How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds for a 100% Success Rate

  • blank
  • blank
  • blank
  • blank

In this guide on how to germinate cannabis seeds, we are going to cover everything you need to know about “popping beans.” If you follow the steps in this guide and have quality cannabis seeds, you should see your seeds pop every time! 

We will cover a few different methods of germinating cannabis seeds in this post so that you can choose the method that works best for you and the medium you are growing in. But before we discuss those things, let’s talk about why it is so important to know how to germinate cannabis seeds properly.

Why Proper Germination Matters

Let’s say you want to grow four plants. You take four seeds of your favorite strain and begin germinating them. Now, if you haven’t used a good germination technique, these seeds may not pop. That is not only a waste of money but also a waste of time.

If only one or two out of the four seeds germinate, you’ll need to germinate additional ones to compensate for the loss. This means the newly sprouted seeds will be behind the others by about a week. This can really mess with timing of the grow.

Also, what happens if the seed you were trying to germinate cost a lot of money, or they are some heirloom genetics that you can’t get anymore?

Proper germination is important; it is always a shame to see good seeds go to waste. So make sure, before you germinate any seeds, you follow this guide thoroughly. Choose a method that works well for you and stick with it.

How a Germinating Cannabis Seed Works

A cannabis seed is pretty much a tiny cannabis plant, compacted into a hard shell with a little bit of food stored up.

how to germinate cannabis seeds, how a germinating cannabis seeds works, picture of the inside of a cannabis seed, anatomy of a cannabis seed, percys grow room, cannabis growing forum, cannabis growers forum, growing cannabis, learn how to grow cannabis, beginners guide to growing weed, how to grow weed for personal use, cannabis plant deficiency, how to germinate cannabis seeds, where to buy cannabis seeds, best weed growers website, Cannabis Growers forum, weed growers forum, How to grow legal cannabis, a step by step guide to growing weed, cannabis growing guide, tips for marijuana growers, growing cannabis plants for the first time, marijuana growers forum, marijuana growing tips, cannabis plant problems, cannabis plant help, marijuana growing expert advice

Introducing water to the seed softens the shell, allowing a small amount of moisture to penetrate into the seed. This triggers the seed into action, and the root cap starts to push its way out of the seed casing. This turns into the taproot.

The taproot will grow deeper into the grow medium and spread out to collect nutrients and water. The cotyledons (little round leaves) will then push their way above ground and eventually push the seed casing off so the leaves can catch light and start making food via photosynthesis.

It’s a simple process that only takes a few days to complete, as long as you have used a good technique, of course.

How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds: A Step-by-Step Guide

First off, before you do anything, it is a good idea to let your cannabis seeds soak in room temperature water for a few hours. Overnight is great, but some people like to wait a full 24 hours. This is just to soften the shell a little and make it easier for the tap root to push itself out.

However, this technique was used “back in the day” to check if cannabis seeds are viable or not. Dozens of seeds would be added to water. Those that sank were no good, and those that floated were viable. We don’t have to do this so much nowadays because seeds are very reliable if you got them from a good cannabis seed bank. As a result growers would only do this nowadays to soften the shell of the seeds a little.

So, if you are germinating cannabis seeds now, go and place your seeds in some water. While they soak, you can decide which method you are going to use to germinate your cannabis seeds. There are two main methods to choose from: the paper towel method or planting it into the grow medium.

The Paper Towel Method to Germinate Cannabis Seeds

The paper towel method is where cannabis seeds are placed between a few layers of damp paper towels. The paper towels and seeds are then covered with Saran wrap/cling film to lock in the moisture. Then, they will be stored somewhere warm for 24-48 hours until the taproot shows. At that point, they are planted into the medium.

It’s a very simple process, and it works great for germinating cannabis seeds. But if the towel dries out, the seeds will die. You may also damage the taproot when planting it into the soil. So this method is not without its issues.

