Best way to germinate cannabis seeds!… The most known methods to sprout your seeds and get your grow cycle going in no time. Seeds are expensive, having them all germinate is achievable with these easy germination techniques. You'll be growing in no time!
How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
For many growers, purchasing cannabis seeds is no less than children getting candies. The excitement is palpable, and you’re ready to try every trick in the book to make sure that everything works according to plan. However, Mother Nature is unpredictable and the seeds you sowed with care may not germinate at all. If that has frustrated you and you want to learn how to germinate cannabis seeds, here are a few pointers that can steer you in the right direction.
Best way to germinate cannabis seeds
There are many ways to germinate cannabis seeds, but we will get straight to the best method. This technique has worked almost every single time for us. Of course, no matter how hard you try, you cannot expect 100% germination at all times because some seeds may be old or just not viable. However, you can rest assured that this one’s better than the others.
Step 1 – Choose the best seeds
Take a look at all the seeds in your stash. While some will be super hard, some might be soft and disintegrate as soon as you press them. This is another reason why you must purchase seeds only from reputed companies. At Fastbuds , all seeds are checked rigorously and then sent across different locations. Once you inspect the seeds, choose strong ones that are hard to the touch.
Step 2 – Get rubbing!
This is a step that will help the seeds germinate so fast you’ll find it unbelievable. Generally, most cannabis seeds require at least 4-5 days to sprout, but by doing this you’ll make sure that the process speeds up by at least 2 days.
So, all you need is a hard and scratchy surface like, say, sand paper. You can also opt for a nail file. Then, pick your seeds one by one and rub the tips once or twice on the sand paper. Remember that it has to be light and swift because if you press too much you might destroy the seeds way before you even soak them in water!
Step 3 – Soak seeds in water
After a quick rub, immerse the seeds in a glass of clean water. They won’t sink immediately, but after 10-12 hours a light touch will send them down. Let the seeds remain in the water for at least 24 hours. Do not soak them for more than 48 hours or you risk ruining them completely.
Step 4 – Get paper towels
After 24 hours have passed, you’ll see that the seeds have split a bit. It’s not going to be easily visible, but if you look closely you will see a slight crack and the white interior of the seed inside. At this point, get a few paper towels, and place the seeds in them. Wrap the seeds lightly and sprinkle some water on the towels.
Note that you cannot overdo this step. Meaning the towels have to be moist – neither too wet nor too dry. Place the towels in a ziplock bag or anything that’s airtight. This is important since placing the towels in an open area will make them dry out faster and the seeds will not be viable anymore. Next, place the airtight container in a dry area. Now, you’ve done everything you can, and it all depends on time and the seeds after this stage.
Step 5 – Check the seeds
Generally, it’s best to wait for at least 4-5 days for the seeds to sprout, but since the seeds were rubbed on a hard surface earlier, they may sprout in just 2-3 days. After a couple days have passed, you can check on the seeds. If they haven’t sprouted, place them back in the bag. Sometimes, you’ll see half of the seeds sprouting while the remaining look dull. Simply select the sprouted ones and leave the remaining in the bag.
Step 6 – Get the container ready
This is something you need to do before taking the seeds out because you cannot let them dry out. Grab a container of your choice and fill it with a good potting mix. Use containers that have ample holes at the bottom or use fabric pots that let the water drain out completely. A mix of coco coir + gardening soil + perlite in a 40-40-20 proportion seems to work well for cannabis plants.
Also, if you’re growing photoperiod plants, you may shift the seeds to small cups with soil and then transplant them later. But, if you’re using autoflowering seeds, it’s best to plant them in their final containers so you don’t have the headache of transplanting them later.
If the seeds have sprouted with the taproot clearly visible, plant them immediately in the soil. To do this, poke a small hole about an inch deep with your finger and place the seed in it. Do not sow more than one seed per hole. Remember not to push the seeds too deep into the soil or they will have issues breaking out.
Step 7 – Water
Once you’ve covered the seeds with some light soil, sprinkle water on the seeds. Remember not to pour the water too quickly or the seeds will dislodge themselves. If you don’t have a sprinkler, grab a coke bottle and poke holes on the cap to use it in a pinch. This works nicely as a sprinkler and isn’t too hard on the seeds.
