Weed seeds float in water

How to Germinate a Cannabis Sativa Seed

The following is a successful step-by-step process for germinating cannabis seeds on any budget. Germination of marijuana seeds, cannabis sativa, & pot seeds with minimum failure.

Always be sure that your work area is clean. This includes YOU. Wash your hands every time before working with seeds – it will increase your success.

Germinating Marijuana Seeds

Preparation & Supplies

In preparing to germinate your cannabis seeds whether one or a dozen, make sure you have everything you need and that it is also CLEAN. I use anti-bacterial soap in my garden for myself mostly, I recommend using it for everything (hands, buckets, tweezers, shot Indoores, etc.).

Pre-soaking Method
(shot Indoor method)

For our tutorial, we are using a shot Indoor, mineral water at room temperature, and our chosen seed(s). We use masking tape and a black marker to identify our seeds when germinating multiple cannabis strains.

You can use your local water with one caution. Fill a pitcher with your water 24 hours before using it & leave it open. This allows chlorine and other potentially harmful chemicals to escape into the open air.

Cannabis Seed Germination

Day One

Half fill your Indoor with mineral water. We have taken a single seed (female), and placed it in the water (shot Indoor). Notice that the seed is initially floating.

We have identified this seed and now we need to put it away in a warm and dark place for 24-30 hours. This allows the seed to absorb water. The seed does not need or like any light yet, but likes everything warm.

The cannabis seed simply needs warm air, moisture and darkness to begin a good germination process.

Keeping a temperature of between 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit is excellent for starting seeds. Warm, wet and dark is what they like.

Select a warm spot that stays consistent in the temperature it offers (like on your water heater). We cover our Indoor with a dark cup to keep out all of the surrounding light.

Again, leave this covered and warm for at least 24 hours. This will allow the seed to absorb water, and is an excellent indication that the seed can grow.

The cannabis seed sinks when it absorbs water (24 hours). When you return the next day and uncover your Indoor, you may notice that the seed sank to the bottom.

If it did not, have no fear. Try stirring the water with your clean finger. The seed may have absorbed water and still be afloat by a bubble or dry spot (happens all the time).

How to Germinate

Day Two

If the seed still floats, you can add some fresh water* and check back again in 8-12 hours. After that, you can still plant the seed, but chances are slimmer that it will take hold (germinate).

I then take a cup of my personal grow mix (soil) that is the same mix I use in my plants through-out their maturity.

I only transplant once, and it’s moved into the same exact grow medium in it’s final container. This prevents additional shock or stress when transplanted.

Each time you change containers or transplant, it will make the plant stress for a week or so.

Use a humidity dome until the seeds break ground (already germinated).

I use a solo cup and slice four slits in the bottom for good water drainage and added aeration. It also makes the transplant very easy.

I carefully place the seed into the soil with the knot side up. I only place it about 3/16″ under the soil surface and water thoroughly. I am still only using water* at this point.

When I water* the soil, it tends to move some soil over the seed. I label my cup and place it in a dome for high humidity and added warmth (shown next to a clone). Position a small grow light above the dome and have the timer the same as your 18 hour garden clock. We want some air, moisture, warmth and light right now.

Lights should remain ON for 16 – 20 hours and OFF for 4 – 8 hours. You are deciding this right now, because changing this light cycle in mid-growth IS stress for the plant – we will control the lights completely. This is the ‘trigger’ for future growth stages. I recommend 18 hours ON, 6 hours OFF once germinated.

Germination

Day Three

Keep the soil moist, but not wet. there is a difference. After my initial watering, I do not water* it again for 2-3 days, and then I am spraying water* over my cup of soil.

Usually, in about 2-5 days you will see the seedling begin to pop out of the soil. I have seen seeds take 11 days, but usually less.

Sometimes, as in this example, the seed shell stays attached while the seedling works it’s way upward and fights to exist.

Cannabis seed curling upward with seed shell still intact.

Spray the leaves with water* for two days to help transition from the high humidity dome. Don’t water yet, just spray them.

Germinating marijuana seeds

Day Four

Once the seedling has broken ground and I can see green leaves, I remove the cup from the humidity dome. Move your new baby to the nursery side of your garden with the 16-18 hour grow light cycle and circulating air.

As the seed uncurls and begins it’s beautiful life, it will lose the seed case and begin to sprout it’s first leaves.

As you can see, the sprout stretches upward while wrestling with the seed casing to be released (all this work for our smoking pleasure).

As it spends more time under the light, the sprout should be able to shake the seed and begin to form it’s first 2 leaves (cotyledon).You will find that once you have a regiment down that works, it’s fairly easy to germinate your cannabis seeds indoors at any time of the year.

Congratulations! We have now moved from the germination stage to the seedling stage. Patience, cleanliness and good soil products can help insure a high percentage of germination success with your marijuana seeds.

