I have an indoor growroom and in my recent harvest I found seeds in the buds, but I’m sure there are no male plants in the room. You just picked up a new strain that you've been waiting to try. The moment you get home, you rip into the package and take in its smell. When you dive in I love seedless weed. It’s just so easy. But now, instead of grumbling on the rare occasions when I find a marijuana seed, I get excited.
I have an indoor growroom and in my recent harvest I found seeds in the buds, but I’m sure there are no male plants in the room. I’ve heard that light leakage can cause plants to become hermaphrodites. Is this true, and if so, do you have any tips for avoiding this?
Cannabis plants are monecious. This means they have the ability to be either male or female. Or in the case of hermaphroditism, they can be both. The reason to make sure there are no males or hermaphrodites in your garden is because male flowers make pollen. When pollen touches the white hairs on a flower, it makes a seed, and seeded weed gives you headaches. Even though there are reasons in nature hermaphroditism could be important, such as continuing the species in case there is no male present, hermaphroditism is generally a bad thing when talking about cannabis plants.
Light poisoning is the most common cause for a normal plant to hermaphrodite.
Light poisoning refers to the flowering night cycle of a plant being unnaturally interrupted with light. The best way to prevent this is to close yourself inside your darkened room during the daylight, and then after allowing a few minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark, check for any light leaks from covered windows, door jams, etc. Also cover all timer and appliance lights with tape.
Negative stressors can combine with small interruptions of the light cycle to cause hermaphroditism, especially with less-stable, clone-only hybridized strains. When the night cycle is abnormally interrupted, it sends a mixed hormonal signal to the plant. This can cause a full female plant to throw some male flowers. Male flowers are easy to identify, especially when side by side with female flowers. Male flowers look like small bunches of bananas, which will take a week or two to swell before they burst and release their pollen.
Finding a hermaphrodite in your growroom can happen at any stage of the flowering cycle and is indicated by the presence of male flowers growing on the same plant as female flowers. As with all species in nature this can occur in varying degrees. A plant can become slightly or majorly hermaphroditic. In cases where singular male flowers are found between the branch and stalk nodes, you should be diligently removing them as they grow. You must re-inspect the plant top to bottom every few days to be sure pollination and seeding doesn’t occur. If you find male flowers (anthers) actually growing from within the female flowers (buds) the situation is a little more dire. You can still remove all the male anatomy as it appears, but it will be harder to find and much more prevalent. This is a horrible discovery that leads to a tough decision: Should you let the plant live and risk the whole crop being ruined by seeds?
In either case, once hermaphroditism has compromised the safety and purity of your sensimilla, the plant should not be propagated further. Remember, once a hermy, always a hermy. The plant pictured here is in the tenth and what should have been the final week of ripening, but a timer failed and one light stayed on continuously for almost two weeks, causing this vegetative regrowth. Because the light was continuous, the plant made no pollen. This method of re-vegging can be used to save a flowering plant you have no copies of, but be careful, as this may cause some strains to hermaphrodite.
Purposefully causing a plant to hermaphrodite is called selfing. Gibberellic acid or colloidal silver is typically sprayed onto the female plant. This technique is used to make feminized seeds and uses the plant’s ability to be both male and female to force a female plant to produce male flowers. The pollen contained in these male flowers can only produce female seeds. Just keep in mind that feminized plants should not be used for breeding, as they were produced without a true male, making them genetically inferior.
I Found a Seed in My Bag of Cannabis. Can I Grow It?
You just picked up a new strain that you’ve been waiting to try. The moment you get home, you rip into the package and take in its smell. When you dive in deeper, you spot something buried within the bud. It’s small, round, and has an outer casing.
Congratulations, you’ve found a seed. More specifically a bagseed, as the seeds found in packaged or bagged flower are commonly called.
Maybe congratulations aren’t quite in order. Depending on where it came from, who you ask, and if the seed is viable or not will affect your level of excitement.
While finding a seed in your stash is not ideal for truly exceptional flower and much less common than it once was, it is a pretty ordinary occurrence. Anyone who has been smoking cannabis for some time has undoubtedly come across a bagseed. Sometimes you’ll notice one when grinding down some flower or you’ll see it pop, spark, and crackle as the heat of your lit bowl pops the precious kernel within.
Ok, so you found a bagseed. Now what?
