How to


Ways of Germinating a Cannabis Seed

Whether you are new to growing cannabis or a seasoned expert in cannabis cultivation, popping seeds of a new cannabis strain is always an exciting endeavour. Indeed, even for less experienced cultivars, the mere notion of germinating cannabis seeds that will develop into big, beautiful marijuana plants stacked with aromatic colas, brings a wonderful sense of excitement and anticipation.

However, one question that we are commonly asked by those with a little less growing experience at Marijuana Grow Shop is “how do I germinate a cannabis seed”?

While it is not a difficult feat to pop a cannabis seed, there are some useful germination methods that will ensure sprouting success. Knowing how to germinate marijuana seeds to promote healthy growth is the foundation of the cannabis plants’ success.

So what are the keys to successfully germinating a cannabis seed and what are the best methods for germinating your seeds?

Let’s take a closer look at this vitally important part of cannabis cultivation.

Tips to Successfully Germinate a Cannabis Seed

Before you begin to germinate marijuana seeds, it is important to have a solid plan for taking care of the cannabis seedling as it develops through its growth stages. Early growth development happens quickly with cannabis plants, as long as you have the ideal environment. Providing an optimal setting to begin a new plant life enhances your chance of increased cannabis growing success rates.

As such, it is important to ensure that your grow environment set-up has the necessary lighting, ventilation, water source, temperature, and humidity controls. Additionally, growing mediums and pot size are important factors to consider before the marijuana seed sprouts. Early preparation enables a grower to focus on the marijuana plants growth development throughout its lifecycle.

A number of germinated marijuana seeds
As cannabis germination progresses, a small white-tail emerges from the seed coat. This tendril is the taproot that nourishes marijuana plants throughout the life cycle.

How does a Cannabis Seed Germinate?

All experienced cannabis growers will tell you that the growth success of a marijuana plant begins with the seed. The living cells lying dormant within the marijuana seed shell are unique to their particular genetic makeup. Starches stored inside the tiny seed wait for a signal to release sugars that will feed the seedling to stimulate growth.

The cells become aroused with the introduction of water, oxygen, and temperature. As moisture penetrates the hard seed shell, the stored starches convert to sugars providing energy to the embryo.

As cannabis germination progresses, a small white-tail emerges from the seed coat. This tendril is the taproot that nourishes marijuana plants throughout the life cycle. The sprout naturally grows in a downward position searching for nutrients to feed the plant.

The embryonic stem with attached seed leaves begins evolving as sugars disperse. When the cannabis seed coat softens, the stem and first leaves push through the shell, starting the marijuana plants growth cycle.

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.

Post author
Charle Thibodeau
Charle’ Thibodeau is a freelance writer with almost a decade´s experience, specializing in cannabis content for the past two years. A strong motivation to educate, inform, and promote the culture surrounding this miraculous plant is her earnest mission.
See more from Charle Thibodeau

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