Seeding Cannabis

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Growing weed is not only interesting but good fun too. Not everything is as rosy, though, for it’s also a bumpy ride full of twists and turns. A good start is always… If you want to learn about the different elements that can affect your cannabis seedlings, how to identify the problems and fix them, make sure to read along! Find & Download Free Graphic Resources for Cannabis Seedling. 300+ Vectors, Stock Photos & PSD files. ✓ Free for commercial use ✓ High Quality Images

How to care for marijuana seedlings

Growing weed is not only interesting but good fun too. Not everything is as rosy, though, for it’s also a bumpy ride full of twists and turns. A good start is always key for a good finish, so having a solid understanding of the ins and outs of marijuana seedlings can be the difference between success and frustration. By controlling their size, boosting the growth of their roots and providing them with the right kind of nutrients, we’ll lay the foundations for stronger plants and better yields later on.

The first stage is as quick as it is beautiful: right after germination, the embryo emerges through the seed coat and turns into a tiny root when sowed. As it receives nourishment and moisture, the little seedlings start to appear. In botany, this stage is known as the stage of development, and it extends from the germination and subsequent emergence of the cotyledon (two round-shaped primary leaves) to the unfurling of the first true leaves (a set of jagged leaflets). These plants are still rather fragile and spindly, and many inexperienced growers fail to properly analyze the needs of the newborn seedlings, sometimes even causing them to die.

Searching for light: what to bear in mind

Sometimes, our little kids grow more than it’s good for them. An excessive vertical growth gives way to weak plants with low yielding capacities. This can be down to either environmental or genetic factors, as it’s the case of sativa plants:

– Shoots also have a strong survival instinct. In the same way as roots reach out for nutrients, shoots grow towards the light. This phenomenon is called positive phototropism, and auxins play a major part in it. So, if your plant shows an exaggerate vertical growth, it may be suffering from stress due to an absence of a strong light source.

– Outdoors, plants move according to the sun, their main source of heat and light, which explains their relentless need to fight for light and avoid staying in the shadows. To prevent this from happening indoors, we recommend using grow lights properly, moving them in such a way that plants receive enough light to grow adequately.

A less potent but better-located lamp is far better than a powerful yet poorly placed one. For best results, use reflectors or grow tents that allow for a more even distribution of light.

Temperature has also an effect on our plant’s growth: if over 80°F, our kids will start to grow upwards. Be careful with environmental stress too for stressful situations such as plant transplants can cause them to become too flimsy and leggy. Seedlings react to stress or uneasiness (when they’re not happy with the substrate they’re growing in or aren’t receiving the right amount of nutrients) by stretching out. Be particularly vigilant in this regard.

– Instead, if your newborn seedlings seem unable to grow upwards because they’re either too weak or too fragile, you can use a vertical support to help them out. A slight breeze will also make shoots stronger and more resistant because plants are forced to focus their energies on the reinforcement rather than on the stretching. This means that plants will continue growing vigorously yet not so much upwards.

Watch out for stalking fungi

Some of the most common infestations affecting early plants are the ones caused by parasitic fungi generally related to Rhizoctonia and Pythium. These produce a very common plant disease known as ‘Damping off’ that causes tiny plants to wither and die.

The presence of these harmful organisms, who love wet and warm environments, prevents nutrients from moving around and so roots from absorbing them. The best way to fight them is prevention. Keep a watchful eye on the moisture levels and avoid overwatering your plants. If you see the surface of the substrate is still damp, don’t add any water. Wait until it’s dry.

Purple doesn’t always mean healthy

The color of your plants can say a lot about their health. Sometimes stems turn purple, and this might be down to multiple factors. It could be a matter of genetics. Or it could be the temperature. Just make sure the air temperature doesn’t go lower than 68°F. Otherwise, you risk getting purple stems.

If it’s limited to the stems, no need to worry. However, if it also affects the leaves, it may be a telltale sign of phosphorus deficiency. Consequently, plants will produce smaller buds, so finding a solution is paramount. All you have to do is use phosphate fertilizers.

