Start Strong: Tips for Choosing the Right Clones

Growing quality cannabis requires a harmony of many factors. There’s some amount of leeway with light, pH amounts, pests and even mold – but most of these can be easily dealt with as cultivators surf that often-challenging and unforgiving wave of cannabis’ flowering cycle. However, without healthy, vibrant plants at the onset, even the best effort can be for naught and that highly-anticipated Super Silver Haze will likely look and smell more like Super Silver Hay.

Plants that are unhealthy do much the same as humans do when they’re sick – they rest and try to get better. While its healthy sisters race towards the light, be it artificial or the real deal, a weakling plant’s growth stops and stalls. As its leaves clench in frustration, nutrients stop being absorbed and the plant sits in a state of stasis that it might not ever fully recover from. If thrown into flowering, there’s a small chance that the plant might snap out of its slump but that’s pretty unlikely. What will result is a plant that is low in resin, terpenes, potency and yield that gives up the ghost long before finishing time.

Here are a few tips to help with choosing the best clones and getting the best results.

ROOTS

There’s an ancient saying that goes, “From the fruits you shall know the roots.” With cannabis, however, the opposite makes a better maxim. Look for vibrant white roots that are actively shooting from the medium, reaching for more water and nutrients so as to grow strong and healthy. Avoid roots that look brown and inactive. It’s a good indication of what the plant wants to do at that moment in its life. White roots want to thrive; brown roots want to slumber.

LEAF TIPS

Growth is what it’s all about, so the next inspection should be plant tips. Do they have the bright green of fresh growth? Do they look active? If not, the plant may be locked up and is going to take some time to recover. Unless you’re prepared to wait until that plant is good and ready – which will definitely be long after you are – move on to a fresher specimen.

COLORATION

The above two points are easily the most essential aspects to look for when shopping for great clones. However, there are more signs an astute cultivator can tune into to see if the young plant is ready to get it on. For instance, a slight yellowing of the leaves (of an otherwise happy plant) is a sign that the plant wants more nitrogen and is ready to grow more. Develop an eye for what makes a healthy clone and the skill will serve you well in the long run.

A yellow grided card attracts bugs to it, rather than the cannabis plant.

SICKLINESS

Avoid any plant with either current or past signs of insects, be it spider mite webs, pocked leaves or powdery mildew, which presents itself like fuzzy white areas. This probably seems obvious but it’s worth stating again to underscore the fact that unhealthy young plants are a flashing sign that something is wrong.

CONFINEMENT

When importing a starter plant into your garden, have a quarantine space ready that is well lit and with good air circulation, so your new ward can live in a safe little bubble while you treat it with preventative measures.

Harry Resin is a world-renowned cannabis breeder and cultivator with figurative roots in Amsterdam

CULLING

When taking your own clones from your own garden, use only the best and throw away the rest. Some of the most experienced cloners throw away the weakest 25 percent or more of any tray, with the thought that a weak child makes a weak adult. If you want the best possible chance at big robust flowers, you want to start with the best from the very start.

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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5 Basic Tips for Finding the Best Cannabis Genetics

The hunt for great cannabis genetics can be daunting for beginners looking to grow. After all, a 10-pack of seeds can cost hundreds of dollars and there’s no real way to know if you’re investment has paid off until you’ve grown out the plant, trimmed and cured the buds and puffed the final result. Because the genetic diversity of the cannabis plant is monumentally vast and there are so many mouth-watering new cultivars, it’s very easy to feel like a kid in a candy store. Even the strain names themselves reflect this metaphorical allusion. At the Emerald Cup this past weekend, Cannarado sold upwards of 20 different Sundae Driver crosses with names like Root Beer Float and Grape Sundae.

Ultimately, when it comes to making a choice about which cultivars to invest in, purchasing seeds — like many aspects of enjoying cannabis — is all about personal preference and discovery.

