How to germinate cannabis seeds
So, you’ve decided to grow your own cannabis plants. You purchased a pack of seeds, assembled cultivation materials, cleared a space in your garden, and are ready to grow your first cannabis crop . With everything in hand, it’s time to begin the very first step of cannabis cultivation : germinating seeds.
What is germination?
Germination is the first stage of the cannabis growth cycle : the process that brings a cannabis seed out of its hibernation period and starts the cannabis growth process. After all, seeds in a bag don’t spontaneously start developing roots. Also known as “popping” seeds, seed germination begins when a seed receives environmental cues letting it know the setting is perfect to start growth.
Germination is the process that brings a cannabis seed out of its hibernation period and starts the cannabis growth process. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
When a seed enters an environment with enough moisture, it will increase in size and slowly break out of its shell. A seedling or germ forms from which roots will emerge, helping the baby plant absorb nutrients from the soil. Seeds naturally develop roots facing down and stems stretching upward, allowing the young cannabis plant to simultaneously feed off light and earth.
It’s essential to acquire high-quality cannabis seeds for germination, as these will go on to become high-quality cannabis plants. Seeds that are fresh-feeling or too green indicate that they haven’t reached full maturity, while pale-green, white, or very dark cannabis seeds may have trouble sprouting. However, it’s tricky to know the outcome of a popped seed, so trying may be worthwhile. If you’re not ready to pop your seeds yet, store them in a dark, cool place until it’s time for germination.
Preparing to germinate cannabis seeds
Germination itself is a crucial aspect of cannabis cultivation. The seed germination process is the foundation of every marijuana plant, and steps can be taken to boost successful popping. For example, some cultivators improve germination attempts by soaking seeds in 1% hydrogen peroxide or a compost tea for 12 hours beforehand to kill any dangerous pests.
The environment in which seeds germinate also plays a role in the outcome. While there are several different germination methods, each requires proper moisture, minimal handling, and warm springtime temperatures between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to germinate cannabis seeds
The best germination method depends on the cultivator’s choice. Here are some of the most common ways to pop your cannabis seeds.
How to germinate seeds in soil
Soil is an easy, more natural method with which to germinate your cannabis seeds. The soil protects the fragile roots from any interference, and soil is, after all, where a cannabis plant would grow in the wild.
Soil is an easy, more natural method with which to germinate your cannabis seeds because the soil protects the fragile roots from any interference. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
First, make sure you use the correct type of soil, either gently fertilized potting soil or a seed starter with a pH level of approximately six (6). The soil contains the right acidity and enough nutrients to strengthen your young cannabis plants for the first two weeks. Be careful not to add more nutrients, or you risk overfeeding and killing your seeds.
Place the soil in a small pot and use your finger or a pencil to push a small hole in the dirt, a bit more than half an inch deep. Insert the seed into the hole and bury it with soil. From this point on, don’t touch your seed. The young plant is fragile and knows how to position itself in the soil bed.
Gently water the soil with a spray bottle and situate your pots under a fluorescent lamp. Keep seeds away from the windowsill, as the temperature is too volatile for germination. In general, you’ll want to keep the temperature in the range of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Monitor your soil every day and keep it moist. Within four to seven days, you should see tiny stems sprouting from the soil.
When the seedling stems reach two to four inches in height, it’s time to transplant your cannabis into larger pots with more room for roots to spread down and out. After you’ve done this, you’ve successfully germinated your cannabis seeds into proper, young plants.
How to germinate seeds in water
You can also germinate your seeds by placing them in water. It’s slightly faster than the soil method, but you need to adjust your environmental factors accordingly. Remember, successfully germinating seeds requires a perfect balance of ideal growing conditions. When germinating in water, seeds need only 24-48 hours to pop their stems, though cultivators can keep them soaking for up to a week as needed. Water germination is faster because the seed gets all the moisture it needs immediately, and the shell softens and cracks more easily after soaking.
