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how many seeds are needed to grow a marijuana plant

How many seeds are needed to grow a marijuana plant

URBANA, Ill. – Herbs are popular in many gardens, but it can be expensive to buy and transplant mature plants. That’s why University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Nancy Kreith recommends starting herbs from seed indoors as spring approaches. March is a good time to begin.

Thyme, rosemary, basil, sage, chives, and tarragon are good candidates for starting indoors. Many of these plants have very fine seeds and require a long germination period. If started early in March, they can be ready to transplant into the garden in mid to late May, depending on the region. Refer to Illinois State Water Survey for average frost free dates in your region at:

To start herb seeds indoors, use a peat-based soil-less seed-starting mix in a 3- to 4-inch-deep container or seed-starting flat with drainage holes. Pre-moisten the mix with water until it feels like a wrung-out sponge. Fill labeled containers with the moist mix, leaving about one-quarter inch of space at the top.

“Labeling containers with the herb name and planting date will avoid confusion when it comes time to plant outside,” Kreith says.

Plant at least five seeds (or a pinch) of one herb variety per container or cell and lightly cover with moist mix.

“As a general rule of thumb, plant seed just two times its thickness under the soil,” Kreith notes. “As plants become overgrown, seedlings can be thinned to one plant per pot.”

After planting the seeds, keep them moist during the germination period.

“One technique is to cover the flat or container with a clear plastic bag,” Kreith says. “The plastic helps hold in heat and aids in providing consistent moisture. However, be sure to monitor the growing media for mold growth. If you see mold, poke holes in the bag or remove it completely to improve air circulation.”

Plastic should be removed once the seeds germinate, usually in 10 to 14 days. A heat mat, available at many gardening stores, will speed the germination rate if placed under the container.

The sown containers or flats need approximately six hours of sunlight per day. A window with either western or southern exposure will work well initially, but over time, the herb seedlings will require more direct and intense lighting. Using supplemental grow lights or florescent lighting has been proven to work better than natural sunlight.

“If using fluorescent lights, keep them on for a minimum of 10 hours per day and place them as close to the seedlings as possible,” Kreith says. “Adjust the height as seedlings grow taller.”

Seeds and seedlings should be monitored on a daily basis as the transplants mature; look for insects, rot, and extremely dry soil. The seeds and seedlings should only need a light sprinkle of water about twice per week, depending on the temperature of the home. Allow the planting media to dry out a little before watering again. Overwatering can lead to diseases such as damping-off, a common soilborne fungal disease that ultimately kills young seedlings. Constant moisture can also attract fruit flies.

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As seedlings mature, some maintenance will be needed. If seedlings grow too large for their original containers, they can be transplanted into larger ones. If they become leggy, they may not be getting enough light.

“Be sure fluorescent lights are placed close enough to the plants, no more than four inches away,” Kreith says. “You can also increase the amount of time lights are on, up to 16 hours per day.”

Once seedlings reach six to eight weeks old, pinch off the top leaves to encourage lateral spread and a bushier appearance. After 10 weeks, most herb seedlings should be ready to transplant outdoors.

“Help the tender plants ‘harden off,’ or become acclimated to their new climate, by placing them outdoors on mild sunny days and bring them back indoors at night for one to two weeks,” Kreith recommends. “Once plants are hardened off, they can be transplanted safely into the garden for beautification, culinary, and therapeutic purposes.”

Some seeds can be sown directly in the ground around the time that transplants are ready to be planted outdoors. Herbs that do well by direct sowing include cilantro, arugula, and basil. In early spring, direct-seeding cilantro and arugula, both cool-weather herbs, provide a bountiful leafy harvest from mid-spring to mid-summer. Warm season herbs like basil can also be directly sown after the danger of frost has passed.

How To Read a Seed Packet

Seed packets on the surface are very self-explanatory. When you pick up a packet, you’ll be able to identify the plant immediately! When you flip it over and do some more scanning, you’ll be able to learn all kinds of valuable information about planting instructions, care tips, growing time and more. Ferry-Morse seed packets contain all the information you need grow your plants, from sowing to harvesting. Hang on to your seed packets even after they’re sown so you can quickly refer back for growing and harvesting information throughout the season.

This is the information you’ll find on your Ferry-Morse seed packets and how to use it.


1. Plant Image
This is probably the very first thing you’ll notice and the quickest way for you to make a visual identification of what you’re growing!

Most plant names will have two lines, the variety and sub-variety. For example, a Sunflower packet will say Sunflower on the first line, but depending on the specific breed or cultivar, the second line will specify what kind of Sunflower it is; Mammoth, Autumn Glory, Skyscraper, etc.

Ferry-Morse seeds have special call-outs on the front of the packet to let you know a couple of the plant’s key features and benefits! For example, these Bachelor Buttons make great, long lasting arrangements.

4. Plant Type
This is where you’ll quickly be able to find out what kind of plant you’re picking- vegetables or herbs, and for flowers, annuals or perennials.

