Germinating Cannabis Seeds

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The first step in growing your own cannabis, explore expert tips and tricks on how to successfully germinate, transforming your little seeds into healthy sprouts. Learning how to germinate cannabis seeds is the first step to growing marijuana, but it's not as easy as many aspiring cultivators think. Handling cannabis seed germination is no difficult task, but it requires a great deal of precision and care. If you can provide that, you’re good to go.

How To: Germinate Cannabis Seeds

There’s just something amazing that happens as you watch life unfold from the smallest seed to a full-grown plant. It’s a connection to nature that is often lacking in today’s buy everything pre-washed world. Some patients are legally allowed to grow a limited number of cannabis plants at home (with , either outdoors or inside. The number of plants and the amount that can be stored depends directly on the quantity of dried cannabis a patient is authorized to use daily, so make sure to review the ACMPR guidelines before starting.

If you’re growing your own cannabis starting from seeds (as opposed to cut clones), the first step is to transform them from the seeds to sprouts. For seeds to germinate, they require three things: moisture, warmth and darkness.

STEP 1

Fill a glass with clean, room temperature water (between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius is ideal). The type of water you use should sync up with the type of water you drink. If your tap water is safe for drinking, you can use it for germination. But if you have to use filtered or bottled water to drink, your seeds will also need it to grow.

STEP 2

Drop your seeds into the glass of water and leave them to soak in a dark place that holds a temperature between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius. After 10 minutes, check on the seeds. If a few are floating at the top, gently tap them to see if they sink. (If they don’t, just let them float!) Place the seeds back in the dark for another 8-12 hours.

Note: If you are germinating colour-coated seeds, each colour should be placed in a separate glass. The colour will slowly dissolve in the water, making the seeds and their colour-coded strain identifiers indistinguishable.

STEP 3

Place the seeds on a plate, bedded in between layers of damp paper or cotton towels, before placing them back in the dark to continue germinating. Check on them every 6-12 hours, dripping water onto the top layer of paper towels to ensure they remain damp. Do this for 48-72 hours.

STEP 4

After two to three days on the paper towels, the seeds will swell causing the casing shell to crack. It may take up another day or two, so if you don’t see split casing shells, be patient. However, it’s also important not to let the newly emerged root stay exposed to the damp paper towels too long, as it can create early root damage. Look for the white, initial root visible at the spot the seed is cracked. It will look like a little tail sticking out of the seed. That’s how you know your seed is ready to be planted!

How To Germinate Cannabis Seeds

Cultivating cannabis from a seed is not as easy as many beginner growers might think. Various factors are involved which will ultimately determine if the cultivator is successful and has a large harvest, or if they fail and have to go back to the drawing board. Learning how to germinate cannabis seeds is the first step to becoming a cultivator.

Some cannabis cultivators prefer to start with cannabis clones versus marijuana seeds. Each route has its own advantages, however, seeds are typically easier to acquire than clones. While clones and seeds will both do the trick, seeds also seem to be a more popular route in many areas.

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It’s worth noting that purchasing cannabis seeds online is illegal and often results in less than desirable seeds being acquired by the buyer. Look for legal cannabis seed options in your area. Many reputable licensed cannabis dispensaries sell cannabis seeds, with strain options varying.

How Do You Know If A Cannabis Seed Is Viable?

If you consume cannabis long enough, chances are you will come across a seed in your cannabis flower. Whether you want to try to germinate the seed immediately, or save it for down the road, it is important that you know if the cannabis seed is viable to be germinated or not.

Viable cannabis seeds tend to have a darker color with shades of grey, black, and/or brown. A really good cannabis seed will typically have a ‘tiger stripe’ across it. Another way to tell if a cannabis seed is viable is by touching it (make sure to wear gloves when handling cannabis seeds). A quality seed should withstand a bit of a pinch. If the seed collapses under a little pressure, then it wasn’t viable.

How Do You Germinate Cannabis Seeds?

Germinating marijuana seeds is not difficult, although it does take attention to detail and the right environment. Successful germination takes the right amount of moisture, the right temperature, and a decent amount of light (sunlight or artificial light from low-intensity grow lights).

