How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
An in-depth guide on how to germinate cannabis seeds. Discover different techniques on how to germinate marijuana seeds to ensure a successful cannabis crop.
Everything has a beginning.
Cannabis seeds, like all seeds, must undergo the germination process before it can grow into a weed-yielding beauty.
Countless cannabis germination guides litter the internet. However, none go as in-depth as our seed germination tutorial. Read along to learn how to germinate marijuana seeds like a pro.
You’ll discover everything you need to know about the art of germinating marijuana seeds. From the necessary equipment to different germination methods and everything in between, we’ve got you covered.
The Chemistry Behind Cannabis Seed Germination
Cannabis seeds require the right conditions to sprout.
Without the proper temperature, moisture level, or oxygen saturation, weed seeds will not germinate. Although you can readily germinate seeds outdoors, nothing beats controlled germination indoors.
Let’s take a look at the three primary elements that influence the germination rates of marijuana seeds.
Water is the key player in the process of germinating marijuana seeds.
The outer-layer of the cannabis seed acts as a protective casing that provides a two-fold defense — prevent damage to the inner embryo and prevent minimal moisture from premature germination.
However, if the marijuana seed is saturated with water, it will eventually absorb the moisture and kick-off the germination process.
Once the embryo activates through water saturation, it requires oxygen to jump-start the respiration process. Oxygen fuels respiration, which unlocks food stored within the embryo.
After the respiration process, the embryo consumes the food stores, which in turn produces energy. Energy is the necessary product that propels the germination stage onwards.
Even if cannabis seeds have access to water, oxygen, and energy, it’s all for nothing unless it has access to warmth.
As long as cannabis seeds experience 72-78°F during the initial germination process — they’ll burst forth from the ground and spread their primordial leaves under the sun or artificial light.
The three most important elements for successful weed seed germination
Why It’s Important to Germinate Weed Seeds Indoors
At its core, the germination process lays the foundation of cannabis plants.
Overall, marijuana plants will underperform without proper germination techniques compared to those that experienced ideal conditions during the germination process. Therefore, it’s always best to harness an indoor environment when germinating marijuana seeds.
What to Look For Before Germinating Marijuana Seeds
Before you begin the germination process, there are a few things you must look for.
Let’s take a brief look at each.
Damaged Marijuana Seeds
Ordering feminized or autoflowering cannabis seeds online is the best way to acquire top-shelf genetics.
The seeds, however, may experience a few bumps on the road during the shipping process. With this in mind, you must look over each seed to ensure there isn’t any damage.
As long as each weed seed is undamaged, the germination process will be smooth.
The Cannabis Seed’s Age
Next, it’s a good idea to write down the date on each seed pack once received.
By doing so, you’ll have a clear understanding of a seeds’ age. Like all things, cannabis seeds lose their luster as the years go by. Cannabis seeds may remain viable for decades. However, germination rates decrease over time.
Therefore, you should only germinate seeds that are properly stored for a maximum of 6-months.
The Cannabis Seeds Color
Lastly, you must check the cannabis seed’s color.
Cannabis seeds come in different sizes and exhibit various markings across the outer seed coat. However, the seed’s color is an excellent indicator that represents seed maturity.
In other words, light green to pale white seeds are immature and are likely unviable. Therefore, always make sure that your cannabis seeds are light to dark brown color before germination.
Take a close look at the seeds that you receive for damage or discoloration
Should You Use a Seedling Heat Mat?
Many new cannabis cultivators ask if they should incorporate a seedling heat mat into the equation.
Although seedling heat mats are excellent tools to ensure fast germination, they are not always necessary. Seedling heat mats work by producing a gentle warmth that won’t rapidly dry cannabis seeds during the germination process.
However, they may be overkill if you utilize them during hot days, such as those during the summer months. Alternatively, they are essential during colder months during the winter. Therefore, you can choose to harness a seedling heat mat based on the time of year that you choose to germinate marijuana seeds.
