Germinating Cannabis Seeds In Paper Towel Vs Soil

Life-Changing Gardening Tip – Use the Germinating Seeds in Paper Towel and Baggie method to speed up germination overnight or very fast. This marijuana germination tutorial is different. Get exact steps from beginning to end (with pictures!) so your germination goes fast and seedlings start strong! hey guys i just received some seeds from kingdom organic, and im wondering should i plant them strait into the soil? the site says this: We recommend…

Germinating Seeds in Paper Towel Method (10 Tips)

What if I told you the secret to germinating seeds overnight? (Or at least speeding up the process big time!) Yes – I am here to teach you all about the technique of germinating seeds in a paper towel inside a Ziploc baggie!

I discovered this life-changing gardening tip from someone in one of my online gardening groups last year. It’s been amazing to say the least!

Seed starting will never be the same! Armed with tons of paper towels, plastic baggies, and grow lights for once they sprout, I am SO READY for an amazing gardening season! And now you are, too!

Keep reading to get started TODAY!

What Is Paper Towel Germination?

Paper towel germination is an easy way to speed up seed sprouting! It’s so easy that I can’t believe I haven’t been doing it all along.

Simply keep seeds consistently moist by wrapping them in damp paper towels and sealing them up in plastic baggies for the greenhouse effect.

I can’t resist checking my plastic bag greenhouses the next morning and throughout the day! Some seeds like peas will often germinate overnight!

What Are the Benefits of Paper Towel Germination?

I can’t say enough great things about starting seeds in wet paper towels! Here are some of the best benefits of seed germination in plastic baggies with moist paper towel:

  • Quicker Germination – Seeds can sprout overnight or within just a few days! (Some varieties take longer, but the overall process is definitely quicker!)
  • Less Mess – Starting seeds in plastic baggies with wet paper towels means no need to mess around with potting soil for a little while at first. Enjoy the cleaner and quicker start to your garden!
  • Seed Viability Testing – The paper towel method makes it so easy to check the germination rate and viability of your seeds. This is particularly helpful when you have limited gardening space at your disposal!
  • Small Space Friendly – If your indoor gardening setup is limited, you can still enjoy bountiful seed starting.
  • So Much Fun – With a gardening activity like growing seeds in a plastic bag, preschool kids, toddlers, school aged kids – heck, just about anyone will enjoy the discovery and adventure of this fun process. Germination for kids at its finest!

Sprouting seeds, paper towels, what could be better… If you haven’t tried this method yet, what are you waiting for?!

Our website features affiliate links to products that we personally believe in. If you make a purchase from a link on our site, we may earn a small commission at no cost to you. This helps our girls chase their garden dreams! Thanks for your support. (View full affiliate disclaimer at the end of the page.)

I’ll wait while you go get your seeds, baggies and paper towels!

… (goes to check own seed germination in paper towel and baggies)

Okay, you’re back? Great! Let’s get started!

Germinating Seeds in Paper Towel and Plastic Bag Method: How To

The method of germinating seeds in paper towels is so easy! I am really excited to guide you through this experience. It’s my favorite fast germination gardening technique.

Here’s how to germinate seeds in paper towels:

  1. Place a half-size paper towel on your work surface or tear a full-size sheet in half.
  2. Use a spray bottle filled with tap water to moisten the paper towel.
  3. Space out the seeds you wish to germinate at least an inch apart, if possible.
  4. Lightly sprits the paper towel one last time to wet the seeds as well.
  5. Fold the towel to wrap it around the seeds.
  6. Place the folded paper towel with seeds inside the bag and leave a little air inside if desired.
  7. Seal the Ziploc baggie and place it somewhere warm!

Tip: For the most part, I place them out of direct sunlight and often more in the dark.

Where to Put Seeds Germinating in Paper Towels and Bags?

I find a little bit of heat speeds up most of the seeds I try to grow in this manner.

You can place them most anywhere that’s warm! On top of your microwave or fridge is a great starting point. You could also try near the dryer or somewhere else that gets warm.

