Everything you need to know how to quickly and successfully germinate cannabis seeds. Compare different methods of marijuana seeds germination and choose the best one Starting cannabis from seed is an affordable and fulfilling way to start growing. It all starts with germinating cannabis seeds, followed by creating the ideal warm, humid environment for seedling growth. Giving your seeds (and then the seedings) the best support from the very start, you'll set yourself up for success Hydroponics is an ideal method for germinating seeds! An alternative way of growing plants will be to grow plants hydroponically. Hydroponics is a more hygienic and efficient method compared to soil based growing. It also protects your…
How To Quickly And Successfully Germinate Cannabis Seeds
All cannabis plants, whether tall and lanky Sativa trees or compact and sturdy Indica bushes, start from a single weed seed. This tiny brown nut contains everything necessary to eventually yield hundreds or even thousands of grams of potent buds! However, to reach that point, it’s important to place the seed in a special environment that will trigger life inside it, crack the shell open, and let the roots and stalk out.
In this article, we’ll be explaining how to germinate cannabis seeds and tell you about the best ways to do it. Before we start though, it’s important to know what environment cannabis seeds are most likely to pop in. Since in nature, they germinate in spring, logically, you want to put them in conditions that mimic fertile ground in spring – think plenty of moisture, little light, and mildly warm temperatures of around 18-22 C (64-71 F). Now, you’re ready to learn about the best ways to germinate cannabis seeds. Let’s dive right in!
Main Methods Of Cannabis Seed Germination
The following three methods have proved to be some of the easiest as well as the most effective. This means each of them is a great way to help your cannabis seed to sprout.
Germinating Cannabis Seeds In Soil
When spread naturally, marijuana seeds germinate directly in soil. So, why not recreate the natural process? This method is great for beginners because of how few steps it requires. All you need to do is make a 1.5-2cm (0.5-1 inch)-deep hole in the soil, place your seed in it, and lightly cover it with more soil. Then, water the spot above the seed and keep an eye on it to make sure the area stays moist most of the time. It’s also a good idea to cover your starting pot loosely with a plastic bag or a wrap to keep the environment humid and warm until the seedling shows up from the soil. This method is preferred by many because it eliminates the stress of transplantation that, at times, can be too tough on fragile seedlings.
Cannabis Strains For Beginners
Germinating Weed Seeds In Water
If you’re not ready to get your hands dirty just yet, it’s fine! Some growers start their seeds in a glass of water. This method is easy and quite effective. Practice shows that germinating in water normally makes around 90% of weed seeds pop. This method is pretty self-explanatory – all you need to do is place your cannabis seeds in a glass of fresh water away from light. Usually, the nuts crack open on the second day. For older seeds, however, the process may take up to 7 days, which is also fine. After the taproot shows, the seed is ready to be planted. Some growers wait for the seeds to drown (about 24 hours in), then transfer them to a wet paper towel – the method we’ll be explaining next.
How To Germinate Marijuana Seeds In A Paper Towel
This next method is a true classic that’s been shared grower to grower for generations. It’s also pretty simple and has everything you need to maintain the perfect environment for cannabis seeds to pop. To use this method of germination, place your seeds on a clean paper towel, fold it over them, and spray the towel lightly with water. After that, put the moist towel on one plate and cover it with a second plate to keep the seeds in the dark and not let the moisture evaporate. That’s pretty much it! This method can also be modified and improved upon. For example, instead of a paper towel, you can use two cotton pads for each of the seeds – these will be easier to open when it comes to removing the seed. Instead of plates, you can also place your seeds in an airtight container or ziplock bag to ensure the moisture stays in the towel/cotton pads.
Easy-To-Grow Cannabis Strains
How To Germinate Cannabis Seeds In Cotton Wool
Start with making a layer of cotton wool moist but not dripping wet, so that the excess water won’t suffocate the seeds. Then place your seeds on top, cover them with another layer (also moist), and put everything in a dark place.
Make sure the cotton wool is covered and won’t dry out while the seeds germinate.
The difficulty with germinating cannabis seeds in cotton wool is that the emerging roots may get entangled in it. For this reason, it’s better to use cotton pads in which cotton is more compacted and there is less fiber sticking out.
