Discover the most effective ways of germinating cannabis seeds indoors in an easy, fast and affordable way; the best tips and tricks. Learning how to germinate cannabis seeds is the first step to growing marijuana, but it's not as easy as many aspiring cultivators think. Learning how to germinate cannabis seeds is essential to all future growing success. Properly popping beans puts you on the road to healthy plants and heavy harvests. But there are a few things to consider in order to master how to germinate cannabis seeds the right way.
Germinating Cannabis Seeds – Different Methods
A seed is a plant that’s waiting for the right conditions to germinate and grow. This post is designed to teach you how to germinate cannabis seeds as efficiently as possible in order to obtain successful results during this delicate phase.
Table of Contents
Cannabis seeds (or marijuana) germinate when they’re in the right conditions for successful growth. In nature, this process occurs on its own around springtime; moist soil begins to heat up with the increased sunlight and the inclination of the earth. We’re going to give a quick overview of the different methods used when it comes to germinating cannabis seeds.
Under these conditions, seeds germinate in soil protected from direct light and in an airy substrate. Once they’ve germinated they will begin to take root in the soil.
- Humidity: alongside heat, this activates seeds and softens the protective shell. Once the seed has germinated, it will need moisture to survive.
- Darkness: roots are incredibly light-sensitive, so they’ll need to be in the dark in order to guarantee germination.
- Heat: alongside humidity, heat activates seeds and indicates that the conditions are right to begin growing. It’s important to maintain temperatures between 20 and 26°C during the germination process.
- Oxygen: it’s important to periodically open the container in which you’re germinating your seeds in order to renew airflow and give your plants’ seeds more oxygen.
How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
There are many different germination methods when it comes to cannabis seeds, from simple to complex processes. In this post we’re going to go through the most common methods used that, when done with a care, can be 100% effective.
Germinating Cannabis Seeds in Paper Towels
Germination in paper towels is La Huerta Grow Shop’s preferred and recommended method due to how efficient and easy it is, as well as being the cheapest method. Cannabis seeds ready to germinate in paper towels
- Absorbent paper towels (kitchen)
- Two plates or plastic, opaque Tupperware with a lid.
- Sprayer (optional.
- Latex gloves.
We highly recommend using latex gloves during the entire process in order to avoid accidental contamination via fungi or virus.
You can also use Germinator Pro to help you with this process; it comes with everything needed for the germination process, including a thermometer on top of the germinating container.
Steps to follow
- Place 6 – 8 paper towels on a plate or in your Tupperware, and pour in small amounts of mild water until they’re covered. Squeeze them softly until they’re moist but not soaking.
- Place the seeds on the paper towel “pillow”, keeping them a distance a apart so their roots don’t end up intertwining. The less you touch them with your hands, the better.
- Wet another 6 – 8 paper towels, squeeze to remove excess water and place them on top of your seeds.
- Place the second plate upside-down on top (or the Tupperware lid) in order to guarantee darkness. You can close the lid entirely or not, depending on how fast the paper dries. Keep in mind that you need to keep the paper towels moist until the last seed germinates. If you close the lid fully, open it once a day to make sure they get more air and to check if they’ve germinated.
- Place the seed container in a warm area without direct sunlight, keeping the temperature between 18 and 25°C. At La Huerta Grow Shop we’ve noticed that cannabis seed germinate faster and better when placed over very light heat sources like a router or on top of the fridge, which generate high enough temperatures to stimulate germination.
- Observe the process and maintain humidity. If the paper dries up, spray it again until it’s moist. Seeds don’t always germinate at the same time, so we recommend transplanting when the root is between 1 and 15 cm. If you leave germinated seeds in the container for too long, the root may grow too long and make them harder to handle. This initial root is highly delicate; we recommend using latex or plastic gloves.