(Just be sure not to create a fire hazard!)

I like to place mine on the floor surrounding our heating vents!

Last year I had them in the kitchen, powder room, and dining room. It may or may not have driven my husband absolutely nuts. (Sorry babe!)


Can’t wait to do it again… Every. Single. Year.

What Seeds to Start in Wet Paper Towels and Baggies?

I am so excited about this process that I will probably start most of my seeds in wet paper towels forever.

Last year I tried SO many different kinds of seeds in paper towels. We germinated all of these seeds using the wet paper towel method:

  • Peas
  • Snow Peas
  • Green Beans
  • Wax Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Broccoli
  • Turnip
  • Beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Squash
  • Kiwi
  • Pineapple
  • Zinnias
  • Mixed Beans from a soup mix

I am sure there were many others since I loved this method and kept trying it. Betting my bottom dollar there will be many more, too!

I haven’t tried it, but I’ve heard you can use paper towel germination techniques on lavender, papaya, cactus, and poppy seeds.

When sprouting seeds, paper towels moistened with water can often coax even the most stubborn seedlings out!

If you try any, hit us up in the comments and let us know how it goes, please!

Also, it’s worth noting that not all crops are best suited for paper towel germination. For example, kale germination time is very quick! You wouldn’t gain much by starting kale in wet paper towels. Meanwhile, a number of cool weather crops and some delicate flowers sometimes work better direct sown.

My very first experience with wet paper towel seed germination was with peas. And it was every bit of amazing.

I am not kidding you – they literally had their little root radicle popping out the very next morning when I checked them! Most of the seeds germinated overnight!

Germinating Tomato Seeds in Paper Towel

I’m not going to lie. I got tired of waiting for my tomato seeds to germinate last season.

First, I had to find and buy Roma seeds! It felt like they were sold out everywhere (stupid pandemic!!).

Then, I ordered them and they took the better part of a week to get here!

A week is major when you wanna start a garden!

Finally, they arrived and I planted them immediately. Like, right after I opened the mailing envelope.

Waited some more…

You get the idea!

Finally, I got tired of waiting so I decided to try the paper towel germination method that had worked so well with our pea seedlings.

I can’t remember how long it took, but germinating tomato seeds in paper towels was way quicker than starting seeds in dirt. Planting directly in potting soil took more than 12 days if my memory serves me.

Probably closer to two weeks, but I was very impatient if I’m being honest.

Even under lights!

Needless to say, I will be germinating tomato seeds in paper towel and baggy method for the foreseeable future.

Germinating Eggplant Seeds with Paper Towel

I couldn’t get my eggplant seeds to sprout at all in traditional potting soil! Did anyone else have trouble?

I decided to try starting seeds in paper towel soaked in water in a zip-seal baggie for my eggplants this year.

Voila! Just like magic, I got excellent results germinating eggplant seeds using the wet paper towel method.

Once established, the tiny eggplant seedlings transferred very well to egg cartons with potting soil.

The eggplant seedlings also potted up well to bigger pots and grew to maturity outside.

I love that they self-pollinate! It was so exciting to see the bright purple blossom and then the purple fruit growing.

Waiting for the eggplant to grow larger, I gave the roving groundhog ample opportunity to steal it.

And steal it he did!

We were so disappointed because we still could’ve picked the eggplant small. That groundhog is the worst!

Hoping for better luck next year!

Germinating Strawberry Seeds (Paper Towel Method)

I have not tried germinating strawberry seeds in paper towels yet, but I fully believe it will work.

Last year we grew baby strawberry plants from seed in little Dixie cups on my kitchen windowsill. They did AMAZING!

Superb germination rate and adorable little plants. The worst part was they took every moment of three weeks to germinate.

I did constant water misting at least once per day, so I have full confidence they will do well with paper towel germination.

This sounds like a good gardening starter project to help chase away the winter blues!

(By the way, if you’d like to try my method, check out my other post – Planting Strawberry Seeds in Pots.