How To Germinate Autoflower Seeds
Cannabis is cannabis, and germinating autoflower seeds is exactly the same as any other variety. Just make sure to use the most effective technique because with autos you don’t want to lose any time at any stage, including germination.
Also, autoflower growers often choose the straight-into-the-final-pot method of germination to spare their precious babies any shock of transplanting.
Alternative Methods Of Cannabis Seeds’ Germination
Now let’s move to the more modern methods of cannabis seeds germination. These aren’t necessarily better in terms of germination rate, but still have some pros as well as cons that we find important to explain.
Germinating Cannabis Seeds In Peat Pellets Or Starter Cubes
If you want to give your seeds special treatment and make them feel loved from the very first day in your grow op, you might want to get your hands on peat pellets or starter cubes. So, how do you germinate marijuana seeds in rapid rooters, peat pellets, and starter cubes? These are all individual plugs of peat or a special seed starter mix that are incredibly easy to use and don’t leave much room for error. In the case of peat pellets (you may also know them as jiffy pellets), all you need to do is soak them in warm water, which will make the pellets expand. Then, squeeze the excess moisture out and place your seed (pointy side down) inside the pellet. Starter cubes and rapid rooters don’t require squeezing, but whatever you choose, you need to make sure your medium is slightly moist at all times. One of the greatest advantages of this method is that the seed germinates in complete peace and doesn’t need to be transferred from the pellet/starter cube/rapid rooter. After the seedling is out, just plant it into the soil together with what you were germinating the seed in.
Fast Flowering Cannabis Seeds
If you’re wondering how to germinate marijuana seeds for hydroponics, peat pellets, unlike other methods from this article, aren’t suitable for hydroponic setups. However, the rest of the techniques we’ll be discussing can be used for both soil and soilless media.
Germinating Cannabis Seeds In Rockwool Cubes
If you’re growing your seeds in a hydroponic setup, you might want to look into rockwool cubes for germination. As a material, rockwool is inert, cheap, and easy to find. Fans of hydroponic grows often choose rockwool for its mold-resistant qualities. The process of germination in rockwool cubes is the same as described in the previous method: simply place a seed inside a cube, water it, and keep it moist until the seedling is out.
Even though many growers prefer using rockwool for germination of their cannabis seeds, this method has quite a few drawbacks. First of all, the pH of new rockwool is not suited for cannabis seeds. It’s far too high and needs to be lowered before use. That’s why rockwool requires soaking overnight in pH-ed water and properly rinsed afterward. The second drawback of using rockwool for germination is that it’s a synthetic material that’s bad for both your health and the environment. When working with rockwool, it’s advised to use gloves and protective masks, because little pieces of the material can easily get into your mouth, eyes, and even end up in your lungs. Lastly, germination rates for seeds placed in rockwool cubes aren’t that great either – you can wait for your seeds to pop for weeks without any result.
Cannabis seed germination methods comparison table
In this article, we’ve covered five main germination methods. To sum everything up, here’s a comparison chart that can help you decide on how to germinate your marijuana seeds.
How To Germinate Cannabis Seeds For Hydroponics
DWC systems have seen a huge rise in popularity among home growers, making the question of germinating cannabis seeds for hydroponics extremely relevant. Is it any different? Not really, because the basics stay the same. You can still start with the paper towel method or a glass of water. However, we suggest using either starter cubes or rockwool when germinating cannabis seeds for hydroponics, as this will take the risk of damaging the sprouts to the minimum.
Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Soak your starter cubes or rockwool pieces in clean, pH-neutral water for an hour.
- Place a seed inside the cube.
- Put the starter cubes/rockwool cubes with seeds in them inside the grow tray.
- Fill the bottom of the grow tray with an inch (2.5cm) of clean water or a very light nutrient solution.
- Dial in the temperature (20-30C/69-89F) and humidity levels (80-90%).
- Keep the lid on for conditions close to a greenhouse.
That’s it! After a couple of days, you’ll see your sprouts emerging.
How Long Does It Take For Marijuana Seeds To Germinate?
Your preferred method won’t make much difference in how long it takes for marijuana seeds to germinate. What actually matters when it comes to germinating cannabis seeds quickly is the quality of the seeds, their genetics, and how old they are. Normally, fresh seeds of good quality will never take more than 5 days to show taproot. However, if your seeds have been waiting for their hour for a little too long, it may take them around 10 days to germinate. Luckily, this won’t affect any characteristics of the future plant.