Three Easy Methods To Germinate Cannabis Seeds Indoors
Now that you have a broad understanding of germinating marijuana seeds let’s get some weed seeds poppin‘ with a few different step-by-step tutorials.
You’ll have a better idea of which germination technique to choose once you’re done reading this section.
1. How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds in Soil in Five Easy Steps
If you want to germinate weed seeds au natural — there’s no better option than using soil.
Here’s a list of what you’ll need to germinate cannabis seeds in soil:
- Feminized or autoflowering cannabis seeds
- Eco-friendly “starting” container
- Heat mat (optional)
As you can see, the list above isn’t extensive in the least. In other words, germinating marijuana seeds in soil is incredibly affordable.
First, fill an eco-friendly starting container with soil.
The golden rule? Don’t pack down the soil. Remember, the soil you choose must exhibit a loamy consistency. Hardpack soil does not allow proper water drainage and oxygen circulation, which, as you learned previously, are critical components for the seed germination process.
Furthermore, if you choose to use a heat mat, place the eco-friendly containers on top to warm the medium adequately.
Label each container.
The last thing you want to do is forget what seed you placed into each container — especially if you’re germinating multiple cannabis strains at once.
Now, it’s time to sow the cannabis seed.
Create a small hole that’s roughly 0.25-inches (6mm) deep. Gently place the seed inside the hole and cover it. It does not matter which direction you put the seed — believe us when we say that the seed and gravity will sort things out.
It’s important to note that each eco pot should contain a single cannabis seed.
Gently pour a small amount of water into the area where you buried the cannabis seed.
At this point, you must ensure that the cannabis seed never dries out. Once the germination process begins — there’s no turning back. Therefore, allowing cannabis seeds to dry will guarantee inadequate germination or premature death.
Ultimately, you must monitor the soil and continuously apply water until the seed sprouts.
The final step is patience.
The moment the seed is planted, most beginners ask: how long does it take to germinate cannabis seeds, or how can I germinate my seeds fast?
Healthy cannabis seeds typically break the surface within 2-4-days. Older seeds, however, may take upwards of 12-days to sprout.
The germination phase is an incredibly vulnerable moment for cannabis seeds. Therefore, Do not — we repeat — do not dig up the seed to “check on it.”
This is what you can expect after you successfully germinate your cannabis seeds in soil
2. How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds Using Paper Towels In Five Easy Steps
One of the most popular germination techniques is the paper towel method.
Here’s a list of what you’ll need for this low-budget method:
- Feminized or autoflowering seeds
- Dinner plate
- Paper towels
- Spray bottle
- Heat mat (optional)
Now that you’ve gathered the necessary supplies let’s get crackin‘.
Place two to three sheets of paper towels on top of a clean dinner plate. If you decide to use a heat mat to increase the temperature, place it under the dinner plate.
Label the dinner plate with the name of the cannabis strain of choice.
Place up to 10-seeds per plate.
You must make sure that a minimum of 1-inch adequately separates the seeds.
Spray water on the seeds until the paper towels are completely saturated. Once done, place a new layer of 2-3 paper towel sheets on top of the seeds. Use the spray bottle to soak the new paper towel addition.
Remember: the paper towels must always remain saturated with water. If allowed to dry, the cannabis seeds will fail to germinate.
The germination process should occur within 24-48-hours. After 48-hours, gently peel back the upper paper towel section. If the seeds germinate, you will see cracked-open seeds with an emerging radicle.
At this point, it’s time to move the germinated seed to its new home with a pair of tweezers. This final step requires extreme care because the radicle is fragile, and if broken, the embryo within will die.
Be careful when you use the paper towel method and make sure to label each plate
3. How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds Using Rooting Cubes in Five Easy Steps
Germinating weed seeds with rooting cubes is the ideal method for beginners and professionals alike.
Overall, rooting cubes provide the ease of the paper towel method and the soil technique’s efficiency. Let’s take a look at everything you need to when germinating marijuana seeds with rooting cubes.
