How to Choose Cannabis Seeds for Healthy Plants
So you’ve decided you want to grow cannabis. One of the most important and earliest decisions you’ll make is which seeds to use. A good seed contains the essential ingredients for a healthy, potent plant. Learning how to choose cannabis seeds doesn’t have to be complicated – learn the basic facts here.
How to Choose Cannabis Seeds: Buy or Grow?
Seeds are only produced by female cannabis plants after a male plant pollinates them. To grow your own seeds you will need the female plants that produce the seeds, as well as a male plant to fertilize the female plants. It’s as simple as placing the male plant near the female plant you want to fertilize. Seeds will appear in about 4-6 weeks. This can be a complicated process, with a lot of uncertainty, so many people choose to purchase feminized seeds instead.
Male vs. Female: Does it Matter?
Seeds can be male or female, but most people only want to grow female seeds. Why? Because female plants are the plants that produce buds. Most seed companies sell “regulars,” which contain male and female seeds. However, they also offer only female seeds, referred to as feminized seeds. There is a big price difference between the two, but its worth it to spend the extra money to make sure that you are working with feminized seeds so that you do not waste your resources growing male plants that don’t produce the results you want.
Choose Your Benefits
Think about the effects that you would like your cannabis to have when consumed. There are two main categories of cannabis – indica and sativa. Sativas produce an energetic, creative feeling in users. Indicas reduce anxiety and inflammation but often leaves users feeling tired.
How to Spot a Healthy Seed
Healthy marijuana seeds are dark brown, black, or some combination of both. We’d recommend you don’t use green seeds. Green seeds usually aren’t yet mature enough to sprout. Both bigger and smaller seeds will work. Indica seeds tend to be bigger-sized than sativa seeds. Another way indica and sativa seeds differ is in their patterns. Seeds that are brown and black are most likely indica, while the seeds that are a single color are generally sativa.
Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid
Cannabis sativa plants will grow tall and thin. They take longer to mature than indica plants. Sativa plants tend to have bigger yields than indica plants. Indica plants are shorter and more bush-shaped and tend to produce fewer buds than sativa plants.
For many years, people had to choose between the benefits of indica or sativa. But you can also grow hybrid plants, which blend the qualities of sativa and indica into one plant. Hybrids usually are dominant one way or the other – indica or sativa – but also produce the effects of the other kind of plant.
Another thing to consider, especially if you are a novice grower, is that indicas take less time to mature than sativas. Indicas are considered a hardier plant that can withstand more stress so they are more forgiving to novice growers who tend to make a few mistakes on their trial run.
Whether you grow your seeds or purchase them, you should take a few precautions to keep them safe until you are ready to grow them. If done correctly, you can store marijuana seeds for several years and still use them to grow healthy cannabis plants.
Seeds should be kept in a cool, dark, dry place. Do not expose seeds to sunlight or they may sprout. Do not expose seeds to moisture or they may sprout as well. Seeds should be stored at room temperature. Exposing the seeds to extreme cold or heat could damage the seed so that it can never be used.
How to Choose Cannabis Seeds for Success
Don’t get overwhelmed. There are a lot of options when it comes how to choose cannabis seeds! The best way to learn is just to get started.
If you choose to purchase seeds, start with a cheaper strain. Expensive doesn’t always mean better. Some of the old faithful strains are very potent. More complicated, newer, expensive hybrid strains can flop more easily. You don’t want to have spent too much money on seeds for your first plants. Choose a strain that people have been growing abundantly for many years so your first grow cycle is as problem-free as possible.
Want more information on how to choose cannabis seeds and more business tips? Check out the resources provided on our blog or podcast!
Clifford Epperson on March 23, 2020 at 1:04 pm
I am a new beginner grower I have several plants in veg and in bloom I am using fox farm supplies and LED lights doing pretty good having a problem getting some good seeds
There are a lot of options when it comes how to choose cannabis seeds! The best way to learn is just to get started. Use this resource to help you do so!
Cannabis Seed Quality: What To Know Before You Grow
Are your seeds light or dark in colour? Are they tough or do they turn to dust when you press them between your fingers? These are just some of the ways to tell if a seed is healthy and worth growing. Keep reading to learn more.
Quality seeds are the key to healthy plants and good harvests. While proper feeding/watering and good light quality obviously also affect the health and yield potential of your plants, starting a grow with top-shelf genetics is equally, if not more important. But how exactly do you tell quality cannabis seeds apart from the rest? In this article, we’ll show you exactly how to spot top-quality cannabis seeds, avoid duds, and start your grow off right.
Appearance And Feel – Checking The Color, Size, and Shape Of Your Seeds
Unlike other agricultural crops (like vegetables, fruit, or grain), cannabis hasn’t undergone the vigorous breeding techniques that ensure a stable crop. This means that you’ll sometimes sow a pack of seeds technically labeled as the same “strain,” but may end up with very different looking plants. It also means that the individual seeds you buy from a seed bank can vary in appearance.
