The germination of your cannabis seeds is the first step to getting your crop under way. Read more about the specific methods you can use. Cannabis Seeds sprout easily with our step by step guides for germinating weed seeds in soil, water, tissue, rockwool, & more! 1. Germinate hemp seeds directly into soil 2. Activate cannabis seeds with water 3. Germinate cannabis seeds with paper towels – GIF
Germination Cannabis Seeds
Germinating your cannabis seeds is the first step to getting your crop under way. It is the process in which life within the seed is stimulated, turning it from a seed into a sprout.
There are three main stimuli that trigger germination; Water, air and warmth. All three must be present for the cannabis seed to successfully grow. The first is water; the seed goes through a process called “imbibing”, this is where the seed soaks up water around it, eventually causing the seeds shell to split as the embryo inside expands. The second factor which is required to trigger germination is air. This will ensure that the embryo that it has what it requires to perform photosynthesis and transpiration. Finally the cannabis seed needs a degree of warmth to trigger growth. The embryo contained within the seed has a small store of food to get itself going; it just needs these indicators to give it the go-ahead.
As your cannabis seeds take their first steps into life they will develop a tap root, which bursts through the shell of the seed. As it continues to grow it will produce 2 small embryonic leaves known as the cotyledons; these will push off the remainder of the seed shell – do not attempt to remove it yourself, you are likely to do more damage than good. When these leaves appear it is very important to start providing the seedling as much light as possible, allowing it to start its process of photosynthesis, which produces the fuel for its future growth.
There are a few methods by which you can germinate you cannabis seeds, some of which are more reliable than others. It is generally recommended as a novice cultivator, that if you have 10 seeds start by germinating 5, followed by the other 5 the following week. This will ensure that if you spoil your first batch due to poor technique, you will still have some seeds left to try again. If you are confident in your skills, and you have done this a few times, then there is no reason not to do them all at once.
Generally speaking, cannabis seeds germinate best in temperatures of 69-80 degrees Fahrenheit (21-27 degrees Celsius), and will take around 2-7 days to germinate. Although many believe otherwise, it is fine to have your seeds germinate in daylight.
If you buy low quality/immature seeds then you are not likely to get very good success rates, no matter how experienced you are. Indicators of a bad seed can be a pale whiteness in color, but this can also be the appearance of some specific strains – so do some research or contact your seed bank if they have sent you white seeds you were not expecting.
Other factors that can cause cannabis seed germination to fail are incorrect pH levels, seed exposure/drying out, the incorrect depth, over feeding, physical damage or bad soil. Take care where you store you germinating seeds as well; for example, a cold draft could end up damaging your seeds, causing the growth to be stunted.
If you are growing in soil then refrain from the urge to uncover your seeds to see how they are doing – no matter how long you think they are taking. It will do more harm than good, as you can damage young roots.
Finally, some strains of cannabis can grow with fairly weak stems. If you notice your seedlings leaning to the side, prop them up with a small stick until they are stronger. Never use a stick from the outside; they can bring in unwanted, negative variables such as pests.
How to germinate marijuana seeds
Germination begins the life of your plant, so it is essential to understand precisely how to do it. There are many methods for germinating marijuana seeds – some more successful than others.
This guide will discuss the many ways to germinate your seeds as well as some strategies for ensuring you get the best results possible. But if even the right methods fail I stand by my seeds and replace non-germinated seeds for free.
About germinating cannabis seeds
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It starts with the seed
Like all plants, marijuana starts as a seed. What looks like a pebble is actually an entire plant conveniently stored with a few days supplies of food to support itself. During germination, this food is converted into sugars that the plant uses to break through its shell and form its roots. From that point forward, the young seedling depends on its environment to provide the nutrients it will need to survive.
Germination brings a seed out of its slumber and triggers the growth process. A seed will begin germinating once it receives enough moisture.
At that point, it will increase in size and break open its shell. A germ opening forms and a root will emerge, which will help the plant absorb nutrients from the earth.
Nature and gravity ensure that the root grows downwards and the stem upward, creating a young seedling that can survive off light and earth.
Since all marijuana grows from a cannabis seed, many people want to know how to identify a healthy seed.
Honestly, it is difficult to tell if a plant will be healthy based on its seed alone. There are, however some tell-tell signs.
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Generally speaking, a pale-green, white, or very dark marijuana seed may have trouble germinating well. But this does not always reflect the outcome of the plant and is always worth trying.