Do the Research

Award-winning cannabis breeder Mean Gene said it has taken him years to know “what is what” when it comes to cannabis genetics. Gene’s advice was to find someone with an unbiased opinion on a cultivar that they’ve already grown out. At a massive seed purchasing event like the Emerald Cup, Gene recommended standing in line and getting other people’s feedback.

Doing research on the genetics is also key, he said. “You don’t want to go to somebody who is going to be a ‘yes’ man. You want to find what fits your needs the best.”

At the cup, Hepburns founder Allie Butler waited in the line at Gene’s Freeborn Selections booth for the Lime Pop Kush F3 seeds on a hunt for a strain that provided the right amount of “resin production and terpene profile.” “I’m looking for sh*t that keeps you coming back,” she said.

Pay Attention to the Generation

Cannabis strains will combine the best aspects of its parental lineage, but like two sisters in the same family, the seeds will create unique results every time. Breeders work to find the optimal version, or special phenotype, of a strain they create and then stabilize the genetics through subsequent generations. An F1 hybrid is the first generation of a parental cross and the generations that follow are known as F2, F3, etc. Looking for later generations, such as Gene’s Lime Pop Kush F3, means growers are more likely to get consistent results from the plants they grow from seed.

Discover What You Want

Gene described himself as a “plant enthusiast” and said, for him, choosing which strains to grow is as much about how the plant resonates with him aesthetically as it is if it has interesting flavors or terpene profiles. Comparing cannabis to other plants, Gene said if you don’t like the look of artichokes, you might want to grow pepper plants instead. New growers should also be asking questions about a plant’s yield and resistance to mold.

Grow for Your Area

For Nikki Lastreto, one of the cultivators behind Swami Select, choosing genetics means finding the seeds bred in her area. That’s easy for her to say. In this case, Lastreto’s area of Mendocino County is one of the most award-winning cannabis cultivation regions on the planet. However, no matter your location, choosing seeds bred in the region of the world where you’d like to grow them makes good sense anywhere, as those cultivars will be best adapted to the environmental conditions and best able to express the plant’s truest expression of its identity — through embracing the terroir, a set of environmental factors such as climate, soils and terrain unique to a specific place.

“We like to get seed bred in our area because we know they’re going to go well with our terroir,” Lastreto said.

Accept the Results

Growing cannabis from a seed is harder than growing from a clone, a cutting from a female plant, because cannabis is a plant that has both male and female genders. While some companies do create feminized seeds, or seeds that have been created through a process of using colloidal silver to make a female plant produce pollen sacks instead of flowers and then pollinating a female plant with the feminine pollen, Lastreto said she prefers using un-feminized seeds and accepting the surprise gender results.

The longtime Emerald Cup judge compared the process to having a child, saying you can’t look to choose the sex of your cannabis plant any more than you can choose the sex of your baby.

“You have to accept that when you’re growing from seed,” she said. “You don’t know what you’re going to get.”

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How to Choose the Best Seeds for Planting Cannabis

There are all kinds of techniques people use when it comes to growing premium bud. Some people have their tried-and-true methods that they swear by while others are still in the trial-and-error period of their growing journey. Regardless of skill level, when it comes to growing a flourishing crop, the first place to begin when choosing to grow cannabis plants is with knowing how to properly select quality seeds.

Seeds that are not mature are typically small with a greenish hue and soft shell. Good, healthy seeds will be more greyish to brown with speckles and have a glossy appearance free from cracks. They are typically bigger in size as well. Seeds that are very dark or near black and appear to be dull may be old. To avoid immature seeds or aged seeds, try not to purchase seeds that have recently been harvested as well as those that have been kept in storage for long amounts of time.

Fresh seeds have a high germination rate that drops dramatically over time — from 90 percent down to 20 percent after three or four years. Excellent seeds are the cornerstone of successful plant growth because each one contains the genetic material that determines certain characteristics like size, shape and potency.

