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.
How to Plant Cannabis Seeds Indoors
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Growing cannabis at home can be a fun project and a nice way to have your own cannabis plants on hand. You may want to grow cannabis indoors due to inclement weather in your area or due to a lack of green space in your yard. Start by germinating the seeds. Then, plant the seeds in soil or in a starter cube. Once the seeds have been planted, care for them properly so they grow and thrive.
- After 12 hours, place the viable seeds on a towel.
Wet one paper towel and put it on a plate. Paper towels are thick enough to retain the moisture needed to help the seeds germinate. Place one paper towel under running water until it is wet to the touch, but not dripping wet. Use a ceramic dish or plate, as it will be strong enough to hold the towels and the seeds. The paper towel should cover the dish or plate.  X Research source
- If you do not have enough space on one plate for all your seeds, soak two more paper towels and put the remainder on a new plate covered in a wet paper towel.
Wet other paper towel and place it over the seeds. Make sure the wet towel makes contact with the seeds.  X Research source
- You can try using a heat lamp near the seeds to keep them warm. Do not warm the seeds up too much, as you do not want your heat source to dry out the paper towels.
- If the seeds become too dry, they could die and never germinate.
- Be very careful with the seeds as they open. Avoid prodding, pulling, or touching the seeds, as you do not want to damage the roots.
- Any seeds that have not opened and grown roots within a few days should be discarded, as they are not viable.
- As an alternative to soil, you can use starter cubes from your local nursery or online. Starter cubes are pre-cut growing pods made of composted bark. They contain a hole where you can place the cannabis seeds and grow them in good conditions. Basic starter cubes are inexpensive and easy to use.  X Research source
- If you make planting holes that are too shallow, the seed’s roots will not have enough soil to grow well. If you make the planting holes too deep, the seed will have a difficult time sprouting.
- Do not pull or tug at the seeds when you pick them up with tweezers. If they are stuck to the paper towel, wet the towel with water to make the seeds easier to pick up.
- Do not press hard on the seeds when you cover them, as this can disturb their growth.
- If you are using starter cubes, pinch the top of the holes in the cubes closed.
- Maintain a growing temperature of 75 to 85 °F (24 to 29 °C) for the plants so they thrive.
- Stick to a regular watering schedule so the plants get enough moisture. You can plan to spray the plants in the morning and then again at night so they get the water they need.
- Grow lights range from $200 to $1,200 USD depending on the size and model.
- You can get cool white grow lights at your local hardware store or online.
Avoid touching or handling the seeds as they grow. Touching or handling the seeds can damage them and stunt their growth. With the right growing conditions and care, your seeds should sprout and poke out of the soil within five to ten days.  X Research source
More than 12 hours of light a day for about 4-6 weeks as the plant matures will be enough. Once the plant is a decent size, you may induce flowering. Switch the plant to a timer of EXACTLY 12 hours of strong light (the more sunlight the plant gets, the more energy it can devote to flowering).
Yes, it is bad for the plant to have water constantly sitting at the bottom of the pot. It could make the roots rot over time.
You can actually find LED lamps made for growing plants online. If you don’t want to bother with that, you can just get a purple light to grow them under. There are many articles online talking about the effects of colored lights on plants.
If you plan on growing short, fat plants, they should be at least 6′ apart. You don’t want the plants rubbing on each other or shading the other plants. You will also want to select a spot to ensure all plants will receive maximum sunlight.
You can start as soon as you see two little leaves budding. During that time, make sure to use distilled water when watering them.
Cannabis thrives in a comfortable room temperature when grown indoors, or a little warmer – not too dry, not too humid. If it feels too hot or too cold for you, it’s probably too hot or too cold for your cannabis plants.
You can’t. You can try keeping it by a window, but you still won’t have much success. Lights aren’t that expensive, look on Amazon.
Yes, rain water is fine for any plant. The use of distilled water is to keep from adding tap water contaminants.
Keeping the plant from “stretching” is simple. Place the lights closer to the top of the plants. There are good video examples on YouTube showing two seeds started at the same time and placed under lights at different heights. The plant with inadequate lighting actually “reaches” for the light, growing tall and thin with longer internodal gaps. The seedling with closer light grows short and squat, with less stem between leaves (internodal distance), which means a better frame and plant structure for supporting the massive buds that you want to grow. As the plant grows, raise the lights with it. (Most folks suggest somewhere in the 16-30 inch range from source to canopy.)
The cultivation of cannabis is considered illegal in many jurisdictions. Make sure it is legal to grow cannabis in your area.
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This article was co-authored by wikiHow Staff. Our trained team of editors and researchers validate articles for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow’s Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. This article has been viewed 1,330,133 times.
