Whether you are growing cannabis as a personal hobby or a professional cultivation endeavor, questions arise from time to time on a variety of topics. From the novice grower to the experienced cannabis connoisseur, there are frequently asked questions about cannabis cultivation that crop up on a regular basis.
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about growing cannabis and the best answers we can put together from the most well-known experts in the business.
What is the difference between cannabis, marijuana, and hemp?
Cannabis sativa is the scientific name of the plant that grows both marijuana and hemp. It has been cultivated for centuries throughout human history for a variety of purposes, including medicine, fiber, seeds, and oil.
Marijuana is the term for high-THC cannabis that is cultivated to produce anywhere between 15% to 30% THC by weight. THC concentration is highest when grown exclusively from the unpollinated female flower. Marijuana is still listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance on the federal level, although many states have legalized high-THC marijuana for medicinal and recreational use.
Hemp is the common name for low-THC Cannabis varieties that have been genetically bred to contain less than .3% THC content. Due to the low level of THC, hemp does not induce the same psychoactive effect that marijuana does. Hemp is primarily grown to produce CBD and, to a lesser extent, to produce fiber, seeds, and oil.
What is the importance of female plants over male plants?
Cannabis is dioecious, which means it can grow as separate male and female plants with male and female reproductive organs. The male plants are taller and contain flowerlike pods that generate pollen to pollinate shorter female plants. Because cannabis plants are dioecious, they have the ability to produce hermaphroditic plants, which contain both male and female reproductive structures.
Feminized plants are preferred for both cannabis and hemp as pollination from male plants will cause seed production. In marijuana plants, this reduces the quantity, density, and potency of flowers (buds) as well as reducing the concentration of CBD in hemp.
Male plants are typically used only by experienced cannabis seed breeders to breed and crossbreed various strains to produce new cultivars.
How can I tell the difference between male and female plants?
Male and female cannabis plants can be identified during the pre-flowering stage. Pre-flowers begin to develop at the nodes about 4 to 6 weeks into the growing cycle. These immature “preflowers” will reveal the male or female morphology at this stage and allow growers to identify the gender.
The pre-flowers on male plants will appear as small pollen sacs, little enclosed oval-shaped sacs. Female preflowers will consist of two stigmas, white fuzzy hair-like structures protruding from the node area.
Removing the male plants at this time will prevent pollination of any nearby female plants. This is critically important as the female plants produce buds that contain cannabinoids, and if pollinated by a male, they will instead focus energy on producing seeds instead of cannabinoids, and cannabinoid production is greatly reduced.
Removing male plants to prevent seed production is growing sinsemilla, which means seedless. Female plants should only be pollinated to produce seeds for breeding purposes. Knowing information about the male, such as mold and pest resistance, the rate of growth, and the plant’s shape, is important for breeding purposes.
Should I grow with seeds or clones?
Cannabis, marijuana, and hemp plants can be grown from either seeds or clones. Growing with either feminized seeds or clones are the two ways to grow all-female plants.
Clonal propagation is the process of using a cutting directly from the mother plant and planting it to establish roots. Cloning produces all-female, genetically identical plants with predictable traits.
Growing with feminized cannabis seeds produces all-female plants that are genetically different. Growing with feminized seeds is less expensive than starting with all clones and is more accessible as it is easy to find high-quality feminized seeds today as opposed to knowing a quality breeder to supply quality clones free from pests or disease.
What is the right amount of nutrients for my cannabis plants during each stage?
Cannabis plants need proper nutrition during each growth stage:
- Seedling or cutting stage: Plants in this stage require zero to very little fertilizer. You should start with a gentle nutrition schedule of 1:1:1 N-P-K at approximately 100 ppm each until there is adequate root establishment.
- Vegetative stage: Plants require a base nutrition higher in nitrogen during the vegetative stage. Growers typically feed their plants a formula of 12-6-6 N-P-K for more nitrogen and less phosphorus and potassium during this stage.
- Flowering or budding stage: Plants in the flowering stage require more potassium and less nitrogen. This promotes the growth of large resinous buds. Growers typically feed their plants fertilizer in the range of 5:7:10 N-P-K during the flowering stage.
How much light do I use when growing my cannabis plants?
Cannabis plants require different amounts of light during different growth stages. Some general guidelines apply to four distinct stages:
Germination stage (3 to 10 days): Plants should be in a cool dark place away from artificial light or direct sunlight during this stage.
Seedling stage (2 to 3 weeks): Approximately 16 hours a day of light is ideal for indoor growing.
Vegetative stage (3 to 12 weeks): About 12 to 18 hours a day of light is adequate for indoor growing.
Flowering stage (8 to 16 weeks, flowers/buds through harvest): 12 hours of light on and 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness is ideal during the flowering stage.
Where can I find high-quality cannabis seeds?
The Seed Cellar is one of the largest online cannabis seed banks, offering more than 3,000 strains from over 80 top-selected breeders. We deliver high-quality weed seeds in original breeder packaging with a germination guide and live customer service.
The Seed Cellar is rooted in Michigan and was instrumental in the Michigan cannabis movement. We offer the highest quality of marijuana seeds in a wide selection of seed types and strains, including regular, feminized, and autoflowers. Contact us with any questions on the best-growing tips and always start your grow with quality cannabis seeds.