plants grow notably until reaching their final height, a phenomenon comparable to the adolescence of humans. During this period, cropping the branches of the higher plants – trying to keep them as uniform in height as possible- is advised.
Cannabis plants after 4 days into flowering
While marijuana plants are normally very vigorous and very resistant during the flowering period, this is a crucial moment for them and the grower should take care of their needs properly: if you don’t look after your plants during this stage, you will take the risk of creating a jungle very difficult to control once in full bloom, especially when working with different genetics.
The watering and feeding needs (especially Nitrogen) must be accurately met during the stretch of plants, so we must pay close attention to prevent any drought or deficiency which would slow down the overall plant development. During the transition to flowering, we used again Delta 9 from Cannabiogen (via foliar), to help and stimulate the plant metabolism during this important stage.
Cannabis plants after 8 days into flowering
Few days after switching to 12/12, we could already identify the female plants for the two pistils (white hairs) that develop on the internodes of the branches, so we could easily identify and remove the male plants, which develop very different flowers, shaped like small clusters or sacks.
In this crop, we got the following number of males and females:
- Conspiracy Kush: 7 female plants, 1 male plant
- 818 Headband: 3 female plants, 5 male plants
Thus, we had 10 female plants to flower, which were quickly transplanted into 7 litre pots. We pruned the lower parts of the plants to favour the top parts, which are more exposed to the light. These small branches were rooted as cuttings in a small propagator (during the growth cycle, 18/6), so we could keep an exact copy of each grown female.
After the harvest, the tasting will allow us to choose the best female according to our criteria (taste, smell, effect, yield, resin production, resistance to pests, etc.) and keep them as mother plants, so we can grow the same plant again and always with the same traits. Indeed, regular seeds are the perfect option for selecting mother plants.
Cannabis plants after 15 days into flowering
Right after the end of the stretch, all plants were treated for the last time with a biological insecticide. If you want to make your own regular seeds, you can also select and keep the best males in a separate space. If you don’t want to make seeds, then you should remove them as soon as you identify them to avoid that they release their pollen and get your plants seeded.
During the stretch the temperature ranged from 21ºC to 28ºC and the humidity level was between 40% and 60%.
Cannabis plants in full bloom (3rd and 4th weeks)
As soon as we see that our plants are starting to develop buds we can stop using growth fertiliser and root stimulators, which will be replaced for nutrients and boosters formulated for the flowering stage.
Cannabis plants after 3 weeks into flowering
A third and last application of Delta 9 will stimulate the metabolism of the plants for the next weeks. The stretch phase has finished, except for one 818 Headband from The Cali Connection plant that keeps on growing. We continue cropping it regularly and place it on a corner of the growing space.
The flowering was slowed down due to low temperatures, so we added heat cables around the pots: the roots of cannabis plants are sensitive to cold and we must warm them if necessary. Just like us, marijuana doesn?t like cold feet. We decrease the potency of the extraction fan with the help of a power controller to keep the heat produced by the lamp in the growing space.
After these changes, the temperature ranged from 12 °C (light off) to 20 °C (light on) and humidity ranged between 50% and 70%.
Cannabis plants after 4 weeks into flowering
At this stage of bloom the buds are beginning to develop a considerable amount of resin, and the smell is more and more intense, so using carbon filters is advised if you want a discreet crop.
Peak of flowering (5th and 6th weeks)
At this moment, the Conspiracy Kush plants from TGA develop beautiful bluish colors favoured by the low temperatures during the night periods. We keep on using our feeding schedule and any plant shows symptoms of deficiencies during this stage, in which the buds fatten up day by day.
Conspiracy Kush after 35 days into flowering
Once into flowering, marijuana plants need very little maintenance, but we should look with diligence for the presence of insects, mites, fungi, deficiencies and excesses or hermaphrodite plants.
At this point, the temperature ranged from 14 to 25° C and the humidity from 50 to 70%. In some Conspiracy Kush phenotypes the resin production was excellent, as well as the superb scents released by the more resinous plants.
41 days into flowering, we start flushing the roots (weeks 7 and 8)
Flushing the roots of cannabis plants (7th and 8th weeks)
The dosages of the nutrients and boosters used have been progressively reduced so that washing the roots of the plants is performed more progressively and effectively. The plants will now use the nutrient reserves they’ve kept in their tissues, principally in the leaves but also in other parts of the plant. Flushing the roots highly improves all the aspects of the final product, improving both the organoleptic features and its medicinal properties.
47 days into flowering
At this stage, the buds stop growing; the plants start their ripening process, the last stage of the flowering period; the flowers develop more and more terpenes and trichomes. During this period, the temperature ranged between 14 and 25 °C with a humidity level from 50 to 70 %.
54 days into flowering
End of flushing and harvest (9th and 10th weeks)
During the end of the flowering satge, when plants come to the end of their life cycle, we will use only water – without fertilisers – to perform a more rigorous root flushing. The chlorophyll breaks down and the plants lose their green colour: if carotenoids predominate, the plant will turn into yellow colors, but if the anthocyanins dominate – a natural pigment present in blue varieties which appears due to low temperatures as a protection from the cold) the marijuana plants will turn into a beautiful purple/bluish colour.
9th week into flowering
During this period it?s also important to be patient and to observe the resin glands on the buds, waiting for the ideal moment to harvest our plants. Normally, we will harvest them when most the resin glands are white/milky and only few amber trichomes are present, a sign that THC is starting to degrade into CBN, a cannabinoid which has only 10% of the psychoactive effect of THC.
