Cannabis Seeds sprout easily with our step by step guides for germinating weed seeds in soil, water, tissue, rockwool, & more! Learn how to successfully germinate your precious cannabis seeds every-time with this simple, easy to follow guide. A must read for all beginners. If you read our recommendations on how to choose the best moment to start your outdoor crop, you have probably waited for the good weather to settle in and for the be…
How to germinate marijuana seeds
Germination begins the life of your plant, so it is essential to understand precisely how to do it. There are many methods for germinating marijuana seeds – some more successful than others.
This guide will discuss the many ways to germinate your seeds as well as some strategies for ensuring you get the best results possible. But if even the right methods fail I stand by my seeds and replace non-germinated seeds for free.
About germinating cannabis seeds
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It starts with the seed
Like all plants, marijuana starts as a seed. What looks like a pebble is actually an entire plant conveniently stored with a few days supplies of food to support itself. During germination, this food is converted into sugars that the plant uses to break through its shell and form its roots. From that point forward, the young seedling depends on its environment to provide the nutrients it will need to survive.
Germination brings a seed out of its slumber and triggers the growth process. A seed will begin germinating once it receives enough moisture.
At that point, it will increase in size and break open its shell. A germ opening forms and a root will emerge, which will help the plant absorb nutrients from the earth.
Nature and gravity ensure that the root grows downwards and the stem upward, creating a young seedling that can survive off light and earth.
Since all marijuana grows from a cannabis seed, many people want to know how to identify a healthy seed.
Honestly, it is difficult to tell if a plant will be healthy based on its seed alone. There are, however some tell-tell signs.
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Generally speaking, a pale-green, white, or very dark marijuana seed may have trouble germinating well. But this does not always reflect the outcome of the plant and is always worth trying.
If you are unable to use all of your seeds, store them in a cool, dark and dry place until you can. A refrigerator is ideal.
Planning for germination
Seeds are designed to germinate, but they are more likely to do so if given the ideal environment. There are many methods of germination, but they will all require:
- Moisture to help the seed expand and break through its shell
- Minimal interference so that delicate structures aren’t accidentally broken that mimic springtime (between 20°-22° Celsius or 68°-72° Fahrenheit)
If you remember these three things, your germination attempts are more likely to be successful.
It should go without saying that successful germination is important. Your seed is the foundation for your plants – which is why many successful growers choose to start with high-quality seeds.
You can also improve your germination attempts (and possibly speed up the process) by soaking your seeds in 1% hydrogen peroxide or a compost tea solution for 12 hours before using them. This process will kill any infectious agents.
3 Simple ways to germinate your seeds
The best germination method is the one that works for you, and if you are like me, you’re going to want something simple and natural.
My favorite way to germinate seeds is a 24-water soak followed by soil germination, but something else may work better for you. Here are three of the easiest ways to germinate seeds.
Germinate seeds directly in soil
Planting your seeds in the soil that you intend to grow in is the most common and often, most successful method of germinating marijuana seeds.
This method is perfect for ensuring young seeds have minimal interference since the fragile root is protected by the soil. It’s also the most natural way for marijuana plants to grow.
How to plant marijuana seeds directly in soil
The first step in learning how to plant marijuana seeds directly in soil is to first make sure you use the right type. Use mildly fertilized potting soil or a seed starter. It should have a pH of approximately 6.
This type of soil will have spores and minerals that help young marijuana plants thrive. Do not add nutrients – potting soil has enough nutrients for at least the first two weeks of the plant’s life.
If you add any more nutrients, you risk killing your seedlings due to a nutrient overdose. Place your soil in a small pot.
In my free Grow Bible you will find even more tips for sprouting seeds and how to germinate weed seeds
- Grow with my Quick Start Guide
- Discover secrets to Big Yields
- Avoid common grow mistakes
Steps to germinating cannabis seeds
To prepare the soil for your seed, push your finger into it to create a small hole that is up to 1.5cm (0.6 inches) deep.
You can also use a pen or pencil.
- Place one seed into the prepared hole and cover it with soil. If you’ve already germinated, the seed will have a root – place the root facing downward (more on that later).
- After you’ve covered your seed with loose soil, do not mess with it.
- That includes pushing it down further – this will happen naturally as you water it.
- Use a plant sprayer to moisten the soil and place the pots under a fluorescent lamp.