Germinated Cannabis Seed

First Week (Seedling)

Your new seedling is alive and prospering. In our example, you can leave it in the cup for a couple of weeks while it gains strength. It has everything it needs to begin a stress free life. From here we move into the caring and growing of your marijuana.

At times, I plant more than one seed to a cup. Sometimes I leave them both in the cup, and sometimes I separate them immediately after they break ground.

You should now be on your way to some wonderful romance with your plants.

Do not be afraid to “talk to” and raise your youngsters to be strong, vigorous and ‘stinky’ young ladies.

Be careful not to over water* your seedlings. Wait for the top of the soil to get dry and crusty before you consider watering again.

Water* – In this Chapter, the term water relates to mineral water, distilled or bottled water, or house water that has sat in open air for 20-30 hours.

Giving the seedlings a mild nitrogen mixture in your water* will help vigorous, healthy growth at this stage (if your soil does not compensate in this important area). Be careful! They are still young and very impressionable.

Once your seedling has 5-7 growing days in the cup, you can transplant it anytime to it’s larger container. Make this large enough for the life of the plant (I use 5 gallon containers) I never want to run out of room (soil) at the point of flowering.

I recommend water* throughout this process because my soil mixture contains initial nutrients like nitrogen, phosphates, guano, seafood, and more. At some point, you’ll probably develop your own soil too.

How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds

Germination is the beginning of your cannabis seeds’ life and is easy to master. At this crucial stage, seeds grow and sprout into young seedlings. The best genetics deserve the best start, and all you need is two plates, some paper towel, and water. Apply the best germination method today and enjoy a great harvest.

1. Germination set-up

Prepare the first plate by lining the inside surface with two to three layers of damp paper towel. Drain excess water from your plate.

Place cannabis seeds on the top surface of the damp paper towel. Approximately three per plate; ensure they are not touching but are evenly spaced apart.

Add only a few layers of damp paper towel on top of the seeds, and let any excess water drain from the plate. Too much water lowers the chance of successful germination.

To complete the set-up, place the remaining plate upside-down and on top of the first plate, resembling pearls inside a clam.

2. Germination

Cannabis seeds need a dark, warm, and humid atmosphere to germinate.

Around 21°C (70°F) is perfect. Check the paper towels every second day and if required, spray with water to keep conditions moist for your seeds.

After a few days, tiny roots will begin to emerge. Congratulations! Your seeds have survived their first stage of life. Don’t worry if some of your seeds have not yet changed, they may just need a little more time as germination can take up to 14 days.

3. Plant of the seeling

Once the roots are a few millimetres long, they are ready to be delicately transferred to a small container filled with your growing medium of choice (rockwool, coco-fibre, or soil).

Make a hole in the growing medium that is 2 – 5 mm deep. Use tweezers or your fingers to transfer germinated seeds gently into the hole (root pointing down) and lightly cover with a fine layer of your medium. Do not pat it down too hard. The stem and the first tiny set of leaves, called cotyledons or ‘seed leaves’, should begin to emerge 24 to 72 hours after the seeds are planted.

4. Supplying a light source

Seedlings must be exposed to sunlight once they sprout. Ensure this is a gradual process as too much heat causes stress and will stunt growth.

Find a sunny place where you can begin to increase sun exposure, such as a windowsill. Ensure sun exposure is increased by an hour or so a day.

For an indoor plant you can use a fluorescent light (keep normal distance from bulb) or HID lighting (50-80 cm from the bulb).

Take care in the first week or two, as seedlings are still quite delicate and sensitive to the elements. They won’t need a lot of attention until the vegetative stage so avoid overhandling.

Germination is the beginning stage of the growing cycle, and this easy-to-follow guide gives your premium genetic cannabis seeds the best start to life. Whether you are a first-time home grower or a well-seasoned gardener, share your experience or any questions in the comments down below, as well as your tips and tricks!

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Comments

22 thoughts on “How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds”

Hi, Once seeds have sprouted, how long can or should you leave them to grow under 24 hr lights before moving to your outdoor garden?

Good afternoon Ken,

I hope you’re having a great day.
For the vegetation process, a light schedule of 18 hours of light, and 6 hours of darkness is preferred. Many growers get plants acclimatized to outside by placing them in a window, or under direct sunlight for a few hours a day.

Thanks again, and have a great day!

Hello everyone, all these suggestions are wonderful but I think a lot of you make it sound a little overwhelmingly. I’ve been very successfully cultivating for decades and I’ve always just placed my seeds, be it 1 or 100, in between 2 folded sheets of tissue which I’ve made wet with tap water. I then place them on a tray or plate in a warm dark area , such as an airing cupboard and leave for how ever long they take usually, 12 to 24 hours. The ONLY thing I do which takes effort is PH balance the water I germinate them in and I’ve only lost 5 seeds in nearly 40 years .

