All cannabis growers need to master the art of proper seed germination. Nowadays, everyone online has suggestions for how to germinate weed seeds, but the truth is you have to find what works for you through trial and error. Don’t worry if you’re a totally confused newbie in the weed-growing world. Below, we’ll go over everything you need to know to successfully turn your seed to weed. We can’t guarantee you’ll never break a seed, but with these tips (and a good dose of patience) you’ll become a master marijuana gardener in no time.
How To Test Your Seeds Before Germination
Before you start the germination process, please make sure your seeds are cannabis-plant material. Germinating seeds that aren’t ready or are too old will just waste a whole lot of your precious time.
There are three simple tests you could put your seeds through to determine their germination-readiness.
- First, carefully examine each seed’s color. The darker the seed, the healthier it is. A few streaks of grey are also positive indications. Please don’t use seeds that are green or white; it’s highly unlikely these younger seeds will germinate properly.
- After the color inspection, it’s time for a touch test. Place your thumb and index finger on each seed and press your fingers together with a moderate amount of pressure. Healthy seeds will feel firm to touch. Any seeds that crack in your fingers should go straight into the trashcan.
- A third test you could use to check your seeds’ resilience is to hold them underneath a light and look for a subtle sheen. Seeds that have a waxy coating have a far better chance performing well in the germination process than shells without it.
Although seeds can last for years if refrigerated properly, there are no guarantees that your vendors took all necessary precautions when handling them. Don’t forget that they too are living organisms and can get infected or die off. However, by testing your seeds, you can be sure that no faulty genetics will pass on.
The “Holy Trinity” Of Seed Germination
With those preliminary tests out of the way, now it’s time to talk about how to germinate weed seeds. There are many methods with which you can germinate weed seeds, but the only thing to keep in mind when you start the germination process is that to sprout, seeds need three things: moisture, darkness, and warmth. According to all professional cannabis growers, these are the three major features seeds require to germinate properly.
Please note, “moisture” shouldn’t be interpreted as “soaking wet.” You need to give your seeds just the right amount of water so the root will break out. If you saturate your seeds with too much water, the roots won’t have any reason to leave their comfy home. Finding the right balance of moisture to feed your seeds is a common challenge for new cannabis growers, and that’s why we always recommend that you buy your seeds in packs of three or five. Besides, there’s still a chance that a seed will never sprout, no matter how much love with shower it with.
Learn How To Germinate Weed Seeds With Those Methods
There are many methods with which you can help a seed grow. All of them are quite easy to implement since there is not much else to do rather than provide your plant with moisture, heat, and darkness. Let’s see four of the most popular germination methods for weed seeds.
Break Out Those Paper Towels
The most popular at-home germination technique is sometimes referred to as the “paper towel” method…because you use damp towels (duh). There are many variations on how to do this, but here’s a simple run-down:
- Wet four paper towels with spring or distilled water.
- Place two damp sheets on a plate.
- Lay your seeds on top of these towels about one inch apart.
- Place the two remaining paper towels on top of the seeds.
- Put a second plate on top of the first plate to completely cover the seeds.
- Store in a warm area (ideally around 70°F).
Cannabis seeds usually sprout within one to two days, so be sure to check your seeds often. As you check your seeds, also test the amount of moisture in your paper towels and add a few drops of water if needed.
How To Germinate Weed Seeds With A Cup Of Water
This is one of the easiest germination methods, as the only things you need are a cup of distilled water and a source of heat (heating mat). Pay attention to the word distilled as you don’t want your water to be contaminated with salts and chloramines that are usually found in tap water.
- Drop the seeds in the water-filled cup
- Place the cup on the heating mat (or any other source of heat). Temps should be about 21-27ºC (70-80ºF).
- Give your soaking seeds darkness and privacy!
Bear in mind that you don’t absolutely have to use a heating source, although it would help speed up the process. Your seeds should be ready within a few days.
How To Germinate Weed Seeds With Rockwool
Rockwool is a versatile material mainly used in hydroponic grows and home improvement. Rockwool cubes are readily available in all gardening and hardware shops, and it can also be used to aid your seeds during the germination process. This method is among the most reliable for healthy germination and sprouting if you are growing hydroponically. Here’s how to do it:
- Place as many Rockwool cubes as you have seeds in lukewarm water overnight
- Open a hole on top of each one
- Place the seed into each hole and gently push it toward the bottom
- Wait until the seedling sprouts from the hole
Bear in mind that this method is especially useful if you plan to grow your plant hydroponically and use rockwool as a growing medium. It is not advised to use it if you want to plant in soil, as removing the sprout from the rockwool will probably hurt it. Also, try not to breathe the dust coming from dry rockwool. Once it is soaked in water, it is absolutely safe to use.
Invest In Starter Kits
Not having luck with any of the above methods? Don’t give up just yet! There are many starter cubes you could purchase to make the germination process a whole lot easier. All you have to do with these cubes is pop the seed into the pre-arranged hole and add as much water as directed on the packaging.
Many cannabis growers consider Rapid Rooters the best starter cubes in the business. In one package of Rapid Rooters, you’ll be able to plant 50 cannabis seeds. Definitely, give a few starter kits a try if you’re not jiving with any of the above methods.
Transplanting Your Newly Sprouted Seeds
Unless the seeds you picked are garbage (one more reason to check out our awesome guide!), any approach will yield results. Once the taproot emerges, you will have to transplant your baby to its first home.
If you are growing in soil, a great method is to cut a small plastic bottle in half, poke a few holes on the bottom for drainage and fill it with loose potting soil mix. Suffice to say, touching the taproot with your dirty hands will probably contaminate it, so it’s best to use a pair of tweezers. Place the seed in a small hole with the taproot facing down. Cover with about 1cm of soil and water with a spray bottle until the first set of leaves show up in about a week. Overwatering at this stage will kill your plant, so pay attention to that.
In hydroponics, things are slightly different. While you can certainly use soil to start your plants and then transplant them into your growing medium, the process is slightly more flexible. If you used rockwool or seed starters, you can insert the sprout into the growing medium directly.
Ultimately, germinating weed seeds is an excellent first indication of their overall quality. Some of them will never sprout, others might take longer and others will grow quickly. Unpredictability is a fact of growing that you’ll have to accept, but it pays off to pick the seeds with the best genetics right off the bat. Besides, if you grow a plant with great genetics, you can always cut clones and propagate it to eternity!
General Tips About How To Germinate Weed
- Temperature is very important when it comes to germination. Whichever method you choose, aim for a temperature of about 21-27ºC (75-80ºF)
- If you keep failing at germinating your seeds, its either because of crap genetics, too much water, too low temperatures or simply contamination. Avoid touching the seeds with dirty hands and sterilize everything!
- Perhaps that goes without saying, but you should label your seeds if growing different strains. It’s not like you can tell which one is which just by looking!
- If possible, use reverse osmosis or distilled water for your germination needs. However, this is entirely optional.
Before Your Grow
Before you start gathering all your marijuana growing gear, please check to make sure you’re well within your state’s marijuana laws. These laws are changing rapidly all the USA, so you need to keep up-to-date with your state’s statutes.