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How to germinate cannabis seeds

Germination is the process in which a new plant begins to grow from a seed. Also referred to as “popping,” germination is the very first step in starting your cannabis garden.

Cannabis seeds can be acquired from an array of sources and can vary in quality. For more info on how to buy marijuana seeds, check out our Guide to buying cannabis seeds.

When acquiring seeds, you want to make sure they are matured and that they appear dark brown with lighter accents and a hard feel. You don’t want a seed that feels fresh and looks green, which indicates that the seed hasn’t reached full maturity.

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Once you have your cannabis seeds, make sure you have the space necessary to allow your plants to grow and be healthy. Don’t pop seeds when you are unsure of your grow space, time availability, or intention with your garden.

Check out these additional resources for more info on cannabis seeds:

What’s the best way to germinate cannabis seeds?

Cannabis seeds require three things to germinate: water, heat, and air. Because of this, there are many methods to germinate your seeds. The most common and simplest method involves the use of paper towels saturated in water.

For this method you will need:

  • Two clean plates
  • Paper towels
  • Seeds

Step 1:

Take four sheets of paper towels and soak them with distilled water. The sheets should be soaked but shouldn’t have excess water running off.

Step 2:

Take two of the paper towels and place them on a plate. Then, place the cannabis seeds at least an inch apart from each other and cover them with the remaining two sheets of water-soaked paper towels.

Step 3:

To create a dark, protected space, take another plate and flip it over to cover the seeds (like a dome).

Step 4:

Make sure the area they’re kept in is warm, somewhere between 70-90°F.

After these steps have been completed, it’s time to wait. You can check the paper towels to make sure they’re still saturated, and if they seem to be losing their moisture, you can apply more water to keep the seeds happy.

Some seeds germinate very rapidly while others can take several days. You know a seed has germinated once the seed splits and a single sprout appears.

This is the taproot, which will become the main stem of the plant, and seeing it is a sign of successful germination. It’s important to keep this area sterile, so don’t touch the seed or taproot as the seed begins to split.

Transplanting germinated cannabis seeds

Once you see the taproot, it’s time to transfer your germinated seed into its growing medium. Small 2-inch pots are a good place to start.

Fill the pots with loose, airy potting soil and poke a hole in the middle about a quarter-inch down using a pen or pencil.

To transfer the seed, use a pair of tweezers to gently pick it up, then drop the seed in the hole with the taproot facing down. Lightly cover it with soil.

Next, you’ll need to water the soil. Initially, use a spray bottle to provide moisture without over-saturating the soil. You want to give the seed water, but over-watering can suffocate and kill the delicate sprout.

Pay attention to the temperature and the moisture level of the soil to keep the seed happy, and within a week or so you should see a seedling begin to grow from the soil.

Germinating seeds doesn’t always go as planned. Some seeds will be duds. Others will be slow and take longer to sprout. But some will pop quickly and grow rapidly.

This is the beauty of seeds—often, you can tell which plants or genetics will thrive right from the get-go. This will help you determine which plants you want to take cuttings from for clones and which to breed with other strong plants to create a seed bank of your own.

Follow these simple steps on the best way to properly germinate your cannabis seeds, and find out how to transplant the seeds to soil after germination.

Seed Germination

Seed germination is defined as the sum of events that begin with hydration of the seed and culminate in emergence of the embryonic axis (usually the radicle) from the seed coat.

Related terms:

  • Ethylene
  • Germination
  • Dormancy
  • Abscisic Acid
  • Seed Dormancy
  • Arabidopsis
  • Seedlings
  • Enzymes
  • Proteins

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Molecular mechanisms of seed germination

Pham Anh Tuan , . Belay T. Ayele , in Sprouted Grains , 2019

1.3 Conclusions and perspectives

Seed germination is a crucial process that influences crop yield and quality. Therefore, understanding the molecular aspects of seed dormancy and germination is of a great significance for the improvement of crop yield and quality. Significant progress has been made in elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying the roles of plant hormones, mainly ABA and GA, in the regulation of seed dormancy and germination in dicot species; however, this phenomenon is scarcely studied in cereals. Therefore, further study is required to identify the molecular features involved in the regulation of the metabolic and signaling aspects of different plant hormones, and therefore seed dormancy and germination in cereals. In addition, the roles of other regulatory factors, such as epigenetic and posttranscriptional regulations of gene expression in controlling dormancy and germination of cereal seeds remain to be clarified.

