Handling cannabis seed germination is no difficult task, but it requires a great deal of precision and care. If you can provide that, you’re good to go. Learning how to germinate cannabis seeds is the first step to growing marijuana, but it's not as easy as many aspiring cultivators think. Learning how to germinate cannabis seeds is essential to all future growing success. Properly popping beans puts you on the road to healthy plants and heavy harvests. But there are a few things to consider in order to master how to germinate cannabis seeds the right way.
How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
Cannabis, better known as marijuana, is getting more popular across the United States as more medical reports deem it highly useful for better health and more states legalize its sale and use. There’s no question of how potent and beneficial marijuana is for health and recreation, so it is no surprise that more individuals are more getting interested in growing the herb in their homes.
Like any other plant, cannabis goes through the germination process before full growth. Handling cannabis seed germination is no difficult task, but it requires a great deal of precision and care. If you can provide that, you’re good to go.
Below here, we breakdown the main aspects of cannabis seed germination you need to know.
The Ideal Germination Conditions for Cannabis
For maximum cannabis seed germination, you need to provide the following conditions:
Marijuana seeds need adequate moisture in the soil to develop properly. You can maintain moisture by using well-watered soil or a naturally-moist medium such as compost. Alternatively, you can use mulch on the ground to lock the moisture in.
Your seeds need a stable setup during planting to guarantee proper germination. You can achieve this by placing the seeds about 1.3cm to 2.5 cm into the medium, not any further or closer to the medium surface.
Marijuana seeds require a proper balance between hot and cold temperatures for proper germination. Keep the temperature around the germinating area adequately warm, because colder temperatures tend to delay the germination process.
Marijuana seeds need direction when being germinated. When placing the germinated seed into the growing medium, ensure that the white root is looking downwards into the medium and the seed body is looking upwards. Positioning it otherwise means the root will have to reorganize itself, which can slow germination.
Seed Germination Methods
There are more than a few options to choose from when picking a method for your seed germination process. We list and explain the best of them below:
Use Starter Cubes & Seedling Plugs
This is the most recommended cannabis seed germination method on this list because of its ease. Starter cubes and seedling plugs are specially designed for the purpose of seed germination, so they come filled with the right kind of planting mix and a hole drilled adequately in the middle for placing your seed. All you have to do is place your seed carefully into the hole and close it with a simple pinch of the nearby planting mix.
- They have high germination rates thanks to adequately pre-set conditions
- They are easy to use; you open them up and start planting
- They give less room for error
- Some of them are designed to allow hydroponic growing (water-based planting)
- They aren’t too expensive
- Are usually sold in packages of 50 plugs or more at once, no less.
- Some plugs dry out too quickly after opening.
- Some plugs must be soaked for a while first before use.
Plant your marijuana seeds directly in the final growing medium
Another good method for germinating your cannabis seeds is by planting them within your final growing medium from the very beginning, whether it is soil or compost or water.
- The seeds don’t get transplant shock during transplanting
- The seeds get accustomed to the medium early on, which fosters growth
- Some final mediums are not adequately nutrient-rich to support cannabis seed germination in its earliest stages
Use a germination station
For best seed germination results, you can alternatively employ a germination station before transferring to a final growing medium. Germination stations are pre-designed to offer optimum conditions for germination.
- Germination stations are cheap to purchase
- You can create your own DIY germination station at home using a plastic dome fitted over a plate that’s placed on a heating pad.
- Germination seeds are only appropriate for the early stages of growth, unlike, say, the final medium.
Soak Your Marijuana Seeds in Water Overnight
Alternatively, you can germinate your cannabis seeds using water alone. Place the seeds in a glassful of mildly warm water overnight and wait for the white root to break through the seed shell. Then you can transfer to a final growing medium.
- It works well for seeds with extra hard seed coats
- Cuts out all the extra preparation required in soil-based germination
- Some seeds, especially the older ones, cannot germinate in water because they require a longer time
- There is always the risk of over soaking the seeds and killing them
Try the Paper Towel Method
The most DIY cannabis seed germination method on this list is the paper towel method, which involves wrapping your seeds in thin paper towels, making them wet and leaving the setup a warm place. Soon enough, the white roots start showing and the seeds can then be transplanted.
- It is so cheap; the thinnest (and cheapest) paper towels work best
- It is so easy to do.
- Thicker paper towels can be hard to separate new seedlings from after they’ve sprouted
- There is a high possibility for errors during transplanting, such as root breakage when seed roots are found to have grown into the paper towel, not on its surface.
