The most known methods to sprout your seeds and get your grow cycle going in no time. How to germinate cannabis seeds? In a cup of water, On a damp surface or In soil. My favorite way of germinating weed seeds is to put them in a cup of water. We often get beginning growers in the store looking for seed starting advice. This blog will help you set up the right environment to germinate seeds.
Germination Guide for Autoflowering Seeds
Seed germination is the first part of a successful grow cycle, to help you start your cannabis plants with the right foot, here’s an autoflower germination guide that can be used not only for cannabis but for tomatoes, mangos, strawberries. you name it!
Sebastian Good is talking about the best way to start your autoflower seed and germinates Strawberry Pie Auto.
So here’s how to germinate cannabis seeds with the best-known methods and a couple of tips that will get you harvesting in no time.
1. First Things First: Know the anatomy of your cannabis seed
The process of autoflower germination can take up to 10 days, in order to do everything correctly and know if everything’s going well, we need to know a little bit more about the seed. First of all, we need to understand the anatomy of a cannabis seed. The cannabis seed has a dark brown, hard, and often striped, shell, this shell is what protects the insides which are extremely fragile.
When germinating, we need to hydrate the seed, this will soften the seed’s shell and allow water to reach the embryo, when the water reaches it, the embryo will “activate” and start developing.
Have in mind that it’s possible to drown the seed, so we need to keep an eye on moisture levels, also making sure it doesn’t dry out. With a softened shell, it will be easier for the radicle to come out and this is when you’ll see the white taproot slowly appearing, and once it reaches 2-3cm, it’s time to plant it.
As soon as the seedling comes out of the medium, you’ll often see the shell stuck on top of the cotyledons, which are the tiny round leaves that you’re able to see once the shell has detached from the seedling. Those leaves are responsible for feeding the plant until the first set of true leaves appear. Also, there isn’t the best way to germinate marijuana seeds, you can do it any way you want, as long as you keep proper conditions, your seeds will germinate. So, if you’re wondering how do you germinate autoflowering seeds? Read along for the best methods.
2. The Best Conditions For Germinating Seeds
As you may know, cannabis plants need certain conditions depending on the stage they’re in, maintaining these conditions are the best way to ensure your plants will thrive, and when talking about seeds and germination, it’s no different.
Obviously, you can grow cannabis plants in less-than-ideal conditions and they will still grow but it may end up affecting the yields or quality of your harvest.
When talking about germinating auto seeds, germinating in less-than-ideal conditions will decrease the chances of sprouting, so unlike growing cannabis in bad conditions, which will still grow but can affect the harvest, germinating in bad conditions can end up killing your seeds. So when germinating autoflowers you should keep the temperature between 21-26°C and the humidity as close as 90% as you can.
3. Top Tricks For Germinating Old Seeds
As said above, germinating in the ideal conditions will guarantee successful germination but sometimes seeds may be old or have been kept in bad conditions and can be hard to germinate. So, to help you germinate old seeds, here are a couple of tricks that will increase the chances of germination. But first of all, you need to know the best conditions to avoid these problems.
How To Properly Store Seeds
If you are storing seeds for your next grow cycle, you need to keep them in ideal conditions. If you’re going to germinate them during the next couple of days there’s no need to do anything extra, other than keeping them in a cool place and in complete darkness but if you’re planning to store them for months or even years, you should keep them in the fridge.
You should keep your seeds in an airtight container in a fridge set at 6-8°C with a relative humidity of between 20-30%, if you can’t set your fridge to the temperatures mentioned, just keeping them in the fridge will increase the chances of germination. Just have in mind that the better the conditions, the longer your seeds with last.
Soak in supplemented water
As cannabis seeds get old, the shell hardens and can make it hard for the water to reach the embryo, and if the water doesn’t reach the embryo, your seeds won’t sprout so if you’re dealing with old seeds, you can soak them in supplemented water.
To do this, you can fill a glass cup with water and add around 30ml of hydrogen peroxide and leave your seeds soaking for 12hs, this should do the trick. You can also use germination boosters that you find in grow shops but usually, hydrogen peroxide works, also, make sure the water is around 22°C and it’s not getting direct sunlight.
