Germinating Cannabis Seeds

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Figuring out how to germinate weed seeds isn't that hard, but choosing the right method can determine exactly how high your success rate is. Learning how to germinate cannabis seeds is the first step to growing marijuana, but it's not as easy as many aspiring cultivators think. Germinate cannabis seeds in cotton pads, soil or RootIt cubes. Check our full guides for the different germination methods, tips and tricks included.

How to Germinate Weed Seeds – Tips and Methods

Germinating cannabis seeds isn’t a complicated process, although it does require a few specific parameters in order to happen successfully. If you’re reading up on how to germinate weed seeds, you’re in the right place; it’s a relatively easy process, you just need to have some patience on hand. The first thing to keep in mind is that your seeds are going to need water, heat and air in order to germinate.

How to Germinate Weed Seeds – Basic Parameters

Water (moisture)

Moisture is one of the three elements required to successfully germinate cannabis seeds; it essentially helps the seeds to expand and therefore break their shell. Over-watering at this stage can be fatal for your seeds, although harder-shelled and older seeds can take longer to soak through, so some patience is required.

Heat

This can be the hardest thing to work with, because temperatures that are either too cold or too hot will mess with your seeds and they won’t germinate. Springtime temperatures are generally what you should be aiming for – seeds can still germinate in colder temperatures, although they can take longer.

How to Germinate Weed Seeds – Germination Methods

There are many different germination methods that growers tend to use, all of which involve water and heat, although they’re not all as effective as others. Some people prefer germinating by planting straight in the ground, using starter cubes or by letting them soak overnight, although our preferred and recommended method is the paper towel method using either plates or an opaque kitchen container. We’re going to give you a brief rundown of the other methods, alongside their pros and cons.

Starter Cubes

This method is more reliable than others, and they make germinating quite easy. All you have to do is place your seed carefully in your seed plug and follow the instructions when watering; different brands and models have different watering instructions.

Some cubes are made out of peat and soil, and you can move them straight into your flowerpot once they’ve popped. However, hydroponic growers can use rockwool cubes which can hold quite a lot of moisture.

One of the downsides to using starter cubes is that they’re not very handy if you only want to germinate one or two seeds, because they’re usually sold in packs of 50 or more, and once they’ve been opened most cubes tend to dry out within a couple of weeks. Another downside to Rockwool specific cubes is that they’re bad for the environment, can be bad for your health when inhaled, and they’re not the best method for new growers.

Direct Planting

Other growers prefer to get rid of the middle man and plant their seed straight into their first flowerpot – it’s essentially how it would be done in nature, so why not follow the natural order? One of the pros when it comes to planting straight in your growing medium is that you don’t have to stress out your little seedling when transplanting, although it can be a bit harder to get the humidity right and you need to bury it just the right amount so that it can sprout.

Overnight Soaking

We highly advise against using this method, as it’s incredibly easy to accidentally drown your seeds. This method involves soaking your seeds in a glass of lukewarm water – it can be any type of cup, although people usually use a normal glass. This method can be effective for much older seeds or for seeds that have abnormally thick shells.

There are a few myths surrounding germinating in water overnight – some people say that if your seeds sink, they won’t germinate, however the truth is that most seeds start off by floating and then as they soak, they sink to the bottom of the glass. This has nothing to do with germination indication.

How to Germinate Weed Seeds – Paper Towel Method

This method is the method we recommend all readers and customers use, as it’s the one that has proven to give us the highest germination rate. We’re going to give an in-depth step by step guide on how to use this method. Keep in mind that you can skip the rooting hormone part if you prefer all natural results, although X-Seed does provide impressive results to start with.

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Material Needed to Successfully Germinate seeds

  • Kitchen paper
  • Opaque plastic Tupperware or two plates
  • Viable cannabis seeds

We’re going to go through the X-Seed method – if you want to skip this, you can simply skip the steps involving X-Seed and place your seeds straight into your paper towel as stated in step 4. Before you start, make sure you have everything you need at hand, so that you don’t have to waste any time looking for stuff. Find the best strains at our Cannabis seeds – Buy Marijuana Seeds section.

Step 1: Soak the seeds

Submerge your seeds in your B.A.C. X-Seed liquid for an hour. Give it a stir every now and then so that the seeds are thoroughly soaked.

Step 2: Germination

While your seeds are soaking, you’ll need to prepare your paper towel and plates (or opaque Tupperware). Make a makeshift “bed” on the bottom plate with damp kitchen paper, but make sure it isn’t soaking. We tend to use 3 layers of kitchen paper; wet the paper and let it dry without wrinkling it, hanging it out kind of like a t-shirt so that all of the excess water can easily drain out. No need to worry about drying it, as you want the kitchen paper to be damp.

