The seedling stage can be quite a challenge for a beginner grower. Utilizing these three simple steps can help even the most inexperienced grower. This will enable them to manage their cannabis seedlings with confidence.
Cannabis seedlings can be quite problematic to keep alive, especially for the beginner grower. With a complete understanding of cannabis seedlings and their requirements, the seedling stage can be a lot less daunting.
we will discuss the three simple steps to growing healthy seedlings.
Step 1: picking the right cannabis strain, containers, and growing medium for your seedlings
When you are sourcing for your cannabis seeds, ensure that you research what the correct strain is for you. You would need to ensure you pick the correct strain with regards to your own growing experience and skill, budget, your growing equipment, and of course what you prefer taste-wise. Another consideration is whether you’re growing indoors or outdoors. This will determine which cannabis strain will yield the best results for you.
As for the medium, it is always recommended to grow your cannabis plants in light and well-aerated soil with slight acidity containing a ph level of 6,3 – 6,5.
It is recommended to use 20–50% perlite in your medium. This will aid with your soil aeration and nutrient retention. If you are planning on giving your cannabis plants more nutrients' you would need to add more perlite to your soil. This is to help with drainage and this will prevent a nutrient lockout.
Water around the stem of your cannabis seedlings and only when your soil is dry. You need to keep in mind that cannabis seedlings are sensitive to nutrients. You should never plant them a nutrient-rich soil and start feeding them immediately, the cannabis seedling should have grown 3–4 sets of true leaves before you should start feeding.
When you start picking pots, it is recommended that you utilize the following approaches for auto-flowering and feminized seedlings.
The correct pots for auto-flowering cannabis seeds
When you grow auto-flowering cannabis plants it is recommended that you plant the cannabis seeds directly in their final pots. These cannabis plants have a short life cycle and it would be best to avoid putting these auto-flowering cannabis strains through unnecessary stress such as transplanting your cannabis seedling. The correct pot size you would need to use will vary and this will also be dependent on what particular strain you are growing and your growing space.
The correct pots for feminized cannabis seeds
When you grow feminized cannabis plants, the transplanting will not be a particular issue as these cannabis plants will have time to recover from any stress. By using easy germination pots from the start, your cannabis plants will have a robust start right from the start. You should transplant your cannabis seedlings before they outgrowing their starter pots. Transplant them once they have grown sets of true leaves that would spread out to cover the circumference of their current container.
cannabis pots should contain the following:
- Drainage holes
You need to ensure that your cannabis pots have sufficient drainage holes this will help protect your plants against fungal pathogens and root rot.
It is important for the substrate to contain enough aeration to ensure for air sufficient air exchange between the roots and the environment. This will lead to faster, more growth, healthier plants, and a better cannabis harvest.
- Pot size
Ensure you don’t keep your seedling in a large pot as this could lead to overwatering. Any water that stays in the substrate will drown the roots and attract pathogens and pests.
Step 2: using the correct germination methods
Cannabis seeds require these four things in order for them to germinate. This being moisture, warmth, darkness, and time.
You should use one of the following methods to ensure the cannabis seeds germinate and grow healthy seedlings
- The paper towel method
Place your cannabis seeds carefully between a moist piece of paper towel and place it in a plastic container that has a lid. Store the container in a warm and dark area. Lift the lid slightly off the container to allow for fresh air to be exchanged.
- The glass water method
Just drop your cannabis seeds into a glass of store-bought bottled water and leave them in a dark cupboard for roughly 24 – 48 hours. When you notice the first signs of taproots sprouting from your cannabis seeds this means they are ready for planting.
- Starter kits
You can use the auto-flowering or feminized starter kits available to provide your cannabis seeds with the perfect conditions from the start.
Step 3: understanding the cannabis seedling stage
The real challenge begins when your cannabis seedlings have been planted in their soil. Your cannabis seedlings are fragile they are armed with frail roots and a small set of cotyledons. Any stress can damage your seedlings in a few hours. By understanding your cannabis seedlings and what their specific needs are you will know how to optimize their environment and help them grow into strong vegetative plants.
Cannabis seedlings have certain requirements when it comes to temperature, humidity, and lighting. If you fail to provide within any of these areas this will prove to be fatal for young cannabis plants.
Cannabis seedlings enjoy daytime temperatures between 20–25°c and evening temperatures that are approximately between 4–5°c cooler.
Left in high temperatures' will stress your cannabis seedlings and this will lead to stunted growth, if this occurs at such an early stage can prove to be fatal.
Seedlings with dried curled up leaves is a sign of heat stress. In time your cannabis seedlings may develop additional symptoms which include pale foliage and red or purple stems. Heat stress can also allow the plant to display wilting leaves with downward folding tips.
Very cold temperatures can freeze a cannabis seedling’s cells and this will, in turn, affect the plant's ability to transport nutrients, water, and oxygen. This will lead to y stunted growth and death of your cannabis plant.
While the cannabis seedling is still developing and the roots are still young the cannabis seedlings are absorbing water via osmosis in their leaves.
To ensure this process is effective it is important to maintain humidity levels at 40–60%.
Humidity levels lower than 20% can seriously stunt the growth of your cannabis seedlings. This could lead to them developing symptoms that are similar to nutrient deficiencies. Humidity levels over and above 60% will cause your cannabis plants to develop wet spots, this will cause them to wilt, rot and this can attract fungi and/or other pathogens and pests.
When your cannabis seedlings enter the vegetative phase, you need to keep the relative humidity of 50%.
Your cannabis seedlings are sensitive to light. They will burn under strong hid or led bulbs. The cannabis seedlings will develop burnt, crinkled leaves if they are suffering from any light stress. Cannabis seedlings that don’t get the required light will stretch. Growing tall and thin with a big chance they will fall over.
It is recommended, to grow your cannabis seedlings under an 18/6 light cycle using CFL bulbs with a blue light spectrum for the first 10–14 days. Once the cannabis seedlings have developed healthy true leaves and 2–3 nodes, you will be able to move them under stronger hid or led lights for vegging.
Growing cannabis seedlings outdoors
If you are growing outdoors, you have three options on how to deal with the seedling stage:
- Many growers choose to keep their cannabis seedlings indoors, using CFL lights for the first two weeks. This is to protect your cannabis seedling from environmental factors.
- You are able to keep your cannabis seedlings outdoors during the day if the temperatures are consistently between 20–25°c and then you can move your cannabis seedling indoors at night to protect them from the elements.
- It is possible to keep your cannabis seedlings outdoors permanently if you have a propagator or greenhouse to ensure that you provide them with shelter and this, in turn, will allow you to maintain the humidity and temperature.
Inside the dark, hard shell of your cannabis seeds, contain all the necessary information that allows them to sprout. Once they are exposed to humidity and warmth the cannabis seeds are able to absorb moisture from their environment.
As moisture enters a cannabis seed this activates an enzyme that triggers the growth of the taproot. The taproot starts to push through the ground searching for more moisture. Your cannabis seed then sends a shoot-up for the search of light.
The cannabis seeds contain two cotyledons that unravel and push the seed casing from the shoot. Once the cotyledons have emerged, your cannabis seedlings will develop their first set of true leaves from the main stem and have just one finger.
During the early stages of development, your cannabis seedlings will get all their energy from stores inside the seed.
As the cannabis seeds, roots develop they can absorb water through their leaves. Once your cannabis plants have developed their first set of true leaves, they are officially vegging.