If the coloring fails to disappear, and more and more leaves with fragile stems keep emerging, the reason could be excess nitrogen, which will lead to lower yields. The best solution is to thoroughly cleanse the root zone by overwatering your plants.

Fertilization? Yes, but with caution

First things first: root growth stimulation is a very important process. Poorly developed roots will be unable to absorb the necessary amount of nutrients to thrive and produce generous harvests. To prevent this from happening, during the 1st and 2nd weeks, you’ll have to pour some root booster into the irrigation water.

‘Till the start of the vegging phase, your seedlings will grow perfectly well without the help of any nutrients. The ones in the substrate will be enough. If you’ve picked a nutrient-rich substrate, like manure or earthworm humus, you can forget about fertilizing at least until the 4th week. If you haven’t, start using nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium-rich fertilizers as soon as the 3rd week kicks in and until the beginning of the pre-blooming stage.

Let them grow strong

Plants should be well rooted. That’s the most important thing. If you succeed, you’ll have come a long way. During the first two weeks, you’ll have to make sure roots are developed enough to absorb all the nutrients cannabis plants need. Now that plants are so young, the use of chemicals is not recommended for any little mistake could be fatal. That’s why ecological systems are preferred. Apart from less aggressive, they’re far more sustainable.

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Auxins are powerful growth hormones produced by plants that greatly benefit both stems and roots. For that very reason, boosting its production could help roots grow much more quickly. Some cereal crops such as wheat or bird seed, as well as some legumes, say lentils or chickpeas, could be of great use in this regard. All you have to do is pre-soak them in water for 8 hours to obtain an excellent root boosting solution.

Transplanting

At first, plants are better off in small pots. The big ones inevitably have higher amounts of humidity in the soil, and our seedlings are too small to take up that much water, so they may end up dying. But a moment will come in which the seedlings won’t be small anymore and will need a transfer. When your seedling has developed 4 sets of leaves or roots start to entangle and get out of the pot, it’ll be the time to transplant it so that it can continue growing more, faster, and stronger.

And remember that, unlike humans, cannabis seedlings growing too much too early is a bad sign. Although it may be an inherent feature of the strain chosen, the stem growing in excess may be a telltale sign that something is wrong: this kind of growth pattern gives way to weak and fragile plants unable to support the weight of their branches or leaves.

Common Cannabis Seedling Problems and How To Fix Them

Problems with seedlings are common and can end up affecting them further into their life cycle so it’s vital you detect and fix them as soon as you can. Yellowing or deformed leaves, burnt tips, or even slow growth are signs of cannabis seedling problems, even though your seedling may be able to recover, it may have a toll on the final size and yields of your cannabis plants. It’s definitely not hard to detect when something’s wrong, but if you’re a new grower, first you should know what a healthy seedling looks like.

1. Healthy Cannabis Seedlings

Cannabis seedlings start with two tiny round leaves called “cotyledons”, these leaves are already formed inside the seed and open up once the seed has been successfully germinated, after a couple of days, the first serrated leaves will appear, which indicates that your weed seedling is starting to grow.

As your seedling start developing, the first pair of true leaves will appear, the true leaves are the typical fingered leaves everybody knows, all of the leaves up to this point should be bright green, if not, it’s a sign that something is wrong, to help you diagnose what you may have, here are the most common cannabis problems.

2. Overwatering

Overwatering is one of the most common cannabis seedling problem amongst growers, even though weed plants need water to grow, they also need oxygen to properly develop, and when overwatering, you may end up drowning your plants because of the lack of oxygen. What about plants grown in hydroponics? Well, in hydroponic setups, about ⅓ of the roots are kept out of the water, this way they can breathe at the same time that they absorb water so even though the roots are in the water, they still get the oxygen they need.

When your plants don’t get the amount of oxygen they need, the leaves will start getting droopy and if you don’t treat it for long, the leaves will start to get yellow. If you are seeing any of these symptoms, it’s most likely the problem is being caused by any poor drainage or watering too often.