A Comprehensive Review on Rice Responses and Tolerance to Salt Stress

7.3.1.1 Seed germination

Seed germination is a parameter of the prime significance, and fundamental to total biomass and yield production and consists of a complex phenomenon of many physiological and biochemical changes leading to the activation of embryo ( Parihar et al., 2014 ). A significant negative correlation generally exists between the seed germination percentage, time for seed germination and level of salinity ( Kaveh et al., 2011 ). During seed germination, salinity results in many disorders and metabolic changes such as solute leakage, K + efflux and α-amylase activity ( Shereen et al., 2011 ). Firstly, salinity reduces moisture availability by inducing osmotic stress and, secondly, creates nutrient imbalance and ionic toxicity ( Munns and Tester, 2008; Rajendran et al., 2009 ). Cell membranes are the hotspots for controlling active and passive transfer of solutes, and regulating plant nutrient uptake ( Munns and Tester, 2008 ). An imbalance of mineral nutrients under salinity stress generally alters the structural and chemical composition of the lipid bilayer membrane, and, hence, controls the ability of the membrane for selective transport of solutes and ions inwards and, the membrane could become leaky to the solutes they contain ( Cushman, 2001; Lodhi et al., 2009 ).

Shereen et al. (2011) conducted experiments to study the effects of salinity on seed germination of six rice varieties differing in salt tolerance by treating them with 0, 50, 75, 100, 200 mM NaCl solutions. The results revealed that salinity caused a delay in germination of rice seeds with 3–6 days of delay in treatments containing 100 and 200 mM NaCl respectively, advocating a strong negative relationship between salinity and seed germination. The rice cultivators exhibiting minimal leakage of solutes showed relatively higher germination under high salinity stress of 100 and 200 mM NaCl compared to the cultivars exhibited higher solute leakage. Similarly, Jamil et al. (2012) investigated the effects of salinity on seed germination of three different rice genotypes and found that the rice cultivars differed in their germination response to salt stress. Increase in salinity from 0 to 150 mM adversely affected the seed germination percentage and significantly delayed seed germination.

Molecular mechanisms in plant growth promoting bacteria (PGPR) to resist environmental stress in plants

18.2.1.1 Role of salinity in seed germination

Seed germination is the first phase of the growth cycle in plants ( Parihar et al., 2015 ). Salinity adversely affects seed germination, excess amount of soluble salt content into the soil reduces the water potential into the soil. As water moves from higher water potential to lower water potential, seeds are unable to take water from saline soil and causes hormonal imbalance ( Khan and Rizvi, 1994 ), reduces protein metabolism ( Dantas et al., 2007 ), nucleic acid metabolism ( Gomes-Filho et al., 2008 ) and ultimately reduces the utilization of seed reserves ( Othman et al., 2006 ). There are some evident that salinity drastically affects the seed germination in various plants like Oryza saliva ( Xu et al., 2011 ), Triticum aestivum ( Akbarimoghaddam et al., 2011 ), Zea mays ( Khodarahmpour et al., 2012 ), Brassicaspp. ( Akram and Jamil, 2007 ). Bybordi (2010) reported that with the increasing salt concentration the rate of seed germination decreases in Brassica napus ( Bybordi, 2010 ).