To plant cannabis seeds indoors, first soak the seeds in lukewarm tap water for 12 hours. Discard any seeds that float to the top. Then, place the seeds on a damp paper towel on a plate with 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space between each seed. Cover the seeds with another damp paper towel. Keep the seeds in a spot that remains between 70-80°F (21-27°C), and spray the paper towels with water whenever they start to dry out. The seeds will sprout in 2-3 days. When they do, fill pots or a growing tray 3/4 of the way with loose potting soil that has a pH between 5.8 and 6.3. Press the soil down lightly, leaving some air in it. Then, use a pencil to poke 1 inch (2.5 cm) holes in the soil. Place the sprouted seeds vertically in the holes and fill the holes with potting soil. Water the soil thoroughly and place the pots or tray in a spot that’s always 75°F (24°C) or warmer. Set up a grow light over the seeds and leave it on at all times. Water the seeds every day so the soil doesn’t dry out. The seedlings will emerge in 2-4 weeks. To learn how to use cool white grow lights to help your cannabis seeds grow, keep reading!
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“The process is explained very easily, and the author took note in detailing every aspect of seed planting. As for the rest of the process, refer growing weed indoors and harvesting marijuana plants.” . ” more
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You bought beautiful Premium Pro Seeds from Suzy Seeds and of course, you want to get started. First, you have to germinate the seeds. Below, I will discuss my favorite way how to germinate cannabis seeds extensively, but also suggest other good methods. Suzy Seeds exclusively sells feminized cannabis seeds, so you don’t need to remove male plants, which applies also to autoflower cannabis seeds. It’s good to know that a cannabis seed does not need light to germinate. What is important, though, is a humid environment and an ambient temperature of around 20 °C. In general, there are three ways to germinate cannabis or marijuana seeds:
– In a cup of water
– On a damp surface
– In soil
How long does it take cannabis seeds to germinate in general? Or how do we germinate autoflowering seeds? The time of germination of marijuana seeds depends on the method of germination we apply, but autoflowering seeds germinate in the same way and time as feminized or regular cannabis seeds. My favorite way to germinate the seeds is to put them in a cup of water and then between a damp paper towel or tissue. This goes well in 99% of the cases. That is why I will more extensively describe this first way.
We recommend not to touch the seeds or the seedlings with your hands. If you do anyways, make sure your hands are clean and if possible use plastic gloves.
Suzy’s Tip: Try your germintion method on a couple of seeds (maximum 3). This way, you can test if your method works well. Often a wrong germinating method is used and the seeds don’t germinate. Do you want to germinate your seeds in a different way? Continue reading.
Germinating cannabis seeds in a cup of water
Maintain an ambient temperature of at least 20 °C, otherwise, the seeds will not or at least not optimally germinate. Use a clean room and area for the germination process. Fill a cup with water and put the cannabis seeds in it. After 3 to 5 days, the seeds should pop open and a tiny root should come out. As soon as the sprout is 2 to 3 mm, you can carefully get the seeds out of the water and plant them in the soil. Planting the germinated seed has to be done with lots of care and attention. Put them 0.5 to 1 cm in the soil with the root down. This way, the root (the white sprout) will more easily grow downwards.
Germinating cannabis seeds on a damp surface
Maintain an ambient temperature of at least 20 °C, otherwise, the seeds will not or at least not optimally germinate. Put the cannabis seeds on a surface that holds moisture, like wadding, paper towel or tissues on a saucer. Moisten the surface well, but avoid making it too wet. The moisture evaporates quickly at room temperature, so check during the period that the seeds will germinate if the surface is still damp enough. You can also cover the seeds with damp wadding or tissues and another saucer on top. Because of the moisture that gets into the seeds, they are activated and start to germinate. As soon as the germ is 2 to 3 mm, you can carefully get the seeds out of the water and plant them in the soil. Put them 0.5 to 1 cm in the soil with the root down. This way, the root will more easily grow downwards.
Germinating cannabis seeds in soil/compost
Direct germination of marijuana seeds in the soil is a commonly used method. You don’t have to handle the fragile plant, so it is not disturbed in its growth process. However, the chances that the seeds will germinate are lower than when applying the other methods. When using this method, it is important to use good soil. You can inform yourself about the different types of soil at your local grow shop. Maintain an ambient temperature of at least 20 °C, otherwise, the seeds will not or not optimally germinate. Put the cannabis seed about 1 cm deep in the soil. Cover the hole with some soil and gently press. The soil needs to be light so that the plant can easily grow to the surface. Solid soil is hard to penetrate for the roots and will cause a delay. The weed seeds will germinate under the ground and will come to the surface after 4 to 10 days. There are also more germination methods that can be applied.