Marijuana Growing Seeds

Here are a few tips, tricks, and a bit of safety advice for how to turn those marijuana seeds you bought into a successful home grow. Cannabis is grown from one of two sources: a seed or a clone. Seeds carry genetic information from two parent plants that can be expressed in numerous Many cannabis consumers have found an occasional seed in their bag of marijuana. But can you actually use them to grow your own weed? Learn more about germinating bag seeds and turning them into flourishing cannabis plants.

Karing Kind Guide to Buying Marijuana Seeds

Have you ever thought about growing your own marijuana plants? Colorado law allows individuals to grow up to six plants for personal use. Instead of driving to the dispensary, you’d just need to walk across the room. But growing your own cannabis plants can be a daunting task. You might worry you don’t have the budget or space you need to get started. Or maybe you aren’t sure you have the skill or gardening expertise needed to turn marijuana seeds into healthy marijuana plants with a strong yield.

Whether you’re planting your first cannabis seed or you’re adding a fourth, fifth, or sixth plant, we want you to have a safe and successful home grow. From Colorado marijuana laws to home grow tips, tricks, and safety advice, here are a few things to consider if you’re growing your own pot.

Colorado Cannabis Home Grow Laws

We noted that Colorado allows individuals to grow up to six plants for personal use. Of course, it’s not quite that simple. There are a few DOs and DON’Ts to know about before planting your pot.

  • You can only have up to three plants flowering at any one time.
  • Counties and municipalities may have stricter home grow laws, including caps for how many plants can be growing in a single house.
  • If minors share the residence, plants must be kept in a separate enclosed, locked space.
  • Home grown marijuana or marijuana products cannot be sold to anyone.
  • Cannabis plants cannot be grown in public view.

A Few Considerations Before Setting Up a Home Grow

Before you start buying equipment or preparing your spouse for increased utility bills, take some time to consider your space, budget, and grow goals.

Will you be using hydroponics or soil? The decision will likely impact the space you need and the gear you’ll need to purchase or repurpose.

You can expect to fit approximately four large marijuana plants per square meter. If you have the space, a closet or wardrobe can work nicely. If not, you may want to purchase a grow tent. The most important considerations when choosing a location are:

  • Light-proof
  • Consistent temperature
  • Ventilated
  • Clean
  • Away from pets, animals, and children
  • Comfortable enough to work in
  • Tall enough to suspend lights without limiting plant growth

Fans can help keep a grow room cool and provide moving air for the plants. An outward facing fan can push hot air out of the grow room to help lower humidity. And, a well-placed filter can help reduce the scent.

Flat, light-colored walls help ensure more light is absorbed by the plant. Speaking of lights, do your research before getting too far into your home grow planning. Not all lights and lighting systems offer the same features, draw the same energy, or run at the same temperature. Hotter lights need to be kept farther from the plants and will require better ventilation to maintain the right temperature for your budding buds.

If your home grow becomes too humid (or if you aren’t cleaning your humidifier regularly), you increase the risk of pathogenic microbes. But, adding too many fans and your plants may become too dry. As a result, you may need to test your set-up and balance a variety of tools to get the temperature and humidity just right. Here are a few pieces of equipment you may want or need to manage the climate in your grow.

  • Thermometers
  • Fans
  • Humidistat
  • Humidifier/Dehumidifier
  • Light timer
  • CO2 drips

You may also wish to build a collection rack or place the plants on an elevated surface to allow increased airflow and allow for easier clean-up. And, as we noted earlier, your set-up may change depending on if you are using hydroponics or soil.

Keeping Your Home Grow Safe

Using a professional electrician to install your lights can prevent power outages and fire hazards.

Placing your grow in a room with walls that don’t easily absorb moisture (like painted concrete or plastic) can help prevent mold and mildew. Similarly, make sure your grow has plenty of ventilation to remove excess moisture and heat.

If you can, avoid using pesticides and fertilizers entirely to ensure a cleaner product and environment. If you can’t, make sure you wear protective gear when applying and keep harmful chemicals locked in a safe place away from children. Change your clothes when leaving your grow room so you don’t track herbicides, fertilizers, and solvents around your house. And, remember to dispose of chemicals properly.