Scope and Progress of Rice Research Harnessing Cold Tolerance

Partha S. Biswas , . Jiban Krishna Biswas , in Advances in Rice Research for Abiotic Stress Tolerance , 2019

11.2.1 Germination Stage

Seed germination is the most important stage in a plants life cycle. Water, air, temperature and light are all essential for the seed germination process starting from imbibition, activation and succeeding manifestation. Rice seed germination is affected greatly by temperature. Temperatures colder than the favorable range (18–33°C) retards the germination process. Cold temperatures slow down the diffusion process which causes disrupted imbibition and escape of solutes from the seeds. The effect of cold stress is more pronounced at the imbibing phase which is regarded as the most sensitive phase. The exposure of rice seeds to cold stress during this phase causes an increased escape of solutes from the seeds. The standard temperature for rice seed germination is considered to be 30°C. The minimum critical temperature of rice germination is considered as 10°C ( Yoshida, 1981 ). Soil temperatures below 10°C can result in complete failure of germination ( Yoshida, 1981 ). Temperatures below 20°C decrease both the speed and percentage of seed germination ( Yoshida, 1981 ), lower crop stands, and consequently reduce grain yield ( da Cruz and Milach, 2004 ; Cruz et al., 2006 ; Sharifi, 2010 ). Germination speed is related to seedling vigor and it could be a significant determinant of good field performance ( da Cruz and Milach, 2004 ).

Research and innovation priorities as defined by the Ecophyto plan to address current crop protection transformation challenges in France

Jay Ram Lamichhane , . Pierre Ricci , in Advances in Agronomy , 2019

Seed germination and seedling emergence are the most important and vulnerable phases of a crop cycle. A poor quality of seed and sowing conditions have both direct (e.g., the lack of seed germination translates either into the need to re-sowing with further costs or into a reduced plant density thus a reduced yield) and indirect (e.g., lower competitiveness of crops toward weeds and more favorable conditions for the development of diseases) impacts on crop health as it affects seed germination and seedling emergence. Consequently, reducing the exposure of young radicle and seedlings to biotic (soil-borne pests) and abiotic (drought, heat and mechanical) stresses at such a vulnerable stage is of paramount importance via any form of seed treatments or cropping practices. In this regard, the following issues should be taken into account:

To date, our knowledge is poor with regard to the impact of cropping practices and pedo-climatic conditions on the seed quality; do they affect the ecophysiological traits of seeds?

In light of the increasing restriction or a complete ban in the use of chemical PPPs (e.g., neonicotinoids in the EU), chemical seed treatments will be less and less practiced over the years. Therefore, there is a need to optimize seed protection through seed coatings using biological, biochemical or mineral substances that help enhance seed germination and seedling emergence in the early stages.

How can we improve the speed of seed germination and seedling emergence? Is a higher rate of seed germination and seedling emergence directly correlated to the overall crop health?

Because most processes related to seed germination and seedling emergence occur in the soil and within a very short time (from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the species and sowing date), understanding of what really occurs during this phase and which factors are involved is a challenging task. How can we tackle this complexity and which tools can be developed and mobilized to this objective?

Importance of small RNA in plant seed germination

Yingyin Yao , . Qixin Sun , in Plant Small RNA , 2020

Brief introduction of seed germination

Seed germination , which determines when the plant enters natural or agricultural ecosystems, is a crucial process in the seed plant life cycle and the basis for crop production. The germination of freshly produced seeds is inhibited by primary dormancy, which helps the seeds equip for environments with unfavorable conditions [1–3] . The seeds will enter a germinating state from the dormant state at an appropriate time when the dormancy is lost through moist chilling (stratification) or after-ripening [4] . Therefore, seed germination is a accurately timed checkpoint to avoid unsuitable weather and unfavorable environments during plant establishment and reproductive growth [5] . Finally, seed germination in crops will affect seedling survival rates and vegetative growth, which are accordingly associated with ultimate yield and quality. Considering agronomic production, crop cultivars must be prepared for rapid and uniform germination at sowing, which will improve the crop yield and quality; however, this selection during crop breeding usually results in weak dormancy, which is one of the factors leading to PHS in the rainy season, which tends to overlap with the harvest season [6, 7] . Hence, to improve crop agronomic performance, the crop cultivars during breeding must be prepared for uniform and rapid germination at sowing while preventing PHS [7a] .