If you are unable to use all of your seeds, store them in a cool, dark and dry place until you can. A refrigerator is ideal.
Planning for germination
Seeds are designed to germinate, but they are more likely to do so if given the ideal environment. There are many methods of germination, but they will all require:
- Moisture to help the seed expand and break through its shell
- Minimal interference so that delicate structures aren’t accidentally broken that mimic springtime (between 20°-22° Celsius or 68°-72° Fahrenheit)
If you remember these three things, your germination attempts are more likely to be successful.
It should go without saying that successful germination is important. Your seed is the foundation for your plants – which is why many successful growers choose to start with high-quality seeds.
You can also improve your germination attempts (and possibly speed up the process) by soaking your seeds in 1% hydrogen peroxide or a compost tea solution for 12 hours before using them. This process will kill any infectious agents.
3 Simple ways to germinate your seeds
The best germination method is the one that works for you, and if you are like me, you’re going to want something simple and natural.
My favorite way to germinate seeds is a 24-water soak followed by soil germination, but something else may work better for you. Here are three of the easiest ways to germinate seeds.
Germinate seeds directly in soil
Planting your seeds in the soil that you intend to grow in is the most common and often, most successful method of germinating marijuana seeds.
This method is perfect for ensuring young seeds have minimal interference since the fragile root is protected by the soil. It’s also the most natural way for marijuana plants to grow.
How to plant marijuana seeds directly in soil
The first step in learning how to plant marijuana seeds directly in soil is to first make sure you use the right type. Use mildly fertilized potting soil or a seed starter. It should have a pH of approximately 6.
This type of soil will have spores and minerals that help young marijuana plants thrive. Do not add nutrients – potting soil has enough nutrients for at least the first two weeks of the plant’s life.
If you add any more nutrients, you risk killing your seedlings due to a nutrient overdose. Place your soil in a small pot.
In my free Grow Bible you will find even more tips for sprouting seeds and how to germinate weed seeds
- Grow with my Quick Start Guide
- Discover secrets to Big Yields
- Avoid common grow mistakes
Steps to germinating cannabis seeds
To prepare the soil for your seed, push your finger into it to create a small hole that is up to 1.5cm (0.6 inches) deep.
You can also use a pen or pencil.
- Place one seed into the prepared hole and cover it with soil. If you’ve already germinated, the seed will have a root – place the root facing downward (more on that later).
- After you’ve covered your seed with loose soil, do not mess with it.
- That includes pushing it down further – this will happen naturally as you water it.
- Use a plant sprayer to moisten the soil and place the pots under a fluorescent lamp.
- Don’t use a windowsill, because the temperature is not stable enough for germination.
- The temperature of the soil should be 22° Celsius or 72° Fahrenheit which is easy to achieve with lighting.
- Keep monitoring your soil to make sure it stays moist.
- Within a week (or as little as 4 days) you should start seeing stems emerge from the soil. You now have a seedling!
- Once your plants are 2 to 4 inches tall (5 to 10 centimeters), transplant your plants into a larger pot with the stems further in the ground. Your plant will now have many roots that will support it for the rest of its life.
Germinate seeds in water
As I mentioned above, germinating in water is my favorite way to start my seeds.
It may seem like a bad idea, as there are more water and light than recommended when using this method, but it works! I’ve found that it is around 90% effective.
The “trick” is not leaving the seeds in water too long.
Usually, 24 to 48 hours is enough for the seeds to show their tail, but you can leave them soaking for up to 7 days without too much of a worry.
Water germination is useful because it assures that there is the right amount of moisture to begin germinating.
If done for just a short period, it can help crack open the shell, pre-sprouting the plant right before your eyes.
Water germination shortens the process by making it easier for the plant rather than having to push through the soil.
- To germinate with water, fill a glass with tap water and allow it to reach room temperature over a few hours.
- The temperature should be around 18° C or 65° F. Do not add nutrients. Drop 2 to 3 cannabis seeds into the water and watch for any changes.
- Refill the glass with fresh water every other day while maintaining its temperature.
After about 2 to 4 days the seeds should start to split.
You can place your seeds in the soil at any point, but once the roots are 3 to 5 mm (.1 to .2 inches) long, they must be planted.
These are the basic instructions from my store that I share with new growers:
As much as I prefer to germinate my seeds in water, it does have its downside.
