Germinating Cannabis Seeds In Rockwool

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Newbies may find it a challenge to germinate marijuana seeds, here’s my experience sprouting them in rockwool cubes. How To Start From Seed With Rockwool Cubes In this lesson, we will learn how to start your own seed with Rockwool Cubes. Below is a detailed guide to success with Rockwool, and a step-by-step Hi mates! Hey i really do need a BEST advice how to start my uniq seeds in high success rate! Some of my seeds may be damaged over years, but i need to…

Germinating Cannabis Seeds In Rockwool

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After acquiring growing equipment and cannabis seeds I now had everything I needed to start growing marijuana. The first major step in this process is germinating the seeds or getting the plant to sprout from the seed.

The Plan: Use Rockwool to Sprout and Grow

There are many numerous methods germinating seeds. Popular methods include using paper towels, solo cups or just directly inserting seeds into soil.

I decided to use rockwool cubes as my germination / sprouting medium. It seemed like many people had success using rockwool to start their homegrows. In addition, I liked how after they sprouted it’s easy to transport to soil (the cube has a solid structure) without disturbing the root structure which stresses the plant.

My plan for growing the marijuana plant using rockwool was as follows:

  • Insert the cannabis seed in the rockwool cube (1.5 inch size)
  • Let it germinate and sprout
  • Transfer the cube into a pot with soil
  • Let it grow and flower on my balcony
  • Harvest the fruits of my labor

When formulating this plan I was a little hesitant as I hadn’t seen that many people using this process. Most people if they use rockwool stay with rockwool in a hydroponic indoor growth setup. I didn’t find many people who took the rockwool cube and transferred it to soil after it sprouted and wasn’t sure if this would work.

From this Question & Answer post someone asked if you could use rockwool outside and answered:

Sure, you can grow autoflowering plants using rock wool cubes outside or inside. If you are using the large cubes you can put them into a fabric container, plastic, etc., but they do need a place for the water to run out of them when it rains and when you water.

Granted this was only one answer and didn’t mention if it’s OK to transfer rockwool directly into soil. A little further digging and I found this snippet from another guide which said:

Another method is to use 3″ rockwool cubes to start seedlings in, then put 20 of them in a litter pan, cover it with another pan, and transport this to the grow site. The cubes can be planted directly into soil.

That was good enough (I’m so trusting about stuff I read online) for me so I decided to proceed.

Below will show you what the whole process looks like in video form:

Preparing Rockwool Cubes for Germination

The downside to using rockwool is the need to prepare the cubes before you insert your seeds. Rockwool has a pH of 7.8 and plants like a pH range of 5.5 – 6.8. If you were to simply insert the seeds into rockwool soaked in regular water the pH would be too high and will cause the seed not to sprout or kill the seed.

To prevent this from happening you use an acid like pH Down (phosphoric acid) which can bring down the pH level of the water you plan to soak your cubes in. This is why it was important to buy a reliable pH meter.

Calibrating the pH Meter

The pH Meter I bought was new so even before I could start soaking my cubes I needed to calibrate it first.

Bringing Down the pH

Now I had to mix a proper pH water solution to soak the cubes in. I filled a plastic food container with Brita filtered water (don’t think this is needed, but why not?) and added 0.25ml (a few drops) of pH Down. I stopped when I got to a pH level of 6.1.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Use pH Down sparingly as it’s a strong acid and will quickly bring down the pH level if you use too much. I ended up going too low and had to add more water to bring the pH back up. Better to be more conservative with this stuff.

Soak the Rockwool Cubes

With the rockwool cubes properly pH adjusted to 6.1 I placed 5 rockwool cubes into the solution for 60 minutes. As for the exact time to soak I found conflicting advice. Some guides said to soak for a whole day while others said 15 minutes. I took a gamble with 60 minutes.

Remove Cubes and Let Drain

After 60 minutes I removed the rockwool cubes and let it drain in the sink for 10 minutes. I was surprised how little water came out and how firm the cubes still were after being soaked. I thought from pictures that rockwool would be like a sponge, but it holds its structure surprisingly well.

Another tip I learned is to not squeeze out or shake out the water from the cubes. You want the cube to be damp as the wetness is what helps trigger the germination process.

Saving Some of the pH Adjusted Water

Instead of tossing away the reduced pH water I saved some in a separate container. As you wait for your seeds to sprout you may need to re-water the rockwool cubes if they get dry. Re-using this water saves you from having to mix up another batch of reduced pH water.

Insert the Seeds and Store

Now that the cubes were properly prepared it was time to insert the marijuana seeds and store them in an ideal sprouting environment.