Seed germination is a transit process when an active plant with photosynthesis grows from a quiescent embryo, generated in the fertilized ovule. The process of seed germination includes the following five changes or steps: imbibition, respiration, effect of light on seed germination, mobilization of reserves during seed germination, and role of growth regulators and development of the embryo axis into a seedling. All five of these stages result from a interplay of several metabolic and cellular events, coordinated by a complex regulatory network that includes seed dormancy, an intrinsic ability to temporarily block radicle elongation to optimize the timing of germination. The primary plant hormones including abscisic acid (ABA) and gibberellin (GA) antagonistically regulate seed dormancy and germination [8–10] . ABA is synthesized during seed maturation and decreased before the onset of germination; it plays key roles in inhibiting germination and establishing and maintaining seed dormancy [11] . In contrast to ABA, GA significantly increases to promote germination by causing the secretion of hydrolytic enzymes that weaken the structure of the seed testa [12, 13] .

Role of Engineered Zinc and Copper Oxide Nanoparticles in Promoting Plant Growth and Yield: Present Status and Future Prospects

N. Priyanka , . Perumal Venkatachalam , in Advances in Phytonanotechnology , 2019

3.1 Seed Germination and Seedling Growth

Seed germination indexes and elongation is the first step that determines the success of crop growth with metal and metal oxide NPs. Plant exposure to NPs causes activation of genes responsible for water channel protein, for better cell growth protein, and for better cell growth by regulation cell cycle; these effects of NPs reflect the improvement of seed germination and growth of the plants. A germination study of A. hypogaea grown under various doses of ZnO NPs treatment, shows highest germination percentages were recorded in A. hypogaea seedlings grown in 300 ppm treatment when compared to the control ( Rajiv and Vanathi, 2018 ). Therefore, these studies indicate that NPs improve seed germination by penetrating into the seed and by enhancing water absorption. It has been reported that the ZnO NS-based nanofertilizer system enhanced maximum plant growth, which reflects the supreme performance of cellular enzymes regulated by nanoparticles. Also, zinc improves the cation-exchange capacity of the roots, which in turn improves the assimilation of basic supplements, particularly nitrogen, which is responsible for higher protein content and regulates plant development hormone level, i.e., indole acetic acid ( Prasad et al., 2012 ). Earlier results suggest that Zn is a highly essential nutrient to seed germination and seedling growth as well as development. Similar growth improvement with an extremely low concentration (30 μg L − 1 ) of NS exposure was observed in Allium cepa by Raskar and Laware (2014) . According to Prasad et al. (2012) , in Arachis hypogaea, there was a significant increase in root length, seed germination percentage, seedling vigor index, and yield at lower dose of ZnNPs than the untreated control seed. Recently, Jabeen et al. (2017) demonstrated that the L. esculentum seedlings were treated with different doses of ZnO-NS to study their effect on morphological parameters such as time of seed germination, germination percentage, the number of plant leaves, the height of the plant, average number of branches, days count for flowering and fruiting time period, along with fruit quantity. Interestingly, the results indicate that bio-fabricated ZnO-NS at optimum dose showed enhanced seedling growth and significantly increased crop yield. Although metallic NPs exposure showed a positive effect on seed germination of tested plants.

Tamarindo—Tamarindus indica

Md. Salim Azad , in Exotic Fruits , 2018

Propagation and Conservation

Seed germination and seedling growth are preconditions for conservation of genetic resources and sustainable uses of different products of specific species which depends on perception of genetic inconsistency, evolutionary forces, and breeding system in tree improvement ( Azad et al., 2014 ). Tamarind is commonly grown from seeds. It can also be grown from vegetative propagation (macrovegetative propagation or micropropagation). Vegetative propagation is useful for conservation of different genotypes. Germination from seed is inexpensive and very important for rural tree breeders. It can be used as root stocks to produce large number of grafted ortet. Tamarind seed germination is influenced by different presowing treatments. Different researchers noticed various responses according to the different methods used. Seed germination required 7–20 days in controlled conditions ( Azad et al., 2013 ). It can vary by seed sources, climatic requirements, and cultivars as well. On an average, it starts to germinate from 13 days of seed sowing. Sometimes it may take 30 days to complete the germination process. El-Siddig et al. (2001) recommended 45 days to allow for maximum seed germination. Azad et al. (2013) noticed 58% seed germination in the control situation, and noticed that presowing significantly enhanced seed germination. They found almost 82% seed germination in cold water treatment (immersion in cold water for 24 h at 4°C) and scarification with sand paper. El-Siddig et al. (2001) noticed acid treatment (immersion of seeds in 97% sulfuric acid for 45 min at room temperature) is an effective method for rapid and synchronous germination of tamarind.

