Seeds are expensive, having them all germinate is achievable with these easy germination techniques. You'll be growing in no time! THE BASICS Like almost everything else about growing excellent Cannabis, germinating your seeds successfully is pretty simple. We’ve used this very basic, inexpensive method for many years and have shared it among thousands of growers worldwide who have all had excellent results with no issues. First make a mix in the So many Growers, so many Preferences. We asked 143 growers: what is the best way germinating weed seeds?
How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
So you’ve gotten hold of some cannabis seeds and want to make sure they all pop? Seeds are expensive and having them all germinate is achievable, provided they were bred and stored correctly. There are various methods of germination that different cultivators will swear by, from pre soak solutions to the type of medium used.
General Requirements for Germination
Consider a seed falling off a tree in winter. By the time spring comes around the seed may be slightly covered in a light soil, temperatures have risen and rains are starting to fall. These are the basics conditions for a seed to germinate; warmth, water, air and some sort of darkness or cover.
The Seed Soak Germination
This is a part of germination where the seed is soaked for a period of time. Soaking can be in anything from distilled or RO water, to some form of special solution. Solutions can vary from beneficial microbial inoculation or a solution of hydrogen peroxide. The time a seed is soaked can vary from a few minutes to hours or even a day. The soft seed is then carefully transplanted to the growing medium of choice to sprout and grow. It should be noted that seeds can drown and we wouldn’t advise submerging seeds for more than 24 hours.
Hydrogen Peroxide Solution
Hydrogen peroxide is used to sterilize the outer shell of the seed and increase oxygen levels around it. Oxygen is important for gemination and is not uncommon for cultivators to rinse seeds in a weak solution for up to 30 minutes. Add 3ml of 50% hydrogen peroxide to 250ml of water for this method of soaking. Be sure to rinse the seeds well with clean water after soaking. Microbial life of all kinds won’t survive this method, whether it be unwanted fungi spores and bacteria or beneficial microbes.
Beneficial Microbe Solution
An alternative solution is dechlorinated water and beneficial microbes. The seed is then placed in the solution for anything from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. Beneficial organisms fight any “bad guys” around and coat the seed with “good guys.” The microbes will colonize the seedling’s root zone creating a symbiotic relationship between them. Rinsing with clean water afterwards is not necessary.
Paper Towel “Soak”
Many did it at school with paper towels or cotton wool. Seeds are placed in-between soft, water retaining materials in a warm place until a tap root is seen. Paper towels and cotton wool can dry out quickly so check on the moisture content regularly.
Once the tap root reveals itself, gently transfer it to a growing medium or starter plug. Place the sprouted seed tap root down and cover lightly. When transplanting seeds, minimize exposing the root to the elements especially sunlight. Sterilize all tools used and be sure not to break the tap root during transplant, as that can happen too.
Starter Plug Germination
Starter plugs range from rock wool to peat pellets and natural sponges of different kinds. What’s important to note is not to mix your mediums. For example, don’t germinate seeds in rock wool when planning a coco peat finish. A peat pellet or natural sponge would be better suited. For a sterile or inoculated plug to germinate in, add either peroxide or microbes to the water used to soak or expand with.
An old favourite able to hold both air and water well. Produced by the heating of basalt rock and calcium and spun into a sheet. Rock wool naturally has a high pH of 8 and should be soaked in water with a pH of 5.5 – 6 for 30 minutes. Shake excess water off and place the seeds in the designated hole. Pinch the hole closed and place the rock wool in a warm area. Keep the rock wool plug moist but not overly soaked.
Popular in recent years the coco peat pellet is expanded with water and surrounded by a soft material with an opening at the top. It’s pH is naturally around 5.5 but any water or solution used to expand the pellet should also be 5.5. Place the seed gently 1cm to 5mm inside the pellet and cover lightly. Make sure the pellet stays moist but not soaked, allowing for water to drain off.