- Don’t use a windowsill, because the temperature is not stable enough for germination.
- The temperature of the soil should be 22° Celsius or 72° Fahrenheit which is easy to achieve with lighting.
- Keep monitoring your soil to make sure it stays moist.
- Within a week (or as little as 4 days) you should start seeing stems emerge from the soil. You now have a seedling!
- Once your plants are 2 to 4 inches tall (5 to 10 centimeters), transplant your plants into a larger pot with the stems further in the ground. Your plant will now have many roots that will support it for the rest of its life.
Germinate seeds in water
As I mentioned above, germinating in water is my favorite way to start my seeds.
It may seem like a bad idea, as there are more water and light than recommended when using this method, but it works! I’ve found that it is around 90% effective.
The “trick” is not leaving the seeds in water too long.
Usually, 24 to 48 hours is enough for the seeds to show their tail, but you can leave them soaking for up to 7 days without too much of a worry.
Water germination is useful because it assures that there is the right amount of moisture to begin germinating.
If done for just a short period, it can help crack open the shell, pre-sprouting the plant right before your eyes.
Water germination shortens the process by making it easier for the plant rather than having to push through the soil.
- To germinate with water, fill a glass with tap water and allow it to reach room temperature over a few hours.
- The temperature should be around 18° C or 65° F. Do not add nutrients. Drop 2 to 3 cannabis seeds into the water and watch for any changes.
- Refill the glass with fresh water every other day while maintaining its temperature.
After about 2 to 4 days the seeds should start to split.
You can place your seeds in the soil at any point, but once the roots are 3 to 5 mm (.1 to .2 inches) long, they must be planted.
These are the basic instructions from my store that I share with new growers:
As much as I prefer to germinate my seeds in water, it does have its downside.
At some point, you will need to handle your seeds, and this is risky. Germinating seeds are delicate, and the roots are especially fragile. If you harm them in any way, your plant might not develop well.
Be very careful when placing your sprouted seed into the soil, and if possible place the root facing down.
Germinate with cotton pads or paper towels
Another easy way of germinating your seeds is to use cotton pads or paper towels.
This is a common way of doing it because cotton pads or paper towels can keep the seeds moist and protected.
While cotton pads (or balls) or the best for this method, cheap, non-porous paper towels will work as well.
Just make sure they are plain single-ply paper towels – the cloth-like ones may cause your roots to grow into the towel.
- To germinate using cotton pads, place a few seeds between two cotton pads and moisten with a plant sprayer.
- When using a paper towel, place the seeds in between two paper towels and store the towel-cushioned seeds in between two plates, under an upside-down bowl or in a plastic bag.
- Keep the temperature around 22° Celsius, or 72° Fahrenheit, and (once again) do not place the seeds on a windowsill.
- In about 2 to 5 days, the seeds will start to split open, and a tiny root should appear.
- Place them in the soil when they are 3-5 mm or 0.1- 0.2 inches long.
Read my free Grow Bible to learn more about germination and caring for your plant.
- Grow with my Quick Start Guide
- Discover secrets to Big Yields
- Avoid common grow mistakes
Like the water method, germinating this way has its risk. If you are not careful, you can damage fragile roots while transporting them to the soil. You can also tangle the root in the wet paper towel if you are not extremely careful.
Explore the beginner cannabis seeds in my shop and start germinating your first seeds!
Use your fingers or tweezers to move delicate sprouts, and don’t allow the root to grow too long before moving it into the soil.
Other germination methods
Water, soil, and cotton pads or paper towels are the easiest ways to germinate your seeds, but they aren’t the only ways. You can also use starter cubes or plugs for germinating cannabis seeds. Simply drop the seed in, add water, and wait for it to germinate.
They aren’t always as successful, but they eliminate the risk of damaging your root when transporting a young sprout to its final growing home.
Below are two types of starter materials that can safely germinate your seeds.
Germinating seeds in rockwool
Rockwool provides the perfect environment for germinating seeds.
It is mineral wool that is made from volcanic rock and other materials (such as basalt and limestone). Rockwool is man-made by melting its ingredients into molten lava that is quickly spun into threads. These threads are then compacted, cured, and cut.
Rockwool is an ideal growing environment, but it will need to be amended slightly for marijuana plants.
