A step-by-step guide describing the best way to germinate your cannabis seeds. This germination method is ideal for the indoor and outdoor grower. With various methods on how to germinate marijuana seeds for beginner and advanced technique, it all just comes to your preference on what type to use. A common germination method for cannabis is to soak the seed overnight in a glass of water that is at room temperature because this triggers hormones that
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.
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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24 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
Once you put the seeds in water they normally won’t sink straight away, leave it for around 5 hours and then tap your seeds and they all should start sinking if they don’t then they won’t work. But still leave them over night and tap again and take out the ones that didn’t sink and throw them away or plant if you want to try your luck.. take all the other seeds out and follow instructions above you’ll see the open within a day..
Are you saying they sprout in the glass of water and don’t “drown”?
No, don’t leave the seeds in water for longer than 24 hours or they will drown.. after around 12 hours all your seeds should have sunk if they haven’t then just give them a tap and they will sink.. then take them out and follow the paper towel and plates instructions
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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Germinating Marijuana Seeds in a Water Cup
We have seen many methods of growing marijuana seeds. From the most basic to the advanced technique, cultivating marijuana is a well-loved hobby for beginners and experts alike. With various methods on how to germinate marijuana seeds, it all just comes to your preference on what type to use.
Why You Need to Germinate Marijuana Seeds
Marijuana germination is the procedure where a sprout breaks out of the seed’s coating. The sprout looks like a small white tendril and it is extremely delicate. It is the plant’s initial root and it is often referred to as the “taproot.” All the upcoming roots created by your marijuana plant will grow from the taproot. This means that the taproot is the building block of all your plant’s potential roots in the future.
The taproot, together with a few other tiny young offshoots around it – will grow and develop into longer and stronger roots. They will push the seed above the ground until the shell emerges from the surface of your growing medium and grow its first leaves known as the “cotyledons.”
These initial round leaves will sprout from the inside of the marijuana seed. The cotyledons developed as part of the plant embryo in the seed, which means there’s no need for the marijuana seedling to grow them. The sprouting first leaves are the ones that break open the shell after the taproot cracked it open.
How to germinate marijuana seeds
Marijuana seeds need three things to achieve successful germination and these are heat, water, and air. Using these, you can perform the simplest and easiest technique to germinate your seeds. But first, you’ll need paper towels, two clean plates, and marijuana seeds.
Here’s the process of this germination technique:
- Take your paper towels and soak four sheets in the distilled water. The sheets should be saturated with water but they shouldn’t have any excess dripping water.
- Get two sheets of the saturated paper towel and place them on one plate. Then, arrange the seeds on top of the plate with at least one inch of space between them. After that, get the remaining sheets of paper and cover it on top of the seeds.
- You need to make a dark protected area for your seeds. You can do this by covering the top with the remaining plate. This will create a dome-like space for your seeds to germinate.
- Lastly, keep the area warm and follow the correct temperature between 70-90°F.
These are all the steps to germinate your marijuana seeds. Once you completed each step, you only need to wait.
Don’t be impatient because this stage is crucial for the overall growth of your plant. Make sure you check the paper towels from time to time. If the papers are starting to lose their moisture, spray a little amount of water. Maintaining the proper amount of moisture around your seeds will keep them healthy and happy.
Note: each seed has different germination speed. Some may take longer than the others and that’s normal. You can tell that your seed has germinated once it breaks and one sprout begins to emerge from it. This sprout is the taproot of your seeds and it will be its main stem. Once you see the taproot growing from the seeds, that’s the indication that your germination process is successful. By this point, refrain from touching the seed or the taproot since it can disrupt their development.
Proper Way of Transplanting Germinated Marijuana Seeds
When the germination stage passes and your marijuana seeds have grown their taproot, it’s time to transplant them to a growing medium of your choice. Just like how you treat your seeds during germination, you also need to be extremely careful when transplanting your little plants. Remember, they are not yet fully-grown which makes them powerless against stressful factors.
Follow the steps below to properly transplant your germinated marijuana seeds:
- Prepare the growing medium in which you will transfer your germinated seeds. You can start with small 2-inch pots since they are cheap and easy to access. What you need to do with the pots is to fill them with coarse and light potting soil. Then, place a hole in the middle, which is at least a quarter-inch down the soil using a pencil or pen.
- When your growing medium is ready, it is time to transfer the seeds. Using a pair of tweezers, slowly pick up the seeds and place them in your growing medium, specifically inside the hole. Make sure its taproot is facing downwards. Then, gently cover it with soil.
