Germinating Marijuana Seeds: Step by Step Guide
The life of any plant begins with germination , making this process the most important in your plant’s life. You will undoubtedly come across many different methods for germinating your marijuana seeds when conducting your online research. Some may be successful, but others will disappoint you. The following guide will provide you with an effective list of practices and critical information home marijuana growers can utilize to help ensure they’re preparing the best crop possible to produce some smooth, enjoyable hits.
Please continue reading to find out everything you need to know about cannabis seed germination. And if you’d like even more information on the wonders of growing cannabis from the comfort of your own home, please consider exploring the top-quality grow kits provided by our cannabis industry experts at a Pot for Pot today , along with their range of expertly written educational articles.
What Does it Mean to Germinate Cannabis Seeds?
Germination is the natural process by which a particular organism grows from a spore or seed. In this case, the term is referring to the sprouting of a cannabis seedling from a seed , which can be encouraged by help from the cannabis grower. Germinating your seed is the first crucial step in the cannabis growing process, and it can be surprisingly simple with the right tools. Even though the process of getting a seed to sprout and bear a healthy plant is a challenge for some growers, it doesn’t have to be when you start with a Pot for Pot. With our help, your plant will sprout and start growing in no time!
What to Understand About Germination and Endosperm
The first thing to understand is that seeds come naturally equipped with their own starting food- endosperm. It plays an essential role in ensuring your plant reaches its full potential. As a seed begins to sprout, this starchy blanket around the embryo provides nutrients to a growing plant. If it doesn’t seem like a lot, don’t be fooled- there’s enough starch there to feed humans.
That starch is only part of what you’ll need, however. You’ll also need to provide specific temperatures to germinate your seeds. Ideally, you’ll want to keep the temperature around 25 degrees Celsius (77 F) for the best results.
What Happens During Germination?
The process of germination is when plants start to sprout from their seeds, and it’s relatively the same throughout the plant kingdom. A little bit of moisture makes the tiny plant inside crack open its outer shell and sprout upwards while pushing its root downwards. Once it’s cracked through the shell, you’ll need to give your little babies a bit of water and some love for the fun to begin.
Your seeds will need the right conditions to break through their shell and continue to grow, however. Otherwise, they may take longer to germinate. Our seedling starter kit can help you create those perfect conditions. It makes sure your seed has just the right amount of water (so that it stays moist, but not too wet). Once it has germinated and grown enough to sprout its third set of leaves, simply move your young plant into the Pot for Pot fabric pot for continued healthy growth.
It’s best to germinate seeds indoors where you can better control the temperature. Seeds are more likely to sprout in a warm and stable environment.
How to Sprout Marijuana Seeds
Marijuana plants start as a seed . That tiny thing resembling a pebble is a whole plant securely stored with a supply of food to support itself for a few days. In the germination process, the food converts into sugars, which the plant uses to cut the shell and develop its root. Identifying a healthy seed is, therefore, the first thing that you need to do.
The sprouting process is the foundation of your marijuana plant, so do not take this step lightly. Other than starting with a high-quality seed, you need to ensure that your conditions are optimal. It is challenging to optimize the natural mediums, which is why a medium such as Jiffy Pellets comes in handy.
Different Ways to Germinate
There are many ways to germinate seeds, but we recommend using peat pellets. Not only is it the safest way to start your seeds, but it’s also the easiest. Jiffy is hands down one of the best brands of peat pellets on the market , and if you are thinking about germinating using peat pellets, this is the way to go. This method is great for avoiding the risk of damaging new roots. We’ll get into more detail about the wonders of Jiffy Pellets in a later section of this article. But first, let’s explore the benefit of peat pellets in general, along with some other mediums growers can use to facilitate effective cannabis germination.
Peat pellets are comprised of decomposed vegetable matter which your plants will absolutely love. When you add water, it expands, creating a nutrient-dense medium that is a good replacement for soil. When the roots are visible, you can transport the whole pellet into a Top Soil mix with fortified Pot for Pot Superb Soil so it can continue developing without accidentally causing root damage.