The paper towel method was used “back in the day” because seeds were a lot less reliable. You would know how many would pop, and how many wouldn’t. So using the paper towel method allowed growers to see which seeds popped out a taproot so they could plant those. Instead of preparing lots of pots with grow medium for seeds that would never pop. It isn’t needed as much nowadays because seeds are so reliable. Instead, many growers prefer to plant straight into the medium.

Planting the Seeds into the Medium

After soaking your seeds for a while, you can just go ahead and plant them into the grow medium. Begin by watering whatever grow medium you’re going to use. Make sure it is good and wet and ready for a seed to be planted.

how to germinate cannabis seeds, planting seeds into the medium, how deep to plant a cannabis seed, plant seed 1cm deep max, beginners guide to growing weed, how to grow weed for personal use, cannabis plant deficiency, how to germinate cannabis seeds, where to buy cannabis seeds, best weed growers website, Cannabis Growers forum, weed growers forum, How to grow legal cannabis, a step by step guide to growing weed, cannabis growing guide, tips for marijuana growers, growing cannabis plants for the first time, marijuana growers forum, marijuana growing tips, cannabis plant problems, cannabis plant help, marijuana growing expert advice

Then, make a small hole about 1cm (β…“ Inch) deep, and gently place the seed into the hole. Once placed, simply cover the seed lightly with a small bit of medium. Do not pat it down, just cover the seed and leave it as it is.

Finally, you need to cover the seed with some kind of humidity dome to hold in the moisture in the air. This will massively increase the chances of successful germination. Try using a plastic cup turned upside down; I find those work great! Some mediums, however, may be packed full of nutrients. This can shock the seeds and kill them before they even get started. So choosing the right method of germinating cannabis seeds will also depend on what grow medium you’re using.

Selecting the Right Medium for Germination

There are many different mediums you can use for germinating cannabis seeds. Some are much better than others. For example, some super soil is packed full of nutrients. This can be too much for a new seedling, and the taproot can get shocked. This will kill the seedling.

On the other hand, you can use rockwool cubes, which are completely void of nutrients. But, they can dry out quickly. If the rock wool dries out, the taproot will dry out too. This, again, will kill the seedlings.

Here are just a few examples of different mediums you can use for germinating cannabis seeds. The one you choose will differ depending on your grow setup and which medium you use for your grow.

Preparing Your Environment

At this point, your seeds should be in the grow medium with some kind of humidity dome over the top to lock moisture in. Now, you have to store them in the right conditions to improve your chances of germination. It is best to think of it like nature. Seeds will germinate in the springtime. It will be cool, but not cold, and the air will be humid. You should try to simulate this for your seedlings if possible. The humidity domes will lock in the moisture, so make sure you have one of those.

When it comes to temperatures, room temps are usually fine. Anything above 12Β°C will work. You just don’t want it being so cold it’s close to freezing or too warm that it kills the seed.It is not recommended to use heated propagators; they can get too hot and damage the seeds. Room temps are fine. Just put the seedlings in their grow medium and store them somewhere dark and warm. Then you just have to wait, which is harder than you think.

Try not to disturb them for at least 3 days; after this long, they may need to be watered.

How to Water Cannabis Seedlings During Germination

So, right now, you should have some seeds that are sitting in the grow medium, in a warm dark place, waiting to pop. This can take a few days, and in some cases, the grow medium might start to dry out. If it dries out, the root will die, and so will the plant. It is very important to keep the medium wet.

cannabis seedling,

But, and this is important, if you water incorrectly, you could damage the seed!! Watering the medium too quickly may cause the seed to float, dislodging it from the grow medium and potentially causing significant root shock or breakage. Therefore, it is important to water with slowly to avoid damaging the tap root.

It may be a good idea to just spray the top of the grow medium with a mister spray, then replace the humidity dome. If you don’t have a spray bottle, just pour some water slowly around the edges of the pot or rock wool cube. Never in the center where the seed is. You don’t want to dislodge the root.