- Feminized or autoflowering seeds
- Rooting cubes
- pH 6.0 water
- Rooting tray
- pH meter and pH up or down
- Heat mat (optional)
First and foremost, place the rooting cubes in the rooting tray. If you decide to use a heat mat, place the tray on top.
Next, label each rooting cube or tray with the appropriate name of each cannabis strain.
Use a pH meter and pH solution to achieve a pH of 6.0.
The amount of water you pH depends on the number of rooting cubes. Start with one cup of water if you are germinating less than ten seeds.
Germination cubes require a pH of 6.0 because they are typically made from peat moss, rockwool, or other soilless-based mediums. Therefore, a pH of 6.0 will ensure the best possible results once the seed germinates.
Each rooting cube is equipped with a pre-made hole.
Place one cannabis seed per hole. You may tear off a small piece of the substrate to cover the opening. Once done, saturate the rooting cube with pH 6.0 water.
You must make sure that the rooting cube never dries out. Remember, cannabis seeds must remain moist until they sprout to the surface.
Once again, patience is the final step when you learn how to germinate cannabis seeds with rooting cubes. Overall, cannabis seeds may emerge from the rooting cube within 2-4-days. However, germination may take as long as 7-days.
There are a lot of rooting cubes to choose from, but the germination process remains the same
How to Germinate Old Cannabis Seeds
Now that you understand how to germinate healthy cannabis seeds let’s quickly discover how to germinate old marijuana seeds.
As you become infatuated with the world of cannabis, you’ll soon begin to stack an extensive seed collection. Don’t worry; we’re all seed hoarders at heart because there are so many incredible cannabis genetics out there.
Eventually, however, you’ll notice that you have more than a few old cannabis seeds. Luckily for you — all is not lost.
Here’s our tried and true technique to give your old seeds a boost during the germination process.
Cannabis Seed Scarification
Scarring cannabis seeds is incredibly simple.
All you need is a nail file or a piece of sandpaper. Use the file or sandpaper across the surface of the seed in question. You do not need to use an immense amount of force, but instead, a few good scrapes to scar the seed’s outer shell will do.
The point of seed scarification is to allow water to penetrate the seed coating easily. By doing so, the embryo receives a jump start that initiates the germination process.
Once the seeds are scarred, you may choose one of the three above mentioned techniques to complete the germination process.
A few readily available tools to get your cannabis seed scarification done
The Best Way To Germinate Marijuana Seeds
Now that you’re done reading this guide on seed germination — which method will you choose?
The soil, paper towel, and rooting cube methods are all tried-and-true and provide excellent germination rates. Remember, cannabis seeds are an investment, and you must use the best germination method possible to ensure a healthy cannabis crop.
You have one chance to germinate each seed the right way, and by using this guide, you’ll make each seed count.
The Best Way To Speed Up Weed Seed Germination
Many growers get frustrated when their seeds are slow to germinate or don’t germinate at all. Marijuana seeds naturally have a thick shell to protect them from the elements and sometimes all they need is just a little help. You can greatly improve or speed up the weed seed germination process by using a method called scarifying. Scarifying cannabis seeds has proven to increase germination rates and help even the most stubborn seeds sprout. Here we’ll show you how to scarify cannabis seeds.
What is scarifying?
Scarifying means to nick, scratch, or mar the surface of the seed to be more permeable. This helps water and oxygen enter the seed and reach the embryo. Without proper scarification, seeds can take weeks, if not months, to sprout.
Cannabis seeds have what some describe as a ‘harsh’ outer shell that makes them hard to crack open. The cover does this for a reason, helping protect it from birds and other animals who may want to eat it. When you’re trying to grow, this hard shell is almost like a blockade between you and your plant baby. Your goal is to scarify your seeds to make them grow faster.
How does scarifying speed up weed seed germination?
There are many reasons why cannabis seeds won’t sprout, but a big, most common culprit is the lack of hydration. Once you’ve cleaned and disinfected your weed seeds, they should be ready to soak in some water for roughly 24 hours. But some varieties can benefit from a slightly different approach. For large seeds (i.e. Blue Dream) or ones that tend not to break dormancy quickly, scarifying can help you get a jump-start on germination rates.