To employ water germination, fill a glass with tap water and let it sit until it reaches room temperature or around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Add two to three plant seeds per cup and allow them to sit, watching for any changes. Change the water to fresh tap water every two days, making sure it stays at room temperature.
The seeds should start sprouting in about two days, though older seeds can take up to a week to sprout. You can remove them from the water and place them in the soil at any point once they’ve sprouted. Once the roots are about five millimeters long, they need to be planted.
The downside of water germination is that once they’ve popped, you’ll need to maneuver them into their growing medium manually. This is a delicate process, as germinating seeds are extra fragile, and any harm risks the development of your plants. Make sure to place the seed roots down in the soil when you transfer to a pot.
How to germinate seeds using paper towels
The paper towel method is also a common way cultivators pop their seeds. Some even use this method with cotton pads instead of paper towels, but the necessary steps are the same.
To germinate seeds this way, lay one paper towel on top of a countertop, place a few seeds, and cover them with a second paper towel.
Lay one paper towel on top of a countertop, place a few seeds, and cover them with a second paper towel. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Use a spray bottle to moisten the paper towels and then store the cushioned seeds between two plates, under a face-down bowl, or gently place them in a plastic bag. Maintain a temperature of about 72 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping the paper towel wrapped seeds in the dark and away from a windowsill. In two to five days, the seeds will pop inside the paper towel sandwich and emit tiny roots, ready to plant when they reach about five millimeters in length.
Use a spray bottle to moisten the paper towels and then store the cushioned seeds between two plates, under a face-down bowl, or gently place them in a plastic bag. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The paper towel method also has its risk, as the fragile seedlings can be damaged during the potting process. The tiny roots can also get tangled in the paper towels, so make sure to move the seeds to potting soil before roots grow too long. Use your hands or tweezers to gently remove each seed from the paper towels and place them in a prepared growing medium.
How do you germinate seeds indoors?
Whether you’re planning an indoor cultivation or outdoor grow, it’s best to germinate your seeds indoors. It’s easier to maintain proper temperature, light exposure, and moisture inside, and you can protect your seeds from the elements. Indoor germination, whether using soil or paper towels, will ensure your cannabis seeds have the best chance for survival.
To germinate seeds indoors, use any of the methods described above. Within a few days, you’ll have popped seeds ready to transfer to a growing medium.
Do you need to germinate seeds before planting?
While many plants can be germinated in the ground, cannabis seeds are fragile enough that you should germinate them before planting.
Once your seeds have sprouted roots, they should be planted in soil, a soil-less medium, or in your hydroponic setup. Make sure not touch the root, caring for and navigating the seedling so that the roots face downward. Plant the seed about one inch deep in your growing medium, cover lightly, and allow for about a week for the seed to emerge from the soil. If the seed hasn’t poked through by day ten, it likely didn’t survive.
Putting seeds in soil , root up , root down.
Ok, so I have had success putting them root down.. its what I have always done. Im no expert but ive grown a couple times with shitty grow rooms, and they have always come outta the ground. But, I was reading a post the other day that said to put it root UP, because the root curls , and it will only have to curl once to make its way down. So instead of having the root down , where it wastes energy curling twice, once towards to “top” of the seed casing, and then down again to the bottom of the pot. u put it root up so it only curls once, downward.
Im starting to think its true, because after looking closely at a germinating seed, it down infact look like its curling towards the “top” of the seed casing.
I soak my seeds in water and just throw them any way they land on the soil and cover them. It is good to put the root down.
I soak my seeds in water and just throw them any way they land on the soil and cover them. It is good to put the root down.
thats what everyone says. And also what I believed. But after reading about it , and actually looking at a seed when the root is first coming out. It does look like the seed should be placed root up , as the root looks like its curling down like the post I looked at said.
Dunno , i never put em in exactly perfect anyway. Anything will work really.
I see what ya mean about the root curling. I just looked at my sprouts before coming to where i have internet service. When i go home im going to check that out. Mine always grow as well. Interesting thought.
smoky mac pot
I used to put them root down. Then read somewhere to put them root up and have been doing it that way since. I think it works better. Makes more sense to me anyway.