- Paper towels can dry if unattended, thereby killing the new seedlings.
Planting Germinated Seeds
Once the cannabis seeds have germinated, they need to be planted in order to grow into proper cannabis plants. The recommended method for planting cannabis seeds includes the steps below:
Step One : Set and prepare your planting medium. You can use either a rooting cube or a planting mix for planting, depending on your preference. Rooting cubes have no major preparation requirements –have one ready from Oasis, Jiffy or another good brand. If you’re using a planting mix, procure sterile soil for the process. Random soil doesn’t cut it here.
Step Two : Next, add water to the sterile soil or rooting cube to saturate it. Then use a needle or chopstick to drill small planting holes within the soil or rooting cube. Please do not use your finger for this task.
Step Three : Get your tweezers and sterilize them with alcohol or spirit first. Then use the tweezers to pick the seeds, paying good attention to the fragile white roots.
Step Four : Place each germinated seed into a hole of its own, ever so tenderly, such that the root faces downward. Don’t place the seeds too deep into the ground either, because it slows growth. Move quickly because the roots are easily damaged by exposure to the atmosphere.
Step Five : Next, cover each of the holes with adequate soil or rooting cube. Make sure the planting mix or root cube is moist and not too cold.
Germinating and growing cannabis seeds requires a bit of work, but when done right, the end results are worth every minute spent. Like any other plant, cannabis seeds have to go through germination and then plant growth. Making sure each of these stages is done right will guarantee you a super bouncy harvest every time.
How To Germinate Cannabis Seeds
Cultivating cannabis from a seed is not as easy as many beginner growers might think. Various factors are involved which will ultimately determine if the cultivator is successful and has a large harvest, or if they fail and have to go back to the drawing board. Learning how to germinate cannabis seeds is the first step to becoming a cultivator.
Some cannabis cultivators prefer to start with cannabis clones versus marijuana seeds. Each route has its own advantages, however, seeds are typically easier to acquire than clones. While clones and seeds will both do the trick, seeds also seem to be a more popular route in many areas.
It’s worth noting that purchasing cannabis seeds online is illegal and often results in less than desirable seeds being acquired by the buyer. Look for legal cannabis seed options in your area. Many reputable licensed cannabis dispensaries sell cannabis seeds, with strain options varying.
How Do You Know If A Cannabis Seed Is Viable?
If you consume cannabis long enough, chances are you will come across a seed in your cannabis flower. Whether you want to try to germinate the seed immediately, or save it for down the road, it is important that you know if the cannabis seed is viable to be germinated or not.
Viable cannabis seeds tend to have a darker color with shades of grey, black, and/or brown. A really good cannabis seed will typically have a ‘tiger stripe’ across it. Another way to tell if a cannabis seed is viable is by touching it (make sure to wear gloves when handling cannabis seeds). A quality seed should withstand a bit of a pinch. If the seed collapses under a little pressure, then it wasn’t viable.
How Do You Germinate Cannabis Seeds?
Germinating marijuana seeds is not difficult, although it does take attention to detail and the right environment. Successful germination takes the right amount of moisture, the right temperature, and a decent amount of light (sunlight or artificial light from low-intensity grow lights).
Arguably the easiest and most cost-effective way to germinate a cannabis seed is to place it between wet paper towels (often referred to as “the paper towel germination method”). Add a bit of water to the paper towels and squeeze out the excess water.
You want the paper towels to be moist but not dripping water. Place the seed(s) between the moist paper towels, place the paper towels in a sandwich bag to lock in the moisture, and put it on a window ledge where it will get some but not too much light. Keep the paper towels moist until the germinated cannabis seeds are ready to transplant.
If the temperature of the room is too cold (below 55 degrees Fahrenheit), consider using a heating mat, which can be found at most department stores in the gardening section. The success rate of the paper towel method is high as long as the cultivator keeps a close eye on the process until the germinated seed is ready to be transplanted into potting soil, peat pellets, or a different growing medium.
Various products such as “rapid rooters” can be incorporated into germination strategies, however, they are not as cost-effective as the paper towel method.
When Is The Seed Ready To Be Transplanted?
Watching a cannabis seed germinate can be a lot like waiting for water to boil — it takes time (typically a couple of weeks). The seeds will eventually crack open and a white root will shoot out of the cracked cannabis seed shell. The white root is often referred to as the taproot. Once your sprouting seed has a strong taproot (an inch or so) it is ready to be transplanted.