You shouldn’t need to water, but if you do, follow these guidelines. If you need any further help or advice on this, just come and ask for help in the forum. We are always happy to help.

When to Give Seedlings Light after Germination

After a few days, you should see a shoot pop out of the grow medium. Do not remove the humidity dome yet. Sometimes the seed casing can get stuck on the cotyledons. Having high humidity in the air will soften the seed casing, making it easier for the cotyledons to break it off.

cannabis seedlings in cardboard pots, beginners guide to growing weed, how to grow weed for personal use, cannabis plant deficiency, how to germinate cannabis seeds, where to buy cannabis seeds, best weed growers website, Cannabis Growers forum, weed growers forum, How to grow legal cannabis, a step by step guide to growing weed, cannabis growing guide, tips for marijuana growers, growing cannabis plants for the first time, marijuana growers forum, marijuana growing tips, cannabis plant problems, cannabis plant help, marijuana growing expert advice

When the seed casing has fallen off, and the cotyledons open up so you can see the green on them, get a light over them! The light is not really necessary until the greenery shows. But as soon as the greenery does show, the plant will need light to make food using photosynthesis. If you do not give the plant enough light at this stage, it will stretch reaching for the light. It is important to give the plant light when it shows greenery.

Once the humidity dome is off the plants too, add a light breeze using an oscillating fan. This will help keep the plants short and strong, and it will reduce stretch too.

do not distrub beginners

It is so easy to do. But really, if you have followed the steps above, the seed will germinate; you just have to be patient. Don’t take off the humidity dome, don’t try moving the grow medium out of the way to see if you can see the seed or taproot, just leave it alone.

You shouldn’t start to get concerned until after 5-7 days. If you haven’t seen any seedling in that time, there may be a problem. We explain what you should do in these circumstances later in the article.

Do not Plant the Seed too Deep

cannabis seed planted to dep, how to germinate cannabis seeds, common mistakes, beginners guide to growing weed, how to grow weed for personal use, cannabis plant deficiency,

New growers will often plant their seed a bit too deep. This makes it more difficult for the taproot to grow, find nutrients and give the plant what it needs to reach the surface. All you need to do is plant that seed no more than 1 cm deep. Any deeper and there may be issues.

Once the seed has popped and the shoot is above ground, you can add more soil if you wish to add more depth. But give the young seedling an easy time, don’t make it dig too far to get to the light.

Using Soil that is Too Strong

handful of soil, beginners guide to growing weed,

Excessive nutrients in grow mediums can easily shock seeds. Mainly, super soils. If you are growing in soil, and you keep losing seeds during the germination stage, it may be down to the strong soil.

Consider starting the seeds off in coco coir or jiffy pellet, or maybe even potting mix. Then transplant the seedling into your main soil when it is more established.

Add the Fan and Light

cannabis seedling under an LED grow light, beginners guide to growing weed, how to grow weed for personal use, cannabis plant deficiency, how to germinate cannabis seeds, where to buy cannabis seeds, best weed growers website, Cannabis Growers forum, weed growers forum, How to grow legal cannabis, a step by step guide to growing weed, cannabis growing guide, tips for marijuana growers, growing cannabis plants for the first time, marijuana growers forum, marijuana growing tips, cannabis plant problems, cannabis plant help, marijuana growing expert advice

Once the seedling is above ground, it is looking for light! If it doesn’t get the light, it will stretch! Depending on the light you have and how much light it puts out will dictate how far away from the plants your light should be. Around 18 inches is the average distance. If it’s too close, it’ll shock the seedlings; if it’s too far, the seedlings will stretch trying to reach it.

The distance will depend on which light you’re using. So check the manufacturer’s guidelines or ask for help in the forum.

oscillating fan for cannabis, beginners guide to growing weed, how to grow weed for personal use,

But what also will encourage stretch is no wind! As soon as the seeds pop out of the medium, add the light, but also add a fan. Nothing too strong, just a light breeze oscillating around the grow room. This encourages the plant to build a strong stem as it grows. So it more focuses on stems getting thick and sturdy, rather than tall and thin.

