How To Germinate Weed Seeds

ILGM

Buy Cannabis Seeds Online

In this post our collaborator Light Addict explains which the three main methods to germinate cannabis seeds are as well as their pros and cons. Figuring out how to germinate weed seeds isn't that hard, but choosing the right method can determine exactly how high your success rate is. Germinating cannabis seeds is important because it gives the grower an advantage in cultivation and it speeds up the process

How to germinate marijuana seeds

Seeds. Such a gift to this world. From something so small, may we grow ourselves, our own food, shelter and in our case, medicine! So really, it seems only fitting we give them the best odds at a successful start in life. In this post, our collaborator Light Addict explains how to germinate cannabis seeds in order to be successful.

Having said this, let’s look at how compost inoculant teas can be used to help nullify the risk of unwanted bacteria and pathogens encountered once the cannabis germination/planting process has begun. This is managed through the introduction of beneficial bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi to the process via compost teas used for either pre-soaking your plugs, cubes, potting medium etc. or drenches to the media shortly after germination. These beneficial bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi colonize the rootzone creating a symbiotic relationship with your cannabis plant roots, leading to improved levels of nutrient/water uptake, general plant health and resistance to stresses.

Environment

Now a cannabis seed only needs 3 simple requirements to germinate:

So why are there so many different methods bandied about? Simply put, there are lots of different ways to give your cannabis seeds these 3 basic environmental requirements. So, within these simple basic provisions, what are the best ranges to promote a successful germination of your cannabis seeds? With moisture: you’re looking for a medium level of dampness, never soaking, (water method not inclusive). Temperature wise: you’re seeking to provide a range somewhere in the vicinity 23-26C/75-80F. Then lastly, darkness; total light deprivation isn’t truly a requirement. However, as it’s so simple to provide, it’s the option most of us choose. With all 3 of the above requirements, maintaining consistent levels can also aid in success.

Methods to germinate cannabis seeds

Paper towel

One of the oldest, most widely-known methods to germinate cannabis seeds for small-scale growers is the paper towel method. Using some folded up paper towel, we create a bedding layer for the seeds. Place this bedding layer inside an opaque container of suitable size, then dampen it with water via a spray bottle. Place your seeds on top, before covering with more paper and spraying once again with water. Close your container up and then place it somewhere warm to await germination. Once the tap roots have shown, simply plant it in chosen medium.

Water soak

For simplicity, methods don’t come much easier than this, although again it’s only really suited for the small-scale grower. Drop your seeds into a shot glass, then fill it around 3-quarters with water, before placing your glass in a warm, dark area. You may need to return after a couple of hours, just to tap any remaining seeds that are still floating down to the bottom. Wait once more until the tap root has shown, before planting it to medium. However, please keep this in mind: if germination hasn’t begun within 36 hours, I’d recommend removing the seeds from water and placing them in paper towel to prevent your seeds drowning.

Seed plugs, rockwool cubes and peat pellets

These 3 different starting mediums share the same basic process when it comes to actual seed germination and are all suitable for any size of operation, although some require a little more care and caution when being prepared.

PLUGS

Versatility here is key, as they’re suitable for use with any medium or style of growing utilized further along in the growth process. Root plugs are specifically designed to make the germination process simple and successful, being made of a composition that holds moisture levels within an ideally suited range. Another big plus when it comes to root plugs is that generally they’re made from composted and broken down organic materials. Yet please, check your chosen brand ingredients for yourself. Take your seed and insert into the plug’s hole. Tear a small section of the plug away from a corner or the bottom section and stuff this into the hole to cover the seed. Then place your plugs into your germination space or propagator, using a constant light source and again remembering to keep an eye on moisture levels as you await germination.

CUBES

CAUTION. Rockwool is a hazardous material. Somewhat like fiberglass, its dust can be breathed in, yet not expelled from the lungs. It also happens to be an irritant. So, both gloves and a face mask should be used when handling it. Rockwool is an inert medium, suitable for all general growing practices. This means, soaking your cubes in pH-adjusted water prior to use is a necessity. Once soaked and let drain, drop your seed into the hole, then tear a corner section off your cube and use it to cover the seed up from the light. Then place your cubes in your propagator under your chosen light source and wait.

PELLETS

Peat pellets are quite similar in appearance and design to the plugs once expanded. One major issue with peat pellets is that peat is not a sustainable source of material, or an eco-friendly one. Peat pellets come dried out, making pre-soaking them necessary. Once ready, they’ll have expanded to over double their original size. Then just make your own little insertion into the top of the pellet, before dropping your seed in and then covering over with another section you’ve torn off your pellet.