Germinating Apple Seeds in Paper Towel

Planting apple seeds is a little controversial in some of my gardening groups. It’s well-known or at least widely suggested that apple trees grown from seed do not grow true to type.

So, they may not at all resemble the parent plant.

In other worse, you may end up with a crabapple!

Or worse, no fruit at all.

Still, I am a curious gardener and love the growing process. I have heard success stories of those who’ve planted from seed.

I’ve heard grafting is the commonly used process, but I always think it’s good to give it the old college try.

Last year we found some Granny Smith apple seeds that had sprouted inside the apple! We happily harvested them and transferred some to soil and some to baggies with wet paper towels.

All of them did really well!

Unfortunately, they did not get all the care needed once we moved them outside, and some got roasted before being hardened off. It breaks my heart thinking about it, actually.

Better luck next time and at least we have a pear tree growing that we started with this very same germination method!

I can’t recall if it’s a Bartlett or D’Anjou, but the way my kids devour pears, I am going to pray whatever it is decides to bear fruit in a few years!

Tips for Sprouting Seeds in Paper Towel

Here are some of my best tips for sprouting seeds in paper towels:

  • Write the date and seed type on the baggie. I use a Sharpie for this. I get so excited gardening, I often go overboard, so it’s good to know what’s what and when you first planted them!
  • Plant those with the longest time to germination first. I found the paper towel / plastic baggie method very helpful in speeding up germination for peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant especially.
  • Don’t be discouraged if the seeds won’t germinate right away. You can check out my troubleshooting steps below for a better result!
  • Use a gardening journal to track your efforts and results! I like to think I would remember everything but as a mom of two girls, I know it just isn’t true. I am definitely planning to start a garden journal this year to track our start dates, sprout dates, harvests, successes, and what to do different the following years!
  • Space it out so you have more nights to enjoy it! It’s quick and easy to pop a few more seeds inside a wet paper towel and seal it up. Give yourself something fun to look forward to at the end of each day. Do it before bed so you get all the time while you’re sleeping for those babies to grow, grow, grow!

If you have any other tips for paper towel seed germinating, please share in our comments below!

Troubleshooting: Why Are My Seeds Not Germinating in Paper Towel Method?

Waiting for seeds to sprout takes a lot of patience! Sometimes I just don’t have it in me.

I find starting seeds in a paper towel inside baggies will give me an awesome head start!

Still, I may find some seeds not germinating in paper towel method, despite my best efforts.

Here are some troubleshooting steps to try as you begin starting seeds in paper towels.

  • Is your paper towel too wet? Seeds can start to rot if there’s too much water and they’ve taken too long to germinate.
  • Is your paper towel too dry? Your seeds may need constant moisture to sprout.
  • Does your particular type of seed need sunlight to germinate? Try taping a baggie of seeds in a wet paper towel on a window or glass door!
  • Are your seeds too old or otherwise unviable? If you’ve got a bad batch of seeds or a particularly old batch, they may not sprout no matter what you do. Try adding some heat! You can place your seed baggies on top of your fridge, microwave, or next to your heating vent on the floor.
  • Does your seed need cold stratification? Try placing your baggies in the fridge for a week or two and check them again after they’ve had some time to chill out!
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Paper Towel Method: Final Thoughts

As I’ve said, this is one of my favorite gardening adventures! I hope this guide makes it super easy for you and I’d love to hear how it goes.

Please share in the comments below and spread the love if you have other gardeners in your circle who may enjoy this fun and fast seed sprouting technique!

12.03.21 – Edited to add links to clementine and lemon tree posts.

07.08.22 – Edited to convert to blocks and add info as needed.

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Can’t wait to get seeds started using this paper towel germination method this year!

I decided to try this method. After a few weeks I have a tiny sprout of a day lily seed. When and how do I transplant it?

Hi MaryJane, that is so exciting you’ve got a baby day lily sprouting! Does it have any roots yet or just leaves?

I would try to make sure you have some roots and then transfer it to a little pot or paper cup with potting soil.