Yea on my first grow i planted root up and they sprouted in less than 1 day. Now this is my second grow and i planted root down and they still havent sprouted and its been 3 days so now im worried
A CUT and PASTE for you all I have read ssen and heard of both up and down
Marijuana seeds should be placed with the POINTED END UP into a prepared cannabis seeds germination bed or just good soil at a depth of 1/2 to 3/4 inch. The embryo tap root emerges from the pointed (stylar) end and the natural method of growth is for this root to make a turn and grow downward (see the illustration) This bend formed by the downward curve of the taproot is what emerges from the soil and the friction of dragging the cannabis seeds upward helps the new plant to loosen and cast off the seed case when it breaks through the surface. If the cannabis seeds are placed with the pointed end down, the embryo will be required to expend a great deal of its stored energy for twisting and turning to position the tap root when it realizes that it is heading the wrong way (see illustration of germinating marijuana seeds) The seedling will need this energy to exert the forces required to later lift its head (now enclosed by the two halves of the seed case) above the soil, cast off the seed case and then spread its two embryo leaves and begin the life-giving photosynthetic process. This is a critical stage in growth and carelessness in placing the marijuana seeds will exhaust even the most hearty seedling and result in a slow start and a feeble plant in later life. Cannabis seeds should be placed in a small hole at a depth of 1/2 to 3/4 inch. An excellent medium for germination is a mixture of rich humus and fine sand, such as the type used for aquariums. The soil needs a ph of 7.5 to 8.0 and should not be so moist that it sticks to your fingers. If the medium is too moist, the seeds will rot and ferment before they can sprout. A simple test for moisture is to stick a pencil into the soil and if soil adheres to it when removed, then it is too moist. Sort of like when you test a cake by sticking a straw into it to see if it is baked through to the middle. The ideal is not too moist, and not too dry – and be sure that the soil is well-drained. Research has shown that a soil temperature that is at, or slightly above, the air temperature promotes the best survival rates and growth.
My question is in the wild when plants drop their seeds do the drop them point up or point down think about it
im not sure it really matters it has to work harder one way then the other but it would only seperate men for boys or should i say girls from woman
I’m new to growing and i purchased some seeds from a website. My plants are about 2 weeks now and they are about 8 inches tall with the four leaves. I think they are on pace, what sort of things should i do to improve growing at this point? I have them under a hp gro light 24 hours a day. Also what new stages should I be looking for to know their healthy?
5 common mistakes when germinating cannabis seeds
Although the germination of cannabis seeds is a relatively quick and easy process, it is crucial to take into account a series of important factors in order to obtain as high a germination rate as possible. In addition, it’s in our interest that the seeds germinate as quickly as possible, and especially if we want to avoid problems like fungal infection or a low germination rate.
In our article on how to germinate cannabis seeds we explain step by step what you must do to achieve successful germination. Today we will take a look at the main mistakes made during this process, some simple errors that, as we will see, can easily be solved. Let’s see where many growers fail to germinate their seeds, it’s a great way to learn what not to do if we want to make the most of our seeds.
A germinating cannabis seed
Letting the germination medium dry out
By placing the seed in a moist culture medium, it begins a series of reactions that will lead to germination in a few hours or days. Whichever substrate we choose for germination, we must ensure that it never completely dries out, because as the seed stops absorbing moisture, it’s likely that the seed will cease its activity and never germinate. Cialis for Erectile Dysfunction http://valleyofthesunpharmacy.com/cialis/
For this reason, it is advisable to check every day to make sure the germination medium remains moist, especially if a heat source is used to achieve a higher temperature and therefore a better germination rate; the heat will cause the substrate to dry more quickly, something that must be kept in mind to avoid nasty surprises. In case of hydroponic cultivation it is always better to germinate in rock wool cubes, which of course must always remain moist.