At some point, you will need to handle your seeds, and this is risky. Germinating seeds are delicate, and the roots are especially fragile. If you harm them in any way, your plant might not develop well.
Be very careful when placing your sprouted seed into the soil, and if possible place the root facing down.
Germinate with cotton pads or paper towels
Another easy way of germinating your seeds is to use cotton pads or paper towels.
This is a common way of doing it because cotton pads or paper towels can keep the seeds moist and protected.
While cotton pads (or balls) or the best for this method, cheap, non-porous paper towels will work as well.
Just make sure they are plain single-ply paper towels – the cloth-like ones may cause your roots to grow into the towel.
- To germinate using cotton pads, place a few seeds between two cotton pads and moisten with a plant sprayer.
- When using a paper towel, place the seeds in between two paper towels and store the towel-cushioned seeds in between two plates, under an upside-down bowl or in a plastic bag.
- Keep the temperature around 22° Celsius, or 72° Fahrenheit, and (once again) do not place the seeds on a windowsill.
- In about 2 to 5 days, the seeds will start to split open, and a tiny root should appear.
- Place them in the soil when they are 3-5 mm or 0.1- 0.2 inches long.
Read my free Grow Bible to learn more about germination and caring for your plant.
- Grow with my Quick Start Guide
- Discover secrets to Big Yields
- Avoid common grow mistakes
Like the water method, germinating this way has its risk. If you are not careful, you can damage fragile roots while transporting them to the soil. You can also tangle the root in the wet paper towel if you are not extremely careful.
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Use your fingers or tweezers to move delicate sprouts, and don’t allow the root to grow too long before moving it into the soil.
Other germination methods
Water, soil, and cotton pads or paper towels are the easiest ways to germinate your seeds, but they aren’t the only ways. You can also use starter cubes or plugs for germinating cannabis seeds. Simply drop the seed in, add water, and wait for it to germinate.
They aren’t always as successful, but they eliminate the risk of damaging your root when transporting a young sprout to its final growing home.
Below are two types of starter materials that can safely germinate your seeds.
Germinating seeds in rockwool
Rockwool provides the perfect environment for germinating seeds.
It is mineral wool that is made from volcanic rock and other materials (such as basalt and limestone). Rockwool is man-made by melting its ingredients into molten lava that is quickly spun into threads. These threads are then compacted, cured, and cut.
Rockwool is an ideal growing environment, but it will need to be amended slightly for marijuana plants.
First of all, you will need to add some fertilizer before you use it to start seeds. The TDS should be around 600ppm. You’ll also need to lower the pH since Rockwool has a pH of 7.0, which is too high for germination.
To lower the pH, soak Rockwool plugs in water for at least a day. Since water has a pH of 5.5, this will bring down the pH.
It should also be noted that there are some serious drawbacks to using Rockwool.
Because it does not occur naturally, it’s not the best for the environment.
It’s also not the greatest for your health; wear gloves and cover your mouth and eyes when handling this stuff.
Because of the extra steps involved (such as adjusting the nutrients and pH) and handling issues, this method is not recommended for beginners, although it is not terribly difficult to do.
You’ll need to purchase and TDS meters for the most successful germination, but outside of that, the material is very affordable and easy to find.
Because it does not require soil, this method is ideal for those who plan to grow hydroponically.
Germinating seeds in peat pellets
Peat pellets are another way to germinate seeds without the risk of damaging young roots.
Peat pellets are compressed peat, which is made of partially decomposed vegetable matter and is simply yummy for young plants.
The pellet enlarges when you add water to it, forming a container of nutrient-dense soil alternative around germinating seeds.
Unlike Rockwool, peat is already optimized for cannabis germination.
It has a pH of 5.5 and a TDS of 625, so you don’t have to worry about making any adjustments. The only preparation required is soaking the pellets in warm water.
Once the roots become visible, (by popping out of the peat), simply move the entire pellet into the soil, rock wool, or coco coir, where it will continue growing.
This type of germination is not recommended for hydroponic setups.
Peat pellets have a good germination rate, are easy to use, and are suitable for beginners. They are also ideal for cloning.
I recommend the Jiffy brand of peat pellets which can be purchased on Amazon.
In addition to the material used to germinate your seeds, the grow environment you provide will play a huge role as well.
Your seeds will need the correct temperature and levels of moisture to sprout into a strong, healthy plant.
