Cannabis Feeding for Seedlings
Cannabis Feeding for Seedlings is all about getting the best start for young plants. Get top tips for feeding your seedlings and clones.
Cannabis Feeding for Seedlings is all about getting the best start for young plants. Get top tips for feeding your seedlings and young clones.
The feeling of some freshly delivered seeds or clones is super exciting. And although your green thumb may be itching to pop those pips there are some important does and don’ts. Take a few minutes to first learn our top tips for successful grass roots growing.
Don’t baby your babies
Germination or propagation of your cannabis plants is one of the most important stages of the plants’ life. A bad start can negatively effect your plant throughout its’ life span. From weak roots to a compromised immune system, incorrect management of your young plants will result in poor performance. During this early stage, it is vital to ensure your young plants receive the right environmental conditions and correct feeding, but “over-caring” can be just as detrimental as not caring.
Plants have evolved to handle stress, and in some cases, the stress can produce some desirable effects. This doesn’t mean you can neglect your young plants, but it does mean you don’t have to hover over them 24/7 and try to react to each and every concern. If your seeds are viable and your conditions correct, your young plants will grow quickly and reliably with very little input.
What are Cotyledons and why do they matter?
Cotyledons are the small first leaves you see when germinating a seed. These small round leaves contain all the nutrients the seed will need to germinate and grow into a seedling. When the seed is planted it has no way of absorbing nutrition and so the cotyledons are the source of energy for the start of life. Cotyledons also contribute to early photosynthesis and transpiration. Technically speaking, the cotyledons are used to distinguish “monocots” and “dicots”. Monocots are grasses and grass-like plants and dicots are flowering plants. There are many other differences between the two, such as pollen structure, root structure and even growth patterns. Cannabis is a dicot, and you can see the first two (sometimes three) leaves when the seed develops into a seedling.
This means that your cannabis seedling will have enough nutrients on board for the first week of life. Cannabis clones however do not contain cotyledons and therefore may need feeding from the very beginning.
The growing medium you choose will determine a lot of factors in your grow. You can start your seeds and clones directly in the medium or in a paper towel and then transplant the seed to your medium. It is often recommended to use a “lighter” substrate, or a substrate with a lower nutrient content than what you will use for the growing and flowering cycle. You can also start your seed in a small puk, often made of coco peat or rockwool. Once your seedling is well established and healthy, transplant it into your growing medium of choice. As long as your growing medium is consistent in its’ requirements, i.e. feeding and watering needs, you can use any substrate to start your seedling. Visit our grow medium guide for more info.
Cannabis Feeding for Seedlings
Cannabis requires low amounts of nutrition during early stages of growth. Only apply nutrients after you see the first “true” leaves. These are the leaves that grow after the cotyledons and have the traditional shape. Start your seedlings on half of the recommended dose and slowly work your way up to full strength. Whether you are using organic or synthetic nutrients, you want to make sure you don’t over feed the plant in early stages. This will cause leaf burn, root damage and ultimately poor growth. Good additives to use in early growth are beneficial bacteria and fungi, this will provide a strong base for your plant to build on. However, you must not ignore the plants’ need for macro elements and should balance your feeding accordingly.
Common cannabis seedling mistakes.
Many first-time growers are excited to give the best to their plants, often ignoring the basic requirements. “Over-watering” and “over-feeding” are good examples of this. Growers are quick to add nutrition and water at any sign of deficiency, when the plant could require something entirely different or just plain less. Cannabis plants don’t need much nutrition and water in the early stages of their lives. Watering the plant only when required and low doses of nutrition are more than adequate to sustain your young cannabis seedlings. Overdoing it will cause yellow leaves and rotting plants.
Clones are no different to seeds and require almost the identical environment for success, with the exception of humidity. Clones will require high humidity from the time you take them until they are completely rooted. Seeds only require high humidity for the first week or so and then you can gradually drop the levels.
Ensure that seedlings also receive lots of direct light and fresh air to prevent stretching. A lack of light and air movement will cause thin and lanky growth.
In a seed shell
Treat your cannabis plant as exactly that, a plant. Water her when she is thirsty and feed her when she is hungry. A good way to monitor watering requirements is to feel the weight of the pot when fully saturated and when it is completely dry. You can then judge how much water is being consumed each day and water accordingly. Young plants need watering at least weekly but some mediums or small pots may require watering as much as once a day.
Early growth is relatively straightforward and your best bet for reliable success is consistency. Young plants do not like extremes and so everything from your substrate to your feeding should be balanced. Still need a little help feeding your cannabis seedlings? Please contact our grow pros for some top shelf advice.
When to Start Using Fertilizers with Cannabis
In this article we’re going to talk about when to start using fertilizers with cannabis. People always ask us when they should start using fertilizers on their plants, but honestly it depends on your grow method, the strain and the phase that the plant is in.
Depending on the phase your grow is in your plants are going to need certain nutrients in higher proportions; they need more Nitrogen in growth, and phosphorus and potassium for the flowering period. Cannabis plants absorb large quantities of these nutrients as well as others, so if they don’t get them through irrigation then they’ll probably end up showing deficiencies through stains on the leaves.