If you see any of the seeds poking out after watering them, simply cover them with soil again. It’s important for the seeds to NOT be exposed to sunlight. At the same time, you must ensure that the soil isn’t bone dry or dripping wet. It must be moist – just like you did this with the paper towels.
Maintaining enough moisture in the soil is critical. In some locations, the soil may dry out faster due to the climate. In such cases, watch the pots every 5-6 hours and pour water if they are too dry. If you’ve poured too much water, a good container will help drain out all the excess.
Step 8 – Seeds sprout
If you’ve done everything right, you will see the seeds break out of the surface of the soil. AT first, you’ll only see the cotyledons. At times, the seeds cannot break out of the hull and remain stuck in there. Although they break out of the hull by themselves in a couple of days, you can help them by sprinkling some water on the hull gently. Remove the hull as slowly as you can.
Step 9 – Maintain the seedlings
After the seeds sprout and you see the cotyledon, let the seedlings remain in dull light for a day until they adjust to the light around. For indoor growers, using CFLs will help. If you’re growing outdoors, you can cut the top of a coke plastic bottle and place it on top of the seedlings to prevent harsh sunlight. Make sure you do this only for a day or two and the seedlings will adjust to the environment.
It’s important to water the seedlings regularly during the first week. Again, remember that the soil cannot be too wet or dry. Maintain the perfect amount of moisture and your seedlings will reward you with big buds later!
Germination Guide for Autoflowering Seeds
Seed germination is the first part of a successful grow cycle, to help you start your cannabis plants with the right foot, here’s an autoflower germination guide that can be used not only for cannabis but for tomatoes, mangos, strawberries. you name it!
Sebastian Good is talking about the best way to start your autoflower seed and germinates Strawberry Pie Auto.
So here’s how to germinate cannabis seeds with the best-known methods and a couple of tips that will get you harvesting in no time.
1. First Things First: Know the anatomy of your cannabis seed
The process of autoflower germination can take up to 10 days, in order to do everything correctly and know if everything’s going well, we need to know a little bit more about the seed. First of all, we need to understand the anatomy of a cannabis seed. The cannabis seed has a dark brown, hard, and often striped, shell, this shell is what protects the insides which are extremely fragile.
When germinating, we need to hydrate the seed, this will soften the seed’s shell and allow water to reach the embryo, when the water reaches it, the embryo will “activate” and start developing.
Have in mind that it’s possible to drown the seed, so we need to keep an eye on moisture levels, also making sure it doesn’t dry out. With a softened shell, it will be easier for the radicle to come out and this is when you’ll see the white taproot slowly appearing, and once it reaches 2-3cm, it’s time to plant it.
As soon as the seedling comes out of the medium, you’ll often see the shell stuck on top of the cotyledons, which are the tiny round leaves that you’re able to see once the shell has detached from the seedling. Those leaves are responsible for feeding the plant until the first set of true leaves appear. Also, there isn’t the best way to germinate marijuana seeds, you can do it any way you want, as long as you keep proper conditions, your seeds will germinate. So, if you’re wondering how do you germinate autoflowering seeds? Read along for the best methods.
2. The Best Conditions For Germinating Seeds
As you may know, cannabis plants need certain conditions depending on the stage they’re in, maintaining these conditions are the best way to ensure your plants will thrive, and when talking about seeds and germination, it’s no different.
Obviously, you can grow cannabis plants in less-than-ideal conditions and they will still grow but it may end up affecting the yields or quality of your harvest.
When talking about germinating auto seeds, germinating in less-than-ideal conditions will decrease the chances of sprouting, so unlike growing cannabis in bad conditions, which will still grow but can affect the harvest, germinating in bad conditions can end up killing your seeds. So when germinating autoflowers you should keep the temperature between 21-26°C and the humidity as close as 90% as you can.
3. Top Tricks For Germinating Old Seeds
As said above, germinating in the ideal conditions will guarantee successful germination but sometimes seeds may be old or have been kept in bad conditions and can be hard to germinate. So, to help you germinate old seeds, here are a couple of tricks that will increase the chances of germination. But first of all, you need to know the best conditions to avoid these problems.
How To Properly Store Seeds
If you are storing seeds for your next grow cycle, you need to keep them in ideal conditions. If you’re going to germinate them during the next couple of days there’s no need to do anything extra, other than keeping them in a cool place and in complete darkness but if you’re planning to store them for months or even years, you should keep them in the fridge.