Basic Mediums for Marijuana Germination
There are many different germination methods, and results will vary. Here are some basic ways to sprout your seeds :
Sprouting marijuana seeds in regular soil is a common practice. Soil is a natural medium and can protect the seeds as they develop their fragile roots. For this option, be sure to start with the right type of soil for marijuana. Use a seed starter or fertilized potting soil with a pH of around 6. Soil has both minerals and spores that support growing marijuana plants.
Water is another method for sprouting a marijuana seed. This method produces a seedling in 24-48 hours. The advantage of using water is that you can ensure adequate moisture for germination. The plant will also have an easier time breaking its shell compared to when it is in a soil medium. For this method, water daily while checking the temperature, ensuring that it is around 65° F.
This mineral wool comes from volcanic rock and other materials such as limestone and basalt. To make this material, the ingredients are heated into molten lava and rapidly spun into threads. These threads then undergo compaction, curing, and finally, cutting.
While Rockwool is a suitable environment for germination, you’ll need to adjust it a bit for growing marijuana. First, you’ll need to add fertilizers- around 600 parts per million. You’ll also need to reduce the pH, which is too high to support sprouting. It’s also a bit dangerous to use, so please wear gloves and protect your mouth and eyes while handling it.
Would you like to save money and reduce the number of trips you need to take to your local dispensary to stock up on marijuana? Consider trying out the potential of your green thumb by investing in one of our top-quality cannabis growing kits today.
The Best Marijuana Germination Medium: What to Know About Jiffy Pellets
For the best results, you need a precise understanding of how to get started growing your marijuana plant. As stated a few sections above in this article, choosing Jiffy Pellets as your initial medium is probably the best way to go. Every Pot for Pot kit includes a Jiffy Pellet, so you don’t need to worry about purchasing it separately, and if you run out, you can order some refills or one of our expansion kits .
What is a Jiffy Pellet and How Does it Work?
A Jiffy Pellet is a natural, biodegradable growing medium conveniently available as little compact discs that help sprout seeds into seedlings. Jiffy Pellet composition includes peat moss, a mesh, and other ingredients such as lime, fertilizer, and ammonium to help seedlings grow.
Jiffy Pellets are both a container and a potting mix for sprouting seeds. Peat moss is a medium that’s rich in organic materials, and the mesh securely holds the peat moss in place. Using Jiffy peat pellets either indoors or outdoors is an effective method to grow healthy and robust marijuana plants.
To use a Jiffy pellet, water it first. Then, place your marijuana seed a bit below the surface level. When the plant is strong enough, transplant the entire pellet to a larger pot.
What are Jiffy Pellets Composed of?
To help you better understand the advantages that Jiffy Pellets can provide to your seed germination efforts, let’s take a moment to explore the various beneficial components they contain and how they work to benefit your plants.
Technically, a Jiffy peat pellet is a small disc made of compressed material. However, Jiffy pellets enlarge up to seven times their original size when you add water , creating a suitable environment for the sprouting process. The fine netting keeps the Jiffy pellet ingredients in one place as your seed sprouts. Said ingredients include:
Peat is an organic medium that provides plenty of nutrients for sprouting seeds. It is made from sphagnum peat moss, which has a high water-holding capacity as a result of its fluffy and light texture. Peat provides excellent root aeration, making it easy for roots to grow without interference.
Lime, Ammonium, and Fertilizer
Jiffy pellets are primarily made from peat moss. However, peat moss on its own is not ideal for sprouting seeds. That’s why they also include lime, which raises the pH of the medium. Jiffy Pellets have a pH of 5.5, compared to peat moss’s 4.4.
Jiffy Pellets also include fertilizer that provides seedlings with all their required nutrients for the first 1-2 weeks. You won’t need to add anything else as your seed sprouts. After transplanting, you can apply fertilizer, if desired.
How Big are Jiffy Pellets?
Jiffy pellets come in diameters of 24 mm, 33 mm, 41 mm, and 70 mm. The sizes vary to cater to the various needs of different seedlings. The larger Jiffy Pellet sizes are convenient to handle and are ideal for marijuana.