Lightly mist with a spray bottle to keep it from drying out and set it in your window or under some grow lights where you can keep an eye on it and make sure it’s watered enough.

I’d feel comfortable planting outside when it’s about 6 inches tall, with at least 4 leaves. (Maybe 6-8 weeks old?) But, you can also keep it under lights until you are ready.

Good luck – please let us know how it goes!

Avocados and mangos work great this way as well, and they’re so beautiful!I look forward to trying ginger Thank you for such a thoughtful post, I’m trying ALL of these with my kids this week!

Hi Susie, thank you so much for your kind feedback – I hope you and your kids love this! We had so much fun seeing how quickly different seeds would germinate.

I’ve never grown avocados or mangos but really want to try now! Thanks for the tip. So far our favorites are the baby lemon trees and baby clementine trees we were able to start using the paper towel and baggie method – they really took off once we transplanted them to soil and wintered over indoors. (Wish I could get my hands on some lime seeds now!!)

Love to hear how everything goes for you guys – good luck and have so much fun!

Amazing article! It featured well the advantages of germinating seeds in different ways. As well as those methods and applicable seeds for germination. Thank you for sharing this one. Worth reading and applying.

Hi Lewis, thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful feedback – I am so glad you found value in my germination tips! So easy, clean and quick with a great success rate! Best wishes and happy gardening!

Hi, i used this method for sprouting coriander seeds and the roots are starting to get longer just One week later. When I transplant them into soil, do I place it root down into the soil or root up?

Hi Shazia! Great job with sprouting your coriander seeds! I’ve done one of two things in this case with similar seedlings.
1. Plant with the roots down and the top of the seedling above the soil. DO NOT expose to direct / harsh outdoor sunlight straight away as it could scorch your baby plants. Gradually!
2. Plant the WHOLE THING in the potting soil! Roots down but the baby plant will know what to do. I’ve completely buried sprouted pea seedlings outdoors and then those ones didn’t need to harden off with the natural sunlight.

I hope this helps! LMK if any other questions!
– Kate

I don’t know how I found your website, but I’m so glad I did! Such great tips and info!
I run a Garden Club at an elementary school and this year we’re “training” the Kindergarteners to learn basic gardening so they can join the garden club in 1st grade
I was wracking my brain on an easy yet fun activity for the kinders and thought of germinating seeds in paper towels. Your step-by-step instructions make it so easy for me to plan it out for the students.
Do you have any specific tips for kids ages 5 and 6?
Thank you!

Hi Suzan! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words! I am so glad you’re going to try this activity with the Kindergarteners to get them excited about gardening! My youngest is in K also and she is my little gardening buddy. I can definitely put together some seed starting tips for age 5 and 6. I’ll try to do something more visual but in the interests of a speedy reply, here are my thoughts!
– Use spray bottles to moisten the paper towels for sure! Remind the kids to space out the seeds so they aren’t touching, if possible.
– Get gardening themed stickers and let each child decorate the plastic baggies!
– Write names on the bags with Sharpie so everyone remembers whose is whose.
– Put together a fun guessing game of gardening facts, with questions like, what do plants need to grow!
– If possible, bring in seed pods or seed heads from your own gardens. Pass them around and show the kids how to harvest the seeds too!
– Schedule time to peek and check on the seeds a few times each week!
– Use different kinds of seeds (labeled in different bags) and make predictions of which ones will germinate first.

Love that you are doing this! Good luck and feel free to let us know how it goes – we’d love to hear!

Thank you so much! I can definitely apply this to the lesson for the Kinders. I love your idea of seed heads. Nothing in my own garden to show them right now, but I might just have to get some special flowers to do that!

Hi Suzan! I am so glad these ideas on germinating seeds for kids may work for your kindergarten pre-gardening club kiddos! I have tried both methods – planting directly in the ground works best when you bury the whole seedling so it isn’t immediately sunburned, in my experience. Also keep in mind your growing zone and expected hard frost date if applicable. When planting in pots, you can grow them indoors or harden them off and move them outside as appropriate. (I have posts on hardening off if that is of any help.) Any of these can be great teaching moments!