The coppicing ability of tamarind is great. Thus the stem cutting is therefore the cheapest methods for tamarind propagation for small scale plantation. A number of protocols have already developed for rooting of cuttings ( Srivasuki et al., 1990; Swaminath et al., 1990 ). However, Mascarenhas et al. (1987) reported that rooting of a cutting is not successful for this species. Different budding and grafting methods are reliable methods for conservation of specific attributes of specific genotypes ( Swaminath and Ravindran, 1989; Pathak et al., 1992 ). Tamarind can also be propagated by tissue culture but only a few literatures report on it due to the callogenic nature of this species. To overcome these problems, cotyledons, cotyledonary nodes, and shoot tips were successfully used as explants for tamarind tissue culture ( Splittstoesser and Mohamed, 1991 ).

Seed Germination, Mobilization of Food Reserves, and Seed Dormancy

4. SECTION SUMMARY

Seed germination is a series of events that begin with imbibition and end with the emergence of the radicle from the seed coat. It includes the reacquisition by cell membranes of their selective permeability properties, repair and salvaging of DNA and other macromolecules damaged during desiccation, and restarting of the metabolic and synthetic machinery of the embryonic cells. Radicle emergence involves cell growth and rupture of the tissues surrounding the embryo, but typically does not involve cell division. Two hormones, gibberellins and abscisic acid, play contrasting roles in seed germination; gibberellins promote it, whereas ABA inhibits it. Not only are the relative ratios of endogenous GAs and ABA important, but also the sensitivities of seed tissues to these hormones seem to be involved. In tomato, a gene encoding an endo-β-mannanase has been identified. The gene is induced by GA and is expressed pregerminatively in the endosperm cap, but the expression of this gene is not inhibited by ABA. The manner in which these two hormones regulate seed germination is still very much an open question.

Physiological modification of plants through small RNA

Saad Hussain Shah , Muhammad Fahim , in Plant Small RNA , 2020

Seed germination

Seed germination comprises a series of physiological changes in a mature seed (embryo). The process is completed in three steps. In the first step, leakage of solutes and precursors for respiration and protein synthesis from endosperm paves the path for initial changes. In the second step, new proteins and mRNAs are synthesized, and in the third and final step, radicle growth is initiated [58] . The process is controlled and governed by a number of physical and physiological factors. Like all other developmental process, small RNAs play a pivotal role in seed germination.

Initiation of germination is a function of the classic miR156-miR172 pathway. DELAY OF GERMINATION1 (DOG1) enhances the accumulation of miR156 in embryonic tissues during seed development. miR156 is a dormancy promoter, and its concentration does not remain constant during dormancy but continues to decrease as a result of oxidative processes and serves as a countdown timer for seed germination. Interestingly, the concentrations of miR156 are independent of ABA influence [59] . dog1 plant possess lower concentrations of miR156 and hence early germination.

ARF10 and miR160-mediated auxin pathway regulates dormancy and promotes germination [60] . Auxin interacting with ARF10 stimulates the ABA sensitivity of the plant, prolonging dormancy periods. miR160 is a repressor of ARF10 and hence reduces ABA sensitivity and promotes germination. miR159 also regulates ABA sensitivity, indirectly by downregulating the positively regulating TFs of ABA, MYB33 and MYB101. miR159-MYB33/MYB101-ABA forms a negative feedback loop for seed germination. miR159, in response to trigger for germination, blocks MYB33 and MYB101 expression, which in turn reduces ABA sensitivity of plants and facilitates transition from dormancy to seed germination. MYB33 concentrations do not depend solely on miR159, as the concentrations of both of these are independent of each other’s concentrations in seeds.

Seed Germination Seed germination is defined as the sum of events that begin with hydration of the seed and culminate in emergence of the embryonic axis (usually the radicle) from the seed coat.