A high-quality marijuana seed has a dark color, typically a shade of brown, grey, or black. It should have tiger-like stripes or spots on the entire surface of the seed. If the seed is green or white, it is immature and is not likely to germinate. In the rare circumstance that an immature seed germinates, it takes much longer than it would for a mature seed.
A lot of information can be gleaned from the texture and hardness of a marijuana seed. After visually inspecting the seeds, growers can pick them up and feel their shell for the following:
The largest seeds are the best ones to grow. It is easier to pick the largest ones if there are several to compare side by side. Growers should look for the most symmetrical seed that is round or shaped slightly like a teardrop. Underdeveloped seeds are small and have an asymmetrical shape.
Many growers who have numerous marijuana seeds need to store them long term if they want to germinate them in the future. However, seeds need to be kept in specific conditions to remain viable. They should be stored in a cool, dark, and dry room, much like the environment in which growers dry their harvested marijuana.
The float test is a more scientific approach to determining the quality of a seed. The test involves filling a drinking glass with spring or distilled water and placing the seeds inside of it. Allow the seeds to soak for one to two hours before determining quality.
A chemical leaf test can determine the gender and future potency of cannabis seedlings as young as these!
You can learn the gender and estimate the potency of a young cannabis seedling simply by doing a test on a small piece of a leaf
There are leaf tests that can be performed on plants as soon as the plant has three sets of leaves that can definitively determine the gender of a cannabis plant! These tests are relatively cheap at $10-20 per test, but the information is invaluable to breeders. Some pre-flowers are difficult to find on the plant, or may be hard to determine, which makes a chemical test more definitive than a visual inspection for some plants.
For those of us who will be determining gender with our eyes, you need to know where to look!
There are also tests that take leaf samples and estimate the overall THC and CBD ratios to expect at harvest! These are a little more expensive at $30-80 per test, depending on exactly what you want to test. Knowing what cannabinoid ratios to expect while plants are still seedlings is very helpful for anyone looking for a very high-CBD or high-THC cultivar!
Home cultivation represents a sure-fire way to become intimately familiar with cannabis. Many novice growers are surprised to learn that cannabis is a dioecious species, which means that it produces gendered flowers. In times of stress, cannabis can also become hermaphroditic, displaying both female and male sex organs.
The wispy, white hairs of the female stigma become visible approximately four to six weeks after germination and progressively darken over time. Pistils and stigmas are more likely to appear closer to the top of the plant near the light source, but they can also form in the lower regions.
Like the female plant, the male cannabis plant also has sex organs. Male plants often, but not always, reveal their sex a week or two before female plants. Male plants produce pollen sacs, which also grow at the junction between the node and the stalk. When they first form, the male pollen sacs can initially look similar to the tiny buds that appear on female plants, but they do not have stigmas protruding from them. The male pre-flowers also take on more of a spade-like shape than the tear-drop shape of the young female bud.
Two signs indicate a plant is hermaphroditic. The first and most obvious sign is if the plant grows both male pollen sacs and female buds. The second sign is the appearance of anthers, known colloquially by growers as bananas or “nanners.” Anthers have a curved shape, are typically yellow or lime-green, and appear among buds. Unlike regular male pollen sacs, these anthers can fertilize the female plants as soon as they emerge, so they must be immediately trimmed or removed to protect a female crop.
Sex matters when it comes to cannabis. Female cannabis plants are prized because they grow cannabinoid-rich buds. Male cannabis plants, in contrast, have less THC content than females. Though some growers do choose to keep male plants for breeding purposes in order to introduce greater genetic diversity into their crops.