A sponge shaped like rock wool but made from organic materials like coco peat. When produced, they are pH ready at around 5.5 and in some cases when sold in packs, are already sufficiently soaked too. Like above, place the seed gently inside and place in a warm area making sure they stay moist.
Direct Sowing Germination
You may want to sow your seed directly in the ground in the garden. For that, choose the sunniest spot with a bit of space around as cannabis can get big outdoors. You can soak your seed like above or just get it in there by placing it 5mm – 1cm deep in loosened soil. Keep the area moist and protected, even covered with something clear if preferred.
Cannabis plants become sexually mature and ready to flower from around 6-8 weeks strain depending. This allows for seeds to be planted from spring though to mid-late summer, the longer you wait though, the smaller the yield. Plant your seed in mid spring for vigorous growth during the summer months and a big harvest come autumn.
These are a few of the basic methods used to germinate cannabis seeds although the options are endless. Each method will vary in the time it takes for the seed to break ground, anything from a day or two, to two weeks outdoors with direct sowing. Starting off in the same fashion as vegetable seeds in seed trays are also options for germinating cannabis seeds.
Here are a few more tips for germinating cannabis seed:
If using a propagation dome or some sort of closed environment to increase humidity, the air should be changed daily.
The use of heat mats can greatly increase germination rates, the right temperature can make all the difference.
Like almost everything else about growing excellent Cannabis, germinating your seeds successfully is pretty simple. We’ve used this very basic, inexpensive method for many years and have shared it among thousands of growers worldwide who have all had excellent results with no issues.
First make a mix in the ratio of 1/3 3% hydrogen peroxide to 2/3 distilled water.
It’s important to use only distilled water – some of the common chemicals in tap water can stunt, warp or kill your plant even well past seedling stage when you’ve already spent weeks tending it.
Then soak your seeds in the distilled water/hydrogen peroxide mixture overnight. If you’re growing multiple varieties, be sure to soak them separately. (Don’t laugh. It’s happened.)
Next, pour some of the soak water onto really absorbent paper towels, then wring or squeeze them out lightly and lay them flat. We use 2-3 towels layered together to make a nice thick absorbent nest.
The best seeds often sink and compromised seeds sometimes float, but there are always exceptions to the rule.
Then sprinkle the soaked seeds, using a clean spoon or gloved fingers, onto the moist paper towels, not crowding the seeds.
Then fold the moistened towels over the seeds to make a flat little package.
If you’re sprouting more than 12 seeds at a time, make more than one package – don’t crowd them.
Then put the moist towel and seeds flat inside a closed, unzipped storage-size plastic baggie, laying it flat somewhere away from direct light at room temperature.
In two or three days the seeds will sprout – maybe not all at once, but that’s not a problem because within 24 hours of the first seed sprouting all the others will have sprouted too. Keep your inspection peeks short as not to dehydrate the paper towel.
When the seeds each have a 3/4” root and the halves of the shell are beginning to open noticeably, meaning the embryo leaves are swelling inside, they’re ready.
You then want to move each sprouted seed into a Jiffy Cube you’ve prepared by making a small hole using a pencil or chopstick. Again – be sure you used distilled water to hydrate your Jiffy Cubes and of course use it everywhere else during germination.
Replanted into Jiffys:
Using your fingers, pick up the seed very gently by its shell, and avoid touching the sprouting root as you transfer it into the jiffy cube.
Also remember what’s unfolding inside that little shell as you handle it, be super delicate and stay conscious of the life emerging inside.
Now place the sprouting seed root-down in the hole letting it settle in naturally with the top of the seed even with the top of the hole – never push it down.
If it doesn’t nest right in, lift it out and poke the hole a little deeper. The cells at the tip of that little root hold the most miraculous ecosystem of emerging life one can imagine and while they are incredibly tough in nature they are also vulnerable to our mis-handling.
Now all you have to do is let the new sprouts do their thing they do so well, with a little help from their friends. With a day or so they will raise up their first leaves. Keep them lightly misted if you’re in a dry environment but don’t over-do it.