Step 3: Separation

After your seeds have been in the B.A.C. X-Seed liquid for an hour, by using a spoon you can carefully extract the seeds from the liquid and spread them evenly across the bottom of your plate or container. An even spread is important, so as the roots of each seed do not get tangled – about an inch apart is good.

Step 4: Cover the seeds

Once you have all of your seeds nicely placed on your plate or in your container, cover the seeds with another layer of damp kitchen paper, similar to the first layer that you put on the bottom. At this point, your seeds should be completely covered.

Step 5: Take care

Once you’ve finished covering your seeds with paper towel, cover them with another plate or put the lid on your container; if doing this in a container, the paper shouldn’t dry out as fast. A mistake made by many growers is that they add too much water to their paper towels if they’ve dried up, but by using a spray bottle you can moisten it some more without overdoing it. If your container is transparent, all you have to do is line the inside so that absolutely no light can get in.

Step 6: Temperature adjustments

Once you’ve isolated your seeds from light, you should leave it somewhere with a nice, neutral temperature. During winter it’s often harder to find a good spot, so you should try and find a heat source that isn’t excessive. You can use a computer modem, or even a softly powered electric blanket. Items like play-stations can get too hot and could end up cooking your seeds, so take care where you put them.

Step 7: After care

Once your seeds open up, they’ll shoot out a small, white root. This means you need to be extremely careful when handling them. Don’t leave them for long because once they’re open they should be moved to soil.

Step 8: Moving to soil

Now that your seeds have officially germinated. Now you need to move them to the medium in which they will remain for the rest of the growing process. Germinated seeds usually grown in soil, but rockwool for hydroponics is also a good option growing. Or even a coco jiffy if you want to cultivate in coco coir. In this article we’ll be dealing with the most common method: planting seeds in soil.

How to Germinate Weed Seeds

Start by filling a small pot with soil, no more than half a liter. Water it before even thinking about planting your seed. Once the soil is damp enough to weigh down the plant pot, use the tip of your finger to create a small 0.5-0.1 cm hole in the middle of the soil, and deposit the seed in the hole with the root facing downwards. Then, cover the seed with a little soil so that it’s just under the surface. The last step in this process is to put your plant pot in the sun or under your lamps (wherever you’re planning on growing it). Within a couple of days you should see that first sprout, that will keep on growing right until the end. In some cases, it may even take a matter of hours.

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Keep an eye out on our follow up article on soil preparation for growing cannabis.

How To Germinate Cannabis Seeds

Cultivating cannabis from a seed is not as easy as many beginner growers might think. Various factors are involved which will ultimately determine if the cultivator is successful and has a large harvest, or if they fail and have to go back to the drawing board. Learning how to germinate cannabis seeds is the first step to becoming a cultivator.

Some cannabis cultivators prefer to start with cannabis clones versus marijuana seeds. Each route has its own advantages, however, seeds are typically easier to acquire than clones. While clones and seeds will both do the trick, seeds also seem to be a more popular route in many areas.

It’s worth noting that purchasing cannabis seeds online is illegal and often results in less than desirable seeds being acquired by the buyer. Look for legal cannabis seed options in your area. Many reputable licensed cannabis dispensaries sell cannabis seeds, with strain options varying.

How Do You Know If A Cannabis Seed Is Viable?

If you consume cannabis long enough, chances are you will come across a seed in your cannabis flower. Whether you want to try to germinate the seed immediately, or save it for down the road, it is important that you know if the cannabis seed is viable to be germinated or not.

Viable cannabis seeds tend to have a darker color with shades of grey, black, and/or brown. A really good cannabis seed will typically have a ‘tiger stripe’ across it. Another way to tell if a cannabis seed is viable is by touching it (make sure to wear gloves when handling cannabis seeds). A quality seed should withstand a bit of a pinch. If the seed collapses under a little pressure, then it wasn’t viable.

How Do You Germinate Cannabis Seeds?

Germinating marijuana seeds is not difficult, although it does take attention to detail and the right environment. Successful germination takes the right amount of moisture, the right temperature, and a decent amount of light (sunlight or artificial light from low-intensity grow lights).

Arguably the easiest and most cost-effective way to germinate a cannabis seed is to place it between wet paper towels (often referred to as “the paper towel germination method”). Add a bit of water to the paper towels and squeeze out the excess water.

You want the paper towels to be moist but not dripping water. Place the seed(s) between the moist paper towels, place the paper towels in a sandwich bag to lock in the moisture, and put it on a window ledge where it will get some but not too much light. Keep the paper towels moist until the germinated cannabis seeds are ready to transplant.

If the temperature of the room is too cold (below 55 degrees Fahrenheit), consider using a heating mat, which can be found at most department stores in the gardening section. The success rate of the paper towel method is high as long as the cultivator keeps a close eye on the process until the germinated seed is ready to be transplanted into potting soil, peat pellets, or a different growing medium.