The paper towel should never dry out once germination begins
Leaving seeds to germinate for too long
Another common mistake, in this case when germinating in kitchen paper or similar, is to let the seed germinate until the cotyledons appear. If we do this, then the subsequent transplant is very difficult, and it is very likely that we’ll damage the root in the attempt. Additionally, the longer the root is exposed to air and light, the more damage will result, so it is preferable to transplant it before this occurs.
To avoid problems, it is best to plant the seeds when the tap-root measures approximately 1cm, or 2cm at the most. This will make it much easier to transplant and we won’t harm the development of the roots, which can be expand into the new growing medium without setbacks. Phentemrine diet pills http://kendallpharmacy.com/phentermine.html
Direct germination in soil
This is a common mistake that usually results in non-germination, especially if the substrate hasn’t been previously watered before sowing the seed but is watered afterwards. By planting the seed directly in the substrate, we run the risk of it being buried too deep, made worse when we irrigate the growing medium post-sowing.
To obtain much better results, first germinate seeds in kitchen paper, jiffy pellets or peat plugs used for rooting cuttings and then transplant them to the soil or to a pot once the small seedlings have been born. Another benefit of this method is that we can germinate a large number of seeds in a very small space, such as a small greenhouse, which will make it much easier to provide the correct temperature and humidity.
Temperature and humidity for germination
Cannabis seeds germinate correctly with relatively high temperature and humidity values. It will be necessary, especially during some seasons of the year, to use some source of heat to get a temperature of about 26-28ºC. For this purpose there are many options on the market, such as thermal cables or heated greenhouses. The latter are particularly interesting because they also provide the perfect high humidity environment for seed germination.
The ideal is to maintain the germination medium at about 26-28ºC and at 70% relative humidity. Lower values will result in a slower and less successful germination, while higher values can bring fungal or rot problems.
A heated greenhouse is perfect for germinating seeds
Planting the seed incorrectly
If you look closely at a cannabis seed, you will notice that it has a slightly oval shape, ending in a point at one end and forming a small “crater” at the other end, which is called the crown. When planting your seed (whether it’s a seed that you want to germinate, for example, in a jiffy, or a seed already germinated on kitchen paper that you want to transplant) you must keep in mind that this crown should always be facing upwards.
So, you should plant the seed with the tip down and the crown uppermost and facing you. Once the seed germinates the crown will serve as a hinge, so that the seed will open at the tip and let out the root. In case of placing the seed incorrectly, the tap root will grow upward and the seedling downwards, which should be avoided at all costs because it is likely that the seedling will not be born.
Planting at the incorrect depth
Too often the seed is buried too deep (a problem that we have already seen in case of watering after planting the seed), so the seedling may never emerge. In the other case, if we sow too close to the surface, we can find that the seed germinates well but the stem grows weak, bending and not allowing the seedling to develop correctly.
To avoid these problems it is be best to sow the seed at about 2cm depth. In addition, we can cover the lower stem as the seedling grows, so that it gains stability and produces new roots along the length of stem we have buried. In this way we can accelerate the growth of the plants.
We should plant the seed with the root downwards
Planting several seeds in the same pot
Although it may be tempting, germinating several seeds in the same container is not usually successful. In addition to the difficulty of correctly planting several seeds in the same pot, once they are born they will compete for the little space available for their roots. Having restricted root growth does not suit cannabis plants, which will grow more weakly and with greater internodal distance.
In addition, the scarce space between the plants will also mean they will compete for available light, something not recommended if we want to get the most out of each plant. The plants will produce very little lateral branching, and will center their growth on a weak main stem, with too long an internodal distance, factors that usually affects negatively on the final yield of buds.
We hope that this article will help you avoid problems when germinating your seeds, it can be very frustrating to start a grow with all the enthusiasm and excitement, only to run into problems straight away! Do not hesitate to leave us any doubts, comments or your own tips and tricks, we’ll be happy to answer you.
