Starting from seed stock surely has its benefits. Plants grown from seeds have a tap root which allows them to dig much deeper into the earth or a pot in search of water and nutrients. Some tap roots have been known to puncture outdoor pots and find their way into the soil below! Furthermore, cannabis plants grown from seed have less of a chance of spreading certain plant-based viruses such as the dreaded hemp mosaic virus. After all, who doesn’t love to plant a seed and watch it grow into a beautiful miracle of nature.
What do new seeds need?
-Moisture – Keep things moist but not soaking (you can soak hard seeds for up to 24-32 hours, but do not leave seeds soaking in water for longer than that).
-Peace – Seeds need to be left alone while you’re waiting for the taproot to develop.
-Warmth – Keep things warm to get the best germination rates, but not too hot! Think springtime. Seeds can definitely germinate in cooler temps, but germination tends to take longer when it’s cool.
-Carefulness – Be careful when checking seeds, and treat them gently when you have to move them. Avoid touching the white tap root (tail) if possible; the taproot is very fragile and can easily snap off!
-Plant Root (tail) Down – When planting germinated seeds, point the white root downwards into the growing medium to prevent the seedling from having to reorient itself.
-Plant 1 Inch Down – When planting germinated seeds, they don’t have to be placed too far under in the growing medium, about a half inch to an inch (1.3 cm – 2.5 cm) down from the surface of the medium should be enough.
*Assume all dark colored seeds are viable, even if seeds can be crushed*
Germinating simply means to start the seeds life cycle and can be done in a few different ways.
In Soil Method: The simplest way of germinating a seed can be done by pushing your finger about an inch into your soil mix and dropping a single seed before covering gently with soil and carefully watering in to make sure it is completely covered and moist.
The Paper Towel Method: Take a paper towel sheet and double it up on itself. Spray the paper towel with water at a PH of around 6.5-7.0 and then place your seeds about 1-2 inches apart and cover with a second folded sheet and spray once more. Put this tray in a dark warm and warm area. Continue to check the seeds over the next few days and make sure that the towels stay moist at all times but not wet. After 4-7 days, the seeds will start to show little embryonic tales they can be planted into your medium tale side down and will breach the surface of the soil 2-4 days later.
Shot Glass Method: This method is just a way to speed up the process of in soil germination by filling a shot glass with 6.5-7.0 PH water and dropping seeds in. Watch them throughout the next 24 hours, once they sink to the bottom they can be planted in your grow medium. This can take two days off the time it takes to germinate in the planter or ground.
Quality feminized seed stock should produce only female plants, with no hermaphrodites(plants that develop both sexes). So starting with feminized cannabis seeds will let you make the most efficient use of your grow space. You don’t have to worry about identifying hermies or males and taking them out or bringing them to another property before they pollinate your females. With good quality feminized seeds, you know that if you’re growing 6 plants, all 6 of them will make buds, and that makes it easier to plan out your grow ahead of time.
With all these bonuses, why would any smaller scale cultivator who wants sinsemilla use any other type of seeds?
Pros of Feminized Cannabis Seeds
All plants produce flowers
You don’t need to watch for males
You don’t have to throw away half your plants after spending time growing them
You don’t have to worry about your buds getting pollinated, causing seedy flowers, reduced flower quality and lower yields
One of the biggest worries growers have about feminized seeds is that they will produce hermie plants instead of female plants as advertised.
“Hermie” is a nickname for a hermaphrodite plant. A hermaphroditic plant produces both female flowers and male pollen sacks (bananas).
That’s bad because even a little pollen in your garden can make for seeds in your female cannabis flowers, just like a male cannabis plant would. And a hermie can be a lot easier to miss than a male plant since it may just be a small part of the plants flower that’s affected.
A male plant makes itself known at the beginning of the flowering stage, but a hermie plant may grow only buds except just one or two tiny pollen sacs, or a few yellow hermie bananas which also produce pollen. Any type of male part that grows in your garden can add seeds to your flowers.
Is it True that Feminized Seeds Can Cause Hermies? Yes!
Many growers believe that feminized seeds cause hermies, and there is some truth to that. In order to create a feminized seeds, one of the parent female plants had to be forced in some way to produce pollen.
That pollen is used to pollinate another female plant, and the offspring of those two plants will all be female since both of the parents were female. That’s how you get feminized cannabis seeds. But that also means every time you have a feminized seed, that seed had a plant that hermied in its recent genetic history.
What Causes Hermies?
Hermies can be caused by many things, including…
bad genetics – the plant comes from a line of plants that naturally create hermies
high stress – high temperatures, light leaks, inconsistent light schedules, as well as other types of major stress can cause a healthy plant to hermie, though some plants/strains are more susceptible than others
letting buds over-mature – this is also known as “rodelization;” basically when the plant’s buds have gone past maturity without being pollinated (if the grower waits way too long to harvest), a female plant will often make male pollen within its buds as a last-ditch effort to pollinate itself and make seeds for the next generation
chemical stimulation – by exposing a female plant to certain substances like colloidal silver or gibberellic acid during the early parts of the flowering stage, you can force any female plant to create pollen. This is how seed banks get female pollen to produce feminized seeds.