- Transplant your seeds. You’ll need to wash the soil and make a hole as deep as the root; place the seed in with the root facing downwards. This allows the first two leaves to sprout above the surface of the substrate. The substrate should be moist – not soaked – until the plant grows its first pair of real leaves. During this delicate phase, the amount of moisture available is crucial; don’t let it dry out too much, but don’t over-water. We recommend using small amounts of water frequently.
*if you’re using a heater or heating mat, keep in mind that your seeds are in a container and not a flowerpot, so the heat may be excessive.
How To Germinate Cannabis Seeds
Cultivating cannabis from a seed is not as easy as many beginner growers might think. Various factors are involved which will ultimately determine if the cultivator is successful and has a large harvest, or if they fail and have to go back to the drawing board. Learning how to germinate cannabis seeds is the first step to becoming a cultivator.
Some cannabis cultivators prefer to start with cannabis clones versus marijuana seeds. Each route has its own advantages, however, seeds are typically easier to acquire than clones. While clones and seeds will both do the trick, seeds also seem to be a more popular route in many areas.
It’s worth noting that purchasing cannabis seeds online is illegal and often results in less than desirable seeds being acquired by the buyer. Look for legal cannabis seed options in your area. Many reputable licensed cannabis dispensaries sell cannabis seeds, with strain options varying.
How Do You Know If A Cannabis Seed Is Viable?
If you consume cannabis long enough, chances are you will come across a seed in your cannabis flower. Whether you want to try to germinate the seed immediately, or save it for down the road, it is important that you know if the cannabis seed is viable to be germinated or not.
Viable cannabis seeds tend to have a darker color with shades of grey, black, and/or brown. A really good cannabis seed will typically have a ‘tiger stripe’ across it. Another way to tell if a cannabis seed is viable is by touching it (make sure to wear gloves when handling cannabis seeds). A quality seed should withstand a bit of a pinch. If the seed collapses under a little pressure, then it wasn’t viable.
How Do You Germinate Cannabis Seeds?
Germinating marijuana seeds is not difficult, although it does take attention to detail and the right environment. Successful germination takes the right amount of moisture, the right temperature, and a decent amount of light (sunlight or artificial light from low-intensity grow lights).
Arguably the easiest and most cost-effective way to germinate a cannabis seed is to place it between wet paper towels (often referred to as “the paper towel germination method”). Add a bit of water to the paper towels and squeeze out the excess water.
You want the paper towels to be moist but not dripping water. Place the seed(s) between the moist paper towels, place the paper towels in a sandwich bag to lock in the moisture, and put it on a window ledge where it will get some but not too much light. Keep the paper towels moist until the germinated cannabis seeds are ready to transplant.
If the temperature of the room is too cold (below 55 degrees Fahrenheit), consider using a heating mat, which can be found at most department stores in the gardening section. The success rate of the paper towel method is high as long as the cultivator keeps a close eye on the process until the germinated seed is ready to be transplanted into potting soil, peat pellets, or a different growing medium.
Various products such as “rapid rooters” can be incorporated into germination strategies, however, they are not as cost-effective as the paper towel method.
When Is The Seed Ready To Be Transplanted?
Watching a cannabis seed germinate can be a lot like waiting for water to boil — it takes time (typically a couple of weeks). The seeds will eventually crack open and a white root will shoot out of the cracked cannabis seed shell. The white root is often referred to as the taproot. Once your sprouting seed has a strong taproot (an inch or so) it is ready to be transplanted.
Find a two-inch container for your grow space, fill it full of soil (or your preferred growing medium), and poke a hole where the seed will be placed. Using tweezers, place the seed with the taproot facing down in the hole. Then, cover it with soil.
From there, you can grow the cannabis seed into a large cannabis plant. One downfall to cultivating cannabis from seed is that you won’t know if the marijuana plants are male or female for several weeks. If the young plant proves to be male, then it is basically useless. Using feminized cannabis seeds is a good way to ensure that the plants are not males, saving you quite a bit of time and headache.