You can read more tips and tricks on how to grow marijuana safely at home on Colorado.gov .

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Buying Cannabis Seeds

Now that you have an idea what you’ll need to set up your home grow, it’s time to look for the right seeds. Karing Kind carries a range of highly sought after seeds from FreeWorld Genetics.

With THC levels typically ranging from 20-29 percent, and with every strain providing a medium to high yield in an average of 60 days or less (depending on your growing environment, style, and experience), a small investment now can lead to potent, home-grown weed in under two months.

Want to learn more about our seeds and how to start your own home grow? Bring your questions into our shop in North Boulder and ask one of our award-winning budtenders. Or browse our selection of marijuana seeds in our online menu.

Cannabis seeds 101: A guide for growers

Cannabis is grown from one of two sources: a seed or a clone. Seeds carry genetic information from two parent plants that can be expressed in numerous different combinations, some like the mother, some like the father, and many presenting various traits from both. Generally, commercial cannabis producers will plant many seeds of one strain and choose the best plant. They will then take clones from that individual plant to get consistent genetics for mass production.

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

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Cannabis can be either male or female—also called “dioecious”—but only females produce the buds we all know and love. However, for reproduction, the flower of a female plant must be pollinated by a male plant, after which the female flower produces seeds. Once the seeds are mature, the female plant begins to die, and seeds are either dropped to the ground where they germinate and grow into new cannabis plants the next spring, or they are harvested for processing into hemp seed oil, food products, or to be sown to become the next generation of plants.

To get the buds you find 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 that they don’t pollinate and create 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.

Feminized cannabis seeds will produce only female plants for getting buds, so there is no need to remove males or worry about the plants getting pollinated. Feminized seeds are produced by causing the monoecious, or hermaphrodite condition in a female cannabis plant. The resulting seeds are nearly identical to the self-pollinated—or “selfed”—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 growers will not use feminized seeds because they only contain one set of genes, and these should never be used for breeding purposes.

Check out Leafly’s Growing section for more on how to grow cannabis

Most cannabis plants begin flowering when the amount of light they are exposed to each day is reduced to about 12 hours. This mimics the sun going down in the sky as the season turns to autumn, causing plants to produce buds regardless of size or age. However, a species of the plant, 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 term “autoflower.”

Some breeders have crossbred the low-THC ruderalis with other more potent varieties to create autoflower strains that start blooming as soon as they reach maturity. These can be easier to maintain and can be especially great in northern climates where summers are short and cold and wet weather comes early in the fall.

Autoflower strains can be started in early spring and will flower during the longest days of summer to take advantage of the highest quality light available. Growers can fit in multiple autoflower harvests in the span of a regular harvest. One drawback, though: Autoflower strains are known for being less potent.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the chemical components—known collectively as cannabinoids—found in the cannabis plant. Lately, much has been made of the potential benefits of CBD for treating the symptoms of many diseases and conditions. 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.

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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 been crossing 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 seeds.

The most important factor in seed quality is genetics—to grow quality cannabis, you need good genetics. Some less scrupulous breeders will simply cross a nice female with a random male and sell the resulting seeds. A good breeder will take time to cross and backcross plants to stabilize the most desirable traits, while still producing an array of different phenotypes.

Seeds must also be allowed to fully mature before harvest. They also must be properly stored so they don’t acquire mold or other pathogens that can spoil them. Seeds should be stored in a cool, dark place and used within 16 months, or frozen for future use.

Really dedicated breeders have worked for years to create inbred lines, or IBLs, that will produce plants with very little noticeable difference. IBLs represent only a small fraction of cannabis seeds on the market, as they are generally used by breeders and not by producers.

Cannabis seeds can be found on numerous online seedbanks, 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.

Learn more about how to buy cannabis seeds, the legality of doing so, and costs in our Guide to buying cannabis seeds.

This post was originally published on April 2, 2016. It was most recently updated on February 5, 2020.

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.

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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.

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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.

Summary

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.