To start using nitrogen during the growth phase you’ll need to wait for your little plant to grow the roots out enough so that it becomes slightly stronger. It won’t need much more than some humidity to germinate and grow during the first few days, but once it begins growing aster then you’ll need to start using a growth fertilizer.
You should begin off with small dosages; if your product says 4ml/L for adult plants then you need to start off with 1ml/L, and only begin using it once the leaves on your plant have three points. Once those leaves appear you can start using your growth fertilizer in the irrigation water. Once the plant begins growing more then you should raise the dosage until you reach the maximum milliliters allowed, and always use it with every second watering.
For the rest of the grow, regardless of what products you use, you will need to use them on every second watering or else you’ll burn out the roots. If you notice the plant getting yellow then you can use fertilizers twice in a row, but if it gets a dense dark green color then you’ll need to lay off on the fertilizers for a couple of waterings.
Once the female flowers begin showing then you’ll need to begin using flowering fertilizers. Just like in the growth period, you’ll need to start off little by little until you reach the maximum milliliters stated by the fertilizer manufacturer, alternating between pure water and fertilizers.
Each brand has a different range of products, so depending on the brand you go with you’ll need to use more or less products for both growth and flowering, although in this article we’re just talking about WHEN to use them.
If you buy a product with root stimulants in it then you should use it during the first two growth weeks and for two weeks after every time you transplant. If you have a flowering stimulant then you’ll need to use it once you flip the lights to 12 until the first flowers start appearing.
If your chosen range of liquids has a fattener with a high PK you’ll need to use it during the last phase of the flowering period, the fattening period.
Author: Javier Chinesta
Translation: Ciara Murphy
Grow Weed Starting From Seed
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
Growing your own cannabis plant starting from seed is a remarkable journey. Understanding the biology of the plant is one thing, but comprehending how a little miracle bean can turn into a gigantic tree producing flowers that can affect your body and mind is nothing short of an evolutionary miracle. Or rather a co-evolutionary story of plant and human.
Start Growing Weed From Seed
Our favorite thing about growing your own weed starting from a seed , rather than a clone, is that you get to see the full life cycle and enjoy a plant that is unique, just like you. An entirely new genetic makeup will enter the world for the first time, and if you’re lucky, something remarkable might be born.
Raising a cannabis seedling , however, requires some patience, gentle hands, and a smidgen of luck. Thankfully pot seeds are remarkably vigorous because they are what’s called endosperm seeds , which means they have almost pre-formed cotyledon leaves before you even add water. Below is a brief guide on the techniques we have found yield the most success when starting seeds and raising your seedling to a healthy plant ready for transplanting. And, don’t forget, a Pot for Pot’s Complete Grow Kits take the guesswork out so you always wind up with a splendid harvest!
1) Germinating Your Cannabis Seed
To accelerate germination, soak your seed in a small container with lukewarm water and place it in a dark and warm place (like a kitchen cabinet) for 12-24 hours, but no longer. By drenching the seed, it absorbs the water thoroughly, activating the germination process on a physical and chemical level. Doing this helps to loosen the shell as it becomes a little softer making it easier for the embryo to crack it open. When your seed sinks to the bottom, it is ready to be planted, and sometimes the seed will pop out a small taproot. A seed can still be planted though if it does not sink or put out a taproot. When a seed pops a taproot (often called a tail), it becomes more vulnerable and it is better to plant it before this root emerges.
2) Planting Your Weed Seed
We see best results with seedling pellets that are made of a mix of compressed peat moss and coco husk. To expand, soak it in water for 10 to 15 minutes. Using warmer, lukewarm water, instead of cold water, will speed up the time the pellet takes to fully expand. Once your seedling pellet has absorbed enough water and has expanded to its maximum size, gently squeeze to remove excess water. The growing medium should be like a damp sponge that would not leave streaks on the table. Dig a small hole about 1/4 inch deep for your seed. Use a spoon to lift the seed out of its bath. If it has popped out a taproot be careful not to damage it. Gently place the seed into the hole and lightly cover it with dirt from the pellet. Now that you have started the germination process, your seedling will come above ground within two weeks. The older the seed, the longer it takes for it to germinate.
Want an easy-to-use starter kit for Cannabis seedlings? Check out our Seedling Starter Kit, perfect for nurturing your germinated seeds into viable, healthy plants.
3) Weed Seedling Sprouts
Perhaps the most exciting stage, your plant baby will come above ground in 1-2 weeks, with the average popping up in 5 to 7 days after planting. As your seedling comes above the soil, its shell might take a few days to fall off. It’s best to leave it alone, nature has the job covered. If it does not come above ground after about two weeks, the chance of success is dramatically reduced, and it’s best to try again. Even the best seeds have an 85% germination rate. When your seedling comes above ground, it is going to want to see a direct light source.