Various products such as “rapid rooters” can be incorporated into germination strategies, however, they are not as cost-effective as the paper towel method.

When Is The Seed Ready To Be Transplanted?

Watching a cannabis seed germinate can be a lot like waiting for water to boil — it takes time (typically a couple of weeks). The seeds will eventually crack open and a white root will shoot out of the cracked cannabis seed shell. The white root is often referred to as the taproot. Once your sprouting seed has a strong taproot (an inch or so) it is ready to be transplanted.

Find a two-inch container for your grow space, fill it full of soil (or your preferred growing medium), and poke a hole where the seed will be placed. Using tweezers, place the seed with the taproot facing down in the hole. Then, cover it with soil.

From there, you can grow the cannabis seed into a large cannabis plant. One downfall to cultivating cannabis from seed is that you won’t know if the marijuana plants are male or female for several weeks. If the young plant proves to be male, then it is basically useless. Using feminized cannabis seeds is a good way to ensure that the plants are not males, saving you quite a bit of time and headache.

Continuing Your Education

Cultivating cannabis is a never-ending educational journey. Even the most experienced cannabis cultivators will be quick to tell you that they are always learning and seeking out cultivation information.

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A great way to learn more about the cannabis cultivation process from seed to harvest is via Green Flower’s Cannabis Cultivation Certificate Program. The program is led by true cultivation experts and involves insightful course materials. If you are looking to increase your cultivation knowledge this is a great way to do it!

Germinate cannabis seeds: Best ways

The best cannabis seeds can be expensive, so it pays to have a good germination method. Here are three different, but fully proven, methods which will give you consistently good germination rates (assuming the cannabis seed was of good quality of course)

The three detailed marijuana seed germination guides detail the use of cotton pads and RootIt Cubes, as well as traditional soil germination of cannabis seeds. The seed germination guides are equally valid for feminized seeds, autoflower seeds, regular seeds, CBD seeds, outdoor cannabis seeds or any other type of cannabis seed.

How to germinate cannabis seeds in cotton pads?

Using the same make-up cotton pads available in any pharmacy or drug store you can germinate your cannabis seeds easily. The method shows how you can germinate marijuana seeds between two damp cotton pads and then leave these pads on a dish covered in transparent kitchen film.

How to germinate cannabis seeds in soil?

Many growers have used soil for years. Germinating your cannabis seeds in soil is easy enough with a few simple rules. The germination guide explains soil preparation. It explains how to place the seed in the soil and advises on watering, temperatures etc. If you want to germinate and grow your seeds in soil then this is the guide for you.

How to germinate cannabis seeds in RootIt Cubes?

RootIt Cubes, along with many similar germination cubes, all use a moisture retaining material to geminate your cannabis seeds. Often this is a synthetic brown foam polymer, but glass wool and coco fibre have been used. The guide explains how the germination cubes are prepared and kept moist, as well as showing how to place the cannabis seed inside. RootIt Cubes and similar products are widely available online and in grow shops, they are a convenient and easy way to germinate weed seeds. If you are planning to germinate your cannabis seeds with germination cubes then this guide is for you.

Important. Avoid pulling the seed casing away from the seedling (especially new growers), you can damage the seedling. Its always better to wait until the seed case dries out and falls off naturally. Ripping the seed casing away from the first set of baby leaves (cotyledon) too early damages the young seedling and can kill it.

Each grower will have their own preferred germination method, these methods are our suggestions based on many years of customer feedback from Dutch Passion customers. Good luck!

9 Comments . Leave new

How much water do seed need during the germination (in soil) And than in the growning time? Please help me!

Hey,
A seed does not need any extra water as long as the soil you are germinating in is nice and moist.
You can spray your soil with a spray a couple of times if you feel it needs more moisture during germination.
During the growing period, it’s very dependent on your growing conditions, size of pot, temperature, size of the plant etc.

So we can’t give you a perfect answer to your question. Indoors you water the plants every day, with an amount that suits the period and conditions of that plant, at that time.

Greetings,
Joe
Dutch Passion

Thank you very very much…I hope I didn ‘t use a wrong mix of soil! I’ll tell you! Bye.

Nice and very informative blog, thank you so much for sharing this information with us.I always keen to read such a amazing post.

Well I’m about to start my 1st grow tomorrow and will be using the auto ultimate, I hope I get this right! Wish me luck as I think I’m going to need it

I wish you a lot of good luck with your grow! If you need help, let us know

Greetings,
Joe
Dutch Passion

Hi, i dont have microwave foil so instead i poked a couple of holes on the cling film. Is that okay?

Yes that’s definately okey to poke some holes in regular cling film

Greetings,
Joe
Dutch Passion

I use a good pinched chunk of rock wool.Use enough to hold moisture to geminate the seedlings. You can watch the process .

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