How to Germinate With Jiffy
Jiffy pellet instructions are easy to follow and will take you less than 20 minutes to set up, ensuring you’ll be able to start your cannabis seed germination project quickly and easily without wasted time or effort.
Choose Your Container
The first step is to place your pellets in a container. Ideally, you can use a Jiffy pellet tray. Ensure they do not overlap and leave a small border for water retention.
Water Your Jiffy Pellets
You can use tap water or distilled water. Keep in mind, tap water may have chlorine, which is harmful to your plant and can cause it to dry out faster. However, you don’t have to buy distilled water to prevent chlorine problems. Evaporate the chlorine by pouring your water, and let it rest for some time. Use very warm water, around 95oF, to help the pellet expand faster.
Plant Your Weed Seeds in the Jiffy Pellets
Place the seed in the middle of the enlarged pellet. Don’t place the seed too deep, or it will not sprout.
Cover Your Seeds
To avoid moisture loss, use a plastic cover – this usually comes with the pellets. You can also use plastic wrap. If you don’t have a Jiffy pellet dome, you will need to water again after around seven days. Avoid dropping water from the top; otherwise, you will disturb the developing seeds.
Transplant Your Plant into Some Soil
The seeds are usually ready for transplanting after two weeks. To do this, simply make a hole in the soil and place your pellet directly in that spot.
An Alternative to Jiffy Pellets to Consider
Coir is a popular alternative to Jiffy pellets , with Coconut Coir leading the trend. This material is made from coconut husks. If you choose this medium, use a coir Jiffy Pellet tray to hold it. Coir has excellent water retention capacities similar to peat, and it also facilitates the healthy development of roots.
Coir also repels insects and is reusable , so it can help you if you choose to expand your growing operations to include more cannabis plants.
What to do After Germination
After your seeds have germinated, they need to go into a pellet so the roots can spread out and grow. You may be wondering just how far in the jiffy pellet the seeds should be planted once it has germinated. You’ll want to drop the seed about a half-inch to an inch. If the seed has not sprouted, it’s okay to place it in the jiffy pellet – as long as it has soaked for at least 12 hours, but no more than 24 hours. If it has sprouted, drop the white root downward, so that the head of the seed is about an inch below the surface.
Damping-Off With Hydrogen Peroxide
Once your seed becomes a tiny plant, it’s now known as a seedling. This is great, except that seedlings are very delicate. You’ll want to be on the lookout for the number one seedling killer: damping off. Damping-off occurs when something (such as fungi or other diseases) causes the nutrients in your plant to stop being transported properly. The stem becomes mushy and falls over, and your plants will die young. The risk increases when there is minimal direct sunlight and air circulation, combined with warm temperatures and high humidity.
Eventually, your plant will be able to protect itself, but until then hydrogen peroxide is an excellent solution to this problem before it can begin. Hydrogen peroxide provides oxygen to the soil and reduces the chances of fungus spores developing.
To effectively prevent damping off, combine 1 tsp. of hydrogen peroxide with 2 cups of water. Use this solution to water the plants. Or you can soak the seed in 1% hydrogen peroxide before planting.
Frequently Asked Questions: Marijuana Seed Germination & Jiffy Pellets
Before signing off with this article, let’s take a few more moments to cover some key points included in this article to ensure you understand the basics of everything you’ll need to know when advancing forward in the seed germination process. We’ll also cover the answers to a few common questions new home-growers may want to address before getting started.
Germination is the process of seeds developing into new plants
All weed seeds need water, oxygen, and proper temperature in order to germinate.
It takes 1-2 weeks for weed seeds to germinate
We love jiffy pellets. They mimic the plant’s favorite natural medium; good soil.
The Bottom Line: What a Pot for Pot Can do For You
Germination can be tricky, but not if you have the right tools. The quality seedling starter kit from a Pot for Pot makes going from seed to seedling fairly effortless. It’s included in all our kits, or you can purchase it on its own. Simply select the seeds and provide some love and we’ll provide everything you need to grow healthy plants.
