How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
Germination is the process where a plant breaks through its seed casing. It describes the first moment of the plant's lifecycle. The process begins when a seed is deposited into a moist area. The moisture will provide the seed sufficient energy to sprout into the soil. We've established a germination guide which covers the many different techniques used to activate a cannabis seed, and begin it's growth.
Germinating is an exciting process. However, for new cultivators it may seem intimidating. It is worth remembering that patience is one of the most important aspects of germination. Once the germination process has begun it becomes a simple matter of monitoring the conditions, such as humidity and temperature, and ensuring that your germinating seeds receive sufficient amount of moisture.
Getting started with germinating your first set of cannabis seeds is easy, and there are a few methods to choose from. Many cultivators will have their own preferences, citing different success rates of germination. However, you will see indicators of success regardless of which germinating technique you choose. Just be sure to germinate a few extra seeds, in-case some of them do not pop. Speaking of successful germination, we have created our own list of tips to help germinate cannabis seeds.
Plant Starter Cubes - Plant starter cubes go by many names, two brands we enjoy are Peat Pellets and Jiffy pellets. Follow the instructions but the gist is simple: soak, ensure-temperature, place your seeds in and pinch the top closed. 2-8 days later you are ready to follow either our indoor or outdoor grow guides!
Wet Paper Towel - Tried and true throughout grade-school science classes across the nation, this method is simple but offers more opportunity for error than plant starter cubes. We have heard from multiple sources that cheaper, generic-brand paper towels work best (due to the porous name brands absorbing the roots into the towel).
Lay out one sheet of damp paper towel on a plate, ensure temperature, place seeds in one half of the paper towel and fold the other half over. We like to cover with another plate (upside down) to keep the paper towel from drying out. Your seeds should germinate in 2-8 days, depending on the age of your seeds.
The Soak - Soaking is sworn upon by some growers so we will explain the process for your here! The hardest part will be maintaining water temperature for an extended period of time, we do this by setting up a small space heater near the glass and finding the sweet spot between 20c - 28c.
Drop your seeds into the cup of warm water and wait! This process could take longer than 32 hours, be aware that seeds may drown if germination does not begin occurring. After 24 hours it is a safe bet to transfer them to damp paper towel to finish germination.
Direct to Pot - Typically a riskier method, it’s only benefits being it requires the least amount of work, and if successful, doesn’t run the risk of dying during repotting. Simply place your seed knuckle deep in the soil, then maintain temperature and soil moistness. After 2-8 days have passed you should notice growth.
Our Take - We recommend plant starter cubes as they are the safest method we have come across. No matter the method, you must remember that during germination seeds should be kept between 20c - 26c. Once you begin to see growth it is important to transport your seeds to a new home.
The Germinating Process
After a few days of germination, your seeds will begin to pop, and expose a white tail-looking root. This should be allowed to grow a few centimeters, so that you can properly angle the seed. The goal will be to place the germinated seed into a new small planting pot, with the root pointing down, and the shell of the seed facing upwards. This allows the root to naturally push down, and push the remainder of the seed towards the surface, exposing the soon-to-be leaves to sunlight.
Many cultivators will recommend not waiting too long after the seed has popped and the root begun to protude. The intent is to minimize any exposure to light on the tap root, as well as damage, which can become easier as the root grows.
If you are having difficulties controlling temperature during the germination process, a hot plate can do the trick. In a pinch, simply placing your tray of germinating seeds near the back of your refridgerator can help. Depending on your temperatures and humidity, you may find you need to appy moisture more frequently - do not let your seeds dry up, or you will risk unsuccessful germination.
My Seed Tap Root Stopped Growing or Didn't Pop
This is typically a result of improper conditions for the germination process, leading to an interruption which leads to the seed's death. For many cultivators, seeds can be an expensive commodity that they are not too quick to throw away.
If your seed has not popped and begun displaying it's tap root, you may need to wait a bit longer. While some seeds can begin growing their tap-root in as little as 24 to 48 hours, other strains may take an extended period of time. Unfortunately, if your seeds have still not dispayed any activity after a period of several days, the seeds may not be any good. We suggest reading our guide on how to safely store cannabis seeds - which may have led to the issue.
If your seed has not appeared from the soil after a few days, we advise that you keep waiting. It's important that you do not try to dig up the seed to get a better look. Doing so can lead to root damage, and impair the growing process even further. However, it's possible that your seed's tap root has stopped growing, or become extremely slow. Again, this is due to improper growing conditions, which lead to impaired growth or eventual death. Some plants may recover. In other cases, this can be sign of a low quality, or runt plant, that may be better disposed of in place of a healtheir candidate.