Is Bagseed Good or Bad?
Seeds found in finished cannabis flower can develop for a number of reasons. A nearby male plant can accidentally pollinate a flowering female. More commonly, though, they’re a sign of stress and can be attributed to high temperatures during the final stages of flowering or an exaggerated spike in climate or environment.
Seeds can also form in plants with genetic disorders or instability, like hermaphrodites–plants that develop both male and female reproductive parts. Generally these conditions are viewed as negatives, and for that reason alone, temper your expectations with any plants you start from a bagseed.
If found before lighting it on fire, the first thought from excited smokers is: “Let’s grow some weed!” But before you jump in headfirst, ask yourself a few questions to help decide if it’s worth the time and energy to grow the seed.
Was the Seed Found in Good Cannabis?
The first and most apparent question you should ask yourself is whether you enjoy the cannabis that the seed turned up in. If you don’t like the flavor, effects, or even the looks of the bud, then it’s probably not worth growing.
Strains like the legendary Chemdog wouldn’t be possible without adventurous smokers planting and proliferating the seeds they found in a bag.
Sometimes you’ll get lucky and find a mature seed in some really nice herb. Strains like the legendary Chemdog wouldn’t be possible without adventurous smokers planting and proliferating the seeds they found in a bag of kind bud.
So don’t discount your bud just because there’s a seed or two in it. While not ideal, it could be the origins of the next great cannabis strain.
Are You Ready to Grow?
Growing cannabis takes a certain level of commitment. Plants need nurturing for months in the right environment with a close eye for detail. All this takes investment. Whether it’s time, energy, or financial resources, you’ll have to commit to the whole process if you want to produce something you’re proud of.
Fear not! If you’re simply curious to learn how cannabis grows and less concerned with the overall outcome, you can plant a couple of bagseeds outside and see what the result are.
If you’re ready for a more serious approach, make sure you have the space for a proper garden and pop the seeds to see what fruit they bear. That is, if the seeds you found are viable.
Is the Seed Viable?
If you like the strain and you’re ready to grow, then it comes down to whether or not the seed is viable, or able to successfully germinate. For a seed to be viable, it must be mature enough to have a completely formed genetic blueprint and it must be strong enough to “pop” through its hard casing and sprout its crucial tap root.
Immature seeds tend to be light in color and have a soft outer shell.
Stress on a plant and unstable environments can produce bagseeds, and often, a bagseed’s viability is questionable at best.
There are a few indicators that will give you a sense of whether the seed is worth germinating. Immature seeds tend to be light in color and have a soft outer shell.
Visual signs like tiger stripes–dark stripes that resemble tiny roots or veins on a leaf–are generally good. A seed with a solid shell will withstand a little pressure when pinched between your fingers. If it crumbles or cracks, the seed will be effectively destroyed, but don’t agonize over your loss.
In some cases, even if a seed isn’t completely mature, there’s still a chance it could be viable. But often these are extremely weak, take long to develop, and express other unfavorable characteristics. Growers usually discard weak plants to free up space in their limited gardens.
However, I’ve watched seeds that I had zero faith in their ability to germinate turn into strong, healthy plants–but that isn’t common.
You might also find a mature seed that has been physically damaged through poor handling, like rough trimming. In those cases, it probably isn’t worth the effort to try and germinate the seed.
But if the seeds you found look decent or even questionable, you might as well germinate them and see what sprouts.
Time to Germinate
Viable or not, there’s only one sure way to find out. Once you’ve decided you’re going to see what those beans can do, it’s time to germinate. Germination is the incubation period that encourages seeds to sprout and develop into a new plant.
There are a number of different ways you can germinate cannabis seeds, but they all require the same things to be successful: water, heat, and air. For a complete, step-by-step guide, check out our article How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds.
Even if your seed sprouts fast and grows vigorously, it has roughly a 50/50 chance of being female and producing seedless, cannabinoid-rich flowers.
Remember, once a seed germinates, the real work begins. Sexing, selecting, vegetative growth, flowering, and the eventual harvest all lie ahead.
What To Do If You Find Seeds In Your Weed
When I lived in the Midwest, I would drive 70 miles each way to buy weed. I would buy whatever strain my dealer had. And I knew I’d end up with a lot of marijuana seeds.
