cannabis seed germination guide

Males will have round balls—these will develop into pollen sacs, which will release pollen into the air when mature.

If growing outside, some growers prefer to germinate seeds inside because they are delicate in the beginning stages of growth. Indoors, you can give weed seedlings supplemental light to help them along, and then transplant them outside when big enough.

Additionally, every long-time grower will tell you that clones degrade over time.

Finding a cannabis seed in your stash is not ideal, but we’ve all been there before. Although much less common than it once was, it still happens. Sometimes you’ll notice one when grinding down some flower, or you’ll see one pop, spark, and crackle from the heat of a lit bowl.

However, a type of cannabis called Cannabis ruderalis , which developed in extreme northern conditions without much sunlight, will begin flowering once the plant reaches a certain age—they automatically start flowering regardless of the amount of light they receive, hence the name “autoflower.”

How to sex a pot plant.

As mentioned above, you can skip the processing of sexing weed plants by growing with feminized seeds or clones.

Plants grown from seed can be more hearty as young plants when compared to clones, mainly because seeds have a strong taproot. You can plant seeds directly into an outdoor garden in early spring, even in cool, wet climates.

Sexing marijuana plants can be a time-consuming process, and if you don’t catch males, there is a risk that even one males can pollinate your entire crop, causing all of your female weed plants to produce seeds.

Seeds can also form in plants with genetic disorders or instability, like hermaphrodites—plants that develop both male and female reproductive parts. Generally, stress and genetic disorders are viewed as bad, so temper expectations with any plant you start from a bagseed.

Some varieties of cannabis can produce male parts alongside female flowers on the same plant, especially if exposed to environmental stressors. These plants are known as hermaphrodites, and sometimes they can self-pollinate to create seeds.

To get the buds found in medical and recreational stores, female cannabis plants are grown in an environment without males—or the males are removed from the area before they release pollen—so the females don’t create seeds. Females can then focus their energies on producing buds and not seeds—this high-potency marijuana is traditionally known as “sinsemilla,” meaning “seedless.”

Take two of the paper towels and place them on a plate. Then, place the marijuana seeds at least an inch apart from each other and cover them with the remaining two water-soaked paper towels.

Most seeds that you will buy are regular seeds as described above, but here are a couple more types.

Autoflowers don’t need lots of nutrients because they’re small and don’t spend much time in the vegetative cycle. They won’t need as much veg nutrients—such as nitrogen—but will need more bloom nutrients.

Even if your seed sprouts fast and grows vigorously, it still has roughly a 50/50 chance of being female and producing buds, instead of turning out to be a male.

How weed seeds work.

After completing these steps, it’s time to wait. Check the paper towels once a day to make sure they’re still saturated, and if they are losing moisture, apply more water to keep the seeds happy.

Cannabis is grown from one of two sources: a seed or a clone. Seeds carry genetic information from two parent plants and can express many different combinations of traits: some from the mother, some from the father, and some traits from both.

As interest in CBD as a medicine has grown, many breeders have crossed high-CBD hemp with cannabis. These strains have little or no THC, 1:1 ratios of THC and CBD, or some have a high-THC content along with significant amounts of CBD (3% or more).

With cloning, you don’t have to get new seeds every time you want to grow another plant—you just take a cutting of the old plant—and you don’t have to germinate seeds or sex them out and get rid of the males.

Aside from producing cannabis through seeds, or sexual reproduction, you can also reproduce the plant through cloning, or asexual reproduction. A clone is a cutting that is genetically identical to the plant it was taken from—that plant is known as the “mother.”

Marijuana seeds can be acquired from an array of sources and can vary in quality. For more info on how to buy marijuana seeds, check out our Guide to buying cannabis seeds.

Also, autoflower plants are small—perfect for closet grows or any small grow, or growing outdoors where you don’t want your neighbors to see what you’re up to.

What are autoflowering cannabis seeds?

Cannabis seeds require three things to germinate: water, heat, and air. There are many methods to germinate seeds, but for the most common and simplest method, you will need:

For the typical homegrower, it may be easier to obtain cannabis seeds rather than clones. Growing from seed can produce a stronger plant with more solid genetics.

However, potency in autoflowering varieties has increased significantly since their initial introduction, with some breeders crossbreeding the low-THC ruderalis with other more potent varieties.

One way to avoid sexing plants is to buy feminized seeds (more below), which ensures every seed you plant will be a bud-producing female.

As we’ve mentioned, cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning male and female reproductive organs appear on different plants.

You might also find a mature seed that has been physically damaged through poor handling, like rough trimming. In those cases, it probably isn’t worth the effort to try and germinate the seed.

