Growing your own weed takes time and energy, but when you obtain your first harvest, you’ll know how rewarding it is. Growing weed isn’t hard science, In this post we show you a grow report of regular cannabis seeds for those growers who want to use these seeds in their crops. Learn the small differe
How Long Does It Take for Marijuana Seeds to Sprout?
Growing your own weed takes time and energy, but when you obtain your first harvest, you’ll know how rewarding it is. Growing weed isn’t hard science, especially if you have previous experience with growing plants, so if you learn the basics the rest will quickly follow.
This article focuses on the germination process of growing weed, and the most common germination methods, as well as some tips for success. Whether you’ve chosen indica or sativa, or regular or autoflowering seeds, germination is crucial to the plant’s growth process and the start of its lifecycle, so keep on reading for some helpful tips and information.
How Do Weed Seeds Work?
Weed seeds are the small oval-shaped fruits of the cannabis plant. They’re covered in a subtle membrane, albumen, which keeps the center of the seed healthy until it’s time for germination. At the center of the seed you can find the embryo from which the new plant grows from. This embryo contains the plant’s genetic code and is the place from where the taproot starts forming.
Similar to other plant seeds, cannabis seeds are the fruit of the pollinated flowers of female weed plants that don’t contain any psychoactive effects. However, they can be consumed as food since they’re the source of a lot of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial proteins.
Pros and Cons of Using Cannabis Seeds
When it comes to cannabis cultivation, germinating cannabis seeds is one of the methods you can choose. This method of cultivation has a lot of benefits, but also a few downsides.
Some of the benefits of cultivating marijuana seeds include:
- The presence of the taproot from the germinating seeds provides more support in the initial growth stages of the cannabis plant.
- You don’t inherit pests from the mother plant.
- As a result of the expansion of the cannabis market, you can choose from a huge variety of high-quality seeds from a lot of seed banks all over the world.
- Seeds can be stored for a long time without going bad and still germinate.
On the other hand, the downsides when using cannabis seeds include:
- Having to wait until the plant reaches the flowering stage in order to differentiate whether it’s a male or a female plant.
- Seeds can take a while before they pop (germinate).
- Germinating seeds is harder for newbie growers since it requires more skill.
Cannabis Seeds vs. Clones
Compared to cannabis seeds, cannabis clones are an example of asexual propagation, or replicating from a single parent. The cutting is taken from a stable mother plant and is grown into a genetically stable ang genetically identical plant under the right conditions. The benefits of using clones for weed cultivation include:
- Ensuring that the gender of the new plant is female.
- Knowing which traits your plant will have.
- The cultivation process is several weeks faster compared to a seed that needs to sprout.
- The clone is less delicate than the seed is at the beginning.
- Growing clones is easier since you only need to “plug and play”, so beginners will find this process easier.
How Are Marijuana Seeds Grown?
You can grow marijuana seeds both inside and outside, depending on the conditions, space, and resources available. Generally, growing marijuana indoors requires a dedicated space and equipment, like fans, grow lights, and heating pads. This method is more private and gives you better control, but at the same time, it’s more expensive and demanding. Growing outdoors is the easiest and cheapest way to grow, provided that there’s enough sunlight – at least 6 hours of light daily. The downside is that you’ll be limited to the growing season even though outdoor marijuana yields a lot more weed because the plants grow bigger. If growing outdoors isn’t an option for you, or you want to grow all year long, you can always invest in some quality lights.
Marijuana plants usually start out as a seed, but some growers use clones as well. Basically, a clone is a cut-off from a plant that’s used to grow another plant. Growing weed from seeds is a little more convenient, especially if it’s your first time growing weed, plus, seeds give a stronger plant.
Before the seeds turn into a beautiful marijuana plant, they need to be prepped for transplanting, or in other words, they need to germinate.
What Is Seed Germination?
Seed germination is the process when a plant starts sprouting from seed and continues growing from there. During the germination process, the food reserves present within the seed are converted into sugars that the plant uses to increase in size, causing its root to start breaking through the shell. This is the first sign that they have germinated.
Once emerged, the root is crucial to the plant’s survival as it provides the necessary nutrients from the environment. After this process, the germinated seeds are ready to be planted in the growing medium of your choice.
The simplest and most common one is soil, but in recent years, hydroponics are also becoming popular – Rockwool cubes and coco, especially. The downside of these growing mediums is that you need to be well-versed in pH levels and maintain the optimal pH and nutritional status of your plant at all times.
Germinating Your Cannabis Seeds
There are three most common germination methods.
Soaking Cannabis Seeds in a Glass of Water
This is the simplest method and it’s especially helpful for older seeds as it helps to wake them up, or even seeds with hard shells. The process is pretty straightforward: you need to fill the glass with lukewarm water and soak the seeds. At first, they should float in the water, and sink to the bottom after a few hours have passed. If some of the seeds don’t sink, you can try pushing them gently to the bottom.