Continuing Your Education
Cultivating cannabis is a never-ending educational journey. Even the most experienced cannabis cultivators will be quick to tell you that they are always learning and seeking out cultivation information.
A great way to learn more about the cannabis cultivation process from seed to harvest is via Green Flower’s Cannabis Cultivation Certificate Program. The program is led by true cultivation experts and involves insightful course materials. If you are looking to increase your cultivation knowledge this is a great way to do it!
How To Germinate Cannabis Seeds: A Step-by-Step Guide
“It all starts with a seed.” Learning how to germinate cannabis seeds is essential to all future growing success. Properly popping beans puts you on the road to healthy plants and heavy harvests. But there are a few things to consider in order to master how to germinate cannabis seeds the right way.
Step 1: Choosing Seeds
First, you must decide on what seeds to grow and where to get them. Seek out trustworthy seed companies that have been around and have a track record of successful breeding. Take a look at our High Times Seed Bank Hall of Fame for a list of 50 of the most well-known and accomplished strain creators.
Don’t have seeds mailed to the location where you’re growing or planning to grow. Beginners might want to start with an indica-dominant strain that will stay small and stocky with a short flowering time.
Sativa-dominant strains tend to stretch more and have longer flowering times. If your seeds have been sitting around in storage for a while, check out these tips for germinating old seeds.
Step 2: Sprouting Seeds
Some people choose to use the moist paper towel method to germinate their seeds but I recommend just sowing them directly into the medium you plan to grow in. This reduces any stress the seedling will suffer through the transplanting process and secures the young plant firmly into your chosen mix.
Moist Paper Towel: Place seeds on a plate between two moistened paper towels. Put a plate on top to cover and within a couple of days, you should see the seed cracked open and a taproot emerging. Immediately and carefully (using tweezers) place your seed into your growing medium taproot down and water it in.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with using a moist paper towel, as long as you’re gentle with the emerging tap root and as long as you don’t let the taproot grow too long before planting. My belief is simply to start the plant in its own medium to reduce the likelihood of damaging the tender young roots and shoots.
Straight Into Medium: Poke a hole in your pre-moistened grow medium of choice. Drop your seed in about a quarter- to a half-inch deep. Cover the seed with more of your medium and tamp it down gently.
The important thing is to not plant too deeply and to keep the medium moist and warm for the best germination success rate. Clear plastic wrap placed over the top of the container helps maintain humidity. A heating mat underneath your plastic tray will increase your success rate as well.
Step 3: Seedling Care
Within a few days, you should see a minuscule green shoot emerging from the top of your medium. Immediately get your seedling under adequate grow lighting. Ideally, for the strongest growth rate, you want Metal Halide (MH) lighting, but Fluorescent or LED (Light-Emitting Diode) lighting works fine and won’t produce as much heat.
No matter what lighting you choose, always remember not to keep your grow-light too high above your seedling as this will make it stretch to reach the light and leave your young plant looking long and lanky.Use a timer to make sure the lights are on for at least 18 hours per day. Learning how to germinate cannabis seeds also means treating the emerging seedlings with the proper care.
Temperature and Humidity: You never want your seedlings to dry out. Keep your medium moist but not soaking wet. The air in your grow space should be kept warm, between 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit and with a relative humidity between 50-60 percent.
Use a thermometer/hygrometer to keep track of these factors at all times. As your plant adapts to its new environment, you will see new foliage sprouting forth. Your plants are now well into their vegetative stage of plant growth.
Final Hit: How To Germinate Cannabis Seeds
Now that you know how to germinate cannabis seeds, you’re ready to begin the process of growing your own weed. Just remember, provide light, food and water to your plants when they need it and keep the environment within acceptable levels of temperature and humidity. You’ll avoid so many problems by simply maintaining the proper parameters.
One last tip: Remember to label your seeds, seedlings and clones to avoid confusion and costly mistakes. Now get growing!