You should keep your seeds in an airtight container in a fridge set at 6-8°C with a relative humidity of between 20-30%, if you can’t set your fridge to the temperatures mentioned, just keeping them in the fridge will increase the chances of germination. Just have in mind that the better the conditions, the longer your seeds with last.
Soak in supplemented water
As cannabis seeds get old, the shell hardens and can make it hard for the water to reach the embryo, and if the water doesn’t reach the embryo, your seeds won’t sprout so if you’re dealing with old seeds, you can soak them in supplemented water.
To do this, you can fill a glass cup with water and add around 30ml of hydrogen peroxide and leave your seeds soaking for 12hs, this should do the trick. You can also use germination boosters that you find in grow shops but usually, hydrogen peroxide works, also, make sure the water is around 22°C and it’s not getting direct sunlight.
Scarification is a method used to make ridges on the seed to help water pass through, to do this properly, you will need a piece of sandpaper but you can improvise and do it with a matchbox. The goal is to thin out the shell so that the water can reach the embryo easily, just make sure you don’t overdo it and end up harming the embryo inside.
Slightly Open The Seed
As you may have seen, the seed is made out of two halves and has a ridge around it, if your seeds are old, that ridge may end up hardening too much and the seed won’t sprout. So to help your weed seed germinate, you can use a knife or any other tool with a thin point to gently insert it in between the ridges and slightly separate it, after this process, you can soak your water and germinate it like you normally would.
4. Paper Towel Germination Method
The paper towel method is the easiest of all methods. You’ll need :
- 2 paper towels
- a plastic container or plates
Moisten the paper towels and wring them out so they’re damp but not completely wet.
Place the seeds on the paper towel, fold it over the seeds and place it in a plastic container, cover it with the lid to keep moisture in (can also use two plates instead of the plastic container, place the paper towel on a plate and use the other one to cover).
Place the container in a slightly warm and dark place. Remember to check on it daily, we must ensure the paper towels never dry out, the seeds need to keep absorbing moisture, it’s likely that the seeds will never germinate if they don’t. Sprinkle a little bit of water if needed, you’ll know they’re ready to be transplanted when the radicle is around 1-3cm long.
If the paper towel starts having a bad smell, it’s a sign of too much water, let it dry for a couple of days, and if the papers continue smelling bad, change the paper towels.
5. Soaking Overnight In A Glass Of Water
After many years of experimenting and looking for the best way to germinate our Fast Buds seeds, we must say that this is definitely one of the most effective ways.
This method is especially effective for seeds with a harder shell or older seeds. You’ll need:
As the title says, grab a glass cup and fill it half with water.
Place the seeds in the glass and leave it in a dark place, let the seeds soak for up to 32 hours.
Most viable seeds will sink after a couple of hours and you should see the radicle after a couple of days. Remember that some seeds may need longer until you see the radicle coming out. If they haven’t sprouted after 72 hours, add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to kill accumulated bacteria in the water and return to the darkness for 2 more days.
6. Using A Germination Chamber
When you get a bit more experienced, you’ll wanna look for more professional tools and the germination chamber is one of them. It consists of a plastic base with small square cells (can come with up to 256 cells, each cell supports 1 seed), on top of a heat mat, also comes with a humidity dome, basically looks like a small greenhouse. They’re very cheap and you can make one at home.
The chamber can be used with any type of medium, Rockwool cubes, peat pellets, coco fiber, perlite, or even soil and they keep the best environment for sprouting seeds and the first days of the seedling.So how to germinate a marijuana seed in a germination chamber? To start germinating, make a small hole (1-2 cm) in moisten medium, cover without applying pressure, turn on the heat mat and spray the humidity dome, it should take a couple of days to see the seedling coming out.
7. Rockwool Cubes And Peat Pellets
Rockwool cubes are small cubes made of rock and sand fibers, with the consistency of cotton candy almost, they absorb a lot of water and usually are used for germinating seeds and clones. Using them along with the germinating chamber has an advantage, being easy to transplant to the next medium or container.
Rockwool and peat pellets are an easy way to germinate seeds but can be easier to overwater your seeds.
