How to Grow Marijuana from Seed
If you’re in a location where cannabis (another term for marijuana; short for the plant cannabis sativa) is illegal, growing it is probably illegal too. Bringing in seeds or cuttings to your location can very well be a felony, and reputable sellers won’t ship to you.
You can probably purchase and grow hemp seeds and plants, which have a negligible amount of THC, but these plants won’t produce the psychoactive effects of plants that contain higher levels of THC. Check with your seller to be certain you’re getting what you think you’re purchasing. If you buy seeds for CBD-only hemp plants by mistake, you can end up being very disappointed post-harvest.
How to acquire seeds or cuttings
You can usually find cannabis seeds for sale at most dispensaries in areas where growing cannabis for personal use is legal. You may also find growers who sell cuttings/clones. You can expect to pay $50 to $100 for a pack of ten seeds. When shopping for seeds or cuttings, read the labels and any other information the manufacturer provides on its website or in its catalog to make sure you’re getting the right seeds or cuttings (the strain) for the plants you want to grow.
One way to get your mitts on some seeds is to collect seeds when you find them in flowers you purchased, or get some from friends if they’re collecting.
- Feminized seeds: Nearly all seeds sold by reputable companies are feminized, but make sure they are. These seeds are specially treated to grow into female plants.
- Auto-flowering or photoperiod: Auto-flowering plants are easier, because they enter the flower stage after a certain number of weeks regardless of the light/dark cycle. If you’re a beginner, seriously consider going with auto-flowering plants.
- Genetic background: If seeds are from a well-established strain, such as O.G. Kush, Bubble Gum, or a cross-breed, the genetic background should be stated.
- Blend: The blend represents the percentage of the three species — sativa, indica, and ruderalis. All auto-flower strains contain some percentage of ruderalis, which is responsible for the auto-flowering nature of the plant.
- Yield indoors: The number of grams of bud per square meter of plant when grown indoors.
- Yield outdoors: The number of grams of bud per plant (after drying) when grown outdoors.
- Plant height indoors: Shorter than when grown outdoors.
- Plant height outdoors: Taller than when grown indoors.
- Time to harvest: Approximate number of weeks after germination the flower should be ready to harvest.
- Potency: Percentages of CBD and THC.
- Effect: The type of experience you can expect when consuming product from the plant.
Know the laws about buying cannabis
- In some European countries, laws prohibit growing cannabis, but seed is legal, which is quite confusing. You’re allowed to buy and eat cannabis seeds because they’re non-psychotropic, but you can’t buy them to grow cannabis. Other countries in Europe, such as Germany, have their own seed laws.
- In Canada, where cannabis is federally legal, seeds can be shipped across provincial lines.
- In the U.S., in some states in which cannabis is legal, you can purchase seeds from some dispensaries or other locations to grow plants as long as you keep them in the state. Other states may bar selling to non-licensed growers. Shipping or transporting seeds across state or international borders is illegal, although a few reputable online seed stores ship to individuals with success.
Cuttings are typically treated in a similar manner as seeds in legalized locations. They may be available from some dispensaries or outlets for pick up or delivery with a fee. They’re prohibited from crossing U.S. state lines or international borders. You can buy individual plants and mix and match strains. Prices vary and are often determined by plant size.
Buy cuttings (clones) only from a reputable source who understands proper back-crossing of strains for stability. Back-crossing involves pollinating a plant with one of its parent plants to promote sexual stability, so that when you have a female it won’t hermaphrodite into a male during flowering.
Both seeds and clones are often able to be purchased from commercial locations already in your state.
In the U.S., transporting any part of the cannabis plant over state lines is illegal. This applies to seeds and clones and, technically, even to tissue samples.
How to germinate cannabis seeds
Germinating seeds requires a dark environment that is around 70 degrees. There are many ways to germinate seeds (in soil, in a wet paper towel, in starter plugs) You can also sow them directly into soil in a garden or container, as long as the soil is light and fluffy, so the roots can easily grow down and the stalk can break through the soil. Plant the seeds about 1/4- to 1/2-inch deep and cover them loosely with soil.
Most importantly, seeds need a moist environment; they won’t germinate if they get too dry. You can use a heat mat to increase the success of germination in colder climates.
How to transplant marijuana plants
When transplanting any plant, whether it started from seed or a clone, handle it gently, being very careful not to damage the roots. Center the plant in the pot, and plant it deep enough to cover the root ball completely in soil. If the plant is root bound, you can gently tease the roots apart to encourage outward growth.
Pack your soil or other grow medium down around the roots well enough to support the plant while new roots grow, but not so tight that the soil restricts outward root growth. Water the soil around the roots.
About This Article
This article is from the book:
About the book authors:
Kim Ronkin Casey has been a communications professional for more than 20 years and recently took a year-long leap into the world of cannabis as the communications manager for one of the leading dispensaries in North America. She now consults for companies in the industry on internal and external communications. Joe Kraynak is a professional writer who has contributed to numerous For Dummies books.