First of all, you will need to add some fertilizer before you use it to start seeds. The TDS should be around 600ppm. You’ll also need to lower the pH since Rockwool has a pH of 7.0, which is too high for germination.
To lower the pH, soak Rockwool plugs in water for at least a day. Since water has a pH of 5.5, this will bring down the pH.
It should also be noted that there are some serious drawbacks to using Rockwool.
Because it does not occur naturally, it’s not the best for the environment.
It’s also not the greatest for your health; wear gloves and cover your mouth and eyes when handling this stuff.
Because of the extra steps involved (such as adjusting the nutrients and pH) and handling issues, this method is not recommended for beginners, although it is not terribly difficult to do.
You’ll need to purchase and TDS meters for the most successful germination, but outside of that, the material is very affordable and easy to find.
Because it does not require soil, this method is ideal for those who plan to grow hydroponically.
Germinating seeds in peat pellets
Peat pellets are another way to germinate seeds without the risk of damaging young roots.
Peat pellets are compressed peat, which is made of partially decomposed vegetable matter and is simply yummy for young plants.
The pellet enlarges when you add water to it, forming a container of nutrient-dense soil alternative around germinating seeds.
Unlike Rockwool, peat is already optimized for cannabis germination.
It has a pH of 5.5 and a TDS of 625, so you don’t have to worry about making any adjustments. The only preparation required is soaking the pellets in warm water.
Once the roots become visible, (by popping out of the peat), simply move the entire pellet into the soil, rock wool, or coco coir, where it will continue growing.
This type of germination is not recommended for hydroponic setups.
Peat pellets have a good germination rate, are easy to use, and are suitable for beginners. They are also ideal for cloning.
I recommend the Jiffy brand of peat pellets which can be purchased on Amazon.
In addition to the material used to germinate your seeds, the grow environment you provide will play a huge role as well.
Your seeds will need the correct temperature and levels of moisture to sprout into a strong, healthy plant.
“Weak plants are the result of weak seeds and poor growing conditions.”
Below are some tips for creating the perfect germination environment.
How to water sprouting seeds
Watering is essential throughout the cannabis life cycle, and germination is no exception.
Not enough water and your seeds do not germinate, too much and that root doesn’t survive.
Excess water keeps oxygen from the roots and can attract mold, which is why you have to be very careful not to overdo it.
When germinating weed seeds indoors using soil or another growing medium it is relatively easy to monitor the water levels. You should water your seed until you see water dripping out from below (and not more).
Even though the seedling cannot absorb that much water, it will evaporate quite quickly, so you need to make sure there is always enough around.
If you water it until it reaches this point, it should supply enough moisture for a few days.
Lighting and temperature
Like water, lighting is essential to a cannabis plant. In a mature plant, light enables the plant to form sugars from carbon dioxide and water.
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The plant then uses those sugars to power its growth – something we humans call photosynthesis.
For a seed, lighting is important as well because it provides heat, which a seed needs to push open its shell and send its root into the earth.
The best way to give your seeds the temperature it needs is with fluorescent lights. (T5 high output with a color temperature of 6500K).
Fluorescent lights are ideal because they do not use too much power, and they don’t give off too much heat.
You can place them as close to a young plant as you need, and although your seed doesn’t need it at this point, it will as soon as those first leaves start peeking out from the top of the soil.
Incandescent bulbs can also be used because they are great at generating heat. You can’t use them as grow lights, but for germination, they work just fine.
You can also use a seedling heating pad (available at most gardening stores). These heat the seeds from the bottom instead of the top. They will not be enough once your plant has started growing, however.
Keep the temperature of the soil around 72 degrees.
Seeds germinate best in warm, humid temperatures, similar to springtime.
To create a humid environment, wrap plastic wrap around your pot, creating a biodome for your plants. Just remember to remove the plastic wrap the minute you see any sprouts emerge from the soil.
If the soil, or water, or whatever you are growing in is hotter than 72 degrees Fahrenheit, move the lamp further away from the plant.
Dry air won’t kill seedlings, but if you can reduce it, even better.
Where to germinate seeds
When you’re planning your outdoor grow and you received your seeds, it’s best to germinate them indoors. This is because indoors it is much easier to maintain the correct temperature, water levels, and light exposure.