The strain of the seed determines what type of effects will be experienced after consumption. Indica and sativa are the two main strains that have distinct characteristic. Indica strains are known for their physical effects, with a noted body high and deep relaxation being the most commonly reported feelings, while sativas provide a cerebral buzz often associated with increased sensitivity to sights and sounds. Most seeds are hybrid strains that are either more indica-dominant or sativa-dominant.

It’s helpful to consider how long it will take plants to grow before picking out seeds. After deciding whether to grow indoors or outdoors, calculate the amount of time estimated for a plant to come to full maturation. Most plants take between seven and nine weeks until they are ready to be harvested, although indica plants tend to grow a little bit faster than sativas.

Deciding on a location for where the plants will grow make a huge difference in the success of failure of a crop. Seeds must be properly suited for the intended growing environment. There are benefits and drawbacks to both indoor and outdoor growing. Conditions for indoor plants are typically more temperate because they aren’t subject to fluctuating weather, but can be a financial burden due to high electricity bills from artificial lights. Growing plants outdoors helps cut costs by utilizing the sun as a free power source but leaves plants more susceptible to bugs and pests.

There are several advantages to growing plants from seeds. Cloned plants can transfer diseases to the next generation of plants whereas seeds are free from viruses, diseases and pests. Plants grown from seeds also exhibit slight genetic variation, so growers can choose the best plants out of a crop instead of possibly growing uniformly mediocre plants from a single mother plant.

Lastly, it’s important to make purchases from a reputable source or dealer who specializes in providing fresh, mature seeds. Because growing cannabis is an investment of time and money, it’s worth the effort to track down the best seeds commercially available. Once a trusted company is located, practice careful consideration, high selectivity and patience before making any choices. Being picky during this process will definitely pay off.

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How to Grow Blue Dream at Home

Blue Dream is one of America’s favorite strains. This sativa-dominant breed packs a high-THC punch, and it does this without getting the user buzzed-up to the point of being non-functional. The strain, which was developed in California, found its way to mainstream success for its ability to alter moods and spin creativity, while also providing a calming sense of euphoria. It is a hit with both the recreational and medical sectors, as it is versatile enough to be considered medicine for those suffering from a variety of conditions ranging from depression to PTSD and a source for good times. It’s also quite easy to cultivate once you learn how to grow Blue Dream at home, which only increases the popularity of the strain.

Some of the latest data shows that tens of millions of dollars are spent on Blue Dream every year in legal states. So, it stands to reason, with most of these jurisdictions allowing home cultivation in some form or fashion, cannabis consumers are curious as to how they might go about growing this strain in the comforts of their personal space. Fortunately, Cannabis Now is dedicated to helping aspiring green thumb gods recognize their talents and forge their way to high and healthy yields.

Blue Dream Is Easy to Grow — And It’ll Grow Tall

Even a first-time grower can experience solid results when growing Blue Dream. This strain has such a fighting desire to touch the sky that it is almost impossible to sabotage the process. But it is important to understand a few things about this plant before getting started. Blue Dream grows tall — plants can hit the 4-to-6 foot mark without much effort at all. It will flourish in both indoor and outdoor conditions, as long as it is protected from extreme weather conditions. For the sake of this article, we are going to focus on cultivating a single plant indoors. This way even those would-be cannabis growers living in areas of prohibition can still dabble in the fun of home cultivation.

Getting Started: Buying Seeds (Or Clones, If You Can)

If you live in a state where growing cannabis is legal, then it is easiest to purchase a Blue Dream clone from your local dispensary. There are plenty of pros and cons to growing from seed or clone, but first-time growers usually prefer the speed and relative simplicity of growing from clones. However, if you don’t have access to clones, seeds are your only other option.

It is always best to go with newer seeds, so it is not advised to try your newfound cultivation project with seed that has been hanging around for years. In states that have legalized cannabis, individuals can track down seeds at farmer’s markets or through some retail dispensaries. Buying online is also an option — perhaps the most convenient if living in a prohibition state, but it is important to clarify that buying seeds online is still technically against the law.

