Cannabis seeds are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, and immune-stimulating secondary plant compounds. They also contain the amino acid arginine, which can promote healthy blood pressure and enlarge blood vessels for increased flow of oxygen to the brain and other organs.
A viable seed will look brown with some stripes and feel hard to the touch. It may take 12 – 72 hours for it to germinate in ideal conditions.
Male and Female Plants
Cannabis plants are dioecious, meaning they produce male and female parts. Female flowers contain the resin that creates weed, and male flowers produce pollen. Cultivators separate the two to avoid cross-pollination and to harvest only the female buds.
During the vegetative growth phase, growers can tell whether a plant is male or female by looking at its nodes. The nodes are where branches or twigs develop, and the plant produces pre-flowers on those nodes toward the end of the vegetative stage. Male pre-flowers, called staminate primordia, look like little sacs that house pollen. Female pre-flowers look similar, but they have white or pink hairs protruding from the top, known as pistils.
If you grow regular seeds, it’s important to know how to differentiate a male from a female plant so you can separate them and only cultivate the buds that provide psychoactive effects. However, feminized seeds eliminate the need to separate male and female plants and are a good option for rookie growers.
Bag seeds are those you find in weed or dagga that you or someone else has already consumed. They can also be from cannabis plants that have been grown for the purpose of seed production.
The type of plant from which a bag seed comes will determine the strain’s characteristics. Bag seeds are most often a mix of Indica and Sativa genetics as most cannabis plants are hybrids. Indica plants tend to be more relaxing and Sativa plants are more energizing.
When growing bag seeds it is important to store them correctly. Ideally, they should be vacuum sealed in an opaque container that blocks out all light. This will ensure they can last for a long time. It is possible for cannabis seeds to last up to 5 years when stored correctly. However, if the seeds are exposed to excessive temperature and humidity changes they can become unviable. This means they will have used up their nutrient reserves and may not germinate or grow properly.
If you have a hermaphrodite plant, you should diligently remove any male flowers as they form and re-inspect the plant top to bottom every few days to make sure pollination does not occur. Hermaphroditism can be caused by negative stressors and small interruptions in the light cycle.
Hermaphroditism is not ideal for cannabis growers, as it decreases flower quality and leads to the creation of unwanted seeds. Ideally, only female plants are grown in commercial production.
To prevent hermaphroditism, only clones of healthy mature plants should be used. This ensures that the resulting plants will be monoecious (have only one set of genes). For this reason, long-time growers will tell you to re-veg your plants periodically – this is another way to keep the plant healthy and free from hermies. This will help to maintain the sex and potency of the final crop. Re-vegging also helps if the hermies have developed seeds at an earlier stage.
Germination is the first stage in a cannabis plant’s life. During this period, the young seedling will need very little interference from the grower. A few minor tweaks to nutrient levels and the use of lower-intensity lighting can help it along, but it is important not to disturb the seedling at this stage.
A simple and popular way to germinate seeds is on a wet paper towel. Horticulturists and even Creed from The Office have long used this method to successfully sprout seeds. Ensure the paper towel has a suitable temperature and humidity. Use a small hygrometer to keep track of these details.
When you are ready to plant, place the seed in its container – soil, coco, peat, etc. – with a jiffy or plug. Then place the container in a humidity dome to trap heat and moisture. Keep an eye on it until the seed opens and begins to express roots. This is the signal that it is ready to be planted.