The Planting Phase: Hemp Seed & Clone Planting Best Practices

Best Practices When Planting Hemp Seeds & Clones

Best Practices for Planting Hemp Clones & Seeds

This will depend on the size of the land. The generalize planting rate is about 800 to 1500 plants per acre, ideally spaced 4 to 6 feet apart in clean, neat rows. Most small-scale farmers choose to hand-transplant (versus using mechanical hemp transplanters) the starters and clones into the field at certain spacings to allow the plant some room for growth and for better management.

With larger plots, planting is done using modified planting equipment or manual labor, along with some of the emerging hemp-specific solutions. 

Planting for Industrial Hemp

When hemp is grown for fiber or seed, the plants are grown close to one another to encourage abundant seed production. These hemp plants are typically tall and reed-like with straight long stems. You want these tall stalks because the hurds and bast fibers come from the stalks.  Males plants are especially desirable for maximizing seeds formation (and they are also good for fiber). The spacing of the plants is often 4 inches (10cm), or less, which results in dense stands of straight, tall plants that look similar to a crop of sugarcane, sorghum or corn. 

Planting Hemp for CBD

Growing hemp for CBD will yield a different size and shape plant. They are typically short and bushy and often described as "christmas trees." In contrast to true industrial hemp, which is chosen for the production of seed and fiber, high CBD hemp should be produced for maximum resin and flower production.

Soil Conditions At Time of Seeding

Soil Temperature

Seed into warm soil with a temperature between 8 to 10 degrees Celsius at least in the top 2 inches (5 cm) for 2 to 3 days at least. 

Soil Quality

Seed into a seedbed that is firm with good seed to soil contact.  

Planting Depth

In dry years, Do not seed too deep in the moisture. Despite the fact that hemp is a fairly large seed, it will struggle to try to emerge out of a deep seeding.

Target Population Density

Go for high population density. Since the end game is not the same as with regular cannabis, be prepared to change how you approach growing the plant. Plant the seeds close to one another in order to grow dense. A field of healthy hemp should be comprised of hundreds up to thousands of hemp plants comprised of a single stalk.  Whereas a cannabis farm my resemble an apple orchard, by contrast, an industrial hemp field looks more like a wheat field or a cornfield.  

Rate of Seeding

Your hemp crop's end-use will dictate what your seeding rate is. 

A higher seeding rate will help to ensure there s a higher plant population that has thin tall plants that have longer internodes. In Canada, there is limited research for determining the proper seeding rates for achieving good quality and high yielding fiber. 

Low plant populations do not provide early weed control competition. In adverse growing conditions, hemp might have a higher mortality rate. It has been shown by research 10-70% seed mortality rate might occur under various climatic conditions. In general, high mortality is attributed to the following, based on observations:

Seed Rate Calculations

In order to calculate your seeding rate, you should consider making use of the seedling mortality rate and 1000 total kernel weight (TKW). YOu can refer to seeding rate calculators online. 

1000 TKW depends on the variety since there are substantial seed size differences when varieties are compared and it can be affected as well by year to year environmental conditions. For the varieties that are being grown currently, 1000 TKW may vary from 13 grams up to 23 grams. This can have a significant effect on the overall plant stand and your seeding rate as well.  

The chart below shows the potential difference in kernel weight between different varieties. Therefore, it is important to make use of a seeding rate calculate in order to determine the specific seeding rate for each of the varieties.


Avoid Common Problems 


Avoid seeding before heavy precipitation is expected.   

Seed Cracking

Lower air volumes should be used. Cracking takes place inside the manifolds when the volume of air is excessive. 


Soil compaction such as wheel tracks will result in certain conditions, just like with other crops. 

Trash Buildup

Excessive trash should be avoided since it can keep soils cool and may cause hair pinning in the disc drills.

Removing Males

Hemp CBD farming means always keeping an eye out for males in your fields which must be removed immediately. Even a single male can have a dramatic impact on your crop.

What you end up with if males are allowed to do their pollinating are diminished flower-set with seeded buds and flowers and lowered cannabinoid concentrations — roughly 30% cannabinoid loss and 50% biomass loss.


Related Articles

Choosing The Right Seeds or Clones 

When To Plant Hemp Seeds & Clones


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