Scarification is a method used to make ridges on the seed to help water pass through, to do this properly, you will need a piece of sandpaper but you can improvise and do it with a matchbox. The goal is to thin out the shell so that the water can reach the embryo easily, just make sure you don’t overdo it and end up harming the embryo inside.
Slightly Open The Seed
As you may have seen, the seed is made out of two halves and has a ridge around it, if your seeds are old, that ridge may end up hardening too much and the seed won’t sprout. So to help your weed seed germinate, you can use a knife or any other tool with a thin point to gently insert it in between the ridges and slightly separate it, after this process, you can soak your water and germinate it like you normally would.
4. Paper Towel Germination Method
The paper towel method is the easiest of all methods. You’ll need :
- 2 paper towels
- a plastic container or plates
Moisten the paper towels and wring them out so they’re damp but not completely wet.
Place the seeds on the paper towel, fold it over the seeds and place it in a plastic container, cover it with the lid to keep moisture in (can also use two plates instead of the plastic container, place the paper towel on a plate and use the other one to cover).
Place the container in a slightly warm and dark place. Remember to check on it daily, we must ensure the paper towels never dry out, the seeds need to keep absorbing moisture, it’s likely that the seeds will never germinate if they don’t. Sprinkle a little bit of water if needed, you’ll know they’re ready to be transplanted when the radicle is around 1-3cm long.
If the paper towel starts having a bad smell, it’s a sign of too much water, let it dry for a couple of days, and if the papers continue smelling bad, change the paper towels.
5. Soaking Overnight In A Glass Of Water
After many years of experimenting and looking for the best way to germinate our Fast Buds seeds, we must say that this is definitely one of the most effective ways.
This method is especially effective for seeds with a harder shell or older seeds. You’ll need:
As the title says, grab a glass cup and fill it half with water.
Place the seeds in the glass and leave it in a dark place, let the seeds soak for up to 32 hours.
Most viable seeds will sink after a couple of hours and you should see the radicle after a couple of days. Remember that some seeds may need longer until you see the radicle coming out. If they haven’t sprouted after 72 hours, add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to kill accumulated bacteria in the water and return to the darkness for 2 more days.
6. Using A Germination Chamber
When you get a bit more experienced, you’ll wanna look for more professional tools and the germination chamber is one of them. It consists of a plastic base with small square cells (can come with up to 256 cells, each cell supports 1 seed), on top of a heat mat, also comes with a humidity dome, basically looks like a small greenhouse. They’re very cheap and you can make one at home.
The chamber can be used with any type of medium, Rockwool cubes, peat pellets, coco fiber, perlite, or even soil and they keep the best environment for sprouting seeds and the first days of the seedling.So how to germinate a marijuana seed in a germination chamber? To start germinating, make a small hole (1-2 cm) in moisten medium, cover without applying pressure, turn on the heat mat and spray the humidity dome, it should take a couple of days to see the seedling coming out.
7. Rockwool Cubes And Peat Pellets
Rockwool cubes are small cubes made of rock and sand fibers, with the consistency of cotton candy almost, they absorb a lot of water and usually are used for germinating seeds and clones. Using them along with the germinating chamber has an advantage, being easy to transplant to the next medium or container.
Rockwool and peat pellets are an easy way to germinate seeds but can be easier to overwater your seeds.
They also can be used along with clay pellets in hydroponics. One of the bad aspects of Rockwool cubes is you can easily overwater and get root rot. Peat pellets are similar to the Rockwool cubes but are made of compressed peat moss and come in a small disc shape. To germinate in either one of them, we will use the same technique explained before, moisten the Rockwool or peat pellet, make a little hole (1-2cm) and place the seed inside, cover it gently without applying pressure and you’re all done. You can place the pellet or cube directly in any type of medium or hydroponics chamber, after sprouting, the roots will continue to grow down, even if they reach the end of the Rockwool or peat pellet.
8. Planting Directly In Medium
Sometimes the simplest way is the better way. As it happens in nature, we can also sprout our seeds in our medium of your preference (coco, soil, perlite, etc..) Just grab a pencil, or even with your fingers, make a little hole (1-2cm deep), and place the seed in it, the medium must be moist but not soaking, then cover with soil without applying pressure.
Every time you transplant a seedling, it needs some time to readjust and can cause stress, thus one of the biggest benefits of this method is you don’t have to worry about damaging your seedling when transplanting or shocking it because it already is in its final place.