In a couple of days when they’ve developed their first set of true leaves, not the embryo leaves, it’s time to put them into larger pots with living soil and a mild fertilizer and then let the plants fully establish themselves.
3 Days Later:
10 Days Later:
The same Skunk #1 x Haze seeds are available at:
Is using distilled water really important for germination?
Using distilled water is probably the most important part of the germination process because well water, tap water, bottled water and even rainwater contain traces of contaminants that can inhibit germination and later vegetative growth and flowering.
High chlorine in tap water, herbicides in well water, phthalates in bottled water, as well as many other kinds of common water contaminants can kill or damage germinating seeds and will definitely affect your plant’s health, yield and flower quality.
Can I remove these contaminants with a garden hose filter?
Yes most of them you can. There are a variety of relatively inexpensive filters that screw onto the end of the garden hose that you use to fill containers and water your plants. Some have replaceable screens, while others use granular activated charcoal.
There are also screw-on systems with carbon block filters that run $20-$30 and are very effective at reducing chlorine and chloramine, and at removing pesticides, heavy metals, and herbicides.
What’s some of the science behind using Hydrogen Peroxide for germination?
Here are two core articles from the PubMed database:
“Different Modes of Hydrogen Peroxide Action During Seed Germination”
The Best Way Germinating Marijuana Seeds?
We asked 8 Experts + 143 MSB Growers!
Do you think there is 1 way to make your ladies sprout? Think again!
We asked 8 Experts & 143 MSB Growers:
What is your Preferred Germination Method?
We were blown away by the number of variations we received!
Perhaps your new best way of Germinating Marijuana Seeds is amongst them!
- Study Best Way Germinating Marijuana Seeds
- Dr. Dina, Queen of cannabis
- Ed rosenthal
- James Loud, Loud Genetics
- Jennifer Martin, Cultivation Sector Consulting
- Jesce Horton, LOWD
- Melanie Carruthers, 7acres
- Ryan Douglas, Ryan Douglas Cultivation
- Rudy Ellenbogen. Whole Grow
- Preferred Germination Method MSB Community
- Conclusion: What is the Best Way to Germinate Marijuana Seeds?
Study on Best Way Germinating Marijuana Seeds
Here at Marijuana Seed Breeders, we get many questions. From Beginner to Expert.
We love helping growers.
In fact, we try to address frequently asked questions into articles so that everyone, even non-MSB Growers can benefit.
One of these questions is about germination: what is the best way for germinating marijuana seeds?
Interesting one, because perhaps is our best way, not your best way. Therefore we created the article How to germinate weed seeds.
In the article we give steps for 5 frequently used cannabis germination methods:
- Glass of water
- Wet towel
- Directly in soil
- Stone wool blocks
- Using a starter kit
We also give pros and cons to every method. So this should give you enough information to determine what is the best fit for your next growth.
Which Germination Method is the most used?
Every spouted seed counts. To more plants the better, right?
That’s why we are interested to understand how marijuana growers around the world germinate their cannabis seeds.
When we ask people this question we get a lot of different answers. Which germination method is the most used one?
We had an idea, but we didn’t know for sure.
It was time for a survey amongst our beloved MSB Community. We also reached out to experts in the field to learn more about their preferred method.
We were blown away by the number of enthusiastic replies! Both from our MSB community as well as the experts.
Yes, sure we received replies, just confirming one of the 5 methods.
But the larger group of people actually took the time to reveal their ‘secret’ to cannabis seed germination!
But first: let look at the statistics from our own research.
Results Preferred Marijuana Seed Germination Study
Without further ado, the most favorite germination method amongst 143 growers is:
#1. Wet Towel (37.3%).
#2. Other. 21.1% of the growers follow another germination routine.
#3. Directly in Soil. A surprisingly high percentage (19%) put their precious seeds directly in soil!
#4. Starter kits. 10% use starter kits (like Spongepot).