Let us know how it goes and if you have any other questions!

Thank you, Kate! Will let you know how it turns out!

Quick question – once the seeds have germinated and sprouted, can they be planted directly into the ground or is it better in pots?
Thank you!

Hi Thank you for this lovely info. I am trying to plant Kakabeak seeds and did what you said with the paper towel, but used a plastic bag, I put it in the bottom of my boiler (hot water) cupboard. I was excited that 5 days later I saw a sprout . I have put them on seed mix soil now, in the paper towel and a little soil on top. Thinking the towel will rot away. Now I am questioning whether to dig up and plant straight into the mix? What do you think? Kakabeak is a native bush plant in New Zealand and has the most beautiful 3-4 inch long pea type flowers. Mine is white, but you can get the in yellow and the most common red colour. Thank you for any info. Regards Fay

Hi Fay, lovely to hear from you! Thanks so much for your comment! Kakabeak is new to me – thanks for explaining its origin and appearance. I’ll ask my husband about it as he studied for a semester in New Zealand. Did you bury the paper towel as if it were part of the seed? In other words, is soil around it on all sides? I can assure you that the other seeds germinated in paper towels in my experience have grown successfully even with a bit of paper towel still attached. I didn’t want to disturb the roots and I agree with the belief that the paper towel would break down in the soil much like compost. How are your seedlings doing at the moment? If they look healthy – unless the plant is known to be finicky or temperamental, I would leave them be and continue caring for them! If they look in need of something, check sunlight / grow light, moisture, etc. before anything else.

Congrats on your sprout – that is very exciting, especially for a plant that sounds so exotic and fun! Feel free to ask any other questions and definitely let us know how it goes!

Happy Gardening!
– Kate

I sprouted a star fruit when i lived in florida. I havent had any luck here in michigan. Im trying your method tomorrow. I got 16 seeds from 1 star fruit. The trees are so beautiful and delicate.

Hi Rebecca! So great to hear from you and about your experience with sprouting star fruit! I have not tried those seeds yet, but I just looked them up and the starfruit trees are gorgeous! I may give it a whirl as well! That is definitely a big climate change but I am confident you can do this. Please let us know if you have success with the germination. Wishing you all the best!

The baggie method works great. Even better when you spray the seeds with a 10:1 mix of water : hydrogen peroxide (3%). Hard shelled seeds (okra, etc.) can be snipped with fingernail clippers (away from the radicale) and the peroxide dramatically speeds up germination. Mixture can be made with 1 cup water (minus 1 tbsp) + 1 1/2 tbsp hydrogen peroxide. Using the baggie method with H2O2 (for broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and cabbage) I had 90%+ germination rate in two days this last weekend. Sometimes even helps with seeds that should no longer be viable.

Hi Douglas, thanks so much for taking the time to share this great tip! I am definitely interested in trying that. I’ve had luck snipping the corners of really tough pumpkin seeds before and scarifying canna seeds so that makes perfect sense about the other tough-shelled ones. I have heard of using hydrogen peroxide in seed starting but have no personal experience. I am so glad to hear of your positive experience with it and hope to give it a whirl this year. I’ll try to remember to update the post if so! Thanks so much – wishing you a wonderful garden this year!

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Hello! Is the Author and creator of this page the same person? I would love to hear how they created this page!
I will be using it for a school write-up and I have chosen this page.

Hi Amber, thanks so much – I am happy you found value in my content for your school project! Yes, I am the creator and writer for this site and my young daughters are my helpers in the garden. Please email me if you need anything further! Thanks so much and good luck. – Kate Van Druff

I read your article. I like germination method. My question is if towel is dry should I keep spraying water.? If near heat vent, and it gets dry should I moist towel every day?

Hi James, excellent question – I should update the article with this information. Yes, if your paper towel dries out, please do spray it with water to moisten it again. It doesn’t need to be soaking/dripping but lightly spraying will help the seeds continue to germinate. Thanks for stopping by and best of luck! Happy Gardening.

