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. Cannabis sativa sp. is commonly known as marijuana and has been grown throughout the world for thousands of years. Cannabis seeds germinate in 3 to 7 days, though some varieties may take 10 to 15 days. While germination is a natural… Germinating marijuana seeds. How to germinate cannabis seeds (shot Indoor). Marijuana weed seed germination. Germinating cannabis seeds is the first step in a successful garden. Marijuana seeds can be germinated in a number of different ways. This shot Indoor seed germination method is easy and works quite well.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Keep an eye out on our follow up article on soil preparation for growing cannabis.
How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
This article was co-authored by Lauren Kurtz. Lauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014.
There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
This article has been viewed 65,774 times.
Cannabis sativa sp. is commonly known as marijuana and has been grown throughout the world for thousands of years. Cannabis seeds germinate in 3 to 7 days, though some varieties may take 10 to 15 days. While germination is a natural process, factors such as light, humidity/moisture, and temperature must be controlled for cannabis seeds to sprout.
How to Germinate a Cannabis Sativa Seed
The following is a successful step-by-step process for germinating cannabis seeds on any budget. Germination of marijuana seeds, cannabis sativa, & pot seeds with minimum failure.
Always be sure that your work area is clean. This includes YOU. Wash your hands every time before working with seeds – it will increase your success.
Germinating Marijuana Seeds
Preparation & Supplies
In preparing to germinate your cannabis seeds whether one or a dozen, make sure you have everything you need and that it is also CLEAN. I use anti-bacterial soap in my garden for myself mostly, I recommend using it for everything (hands, buckets, tweezers, shot Indoores, etc.).
(shot Indoor method)
For our tutorial, we are using a shot Indoor, mineral water at room temperature, and our chosen seed(s). We use masking tape and a black marker to identify our seeds when germinating multiple cannabis strains.
You can use your local water with one caution. Fill a pitcher with your water 24 hours before using it & leave it open. This allows chlorine and other potentially harmful chemicals to escape into the open air.
Cannabis Seed Germination
Half fill your Indoor with mineral water. We have taken a single seed (female), and placed it in the water (shot Indoor). Notice that the seed is initially floating.
We have identified this seed and now we need to put it away in a warm and dark place for 24-30 hours. This allows the seed to absorb water. The seed does not need or like any light yet, but likes everything warm.
The cannabis seed simply needs warm air, moisture and darkness to begin a good germination process.
Keeping a temperature of between 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit is excellent for starting seeds. Warm, wet and dark is what they like.
Select a warm spot that stays consistent in the temperature it offers (like on your water heater). We cover our Indoor with a dark cup to keep out all of the surrounding light.
Again, leave this covered and warm for at least 24 hours. This will allow the seed to absorb water, and is an excellent indication that the seed can grow.
The cannabis seed sinks when it absorbs water (24 hours). When you return the next day and uncover your Indoor, you may notice that the seed sank to the bottom.
If it did not, have no fear. Try stirring the water with your clean finger. The seed may have absorbed water and still be afloat by a bubble or dry spot (happens all the time).
How to Germinate
If the seed still floats, you can add some fresh water* and check back again in 8-12 hours. After that, you can still plant the seed, but chances are slimmer that it will take hold (germinate).
I then take a cup of my personal grow mix (soil) that is the same mix I use in my plants through-out their maturity.
I only transplant once, and it’s moved into the same exact grow medium in it’s final container. This prevents additional shock or stress when transplanted.
Each time you change containers or transplant, it will make the plant stress for a week or so.
Use a humidity dome until the seeds break ground (already germinated).
I use a solo cup and slice four slits in the bottom for good water drainage and added aeration. It also makes the transplant very easy.
I carefully place the seed into the soil with the knot side up. I only place it about 3/16″ under the soil surface and water thoroughly. I am still only using water* at this point.
When I water* the soil, it tends to move some soil over the seed. I label my cup and place it in a dome for high humidity and added warmth (shown next to a clone). Position a small grow light above the dome and have the timer the same as your 18 hour garden clock. We want some air, moisture, warmth and light right now.
Lights should remain ON for 16 – 20 hours and OFF for 4 – 8 hours. You are deciding this right now, because changing this light cycle in mid-growth IS stress for the plant – we will control the lights completely. This is the ‘trigger’ for future growth stages. I recommend 18 hours ON, 6 hours OFF once germinated.
Keep the soil moist, but not wet. there is a difference. After my initial watering, I do not water* it again for 2-3 days, and then I am spraying water* over my cup of soil.
Usually, in about 2-5 days you will see the seedling begin to pop out of the soil. I have seen seeds take 11 days, but usually less.
Sometimes, as in this example, the seed shell stays attached while the seedling works it’s way upward and fights to exist.
Cannabis seed curling upward with seed shell still intact.
Spray the leaves with water* for two days to help transition from the high humidity dome. Don’t water yet, just spray them.
Germinating marijuana seeds
Once the seedling has broken ground and I can see green leaves, I remove the cup from the humidity dome. Move your new baby to the nursery side of your garden with the 16-18 hour grow light cycle and circulating air.
As the seed uncurls and begins it’s beautiful life, it will lose the seed case and begin to sprout it’s first leaves.
As you can see, the sprout stretches upward while wrestling with the seed casing to be released (all this work for our smoking pleasure).
As it spends more time under the light, the sprout should be able to shake the seed and begin to form it’s first 2 leaves (cotyledon).You will find that once you have a regiment down that works, it’s fairly easy to germinate your cannabis seeds indoors at any time of the year.
Congratulations! We have now moved from the germination stage to the seedling stage. Patience, cleanliness and good soil products can help insure a high percentage of germination success with your marijuana seeds.
Germinated Cannabis Seed
First Week (Seedling)
Your new seedling is alive and prospering. In our example, you can leave it in the cup for a couple of weeks while it gains strength. It has everything it needs to begin a stress free life. From here we move into the caring and growing of your marijuana.
At times, I plant more than one seed to a cup. Sometimes I leave them both in the cup, and sometimes I separate them immediately after they break ground.
You should now be on your way to some wonderful romance with your plants.
Do not be afraid to “talk to” and raise your youngsters to be strong, vigorous and ‘stinky’ young ladies.
Be careful not to over water* your seedlings. Wait for the top of the soil to get dry and crusty before you consider watering again.
Water* – In this Chapter, the term water relates to mineral water, distilled or bottled water, or house water that has sat in open air for 20-30 hours.
Giving the seedlings a mild nitrogen mixture in your water* will help vigorous, healthy growth at this stage (if your soil does not compensate in this important area). Be careful! They are still young and very impressionable.
Once your seedling has 5-7 growing days in the cup, you can transplant it anytime to it’s larger container. Make this large enough for the life of the plant (I use 5 gallon containers) I never want to run out of room (soil) at the point of flowering.
I recommend water* throughout this process because my soil mixture contains initial nutrients like nitrogen, phosphates, guano, seafood, and more. At some point, you’ll probably develop your own soil too.