How to fix it

  • Don’t leave plants sitting in runoff water.
  • Get better containers such as Smart pots or Air pots.
  • Mix perlite into the soil to increase drainage and oxygenation.
  • Make drainage holes on the bottom of the container to allow water to drain.

3. Underwatering

Just like overwatering, underwatering is very common, especially among new growers who want to prevent overwatering and it can be quite confusing because the symptoms are basically the same as when overwatering.

It’s essential you ensure your plants have access to water at all times, the roots should be kept moist always because plants are constantly losing water through the process of transpiration and they need to be able to replenish the water in the leaves. When there’s not enough water, cannabis plants stop performing their basic processes and dry out, eventually killing them so even though you should be careful when watering, you should definitely keep your plants watered to avoid seedling problems.

How to fix it

  • Ensure the top part of the soil is always moist.
  • Mix soil with coco fiber or vermiculite to improve water retention.

4. Nutrient Problems

Just like the symptoms of overwatering or underwatering, plants that suffer from a nutrient excess (overfeeding) will start to get yellow leaves or yellow spots, burnt tips, or show slower growth. Seedling problems related to nutrients are usually caused by giving nutrients too soon, giving too many nutrients at once, or “hot” super soil or pre-amended soils. Giving too many nutrients at a time can cause problems overnight, so we recommend watering your seedling with plain water and taking a look at the following table so you prevent any seedling problems related to nutrients.

The ideal water for seedlings
Medium pH PPM
Soil 6.0-7.0 100-250
Coco, clay pellets, and hydro 5.5-6.2 300-400

Have in mind that these are estimates and you should check every day for problems and lower or increase these numbers if you see signs of deficiencies. Giving nutrients too soon will overload the soil, and consequently, your seedling so remember that you shouldn’t feed for the first couple of weeks or at least give a low nutrient dose.

This can also happen with organic super soil, even though it’s organic, you need to wait until your super soil isn’t “hot” anymore, “hot” soil means that the mix is still undergoing biological activities so you will have to wait around 30-45 days before you can use it, although this is not the case with all super soils so make sure you get more information on the product you’re using to avoid seedling problems.

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How to fix it

  • Ensure you adjust the nutrient dose according to the medium you’re growing in.
  • Wait at least 10 days before you start feeding your plants.
  • Read the instructions on the products you’re using.

5. Excessive Heat

Excessive heat can also affect your plants, which will end up showing signs of heat stress, you will see the edges of the leaves turning up like tacos and they will start to get dry and crispy, and in more extreme cases, the leaves will start showing a yellowish-green color.

This can be caused by elevated temperatures, low humidity, or even the fans being too strong, but luckily, this can be easily spotted before your plants start showing the symptoms because you will see the soil is dry and sometimes it will start to crack.

How to fix it

  • Make sure the temperature and humidity are at the right levels.
  • Place your hand under the light fixture, if it’s too hot for you, it definitely is for your plants.
  • Ensure your fans are not too strong for the stage your plants are in.

6. Too Much (or Too Little) Light

Another common problem among new growers is not providing enough or providing too much light in the seedling stage, if your seedlings are not getting enough light, they will start stretching and the stem will get super long, which is a bad thing because they can easily snap and there’s no way to fix it.

Now, when your seedlings are getting too much light, or the lights are too close to them, the seedling will get dehydrated and the leaves will get burnt, showing symptoms like burned and wrinkled leaves.

How to fix it

  • Adjust the light fixture’s distance from the seedling every day, try to find the sweet spot.
  • Use CFLs instead of potent LEDs or HPS to avoid this kind of problem.

7. Seed Shell Stuck on Seedling

Sometimes, when a seedling comes out of the substrate you’ll see how the seed shell is stuck on the seedling and won’t come off naturally. When this happens, your seedling won’t be able to develop properly and you’ll probably see a lot of stretching, and if left for too long, the seedling can end up dying. This happens because of the humidity levels, so in order to minimize the damage, there are a couple of things you can do.

