What are the Principal Cannabis Seed Germinating Techniques?
There are three traditional methods most commonly used to germinate marijuana seeds:
- Seed Directly into a Grow Medium
- The Moist Paper Towel Trick
- Soak the Seeds in Water
While germinating cannabis seeds can be successful with any of these three options, each method has a protocol to be considered for optimal seedling growth. Although the techniques may differ, they do share the same characteristics required for sprouting – water, oxygen, and temperature. A closer look at each of these germination methods reveals the different techniques to germinate a seed.
The Direct Sow Method
Planting a cannabis seed directly into either super soil or a soilless substrate will promote the germination process if the environment is agreeable. The natural atmosphere encourages the seedling to grow as the cannabis plant’s root system quickly develops. There must be adequate moisture and warmth, however, for the marijuana seed to sprout.
Moisture levels need to remain constant to begin the cannabis germination process. If a planted seed does not have sufficient moisture, for instance, the grow medium dries out, and germination halts. On the other hand, if a cannabis seed is over-watered in the substrate, it will not receive enough oxygen, and growth will not expand. Keep the area around the seedling moist but not saturated.
Cannabis germination requires warm conditions in the growing environment. Temperatures between 20⁰C – 22⁰C (68⁰F – 72⁰F) are ideal for the cannabis seedling. While light is not a necessity for sprouting, the warmth emitted from an incandescent grow light hanging above the pot will help keep the temperature at a constant level.
A cannabis seed directly sown into organic super soil does not require nutrient supplementation since these soil mixes typically contain naturally occurring elements. A Hydroponics setup and soilless substrates, conversely, do not come equipped with loaded nutrients. The marijuana seed has its store of nutrition to begin germination, although once growth begins, nutrient applications are essential for continued growth in soilless and hydroponic mediums.
The Paper Towel Method
This popular method to germinate a cannabis seed and one of the most favoured ways to germinate cannabis seeds requires only a plate and a couple of paper towels. This germination process cradles the dormant seed in a moist paper towel to encourage development. Nestling the cannabis seed in-between two wet paper towels and then placing them in either a plastic bag or underneath an upside-down plate acts as an incubation chamber.
Cannabis germination usually occurs within one to three days but can take longer depending on the strain. Keep the environment warm and moist to encourage rapid sprouting – make sure the paper towels stay moist.
Also, be careful when opening the folded paper towels to check on development. As the tiny tail begins to emerge, the taproot expands in search of nourishment. Any damage inflicted on the small root during early growth will have adverse effects on plant progression.
Once the marijuana seed pops, plant in your preferred grow medium. Always place the germinated seeds in the substrate tail down, approximately 1.3 cm (1/2 inches) deep. The seedling should be placed just below the soil level, lightly covered. Keep the substrate moist by misting several times a day until the cannabis seedling emerges.
The Water Soak Method
One of the quickest means to germinate marijuana seeds is simply by soaking the seeds in water. Through this germination process, the seed cover absorbs water quickly, generally showing results within 12 – 24 hours.
The transformation of the seed using this method of germination will be easily identifiable through a clear glass. The cannabis seed will become plump as the seed coat softens, allowing the germination process to unfold rapidly.
Once the marijuana seed sprouted, transplant the seedling into a growing medium for further growth development. Some cannabis growers will plant their seedling into small pots to encourage rapid root growth while others prefer to plant directly into the final container to avoid additional stress during transplant. Whichever method you choose, keep in mind that once you plant your germinated seed, the young cannabis seedling does require your attention in the first few weeks of growth.
For both the water soak and the moist paper towel methods, make sure to handle the sprouted cannabis seed gently and with sterile equipment. A good practice when transplanting marijuana seeds is to fill the pot and then water the substrate before disturbing the seedling. Additionally, reduce damage to the sprout by using a pair of tweezers to transport seedlings to their final home. Place the cannabis seedling under a grow light and keep the substrate moist to encourage growth.