Even if you plan to grow your plants outdoors, you do not want to try starting them outside (unless you absolutely need to).
Outdoors you must worry about rain, clouds, and plenty of other things that could keep your seeds from sprouting.
You’ll also have to wait until the final frost has passed, meaning your growing season may be delayed compared to if you had started the seeds inside.
Starting indoors gives you a head start and your plants a better chance at survival.
If you still plan to germinate outdoors, choose a location that will support the plant its entire life. You will not be moving the plant so choose wisely.
- Plant seeds when corn is typically planted in your area.
- Dig 6x6x6 holes at least three feet apart and fill them with potting soil.
- This will give the seeds enough nutrients to start.
- Then, dig a small, quarter-inch deep hole into the potting soil and drop the seed in.
- Soak that soil with water, and water it again in a few days if the weather is warm enough.
- You can use row covers to protect your seeds and keep the area warm but be careful to not leave them on too long – young plants will need the light once they break through the soil.
In my free Grow Bible you will find even more tips for sprouting seeds and how to germinate pot seeds
How to germinate cannabis seeds
When germinating cannabis seeds there are a few factors that play an important role. Cannabis seeds need humidity and warmth to sprout. A temperature between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius is ideal. Also besides that, we recommended that you leave the seeds in peace.
A glass of water
Place your seeds in a glass of sterilised water, the water temperature should be around 20 – 25 degrees Celsius. Gently push the seeds with your fingertip below the surface of the water and leave the seeds fo float. After 2 – 4 hours, your seeds should have sunk to the bottom of the glass, if not, Gently push the seeds again, they should fall to the bottom. Within 24 / 48 hours, your seeds will have small roots and be ready for the next stage.
Cotton pads – Paper towels
Place the seed between 2 wet layers of your chosen material. Using this method, the water will evaporate quickly so it is best to create an environment where condensation can take place. You can do so by placing 2 plates on top of each other with the top one upside down for example. Make sure to check the humidity twice-daily! The material should be humid, not wet!
When the root is longer than 2 – 3cm, its ready for planting.
Choose the size of pot that you will need and fill with a quality soil of your choice. Place your finger into the soil making a small hole in the middle. Carefully transplant the seedling into the soil with the root facing downwards. The seed head should just be covered up by the soil. Wet the soil carefully. Make sure it is wet enough for the seedling to continue growing. Check regularly. The seedling will require 18 hours of light a day in the growing (vegitation) stage.
We recommend storing your seeds in an airtight plastic bag or container in the fridge. The seeds will stay fresh for years when stored this way.
How to germinate cannabis seeds every time
Learn how to germinate your cannabis seeds successfully every time in our easy to follow guide. Read more
What if my seeds do not germinate?
If your seeds do not germinate for some reason please contact [email protected] for a *free replacement.
*This only applies to seeds bought from this website.”
How to germinate weed seeds?
You can germinate your cannabis seeds both indoors and outdoors, though our recommendation is that you do it indoors, as you will have more control over all the factors that can have a negative effect on the process. But if this is not, below we explain the best way to germinate seeds outdoors.
Our first recommendation, as we already said, would be to wait for the good weather to settle in. Having a high temperature (from 22 to 26°C) is an important factor for your seeds to decide to emerge into the world.
Step 1: protect your seedlings from climate factors and fauna, prevention is better than cure.
Outdoors we never know what dear mother nature has in store for us; in the same way that your seeds might enjoy a week of good weather and sun, there can also be thunderstorms and low temperatures on the very day they sprout. Not to mention the large variety of birds, snails and other fauna that delight in eating those tender and tasty marijuana seedlings. Bear in mind that during their first moments of life, your plants are defenceless against many dangers that threaten them; therefore, it is your job to take care of your little ones and keep them safe. How? It’s actually quite simple, you can buy mini-greenhouses for germinating or you can use a Tupperware and make holes in it for adequate ventilation, although we recommend the first option.
Ventilation is an important factor; don’t make the greenhouse airtight, open the trapdoors to allow adequate ventilation and as the covers are made of thin plastic, you can even make some extra holes if necessary.
Step 2: choose quality materials.
Today you can find high quality products on the market, specifically designed for germination and which, in addition, are not expensive. What do you need?