How To Germinate Old Cannabis Seeds
There are several tricks for germinating old cannabis seeds, all of them aimed at making the shell softer or thinner to help the sprout break out:
- Germinating cannabis seeds with hydrogen peroxide. Before germinating old cannabis seeds, try soaking them in a glass of room-temperature water with a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide mixed in. This solution will help rehydrate and soften the seed’s shell. After 24 hours in this solution, switch to your preferred germination method.
- Scarifying old seeds. This is another proven method of germinating old cannabis seeds. Try lining a small matchbox with sandpaper, placing the seeds in, and shaking them there for about a minute. This will cover the seeds in microfractures, making it much easier for the sprout to break through. After scarifying the seeds, use your preferred germination method.
Tips For Caring After Germinating Seeds And Seedlings
As we’ve already pointed out, cannabis seedlings are very gentle, and you need to be careful not to put them in any danger or stress. Use the following tips, and your seedlings will make it safely to the next stage of their lifecycle.
In order to germinate and survive the first days of life, cannabis seeds and seedlings need to be kept under certain conditions like warm temperature, high levels of humidity, darkness for seeds/lots of light for seedlings, and, of course, peace and quiet. Outdoor environments can therefore be too unpredictable – if the weather changes and brings heavy rain or wind, or if a bird or cat decides to try and snack on the seedling, the young plant most likely won’t survive and you’ll have to start all over. That’s why we recommend germinating your seeds and growing seedlings indoors, where you have full control over their environment.
Choose Soil For Seedlings Wisely
There’s a common term among growers used to describe soil extremely rich in nutrients, and that’s “hot”. While hot soil is beneficial for cannabis in general, especially when made and used correctly, hot nutrient-rich soils, or super soils, are not the best option for young marijuana seedlings. In the early stages of cannabis development, the plant’s nutrient needs are quite low, and too much of them can actually hurt the young plant’s health. So, make sure to use more neutral soil for seedlings. A good trick that you can implement in your practice is to cover nutrient-rich soils with a layer of a more neutral medium and plant the seedling in this upper layer. The plant will develop, and once it’s ready for bigger nutrient intake, its roots will reach the underlying “hotter” soil. Remember that the vegetative stage requires nitrogen-rich media.
Give Seedlings Enough Light
After spending so much time inside its dark shell, seedlings are hungry for light, and plenty of it! As we suggest starting your plants indoors, this means you’ll need to install a light to satisfy the seedlings’ needs. The vegetative stage of cannabis requires mostly blue light spectrum, so anything from fluorescent lamps to full-spectrum LEDs, 100W and up, will work fine for seedlings. Just make sure the light is placed close enough to the plants. The optimal distance for fluorescent lights is 5-6 inches (13-16cm) and 8-12 inches (20-30cm) for LEDs. In case the seedlings need more light, they will let you know by getting tall and leggy. This condition is dangerous for them, so make sure your baby plants are receiving enough light.
Keep Them In A Mini-Greenhouse
Finally, another nice touch to keep your sprouts safe and sound would be to provide them with a small improvised greenhouse of their own. Loosely covering the starting pots or pellets with a plastic bag will do the trick. However, in garden stores, you can also find specialized containers with tall transparent lids. Whatever you choose, this will help the seedlings stay warm, hydrated, and safe from any dangers of the outside world.
Is It Legal To Germinate Cannabis Seeds?
This is a tricky question to answer, as the situation depends on the jurisdiction of your country of residence.
If you’re a citizen of Canada, the U.S., the Netherlands, or Spain – all countries with lighter cannabis policies – it’s legal to germinate cannabis seeds. However, additional rules apply depending on what part of the country you live in and what seed type you want to germinate. Nonetheless, it’s safe to assume that germination of cannabis seeds is legal everywhere where it’s legal to grow cannabis, and especially if you’re planning to start a garden of medicinal marijuana, you likely won’t break any rules by germinating seeds of strains with THC content lower than 1%.
In other countries, governments may draw the line at germination. For example, in the UK, it’s legal to trade and keep cannabis seeds, but you have to be careful with their germination, as this is where the law gets broken.