9. Top Tips to Improve Seed Germination
Planting the Seeds Correctly
Cannabis seeds have an oval shape with one of the ends being sharper while the other has an indent known as the crown. When germinating cannabis seeds, it’s recommended to plant the seed with the crown pointing upwards as this is the end where the cotyledons usually come out from.
Don’t Let the Substrate Dry Out
The germination process relies on moisture to activate the biological processes that provide the energy the seedling needs to break through the seed shell and start growing. This means that the more moisture absorbed, the better. Note that the keyword here is moisture, you definitely don’t want to drown your seeds. Anyway, once the seed is in the paper towels and the germination process has begun, make sure to check regularly to ensure it’s still moist, and to help with this, it’s recommended you keep it in a warm damp place.
For better germination rates, you can opt for a heating mat and/or germination chambers, but it really doesn’t matter if you’re germination your seeds in the soil, jiffy’s, Rockwool cubes, paper towels, etc… Make sure to keep the substrate moist and you will have great results.
Planting the Seed at the Right Depth
One of the bigger issues among beginner growers is planting the seed at the right depth. These problems can get worse if you are watering the substrate after the seeds are planted. Remember, burying the seed too deep can cause it to not develop while not burying deep enough can cause the taproot to over-bend and develop a weak stem, and sometimes stunt growth.
This is why we recommend burying the seed at around 2 cm deep. You can do this by using a ruler, marking the 2 cm mark on a straw, or any other utensil that allows you to do this. Then plant your seed and cover it with the substrate without pressing too hard.
Avoid Planting several Seeds in the Same Pot
Sometimes you may not have enough substrate or pots, typically, this is when you would plant multiple seeds in the same container but they usually do not develop correctly due to several reasons. Now yes, you’re saving space and substrate but you’re definitely not helping your plants thrive as first of all, the roots need enough space to grow, and germinating in the same pot can cause the roots to fight for space.
Apart from fighting for space, if all the seedlings make it to the vegetative stage, they will continue competing for light and by doing this, you will not get the most out of each plant. Lack of light can also cause the stem and branches to grow weak which can cause problems during flower so make sure to plant one seed per pot unless you’re growing in 100-200L or bigger raised beds.
10. In Conclusion
There’s no such thing as the best way to germinate marijuana seeds, a successful germination is considered when you see the first leaves, known as Cotyledons, cannabis seeds germinate correctly with relatively high temperatures and humidity. To successfully reach the flowering stage you’ll have to use different techniques, not only for sprouting but to keep the plant happy and healthy until harvest.
Whether deciding which germination method to choose or getting ready for your first successful grow setup, our advice for beginner growers will be to start with autoflowering strains. If you look for something easy, quick, and easy to maintain, like Zkittlez Auto and Gorilla Glue Auto, there’s nothing better than choosing to grow autoflowers.
first time ever growing and got some amazing colors from this strain with low temps ran it at about 58-64 for 2 weeks and got this color
Germination of Cannabis Seeds
You bought beautiful Premium Pro Seeds from Suzy Seeds and of course, you want to get started. First, you have to germinate the seeds. Below, I will discuss my favorite way how to germinate cannabis seeds extensively, but also suggest other good methods. Suzy Seeds exclusively sells feminized cannabis seeds, so you don’t need to remove male plants, which applies also to autoflower cannabis seeds. It’s good to know that a cannabis seed does not need light to germinate. What is important, though, is a humid environment and an ambient temperature of around 20 °C. In general, there are three ways to germinate cannabis or marijuana seeds:
– In a cup of water
– On a damp surface
– In soil
How long does it take cannabis seeds to germinate in general? Or how do we germinate autoflowering seeds? The time of germination of marijuana seeds depends on the method of germination we apply, but autoflowering seeds germinate in the same way and time as feminized or regular cannabis seeds.
My favorite way to germinate the seeds is to put them in a cup of water and then between a damp paper towel or tissue. This goes well in 99% of the cases. That is why I will more extensively describe this first way.
We recommend not to touch the seeds or the seedlings with your hands. If you do anyways, make sure your hands are clean and if possible use plastic gloves.