The temperature ranged from 14 to 25 °C and the humidity from 50 to 70 %. The smell of the plants is amazing, constantly producing the aromatic terpenes typical of cannabis plants.
70 days into flowering, plants are ready to harvest
Drying and curing cannabis buds
During the harvest, each plant was carefully examined looking for molds. Fortunately, and despite having a relative humidity rather high during the bloom phase, any plant was attacked by fungi. A good ventilation, and the regular use of Trichoderma during the growth stage greatly helped to avoid the risk of mold on the buds, which often start growing in the substrate.
We discovered few male flowers in one of the 818 Headband plants, but they certainly were sterile because we never found any seeded bud.
The drying process was performed in a dark place, with a constant temperature of approximately 15 °C and during 4 weeks. A long drying process demands more patience, but surely rewards the grower with superior organoleptic quality.
Harvested Cannabis buds, Conspiracy Kush and 818 Headband
The small leaves of the buds, completely covered with resin glands, were trimmed after drying and kept to make high grade homemade hashish. The buds were stored in glass jars and opened every day for 30 minutes during around 3 weeks, until being properly cured; this crucial final stage is called curing.
The grower estimated a yield of 25-30 grams per plant, a total of 250-300 grams.
Smoke report of Conspiracy Kush and 818 Headband
If speaking about the cultivation of these strains, we liked the Conspiracy Kush better than the 818 Headband, mainly due to its beautiful purple colours and impressive production of resin glands, a characteristic trait of all TGA Subcool strains. These are easy to grow genetics, with a relative stability between females, what suggests a great predominance of the mother Obama Kush in this hybrid. The 818 Headband is more vigorous, especially during the stretch stage, developing more side branches and yielding a bit more.
Smoke report of Conspiracy Kush from TGA Subcool:
- Appearance : Great bag appeal, compact buds with a nice layer of resin and beautiful green/purple colours. The small leaves of the buds are covered with resin and produce excellent hashish. Score: 5/5
- Flavour : Conspiracy Kush produces a very soft smoke when inhaling. We will notice hashy and fruity notes – reminiscent of grapes and berries – with lemony undertones. The fruity and sweet flavour increase as the curing process advances. We will see some differences from one female plant to another, but they all have very similar taste. Score: 4/5
- Effect : The effect is mainly body relaxing, typical of Indica marijuana strains, although it isn?t a couch-locking high. This variety is perfect to fight against stress, insomnia or to relax after a hard day of work. Score: 4/5
Smoke report of 818 Headband (Sour Diesel x OG Kush) from The Cali Connection
- Appearance : 818 Headband buds compact, but not as Conspiracy Kush’. The flowers are light coloured and resin production is above average. Score: 4/5
- Flavour : Sour Diesel notes mixed with earthy undertones inherited from the OG Kush. The smoke is harsher than Conspiracy Kush, less refined in respect of aromas. Score: 3/5
- Effect : The 818 Headband produces a powerful and balanced effect between high and stoned, starting with a relatively strong cerebral effect that quickly becomes a more relaxing experience. Thus, it is a good choice for those who are seeking a balanced effect, suitable for the day but also before going to sleep, for medicinal purposes or simply to enjoy the plant recreationally. Score: 4/5
818 Headband from The Cali Connection Detail view of a 818 Headband Bud 818 Headband from The Cali Connection Detail view of a 818 Headband Bud 818 Headband from The Cali Connection Detail view of a 818 Headband Bud Conspiracy Kush from TGA Subcool Detail view of a Conspiracy Kush bud from TGA Conspiracy Kush from TGA Subcool Detail view of a Conspiracy Kush bud from TGA Conspiracy Kush from TGA Subcool Detail view of a Conspiracy Kush bud from TGA Detail view of a Conspiracy Kush bud from TGA Conspiracy Kush from TGA Subcool Detail view of a Conspiracy Kush bud from TGA Conspiracy Kush from TGA Subcool Detail view of a Conspiracy Kush bud from TGA Conspiracy Kush from TGA Subcool Detail view of a Conspiracy Kush bud from TGA Conspiracy Kush from TGA Subcool 22 days into flowering 28 days into flowering 35 days into flowering 41 days into flowering 47 days into flowering 54 days into flowering 61 days into flowering 70 days into flowering
how can i get good weed out of reggie seed
well. just bc the weed it came from was crappy doesnt mean its got bad genetics. it might but it might not. if you take care of them well and cure them right it will prob be decent at least. its a total crap shoot but most of the time crappy weed is just decent weed that was grown, trimmed, dried, stored badly. just my opinion fwiw. i got an odessy clone off a guy i know thats kinda known for having crappy weed, its bomb.
oh yeah i totaly forgot, one of his friends asked me if he could get a clone. he wanted a better odessy and didnt know it was the same one.
Don’t piss on your plant. That dude is a retard. Like it’s me said good weed starts with the grower,good medium nutes lights and curing will make that bud 100 times better.
This is a forum designed to help fellow blades you don’t want to help them don’t post. Keep dumb comments to yourself.
Most marijuana that’s sold commercially has , at least, fairly good genes; that is to say it has the potential to be fairly potent. The important word here is Potential! Every business stays alive by making tradeoffs and cutting corners (just like every airplane that flies is a compromise!). Every little bit of “proper” care that the plant doesn’t get is reflected by a coresponding drop in potential – that means the worse it’s treated the less potent it will be! This includes everything in all stages of growth – plus harvesting, drying and curing – plus handling, transporting and storing!
All you have to do to get “Good Weed” is do eveything right and allow the plant to live up to it’s potential!