“Weak plants are the result of weak seeds and poor growing conditions.”
Below are some tips for creating the perfect germination environment.
How to water sprouting seeds
Watering is essential throughout the cannabis life cycle, and germination is no exception.
Not enough water and your seeds do not germinate, too much and that root doesn’t survive.
Excess water keeps oxygen from the roots and can attract mold, which is why you have to be very careful not to overdo it.
When germinating weed seeds indoors using soil or another growing medium it is relatively easy to monitor the water levels. You should water your seed until you see water dripping out from below (and not more).
Even though the seedling cannot absorb that much water, it will evaporate quite quickly, so you need to make sure there is always enough around.
If you water it until it reaches this point, it should supply enough moisture for a few days.
Lighting and temperature
Like water, lighting is essential to a cannabis plant. In a mature plant, light enables the plant to form sugars from carbon dioxide and water.
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The plant then uses those sugars to power its growth – something we humans call photosynthesis.
For a seed, lighting is important as well because it provides heat, which a seed needs to push open its shell and send its root into the earth.
The best way to give your seeds the temperature it needs is with fluorescent lights. (T5 high output with a color temperature of 6500K).
Fluorescent lights are ideal because they do not use too much power, and they don’t give off too much heat.
You can place them as close to a young plant as you need, and although your seed doesn’t need it at this point, it will as soon as those first leaves start peeking out from the top of the soil.
Incandescent bulbs can also be used because they are great at generating heat. You can’t use them as grow lights, but for germination, they work just fine.
You can also use a seedling heating pad (available at most gardening stores). These heat the seeds from the bottom instead of the top. They will not be enough once your plant has started growing, however.
Keep the temperature of the soil around 72 degrees.
Seeds germinate best in warm, humid temperatures, similar to springtime.
To create a humid environment, wrap plastic wrap around your pot, creating a biodome for your plants. Just remember to remove the plastic wrap the minute you see any sprouts emerge from the soil.
If the soil, or water, or whatever you are growing in is hotter than 72 degrees Fahrenheit, move the lamp further away from the plant.
Dry air won’t kill seedlings, but if you can reduce it, even better.
Where to germinate seeds
When you’re planning your outdoor grow and you received your seeds, it’s best to germinate them indoors. This is because indoors it is much easier to maintain the correct temperature, water levels, and light exposure.
Even if you plan to grow your plants outdoors, you do not want to try starting them outside (unless you absolutely need to).
Outdoors you must worry about rain, clouds, and plenty of other things that could keep your seeds from sprouting.
You’ll also have to wait until the final frost has passed, meaning your growing season may be delayed compared to if you had started the seeds inside.
Starting indoors gives you a head start and your plants a better chance at survival.
If you still plan to germinate outdoors, choose a location that will support the plant its entire life. You will not be moving the plant so choose wisely.
- Plant seeds when corn is typically planted in your area.
- Dig 6x6x6 holes at least three feet apart and fill them with potting soil.
- This will give the seeds enough nutrients to start.
- Then, dig a small, quarter-inch deep hole into the potting soil and drop the seed in.
- Soak that soil with water, and water it again in a few days if the weather is warm enough.
- You can use row covers to protect your seeds and keep the area warm but be careful to not leave them on too long – young plants will need the light once they break through the soil.
In my free Grow Bible you will find even more tips for sprouting seeds and how to germinate pot seeds
The best way to germinate cannabis seeds!
With this guide, we would like to explain to you, how to germinate a cannabis seed most successfully. There are three common methods of cannabis seeds to germinate. Properly executed, they will be successful in almost every case.
- Germinate hemp seeds directly in soil
- Activate cannabis seeds with water
- Germinate cannabis seeds in damp cloths
So that cannabis seeds can be germinated under optimal conditions, in all three breeding types, some basic rules have to be considered. Before we describe the methods exactly, we first want to talk about these basics; The first golden rule is for example, not to treat cannabis seeds with bare hands to avoid the chance of contamination with bacteria or fungus. We strongly recommend the use of clean gloves and some disinfected tweezers!
Germinate weed seeds – The quality of the water:
The water temperature should be around 20 degrees and have good quality. The quality of the water can be tested with a PH meter and an EC meter. Recommendation: Osmosis water or drinking water very debil (with little salts and mineral arm).