Seed, straight to medium

Take your desired pot of media and water an hour beforehand (pH’d, if required, as with soilless). Make a small hole, 0.5-0.75 of an inch is a good depth, then place your seed in and cover over. Finally, place your pot under your light source and wait. As with the other methods, keep an eye on your moisture levels as required. Although we strive to keep moisture levels at a constant, please remember that overwatering the medium can sometimes cause failure of germination. Then take into consideration the feeding requirements for new seedlings: no nutrients are needed in the first week or so of a seedling’s life, even if using an inert medium such as Coco or Rockwool. This is because the seed will be using its own stores of energy up.

How to Germinate Weed Seeds – Tips and Methods

Germinating cannabis seeds isn’t a complicated process, although it does require a few specific parameters in order to happen successfully. If you’re reading up on how to germinate weed seeds, you’re in the right place; it’s a relatively easy process, you just need to have some patience on hand. The first thing to keep in mind is that your seeds are going to need water, heat and air in order to germinate.

How to Germinate Weed Seeds – Basic Parameters

Water (moisture)

Moisture is one of the three elements required to successfully germinate cannabis seeds; it essentially helps the seeds to expand and therefore break their shell. Over-watering at this stage can be fatal for your seeds, although harder-shelled and older seeds can take longer to soak through, so some patience is required.

See also  How Deep Do You Plant Marijuana Seeds

Heat

This can be the hardest thing to work with, because temperatures that are either too cold or too hot will mess with your seeds and they won’t germinate. Springtime temperatures are generally what you should be aiming for – seeds can still germinate in colder temperatures, although they can take longer.

How to Germinate Weed Seeds – Germination Methods

There are many different germination methods that growers tend to use, all of which involve water and heat, although they’re not all as effective as others. Some people prefer germinating by planting straight in the ground, using starter cubes or by letting them soak overnight, although our preferred and recommended method is the paper towel method using either plates or an opaque kitchen container. We’re going to give you a brief rundown of the other methods, alongside their pros and cons.

Starter Cubes

This method is more reliable than others, and they make germinating quite easy. All you have to do is place your seed carefully in your seed plug and follow the instructions when watering; different brands and models have different watering instructions.

Some cubes are made out of peat and soil, and you can move them straight into your flowerpot once they’ve popped. However, hydroponic growers can use rockwool cubes which can hold quite a lot of moisture.

One of the downsides to using starter cubes is that they’re not very handy if you only want to germinate one or two seeds, because they’re usually sold in packs of 50 or more, and once they’ve been opened most cubes tend to dry out within a couple of weeks. Another downside to Rockwool specific cubes is that they’re bad for the environment, can be bad for your health when inhaled, and they’re not the best method for new growers.

Direct Planting

Other growers prefer to get rid of the middle man and plant their seed straight into their first flowerpot – it’s essentially how it would be done in nature, so why not follow the natural order? One of the pros when it comes to planting straight in your growing medium is that you don’t have to stress out your little seedling when transplanting, although it can be a bit harder to get the humidity right and you need to bury it just the right amount so that it can sprout.

Overnight Soaking

We highly advise against using this method, as it’s incredibly easy to accidentally drown your seeds. This method involves soaking your seeds in a glass of lukewarm water – it can be any type of cup, although people usually use a normal glass. This method can be effective for much older seeds or for seeds that have abnormally thick shells.

There are a few myths surrounding germinating in water overnight – some people say that if your seeds sink, they won’t germinate, however the truth is that most seeds start off by floating and then as they soak, they sink to the bottom of the glass. This has nothing to do with germination indication.

How to Germinate Weed Seeds – Paper Towel Method

This method is the method we recommend all readers and customers use, as it’s the one that has proven to give us the highest germination rate. We’re going to give an in-depth step by step guide on how to use this method. Keep in mind that you can skip the rooting hormone part if you prefer all natural results, although X-Seed does provide impressive results to start with.

Material Needed to Successfully Germinate seeds

  • Kitchen paper
  • Opaque plastic Tupperware or two plates
  • Viable cannabis seeds

We’re going to go through the X-Seed method – if you want to skip this, you can simply skip the steps involving X-Seed and place your seeds straight into your paper towel as stated in step 4. Before you start, make sure you have everything you need at hand, so that you don’t have to waste any time looking for stuff. Find the best strains at our Cannabis seeds – Buy Marijuana Seeds section.

Step 1: Soak the seeds

Submerge your seeds in your B.A.C. X-Seed liquid for an hour. Give it a stir every now and then so that the seeds are thoroughly soaked.