Do you enjoy an occasional marijuana smoke break but want to avoid costly trips to the local dispensary every time your bud stash starts to run low? Consider growing your own marijuana from the comfort of your home with one of our top-quality cannabis growing kits.
Learn how to cultivate marijuana. Find the best marijuana growing advice for seed germination, cloning, pruning, trimming, and curing to help maximize your yields.
Fail-Proof Cannabis Germination Method in Soil or Coco
We have a cannabis seedling germination page that includes everything you need to know about all the different germination methods, but this tutorial is different. In this tutorial, I’m going to share exactly how I do my seeds from beginning to end. Just follow these instructions and you’ll end up with healthy, fast-growing plants that germinate in just a few days. It’s basically fail-proof.
Turn your cannabis seeds…
This step-by-step tutorial will teach you how to germinate seeds and provide basic seedling care
Soon you’ll have healthy cannabis plants to admire
1.) Get Cannabis Seeds
There are a few different ways to get cannabis seeds, with the most common being ordering seeds online and growing seeds you find in weed that you buy. Learn how to research and find the right strain.
Here’s a picture showing several healthy and viable cannabis seeds
2.) Prepare Your Soil or Coco Containers
Before you start germinating your seeds, set up your soil or coco. It will still be a few days until your seedlings arrive, but you want to have everything ready before the seedlings need to be planted.
Get your containers ready before you start germinating
When it comes to new growers, it seems like the most fool-proof method (at least for me, and many of the new growers who write in) is the Paper Towel Method! It’s so simple, but there’s something about wet paper towels that a young seedling loves Learn About Other Ways to Germinate Seeds.
Paper Towel Method – Place your seeds inside a folded wet paper towel (Important: use cheap brand!)
This method is hard to mess up if you follow the instructions. Place your seeds inside a folded wet paper towel, and put that between two plates. The purpose of the plates is to prevent the seeds from drying out. Don’t let any part of a paper towel hang out the edges or it will wick away all the moisture and dry out. Keep everything totally contained between the plates.
Surprisingly, the really cheap paper towels work the best because the seeds and roots lay on top without getting stuck to anything. This is important. The more expensive “cloth-like” paper towels (like Viva brand) aren’t good for germination because the roots actually grow into them instead of laying on top.
Wet a paper towel (use the cheapest brand you can find). If growing multiple strains, you may want to label the paper towel so you know which is which. Place each seed on the wet paper towel next to their label.
Cover with another wet paper towel
Add another plate on top to keep the paper towels from drying out. Make sure now paper towel is sticking out the sides.
- Check on your seeds every 24 hours but try not to disturb them. When they’ve germinated, you’ll see the seeds have cracked and there are little white roots coming out.
- They should germinate in 1-4 days, though some seeds can take 7 days or longer (especially older and smaller seeds).
- Keep them warm if possible. Seeds germinate a little faster is to keep them in a warm place (75-80°F). Some people use a seedling heat mat but in most cases that’s unnecessary. I leave mine near a sunny window. I usually put a thermometer in the same place to make sure it’s not too hot or cold (or just check the plate with your hands)
Here are those seedlings about 2 days later. Be extra careful when removing the paper towels. Don’t let the seeds roll around or you won’t know which is which. This is when you’ll be glad you used cheap paper towels, as they are much easier to peel off without disturbing your seedlings.
You can see some of the seeds sprouted, but some of them haven’t yet. That’s totally normal! Each seed is different. If this happens to you, you have two choices. You could plant the ones that have already sprouted and let the other ones stay in the paper towels until they germinate. Or you could just put all the seeds in Rapid Rooters now, and hope for the best as far as the slow-sprouting ones. It’s up to you. Letting the unsprouted seeds stay in the paper towels longer improves the germination rate in my experience, but it’s simpler (easier) to move them all at once.
Seeds often germinate at different rates even if they get the exact same conditions
4.) Place Germinated Seed in a Rapid Rooter
Now it’s time to get your Rapid Rooters! Alternatively, you could place your sprouted seeds directly in the final growing medium (coco or soil). I think these help them get started, but I’ve grown many successful plants by just putting the germinated seed directly in its final home.