- Next, you need to water the soil using a spray bottle. This will provide moisture in all areas of the soil without the risk of drowning your seeds. Remember that you should only provide sufficient water to your seeds because overwatering them can kill the little sprout.
- Lastly, you need to check the moisture level and temperature of the soil to maintain the good condition of your seeds. After a week, you can expect the seedlings to start appearing in your growing medium.
Germinating Marijuana Seeds in a Water Cup
If you want a cool, new method to germinate your seeds, the following has a 100% success rate. Though the results may vary, just like what usually happens to the all-natural growing method, this one is easy which is perfect for first-time growers.
First, you need the following materials before you start:
- 1 plate
- a glass of distilled water
- paper towel
- pill bottle
A little reminder before you start with the method is you should always use distilled water.
- Never utilize tap water because it carries impurities that might harm your seeds. Lastly, see to it that your germinating space is situated inside an enclosed room that has a temperature of 18 to 25 °C. The following are the steps to follow on how to germinate marijuana seeds in a water cup:
- Place your seeds inside a cup or glass of distilled water. Some will instantly drop to the bottom while others will float. Leave them for a few hours until their shell is penetrated with water and then push them to the bottom of the cup/glass using your fingertips. Allow the seeds to soak for 15 – 18 hours. The soaking process will moisten the shell of the seeds which makes it easy for them to germinate.
- Get a thick dye-free paper towel and place it on top of a plate. Place the soaked seeds in the paper towel and position them with enough spaces around each other. Fold the paper towel to envelop the seeds.
- Place it in a warm and dim area until the seeds start to crack. Make sure the seeds are well-moisturized so check it every 5-12 hours and use a spray bottle to add water onto it.
- Be patient. Seeds may take seven days or longer to germinate. Remember that each seed has a different germination phase.
- Once the taproot begins to appear, you can transplant your germinated sprouts to your desired growing medium. Make sure the taproot is facing downwards when you plant it.
Most marijuana seeds take 1 to 2 days to germinate, while others take a week. This depends on the thickness of their shells. Each seed has different features and physical characteristics, hence the difference during the germination process. If you follow all the steps of the germination method we mentioned above, you can expect 80% success rate.
Knowing the right way of germinating your marijuana seeds is vital in starting your weed production. You can choose from all the methods we have provided above. Just make sure that you give your plants everything it needs including food, light, and water. They should also be kept in a growing space with proper levels of humidity and temperature.
Establishing an ideal environment for your plants will help you avoid obstacles along the way. Above all, be organized and precise. Place your seedlings, seeds, and clones in a clear jar and label them. This will help you avoid confusion and expensive mistakes as you learn how to germinate marijuana seeds. Now go and get your pot production going!
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Pre-Soaking in Water Germination Technique
A common germination method for cannabis is to soak the seed overnight in a glass of water that is at room temperature because this triggers hormones that signal the cells to start germinating.
Be sure not to leave the seeds in the water for more than 24 hours, as this will cause the seeds to become deprived of oxygen, drown and rot.
After you have allowed the seeds to soak, you will then remove the seeds from the glass of water and place them either in a:
- Moist Paper Towel
- Light Soilless Mix
- Any Other Growing Medium
You will then need to place the seeds in a location that is warm in temperature, about 70 – 90°F (21 – 32°C) and be sure to keep the towel or growing medium moist, not soggy wet.
If you over-soak the growing medium, be sure to drain off as much as possible to keep the seed from drowning. Within several days you will begin to see the sprout coming out of the seed if you are using the paper towel or cheesecloth.
If you are using another growing medium for germination, you will have to wait and see. When using the other growing mediums for germination, be sure not to dig, or open up the growing medium to ‘see’ if it is sprouting. If you do this, you run the risk of injuring the sprouting seed.
If there is fungus beginning to develop where the seeds are germinating, you may mist the medium with a very mild two-percent bleach or fungicide solution. Any more and you risk damaging or killing your seed.
Once the seed has developed its white sprout, you may now very carefully pick up the sprout and plant it. Be sure to have the growing medium that you plan to use to plant in, is prepared and ready to go, as the small rootlet is very sensitive to prolonged and intense air and light.
If you are planting the seedling into a soil mixture, cover the germinated seed with about 0.25 – 0.50 inches of fine soil or planting mixture with the white root tip pointing down.
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