Step 2: Germination

While your seeds are soaking, you’ll need to prepare your paper towel and plates (or opaque Tupperware). Make a makeshift “bed” on the bottom plate with damp kitchen paper, but make sure it isn’t soaking. We tend to use 3 layers of kitchen paper; wet the paper and let it dry without wrinkling it, hanging it out kind of like a t-shirt so that all of the excess water can easily drain out. No need to worry about drying it, as you want the kitchen paper to be damp.

Step 3: Separation

After your seeds have been in the B.A.C. X-Seed liquid for an hour, by using a spoon you can carefully extract the seeds from the liquid and spread them evenly across the bottom of your plate or container. An even spread is important, so as the roots of each seed do not get tangled – about an inch apart is good.

Step 4: Cover the seeds

Once you have all of your seeds nicely placed on your plate or in your container, cover the seeds with another layer of damp kitchen paper, similar to the first layer that you put on the bottom. At this point, your seeds should be completely covered.

Step 5: Take care

Once you’ve finished covering your seeds with paper towel, cover them with another plate or put the lid on your container; if doing this in a container, the paper shouldn’t dry out as fast. A mistake made by many growers is that they add too much water to their paper towels if they’ve dried up, but by using a spray bottle you can moisten it some more without overdoing it. If your container is transparent, all you have to do is line the inside so that absolutely no light can get in.

Step 6: Temperature adjustments

Once you’ve isolated your seeds from light, you should leave it somewhere with a nice, neutral temperature. During winter it’s often harder to find a good spot, so you should try and find a heat source that isn’t excessive. You can use a computer modem, or even a softly powered electric blanket. Items like play-stations can get too hot and could end up cooking your seeds, so take care where you put them.

Step 7: After care

Once your seeds open up, they’ll shoot out a small, white root. This means you need to be extremely careful when handling them. Don’t leave them for long because once they’re open they should be moved to soil.

Step 8: Moving to soil

Now that your seeds have officially germinated. Now you need to move them to the medium in which they will remain for the rest of the growing process. Germinated seeds usually grown in soil, but rockwool for hydroponics is also a good option growing. Or even a coco jiffy if you want to cultivate in coco coir. In this article we’ll be dealing with the most common method: planting seeds in soil.

See also  Cannabis Seeds Ann Arbor
How to Germinate Weed Seeds

Start by filling a small pot with soil, no more than half a liter. Water it before even thinking about planting your seed. Once the soil is damp enough to weigh down the plant pot, use the tip of your finger to create a small 0.5-0.1 cm hole in the middle of the soil, and deposit the seed in the hole with the root facing downwards. Then, cover the seed with a little soil so that it’s just under the surface. The last step in this process is to put your plant pot in the sun or under your lamps (wherever you’re planning on growing it). Within a couple of days you should see that first sprout, that will keep on growing right until the end. In some cases, it may even take a matter of hours.

Keep an eye out on our follow up article on soil preparation for growing cannabis.

How to germinate all types of cannabis seeds: Three methods

A seed is like an egg in many ways. Inside are very similar components: an embryo, a radicle, a plumule and cotyledons, and outside is a protective shell.

Germination is important because it gives the grower an advantage in cultivation and a faster start. And it makes sure you’re not planting a small rock where nothing will grow out of the ground.

The different types of cannabis seeds

For those who want to cultivate for recreational or medicinal purposes, the female plant is the only one that matters. Only she can produce the flowers we expect at the end of the cycle.

Cannabis is a dioecious plant, that is, it has a female and a male plant. The male flower produces pollen after calyx development, which, when it meets the flowers and pistils of a female plant, will be fertilized, generate a new seed, and guarantee the survival of the species.

Cannabis seeds have undergone several modifications and are currently available in three main categories: normal, feminized, and auto-flowering, also called automatic. Recently, a new category, quick flowering seeds, has gained popularity.

Regular or normal seeds

Regular seeds are mostly chosen by breeders and established growers seeking stable genetics. (Algirdas Gelazius/123rf)

If the cultivator’s desire is to perpetuate a variety or make improvements, he should choose seeds of the normal or regular type. They are created by crossing a male with a female plant.

We call them regular or normal because they develop naturally. This type of seed can produce species of both sexes. Here, the grower has no control over gender. The odds are divided. Regular seeds have a 50% chance of being a female plant and generating flowers, or 50% of being male, which will result in small bags which grow very quickly into clusters of calyxes and flowers with pollen grains, essential for the multiplication of the species.