Rapid Rooters are nice, but not necessary
The Rapid Rooter should be cut open lengthwise. I use big scissors but you could also use a knife.
Gently place the germinated seed inside, root down. Place the seed close to the surface so it doesn’t have far to go.
If you have a root that is curved or bent, don’t try to straighten it out. Open the Rapid Rooter and lay the germinated seed down gently. It will naturally lay on its flattest side. When you slowly close the Rapid Rooter, the bent parts of the root will end up in the “crack” of the Rapid Rooter that you cut to split it open from the side.
Most seedling plugs will go back into place easily, and you’ll barely be able to tell it’s been opened. I love Rapid Rooters because their texture causes most seeds to stay in place and not “fall down” further into the hole once you’ve got the Rapid Rooter closed.
5.) Water the seedling in the Rapid Rooter until you see a root come out bottom, 1-2 days.
Make sure to always keep the Rapid Rooter moist but not soaking wet and give plain water.
Since your seed has already sprouted and been in placed into the right growing position, it’ll often pop its head out within just 12-24 hours! Sometimes you see just the leaves, but often you actually see the seedling push the shell above ground.
Don’t touch the shell if possible because a tiny tug in the wrong direction can pull the seedling out of the plug and break off the taproot.
Try to let the seedlings break free if possible. But if you have a seedling that’s stuck in a shell after a day or two, and doesn’t seem to be getting any better, you need to go in and help.
I’ve found that pointy tweezers are perfect to pry open a shell that’s stuck. Just close the tweezer, stick it inside between the shell halves, and let it slowly open to pull the shell apart without you ever touching the seedling.
Sometimes a “film” from inside the shell gets stuck on the leaves. If that happens, try putting a drop of water on the film a few times a day to soften it. If the seedling doesn’t push it off on its own, hold the stem between your fingers (so it doesn’t pull at the root) and use tweezers to gently tug at the membrane and release the leaves.
Don’t use a dome on seedlings unless it’s very dry where you live. If you do use a dome, consider keeping a vent open and watching the humidity. A young seedling doesn’t require as high humidity as clones (which are what the domes are designed for), and seedlings tend to get “wet feet” and stop growing as fast in constantly wet conditions.
Water your seeding in the Rapid Rooters until you see a root coming out the bottom. Keep Rapid Rooters moist but not wet. During this time, give seedlings bright filtered light. A CFL or LED light bulb kept several inches away works well. I’ve left mine on the kitchen table next to a sunny window, and that’s also worked fine for me as long as it doesn’t get too hot.
You should see a root come out the bottom in just a day or two!
After you see your first root, it’s time to…
6.) Put Seedling in its New Home
You are about to water your seedlings for the first time, so prepare your water now.
- Coco – Prepare water with seedling-strength nutrients, and make sure to pH your water to 5.5-6.5 right before giving it to plants. Unlike soil, coco does not naturally contain any nutrients so you must provide nutrients in the water from the first watering.
- Soil – Prepare plain water at 6-7 pH. You don’t need to add nutrients for the first 3 weeks or so because your plants will live off what’s in the soil. Adding extra nutrients at this point might overload and burn the seedlings.
Now that your water is ready, dig a hole that’s a little smaller than the Rapid Rooter, and place your seedling plug inside. The idea is to let the Rapid Rooter stick up above the soil a little to help the roots get more oxygen. It’s okay if the plug goes in flat with the soil, but don’t bury the stem as that can cause stem rot in some cases. Even if you’ve got a tall seedling, you usually won’t notice the extra length once the plant is bigger.
Gently pack the nearby soil/coco to hold the Rapid Rooter in place so the seedling is stable.
Your seedlings get a little extra oxygen if you let the Rapid Rooter stick up into the air slightly as opposed to burying it.
Example of cannabis seedlings growing in coco coir, about to get seedling-strength nutrient water. If they were in soil, I would give plain water for the first few weeks.
