If you're reading this, it's safe to assume that you've decided to join the cannabis growing community and most likely purchased your first batch of weed seeds. Now, for the all-important, big question: "How do you germinate cannabis seeds?"
The first step of marijuana cultivation is to germinate your cannabis seeds. It's how the life of weed plants begins, and knowing what to do and look for can potentially save you a lot of time and headaches down the road.
Regardless of which method you use, it's best to germinate your cannabis seeds indoors. During this stage, they're extremely vulnerable, and keeping them safe should be your priority.
There are various ways to germinate cannabis seeds indoors. So, sit back, relax, light a reefer, and read on as we take a look at the most frequently used indoor techniques.
How to germinate cannabis seeds
Considering the cost of regular, feminized, and autoflowering seeds, you can't afford to waste any on bad sprouting methods. Here's what to expect of this process and what you'll need to provide to germinate your cannabis seeds.
What is cannabis seed germination?
Germinating cannabis seeds involves getting your weed seeds to sprout. You'll know this process was successful as soon as a little white tendril (the taproot) pops out. A plant's taproot is its lifeline, and it's responsible for developing all other roots during your shrub's lifetime.
The taproot will grow in length and size, gradually pushing the seed up until it breaks through your growing medium's surface. The first leaves (cotyledons), created as part of the embryo inside the cannabis seed, will emerge soon after, breaking the shell apart. Next, the seedling grows its first true set of leaves which has jagged or serrated edges.
What do cannabis seeds require to germinate?
Knowing how to germinate your cannabis seeds fast is equally as significant as how to choose the best cannabis seeds. Although there's no shortcut for this process, you can slightly speed things. For the best sprouting rates, your marijuana seeds will require the following:
- Moisture. Keep your seeds moist, but avoid soaking them.
- Peace. While you're waiting for the taproot to pop out, you shouldn't disturb your marijuana seeds.
- Keep things warm and humid. The best way to germinate cannabis seeds is to keep them warm, but not hot, in an environment with higher ambient humidity.
- Be gentle. Take care when you're checking on your weed seeds and when you move them. Never touch the taproot as it's extremely fragile and can easily snap off.
- Plant the seedling root down. Point the taproot downwards when planting the germinated seed to avoid the seedling having to reorient itself.
- Plant shallow. When you're planting your germinated pot seeds, place them no deeper than an inch from the surface of the growing medium.
How can I tell if my cannabis seeds are good?
To germinate cannabis seeds, they need to be viable. In general, all dark seeds are good, even if they can be crushed, and will sprout under the right conditions.
Merely because they appear weak doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't high-quality cannabis seeds. If it germinates, it's a good seed and will grow under the right conditions.
If you're unsure about your weed seeds, soak them in a glass of clean water. Those that sink after 12 hours are likely to be good and should germinate. If they still float, touch them. Those that sink should be usable. In contrast, pot seeds that float after 12 hours are unlikely to sprout.
People often forget that weed seeds are living organisms that remain dormant until they sprout. It also means that they can die.
To germinate cannabis seeds after long-time storage, you need to keep them alive. While being stored, you need to ensure that they retain their viability until you're ready to sprout and plant them. What it comes down to is that you need to know how to store marijuana seeds properly.
Fortunately, it's easier than it may sound, as there's a lot of info online that can help you with this process.
How to germinate cannabis seeds tips
As a type of cannabis seeds 101, you should consider the following before you start to germinate your cannabis seeds:
- Before germinating your cannabis seeds, keep your weed seeds in the fridge in a sealed plastic container or bag. It'll mimic the seasonal change between winter and spring and promote the sprouting process.
- Soak your weed seeds in clean water at room temperature (68–77 ℉) for 12 hours.
- While germinating your cannabis seeds, it's essential to set reminders and use a spray bottle to keep them moist at all times.
- Don't forget about your germinating cannabis seeds. If left for too long without being planted, they'll develop long taproots, and without the proper growing conditions, they'll die.
- It's crucial to track germination dates and developmental or stage changes during your weed plants' life cycle using a grow journal and remember to set a schedule with reminders for your tasks.
Method 1: How to germinate cannabis seeds in soil
If you're wondering about the best way to germinate cannabis seeds in soil, it's much easier than you may believe.
Germinating your cannabis seeds in soil is the most natural method you can use. It's a weed plant's natural habitat, and the dirt protects your shrub's roots from any interference or damage.
Here's how to germinate cannabis seeds using this method:
- Use the correct soil type: A seed starter or gently fertilized potting soil with a pH of about six is ideal. It contains enough nutes and the right acidity to strengthen your seedling for the first 14 days. Don't add extra nutrients, as it'll overfeed and kill your seeds.
- Take a tiny pot and fill it with soil, then use a pencil or your finger and push a small hole, roughly half an inch to an inch deep, in the dirt. Place the seed inside and cover it with the ground. You shouldn't touch the seed from here on out as it's fragile and will naturally position itself in its new home.