Most Ferry-Morse seed packets are filled by weight to be the most accurate and consistent. Sow Easy coated seeds, however, have listed seed counts because each one has a distinguishable, natural seed coating.

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1. Description
Here’s a quick, detailed description to tell you more about the plant’s appearance and what kind of benefits and features you can expect from it.

This section is key. It will outline when, where and how to sow the seeds in a quick 2-3 sentences.

Here are detailed suggestions about how to best grow and utilize your plant.

4. Specifications

This is where you’ll find key planting and growing information including days to germination, plant height, and sun requirements all in one place.

5. Calendar & Map

Locate yourself on the map and use the color guide to determine the best time to sow for your specific location and specific plant variety.

Note: See multiple planting times for your given growing zone? That’s because some plant varieties can be planted at multiple times of year. For instance, Broccoli can be sown in the Fall and it will come up in the following Spring or you can sow it in the Spring and it will come up in the forthcoming Fall. This is also common among bulb flowers and some perennials.

6. Package & Sell By Date

To guarantee the best freshness, Ferry-Morse only sells seeds which have been cultivated specifically for the current growing season. Fresher seeds mean better germination rates!

Heirloom & Organic Seeds

1. Organic

100% certified Organic seeds are harvested from plants grown without synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides. They harbor no residues from these chemicals. Organically grown seed produces hearty, robust plants already adapted to Organic growing conditions. Look for the USDA Organic icon to determine which seeds have been certified.

Heirloom varieties are open-pollinated seeds that have been saved from generation to generation. Usually varieties referred to as heirloom have been around for more than 50 years and offer a wonderful history in the names and flavors that continually provide dependable quality season after season. They are tried and true and coveted for their quality and flavor. The seed from heirloom plants can also be saved at the end of the season to be used again the next year.

Get Your Cool Season Garden Started

By the time you’ve harvested your pumpkins and made some delicious dishes, it may be time to start up your indoor gardening plans to help you maintain a flow of fresh vegetables and herbs throughout the colder months.

Use this suite of supplies to create an indoor oasis for your plants, from indoor seed starting to grow lights and hydroponics.

These herbs will grow happily indoors in containers, making them an extra easy and useful addition to your kitchen.

Want to grow your own pumpkin patch from scratch next season? Large and small, grow pumpkins from seed to harvest.

  • Tags: guidehow toinformationInformative Gardening Piecesinstructionspacketpacket infoQuick Tips & Gardening How-To'sreadseed packetspecificationstips
  • Nov 12, 2019
  • Whirlwind eCommerce
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Comments 15
Barbara Anne Ashley

Thank you for being so informative and interactive. You are just GREAT .

Ferry-Morse Home Gardening Team

Hi Erik, great question! Yes, you can save and store seeds for any plant you would like to — doesn’t have to be exclusive to heirloom plants.

It says you can save and replant heirloom seeds. Can you do the same for non-heirloom seeds?

andre laplume
Jennie Galloway

How can I tell if the greens coming up are my seeds coming up or weeds. Packets used to have a picture of the seedling on them. Do you have a photo online somewhere?

Kathleen Turkowski

I planted Great Lakes #113 lettuce. No head is forming, but have large healthy green leaves. When and how do I harvest them?

Cheral Canna

It would be helpful for the photo to include the adult leaves. When you are trying to weed new unfamiliar plantings you need this.

aline JERVIS

This information is very helpful. Thank you.

Christal Bodiford

I’m still waiting for my order, but I have to say I’ve used Ferry-Moorse seeds many times in the past with wonderful results!


Morse Customer Service Team

Thank you for your question! Typically you should sow 2-3 seeds per hole. If you have one, small container/pot that you are using then sow 2-3 seeds per pot. If you’re using a larger container/pot then feel free to use multiple holes and sow 2-3 seeds per hole (but this will also depend on the type of plant you’re growing…if you are planting something with a larger root system then you probably won’t want to share that container with anything else).


Morse Customer Service Team

For most seeds, and if you are in season at the time, days until harvest will start from the day that you sow your seed so long as they are getting the proper amount of water and shade or sunlight. For seed packets that suggest you start your seeds indoors, we would suggest using days to harvest as a rough guide: start counting days til harvest once the seedlings have become young plants and begin growing their true leaves.

A lot of people will eyeball their vegetable, herb and fruit gardens as they grow. It can all boil down to being a matter of preference, really (if you like your carrots to be a bit smaller, then you may harvest them a little sooner than Days to Harvest guideline). At the end of the day, the garden makes the final say! We hope this information helps!!

Rochelle Ridenour

On the back of your seed packets where it notes Days Until Harvest, Is that after germination?

Nguyen Nguyen

Hi quick question—
Do I plant all the seeds in the packet at once in the same little starter pot?
I don’t see any instructions on how many seeds to use at once?

Cynthia Virtue

Please include the scientific name on all packets.

glen smith

thanks for the information.
i received my seeds today and will send feed back later.