How to Fix It

As mentioned, this happens because of humidity levels, low humidity levels to be precise, so what you need to do is hydrate the seed shell. So go ahead and spray the seedling with plain water or just drop one or two droplets of water on the seed shell, this will hydrate it enough for the seed shell to fall off. Keep in mind that sometimes the seed shell falls off but a membrane covering the cotyledons can remain stuck and your seedling will not be able to open so make sure to grab some tweezers or remove the membrane with your fingers but do it very, very carefully.

If you need to do it asap and don’t want to wait for the seed shell to fall, you can remove it by hand without spraying it but keep in mind that if the seedling’s roots have not grown enough, you can end up removing the seedling from the soil so do not use excessive force. It’s highly recommended to hydrate the seed before just to avoid shock or stress, especially to avoid removing the seedling from the substrate completely.

  • Make sure to keep the humidity levels in range with the help of a humidifier.
  • Place a plastic dome (like a cut-out plastic bottle or plastic cup) on top of the seedling to help keep higher humidity levels.

8. What To Have in Mind During The Cannabis Seedling Stage

In order to avoid all the cannabis problems mentioned throughout the article, here are the main tips that will help you avoid them and keep your cannabis seedlings healthy and happy.

The Perfect Environment

The relative humidity and temperature will directly affect how your seedling grows so make sure the light is not too strong but your cannabis is still getting enough light and the temperature is around 21-23 ºC and the relative humidity ranges from 70-80%. Failing to provide good conditions can affect plant growth and can ultimately kill your plants if left untreated for too long, so here’s what to expect in the different conditions:

Substrate is too wet

If the substrate is too wet, the seeds can drown. Despite seeds being germinated in water, it’s not okay for the substrate to be extremely wet so always make sure the substrate is moist but not soaking.

Substrate is too dry

Cannabis seeds need moisture to germinate so make sure the substrate is moist but not excessively wet as excessive dryness can make your seeds not germinate and die.

Watering Properly

Watering cannabis seedlings properly is the hardest part for beginner growers, watering too much can result in an overwatered cannabis plant, and watering too little can result in an underwatered weed plant so make sure you start watering with around 100 ml and increase the amount according to how your plants grow.

Seeds were planted too deep

1 – 3 cm is the deepest you should go in order to provide support to the roots and cover the seeds with the substrate. If you plant the seeds too deep the seedling could have a hard time sprouting out of the substrate so do not plant it too deeply.

Environment is not warm enough

Seedlings prefer warmer temperatures ranging from 22 -26 celsius and will grow at a slower rate in colder temperatures.

Environment is too humid

It’s recommended to use a plastic dome for newly born seedlings but remember to remove them as soon as the seedling starts developing the first pair of one-fingered leaves after the cotyledons as a high humidity can cause damping off, which results in seedlings folding over and dying.

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Light Intensity

Marijuana light burn can indeed hurt your plants if the light is too strong. Seedlings are more fragile than adult weed plants so make sure you dim down the light or adjust the fixture’s light to avoid stressing them. Also, if your seedlings are stretching a lot it means they need more light so, if this happens, increase light intensity or place the light fixture closer.

9. FAQs About Cannabis Seedling problems

Here are the most frequently asked questions about cannabis seedling problems to help you understand a bit more and help you deal with them. Just remember that different problems may have similar symptoms so make sure you are 100% sure about what the problem is before taking drastic measures.

“Why are my seedling’s leaves turning yellow? Could it be a cannabis nutrient deficiency?”

When the leaves start yellowing it’s probably a sign of nutrient problems, this means they’re either lacking nutrients, are getting too many nutrients or getting the wrong type of nutrients.

“When should I remove the plastic dome of the seedlings?”

The plastic dome helps raise humidity for faster germination so you can remove it as soon as your plant has completely developed a pair of leaves (after the cotyledons).

Remove the plastic dome once the seedling has developed the first pair of leaves after the cotyledons.

“Why are my cannabis seedling’s leaves curling down?”