In our blog, we’ve covered the legality of cannabis seeds and everything you can do to stay safe. For more information, check out the following articles:
- “Where in the World Is It Legal To Buy Cannabis Seeds?” for tips for residents of Europe, China, South Africa, New Zealand, Turkey, and more.
- “The Legality Of Cannabis And Its Seeds In The UK”
- “Is It Legal to Buy Cannabis Seeds in the USA?”
- “Canada Pot Laws”
What’s the best temperature for germinating cannabis seeds?
Cannabis seeds prefer a warm environment for germination, with the most optimal temperature being 25C (78F). However, it’s okay to add/subtract a couple of degrees from this number while still keeping the air warm.
What’s the best pH for germinating cannabis seeds?
The perfect pH for cannabis seed germination is between 5.5-6.0.
What’s the best soil for germinating cannabis seeds?
It’s better to use light, easily drainable soil for germinating seeds, as this will not restrain the growing sprout. The soil for germination and seedlings should also be neutral or very light on nutrients – “hot” and nutrient-rich soils are only suitable for mature cannabis plants.
What’s the best humidity level for germinating cannabis seeds?
The germination stage requires high humidity levels of 80-90%.
What’s the fastest way to germinate cannabis seeds?
All methods described in this article are more or less the same in terms of the speed of germination. Much more depends on the freshness of your seeds – the fresher the seeds, the sooner they will germinate.
Do weed seeds need light to germinate?
Weed seeds germinate in the dark. So, even after you put a germinated seed in soil, you can keep the lights off. Until the seed pops up through the surface, that is.
Will cracked seeds germinate?
The protective shell on seeds is there for a reason, so any cracks or chips decrease the chances of successful germination. However, much depends on how long ago the crack appeared. And, anyway, it never hurts to try.
How long for cannabis seeds to break soil?
If you put a dry seed into wet soil, don’t expect the sprout to appear sooner than 60 hours. For pre-soaked beans or those that were put into the soil when they had shown a taproot, this may happen earlier. Sometimes in as little as 12 hours.
Cannabis seeds sold in reputable seed shops sprout very fast. Seeds that are old or have been stored improperly may take up to 10 days to sprout.
Starting Off Right
Now you can see that growing marijuana from seed isn’t at all that hard. Just remember to give your seeds enough TLC and dial in some environmental conditions to fit their needs. We’ve shown you some of the easiest and most effective methods of germinating pot seeds. Which one is your personal favorite? Let us and fellow growers know in the comments below.
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I’m trying my first seeds using the glass of water method, some seeds have sunk to the bottom and some are floating, are the floating ones no good?
If you lightly “tap” the floaters after they’ve soaked overnight, they’ll sink, they just weren’t heavy enough to break the surface. If they float back up, let them soak another day and tap it. If it still floats, you may have an issue. However, I’ve experienced floaters and after the overnight soak, every floater I needed to tap, sank, and germinated fine.
I used a cotton pad, wet in clear container w/ saran wrap over put in sunlight and after first day checked every 12hrs, and they cracked on the 2nd day. worked well
Hello Keepinit, we are happy to hear that our article is useful to the growers, we wish you best of luck in your hobby!
what i find the most effective way is placing in a coffee filter then putting a coffee filter on top, then put on a plate and place a cup over the seeds and coffee filters and keep moist until germination occurs
What’s the longest you’ve ever had to wait for a seed to germinate and still had a normal, healthy plant? I’ve had 100% success the last 4 strains I’ve germ’ed with seedlings showing in 3-5 days. Recently got 10 Northern Lights seeds from a local vendor, and the first three went 15 days and nothing. I retried with two more and I’m on day 8 and still nothing. Maybe just a bad batch of seeds.. I’m behind schedule now for my next grow!
most good and healthy seeds sprout after a couple days, some older seeds take longer. I usually give them a couple of days to germinate if i still see no signs after 5-6 days i start to get worried.
15 days is a lot. I’ve waited a week at most, longer than that u will see the seed get darker, kinda sluggish nd swelled, that’s a dead seed decomposing, sometimes they just flood
How’s it going? I’m new to the game and was wondering the best way of altering PH level of water? I have an abundance of 500ml bottled water that has a PH of 7.9, a good way off the optimal PH 6 required I know, but is there a way of adding solution to each bottle separately and if so any suggestions of best solution to use? Thanks.
