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Common Mistakes Made While Growing Seeds Indoors

Guidance on Watering, Lighting, and Other Growing Factors

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The Spruce / K. Dave

It is quite economical to start seeds indoors, especially when the seedlings grow into robust plants. However, growing seeds indoors can be challenging. To significantly increase your chances of success, avoid these common seed-starting mistakes.

Watch Now: Mistakes to Avoid When Growing Seeds Indoors

Not Supplying Enough Light

Seedlings need a lot of light to grow into sturdy, healthy plants. No matter what anyone tells you, chances are that you do not have enough natural light in your home to grow robust seedlings. Even a south-facing window usually will not do. You can, however, use artificial light to achieve the right amount of light required by seedlings. To do so, obtain grow lights explicitly designed for plants. Or, for a more economical solution, purchase large fluorescent shop lights outfitted with one warm bulb and one cool bulb.

Suspend the lights from chains so that you can raise the lights higher as the seedlings grow. Keep the lights as close to the seedlings as possible without touching them (2 to 3 inches). When seedlings first appear, keep the lights turned on for 12 to 16 hours per day. To reduce your hands-on time, use a timer to turn the lights on and off automatically.

Applying Too Much or Too Little Water

The amount of water you supply can make or break seedling growth. Watering is one of the most challenging aspects of seed starting. Because seedlings are so delicate, there is very little room for error when it comes to watering. You must keep the sterile seed-starting medium damp but not wet.

To increase your chances of getting it right, here are a few things you can do:

  • Create a mini-greenhouse to keep soil moist: cover the container with plastic until the seeds germinate.
  • Water from the bottom to enable the seedlings to soak up water through the container drainage holes. There is less chance of over-watering when you use this approach. Add water slowly for 10 to 30 minutes, and use your finger to touch the top of the soil to ensure that moisture has reached the top of the container.
  • Check soil moisture at least once a day.
  • Buy a self-watering, seed-starting system.

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The Spruce / K. Dave

Starting Seeds Too Soon

Many plants do not tolerate cold temperatures, and exposing them to chilly air or cold soil will stress them out. Chas Gill, who runs the Kennebec Flower Farm, agrees that one of the biggest mistakes people make when starting seeds is starting the seeds too early. Stressed-out plants are more susceptible to pests and disease. Most plants are ready to go outside four to six weeks after you start the seeds.

Planting Seeds Too Deeply

Seeds are finicky when it comes to how deep they are planted. Some seeds need complete darkness to germinate and others require light to germinate.   Proper planting depth is usually provided on the seed packet. If there is no information on the packet, the rule of thumb is to plant seeds two to three times as deep as they are wide. Determining depth can be a challenge, but if you are not sure, err on the shallow side.

For seeds that need light to germinate, make sure the seeds are in contact with the seed starting medium but are not covered. To do this, gently press the soil medium to create a firm surface. Then, place the seed on top of the medium and gently press down, making sure the seed is still exposed.

Moving Seedlings Outdoors Too Soon

There is no benefit to a tough-love approach with seedlings when they are young. They will either instantly die or become weak and then fail to thrive. Even the most stalwart plants, when young, need a considerable amount of coddling and attention.

When your seedlings are large enough to plant outdoors, you need to prepare them for the transition by hardening off.   Hardening off gradually prepares them for outdoor conditions like wind, rain, and sun. The hardening-off process is simple, though it can be time-consuming; it involves exposing your plants to the elements gradually. The first day of hardening off, place your seedlings outdoors for one hour, and then bring them back indoors. Gradually increase the amount of outdoor time every day for 6 to 10 days. You will need to make some judgment calls based on the outdoor temperature and the fragility of your seedlings. If it is a particularly cool day or very rainy, you will want to decrease the time of that hardening-off session.

Sowing Too Many Seeds

When sowing seeds, begin modestly if you are a beginner. If you sow more seeds than you can reasonably maintain, it will become challenging to nurture the seedlings into adulthood. Depending on the type of plant you want to grow, you might be able to direct-sow seeds in outdoor containers or in the ground when outdoor temperatures warm up.

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The Spruce / K. Dave

Keeping Seeds Too Cool

For seeds to germinate, most must be kept warm: about 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. A favorite place to keep seeds warm in order to germinate is on top of the refrigerator. Or, you can purchase seed-warming mats to place under the seed trays. Once a seedling emerges, they can tolerate fluctuating temperatures (within reason). Whatever type of light you use, natural or artificial, make sure it produces enough heat to keep the plants in the 65- to 75-degree range.

Failing to Label Seeds

To be able to identify seedlings as they grow and to know when they will be ready for transplanting, you should label the seed containers as you are sowing. For every type of seed sown, use popsicle sticks or plastic plant markers and permanent ink pens to record the plant name and date sown. Insert the plant labels into the soil near the edge of the container or tray.