Like most smokers, I wanted as much smokeable bud as possible, and seeds always felt like a net loss. I couldn’t smoke them. I couldn’t use them to grow my own plant (not in Indiana, anyway). So I threw them away.
After moving to Boulder, I almost forgot about seedy cannabis.
I would stop by Karing Kind dispensary every week or two, buying anywhere from an eighth to an ounce, and over the years I have found fewer than five seeds in my weed.
Pounds and pounds of clean-grown, top-shelf bud… five total seeds. That’s an incredible track record!
But as I’ve come to appreciate, finding seeds in your weed doesn’t have to be a bad thing. The occasional seed hardly affects how much flower you have to smoke, and with a little effort it has the potential to turn into your very own pot plant. Hooray! Free weed!
I still love seedless marijuana. It’s just so easy to grind and smoke. But now, instead of grumbling on those rare occasions when I find a seed, I get excited.
Seed Be Gone: Top-Shelf Cannabis Grown With the Best Available Methods
The plants grown in Karing Kind’s garden are carefully monitored and cared for. Male plants are removed prior to pollination, and female plants are nurtured to reduce stress, which limits the occurrence of self-pollinating hermaphroditic plants.
This all goes to ensure the bud you buy is as potent and dense as possible, with limited stems and almost no seeds. And that means more smokeable marijuana.
Of course, after more than a year without finding even a single seed in my cannabis, I began to rethink my resistance to seedy weed.
After all, Colorado residents are allowed to grow their own cannabis plants for personal use… shouldn’t I be actively hoping for seeds that I could try to turn into my own source of top-shelf marijuana?
Are Cannabis Seeds from Recreational Dispensary Bud Worth Growing?
Who wouldn’t want a chance at growing their own marijuana, especially when you know you’re getting a favorite strain and what potency and effects you can expect?
But seeds you find in store-bought weed are not the same as seeds that have been stabilized over time. In some cases, seeds won’t maintain the potency, yield or fragrance of the original plant. This potential change in quality is why many growers prefer to use clones.
That doesn’t mean you should just throw out seeds you find!
It’s still a free cannabis seed with the potential to produce a high-yielding plant you couldn’t grow otherwise. No, it might not end up being an exact clone of the strain you found it in. But when you’re starting with top-shelf bud, even a slight shift in the next generation’s quality will yield potent, flavorful flower.
Try to get your seed to sprout, and give it time to flower before deciding whether to maintain that plant or move on to greener pastures.
What Do Viable Marijuana Seeds Look Like?
The only sure way to know if a seed is viable is to try to germinate and see if it sprouts.
Generally speaking, viable seeds are darker and relatively hard. Even if a seed is pale and easy to crush between your fingers, however, it’s worth trying to get a sprout before giving up on the seed as nonviable.
What’s the Difference Between Seeds You Find and Seeds You Buy?
When you buy seeds from a trusted breeder, like those sold at Karing Kind recreational marijuana dispensary in Boulder, you can expect they will carry the same properties of the “mother” plant. That’s because these seeds have been carefully stabilized over generations.
The seeds you find in store-bought marijuana flower aren’t even supposed to be there. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the seeds you find… there’s just a little more room for variations in the quality and yield of the plant the seed grows.
Even when buying seeds from trusted breeders, there isn’t any guarantee your plant will exactly mirror the mother plant. Your growing method, soil, temperature, lights and dozens of other factors can all impact the yield, smell and potency of the plant.
Learn more about how to set up your home grow , and let us know in the comments if you have turned any “unwanted” seeds into your very own cannabis plant.
To Seed or Not to Seed…
The only time I have a green thumb is after eating lime jello. I once managed to kill a cactus. If I’m going to try my hand at growing something again, it may as well be with free cannabis seeds.
Because of their attention to detail and careful growing methods, you aren’t likely to find seeds in the flower you buy at Karing Kind. Just pure, top-shelf marijuana. But i f you do find a seed, why not see how it grows? You could end up with your very own cannabis plant and a free, ongoing supply of top-shelf flower.
Or – if you want to ensure the most bud for your effort – you can buy stabilized seeds from Freeworld Genetics for pickup at Karing Kind in North Boulder.
While we carry a variety of strains, concentrates, edibles, salves and tinctures, inventory and stock levels fluctuate from week to week and month to month. Check our menu and follow us on Twitter for an up-to-date list of edibles, concentrates and buds available.