Regular seeds are mostly chosen by breeders and established growers seeking stable genetics or new cannabis terpenes or profiles by pheno-hunting through regular seeds which become the mother stock for all feminized seeds. Traditional landrace growers continue a long tradition of growing flowers and pollinating their crops which lose commercial value but guarantee sufficient seeds for the next season. Traditional landrace growers are slowly disappearing from the most remote regions on earth due to feminized seeds and readily available hybrids seeds which fetch a higher commercial value.

  • Breed and create new strains
  • Equal probability of male and female plants
  • Create pollen bank
  • Sex of the plant is unpredictable
  • Male and female plants can be confused by a novice grower
  • Pollinating males will seed female plants, resulting in fewer flowers to be harvested by the grower
  • Preparation of different grow tents

Feminized seeds

Feminized seeds are obtained by crossing two female plants. One of them is exposed to a high level of stress. (Shutterstock)

In the late 1990s, with the need to cultivate seeds that guaranteed the appearance of female plants, feminized seeds emerged. As the name implies, they are those that will result in female plants. Males are unlikely to appear unless cannabis is under stress or someone has offered it a “cat for a hare.”

In the beginning, these plants had quality problems or were genetically unstable. Furthermore, they could transform into hermaphrodite plants. Over the years, with improvements and new technologies, feminized seeds have achieved high levels of quality both in production and in taste and final effects.

Feminized seeds are obtained by crossing two female plants. One of them is exposed to a high level of stress until it becomes a hermaphrodite. After crossing them, feminized seeds are obtained.

Another method to get feminized seeds, and perhaps the most commonly used one, is the application of a solution of colloidal silver, a famous and easily found natural antibiotic. The solution placed on female cannabis plants induces the production of pollen, which fertilizes other female plants that will generate feminized seeds.

Feminized plants are photoperiodic plants and depend on hours of daily light to transition from the vegetative phase to the flowering phase. Photoperiod plants allow the grower greater control over the moment when the cannabis starts to flower by maintaining the light hours. Thus, growers can wait as long as necessary to remedy any problem with the plant still in its vegetative state, such as excess water or nutrients, or take clones or cuttings to ensure the survival of your favorite cannabis plants.

Less experienced growers should start with feminized plants until they get some experience. This is more likely to ensure that they are always healthy and within the correct growth parameters.

  • Production of female plants
  • Ideal for growers who want flowers
  • Simplification of the cultivation process
  • Not suitable for breeding
  • Must be started from the seed
  • Can turn into hermaphrodites

Automatic and autoflowering seeds

A few weeks after germination, autoflowering plants start flowering, regardless of the structure or health it presents at that time.(Shutterstock)

After feminized seeds, in 2008, automatic or autoflowering seeds appeared which were bred from Cannabis Ruderalis plants found in areas such as Eastern Europe, Russia, and Alaska. They flower in a shorter time, where there is no need for different photoperiods between the vegetative state and flowering, but they do require more attention.

Many people think that it is easier to cultivate, as it doesn’t need to change the photoperiod and the whole cycle happens in an “automatic” way. But not quite. A few weeks after germination, the plants start flowering, regardless of the structure or health it presents at that time. With that, the cultivator has no margin to correct eventual unforeseen events, such as excess or lack of nutrients, pests and diseases, and slow growth due to inadequate parameters.

  • No need to change photoperiod
  • Fast flowering time
  • Lower yield
  • Difficult and risky to clone
  • Little time for care

Photoperiodic plants have the advantages of greater control by the grower during the plant cycle, a richer THC and CBD profile, better terpenes and higher production. There is also the advantage of producing clones from a selection of mother plants.

Autoflowering plants, on the other hand, have a faster cultivation, more than one harvest can be made during the year and the possibility of cultivation with the light always on.

See also  Weed Seed And Feed Gut Health
Type Male Female Possible to clone
Regular 50% 50% Yes
Feminized 0% 100% Yes
Automatic 0% 100% No

Sativas, indicas, or hybrids?

Firstly, you need to decide whether you want to use it medicinally or recreationally. Certain cannabinoids are more present in certain genetics.

The differences between indica and sativa plants are quite significant, such as the shape, height and even the effects. Their morphological differences are much greater than those attributed to them in dispensaries and in popular culture, however.

Indicas

Indica-predominant plants originally obtained from landraces in drier, more arid regions such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India have a shorter and more shrubby stature, a greater number of branches and a shorter space between nodes. This makes it a more compact and ideal herb to be grown indoors. They have a shorter flowering time, are easy to grow and especially under artificial light.

Indicas are more resistant to cold, require less water and do not handle high humidity well.

Sativas

Sativa plants originally obtained from landraces in tropical and higher altitudes have a greater height, a “pine tree” structure, and the space between their nodes is greater.