The fact that cannabis seeds can vary in appearance has led some growers to think that the size, shape, or color of a seed dictates its quality.
We do not recommend taking the size or shape of a seed into consideration as a sign of its quality. Some strains simply produce smaller seeds than others, and sometimes the same plant can produce seeds of different sizes and shapes. Never discard a seed just because it is smaller or of a different shape than another one.
The color and feel of a seed, on the other hand, can tell you a little more about its maturity and, potential to germinate or grow into a healthy seedling.
Mature cannabis seeds usually have a hard outer shell that can vary in color from very dark (or almost black) to very light grey and may have tiger-like stripes. You should be able to firmly press these seeds between your fingers without damaging them.
Immature cannabis seeds, on the other hand, tend to be green and have a soft outer shell that breaks when any kind of pressure is applied to it.
Keep in mind that the simple process of packaging and storing cannabis seeds can also affect their appearance. Abrupt changes in humidity, temperature, or light exposure can make some seeds appear darker or lighter than others, but ultimately have no effect on their quality.
Remember, just like animals and other living things, cannabis seeds are biologically different from one another (even if they are technically the same strain) and therefore will exhibit different physical characteristics. Don’t let these natural differences fool you into thinking that a larger, rounder, and darker seed (for example) is of better quality than a lighter, smaller, and more oval-shaped one.
Can You Tell The Sex Of Cannabis Seeds From Their Appearance?
We hear this question all the time from clients and beginner growers, and the answer is a resounding no. There is simply no way to tell the sex of a cannabis seed just by looking at it.
A quick web search will bring up all kinds of myths about how to tell female cannabis seeds from males. One of the most popular ones comes from a chart showing 5 different seeds that claims that the female seeds have “a perfectly round volcano-like depression at the bottom (from where the seed was attached to the plant).”
This is absolutely not true. As we explained earlier, cannabis seeds naturally look different, and no single physical trait of a seed can tell you whether that seed contains the genetics for a male or female plant. The only way to tell a female cannabis plant from a male is by looking at its flowers when it begins to sex. Don’t be fooled into throwing out perfectly healthy seeds just because a popular internet chart told you so.
Growing Seeds From A Bag (Bagseed)
Some smokers might be pleased to see some cannabis seeds in their bag, and might think themselves lucky. However, finding seeds in a bag is bad for various reasons. For one, this means the grower has messed up and allowed their female plants to be pollinated by an invading male. When flowers are pollinated, they stop producing THC-containing resin and divert their energy toward producing seeds. Secondly, the seeds will have added to the overall weight of the bag, which means less weed for your buck.
With this said, you may get lucky if the strain they were growing really is prime. In this case, it’s worth carrying out the following test to see if it’s worth germinating.
Germinating All Your Seeds Regardless
The one true method to test the genetic potential of a seed is to simply put it in the soil. It won’t take too long to see the results. This option is best for the hobby home grower who has time and space to spare for a risky project. Growers cultivating cannabis for commercial use likely don’t have the excess time to invest.
Source Your Seeds Well
A solid way to obtain great seeds is to find a reputable seed bank. These companies pride themselves of their breeding skills and make sure that their customers receive exactly what has been advertised. They have reputations to cater to, so delivering anything less would only harm their image.
The alternative to this is to risk buying seeds from a hobbyist. This isn’t to say that hobby growers cannot produce fantastic genetics, but if you don’t know them or their skills, there’s no way to know whether your seeds will grow.
Conducting The Float Test
If you are still unsure about the quality of your seeds after analysing their appearance and toughness, it’s time to put your lab coat and goggles on. Well, not quite. This test is extremely easy and only has two possible outcomes. Fill up a drinking glass or glass jar with water (preferably spring or distilled) and place your seeds on the surface.
This simple and cost-effective method is a great way to tell the good genetics from the bad; they will sink or swim, literally. Seeds that remain buoyant on the surface are more than likely of poor quality and are to be discarded. Seeds that sink to the bottom like a botanical cannonball are probably healthy and should be germinated.
However, slight patience is required when conducting the float test, as results are not immediately apparent. You’ll have to wait for approximately 1–2 hours before confirming the results. Some good-quality seeds will need adequate time to absorb enough water for them to sink. Use this time to go water the garden and get some much needed pruning done. Upon your return, any seeds that remain on the surface are most likely not viable and won’t be worth further time and effort.
It’s important to only conduct this test if you are planning to germinate the seeds immediately afterwards. The viable seeds that sunk to the bottom of the glass will have taken in water, crossing the membrane of the seed and signalling that it’s time to come to life—activating germination.
Cannabis Seed Quality – The Bottom Line
The quality of your seeds has a direct impact on the quality of your harvest. With that in mind, you should make sure to use the tips above to test the quality of any seeds you buy. All that being said, though, be sure to remember that each cannabis plant is different and, therefore, is going to produce slightly different seeds.
Wondering what sets great cannabis seeds apart from the rest? Click here to learn all there is to know about checking the quality of your cannabis seeds.