How to germinate cannabis seeds
So, you’ve decided to grow your own cannabis plants. You purchased a pack of seeds, assembled cultivation materials, cleared a space in your garden, and are ready to grow your first cannabis crop . With everything in hand, it’s time to begin the very first step of cannabis cultivation : germinating seeds.
What is germination?
Germination is the first stage of the cannabis growth cycle : the process that brings a cannabis seed out of its hibernation period and starts the cannabis growth process. After all, seeds in a bag don’t spontaneously start developing roots. Also known as “popping” seeds, seed germination begins when a seed receives environmental cues letting it know the setting is perfect to start growth.
Germination is the process that brings a cannabis seed out of its hibernation period and starts the cannabis growth process. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
When a seed enters an environment with enough moisture, it will increase in size and slowly break out of its shell. A seedling or germ forms from which roots will emerge, helping the baby plant absorb nutrients from the soil. Seeds naturally develop roots facing down and stems stretching upward, allowing the young cannabis plant to simultaneously feed off light and earth.
It’s essential to acquire high-quality cannabis seeds for germination, as these will go on to become high-quality cannabis plants. Seeds that are fresh-feeling or too green indicate that they haven’t reached full maturity, while pale-green, white, or very dark cannabis seeds may have trouble sprouting. However, it’s tricky to know the outcome of a popped seed, so trying may be worthwhile. If you’re not ready to pop your seeds yet, store them in a dark, cool place until it’s time for germination.
Preparing to germinate cannabis seeds
Germination itself is a crucial aspect of cannabis cultivation. The seed germination process is the foundation of every marijuana plant, and steps can be taken to boost successful popping. For example, some cultivators improve germination attempts by soaking seeds in 1% hydrogen peroxide or a compost tea for 12 hours beforehand to kill any dangerous pests.
The environment in which seeds germinate also plays a role in the outcome. While there are several different germination methods, each requires proper moisture, minimal handling, and warm springtime temperatures between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to germinate cannabis seeds
The best germination method depends on the cultivator’s choice. Here are some of the most common ways to pop your cannabis seeds.
How to germinate seeds in soil
Soil is an easy, more natural method with which to germinate your cannabis seeds. The soil protects the fragile roots from any interference, and soil is, after all, where a cannabis plant would grow in the wild.
Soil is an easy, more natural method with which to germinate your cannabis seeds because the soil protects the fragile roots from any interference. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
First, make sure you use the correct type of soil, either gently fertilized potting soil or a seed starter with a pH level of approximately six (6). The soil contains the right acidity and enough nutrients to strengthen your young cannabis plants for the first two weeks. Be careful not to add more nutrients, or you risk overfeeding and killing your seeds.
Place the soil in a small pot and use your finger or a pencil to push a small hole in the dirt, a bit more than half an inch deep. Insert the seed into the hole and bury it with soil. From this point on, don’t touch your seed. The young plant is fragile and knows how to position itself in the soil bed.
Gently water the soil with a spray bottle and situate your pots under a fluorescent lamp. Keep seeds away from the windowsill, as the temperature is too volatile for germination. In general, you’ll want to keep the temperature in the range of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Monitor your soil every day and keep it moist. Within four to seven days, you should see tiny stems sprouting from the soil.
When the seedling stems reach two to four inches in height, it’s time to transplant your cannabis into larger pots with more room for roots to spread down and out. After you’ve done this, you’ve successfully germinated your cannabis seeds into proper, young plants.
How to germinate seeds in water
You can also germinate your seeds by placing them in water. It’s slightly faster than the soil method, but you need to adjust your environmental factors accordingly. Remember, successfully germinating seeds requires a perfect balance of ideal growing conditions. When germinating in water, seeds need only 24-48 hours to pop their stems, though cultivators can keep them soaking for up to a week as needed. Water germination is faster because the seed gets all the moisture it needs immediately, and the shell softens and cracks more easily after soaking.
To employ water germination, fill a glass with tap water and let it sit until it reaches room temperature or around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Add two to three plant seeds per cup and allow them to sit, watching for any changes. Change the water to fresh tap water every two days, making sure it stays at room temperature.
The seeds should start sprouting in about two days, though older seeds can take up to a week to sprout. You can remove them from the water and place them in the soil at any point once they’ve sprouted. Once the roots are about five millimeters long, they need to be planted.
The downside of water germination is that once they’ve popped, you’ll need to maneuver them into their growing medium manually. This is a delicate process, as germinating seeds are extra fragile, and any harm risks the development of your plants. Make sure to place the seed roots down in the soil when you transfer to a pot.
How to germinate seeds using paper towels
The paper towel method is also a common way cultivators pop their seeds. Some even use this method with cotton pads instead of paper towels, but the necessary steps are the same.
To germinate seeds this way, lay one paper towel on top of a countertop, place a few seeds, and cover them with a second paper towel.
Lay one paper towel on top of a countertop, place a few seeds, and cover them with a second paper towel. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Use a spray bottle to moisten the paper towels and then store the cushioned seeds between two plates, under a face-down bowl, or gently place them in a plastic bag. Maintain a temperature of about 72 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping the paper towel wrapped seeds in the dark and away from a windowsill. In two to five days, the seeds will pop inside the paper towel sandwich and emit tiny roots, ready to plant when they reach about five millimeters in length.
