You paid for the weed and it came with seeds…might as well put those seeds to good use, right?
If you’ve done any research on the subject, you’ve no doubt seen countless warnings against using bag seed.
“It won’t work.” they say. “Don’t waste your time.” they tell you. Etc.
Are they on to something?
Yes. But also no.
You can grow some great plants with bagseed. Plants that yield amazing weed.
But it won’t happen every time. Most of the time you’ll end up with an average plant. Assuming you don’t end up with a male.
So does that mean bag seeds are not worth growing?
No, I’m not saying that.
Growing marijuana plants from seeds found in your weed can make sense in some cases. In others, I’d advise against it.
Lets take a look at times when it makes sense and times when it doesn’t. Then, we’ll cover how to actually grow those seeds, to maximize your chance of success.
Are Bag Seeds Worth Growing?
If you know someone who is already growing, lucky you!
You can probably get clones from them and ensure you get a female plant. Most aren’t that lucky and have to choose between buying seeds or clones or simply using seeds from their bag of weed.
In that case, the simpler your grow setup, the more sense it makes to use bag seed.
If you’ve got a complex setup where you’re optimizing each aspect of growing (lighting, growth medium, nutrients, water, etc.) to maximize yields, it makes no sense to use bag seed. You’re optimizing everything else for the best possible results, why would you not optimize the seed selection as well.
In that case, I recommend an overseas seed banks. US seed banks are generally not a problem either, but there is a slightly higher risk, since growing marijuana is a federal crime. But it is highly unlikely you would get in trouble.
The Dutch seed bank I Love Growing Marijuana is our favorite, because they give you a germination guarantee. That way you know that every seed you pay for will turn into a well-yielding plant.
They have a center in the US, meaning fast shipping times. While the risk is slightly higher sending weed seeds through the mail in the US (but still very small), you get much faster shipping and generally somewhat lower prices, too.
If you do decide to buy seeds from an online seed bank, I highly recommend spending a bit more an getting feminized seeds. Why spend all that money and risk getting male plants?
However, if you’re keeping things as simple as possible, it makes a lot less sense to spend a bunch of money on seeds. In this case, I would even go so far as to recommend bag seed, assuming your only other option is to purchase seeds.
And even though it may take a few tries, once you’ve got a great plant from your bag seed, you can then clone it. Now you no longer need to worry about the risk of wasting your time caring for male plants or hermies.
That said, you spend the same amount of effort and time to grow any weed plant, be it from bag seed or from a seed bank. With bag seed, there is a high chance that time and effort goes to waste, so that is definitely something you need to consider carefully.
Can you afford to have a few wasted attempts, or do you want to ensure you get it right the first time?
If you do opt to go with bag seeds, here is how to ensure the best possible chance of success, while still keeping your grow simple and inexpensive (again, if you’re not keeping your grow simple and inexpensive, you really shouldn’t be using bag seed either).
What Kind Of Bag Seeds Are Best?
A lot of people will tell you to take seeds from weed that is good. This is not bad advice, but you shouldn’t necessarily discount seeds from sub par weed.
While it is true that genetics plays a big role, a lot of sub par weed is bad not because of bad genes, but because of bad growers.
If they are growing weed with seeds in it, they are obviously not keeping male plants or hermaphrodites always from the female plants. If they can’t be bothered to do that, chances are they are providing their plants less than ideal conditions in every other aspect of the grow as well.
This leads to a lower quality harvest, even if the genetics are actually good.
Worse, the care they give the buds after harvest is almost always terrible and that has the largest impact on bud quality.
For that reason, it is worth trying seeds from a bag of low quality bud, if you don’t have any high quality bud to work with.
In terms of look, stay away from lighter colored seeds. They will also be softer. These seeds are not as well developed and the chances of success with them is much lower.
Successful Bagseed Grow: How To Maximize Your Chance Of Success
For the most part, you can follow this article on the best way to grow marijuana indoors. It keeps things nice and simple, so it is perfect for someone using bag seed.
I would make a few changes though.
The first change I’d make is to not start your seeds in actual pots. With bag seed, you’ll probably get a few that don’t germinate at all, especially if they have not been stored properly (read our article on how to store cannabis seeds). For that reason, I’d germinate in regular plastic cups.
Just fill them with regular soil (I wouldn’t waste money on anything fancy for this) and place the seeds about half an inch deep in the soil. Keep them in a dark, warm spot and keep the soil most, until they sprout.
You can also use the paper towel method (placing the seeds in between two sheets of a paper towel and keeping it dark and damp until they sprout), but I wouldn’t because of the risk of damaging a sprouted seed when moving it from the towel to a pot.
Once the seedlings grow too big for the plastic cups, move them to their first pots.
From there, you’ll have to care for them as normal, until you switch the lights to the flowering schedule. After a week or two of flowering, your plants will finally reveal their gender.
This is where you find out if you’ve wasted your time and effort, or if you’ve actually got a usable female plant on your hands.