I used the paper towel – baggie method on several seeds last night. After reading these comments, I realize I may have over-
moistened. Should I go back and unseal the bags to allow some drying out?

Hi MG – thanks for your comment and good luck with your seeds! Are they large that you can remove them and replace them? If so, maybe try that and squeeze out some of the liquid from the paper towel. If you want to open the bag to allow a bit of drying, that should be okay too – just remember to reseal after a little while.

Good luck and happy gardening!

Hi I’m growing kiwi, how long do the roots have to before I put them in soil

Hi John,
That’s great to hear you’re growing kiwi! I moved mine into little nursery pots pretty soon after I noticed successful germination. I think they didn’t even have a true first set of leaves yet, just the cotyledon. I think you can put them in a little container or flower pot and baby them for a few weeks under some grow lights. Make sure you check the variety and your grow zone to avoid the cold temperatures freezing / killing them. The brown fuzzy kiwis need to come indoors in certain zones during the cold season. Wishing you all the success with your kiwi plants!

Hi, I just found your site and am very interested in trying this method. You only show vegetables but I’m wondering about flower seeds, specially as they are so much more tinier. Wondered if you have tried this.
Thank you

Hi Jan, what a great question and point you bring up – thanks! I will try to snap some photos of flower seeds starting in wet paper towels. I have successfully germinated Celosia and Zinnias using this method. Some like Bachelor Buttons may do best this way and then stick them in the fridge inside their bags. I am sure other flowers will also do well – I’ll update with whatever we do. Thanks for your note! Happy Gardening!

What vegetables seeds germinate fastest? How many seeds do you recommend to plant per seedling pot?
Thank you!

I’m hoping to give away plants for an Earth Day booth. But got a late start.

Hi Liese! Definitely speed up the process with the paper towel method. I’ve found pea seeds / snow pea seeds can germinate overnight sometimes this way – it may still take a few days to break the soil but the roots emerge very quickly. I’ve also found Kale to be pretty quick. I usually plant 2 per egg carton cell, so maybe 2-3 seeds per 3-4″ nursery pot if that’s what you’re using. You could also make little seed goodie bags if you need a quicker turnaround. Sounds like a wonderful offering!

thank you for this info !! going to do this with my second grade students!

Hi Elena! Thanks for your comment and stopping by – that sounds wonderful for your students! I am so glad they’ll get to enjoy this activity. Wishing you all lots of success!

What about if you haven’t had time to plant but keep them wet?

Hi Dustin, great question! Yes, you can rewet them and keep them in the bag a bit longer. (I’ve done this.) If you see any signs of mold (black or pink, etc.), swap out the wet paper towel for a new one. Good luck!

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

Supplies Needed

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

3.) Germination

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.


  1. 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.
  2. They should germinate in 1-4 days, though some seeds can take 7 days or longer (especially older and smaller seeds).
  3. 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.
See also  Cannabis Seeds Chicago

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.

Germinating in paper towel vs Strait to organic soil??

hey guys i just received some seeds from kingdom organic, and im wondering should i plant them strait into the soil?
the site says this: We recommend germinating KOS seeds directly into soil-mix at approx. ½ – ¾ inches in depth. There is no need to drop the seeds into water first, or use paper towels; our seeds are extremely viable and seeds planted directly into soil-mix end up being stronger and healthier plants in my experience.

ok. so im pretty sure they are talking about if you are using their soil line, TLO soils, but im using a similar organic soil. Ive been using the paper towel method as long as i have been growing, what do you guys think i should do?

a senile fungus
Well-Known Member

Drop it in soil and leave it!

Pretty simple really.

New Age United
Well-Known Member

It’s the natural way, but ask any farmer if they hatch their seeds before they sow them and you’ll get a definitive yes. Because they know if they plant a thousand corn seeds without hatching them they’ll end up with a hundred stalks of corn. I always have and always will use the paper towel method, out of hundreds of seeds soaked I’ve had maybe 10 that didn’t hatch.

Well-Known Member

Straight in the soil mate.