Yes there is ph tester for water that takes drops to test which is the most efficient way to test ph. Also to adjust the ph you want to get ph-up or ph- down I believe general hydroponics is the company for it.
The pic at the top is wrong ,the seed is up side down pistols or the hairs should come out of the seed butt hole that’s how the pollen gets in .2 hairs pair seed one for seed the other for the food sac ,
What happens to Seeds overtime they dry out and the carbohydrate that’s inside of them to feed them becomes weaker. As far as the potency of genetics that does not change however I recommend soaking all Seed between 12 and 24 hours. I use of seed starter MassiveGro invented formula pH to round 5.8 I pour about a quarter inch in a cup put my seeds in there put the next couple on top of it to force them down into the liquid. Occasionally give them a shake you don’t want them to be floating when you plant them. Then I soak my paper towel are use the nice cotton felt like paper towels I think a Brauny or veva with that seed starter formula pour the seed right onto it a ring out the excess moisture put it in a 1 gallon freezer bag place bag up high where it is 80° or put it on the heat mat with a thermostat and check it after one day because it’ll sprout fast. I like to let the sprout get a half inch long and then plant it The biggest problem you have with old seed is the lack of carbohydrate it may sprout then usually burn up all it has and die right away. Unless your seeds got hot you probably won’t have any problem unless they’re more than four years old. Old seed you can assist the carbohydrate by watering the soil with potato water a few drops of corn syrup or a fish fertilizer soak and Endo Mycorrhiza sprinkled around the seed. NPK industries wrong line of Omina is a good gentle amino acid helps break down substances so plants uptake faster when everything’s good I usually mix half strength of the weak dosage. NPK raw stuff can be bought on Amazon in small 2 ounce packages there everything’s pretty concentrated usually last you quite a while. But This is where a seed starter formula comes in because it usually has the carbohydrate to keep it going right away. I use pro mix BX with added perlite and when plants are tiny etc. I always measure my water and times with measuring spoons till a plant is healthy pro mix keeps plants from damning off as long as you’re not drenching it right away because it doesn’t dry out very fast easiest way to kill seeds to drowned it that’s why I measure watering and write it down I don’t try to push or stress my plants I either used seed starter fertilizer or plain pH water until they are about 6 inches high before a poor nutrients to them and once a week I do a full soil drench and drain prior to that you’re probably talking tablespoon or two of Water. Never let your pH get above 6.4 you lock out nutrients and you also root slower, once your plants are growing an strong between the 6 inch and 12 inch stage I’ll use about two weeks of red light will actually give you more roots. You can go to in NPK-University.com sign up for Harley Smith’s advanced grow you won’t be sorry Harley is like the master of the world lol
Grow Guide: How to Start Cannabis from Seed
Starting cannabis from seed is an affordable and fulfilling way to start growing. It all starts with germinating cannabis seeds, followed by creating the ideal warm, humid environment for seedling growth.
Giving your seeds (and then the seedings) the best support from the very start, you’ll set yourself up for success come harvest. Here are the basics to growing cannabis from seeds.
Where to Find Cannabis Seeds
At this point, there are hundreds of different online options for sourcing cannabis seeds . If you are growing indoors, the world is your oyster, as many websites are willing to ship nationally (or even internationally). Plus, if you master the indoor environment, you can recreate perfect conditions for even the most demanding of strains.
For those growing outdoors, try to locate a local breeder who also cultivates outside. These cultivars will be adapted to your unique climate and will likely produce better results.
No idea where to start? Seed Finder is an excellent resource for sourcing specific genetics and breeders in your area. But this is just one place among many in today’s weed-friendly world.
How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
What You’ll Need:
- Cannabis seeds
- Paper towel
- Plate or tray
- Ziplock bag
- Heating mat (optional)
The first step to growing cannabis from seed is learning how to germinate them. Place cannabis seeds on a sheet of paper towel, laid on top of a tray. Dampen the towel with water so it’s wet but not soaking.
Fold the towel in half to cover the seeds, and enclose it inside a Ziploc bag. Place the entire tray on a heating mat, the top of a fridge or other warm area of your house. Cannabis seeds germinate between 71 to 77°F (22–25°C).
Check back every day for signs of life. If your seeds are viable, they should sprout within a week. If you are still waiting for a few to emerge after a week, toss those and begin again. If no seeds have sprouted, your seeds are no longer viable.