When you’re looking for tips on improving your germination rate, it’s essential to understand how seeds typically sprout. It all begins when the outer shell, or integuments of the cannabis seed, break down as it interacts with moisture. The embryo cells then become turgid and begin to grow, causing the radicle and plumule to emerge into the world!
Scarifying cannabis seeds helps to reduce the hard impermeable outer layer, which doesn’t allow water and nutrients to get through. This is done by mechanical or chemical means, and in both cases, you should do it before sowing the cannabis seeds into a growing medium.
Step by step how to scarify marijuana seeds
Cannabis seeds have a firm outer shell to survive adverse conditions for decades in the wild. To encourage proper germination of cannabis seeds, you should scarify first. There are plenty of ways to scarify the cannabis seeds. For thinner-than-usual pods, nicking or rubbing may be enough. For thicker pods, soak them in boiling water for a few hours. You can also use rubbing alcohol or any other strong acid solution.
Mechanical scarification, more commonly known as nicking, involves cutting or breaking the outer layers of the seed coat with a sharp tool. Use a thin-bladed knife or other sharp objects. Stay away from anything that would damage the embryo, such as a saw. By removing only a few outer layers of the endocarp (seed coat), you allow water and nutrients to penetrate the embryo to help it sprout.
Recommended methods of marijuana seed scarification
Method 1: Scarify seeds by scraping with a knife or nail clipper
By scraping the surface of the soft seed coat with a knife or a nail clipper, you can expose more of the surface area to improve water absorption. Use caution not to cut into the embryo in the interior of the seed.
How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
Join us as we detail the most effective methods in how to germinate cannabis seeds, along with information that will help you understand marijuana seeds from a new perspective.
Germinating cannabis seeds may seem straightforward, but it’s actually a subtle art that many have yet to master. This is the beginning of a long and arduous journey, so it’s necessary that your cannabis plants start off on the right foot.
How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds : Seeds and Dispersal
How do Cannabis Plants Produce Seeds?
Anatomy of a Cannabis Seed
Materials Needed for Germinating Cannabis Seeds
General Requirements for Cannabis Seed Germination
Cannabis Seed Germination Methods
Cannabis Seeds and the Scarification Method
How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds : Seeds and Dispersal
A seed is an embryonic plant. Just as humans are embryos at the earliest stage of life, so are seeds.
In the case of cannabis plants, their seeds are produced to enable new generations to spread across a landscape with ease.
Cannabis seeds, like all other seeds, are the result of reproduction between plants. Each plant has evolved throughout millions of years to adapt to their surroundings; thus, they’ve also made their seeds adapt to certain dispersion methods.
Since seeds eventually grow into a plant, their range of mobility is fixed. They cannot move across the land as animals do; therefore, their seeds must disperse away from their immediate vicinity.
Plants have come up with ingenious ways to disperse their seeds, using wind, water, animals, and even though their own physical force to throw them out.
Some seeds are equipped with “wings,” which are adaptations that allow the seed to ride the current of the wind for an extended period of time so that it’s dispersed away from its mother.
Many are adapted for water submersion, while others are capable of being digested and remaining intact or to latch onto the fur of a passing animal.
The ways that seeds are dispersed are many, but cannabis has recently found an interesting partner to help in its dispersal. Humans are the leading cause for transporting cannabis seeds throughout the world.
Before their popularity in the last 50 years, many cannabis species were endemic to specific regions throughout the globe.
Now, with the help of human intervention, cannabis seeds are found in the suburbs, cities, and farms. Each cannabis seed is prized, and we do our best to make sure each and every seed germinates so that no seed is wasted.
This is the general understanding between us and cannabis seeds, in which the most legendary strains have been found in unnamed “bag seed.”
Each marijuana seed carries the potential of a legendary strain within its shell, and like you, we’re always concerned with making sure our cannabis seeds make it past the germination process.