I find a humidity dome helps, i also soak my seeds for 18-14hrs. Play around. find your own way

Path of Light
Well-Known Member

i used to drop’em in a cup of water until they split put them in a paper towel for a few days in a warm place & poof in 3-4 days would have 1″1-1/2″ taproot & would put iinto medium I was using at the time never broke a root

Well-Known Member

Throw the beans in the soil. If they dont pop within 10 days, take them back out and manually germinate them or soak them till they sink and throw them back in. I dont like to see naked tap-roots

Well-Known Member

i’ve been dropping them in soil for about 5 or 6 grows, sometimes i get good results other times I get bummed out cause of low germination rates. I switched to the paper towel method, and got 9 out of 10 to pop and they are all vegging now. I recommend that you get a tupperware dish wrap your seeds in a wet paper towel, put the lid on the container stick it in a dark place check them on a daily basis making sure towels are damp and look and see when your tap roots start growing. Once this happens I drop them in RR’s with the taproot facing down. I don’t let the root get real long, Only about an eighth to a quarter of an inch and then I plant it iin the Rapid Rooters with tap root down and the leaves will start showing with in a day or two. This method works much better for me as opposed to the putting them in soil.
Just be careful with the root when planting it.
Good Luck

Joe Blows Trees
Well-Known Member

I like soaking for 24hrs then drop in soil and cover with plastic until they sprout. I got better results doing it that way then the paper towel. I also don’t like handling the tap root.

Well-Known Member
a senile fungus
Well-Known Member

I go straight into soil and mine always germinate and cotyledons appear within 3-4 days. I have had a couple bum seeds but I can only.imagine they’d also have been bums in the papertowel as well.

New Age United
Well-Known Member

I go straight into soil and mine always germinate and cotyledons appear within 3-4 days. I have had a couple bum seeds but I can only.imagine they’d also have been bums in the papertowel as well.

a senile fungus
Well-Known Member

The last two party cup comps I’ve waited till the last few days to sow the seeds and have still made the deadline.

New Age United
Well-Known Member

i’ve been dropping them in soil for about 5 or 6 grows, sometimes i get good results other times I get bummed out cause of low germination rates. I switched to the paper towel method, and got 9 out of 10 to pop and they are all vegging now. I recommend that you get a tupperware dish wrap your seeds in a wet paper towel, put the lid on the container stick it in a dark place check them on a daily basis making sure towels are damp and look and see when your tap roots start growing. Once this happens I drop them in RR’s with the taproot facing down. I don’t let the root get real long, Only about an eighth to a quarter of an inch and then I plant it iin the Rapid Rooters with tap root down and the leaves will start showing with in a day or two. This method works much better for me as opposed to the putting them in soil.
Just be careful with the root when planting it.
Good Luck

I put them in soil as soon as the tap root shows itself, this will usually happen within the first 36 hours if the plates are kept at 22-25 celsius. I plant them in a half inch divet and just sprinkle enough soil to cover the seed. Always pops up in a day or two.

Well-Known Member

As you can plainly see, it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference! Everyone has their own favorite method and they all swear by it.

I never soak my seeds in water because I’m never in a hurry (I think it just speeds up the process). I use the “Paper towel” method because it’s more fun (I’m a “hands-on” guy and I get to play with them more that way). I also don’t let the tap-root get very long; hopefully about 1/4 inch maximum, then into the soil. That’s the way I’ve always done it and probably always will. To each, his own!

Budley Doright
Well-Known Member

Paper towel for me as I’ve seemed to have better luck, not sure why though as I do agree that planting them in their growing medium would be the logical choice with less fucking around. This is exactly 24 hrs later. And yes they’ve all split. They were planted appr 36 hours later and are now 6 days old Try both methods and see for yourself. Obviously it all works and as said its the growers preference imo. Good luck!

Well-Known Member

Hahaha, i go 50/50 soil/soiless mix. Damp it, and plant it. Puttem in the dark for 48 hrs and blamo! Done. I dont fuck around with brawny towels.