Caring For Young Cannabis Plants
When you are growing cannabis you want to keep your plants strong and healthy from seedling to fully grown plant. It can be quite intimidating as mistakes made during the seedling stage can impact the plant for the rest of its life causing damage or even death. Nurturing your seedling can be the hardest part of the growing process as it needs a lot of TLC to grow into a healthy cannabis plant. When you are growing your cannabis seed there are 4 stages in the growing process.
- The seed germination process
- The seedling stage
- The vegetative stage
- The flowering stage
Once the cannabis seeds germinate and are placed into the soil they will start to root in the soil as a stem and grow upwards. They will then sprout two cotyledon leaves, which will help the plant to absorb light and continue to grow even further.
After germination, the young cannabis plant will enter stage two which is the seedling stage. You will know when your plant has entered this stage as the first two leaves will appear. You will be able to recognise when this stage is over as the plant develops 5-7 blades per leaf. After this the vegetative stage will begin.
Seedlings are more vulnerable to mould and disease at this point in their life cycle than any other time. It is important to do your research now as making mistakes can cause stunted growth, low yield, minimal resin and can also have a disappointing potency.
Use A Small Pot For Better Development
Start your seedling in small pots when starting off as this will promote healthy root growth. You will need to move the plant to a bigger pot a couple of times during the plant’s lifespan as it gets bigger. This might sound like a lot of work but the yield you get at the end will be worth the work 100%.
When you use a small pot it will encourage the plant into a tight root ball, which will keep the plant sturdier later in life by lowering the plant's center of gravity which will prevent damage in the future.
Pot size helps promote healthy seedlings in other ways as well. A well developed root system which will deliver more water and nutrients to the developing plant, it will also promote healthier foliage and bud formation. Autoflowering cannabis seeds are an exception to this rule. They tend to do best when planted in their final pots right from the beginning.
Make Sure You Water The Right Amount
Overwatering and underwatering are two of the most common mistakes you can make when growing cannabis. It can be a mistake made at any stage but it can do the most harm during the seedling stage. Too much water can cause the seedling to have rotten stems right above the soil but not watering enough will cause the plant to dry out completely.
If you use a small pot this will prevent this problem as you will be able to create a proper draining system to find a happy medium. You will usually be able to tell if your plant is too wet as the pot will be really heavy and if they need more water the pot will be very light. If you do not trust your own judgement, you could use a spray bottle to give them a heavy mist with clean water every day.
Watering too often can leave the roots lazy because they do not have to work as hard to stay hydrated. Allowing the soil to dry out slightly will encourage the main roots to send out new shoots to search for moisture.
Make Sure You Feed Them The Right Amount
Cannabis seeds have enough energy stored inside them to support themselves in the germination stage and their first few days of life after that they will need nutrients to help support their growth. You need to make sure you feed them at the right age and the right amount as overfeeding them can cause them to burn slightly and if you over feed them a lot you could kill them.
As long as you see progress in your plants, your seed will have enough nutrients. If the growth of your plant stalls or you start to see that some of the leaves have turned yellow you should feed them a mild fertiliser intended for seedlings. This will help to get them back on the right track.
You need to keep in mind that some plants are heavy feeders and some are light feeders and it can vary a lot depending on the strain of plant you have. Always start off by feeding your plants a little bit and then increase the nutrient strength as your plant adjusts. This way you will be able to see how they tolerate each feed.
Maintain Temperature & Humidity
The root system is not fully developed and because of this they will need a higher humidity level and steadier temperature than older plants. You can use a thermo hygrometer to keep an eye on each of your plants. Seedlings prefer a high humidity around 70% and your temperature should stay around 20-25 degrees celsius. If your plants are too hot the leaves will crinkle or turn up at the edge. Excess humidity will create issues with rot and mould too. However, if it is too cold your seedlings' growth will stall. Low humidity will cause leaves to dry out and have brown spots on them.
Giving your seedlings proper care from the start is imperative and will take a lot of time and attention. Improper feeding and watering are some of the most common problems, but inadequate lighting and airflow, as well as temperature and humidity fluctuations, can have a dramatic impact on your plants for their whole lives.
If you are planting outside you should try and protect your seedlings with a dome to protect it from any weather, animals which can put your young plants in danger. This done will help to keep your seedlings safe and give them a good chance at life.