The ideal substrate to germinate weed seeds:
You can work with different substrates. The most common are earth (light mix), coco and rock wool. Even with the substrates, the soil and ambient temperature should be right. A light mix is specially adapted to sensitive plants such as hemp. Most mixtures contain nutrients and minerals for a few weeks, which the young plant absorbs when it needs them.
For Coco substrate, before working with it, you should test the EC content, as most Coco substrates have a very high value. To lower the value, wash the Coco once with mineral water (osmosis water).
Breeding for coco and rock wool is also referred to as hydroponic cultivation, which means that significantly more air circulation at the roots is created. But the nutrients that are then fed to his plants are more directly absorbed by them. The risk of over or under-fertilization is greater but also the expected yield. Breeding on hydroponics is what gardeners with more experience.
Required air, light, and temperature for germination:
In order not to endanger the germination capacity of the seed, it should be stored in a dark and cool place (6 ° – 10°).
Before the seed is germinated, it must not be exposed to light and the air temperature should not be below 20° C (68° F) nor exceed 30° C (86° F). Maintaining a temperature around 25°C (77° F) is ideal. For outdoor cultivation, it’s recommended to germinate indoors, letting the seedlings grow for a few weeks, and don’t set plants outside too early.
Method 1. – Germinate hemp seeds in soil
- Prepare material (fill small flowerpots with soil).
- Lightly moisten the potting soil with good water. (Too much moisture = mold and fungal danger).
- Place the seeds in a 0.5cm recess in the center of the pot. Make sure that the seed is transverse and not upright, this can affect the germination rate. Nature has not shaped the seed without reason oval. If you set the seed transverse, it will easily position itself properly in the soil after germination! When you work with jiffies it works something similar. The jiffy is only soaked in water until it swells apart, then the water is expressed again without crushing it until residual moisture is over. At Jiffy, the factory usually prepares a slight depression for the seed.
- Lightly cover the seed with soil so that no light can shine directly on the seed. Also with the jiffi one covers the seeds with a little material. Wet but not wet! Now pour no more that could flush the seed back up and the amount of water is also difficult to control.
- In case of too little moisture, we recommend wetting the plant with a spray bottle.
- Now put the plant in a safe place and depending on the variety and genetics can be expected in the next 36 to 72 hours with a first result. In some cases, it can take up to 6 days.
Method 2. Germinate cannabis seeds in a paper towel.
- For preparation, we gonna need two plates, some sheets of kitchen roll, good quality water as described above, and our seeds.
- Put two sheets of kitchen paper on one of the plates and moisten them with water.
- Put your seeds on the damp cloth and put two more kitchen towels over it.
- Moisten also the upper cloths. Runoff excess water that the wipes are only slightly saturated.
- Put the second plate on the other plate like a shell.
- Store in a dark place and check daily that do not dry out the kitchen towels and of course to see if the seedlings are already broken. Once it is germinated, a small white shoot comes from one side. Now the time has come, the seed can be placed in the substrate of your choice. Carefully remove the seeds with tweezers from the cloths and carefully place them diagonally with the small germ downwards into a prepared hole. Only so deep that the seed is slightly covered with soil (max 5mm).
7. Wait, wait, wait and then be happy.
Method 3. Germinate cannabis seeds in a cup of water
This method is particularly suitable for activating seeds that have been stored for a long time
The addition of hydrogen peroxide is suitable for softening the husk of the hemp seed. About 3 – 5 drops per 100 ml of water are sufficient.
- Prepare a cup of water at a temperature of about 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Put the seeds into the water for 12 hours.
- Prepare to plant the seed in a small flower pot. Exactly as we described in method 1, under point 3.
- After planting, cover the seed with the substrate and moisten again with water.
- After about 2 – 3 days, the germ should gradually see daylight.
Cannabis seeds do not germinate? These are the most common mistakes:
- The pH of the water is too high or too low. Regardless of the method used to germinate the cannabis seeds, the pH should always be between 5.5 and 6.5.
- The EC value of the water is too high, it should be below 0.8.
- The water temperature was ignored, it should be between 20 ° and 22 ° celsius.
- If you let the hemp seeds germinate into soil, it may be that too much water was used, the soil was fertilized too much, or that the seed was pushed too deep into the soil, or was placed upside down.
- The seeds were exposed to strong temperature differences during transport.
This information is only of interest to customers who live in a country where cultivating and cultivating cannabis seeds is not a violation of the law.