The article I linked to above (here it is again) details how to tell the difference between a male and a female plant. It also tells you to destroy the males, which you should do right away. They do not produce buds and they will pollinate the females, which leads to bud full of seeds.
The advice to keep a close watch on your female plant(s) is doubly important for seeds from a bag, since they are much more likely to become hermaphrodites. Remove any plant that becomes a hermie immediately as well. Feel free to let it finish growing elsewhere and to harvest the bud, but keep it away from your female plants.
What Next? Cloning Your Most Successful Plant
You may fail to grow a successful bud-producing plant on your first attempt or two (or three), but eventually you will get a beautiful female who yields wonderful buds. When that happens, you want to make sure you build on that success.
That’s where cloning comes in.
Why try your luck with bag seeds all over again, when you now have a plant you know produces quality bud?
Cloning may seem difficult, but it is actually quite simple. And it ensures you get a new plant that is basically an exact copy of your successful one.
But there is one big problem: cloning works best if you take the clones from the mother plant during the vegetative stage and at that point, you do not yet know which plant will give you great yields. You don’t even know which plants are females.
So how do you get around that?
There are two options, but I really only recommend the second one. The first, is to take clones during flowering. If you take them from the bottom part of the plant and remove all buds, they will work. Of course, this means you can’t lollipop your weed plants prior to taking the clones.
But you want to take them during the earlier part of flowering, so you won’t yet know the quality of the bud the plant produces. Clones taken during flowering also tend to exhibit unusual growth for the first week or two, but they do grow normally eventually.
Nevertheless, the chances of the clone rooting successfully are greatly increased if the clone is taken during vegging, so I recommend doing that.
However, since you do not know which plants will do well (or even which plants will be female), you have to take clones from every plant. Make sure you label them all well, so that you know exactly which clones came from which plants.
I would take the cuttings shortly before you switch to a flowering schedule. That way your mother plants should reveal their sex by the time the clones begin to form roots.
How To Clone Marijuana Plants For Best Results
To ensure the best possible chance of a clone rooting, you want to stop giving the mother nitrogen for a few days before you plan to take clones. The nitrogen tells the plant to veg instead of putting its resources into creating roots and you want it to do the opposite.
After a few days with no nitrogen, you are ready to take cuttings from the plant. Look for new branches that are around 5 to 10 inches long, with numerous nodes on them.
The lower down on the plant, the better. Branches that are closer to the roots contain more rooting hormone, which means the chance of rooting successfully is increased and the time to root is decreased.
You want to take more cuttings from each plant than you think you will need, because not all will root successfully.
Cut the branch at a 45 degree angle to increase the surface area for possible roots to form. Cutting the branch vertically in a few spots at the bottom to open it up a bit increases the chances of rooting as well.
Use a razor to cut the branches. Scissors tend to crush the branch, which is not ideal. If you use a pair of shears or scissors, make sure they are sharp enough to cut, without crushing.
Remove larger fan leaves from the cutting, so that more energy goes toward creating roots, instead of feeding those leaves.
If you have a rooting gel, you can dip the ends of your cuttings in some gel to greatly increase the chance of successful rooting (and also to speed up the formation of roots). Using a gel is not necessary, though.
When it comes to a rooting medium, you basically have three options. Rockwool, water or soil.
For your first time, I would go with water. Since you do not yet know which plants will be successful and you will thus have a ton of clones, water saves space and requires fewer items (i.e. Rockwool cubes or pots with soil).
When you are on your second grow, one where you are growing a clone of a plant you already know has been successful once, then it makes sense to get Rockwool, rooting gel, and anything else to increase your chances of success. You will have fewer clones to deal with and you will already know that each will turn into a successful female plant. You also want to do everything you can to speed up rooting.
For now, simply put the clone in a cup of tap water, place it under a light that isn’t too strong. CFLs, T5 fluorescent, or T5 LED lights work best for clones. Stronger lights work too, if you hang them higher or are able to dial down the intensity, like with dimmable LED grow lights.
Keep the clone there for a few weeks, until it develops roots. You’ll want to change the water daily and, if possible (if you have a pH meter), keep the pH level at 5.5.
Once the roots have sprouted, place the clones in a pot with soil and grow as normal. By this time, the mother plant will hopefully have already reveled its sex.
If so, you can get rid of the clones from any male plants and only keep the females. If they have not yet revealed their sex, you’ll have to start vegging all of the clones.
Either way, as soon as a parent plant turns out to be male (or a hermie), get rid of all its clones. And later, once you see which of your female plants is producing the best buds, get rid of any clones that did not come from the best female plant.
Those are the only ones you want to move forward with.
And once those plants are ready for you to take cuttings, you will not need to take nearly as many (but you still want to take more than you think you will need) and the whole cloning process becomes much easier. You are now in a cycle where you will always have successful clones.
And that is a great place to be!
Once you’ve got a successful plant, you’ll want to start thinking about maximizing yield size and quality. To do that, you’ll need additional equipment.
This article lists all the growing equipment you might want, if you are trying to provide your plant with the best possible conditions.