- Place the tiny containers under a fluorescent lamp and be sure to keep the soil moist using a spray bottle. You can place your germinating cannabis seeds on the windowsill, but it's not advised as the temperature is often too volatile for the sprouting process. Ideally, you want to keep the heat between 70 and 80 ℉.
- Monitor your weed seeds regularly and keep the soil moist. Their tiny stems should sprout from the ground in four to seven days.
- When the seedling reaches a height of two to four inches, you should transplant them into larger containers, giving them sufficient space to spread their roots down and out.
Method 2: How to germinate cannabis seeds in water
Germinating cannabis seeds in water is a slightly faster technique than sprouting them in soil, but it's essential to adjust the environmental factors to create the ideal growing conditions. When using this method, the weed seeds will require one to two days to pop their stems (older seeds may take longer.)
This process is faster due to seeds getting all the moisture they need immediately. It also softens the shell, making it easier to crack open.
Below are step-by-step instructions on how to germinate your cannabis seeds using this technique:
- Start by filling a small container with tap water and let it stand until it reaches room temperature (about 65 ℉.)
- Place up to three seeds in the container and allow them to float while keeping an eye out for any changes.
- Germinating cannabis seeds in water typically takes about two days (older seeds may take as much as a week.) Once they've sprouted, carefully remove them from the H2O and gently place them root first in a small soil-filled container, no more than an inch deep.
- If the seeds take longer than two days to pop, replace the water with fresh H2O, but be sure to keep it at room temp.
- As soon as the seedlings are strong enough, you need to transplant them into bigger containers.
Method 3: Germinating cannabis seeds using paper towels
Germinating cannabis seeds using paper towels is another method commonly used by weed cultivators.
When germinating your cannabis seeds using this technique, it's essential to use cheap paper towels. They're typically non-porous, so neither the pot seeds nor their roots will get stuck to it. If you use the more expensive brands, the roots tend to grow into the material, resulting in you damaging or breaking the taproot off when trying to move it.
Without further ado, here's a step-by-step breakdown of how to germinate cannabis seeds using this method:
- Start by laying a paper towel on a countertop, place some seeds, and lay a second paper towel on top.
- Using a spray bottle, moisten the paper towels. Proceed by storing the cushioned seeds under a face-down bowl or between two plates.
- Place the covered seeds in an environment where you can maintain a temperature of roughly 72 ℉, but don't put them on a windowsill.
- By using this method, it'll take two to five days to germinate your cannabis seeds. They'll be ready to plant as soon as their tiny roots reach a length of about one-fifth of an inch.
- When planting your germinated cannabis seeds, be careful not to damage the seedlings. Their tiny roots often get stuck in the paper towels, so it's crucial to move them before the taproot grows too long. Use tweezers or fingers to gently remove the seeds and carefully place them in the prepared growing medium.
Cannabis seed germination – Frequently asked questions
When it comes to germinating cannabis seeds, growers, especially novices, often have many questions. To simplify matters a bit, we've taken it upon ourselves to answer some of the most frequently asked ones in advance.
What is the ideal humidity and temperature for marijuana seed germination?
To germinate cannabis seeds, you're ideally looking for a temperature between 70 and 80℉ with relative humidity ranging between 70 and 90%.
What should I do if the seed shell is stuck to the seedling after sprouting?
In general, the seed shell will fall off when the cotyledons are formed. If the husk gets stuck to these leaves, spray it with clean H2O to soften it and leave the seedling for a few more hours. In most instances, it'll fall off after soaking it.
If not, try spraying the shell with a bit of water and gently removing it using sterilized tweezers. Be careful, though. The seedling is fragile and can be damaged easily.
How long does it take to germinate cannabis seeds?
How long does it take to germinate cannabis seeds? Well, depending on the seed, it typically takes 12–72 hours under optimal conditions to sprout. Older weed seeds can take up to a week to pop.
How do I store my cannabis seeds properly?
To properly conserve marijuana seeds for future use, you need to keep them in a cold, dark, and dry environment (for instance, in the fridge,) preferably in their original packaging or a ziplock bag. When the time comes to germinate your cannabis seeds, take them out and start the sprouting process.
Seed germination – The first step to cannabis cultivation
There are many things you need to know before you start growing marijuana, and knowing how to germinate cannabis seeds is merely the first lesson. While most foliage can sprout in their growing environment, marijuana seeds tend to be fragile and should be popped before planting them.
Knowing how to germinate cannabis seeds is crucial to the success of any marijuana growth. With various methods available, though, it can become confusing.
Three of the most effective and common methods used by weed cultivators are germinating cannabis seeds in water, soil, or paper towels. By following the instructions above for each technique, you're bound to germinate your marijuana seeds successfully.
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