Now that you have everything you need to grow cannabis, you need to get something actually to grow. You can start with seeds and germinate them, or you can get a clone - which is just a cutting from a female plant that has sprouted roots.
Feminized or Regular?
Marijuana is a dioecious plant, meaning that each plant (almost) always has either male or female organs. Females produce bud and males produce pollen that will cause female buds to produce large volumes of seeds instead of smokable bud. Clones will be from females, but for seeds, you have the option of getting 'regular' or 'feminized' seeds.
Regular seeds are natural, so each one has roughly 50% chance of being female and 50% chance of being male. Since male plants don't produce bud, most farmers remove males as soon as they are identified to avoid pollinating the females and effectively ruining a crop.
Many seeds are sold as feminized because they have a greater than 99% chance of producing female plants. Feminized seeds are commercially produced by applying colloidal silver to female plants, which makes them grow pollen sacs instead of buds. Growers collect pollen from the female pollen sacs and use the feminized pollen to fertilize other females. The resultant seeds will almost always produce female plants.
A more natural variant of this approach takes advantage of a survival tactic built into the cannabis plant. If left unfertilized late into the season, female cannabis plants will sometimes grow a pollen sac to attempt to self-pollinate. Known as hermies, this pollen works the same as when produced through colloidal silver.
The benefits of feminized seeds are apparent: every plant is a bud producing female. Producing feminized seeds using colloidal silver isn't a natural process though, and many growers choose to avoid this and buy regular seeds.
Photoperiod or Autoflowering?
Traditional cannabis plants are known as 'photoperiod' because flowering is induced by altering periods of light. As long as nights are shorter than 12 hours, photoperiod cannabis will stay in vegetative growth. Once nights are longer than 12 hours, marijuana plants will begin to develop flowers. Outdoors, this happens in the lengthening nights of fall. Indoors, we choose when this happens by manipulating light and dark hours.
There is another kind of cannabis plant that starts flowering a preset amount of time after germination. The amount of time before flowering starts is dependent on the strain. These strains have been bred out of a small hemp plant called Cannabis Ruderalis that had the auto-flowering trait but didn't produce much THC. Over the years, breeders have crossed it with THC producing Cannabis Indica and even Sativa to improve THC and production. While auto-flowering strains are generally less potent and productive compared to their photoperiod counterpart, the convenience of not worrying about light control makes them a great option in many situations.
Where do I get Cannabis Seeds & Clones?
In many areas (like the UK and Spain in Europe or Oregon and California in the US) seeds and clones can be purchased from shops, dispensaries or directly from the breeder. In other areas, you will need to order them from an online seedbank - check your local laws.
There are many fine seed banks online, but we can only recommend Seedsman since they have served our needs perfectly since day one. They offer a broad selection from the highest quality breeders, free seeds with every order and very stealthy shipping to the US and Europe.
What strain should I grow?
Just like every other decision a farmer makes, the answer depends on your goals and what's important to you and what constraints you might have. For all of our strain reviews, we rate each strain based on the following sets of goals and constraints:
Farmer's Skill Level: Some strains are fussier than others. If you are a new grower, you will want to choose an easy-to-grow strain that isn't susceptible to pests or nutrient issues.
Time Constraints: Some strains are specially developed to grow fast while others take longer (with potentially higher yield or increased potency). Since time to harvest can vary by over a month between fast and slow strains, if time is an issue then you will want to pick a quick flowering variety.
Medical Use: Most commercial strains are tuned for potency and yield. Other strains are particularly optimized to address specific medical conditions, like chronic pain, anxiety or PTSD.
Potency: If you want to get really high, then you will want to select a strain that was bred for potency.
Yield: If you want a lot of weed, you'll want to select a strain known for high yields.
What are the easiest strains for beginners?
Growing top shelf buds, no matter the strain, is not an easy or straightforward task and can throw some curve balls that strike out the most experienced farmers. Some strains are particularly difficult to grow but are still worth it due to potency, yield, medical use or another factor. Still, other strains are easier to grow, and here is a short list of ones we recommend for beginners:
This indica was originally bred in the U.S. Pacific Northwest (near Seattle) and has made its way across the world since the mid-80's. It is possibly one of the most important strains of all times since it's a parent to many of today's modern strains. Don't confuse modern Northern Lights with your grandpa's reefer though - modern descendants produce huge quantities of potent, resin covered buds. The best part is that it is a fast to flower and resistant to pests and nutrient problems. Click here to find Northen Lights seeds on Seedsman.
00 Seed's Northern Lights is a fast flowering Indica with high levels of CBD. We've grown several, click here to read our full review.
Liberty Haze - This potent indica/sativa hybrid has been measured at 25% THC and is a high yield strain with great structure that responds well to topping and training and isn't particularly prone to pests. Overall, Liberty Haze is a good option for both new and experienced growers.
Liberty Haze by Barney's Farm is potent and high yielding. Click here to read our full review.
What strains are best for fast grows?
Flowering time is between 8 and 10 weeks for most strains. Some strains are ready to harvest in as little as 6 weeks.
White Widow Fast: This is a new spin on the highly admired White Widow, a legend that first rose to popularity in the Cafes of Amsterdam. This version retains all of the hard-hitting qualities of the classic but is ready to harvest in just seven weeks. View White Widow Fast seeds on Seedman.
Power Africa Fast: Power Africa (AKA Durban Poison) was already well-regarded for their ability to produce large yields of predominantly sativa buds in a short period, this fast version is even quicker while detracting not one iota from its large yields. Ready for harvest in just six weeks, this is a great choice for fast grows. View Power Afric Ultra Fast on seedsman.
What strains are best for medical grows?
Recent research into the positive medicinal benefits of cannabis has led to an overwhelming demand for strains that contain holistic medical properties. Scientific discovery has suggested that over 50 various ailments can be arrested, abetted and even cured with the right cannabis treatment.
We've grown several of these and found that Fruity Jack from Philosopher Seeds produces top-shelf buds with amazing medical properties. Click here to read our full review of this complex strain.
Seedsman is committed to medical cannabis and has organized medical strains by the condition they treat. Whether its anxiety, PTSD, cancer, epilepsy or pain. Find the right strain for you.