You can also minimize headaches and avoid the hassle of seed germination and sexing plants by starting with clones.

Seeds for these varieties are now widely available online and through dispensaries. It should be noted, however, that any plant grown from these seeds is not guaranteed to produce high levels of CBD, as it takes many years to create a seed line that produces consistent results. A grower looking to produce cannabis with a certain THC to CBD ratio will need to grow from a tested and proven clone or seed.

As long as a seed germinates, it’s a good seed!

The Rapid Rooters tray is perfect for seeds or clones. Allow your young plants to sit in the tray with water until their roots are well formed and ready to be transplanted to your final destination. The standard size tray fits most humidity domes. You can refill the tray with Rapid Rooters from the bag or mat.

Gently place the germinated seed inside, root down. Place the seed close to the surface so it doesn’t have far to go.

Germination Method 2: Plant marijuana seeds directly in growing medium.

The cotyledons were already created as part of the plant embryo in the seed itself, so the cannabis seedling doesn’t have to grow them. In fact, the emerging first leaves are what break apart the shell after it’s cracked open by the taproot, as pictured here.

Rockwool cubes have a high pH until they’re treated.

8-10+ gallon container.

Sometimes the stem of a brand new cannabis seedling can look like the roots growing out the top. But if you wait and watch, you’ll see that it’s all part of the plan. Hope these pics help someone!

It’s often hydroponic cannabis growers who use Rockwool cubes since these can be safely placed in hydroponic setups, hold a lot of moisture, and are resistant to mold. Rockwool is cheap and easy to find. It comes in convenient cubes. But it does have some major drawbacks…

This method is especially effective for seeds which have extra hard shells, or seeds which are older (more than a few years old).

Germination Method 3: Germination Station.

Alternative to Solo Cup: Start plants in seedling cube.

Seedling Two round cotyledon leaves, then two “real” (serrated) single-finger cannabis leaves.

However, young plant roots do not drink much water yet. When you water seedlings or clones in a very big container, they will use up all the oxygen quickly, and the large size of the container will prevent the growing medium from drying out.

Marijuana seedlings under T5 Grow Light.

Germination Method 5: Paper Towel Method.

Day 7 from seed.

We also had trouble rooting clones in Rockwool. Rockwool cubes just don’t hold enough air to get plenty of oxygen to the roots, and they tend to hold onto a lot of water and get waterlogged easily. Since Rockwool can hold a lot of water, it’s prone to “drowning” seeds.

Just add you seeds and pour some water into the tray – the Rapid Rooters will do everything else for you.

Seedlings are fragile at first. Once sprouted, the roots need to stay constantly moist to stay happy and healthy. It’s important to make sure the seeds have access to water the entire time during germination, no matter which cannabis germination method you end up using.

Final Container for Desired Plant Size – General guide.

Homegrown CannabisCo are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options including feminized seeds, it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.

Turn on your grow light once you have planted the seeds. The heat improves germination rates and speeds up the process of the seedlings opening their first set of leaves. These leaves will remain yellow until exposed to a sufficient level of light in any case. When you plant multiple seeds, you will find that they grow at different rates.

The soaking process can breathe new life into old seeds.

You may have heard the age-old advice on checking for viable seeds. Apparently, if you can crush seeds between your fingers, they are ‘bad.’ First of all, they won’t be good seeds because you have destroyed them! Secondly, experienced growers know that even flimsy seeds can germinate when exposed to the right conditions.

In nature, a marijuana seed will germinate in the soil and emerge with its taproot growing into the earth. Therefore, you can plant cannabis seeds straight into your growing medium of choice. The main benefit here is that you don’t have to worry about ‘shocking’ the seedling while transporting it.

EDITOR’S CHOICE – Homegrown CannabisCo.

There is no room for a delay once your cannabis seeds have begun to sprout. Now is the time to transfer the seed to its growing medium. Most growers prefer to use small pots, to begin with. Make sure you fill enough pots with loose potting soil and use a pencil to poke a hole around 0.25” deep. Remember, you could break the taproot very easily. Transfer it using tweezers and drop the seed into the hole with the root facing down. Finally, cover it with a thin layer of soil.

Germination relates to the process of a new plant growing from a seed. It is the first step when adding to your cannabis garden. You can purchase the requisite seeds from a variety of sources. On the downside, it means that cannabis seeds vary enormously in quality. We recommend looking at reputable online seed banks to get your supply. However, please note that there are legal issues to contend with if you buy seeds. This is especially the case if you decide to buy them from a source outside the United States.