Ed Rosenthal recommends soaking seeds for 12 hours before germination. His formula uses water, a cannabis rooting solution and hydrogen peroxide.
This solution is a good option for commercial and large scale growers, as it reduces the risk of fungal infection and encourages rapid sprouting. Compost tea is another excellent option for a natural alternative.
Ideal Conditions for Cannabis Seeds and Seedlings
What You’ll Need:
- Germinated Cannabis Seeds
- Potting Mix (or Root Riot Plant Cubes )
- Propagation Tray with Dome
Once germinated, you must carefully move these tiny seeds into the soil or soilless growing medium like Root Riot Plant Cubes. When you start cannabis from seed, the aim is a warm and relatively humid environment.
Starting Cannabis With Soil
If using soil, choose an organic potting mix suitable for seeds and starts. Water soil mixture before use, and fill potting containers that have a drainage hole. Avoid pellets that are commonly sold at garden centers, as they don’t retain moisture well, and it’s challenging for cannabis roots to break free of the netting.
Using a popsicle stick, tweezers or a toothpick, lower the germinated seed into a premade hole roughly two the three times the height of the seed. As you gently fill in the hole, be careful not to damage the sprout.
Starting Cannabis for Hydroponics
For hydroponics, you’ll want to use Rockwool cubes or Root Riot Plant Cubes. These come pre-cut into perfect starter plugs, often with a hole in the middle for the seed.
Before use, soak the cubes in water and rooting solution until they are wet but not dripping. Gently lower the germinated seed into the hole using a popsicle stick, tweezers or a toothpick. Be extremely careful not to damage the early sprout.
Whatever option you choose, keep the seedlings at a consistent temperature: 68 to 77°F (20 to 25°C). Depending on where you live, a heating mat may be necessary. Use a propagation tray with a clear dome to trap the humidity in, but open up once a day to encourage a bit of airflow.
Lighting Requirements for Cannabis Seedlings (& How to Eliminate Stretch)
Seedlings and starts require 16 hours of light a day and eight hours of dark. You can even bump this up to 24 hours a day, and the seedlings will continue to eat it up.
What kind of grow light do you need for this early stage of development? Not the same capacity you’ll need for veg and bloom. Higher wattage types of HID lights (Metal Halide and High-Pressure Sodium) are far too powerful for sensitive seedlings.
Most growers use a simple LED grow light or a CFL fixture. Ed Rosenthal recommends 40 to 60 watts per square foot.
While these may not be entirely enough for veg and bloom, they produce enough light for seedlings without the added heat. This means you can place the lights close to the tops of the seedlings.
Place lights as close as possible to the tops of the starts, without raising the temperature over 77°F. You want seedlings to get enough light without burning them.
The goal is to avoid early stretching in your small cannabis seedlings. Healthy seedlings are short and wide, not tall and skinny. Stretching is when the sprout reaches tall for the light without putting out leaves.
Typically, under outdoor conditions, plants remain short for the first few weeks as they focus energy on building structure and root development. Stretching inside demonstrates the seedling is not getting enough light. The light source is either not intense enough or too far away.
When to Transplant Cannabis Seedlings
The primary goal for starting cannabis seeds in small pots is to encourage healthy and strong root development. Once the seedling has three to four sets of leaves, begin checking root development. This will likely be three or more weeks after germination.
Another telltale sign it’s time to transplant is when you notice roots begin to creep out from the drainage holes. If working with Rockwool, a key indicator it’s time to transplant is when the roots begin to outgrow the cube. A plant’s growth trajectory slows down if it is root-bound. If the roots have consumed the available space, it’s time to move up a size.
Cannabis Seedlings From Germination to Transplanting
Starting cannabis from seed gives growers access to a much larger genetic pool than what you can find locally from a clone supplier. Plus, if you’ve got the time to invest, it’s a much more affordable way to grow cannabis. Finally, if you are already set up with a veg and bloom room, you have everything you need to get started from seed.
How to Germinate Seeds in Hydroponics
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Hydroponics is an ideal method for germinating seeds! An alternative way of growing plants will be to grow plants hydroponically. Hydroponics is a more hygienic and efficient method compared to soil based growing. It also protects your plants from root rot or insects. You can also control the whole system as everything is automated in this growing method.