Comments in “5 common mistakes when germinating cannabis seeds” (47)
I quit reading long back when the initial 100 seed results were reasoned. I’ll likely be missing many points observed. Simple opinion, for better than 25 million years of natural survival this plant has recreated itself for man to adapt to its uses in a very short 10,000 or how ever many years there’s been somebody crapping In a watermelon patch Surely it knows its way around a 2cm [email protected]&?ing hole surrounded by its predecessors environment. I would think genetically it knows what the !(@& to do. Especially if you are using a “Feminized seed”. Now, surely many observations have been made justifiable or not the laws of average are easily debatable, but I believe that the laws of average have established the standards many moons ago friends. Maybe I’ll fill up a kiddie pool 4ft Dia. @6 inches deep perlite and drop a 100 seeds through a pine bow from 6 feet high and then document the seeds position when it’s at rest in the perlite.. . I’m Extremely new to cuktuvating cannabis, my 2nd year. My first year turned out peesonally satisfiable at best simply because I planted shark cookies. I germinated in a paper towel, from there I rested the seed however it rested in a tub of perlite with an aquarium bubbler, also a circulator moving a solution of compost tea through the roots for 2 weeks, then put them in a small crawl area with a fan and a few lights for another 45 days, and then moved them to a bucket and put outside for the next 3 months and then brought back inside for another 2 weeks. So any opinions that we all have are open for discussion, but the only resolution for judgement is our own environmental abilities to nurture the development of variable genetics. Happy gardening friends..
Hi and thanks for your comment. We’re happy that your first year of cultivation was a reasonable success, we hope that this year will be even more so! Germinating seeds may seem like the most natural and easy thing in the world, and that’s how it should be, but it’s amazing just how many people fall at this first hurdle, and when the seeds are not particularly cheap, as in the case of cannabis, it becomes even more nerve-wracking, especially for beginner growers and those who have no basic experience of growing other plants like vegetables, flowers, etc. There’s no real substitute for experience in this game, and the more seeds we pop, the more confidence we get. Thanks again for your comment, best wishes to you!
Hello Good day I have some that looks like stale might be more than years old seeds. It was a given to me by a friend and I doubt it was preserved properly in proper containers. Will it still germinate?
Hi, thanks for your comment and question. The older the seeds are, the less chance they will germinate, and if they weren’t stored in good conditions (dry, cool, stable, e.g. in the fridge) then the chances of non-germination become even greater. You can try a few things to help improve germination rates, for example, the application of fulvic acid and/or gibberellic acid will give older seeds a better chance of germinating. Try germinating a few of the seeds in the normal way and then if you don’t get success I’d look at using one or both of the compounds I mentioned. I hope that helps, all the best!
I have germinated five seeds of different stains, all paper towel method. All sprouted.. All healthy.. All put in good seedling raising mix but the problem is they just sit dormant just not growing. I grow under lights. Last year.. No problems this year no growth. Seeds r less than a year old. HELP.
Hi and thanks for your comment. To work out the problem, we need to eliminate a few possibilities. First, check that the temperature and humidity levels within your grow area are suitable for vegetative growth: ideally from 20 to 28ºC with 40-60% RH. Then verify whether your lamps need changing – old bulbs put out significantly less light than new ones, which could be leading to poor growth. If all those factors are as they should be then the most likely culprit is the soil mix itself – the quality can vary from season to season, even with the best brands, so it’s always possible that there could be pests or pathogens in the soil which are preventing the seedlings from making progress. I would recommend trying with a different brand of soil to see if that makes a difference. I hope that helps. Best wishes and good luck!
I germinated in paper towel until tap root was as long as seed it curled around the seed anyway my question is if I planted in jiffy pod should I put it under light or wait till it pops up to put it in the light .
Hi and thanks for your comment & question. The newly germinated seed doesn’t really need a light source while it’s below the soil surface but as soon as it pops out it will need light to prevent it from becoming stretchy, lanky and unhealthy. For this reason, it’s probably best to keep it under a light with a photoperiod of 18 hours light and 6 hours darkness for the day or two that it takes to break the surface. I hope that helps, best wishes!
You’re incorrect, seeds should be planted pointy end up crown down.