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4) Lighting for Your Cannabis Seedling
Marijuana seedlings require a medium amount of light — enough to get energy to grow, but not too much light that to get burned. Leaving your seedling in direct sunlight will cause the leaves to curl, while too little light will cause the seedling to stretch. If growing outside, seedlings want to see a direct light source to stop them stretching. If inside, a sunny windowsill with more than half a day of sunlight works wonders. Otherwise, 24 to 30 inches from a grow light is an excellent supplement. Your seedling should not stretch more than 6 inches at most.
5) Watering Your Cannabis Seedling
For cannabis plants young and old, it’s best to use bottled, distilled, or filtered water as these are without chlorine. If using tap water, let it sit for 48 to 96 hours before watering to dissipate any chlorine. Chlorine can also be eliminated by boiling for 20 minutes. Under normal conditions, after soaking your seedling pellet, it should contain all the moisture your plant needs before it comes above ground. As it grows, it will only need about a shot glass worth of water at most per week to keep the medium damp. Seedlings don’t drink a lot of water, which makes sense given their size. Your plant will do better in a growing medium which is damp but not soaking wet. Overwatering is just as deadly as drying out!
Damping off happens when the seedling is in too moist of an environment. The young plant’s immune system is not strong enough to ward off a fungus that results in the plant rotting from the bottom of the stem. When this happens, the plant will bend over and die if not treated. To help fight the infection, lightly spray a 0.5% solution of hydrogen peroxide around the affected area. However, the best option is to avoid this by not exposing your seedling to too much moisture.
6) First Cannabis Seedling Leaves & Hardening Off
The first set of leaves to come above ground are called the cotyledons . These little leaves are packed with energy and will grow to about 1/4 in in size before eventually falling off. Your second leaves to emerge will be single blades and will be serrated, looking like regular pot leaves.
They will become several inches in length. During their growth your first actual set of leaves will appear. These are typically three blades. Around this time is when your plant is “hardening off”. You will notice that the stem will start to develop a thicker skin and harden off. As the leaves of the plant get bigger, they can gradually handle more sunlight, so move it into more direct light– the more light the better!
7) Transplanting Cannabis Seedlings
About 10 days after germination, when the baby cannabis plant has hardened off, roots will start emerging from the bottom of your seedling pellet and the plant is ready to be transplanted into a bigger pot. Be very careful not to damage the roots during this stage. Any stress will slow its growth.
Dig a small hole in your bigger pot for the seedling, sprinkle some rooting booster in the bottom of the hole then carefully plant the whole seedling pellet holding your weed baby.
Now bury so the base of its stalk is level with the topsoil. Give it a watering to set the roots in the ground, then hold off watering until you pick up the pot and it feels light in weight.
Are you ready to transplant your seedlings? Shop our best selection of Cannabis starter growing kits from small to large pots.
8. Separating the Girls from the Boys
At about 4-6 weeks into your plant’s growth , you’ll be able to determine the sex of the plant. You’ll want to separate and dispose of any male plants. This is an important step for growing marijuana because the female plants are more potent and valuable. You also don’t want male plants to compromise the growth of your female plants.
Why Do You Only Want Female Weed Plants?
Only female marijuana plants produce THC buds that are high in potency. You want to make sure your Cannabis plants are all female. If you have a male plant, it can fertilize the other female plants, and they will work to produce seeds instead of flowers and nugs.
It’s essential as a grower to know the difference between a female and a male plant so that you can remove the male plants before they contaminate your crop . Unfortunately, you have a 50/50 chance of getting a male plant when growing a plant from a seed from a nug.
There is a massive market for seeds that will only grow into female plants. But even these seeds are not a 100% guarantee you’re going to get a female plant. To ensure a good crop, you’ll want to germinate and plant many marijuana seeds and then separate the females from the males when the plants begin to show their sexuality.
How to Tell if a Weed Seed is Male or Female
As your plant matures sexually, it will develop between its nodes. Nodes are the area of the plant where the branches connect to the plant’s stalk. The distinguishing characteristics that will help you identify your plant’s gender:
- Male Plants : Small pollen sacs will cluster in the nodes.
- Female Plants : Stigmas will develop in the nodes. The stigmas can catch the pollen of male plants. Stigmas have hair-like veins that will extend from the sacs in the nodes.
- Hermaphrodite Plants : These plants have both the stigmas and pollen sacs in their nodes. These are female plants that develop both sex organs when exposed to a lot of stress.
Once you can identify the sex of your plants, you’ll want to remove the male or hermaphrodite plants because they can negatively affect the harvest of your female plants. That’s why it is crucial to germinate and grow several cannabis plants to this stage to ensure you get at least one healthy female plant.
9) Grow Weed Plant, Grow!
Suddenly, before your very eyes, the plant will transform. She will grow in height and branch out, putting off leaves and a network of branches. It is your job as the grower to meet her needs so that she can reach her full potential. With a good grow kit, this means as much light as possible and lightly watering only when she is thirsty.
This is considered your marijuana plant’s vegetive stage. The goal in this stage is to keep her healthy and allow the plant to grow as big and strong as possible so that she can hold many, many flowers.
Our complete grow kits include everything you need to go from seed to your very own supply of high grade medical cannabis.