They also can be used along with clay pellets in hydroponics. One of the bad aspects of Rockwool cubes is you can easily overwater and get root rot. Peat pellets are similar to the Rockwool cubes but are made of compressed peat moss and come in a small disc shape. To germinate in either one of them, we will use the same technique explained before, moisten the Rockwool or peat pellet, make a little hole (1-2cm) and place the seed inside, cover it gently without applying pressure and you’re all done. You can place the pellet or cube directly in any type of medium or hydroponics chamber, after sprouting, the roots will continue to grow down, even if they reach the end of the Rockwool or peat pellet.
8. Planting Directly In Medium
Sometimes the simplest way is the better way. As it happens in nature, we can also sprout our seeds in our medium of your preference (coco, soil, perlite, etc..) Just grab a pencil, or even with your fingers, make a little hole (1-2cm deep), and place the seed in it, the medium must be moist but not soaking, then cover with soil without applying pressure.
Every time you transplant a seedling, it needs some time to readjust and can cause stress, thus one of the biggest benefits of this method is you don’t have to worry about damaging your seedling when transplanting or shocking it because it already is in its final place.
9. Top Tips to Improve Seed Germination
Planting the Seeds Correctly
Cannabis seeds have an oval shape with one of the ends being sharper while the other has an indent known as the crown. When germinating cannabis seeds, it’s recommended to plant the seed with the crown pointing upwards as this is the end where the cotyledons usually come out from.
Don’t Let the Substrate Dry Out
The germination process relies on moisture to activate the biological processes that provide the energy the seedling needs to break through the seed shell and start growing. This means that the more moisture absorbed, the better. Note that the keyword here is moisture, you definitely don’t want to drown your seeds. Anyway, once the seed is in the paper towels and the germination process has begun, make sure to check regularly to ensure it’s still moist, and to help with this, it’s recommended you keep it in a warm damp place.
For better germination rates, you can opt for a heating mat and/or germination chambers, but it really doesn’t matter if you’re germination your seeds in the soil, jiffy’s, Rockwool cubes, paper towels, etc… Make sure to keep the substrate moist and you will have great results.
Planting the Seed at the Right Depth
One of the bigger issues among beginner growers is planting the seed at the right depth. These problems can get worse if you are watering the substrate after the seeds are planted. Remember, burying the seed too deep can cause it to not develop while not burying deep enough can cause the taproot to over-bend and develop a weak stem, and sometimes stunt growth.
This is why we recommend burying the seed at around 2 cm deep. You can do this by using a ruler, marking the 2 cm mark on a straw, or any other utensil that allows you to do this. Then plant your seed and cover it with the substrate without pressing too hard.
Avoid Planting several Seeds in the Same Pot
Sometimes you may not have enough substrate or pots, typically, this is when you would plant multiple seeds in the same container but they usually do not develop correctly due to several reasons. Now yes, you’re saving space and substrate but you’re definitely not helping your plants thrive as first of all, the roots need enough space to grow, and germinating in the same pot can cause the roots to fight for space.
Apart from fighting for space, if all the seedlings make it to the vegetative stage, they will continue competing for light and by doing this, you will not get the most out of each plant. Lack of light can also cause the stem and branches to grow weak which can cause problems during flower so make sure to plant one seed per pot unless you’re growing in 100-200L or bigger raised beds.
10. In Conclusion
There’s no such thing as the best way to germinate marijuana seeds, a successful germination is considered when you see the first leaves, known as Cotyledons, cannabis seeds germinate correctly with relatively high temperatures and humidity. To successfully reach the flowering stage you’ll have to use different techniques, not only for sprouting but to keep the plant happy and healthy until harvest.
Whether deciding which germination method to choose or getting ready for your first successful grow setup, our advice for beginner growers will be to start with autoflowering strains. If you look for something easy, quick, and easy to maintain, like Zkittlez Auto and Gorilla Glue Auto, there’s nothing better than choosing to grow autoflowers.
first time ever growing and got some amazing colors from this strain with low temps ran it at about 58-64 for 2 weeks and got this color
How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
So you’ve gotten hold of some cannabis seeds and want to make sure they all pop? Seeds are expensive and having them all germinate is achievable, provided they were bred and stored correctly. There are various methods of germination that different cultivators will swear by, from pre soak solutions to the type of medium used.
General Requirements for Germination
Consider a seed falling off a tree in winter. By the time spring comes around the seed may be slightly covered in a light soil, temperatures have risen and rains are starting to fall. These are the basics conditions for a seed to germinate; warmth, water, air and some sort of darkness or cover.