Hi Master, thanks for your comment. I honestly don’t believe there’s a correct or incorrect way. In our time, we’ve tried germinating seeds point down, point up and also laying them on their side in the soil, and we’ve come to the conclusion that it makes no difference at all – we certainly didn’t see any real difference in the results of one method compared to another. In nature, cannabis seed dispersal doesn’t rely on the seed landing in the soil in any particular position and it’s managed to spread pretty well! That said, if you like to sow your seeds pointy end down, then that’s great, keep doing it your way if it works for you! Best wishes!
I had my seeds in the paper towel for 3 days. The tap-roots appeared(not out just showing a bit) and I planted them in the soil. 3 days have past and I haven’t seen any progress. Is there a reason why this is happening?
Hi Sean, thanks for your comment. As long as the soil is neither too wet nor too dry, there shouldn’t be a problem with the seeds. They can take a few days to pop their heads up above the surface once they’re planted, the root needs to work its way downwards and find a solid hold to be able to push the seed head out of the soil. Speaking from personal experience, don’t be tempted to dig around looking for them as you’ll probably do more damage than good. The only times that seeds didn’t come up for me were the times I overwatered them, it’s crucial that they get enough air at this moment and too much water can lead to them rotting quickly. Of course, if they totally dry out then they’re not going to survive either. At this stage, I’d just recommend patience, good luck! Best wishes!
This article has a lot of nonsense in it. From Mandala Seeds: A #1 seed killer is a closed humidity dome/mini-greenhouse. Humidity domes are only required for rooting cuttings. Many growers make the mistake of thinking that they need a high ambient humidity for germination or seedlings. This is an unfortunate myth of cannabis cultivation. The high humidity and lack of fresh ventilation quickly causes fungus in the soil or growing medium and the seeds can rot! Cannabis is not an orchid or swamp plant! The seeds need a well aerated growing medium to germinate well. Seedlings also cannot tolerate high humidity and can easily be attacked by fungus such as fusarium and pythium. Only the soil or growing medium should be moist for optimal germination and seedling growth. Ambient humidity is best at or below 50%. Btw, seed should be planted with the pointed end UP, not down. Tap root ALWAYS goes up no matter how you place the seed. It’s by the nature, goes against the gravity to create a support for itself so it can push the seed out. It you put it with the pointed end down it will have to make double turn loosing the precious energy stored in the seed.
Hi, thanks for your contribution. Mandala Seeds give some helpful advice but they don’t have a monopoly on germination methods! In my 20 years germinating seeds I’ve tried all different methods and I’ve found good and bad in all of them. except for the methods using moist paper towels, I refuse to use it these days – I found that’s a great way to get mold problems and a really bad start to the plant’s life! That definitely is far too much humidity. as for ambient humidity, we don’t specify anything in this post. What we do say is that the medium in which the seeds are germinating should be at about 70% humidity for the best results. There’s nothing wrong with using a humidity dome or mini greenhouse, as long as you know when to start ventilating. of course if it’s kept sealed all the time then problems are bound to arise! These days I start all mine in a glass of water with a few drops of H202 and then once the seeds open (usually 24 hours) they get transferred to the substrate. As for the point down/point up debate, I think I’ll need to do a side-by-side comparison to settle this in my own mind. I’ve always planted them point downwards or on their side and I’ve yet to see any weird stuff like roots popping out of the surface, or doing a loop-the-loop before the seedling breaks the surface. But it’s clear that the debate needs to be settled so I’ll do an experiment and I’ll be happy to be proved wrong! EDIT: I’ve since germinated over 100 seeds as a test, 1/3 of them went in the soil with the point downwards, 1/3 sideways, and 1/3 with the point upwards. Most of the seedlings broke the surface at around the same time but it’s clear to see that the ones that I’m still waiting for are mostly those that went in with the point upwards. The next step has to be a test in a terrarium so I can actually see what’s going on but I’m almost ready to call complete BS on this “point upwards” theory, FWIW. Thanks again for your comment, all the best!
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