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The Spruce / K. Dave

Giving Up Too Soon

Starting seeds can be a difficult process. However, one of the most satisfying benefits of this labor of love is eating a tomato or marveling at the flowers that you nurtured from day one. Growing plants from seed takes dedication, attention, and time. Recognize that you might make mistakes along the way, but you should not give up. The results outweigh the challenges along the way.

Growing seeds indoors isn't hard, yet keeping them alive can be challenging. You can save a lot of money by starting plants from seeds.

Top 5 Cannabis Strains for Indoor Growing

Indoors or outdoors, that is the question. Wondering which set-up to choose and which strains work best in which environment? Fear no more and read all about the benefits of growing cannabis indoors and get to know our top 5 strains for indoor growing.

There are quite a few factors to consider when choosing which strains to grow, especially if your set-up is indoors. You’ll have to compare flowering times, yields, effects and flavours, amongst other things. Growers will often land on their favourite strain after extended trial and error, and it can be an expensive process. We at Royal Queen Seeds, fortunately, have some information that can make the decision a bit easier.

We carry a wide variety of seeds, and each of them has something special to offer. Whether they’re indoor or outdoor strains or whether they’re indica, sativa or a pleasant hybrid, there’s quality across the board. However some varieties perform better than others in an indoor grow. That’s why we’ve decided to put together an updated list of the 5 best cannabis strains for growing indoors. Don’t take this as a full list of the best choices, though. In fact, we strongly encourage you to check out our website, where you can find even more gems.

WHY GROW INDOORS?

You may be wondering what the benefits of growing indoors are. Does it have an impact on how the plants grow? Is it better than outdoor growing? The answer to both those questions depends on the strain you select. Some will thrive in the indoor environment, others won’t reach their full potential. Indoor growing in general has quite a few advantages over growing outdoors.

For starters, you can control the climate of your environment. When you have this power in your hands, you can optimize the temperature to match the needs of whatever strain you’re growing, which is a major advantage. Plus, you can keep on cultivating throughout the year since change of seasons will not affect your grow. Keeping with the theme of control, being in charge of the cleanliness of your growing area is a plus, since keeping your product free of germs, parasites, and other harmful intruders is an easier task indoors. Also, an indoor set-up means much more discretion. In short, if you’re living in a rough climate or prioritize cleanliness and privacy, indoor growing is for you.

ARE ALL STRAINS SUITABLE FOR INDOOR GROWS?

The short answer to the first question is “Yes.” The slightly longer answer is, “Yes, as long as you can maintain the proper climate, lighting, etc.”

The viability of all strains outdoors is a different story, though. The main reasoning for this is down to plant sensitivity. If you live in a colder climate, many plants you’d normally be able to grow outdoors wouldn’t be able to stand the chill. Beyond climate, there’s the issue of pests. If some bugs happen to find your plants defenceless outside, they’re as good as gone. If you try to get rid of the pests with pesticides, though, the quality of your plants drops harshly.

CRITICAL

We like to think of our Critical as the perfect all-rounder and recommend it to outdoor growers, novices, and anyone aiming for extremely high yields in a short flowering period. Indoor growers can profit from a huge production that exceeds indoor yields of 600g/m² in some cases, a strong narcotic stone due to average THC levels of 18%, and a highly stable genetic background consisting of Afghani and Skunk genetics. What makes this strain one of the best choices for an indoor grow? Well, no other variety from the Royal Queen Seeds product range is capable of yielding higher in a short flowering period of 7-8 weeks. If you’re looking for a vigorous and resilient strain that won’t cause any trouble other than confronting you with large amounts of high-quality cannabis – Critical is your choice.

Critical
Afghani x Skunk
550 – 600 g/m 2
80 – 140 cm
7 – 8 weeks
THC: 18% (aprox.) / CBD: Low
40% Sativa, 60% Indica
600 – 650 g/per plant (dried)
180 – 220 cm
Late September
Stoned, physically and mentally
Critical
Afghani x Skunk
500 – 550 g/m 2
80 – 140 cm
7 – 8 weeks
THC: 18% (aprox.) / CBD: Low
40% Sativa, 60% Indica
500 – 550 g/per plant (dried)
180 – 220 cm
Late September
Stoned, physically and mentally

ROYAL GORILLA

It was once only available to smokers in the United States. Royal Gorilla has since crossed the pond, allowing for its amazing traits to be enjoyed by the growers and smokers in Europe. A clean split between indica & sativa, Royal Gorilla provides a wave of cerebral relaxation with an impressive 24–27% THC. This is a more complicated blend, combining Sour Dubb, Chem Sis and Chocolate Diesel. Her taste finds roots in the forest, showcasing pungent hits of earthiness and pine and it will grow beautifully away from the great outdoors. Royal Gorilla will take about 9–10 weeks to flower. But once that happens, you’ll see hefty buds with bright green leaves, with so much resin they shine in the light. The plants reach 90–160 cm and bear respectable yields of 500–550g/m². This strain produces superb quality and will definitely not disappoint.

Unsure which strains thrive indoors? Here's a list of some of the best cannabis strains for indoor growing. Click to find out more!