What to Do if a Seed Doesn’t Germinate

If you have followed all of these instructions, and after 7 days you still haven’t seen a shoot, there is an issue with your seed. But this happens sometimes too. Try to move some of the grow medium away from the top of the seed to see if you can see it. If you can, see if you can spot a taproot.

It is important to try not to damage the root if it is there, but essentially, you’re trying to see if the seed germinated at all or not. If it has germinated and stopped, then I’m afraid the seed is dead, and you need to start again. But if the taproot didn’t come out at all, there may just be trouble with the seed casing.

blank

Try scarifying the seed by lightly scratching it with some sandpaper or a nail file. Then, soak the seed in some water again for 24 hours. Then use the paper towel method to try and get the seed to germinate. With a little persistence, you may get it going. But be prepared to start some new seeds if you have to.

16 thoughts on “How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds for a 100% Success Rate”

  1. Any additional benefits from having an extra light other than seedlings?

    Seedlings and clones are your top uses for that light. I purchased 3 led β€œ20watt grow lights” from Lowes and have them mounted under a shelf where I work with seedlings and clones. It frees up some tent space and helps me get a jump start on the next run. I also have kept small solo cup mom plants there before with good success. An extra light and a small shelf can really be a handy thing for a grower

  2. Any additional benefits from having an extra light other than seedlings?

    That depends on what your main light is going to be πŸ˜‰ lol. But usually, the main light is fine on its own.Β 

    Also, pop them beans when they arrive man, it’ll take from 3 days to 7 days to get them germinated and above soil. When the first leaves come out, they need light. It’ll take a few days before that happens

  3. @fital You dont necessarily need this mate, if you already got a light n shit, then they can go under that, but either raise light high up in the tent so its far from the plant, or if you have one of those new LED that are dimmable, dim it down to fifty percent and it should be fine.Β 

    But for CFL/ fluorescent. Look for a T5 grow light mate, search ebay/amazon, what ever you use and youll find one. About Β£40 i thinkΒ 



  4. A seedling will not need a lot of lighting. CFL or T5 fluorescents are used for the first week of a seedlings life.

    Literally something like this?

    If so, what kind of distance would I need?Β 
    Goodness me! I’m impatient! Got the tent, extraction, bits & bobs and seeds – need the nutrients (coming Tuesday) & light (hopefully this week).Β 
    Very tempted to get the seeds going before the nutrients arrive – but it would be tight if there was a delay!
    Β 

  5. I was talking to a cannabis cultivator out of Israel. He soaks his seeds too, but overnight in one pint of water with 30 ml of 3% H202, hydrogen peroxide.
    Β 
    I also learned why I had a hard time germinating in rockwool. My ph was at 5.8-6.0. Another friend informed me rockwool ph drifts up. Seeds don’t like it. I ph my soaking mix at 5.5. The seeds like it a lot. 80 F seems to be good on my seed mat thermostat.
    Β 
    Β Good luck!

  6. @percysgrowroomΒ 
    I bought this 30W LED for houseplants some time ago and was wondering if it would be sufficient for starting my seedlings. I’ve read the guide and see that CFL or T5 fluorescents are recommended but I’d like to get away with using what I already have.
    Β The light has 5 dimmable modes (20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, 100%) and 3 spectral modes (red, blue, and mixed light)
    Β 
    After germination my seeds, would this be sufficient to put them under lights and gradually increasing the percentage? If so, how often would I want to increase the light intensity?
    Β 
    Thanks in advance!! This is my second grow but my first one from seed.Β 

  7. What an excellent guide. I used to hate germinating my seeds, but I now find it the most exciting part. I’ve recently followed this guide precisely how it’s documented and my little plants are further on than they’ve ever been. Brilliant stuff.

Leave a comment