Suzy’s Tip: Try your germintion method on a couple of seeds (maximum 3). This way, you can test if your method works well. Often a wrong germinating method is used and the seeds don’t germinate. Do you want to germinate your seeds in a different way? Continue reading.
Germinating cannabis seeds in a cup of water
Maintain an ambient temperature of at least 20 °C, otherwise, the seeds will not or at least not optimally germinate. Use a clean room and area for the germination process. Fill a cup with water and put the cannabis seeds in it. After 3 to 5 days, the seeds should pop open and a tiny root should come out.
As soon as the sprout is 2 to 3 mm, you can carefully get the seeds out of the water and plant them in the soil. Planting the germinated seed has to be done with lots of care and attention. Put them 0.5 to 1 cm in the soil with the root down. This way, the root (the white sprout) will more easily grow downwards.
Germinating cannabis seeds on a damp surface
Maintain an ambient temperature of at least 20 °C, otherwise, the seeds will not or at least not optimally germinate. Put the cannabis seeds on a surface that holds moisture, like wadding, paper towel or tissues on a saucer. Moisten the surface well, but avoid making it too wet. The moisture evaporates quickly at room temperature, so check during the period that the seeds will germinate if the surface is still damp enough.
You can also cover the seeds with damp wadding or tissues and another saucer on top. Because of the moisture that gets into the seeds, they are activated and start to germinate. As soon as the germ is 2 to 3 mm, you can carefully get the seeds out of the water and plant them in the soil. Put them 0.5 to 1 cm in the soil with the root down. This way, the root will more easily grow downwards.
Germinating cannabis seeds in soil/compost
Direct germination of marijuana seeds in the soil is a commonly used method. You don’t have to handle the fragile plant, so it is not disturbed in its growth process. However, the chances that the seeds will germinate are lower than when applying the other methods. When using this method, it is important to use good soil. You can inform yourself about the different types of soil at your local grow shop. Maintain an ambient temperature of at least 20 °C, otherwise, the seeds will not or not optimally germinate. Put the cannabis seed about 1 cm deep in the soil. Cover the hole with some soil and gently press.
The soil needs to be light so that the plant can easily grow to the surface. Solid soil is hard to penetrate for the roots and will cause a delay. The weed seeds will germinate under the ground and will come to the surface after 4 to 10 days. There are also more germination methods that can be applied.
How We Germinate Seeds Indoors
We often get beginning growers in the store looking for seed starting advice. To germinate seeds, or take them from dormancy to sprouting, you need to set up the environmental triggers to assist the seed. There are many different techniques for germinating seeds, and a lot of products and advice out there for how to get started if you’ve never done it. So much advice, that it can be very confusing. The following is a little advice for what we have found that works for a wide variety of seeds for flowers, vegetables, herbs, and even cuttings/clones:
When is the best time to start your seeds? If you are going to be growing your plants indoors, then anytime you’re ready is the best time. If you will be transplanting to an outdoor space, then it depends on the weather where you live. Check with The Farmer’s Almanac, or the back of the seed package will usually tell you how many weeks before the expected last frost date for your area to plant. Don’t know the last frost date for your region? This is a good page to help you figure that out.
Getting Your Seeds Planted
Always wear a mask when working with perlite!
Always wear a mask when working with perlite! Perlite is a form of obsidian characterized by spherlulites formed by cracking of the volcanic glass during cooling, used as insulation or in plant growth media. It is like tiny shards of glass and is very dangerous to your lungs if it’s inhaled.
Step one: Coco coir comes in a dehydrated brick. I hydrate the coir according to the package directions. Before doing this you would benefit from reading the notes in the Watering section of this post.
Step two: I mix perlite into the coir at a ratio of one-part perlite to two parts coir. The coir in our mixture holds moisture without staying too wet. The perlite helps aerate and loosen the media for water to drain easily while also retaining moisture. To keep the dust down, we recommend using water from a spray bottle to wet the perlite prior to handling. I stress again to wear your dust mask when handling perlite.
Step three: I have found that using a product with mycorrhizae increases germination rate and root growth rate after the seed sprouts. I mix the package-recommended amount on whichever product I am currently using.
Step four: Fill the seed tray with media and plant your seeds! Tip: A general rule for seeds is to plant them no deeper than one to two times the diameter of the seed. For very tiny seeds (i.e. lettuce) I simply drop a few seeds on the surface of the media and leave them uncovered.