How Long do Marijuana Seeds last?
When it comes to cannabis seeds, many first time growers tend to have some sitting around from an old friend or baggie. With recent legalization, new growers are deciding to dust their seeds off and start their very own grow, but how long do marijuana seeds last before they won’t germinate?
A typical feminized cannabis plant can produce an enormous amount of seeds – hundreds, depending on how well the plant takes the pollen and how meticulous the pollination process is. It also largely depends on the strain, as some strains are capable of producing much more, especially if their flowers are larger and can hold more. But how long do they last once they’ve been harvested and dried?
How Long do Marijuana Seeds Last?
There are many different factors that come into play when it comes to cannabis seed lifespan, and the most important is conservation. If you’ve obtained your seeds from a seed bank and they come in their own packaging, when it comes to storage you can simply leave them in their packaging in a dark, dry spot; seed banks usually recommend planting within the year.
However, if you’re planning on crossing your own plants and making your own seeds, you’ll need to know how to harvest, dry and store them if you’re planning on keeping them for a while before germinating them; knowing how to store cannabis seeds properly is quite an important tidbit of information if you’re a professional cannabis grower.
The seed is undoubtedly just as important as the final result; without quality seeds, you won’t get quality results. Keep in mind that cannabis seeds are practically living beings ready to be brought fully to life. Many new growers don’t know that cannabis seeds require specific care, and the way you store your seeds can significantly affect their outcome. Check out our Cannabis seeds – Buy Marijuana Seeds section to find reliable strains.
Drying Cannabis Seeds
When working from the start you’ll first need to pollinate the flowers on a female cannabis plant and then harvest the seeds once it’s fully matured. Once you have your seeds you’ll need to dry them out before they can be stored or even germinated – they should be ready to harvest once they’ve gone a dark brown color or start showing dark stripes. Most people opt to dry their seeds by simply drying the flowers and harvesting the seeds once they’ve dried out – it makes them much easier to remove from the flowers.
How Long do Marijuana Seeds Last in Storage?
Once you have your seeds you’re going to want to store them correctly if you plan on using them down the line. In fact, when stored under perfect conditions, you can germinate 5 year old cannabis seeds successfully. Some astonishing cases have been reported of seeds lasting up to 10 years when stored optimally, although the germination times may vary wildly, taking much longer than a fresh seed. For home-growers, storing and maintaining seeds is quite important, and even more so for seed banks; a badly stored seed may not germinate, and if it does it may not grow properly. There are various parameters you’ll need to follow in order to store seeds long-term.
Seed Storage: Light
One of the first things to keep in mind is that whatever container that you store your seeds in needs to block out all light. If you’ve ever germinated cannabis seeds before, then you know that light is an important factor when it comes to the probability of the seed germinating or not. If your seeds are exposed to light for too long, they may end up too weak to germinate; even if they germinate they might have quite a hard time starting off.
Seed Storage: Temperature
The temperature at which you store your seeds is one of the most important factors. If you’re going for something short-term, you just have to make sure that they’re in an area with a stable temperature – do not store them somewhere where there are going to be temperature changes.
However, for long-term storage you’ll need to store them at around 6-8° – if you plan on storing a large amount of seeds, we recommend buying a small cooler for that specific purpose to keep them at a low, constant temperature; opening your fridge can cause temperature changes, so keeping them with the rest of your products is probably not the best idea.
Also, remember to use a blacked out container when storing in the fridge or a black bag to ensure that the lights inside don’t affect the seeds when opened.
Seed Storage: Humidity
Humidity is another incredibly important factor that can determine the success rate of your seeds. Relative humidity is essentially what causes seeds to germinate, so they’re quite delicate at this stage and you don’t want them accidentally germinating; keep relative humidity low in their container.
This obviously depends on your climate too, as there are places that have incredibly high humidity and others that are quite dry, which can directly impact how you have to store your seeds. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend keeping them in a low-humidity container, and if you live somewhere incredibly humid you might have to use specific methods to decrease humidity.
Cannabis seeds can germinate with a RH of 40-60%, and humidity higher than that can actually drown them and kill them. However, humidity ranging from 9 – 20% may also cause a myriad of issues such as insects, fungi, and even seed sweating due to excessive heat. The ideal humidity range in which to store your seeds is between 20 to 30% RH.
How Long do Marijuana Seeds Last
Taking into account the previously mentioned parameters, the best way to store your cannabis seeds for long periods of time is by vacuum sealing them and then putting them into an opaque container or bag so that no light gets to them. Keep them at a constant temperature of 6-8°. Some growers use products such as silica sachets to keep humidity down even if the outside temperature/humidity becomes drastically altered – this is a good idea if you live in more humid or hotter climates.
Keep in mind that if your seeds experience too much light or temperature changes they may end up using up their nutrient reserves, which would render them useless.