The Seed Soak Germination
This is a part of germination where the seed is soaked for a period of time. Soaking can be in anything from distilled or RO water, to some form of special solution. Solutions can vary from beneficial microbial inoculation or a solution of hydrogen peroxide. The time a seed is soaked can vary from a few minutes to hours or even a day. The soft seed is then carefully transplanted to the growing medium of choice to sprout and grow. It should be noted that seeds can drown and we wouldn’t advise submerging seeds for more than 24 hours.
Hydrogen Peroxide Solution
Hydrogen peroxide is used to sterilize the outer shell of the seed and increase oxygen levels around it. Oxygen is important for gemination and is not uncommon for cultivators to rinse seeds in a weak solution for up to 30 minutes. Add 3ml of 50% hydrogen peroxide to 250ml of water for this method of soaking. Be sure to rinse the seeds well with clean water after soaking. Microbial life of all kinds won’t survive this method, whether it be unwanted fungi spores and bacteria or beneficial microbes.
Beneficial Microbe Solution
An alternative solution is dechlorinated water and beneficial microbes. The seed is then placed in the solution for anything from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. Beneficial organisms fight any “bad guys” around and coat the seed with “good guys.” The microbes will colonize the seedling’s root zone creating a symbiotic relationship between them. Rinsing with clean water afterwards is not necessary.
Paper Towel “Soak”
Many did it at school with paper towels or cotton wool. Seeds are placed in-between soft, water retaining materials in a warm place until a tap root is seen. Paper towels and cotton wool can dry out quickly so check on the moisture content regularly.
Once the tap root reveals itself, gently transfer it to a growing medium or starter plug. Place the sprouted seed tap root down and cover lightly. When transplanting seeds, minimize exposing the root to the elements especially sunlight. Sterilize all tools used and be sure not to break the tap root during transplant, as that can happen too.
Starter Plug Germination
Starter plugs range from rock wool to peat pellets and natural sponges of different kinds. What’s important to note is not to mix your mediums. For example, don’t germinate seeds in rock wool when planning a coco peat finish. A peat pellet or natural sponge would be better suited. For a sterile or inoculated plug to germinate in, add either peroxide or microbes to the water used to soak or expand with.
An old favourite able to hold both air and water well. Produced by the heating of basalt rock and calcium and spun into a sheet. Rock wool naturally has a high pH of 8 and should be soaked in water with a pH of 5.5 – 6 for 30 minutes. Shake excess water off and place the seeds in the designated hole. Pinch the hole closed and place the rock wool in a warm area. Keep the rock wool plug moist but not overly soaked.
Popular in recent years the coco peat pellet is expanded with water and surrounded by a soft material with an opening at the top. It’s pH is naturally around 5.5 but any water or solution used to expand the pellet should also be 5.5. Place the seed gently 1cm to 5mm inside the pellet and cover lightly. Make sure the pellet stays moist but not soaked, allowing for water to drain off.
A sponge shaped like rock wool but made from organic materials like coco peat. When produced, they are pH ready at around 5.5 and in some cases when sold in packs, are already sufficiently soaked too. Like above, place the seed gently inside and place in a warm area making sure they stay moist.
Direct Sowing Germination
You may want to sow your seed directly in the ground in the garden. For that, choose the sunniest spot with a bit of space around as cannabis can get big outdoors. You can soak your seed like above or just get it in there by placing it 5mm – 1cm deep in loosened soil. Keep the area moist and protected, even covered with something clear if preferred.
Cannabis plants become sexually mature and ready to flower from around 6-8 weeks strain depending. This allows for seeds to be planted from spring though to mid-late summer, the longer you wait though, the smaller the yield. Plant your seed in mid spring for vigorous growth during the summer months and a big harvest come autumn.
These are a few of the basic methods used to germinate cannabis seeds although the options are endless. Each method will vary in the time it takes for the seed to break ground, anything from a day or two, to two weeks outdoors with direct sowing. Starting off in the same fashion as vegetable seeds in seed trays are also options for germinating cannabis seeds.
Here are a few more tips for germinating cannabis seed:
If using a propagation dome or some sort of closed environment to increase humidity, the air should be changed daily.
The use of heat mats can greatly increase germination rates, the right temperature can make all the difference.