Water immediately in a small circle around your seedling. For most grow mediums and containers above 1 gallon, you can give 2 cups (500 ml) of water immediately without overloading your seedling. If the grow medium feels moist (for example coco that was recently re-hydrated), give 1 cup (250ml) of water this first watering.
Give 2 cups (500 ml) water in a circle around the seedling. If the grow medium is already wet, give just 1 cup (250 ml)
How to Water Seedlings in the Beginning
Two Main Goals
- Seedling roots never dry out (most important)
- Seedling roots aren’t staying soaking wet (roots need oxygen)
Seedlings “drown” and die due to lack of oxygen if they get too much water too often. To avoid this, try to provide an amount of water that lets you water seedlings every few days. Avoid giving so much water that the seedling roots are in a super wet grow medium for days as this causes “damping off” and root problems. Some grow styles like high-frequency fertigation call for watering more frequently. Just remember that the more often you water your plants, the less water you should give at a time. Also, keep in mind that a smaller container tends to dry out fast while a bigger container holds onto the water for longer
Try to maintain a schedule that lets you water your plants every few days without them looking droopy
- Water in a small circle around the base of the plant at first
- If the growing medium feels dry within 1 day, give more water next time. Otherwise, give the same amount again next time you water
- Repeat, until you can give enough water to get at least a little runoff, and have it dry in a few days
If the medium is drying in less than 2 days, it means you need to give more water to the plant at a time, or possibly transplant to a bigger container if the plant has outgrown its current one.
If your growing medium takes longer than 3 days for the top inch to dry, it means the soil is staying wet too long, and plant roots aren’t getting enough oxygen. It also puts your plants at risk of getting fungus gnats . Try giving less water at a time until the plant is drinking more. It’s possible you may have a problem with drainage in your medium ( what is good soil? ) or there are no drainage holes so extra water can’t come out the bottom of the container. Always remove any runoff water instead of letting the plant sit in it.
More seedling resources
Some growers like to put seedlings in solo cups and then into their final container. When done right this can increase the rate of growth by providing more oxygen to the plant’s roots. If you go that route, I recommend paper cups as they’re not as bad for the environment.
Autopsy: Why Aren’t My Marijuana Seeds Sprouting?
If your seeds still aren’t sprouting and growing properly, consider the following factors.
If there’s no germination at all…
- Temperature may be too hot or cold – aim for 75-80°F
- Too wet – seeds and seedling roots should always be moist, but should not be soaking wet
- Too dry – if a root dries out the seedling can die
- Bad seeds – It might not be you, it could be the seeds themselves. Even if you purchase from a good breeder, sometimes you still get duds. How can I tell if seeds are viable?
If seeds sprout, but then stop growing…
- Temperature is too hot or cold – aim for 75-80°F
- Too wet – new seedlings don’t like “wet feet” so make sure your Rapid Rooter or growing medium never looks shiny or muddy, as that means there’s too much water! For this reason, it’s also usually recommended to avoid using a humidity dome with seedlings unless your air is dry. Although clones love humidity domes (they need water from the air because they don’t have any roots to get water), seedlings like it a little drier or roots tend to get mushy.
- Too dry – less common unless you live in a very dry area, but sometimes your medium dries out too fast if you’ve got a heavy-drinking, fast-growing seedling!
- Too much light – if the seedlings get blasted with high levels of light right away, it can shock them. They may need some time to adjust to higher light levels. Simply starting your grow light a little further away than normal is usually enough. Think sunny window at first, and start ramping up after a week of healthy growth.
- Not enough light – if seedlings are growing long and stretchy without growing new sets of leaves, it means it wants more light.
- No light for more than a day – if the sprouted seed doesn’t get light within 24 hours after sprouting, it may die. Once seeds are sprouted, get them in a Rapid Rooter and under at least some amount of light as soon as possible!
- Roots damaged – If somehow your roots got damaged, it can sometimes stop the seedling from growing
Unfortunately, sometimes you will never know why certain seeds just don’t thrive. It’s all part of nature. But if you follow this tutorial you will get the best results possible.
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.