#5. Glass of water is the best way for 8.5% of the growers.
#6. Stonewool (3.5%).
Here is the breakdown in a chart:
Preferred Germination Method Experts
Ok, enough of the statistic, it’s germination time.
Let’s start with Expert advice!
First off: even though they were busy, we received kind feedback from the Experts. This shows again how approachable and awesome the people in our growing community are,
We received feedback from these experts from the field (sorted in alphabetical order):
#1. Dr. Dina, The Queen of Cannabis, Co-Owner of AHHS WeHo
#2. Ed Rosenthal, The Guru of Ganja
#3. James Loud, Founder of Loud Genetics Loud Seeds
#4. Jennifer Martin, Founder Cultivation Sector Consulting LLC
#5. Jesce Horton, Founder and CEO LOWD
#6. Melanie Carruthers, Director of Propagation 7ACRES
#7. Ryan Douglas, Cannabis Growth Consultant Ryan Douglas Cultivation
#8. Rudy Ellenbogen, Founder and CEO Whole Grow
Ready? Let’s dive right in!
Dr. Dina, The Queen of Cannabis, Co-Owner of AHHS WeHo
When someone gets a nickname from Snoop Dogg, and when that person is referred to as The Queen of Cannabis, the Mona Lisa of Mary Jane as well as The Queen of Weed AND the main character of the 8 season series Weeds is based on their person, then you know that you are dealing with a true expert.
I prefer to germinate My seeds in root gel (clonex) and stick them in cubes. Paper towels work well too, but I think the root gel gives the seeds the extra push to become a strong plant.
– Dr. Dina, The Queen of Cannabis
Ed Rosenthal, Author, Educator, Social Activist, And Legalization Pioneer
I use starter trays and plugs from iHort – EXcel T-50 and 32 Star Excel trays to start seeds. They come pre-moistened, with a little hole to drop a seed.
I use the 50 per tray when I will be transplanting within two weeks and the 32 per tray for growing up to 3 weeks.
When I’m using fresh seed, I just drop them into the hole in the cube.
With stale seeds, first I soak them in a 0.5% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) solution for 3-4 hours. The recipe is 1 part drugstore 3% H2O2 to 5 parts water. This sterilizes their surfaces. Then they soak in mycos and liquid kelp solution for about 6 hours. Then they are placed in the cubes.
Upon first signs of germination, I water them with mycos and kelp to promote root growth. The next day they are watered with a weak combo of veg and flowering formula about 400 PPM.
– Ed Rosenthal, The Guru of Ganja
James Loud, Founder of Loud Genetics
Well it’s a loaded question because it depends on scale.
I sterilize in an h2o2 Soak then germinate in a jiffy #7 typically. However, large scale I prefer a needle/vacuum seeder to place the seeds evenly in the substrate.
Well and with autoflower I believe direct sow in optimal conditions can yield better results.
– James Loud, Loud Seeds
Jennifer Martin, Owner Cultivation Sector Consulting LLC
I use coco plugs. I gave up the wet paper towel method years ago because managing the moisture was too cumbersome.
I buy coco plugs that come in the 50-cell sheet, make a light nutrient mix, put all of the plugs in a pitcher of the nutrient mix, squeeze them to fully saturate them with the mix, put them back in the cell sheet, push a seed into each hole, and put a dome on the tray under the light.
Then I just keep the plugs moist. The seeds start to pop in about 3 days. Some take up to a week. I leave them in there until they overgrow the tray, then transplant into 3″ pots.
Jesce Horton, Founder and CEO, LOWD
I’m a water glass guy. I like to know before planting which seeds are more vigorous and then assess based on that benchmark throughout the growth process.
I carefully pull the seeds with a spoon and drop them into a coco mixture a day or two after they pop.
– Jesce Horton, LOWD
Melanie Carruthers, Director of Propagation, 7ACRES
Our processes at 7ACRES for seed germination use a combination of a glass of water and wet towel.