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Marijuana Seedlings

MJ SeedlingNow that your marijuana seeds have sprouted, what’s next?  How do you care for your little baby seedlings? Your germinated seeds must be placed in a more suitable growing medium if you have started them in paper towels, rock wool or peat pellets.

Seedling containers

How do you choose the right size for your marijuana seedlings? Marijuana plants can mature in containers as small as 12 ounce plastic drinking bottles. Conversely, some growers have gone as large as 30 gallon containers indoors. You would need a barn, warehouse or a greenhouse to adequately grow such a plant as it will become a small marijuana tree. The average range is generally 1 to 3 gallons.

Some growers place the seedlings directly into the growing container that it will eventually flower in. The main benefit of this is that the plant suffers no transplant shock. However, the preferred method is to do several transplants from small to medium to large containers as the marijuana grows in size. There are several reasons for this:

  1. Small planters utilize your space better
  2. Small planters grouped together are the most efficient way to use your grow light source
  3. A small container keeps the roots together and is easier to feed and water.

Choosing soil for your pot plants – Let’s start with a 4” pot.

Super Skunk SeedlingSome seasoned pros use their own mix. This is not recommended for the novice. Soil blends from hydroponic stores specifically designed for marijuana are your best – and often the most expensive option. Seed-starting soils from your local garden center or home improvement store will work fine. Such soils have enough fertilizer to carry you to the next stage. Some growers mix in additional perlite to better aerate the soil. Perlite is an  airy, white, volcanic pellet and available at most garden shops.

Planting your marijuana seedlings

OCEAN FORESTPlace garden soil in your container up to about 1” from the top. Pack lightly. Make a hole with a pencil, eraser-side down about ½” deep and put in your germinated seeds, root side down and cover with soil. If your seedlings are already in a seed-starter of some sort, simply bury them in the dirt and cover with ¼ to ½” of soil. Water until the soil is damp, not soaking. It is not necessary, but some marijuana growers like to give the young plants some support. Long wooden kitchen matches (minus the head) work well.

Watering and feeding your seedlings

Master Kush SeedlingsDuring this phase, feeding or the adding of nutrients or fertilizer will not be necessary unless you have chosen a soilless mix. Watering should be done perhaps twice per day with a misting bottle for the first few days. How often you water will depend greatly on temperature and humidity. Once the marijuana root is better established, you can slowly cut back to watering every 2-3 days. If you are not sure, you can test by placing your finger into the soil. If it feels dry, then add water. It is important to note that the number one cause of early crop failure is overwatering. Wilting or drooping leaves on your plants are a sign that your plant is thirsty. Plants will revive quickly from such dehydration.

While many gardeners use tap or well water, the more sophisticated growers use reverse osmosis, filtered or bottled water and adjust the pH (acidity/alkalinity) of the water.  If you are using municipal tap water, fill a bucket or a reserve reservoir and let it sit for several days. This allows most of the chlorine present in the water to evaporate.

DO NOT water directly on the plant. They are very delicate at this stage and the stem and roots are easily damaged. Water around the seedlings a few inches base of the plant. It is best to water your plants first thing in the morning for best uptake.

Marijuana seedlings lights

Marijuana seedlings require very little light and can be grown under CFLs (spiral compact fluorescents), tube fluorescents, LEDs and the blue light from Metal Halides (MH). Stay away from incandescent lights as they put off too much heat and too little light. The higher the Wattage your light source, the further away it should be from your seedlings unless you are using LED grow lights with good ones running nearly cold. Too far away and the plants will stretch towards the light making them weak and spindly. Too close and the bright light and heat may damage them, except with LEDs.  Let us say you are using fluorescents or LED grow lights. It would be fine to place the light a foot above your plants to start and give the seedlings a chance to ‘harden up’. If they react favorably, you may lower the light a little bit each day until the lights are maybe 4” above your plants.

Blue light dominant LEDs and full spectrum LED grow lights offer an excellent start, lower electricity costs and very little if any heat.

High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights are generally not used for seedlings as they do not require the amount of light that HPS puts out, and more importantly, HPS is deficient in blue light. Blue light is what plants use to point them towards the light source. This is called phototropism.

Have fun and good luck growing out your marijuana seedlings!

Marijuana Seedling

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From the forum

How to Grow Marijuana Forum - Growing Marijuana Indoors & Hydroponics

14 thoughts on “Marijuana Seedlings

  1. I just started growing my first plant last week and yesterday when I went to water her, she SPROUTED!
    I used soil from my yard, as it is very fertile.
    I am so excited!
    My sweet baby!

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  2. downtownhigh5@gmail.com

    I watch all the growing forums and I have one problem! 99% of the people asking questions are going to have very little to no success! True growers are passionate and will search out all available information before asking all these silly questions. Gardening tomatoes, books on growing, and u tube along with thousands of grow sites answer each and any question u would have.Do research and some hard work and your grow will be plentiful. Put in the time and learn the basics as u will need these skills to succeed. Real growers, professionals of any trade take pride in their work.

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  3. I have a 240W BlackDog LED; I have two seeds that have just sprouted.
    How long should they get light? When should I increase the lights to the 18/6 cycle?
    I’ve tried lighting them for the 14 – 18, but they are wilting no matter how much water they have.
    The lights are roughly 17 inches above the seedlings.
    Thanks for any recommendations.

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  4. Madison Binstok

    How do you know a female plant from a male? And should the male plant be done away with ??

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    • Hi Madison
      Check out the page on marijuana sexing. There are pictures there to help you. And yes, unless you are growing to produce seeds, you should remove the males as soon as you identify them.

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  5. Question
    How many hours of light and how many hours of darkness?
    How many inches should a UFO 140w LED be from the top of seedlings?

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    • Vegetative growth requires 18 hours of light to 6 hours of darkness (normally written 18/6). Flowering requires 12 hours of light and 12 hours of COMPLETE darkness (12/12)
      Hope that helps

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  6. Using a 140watt, 75pcs., 3w diodes, UFO, What distance should I be from my seedlings and how many hours should the light be on, and how many hours of Dark?

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    • How much heat comes from your light? If it is comfortable to hold your hand under, place is just a few inches from your growing tip.

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  7. Lighting- how old or how tall should your young ones be before you change the lighting from 24 hours a day to 18 # 6.
    Thank you
    from Tewks

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    • Hi Randy. You should have your lights on 18/6 from the start. Change them to 12/12 when you want to start flowering your plants.

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  8. While it is still cold outside can I start some seedlings indoors and put them out when the weather is nicer? I want to know if the transition will effect them?

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    • Lots of people do this. It is important though to manage the transition carefully. Try raising the question in our forum where you will be able to get expert advice from other growers.

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