Find a two-inch container for your grow space, fill it full of soil (or your preferred growing medium), and poke a hole where the seed will be placed. Using tweezers, place the seed with the taproot facing down in the hole. Then, cover it with soil.
From there, you can grow the cannabis seed into a large cannabis plant. One downfall to cultivating cannabis from seed is that you won’t know if the marijuana plants are male or female for several weeks. If the young plant proves to be male, then it is basically useless. Using feminized cannabis seeds is a good way to ensure that the plants are not males, saving you quite a bit of time and headache.
Continuing Your Education
Cultivating cannabis is a never-ending educational journey. Even the most experienced cannabis cultivators will be quick to tell you that they are always learning and seeking out cultivation information.
A great way to learn more about the cannabis cultivation process from seed to harvest is via Green Flower’s Cannabis Cultivation Certificate Program. The program is led by true cultivation experts and involves insightful course materials. If you are looking to increase your cultivation knowledge this is a great way to do it!
How To Germinate Cannabis Seeds: A Step-by-Step Guide
“It all starts with a seed.” Learning how to germinate cannabis seeds is essential to all future growing success. Properly popping beans puts you on the road to healthy plants and heavy harvests. But there are a few things to consider in order to master how to germinate cannabis seeds the right way.
Step 1: Choosing Seeds
First, you must decide on what seeds to grow and where to get them. Seek out trustworthy seed companies that have been around and have a track record of successful breeding. Take a look at our High Times Seed Bank Hall of Fame for a list of 50 of the most well-known and accomplished strain creators.
Don’t have seeds mailed to the location where you’re growing or planning to grow. Beginners might want to start with an indica-dominant strain that will stay small and stocky with a short flowering time.
Sativa-dominant strains tend to stretch more and have longer flowering times. If your seeds have been sitting around in storage for a while, check out these tips for germinating old seeds.
Step 2: Sprouting Seeds
Some people choose to use the moist paper towel method to germinate their seeds but I recommend just sowing them directly into the medium you plan to grow in. This reduces any stress the seedling will suffer through the transplanting process and secures the young plant firmly into your chosen mix.
Moist Paper Towel: Place seeds on a plate between two moistened paper towels. Put a plate on top to cover and within a couple of days, you should see the seed cracked open and a taproot emerging. Immediately and carefully (using tweezers) place your seed into your growing medium taproot down and water it in.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with using a moist paper towel, as long as you’re gentle with the emerging tap root and as long as you don’t let the taproot grow too long before planting. My belief is simply to start the plant in its own medium to reduce the likelihood of damaging the tender young roots and shoots.
Straight Into Medium: Poke a hole in your pre-moistened grow medium of choice. Drop your seed in about a quarter- to a half-inch deep. Cover the seed with more of your medium and tamp it down gently.
The important thing is to not plant too deeply and to keep the medium moist and warm for the best germination success rate. Clear plastic wrap placed over the top of the container helps maintain humidity. A heating mat underneath your plastic tray will increase your success rate as well.
Step 3: Seedling Care
Within a few days, you should see a minuscule green shoot emerging from the top of your medium. Immediately get your seedling under adequate grow lighting. Ideally, for the strongest growth rate, you want Metal Halide (MH) lighting, but Fluorescent or LED (Light-Emitting Diode) lighting works fine and won’t produce as much heat.
No matter what lighting you choose, always remember not to keep your grow-light too high above your seedling as this will make it stretch to reach the light and leave your young plant looking long and lanky.Use a timer to make sure the lights are on for at least 18 hours per day. Learning how to germinate cannabis seeds also means treating the emerging seedlings with the proper care.
Temperature and Humidity: You never want your seedlings to dry out. Keep your medium moist but not soaking wet. The air in your grow space should be kept warm, between 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit and with a relative humidity between 50-60 percent.
Use a thermometer/hygrometer to keep track of these factors at all times. As your plant adapts to its new environment, you will see new foliage sprouting forth. Your plants are now well into their vegetative stage of plant growth.
Final Hit: How To Germinate Cannabis Seeds
Now that you know how to germinate cannabis seeds, you’re ready to begin the process of growing your own weed. Just remember, provide light, food and water to your plants when they need it and keep the environment within acceptable levels of temperature and humidity. You’ll avoid so many problems by simply maintaining the proper parameters.
One last tip: Remember to label your seeds, seedlings and clones to avoid confusion and costly mistakes. Now get growing!