Flowering times are longer and are usually a little more difficult to grow. They don’t like the cold, are more heat resistant and better suited for outdoor use.

Hybrids

Nowadays seeds that are predominantly sativa or predominantly indica are landraces which are still available from select breeders and keepers of cannabis history. Hybrids are more common and have some characteristics of each variety.

How to check if my seed is ok?

The best seeds have a rounded shape, are big and fat. The closer your seed is to these characteristics, the greater the chances it will germinate. (Shutterstock)

There are a few ways to find out if your cannabis seed is ready to be germinated or not.

You can start by using your senses of sight, touch, and smell to determine if cannabis seeds are good or bad.

To test using vision, you can resort to using a magnifying glass. The best seeds have a rounded shape, are big and fat. The closer your seed is to these characteristics, the greater the chances it will germinate.

Bigger, harder seeds are best. The surface should have a slight sheen.

They are dark in color (usually brown, black, or gray). The darker the color, the more likely they are to grow and produce a better plant. The dark bark means they came from a better-quality plant.

If they are pale, white, or light green, they were picked too early and are probably immature. This means they are not good and are unlikely to germinate. If they are light-colored and dusty, they are probably old and slower to germinate.

Another tip is to check if the seed has light streaks. Good seeds are usually darker and some look like they have tiger stripes and are also referred to as tiger backs.

You can’t always judge a seed by its color alone. It is necessary to know what is inside the seed. If you break a seed and it is oily and moldy, it is spoiled. If it’s black inside, it means it’s fermented and won’t germinate.

Related Stories

Other tests that can be done to verify that a seed is in good condition is the touch test. Just lightly squeeze a seed. If crushed easily, it probably won’t grow well. There should be no small cracks or holes. If they have these characteristics, they probably won’t germinate. They must not be wrinkled or cracked. If they aren’t cracked, you know they’re intact. If it resists the susceptibility test, the seed has a good chance of germinating.

The other test consists of placing the seeds in a container of warm distilled water for two hours. If they sink, they’re good. If they float, they are premature and probably will not grow and therefore are unusable. Healthy seeds are heavy enough to sink or sink once a little water is absorbed.

How to germinate my seeds?

To germinate seeds, four simple elements are needed: humidity, warm temperature, oxygen, and darkness.

Most seeds germinate between 24 and 72 hours, but some may take longer.

There are several methods to germinate a seed. The first and best known is germination on paper (it can be on napkins, cotton, or paper towels). In a pot, place a sheet of kitchen paper, separate the seeds so that there is a few inches between them and add another layer of paper on top. Both sheets should be damp but not soaked. If the paper loses moisture, add a little more water. Once the white root reaches 2-3 mm, carefully transfer the seeds to the pot. Do not close the pot, as oxygen is essential for successful germination. (You may also consider soaking the seeds for a few hours before placing them in the paper towels.)

Another method to germinate the seeds is with a glass of water, but it is not as effective as using paper. Place your seeds in a glass of water, preferably at a temperature of 22ºC. After 3-5 days, the seeds will start to open, and the small white radicle will appear. Then, just transfer to the soil already prepared to receive it. This is a simple method and suitable for first-time growers.

The grower can also place their seeds directly in the soil, in which case transplanting is not necessary. It is a safer option due to the fragility of the small root that appears when we germinate in a glass of water or on paper. Put the soil in the pot where your plant will be. Poke a hole to a depth between 10-15mm. Introduce the seed and gently cover it with more soil, but it is not necessary to compress it on top of the seed. Put some water on top to make the soil moist. After 4-10 days the grower will watch the plant sprout as the roots go under the ground.

Remember to always wash your hands and have all materials clean to prevent mold.

How to store my seeds?

Cannabis seeds should be stored in a cool, dry place. They can be stored in drawers and cabinets if there is no great temperature variation in these places. They can also be preserved in the refrigerator or even in the freezer.

Rapid temperature variations are the main problem when storing seeds and can harm genetic integrity.

If storing for just a few days or months, the grower can use a Ziploc-type bag, a glass jar, or an airtight container. If you want to keep the seeds preserved for a longer time, the most recommended method is in a closed vacuum package.

If you are going to keep your seeds in the refrigerator, choose a place further away from the door. That way, they suffer less from changes in temperature when opening the refrigerator.

Remember that by freezing your seeds every time they are thawed and refrozen, they become less viable.

By storing your cannabis seeds correctly and properly, they can last up to 10 years.

Special thanks to Sunshine Coast Genetics for helping fact-check this article.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 3 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.