This usually happens when you overwater your seedlings or when they’re exposed to higher temperatures so make sure the temperature ranges from 20 – 25 ºC and pay attention to how much water you’re watering with.

“When is it safe to put my cannabis seedlings under the light?”

Well, your seedling needs to be under light since germination but you can use a 15-20 W fluorescent light during the first 1-2 weeks and once the first pair of true leaves have completely developed, you can go ahead and place it under the LED or MH bulb.

“Is there a better light schedule for marijuana seedlings?”

The best light cycle for both autoflowering and photoperiod cannabis seedlings would be 18/6 from seed.

“Is the substrate super important for seedlings?”

Of course, the substrate mix is super important for a healthy start. Some growers prefer a “light mix” which can provide nutrients for the initial weeks and others make their own blends with perlite and coco fiber. There’s no best substrate but a substrate mix that allows for good oxygenation and water retention is ideal.

“Why are my marijuana seedlings growing so slow?”

This is the hardest question because it can be caused by several things. Your cannabis seedlings may be lacking nutrients or it could be caused by lack of proper lighting and extreme temperatures or humidity.”

“How far should the grow light be from the cannabis seedling?”

If you’re using a CFL light, the lights should be 5 – 10 cm from the seedlings. If you’re using HPS or MH, the light should be around 25 – 40 cm from the seedlings and if you’re using LEDs, the fixture should be at around 75 cm from the seedling with 40% light intensity if possible.

“How long does it take for the seeds to germinate and the seedling to come out of the soil?”

The germination process is usually quite fast but depending on the quality of the seeds, it may take up to 5 days or even more. Once the seeds have germinated and been planted in the pot, the seedling should take around 3 days to come out of the soil if the growing conditions are proper.

“Is it possible to know my plant’s sex during the seedling stage?”

No, you’ll only be able to tell whether your marijuana plant is a male or female during the pre-flowering stage. This happens because cannabis plants need to sexually mature in order to show either male pollen sacs or female stigmas.

10. In conclusion

Marijuana seedlings are super fragile and sensitive so you should take good care of them, avoiding cannabis growing problems at this stage is vital because even though your baby plants may recover, the size and structure may be affected, which will end up affecting your harvest.

If you have tips you can share with fellow growers to help them take care of their baby plants, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below!

Cannabis Seedling Images

Gardener planting flowers with trowel. cultivation. farmer planting seedling in organic garden. happy man. people in garden beds. spring garden concept. gardeners hands plant flowers in backyard.

Seedlings of hemp on the windowsill and cactus

Single marijuana seedling, macro shot. shallow dof.

  • small plant
  • plant growth
  • botanical garden

Closeup small cannabis tree from seed growth step in garden

Closeup small cannabis tree from seed growth step in garden

Farmer is holding a cannabis pot , showing in legalized farm.

Farmer is holding a cannabis pot , showing in legalized farm.

Farmer is holding a cannabis pot , showing in legalized farm.

Close up small cannabis from seed in garden

Close up small cannabis from seed in garden

Young cannabis seedlings in pot. home cultivation in an indoor marijuana for medical purposes.

Plant cannabis growing in pot at white background

Cannabis seedlings, in domestic production.

Farmer is holding cannabis seedlings in legalized farm.

Farmer is holding cannabis seedlings in legalized farm.

Pattern marijuana bushes hemp in pots cannabis cultivation concept

  • horticulture
  • gardening background
  • cannabis pattern

Green cannabis sprout in the ground small marijuana plant

Plant sapling cannabis growing in pot with led grow light

Plant sapling cannabis growing in pot with led grow light

Cannabis plant growing a small green sprout of marijuana with ground

Farmer is holding cannabis seedlings in legalized farm.

Farmer is holding cannabis seedlings in legalized farm.

Farmer is holding cannabis seedlings in legalized farm.

Closeup of young medical marijuana plant growing in the soil cannabis sprout

A small green cannabis sprout came out of the ground

Marijuana seed breaks through the ground young cannabis sprout

A young cannabis plant stretches from the ground to the sun sprouting marijuana grain

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