After you’ve soaked the seeds, put the cup of water in a dark and warm place, and leave them for 36 hours at most. The seeds that have started sprouting will have a tiny white root sticking out. If, after 36 hours some seeds have no signs of sprouting, we recommend you put them in a warm and moist place to encourage the germination process.
The Paper Towel Method
This method is probably the most popular one among weed growers. You’ll need a kitchen paper towel and two plates. We recommend you use a nonporous paper towel (usually the cheaper brands), as this will retain moisture for longer. Here’s a brief step-by-step guide:
- Moisten two sheets of paper towel and put them on one of the plates;
- Carefully place the cannabis seeds over the wet paper towels;
- Fold the damp paper towels over so that the seeds are well covered;
- Cover with the other plate to create a dark space, but make sure to leave some room for oxygen, i.e. don’t align the plates perfectly;
- Check on the seeds often, about every 5-8 hours, and if you notice that the paper towels have dried even a little, spray them immediately to maintain the moisture.
If all goes well, the seeds should take 24 hours to start sprouting, but if they haven’t (this might happen with old seeds), leave them for up to 72 hours and check on them constantly so they don’t run out of moisture. With this method, you’ll need to be patient, as some seeds just need a little more time.
Germinating Seeds in Potting Soil
You can also mimic nature’s way by germinating marijuana seeds directly in a growing medium. This method allows the seeds to sprout in potting soil and continue living there without the need for transplanting. The upside of this method is that the marijuana seedlings will get used to its home environment from the beginning and it’ll be easier to thrive.
To do this, you need to put the seed about ½ inch deep in moist (not wet) soil. Put some soil over the hole to cover it and press lightly. The seed will germinate under the surface and, in about 4 to 10 days, it should slowly spring to the surface.
So, How Long Until They Germinate?
As you can see, the germination of cannabis seeds depends entirely on the type of seed and the chosen method. A rule of thumb is that it takes approximately 24-48 hours for the seeds to start sprouting, however, there can be some exceptions to this rule, of course. Just remember that moisture and warmth are very important and remember to check on the seeds often.
What Do Marijuana Seeds Need for the Germination Process?
Seeds need the ideal environment to break through and start germinating. Seeing as this process is one of the most important steps in growing your marijuana plants, here’s what you need for achieving the best germination rates:
- High moisture levels – your cannabis seeds need a lot of moisture (about 80%) to help them expand, however, be careful not to add too much water, and always make sure you use clean tap water;
- Warm temperatures – the marijuana plant is a warm-season plant that thrives in springtime, so ideally, you should put the cannabis seeds in a warm place and maintain the temperature between 68°-72° Fahrenheit or 20°-22° Celsius;
- Minimal interference – you’ll need to avoid touching the germinating seeds while they’re going through the process because the taproots (cotyledons) are very fragile and prone to breaking. If you must handle them, wash your hands first, or use clean gloves.
Remember that when the seeds are healthy, they will respond well to this basic setup and you won’t need to do or add anything extra to help your cannabis plants grow.
A Few Don’ts for Successful Marijuana Seed Germination
Even though seed germination is a relatively straightforward process, knowing a thing or two beforehand can help you avoid making mistakes and make the most of your seeds.
- Don’t let the germination container dry out. Moisture is very important to kickstart the process, but maintaining the moisture is even more important. Whichever method you choose to germinate the seeds, we recommend you check up on them daily to ensure that there is enough moisture. This especially applies when you use a heat source to achieve warmth as it may cause the water to evaporate faster than normal.
- Don’t leave the seeds to germinate for too long. This means that you shouldn’t wait for the taproots to grow very large, as they will be very delicate and make the subsequent transplant more difficult for you. Plus, leaving them for too long means that they’ll be exposed to air which puts them in danger of oxidation and further damage. Therefore, make sure they’re about ½ -1 inch long at most.
- Don’t plant the seeds too shallow or deep. This is a common mistake that weed growers make, but it’s easy to be avoided. When you plant the seeds too deep, the seedling won’t get enough air and it may suffocate deep beneath the surface. On the other hand, if you sow the seeds too close to the surface, it will result in weak and underdeveloped stems. Your best bet is to plant the seeds at about ½ inch depth.
- Don’t germinate seeds in the same container. Cannabis seeds need plenty of room to grow, so if you plant several in the same pot, they will compete for light, nutrients, and space, resulting in little branching and weaker roots. This will, in turn, affect the quality of your plant. So, unless the container is big enough, you should give the seeds enough room to thrive.
So, How Long Does It Take for Marijuana Seeds to Sprout?
Seed germination is an essential step in the process of growing your own weed. The average time for marijuana seeds to germinate mostly depends on the type of seeds and the germination method. However, the usual time frame is between 24-48 hours. The most important elements that support seed germination together are warmth, moisture, and peace. Finally, having patience and being diligent will help you achieve the best results. And if you’re looking for more info on marijuana grow times, check out our post talking about how long does weed take to grow.
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
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