Good afternoon Paul,

I hope you’re having a good day,
Thanks for sharing your experiences with germination. pH balancing is a great tip You also might be interested in our new Jamaican Pearl Feminized Grow Report

Thanks again, and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog,

I lightly score my seeds by shaking them inside a rolled up piece of sandpaper – sandpaper side on the inside before leaving them in a cup of water for a few hours to hydrate. I then place them between wet (good quality) paper towel per instructions above. I find using an old plastic takeaway container with a heatmat below keeps the humidity high and with good end results.

Good morning Jonny,

Thanks for sharing your methods for germination with us, the heat mat and low-humidity are great tips!

Thanks again, and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog,

I have found out that the best and fastest way is to take a glass of clean/filtered water and place the seed right on top of the water (floating – NOT immersed in it!). If the seed is viable it will sprout in no more than 48 hours. Right after that you plant it in your pot/soil etc and you’re done.

Good morning Mary Jane,

Thanks for your support, and for sharing your experiences with germination!
You might also be interested in our article on The Life cycle of Cannabis: From seed to harvest.

Have a great day!

What happend if they sink I had em sink they came out fine

Are you saying they sprout in the glass of water and don’t “drown”?

Take aluminum foil flatten it out and put on top of your dirt it detects planes and grow it just like a tomato plant

Good morning Tammy,

Thanks for getting in touch with Sensi Seeds, and sharing your germination method with us!

Thanks again, and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog.
With best wishes,

Detects planes? Like magnetic? I’ve always has best success 24-48 hours soaked In water, spring water if possible. Usually do this in a shot glass, once they pop I’ll take a paper towel fold so it’s 2 layers then fold once more so you know where center is. Dump the seed in the middle of the edge and the true center (reason we folded a 2nd time)as well as the water just enough to saturate the paper towel. Do not soak! Carefully with the seed in the middle using sterile tweezers turn so the tap is growing down. This will prevent circling and tangling if doing multiple seeds. Now you can fold the other half so your seed will be “sandwiched” between 2 layers. At this time carefully take a corner and the waters attraction should keep your paper towel from unfolding but just in case be gentle. Holding it from 1 corner you can dangle it over a cub or the original shot glass so any extra water runs off. Now take a standard zip or press n seal sandwhich bag and slide your napkin in Carefully . REMEMBER which way was down! Work the air out making jt flat snd seal. Find a temperate dark area around 70°. A cabinet works we’ll as your going to prop it up with taproot facing downwards. Now just close it up and wait in 24-72 hours checking once a day. In rare cases you could have a 1/2″ tap root in the first 24 hrs some may take 4-5 days. Once the tap is about 1/2″-3/4″ long its ready for transplant into its first small pot. With this paper towel method I typically have 100% success.

Can you leave your seed to develop longer roots in the germination phase and can this make them better to grow or is a big no no?
Last year, I had 2 seeds that had really long roots with lots of secondary roots coming out when they were planted, one of which died after a couple of weeks and the other grew into a huge plant.
The other two seeds only had a short germinated growth and both died almost immediately after planting so not sure what I can learn from this…lol

Appreciate any thoughts and advice

Unfortunately, legal restrictions mean we can’t answer grow-related questions or give grow advice on this blog. However, other readers of this blog will often answer questions like yours.

Please check out the following articles on our blog which I think you may find of use, and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog!

With best wishes,

How often do you water and how wet should the plant be? Please.
Also if they are outdoor plants do you need to keep them covered with clingfilm for a wee while or do you just hope for the best. Thanks

This article, about how to water cannabis plants, should answer your questions. I can’t help you with the clingfilm one though, as it depends on the climate. Good luck, and happy gardening!

With best wishes,

Just drop the seeds in water, they will sprout , don’t have to use a towel and check it all the time , drop it in the water , let it float then it will sink and the root will grow out ,let the root get 1/4 inch and plant it where it’s going to grow , 8 hours sunlight starting as soon as it is out of the soil. Always grows great , don’t have to transplant from cup to gallon to bigger and bigger , if it’s growing outside put it where it stays , always does just fine.

Good afternoon Graham,

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with germination.

Thanks again for your comment, and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog.

Have a great day!

I recommend this article to all breeders and cultivators who plans to germinate seeds and to some who don’t know how to germinate seeds, this article has the best and perfect ways on how to do it.

I have large bay windows at my condo which get about 11-12 hours of light per day. They are tinted but warm. I grow other indoor plants there perfectly. Is an ok place for my pot plants?

This sounds like a great place for all kinds of plants! I recommend you have a look at autoflowering varieties, as otherwise light pollution may negatively affect the flowering cycle. Good luck, and happy gardening!

With best wishes,

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