Seeds respond to warmth and need heat to germinate. If your media, or the water you’re using, is too cold, the seeds will stay in their dormant state. Most cool weather plants or plants that do best in spring and autumn (i.e. spinach, kale, etc.) generally need temperatures between 45°F and 70°F to germinate. Seeds that require warmer weather (i.e. tomatoes and zucchini) will germinate better generally between 65°F and 90°F. Most seeds have about a 25-degree range in which germination will be activated in the seed. This is great for us beginners trying out lots of plants for the yard. If your room is cool, and you’re trying to germinate seeds, pick up an agriculture heat mat and thermostat from your local hydroponics store to dial in the ideal temperature.
Our seedling/clone rack at the Lush Lighting Hydroponic Store
The light requirement of seeds is a tricky subject. Some seeds do not require light to germinate (mushrooms), some do. There is a ton of scientific research available about this if you’re interested in learning about the phytochrome system in seeds. If you would rather just grow the plant what do you do? My advice: Use a light. Here’s why: All sprouts need light. As soon as that sprout emerges from the media it needs light; even if it didn’t need light to germinate. A seed that needs darkness, planted at the right depth, will be far enough under your media and will be shaded from the light for germination. In the store, we use a Lush Lighting Herbal Vador LED grow light hung beneath a shelf. Others have used CFL’s which are widely available (we also have CFL’s available in the store). Some others have had great success placing their seed tray in front of a south-facing window.
A few notes about water:
- Seeds like to be kept moist, and they don’t like to be immersed in water for too long. If seeds stay too wet for too long they will rot. If seeds stay too dry for too long they will dry out and die.
- Doing a pH test on your water is a really good idea. When water pH is too high or too low, your seeds will not germinate. Most seeds germinate between pH levels 5.8 and 7.0. Matt Johnson wrote an excellent explanation of the importance of checking water pH.
- Water quality can make a big difference in your success rate. If you live with city water consider using RO filtered, or bottled distilled water (READ LABELS! You might be really surprised at some of the stuff that is in bottled water being sold on store shelves!). City water has been treated with all kinds of chemicals to remove bacteria and the like. Some of those chemicals (i.e. chlorine) are not good for plants.
- Water temperature matters. Cold water from a tap is often too cold for germination. Use water within the best temperature range for your plants. Leaving your water to sit out overnight to come to room temperature before you water your seeds is a good idea (Matt Johnson’s article –mentioned above—can give you more good reasons). The water we use to water all the plants here at the store has come to room temperature before it goes on the plants, including the seeds.
How often do we water? Water as often as it takes to keep the media moist and not drenched. We use a variety of techniques to keep our seeds happy: a mister, bottom-watering container, and/or a humidity dome.
The mister has a gentle mist that does not “skate” the tiny seeds (like lettuce) across the top of the media. It’s very important to make sure your seeds stay where you initially place them.
Another watering technique we use is bottom-watering. Put about ¼” of water in the bottom tray for your media to wick up. This technique is very helpful if your media is drying out too fast. If your growing room is dry, bottom-watering combined with a humidity dome may be a good option for you. If you need to step away from watering for a few days, it will retain the moisture for the seeds and keep any small sprouts from drying out. Small plants generally do well with a humidity level around 60%.
Be patient! Sprouts will come in due time!
How Long Will It Take before I see something happening?
A common question with an answer most of us don’t want to hear… it depends. I will say, the highest success rates come from recreating each particular seed’s ideal germination environment. Most seed packages will give you a time range anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. All seeds are a little different, even the same packet of seeds can have some that sprout quicker than others. Be patient, monitor your temperature and moisture and then you will be rewarded greatly when those first seeds germinate and those little sprouts emerge. It’s exciting to watch those small seeds become large plants. Happy Gardening!
About Matt Johnson
Matt is the President and Founder of Lush Lighting, Inc. He is a leader, a visionary, a mentor, and caring family man. Matt openly shares his wisdom, generosity and assistance with everyone he encounters. He is a sharp business man, admirable, loyal, and willing to step out of the box to make things happen. Whenever he gets a chance, he squeezes in a round of golf or a movie with his wife.
If you want to check more on different techniques for germinating seeds, we can share to you our hidden steps.