Cannabis Feeding for Seedlings is all about getting the best start for young plants. Get top tips for feeding your seedlings and young clones.
The feeling of some freshly delivered seeds or clones is super exciting. And although your green thumb may be itching to pop those pips there are some important does and don’ts. Take a few minutes to first learn our top tips for successful grass roots growing.
Don't baby your babies
Germination or propagation of your cannabis plants is one of the most important stages of the plants' life. A bad start can negatively effect your plant throughout its' life span. From weak roots to a compromised immune system, incorrect management of your young plants will result in poor performance. During this early stage, it is vital to ensure your young plants receive the right environmental conditions and correct feeding, but "over-caring" can be just as detrimental as not caring.
Plants have evolved to handle stress, and in some cases, the stress can produce some desirable effects. This doesn't mean you can neglect your young plants, but it does mean you don't have to hover over them 24/7 and try to react to each and every concern. If your seeds are viable and your conditions correct, your young plants will grow quickly and reliably with very little input.
What are Cotyledons and why do they matter?
Cotyledons are the small first leaves you see when germinating a seed. These small round leaves contain all the nutrients the seed will need to germinate and grow into a seedling. When the seed is planted it has no way of absorbing nutrition and so the cotyledons are the source of energy for the start of life. Cotyledons also contribute to early photosynthesis and transpiration. Technically speaking, the cotyledons are used to distinguish "monocots" and "dicots". Monocots are grasses and grass-like plants and dicots are flowering plants. There are many other differences between the two, such as pollen structure, root structure and even growth patterns. Cannabis is a dicot, and you can see the first two (sometimes three) leaves when the seed develops into a seedling.
This means that your cannabis seedling will have enough nutrients on board for the first week of life. Cannabis clones however do not contain cotyledons and therefore may need feeding from the very beginning.
The growing medium you choose will determine a lot of factors in your grow. You can start your seeds and clones directly in the medium or in a paper towel and then transplant the seed to your medium. It is often recommended to use a "lighter" substrate, or a substrate with a lower nutrient content than what you will use for the growing and flowering cycle. You can also start your seed in a small puk, often made of coco peat or rockwool. Once your seedling is well established and healthy, transplant it into your growing medium of choice. As long as your growing medium is consistent in its' requirements, i.e. feeding and watering needs, you can use any substrate to start your seedling. Visit our grow medium guide for more info.
Cannabis Feeding for Seedlings
Cannabis requires low amounts of nutrition during early stages of growth. Only apply nutrients after you see the first "true" leaves. These are the leaves that grow after the cotyledons and have the traditional shape. Start your seedlings on half of the recommended dose and slowly work your way up to full strength. Whether you are using organic or synthetic nutrients, you want to make sure you don't over feed the plant in early stages. This will cause leaf burn, root damage and ultimately poor growth. Good additives to use in early growth are beneficial bacteria and fungi, this will provide a strong base for your plant to build on. However, you must not ignore the plants' need for macro elements and should balance your feeding accordingly.
Common cannabis seedling mistakes.
Many first-time growers are excited to give the best to their plants, often ignoring the basic requirements. "Over-watering" and "over-feeding" are good examples of this. Growers are quick to add nutrition and water at any sign of deficiency, when the plant could require something entirely different or just plain less. Cannabis plants don't need much nutrition and water in the early stages of their lives. Watering the plant only when required and low doses of nutrition are more than adequate to sustain your young cannabis seedlings. Overdoing it will cause yellow leaves and rotting plants.
Clones are no different to seeds and require almost the identical environment for success, with the exception of humidity. Clones will require high humidity from the time you take them until they are completely rooted. Seeds only require high humidity for the first week or so and then you can gradually drop the levels.
Ensure that seedlings also receive lots of direct light and fresh air to prevent stretching. A lack of light and air movement will cause thin and lanky growth.
In a seed shell
Treat your cannabis plant as exactly that, a plant. Water her when she is thirsty and feed her when she is hungry. A good way to monitor watering requirements is to feel the weight of the pot when fully saturated and when it is completely dry. You can then judge how much water is being consumed each day and water accordingly. Young plants need watering at least weekly but some mediums or small pots may require watering as much as once a day.
Early growth is relatively straightforward and your best bet for reliable success is consistency. Young plants do not like extremes and so everything from your substrate to your feeding should be balanced. Still need a little help feeding your cannabis seedlings? Please contact our grow pros for some top shelf advice.