Use a spray bottle to moisten the paper towels and then store the cushioned seeds between two plates, under a face-down bowl, or gently place them in a plastic bag. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The paper towel method also has its risk, as the fragile seedlings can be damaged during the potting process. The tiny roots can also get tangled in the paper towels, so make sure to move the seeds to potting soil before roots grow too long. Use your hands or tweezers to gently remove each seed from the paper towels and place them in a prepared growing medium.
How do you germinate seeds indoors?
Whether you’re planning an indoor cultivation or outdoor grow, it’s best to germinate your seeds indoors. It’s easier to maintain proper temperature, light exposure, and moisture inside, and you can protect your seeds from the elements. Indoor germination, whether using soil or paper towels, will ensure your cannabis seeds have the best chance for survival.
To germinate seeds indoors, use any of the methods described above. Within a few days, you’ll have popped seeds ready to transfer to a growing medium.
Do you need to germinate seeds before planting?
While many plants can be germinated in the ground, cannabis seeds are fragile enough that you should germinate them before planting.
Once your seeds have sprouted roots, they should be planted in soil, a soil-less medium, or in your hydroponic setup. Make sure not touch the root, caring for and navigating the seedling so that the roots face downward. Plant the seed about one inch deep in your growing medium, cover lightly, and allow for about a week for the seed to emerge from the soil. If the seed hasn’t poked through by day ten, it likely didn’t survive.
You bought beautiful Premium Pro Seeds from Suzy Seeds and of course, you want to get started. First, you have to germinate the seeds. Below, I will discuss my favorite way how to germinate cannabis seeds extensively, but also suggest other good methods. Suzy Seeds exclusively sells feminized cannabis seeds, so you don’t need to remove male plants, which applies also to autoflower cannabis seeds. It’s good to know that a cannabis seed does not need light to germinate. What is important, though, is a humid environment and an ambient temperature of around 20 °C. In general, there are three ways to germinate cannabis or marijuana seeds:
– In a cup of water
– On a damp surface
– In soil
How long does it take cannabis seeds to germinate in general? Or how do we germinate autoflowering seeds? The time of germination of marijuana seeds depends on the method of germination we apply, but autoflowering seeds germinate in the same way and time as feminized or regular cannabis seeds. My favorite way to germinate the seeds is to put them in a cup of water and then between a damp paper towel or tissue. This goes well in 99% of the cases. That is why I will more extensively describe this first way.
We recommend not to touch the seeds or the seedlings with your hands. If you do anyways, make sure your hands are clean and if possible use plastic gloves.
Suzy’s Tip: Try your germintion method on a couple of seeds (maximum 3). This way, you can test if your method works well. Often a wrong germinating method is used and the seeds don’t germinate. Do you want to germinate your seeds in a different way? Continue reading.
Germinating cannabis seeds in a cup of water
Maintain an ambient temperature of at least 20 °C, otherwise, the seeds will not or at least not optimally germinate. Use a clean room and area for the germination process. Fill a cup with water and put the cannabis seeds in it. After 3 to 5 days, the seeds should pop open and a tiny root should come out. As soon as the sprout is 2 to 3 mm, you can carefully get the seeds out of the water and plant them in the soil. Planting the germinated seed has to be done with lots of care and attention. Put them 0.5 to 1 cm in the soil with the root down. This way, the root (the white sprout) will more easily grow downwards.
Germinating cannabis seeds on a damp surface
Maintain an ambient temperature of at least 20 °C, otherwise, the seeds will not or at least not optimally germinate. Put the cannabis seeds on a surface that holds moisture, like wadding, paper towel or tissues on a saucer. Moisten the surface well, but avoid making it too wet. The moisture evaporates quickly at room temperature, so check during the period that the seeds will germinate if the surface is still damp enough. You can also cover the seeds with damp wadding or tissues and another saucer on top. Because of the moisture that gets into the seeds, they are activated and start to germinate. As soon as the germ is 2 to 3 mm, you can carefully get the seeds out of the water and plant them in the soil. Put them 0.5 to 1 cm in the soil with the root down. This way, the root will more easily grow downwards.
Germinating cannabis seeds in soil/compost
Direct germination of marijuana seeds in the soil is a commonly used method. You don’t have to handle the fragile plant, so it is not disturbed in its growth process. However, the chances that the seeds will germinate are lower than when applying the other methods. When using this method, it is important to use good soil. You can inform yourself about the different types of soil at your local grow shop. Maintain an ambient temperature of at least 20 °C, otherwise, the seeds will not or not optimally germinate. Put the cannabis seed about 1 cm deep in the soil. Cover the hole with some soil and gently press. The soil needs to be light so that the plant can easily grow to the surface. Solid soil is hard to penetrate for the roots and will cause a delay. The weed seeds will germinate under the ground and will come to the surface after 4 to 10 days. There are also more germination methods that can be applied.