First and foremost, seeds perform at their best when they are left alone! When you check them for the taproot, handle with care! Try to avoid touching the white taproot because it can easily break off.

It is a simple method, but also a risky one. You could damage the taproot while moving the sprouted seeds, or else the paper could dry out and kill the seeds. In any case, here is the process:

You can purchase a readymade version online. Alternatively, attempt a DIY station by placing a plastic dome over a plate that you then add to a heating pad. Professionally made stations are relatively inexpensive and work rather well. You can buy one for under $40, and their plastic tops ensure better humidity control. With top brands, all you have to do is choose your growing media and plugs to start growing.

Your seedling should instantly adjust to the new environment and grow. When using this method, dig a hole 0.5” – 1” deep in soil that is moist but not saturated. Keep things warm with a heating pad or lighting.

Always opt for dark cannabis seeds as they are the most likely to germinate when kept in the right conditions. White or pale-green seeds have little or no chance of growing.

The main downside with this germination method is that such plugs are generally available in packs of 50. Waste is inevitable if you only plan on planting a few cannabis seeds. The plugs dry out in a week or so and become unusable.

Inevitably, some will fail, while others will flourish. You will have seeds that pop fast and proliferate. Don’t be disappointed if you have a few failures because that’s part and parcel of the growing process. Even when you get everything right, you will inevitably lose a few seeds, and it won’t be your fault!

Transplanting Germinated Cannabis Seeds.

You will know that germination has occurred because the seed will split, and a little root appears. Make sure you don’t touch the taproot when it sprouts or during the transplantation process.

Once the right conditions occur, the taproot starts burrowing through the shell of the seed.

This is as simple as option #3. It involves nothing more than placing the seeds in a glass of lukewarm water overnight. It is a good idea if you’re using old and hard seeds. The soaking process can breathe new life into them. When you place the seeds in water, they float for a few hours before sinking to the bottom.

You can also use Rockwool cubes as they are cheap and easy to find. However, they are a terrible burden on the environment and bad for your health. Rockwool also has a high pH (which means you must rinse the cubes first) and offers a low cloning and germination success rate.

If the root breaks through the shell and there is no water, the seedling will die. Keep the roots moist once the seed sprouts, and make sure there is ample moisture at all times.

This is arguably the trickiest aspect of germination. You have to strike a balance between ‘warm’ and ‘hot.’ Spring temperatures are ideal in a ‘normal’ year. While cannabis seeds can germinate in colder weather, the process takes longer. Seedlings also germinate faster when there is plenty of humidity in the air. If you are concerned about low temperatures, invest in incandescent bulbs, and place them over the seed area.

3 – Starter Cubes and Seedling Plugs.

If you use a transparent container such as glass, you get to see the white taproot break out! You shouldn’t leave seeds soaking in water for more than 32 hours. Otherwise, seeds that haven’t sprouted yet will drown. If the seeds haven’t germinated by the 32-hour mark, put them in a warm and moist place to complete the process. You should probably use the paper towel method at this point.

You don’t have to plant germinated seeds too deep in the soil, or whatever growing medium you choose. 0.5” – 1” below the surface is plenty. Point the white root downwards into the earth to ensure the seedling is ideally oriented.

This is the easiest method and requires cannabis seeds, paper towels, and two clean plates. A word of advice: Choose cheap paper towels because they are non-porous. As a result, you can lay seeds and roots on the surface and not worry about them getting stuck. If you use high-quality paper towels, the roots will grow into them!

In theory, germinating cannabis seeds is a simple affair. They only need three things: Air, water, and heat. The famed ‘paper towel’ method is incredibly easy as long as you follow the steps outlined below. Here is a quick overview of the best germination practices before we show you the various methods.

For the first few days, use a spray bottle to water the seeds, because adding too much water can drown them. It is worth investing in a pH meter to test the soil regularly and make sure it has enough moisture. If all goes well, the seed should sprout from the earth within a week. If it hasn’t sprouted within ten days, it will probably die.

When buying seeds, opt for mature options with a dark brown appearance and a firm feel. Once you have them in your possession, make plenty of space for them to grow and thrive. Learning how to germinate weed seeds correctly is crucial to enjoying years of healthy plants and fruitful harvests. In this guide, we outline the ideal germination conditions and show you five different methods.

This has been championed as the easiest germination method. It is effectively a foolproof method. All you have to do is place the seed into the cube/plug and add water. Assuming you put the seeds in a room with the right temperature, germination should occur automatically within a few days. There is a pre-made hole for the seeds, so it is a ‘set it and forget it’ method.