Arguably the easiest and most cost-effective way to germinate a cannabis seed is to place it between wet paper towels (often referred to as “the paper towel germination method”). Add a bit of water to the paper towels and squeeze out the excess water.

You want the paper towels to be moist but not dripping water. Place the seed(s) between the moist paper towels, place the paper towels in a sandwich bag to lock in the moisture, and put it on a window ledge where it will get some but not too much light. Keep the paper towels moist until the germinated cannabis seeds are ready to transplant.

If the temperature of the room is too cold (below 55 degrees Fahrenheit), consider using a heating mat, which can be found at most department stores in the gardening section. The success rate of the paper towel method is high as long as the cultivator keeps a close eye on the process until the germinated seed is ready to be transplanted into potting soil, peat pellets, or a different growing medium.

Various products such as “rapid rooters” can be incorporated into germination strategies, however, they are not as cost-effective as the paper towel method.

When Is The Seed Ready To Be Transplanted?

Watching a cannabis seed germinate can be a lot like waiting for water to boil — it takes time (typically a couple of weeks). The seeds will eventually crack open and a white root will shoot out of the cracked cannabis seed shell. The white root is often referred to as the taproot. Once your sprouting seed has a strong taproot (an inch or so) it is ready to be transplanted.

Find a two-inch container for your grow space, fill it full of soil (or your preferred growing medium), and poke a hole where the seed will be placed. Using tweezers, place the seed with the taproot facing down in the hole. Then, cover it with soil.

From there, you can grow the cannabis seed into a large cannabis plant. One downfall to cultivating cannabis from seed is that you won’t know if the marijuana plants are male or female for several weeks. If the young plant proves to be male, then it is basically useless. Using feminized cannabis seeds is a good way to ensure that the plants are not males, saving you quite a bit of time and headache.

Continuing Your Education

Cultivating cannabis is a never-ending educational journey. Even the most experienced cannabis cultivators will be quick to tell you that they are always learning and seeking out cultivation information.

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A great way to learn more about the cannabis cultivation process from seed to harvest is via Green Flower’s Cannabis Cultivation Certificate Program. The program is led by true cultivation experts and involves insightful course materials. If you are looking to increase your cultivation knowledge this is a great way to do it!

How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds

Cannabis, better known as marijuana, is getting more popular across the United States as more medical reports deem it highly useful for better health and more states legalize its sale and use. There’s no question of how potent and beneficial marijuana is for health and recreation, so it is no surprise that more individuals are more getting interested in growing the herb in their homes.

Like any other plant, cannabis goes through the germination process before full growth. Handling cannabis seed germination is no difficult task, but it requires a great deal of precision and care. If you can provide that, you’re good to go.

Below here, we breakdown the main aspects of cannabis seed germination you need to know.

The Ideal Germination Conditions for Cannabis

For maximum cannabis seed germination, you need to provide the following conditions:

Moisture

Marijuana seeds need adequate moisture in the soil to develop properly. You can maintain moisture by using well-watered soil or a naturally-moist medium such as compost. Alternatively, you can use mulch on the ground to lock the moisture in.

Stability

Your seeds need a stable setup during planting to guarantee proper germination. You can achieve this by placing the seeds about 1.3cm to 2.5 cm into the medium, not any further or closer to the medium surface.

Temperature

Marijuana seeds require a proper balance between hot and cold temperatures for proper germination. Keep the temperature around the germinating area adequately warm, because colder temperatures tend to delay the germination process.

Direction

Marijuana seeds need direction when being germinated. When placing the germinated seed into the growing medium, ensure that the white root is looking downwards into the medium and the seed body is looking upwards. Positioning it otherwise means the root will have to reorganize itself, which can slow germination.

Seed Germination Methods

There are more than a few options to choose from when picking a method for your seed germination process. We list and explain the best of them below:

Use Starter Cubes & Seedling Plugs

This is the most recommended cannabis seed germination method on this list because of its ease. Starter cubes and seedling plugs are specially designed for the purpose of seed germination, so they come filled with the right kind of planting mix and a hole drilled adequately in the middle for placing your seed. All you have to do is place your seed carefully into the hole and close it with a simple pinch of the nearby planting mix.