Germinate Seeds And Get Under Light Source

Before you can plant your seed, you must first germinate the seed. To do this, grab a moist paper towel and a plastic sandwich bag. Drop the seed (or seeds) in the middle of the damp paper towel, fold it over a couple of times and stick it in the sandwich bag. Some experienced growers recommend first sprinkling the seed with an organic root booster called Mycorrhizal. This provides the plant with nutrients it doesn’t get growing indoors.

Once the seed is in the bag, it needs to be stored in a dark and warm place. Leave it alone for around three days. By then, the seed should be ready to be transferred to soil. This part is still relatively easy. Just grab a plastic cup (one for every seed), poke a few holes in the bottom and fill with soil. Some suggested brands are Fox Farm Ocean Forest Soil, Espona Organic Potting Mix and Roots Organic.

From there, add a pinch of root booster and drop in the seed. Cover it and put it under a 100-Watt Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) light bulb. Better yet, get a full spectrum light. These are a solid investment for single plant grows. Both of these items can be purchased at a place like Home Depot and Lowe’s. They are inexpensive — and they work really well.

Crucial Growing Information and Tips

Temperature: Blue Dream is comfortable in the same climate as most humans. It flourishes in temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Light: Keep under light for most of the day, from 18-24 hours, during this first stage. This is called the vegetative state and is when the plant grows in size. A light timer is useful in achieving accuracy.

Ventilation: Treat your plant to some air circulation! Although the lights we discussed above do not get extremely hot, ventilation is still important to the grow process. This can be achieved with a small tabletop fan.

Odor Control: Blue Dream has a fruity fragrance — sort of like blueberry, so it does not produce an intense aroma. Plus, one plant is not going to cause a stink with the neighbors.

Water: Keep soil wet. When watering, make sure a pool of water forms at the top of the soil. If the plant starts to droop throughout the growing process, it needs more water. If the soil is dry when put to the touch test, it needs more water. But overwatering is bad, too. A solid rule is not to water cannabis any more than any other plant. Treat it like a tomato.

Nutrients: This strain has a ravenous appetite. It requires heavy nitrogen feedings. Advanced Nutrients has some highly revered products. A Google search can help turn up others.

Staking: In order to keep the plant in an upright position, staking is necessary. There are a variety of staking schemes out there, but the primary mission is to keep the plant straight and support the branches.

Transplant: Around the 30-day mark, it will be necessary to transfer your Blue Dream plant to a larger (5-gallon) pot.

Flower Time: The second growing stage, the flowering stage, is triggered when the plant starts getting 12 hours of light and 12 hours uninterrupted darkness. Once the flowering stage is triggered, the plant will likely grow by about a third of its size, so take your space into consideration when changing the light cycle. Blue Dream’s average flowering time is 9-to-10 weeks. It might start slow and get more aggressive throughout the grow cycle.

Harvest: Watch the sugar-like resin glands on the buds. Once around half of them go from white to cloudy, it’s harvest time. Although this process might seem like a lot to take in, remember: Blue Dream is a very forgiving strain. So, while it is absolutely possible to get scientific throughout the grow process, it is not necessary. This plant will allow the grower to make plenty of mistakes and still grow to maturity. Blue Dream typically produces 4-to-6 ounces per plant.

TELL US, have you ever grown Blue Dream at home?

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Cannabis Seeds and Clones – Beginning to Grow

Seeds soak up water and love and sprout fruitful resources in return. Place the right seed in the right soil, or in the right tent with its own lamp, and you will be blessed with a generous pot plant. A global network of patients requires that cannabis seeds nestle quietly and grow in order to […]

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Cannabis Seeds – A Demand Buried under Legalization 2.0

Legalization 2.0 – the most exciting time of 2019, for cannabis producers. Applications will be sent in for the approval of new edibles, topicals, and concentrates. Consumers will have to wait at least two months to share the same excitement, but out of all of it, one piece seems to have been forgten. Seeds and […]

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