- Germination greenhouse
- Electric blanket: If you live in a very cold area, a good solution to stimulate germination is to place an electric blanket underneath the greenhouse, thus achieving an adequate temperature. It is important that the probe that measures the temperature calculates the temperature of the blanket, and not of the greenhouse, as otherwise you might heat the seeds excessively.
- Jiffy 7: This product consists of of a compressed and dehydrated substrate pellet which, after leaving it in water for a few minutes, becomes a small sack of special substrate for germinating, and is also biodegradable. This is the star product that will optimise your germination process due to the following reasons:
– On the one hand it has the ideal structure, that is, the amount of air and water in the substrate is adequate for germination.
– It is sterilised, meaning that we prevent the appearance of fungi (powdery mildew, botrytis, etc)
– It has all the elements necessary to nourish your seed/seedling during the first week; the ideal amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Phosphorus and calcium are particularly important for the correct development of roots.
– It has a neutral pH, which is the most adequate and makes it the perfect medium for germination; during one week you just have to add water.
– Jiffy 7 is expressly designed for the mega-industrial production of seedlings and does not require fertilisation.
– Another advantage is the specific temperature: water has a low specific temperature. This means that if we place a glassful of water in a room at 25°, it will be very hard for the water to reach that temperature. Therefore, if we place the cannabis seeds in a very watery medium (a glass or between paper towels) the temperature will be lower, while in a Jiffy, as it is more exposed to the air, the temperature will be higher and the process, faster.
However, there are people who germinate marijuana seeds in paper towels. Why don’t we recommend them? Well, although this method may be effective, it is not the most adequate and has some disadvantages. To start with, the seedlings do not receive the necessary light, as the paper towel that covers the top prevents the sun’s rays from penetrating. In turn, in the Jiffy they do receive light, and therefore photosynthesis will start earlier. Another advantage is that as soon as the root emerges in the Jiffy, it starts to turn downwards and to absorb nutrients: on the one hand we accelerate the process and on the other, when we replant the Jiffy 7 with the seedling there is no transplant shock.
Step 3: follow the method.
- Put the Jiffys in lukewarmwater.
- Once the Jiffys have expanded, make sure that they are thoroughly wet (don’t squeeze them, just remove the excess liquid if they are dripping). Monitor the pH (between 6 and 7) and the EC (less than 0.5 ms) of the water.
- Insert the seed in the central hole of the Jiffy, not too deep (approximately 5 mm) with the tip pointing upwards. The marijuana plant must not be sown too deep because otherwise the root has to travel too far: it always emerges through the pointy part of the seed, turns 180°, penetrates into the soil, and once it is secure, it raises its “head” from where the cotyledons will grow.
- Place the Jiffys in the greenhouse as well as a thermo-hygrometer to monitor the temperature and humidity.
- Temperature control: it must not fall below 20 degrees nor exceed 30. If you put the greenhouse in the sun, it can get very hot; you must constantly monitor the temperature. If it exceeds 25 degrees, we recommend that you lift up the top cover to ventilate it. Another important factor you have to check is humidity. If it is very sunny, the Jiffys will dry up and it is important that they are always humid. You must therefore add water when necessary, though not in excess. They should only be soaking wet during the first two days. After one week we should already have marijuana seedlings; with their two cotyledons (the first two round -shaped leaves), before the first two real leaves sprout (the serrated leaves), transplant them. If they are autoflowering seeds, we recommend that you transplant them to the definitive flower pot, though if they are feminised seeds you can transplant them to a smaller pot and then, when the plants are larger, you can move them to the definitive pot.
For indoors: The same but under a grow light, fluorescent or LED. If you have the option of germinating your cannabis seeds inside your home, ideally the light intensity will be high; the less intense the light, the more the seedlings will stretch in search of light and become spindly. If you use a 400 W light ideally it should be 40-45 cm away.
Now that you know how to take your first steps, you’re ready to start this season’s crop. Have a good harvest!
Kushka Barcelona-born journalist and grower with a curious spirit. I used to spend my life travelling, writing and working with cannabis clubs until Professor OG called me. My two passions, the plant and the writing, have followed the same path ever since. I absolutely love tricky subjects, those that oblige me to spend days buried in books, investigating and driving the entire technical team crazy. There’s no way I can write a story without going into the issue in depth. I enjoy challenges, but even more sharing them with you on our blog. You can find on instagram at @_kushka.
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