The Pros
  • They have high germination rates thanks to adequately pre-set conditions
  • They are easy to use; you open them up and start planting
  • They give less room for error
  • Some of them are designed to allow hydroponic growing (water-based planting)
  • They aren’t too expensive
The Cons
  • Are usually sold in packages of 50 plugs or more at once, no less.
  • Some plugs dry out too quickly after opening.
  • Some plugs must be soaked for a while first before use.

Plant your marijuana seeds directly in the final growing medium

Another good method for germinating your cannabis seeds is by planting them within your final growing medium from the very beginning, whether it is soil or compost or water.

The Pros
  • The seeds don’t get transplant shock during transplanting
  • The seeds get accustomed to the medium early on, which fosters growth
The Cons
  • Some final mediums are not adequately nutrient-rich to support cannabis seed germination in its earliest stages
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Use a germination station

For best seed germination results, you can alternatively employ a germination station before transferring to a final growing medium. Germination stations are pre-designed to offer optimum conditions for germination.

The Pros
  • Germination stations are cheap to purchase
  • You can create your own DIY germination station at home using a plastic dome fitted over a plate that’s placed on a heating pad.
The Cons
  • Germination seeds are only appropriate for the early stages of growth, unlike, say, the final medium.

Soak Your Marijuana Seeds in Water Overnight

Alternatively, you can germinate your cannabis seeds using water alone. Place the seeds in a glassful of mildly warm water overnight and wait for the white root to break through the seed shell. Then you can transfer to a final growing medium.

The Pros
  • It works well for seeds with extra hard seed coats
  • Cuts out all the extra preparation required in soil-based germination
The Cons
  • Some seeds, especially the older ones, cannot germinate in water because they require a longer time
  • There is always the risk of over soaking the seeds and killing them

Try the Paper Towel Method

The most DIY cannabis seed germination method on this list is the paper towel method, which involves wrapping your seeds in thin paper towels, making them wet and leaving the setup a warm place. Soon enough, the white roots start showing and the seeds can then be transplanted.

The Pros
  • It is so cheap; the thinnest (and cheapest) paper towels work best
  • It is so easy to do.
The Cons
  • Thicker paper towels can be hard to separate new seedlings from after they’ve sprouted
  • There is a high possibility for errors during transplanting, such as root breakage when seed roots are found to have grown into the paper towel, not on its surface.
  • Paper towels can dry if unattended, thereby killing the new seedlings.

Planting Germinated Seeds

Once the cannabis seeds have germinated, they need to be planted in order to grow into proper cannabis plants. The recommended method for planting cannabis seeds includes the steps below:

Step One : Set and prepare your planting medium. You can use either a rooting cube or a planting mix for planting, depending on your preference. Rooting cubes have no major preparation requirements –have one ready from Oasis, Jiffy or another good brand. If you’re using a planting mix, procure sterile soil for the process. Random soil doesn’t cut it here.

Step Two : Next, add water to the sterile soil or rooting cube to saturate it. Then use a needle or chopstick to drill small planting holes within the soil or rooting cube. Please do not use your finger for this task.

Step Three : Get your tweezers and sterilize them with alcohol or spirit first. Then use the tweezers to pick the seeds, paying good attention to the fragile white roots.

Step Four : Place each germinated seed into a hole of its own, ever so tenderly, such that the root faces downward. Don’t place the seeds too deep into the ground either, because it slows growth. Move quickly because the roots are easily damaged by exposure to the atmosphere.

Step Five : Next, cover each of the holes with adequate soil or rooting cube. Make sure the planting mix or root cube is moist and not too cold.

Conclusion

Germinating and growing cannabis seeds requires a bit of work, but when done right, the end results are worth every minute spent. Like any other plant, cannabis seeds have to go through germination and then plant growth. Making sure each of these stages is done right will guarantee you a super bouncy harvest every time.

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