Inserting the Cannabis Seeds

I placed the cubes into the seedling starter tray and then inserted each seed about a quarter of an inch into the 1.5 inch cube. The seeds are really tiny so to help I used tweezers to place them inside the cubes.

Here’s a video of me inserting one seed into a cube:

Place Humidity Lid and Store

With the seeds now inserted I placed the humidity dome / lid onto my starter tray (came with the set I bought). The reason for the lid is it helps keep the humidity high which assists with the germination process.

In addition to humidity in order to trigger the sprouting process experts advice to place the seeds in a dark environment. This mimics being in soil and coaxes the seed to sprout. To do this I placed the tray onto a shelf in a storage closet.

See also  Harvesting Cannabis Seeds

Wait for Sprouting

Once setup it could take anywhere from a few days to a week or more before the seed sprouts. Just check on it each day to see the progress. You probably won’t need to add additional water as rockwool does a good job at retaining water. However, if you touch the cube and feels dry it doesn’t hurt to add some of the pH-adjusted water you saved from earlier.

Below you can see a time-lapse of a marijuana seed germination process.

FAQ on Cannabis Seed Germination

If you are using the rockwool cube germination method and have followed the procedure correctly it could take 2 days or up to a week for it to germinate. If it’s over a week there could be issues.

Don’t get too deep. No more than a quarter of an inch.

Find a dark place or room to store the seeds. In order to germinate the seed needs to be in darkness so avoid places where light could leak in.

You need to make sure the pH of the water you used is in the correct range, 5.5 – 6.8. Depending on your pH meter it could be off as well if not properly calibrated or if you are using a cheaper pH meter. In these cases try removing the seed and re-soaking the rockwool cube in another batch of pH-adjusted water

There are multiple ways to germinate seeds. The rockwool cube method describe here is just one method. In addition, another popular method is the “paper towel” method where you place the seeds into a water soaked paper towel.

Successful Germination, Now What?

Congrats! If you succeeded in getting your cannabis seeds to sprout you are now on your way to growing a healthy marijuana plant.

Checkout our other marijuana grow phases posts to make sure you continue to succeed.

How To Start From Seed With Rockwool Cubes

In this lesson, we will learn how to start your own seed with Rockwool Cubes. Below is a detailed guide to success with Rockwool, and a step-by-step video tutorial can be found at the bottom of the page.

Preparation

Items you will need:

Rockwool Cubes have a PH of roughly 7.8. This is pretty alkaline, yet our plants prefer to grow in a slightly more acidic environment (between 5.5 – 6.5). In order to prepare our Rockwell cubes for the seeds, we need to soak them in some PH adjusted water, that way they have everything the seeds need to germinate and sprout; water and a slightly acidic environment.

Step 1: Hydrate And Stabilize The Rockwool Cubes

Get a bowl or some other container that is big enough to fill with water and have room left for your Rockwool cubes. Your average salad bowl will work fine for 3 Rockwool cubes, if you are planning on doing more than you will need a larger container.

Fill the container/bowl with water from your tap. You may also choose to use water filtered through a britta or reverse osmosis (R/O) water, I’ve had success with all 3 of them so whichever you have on hand will work fine.

Using either a PH test kit or a Ph meter, determine the Ph of the water. Water comes out pretty alkaline, usually around 7.4, so you will need to acidify it a little bit to bring that Ph down to the desired level. Aim for as close to a Ph of 5.5-6 as you can get.

To accomplish this, use either Ph down chemicals, or lime juice (as it’s acidic). Add these to the water in small increments (VERY SMALL), and test the water to see where the Ph is. Continue doing this until you have a Ph of 5.5-6.

Important: Do not let the PH of the water go below 5. A Ph this low will damage the fibers of the Rockwool Cube

Now that we have the Ph adjusted water, it’s time to stabilize and hydrate the Rockwool cubes in it. Insert the Rockwool Cubes into your container and let them soak for roughly 1 hour. Once the hour is up, the cubes will be big and fat with water. Take them out of the bowl of water and put them somewhere you don’t mind getting a little wet. Save the remaining water for step 3.

DO NOT SQUEEZE THEM TO DRAIN ANY WATER

Rockwool Cubes are designed to maintain the correct water to air ratio and squeezing them may damage their structure. Some of the marijuana forums advocate doing everything from squeezing them completely dry, all the way to flinging them around like paintbrushes in order to get excess water out. None of that is necessary, leave it as it is. It will stay moist for several days without needing to be watered this way as well.

On top of that, Rockwool is like asbestos, you don’t want to be squeezing it or breathing it or generally touching it any more than you need to. Here is a good article on some of the health concerns of Rockwool. I use it because it is what works best, but be cognizant to the fact that it is a potentially dangerous substance to be making contact with so don’t do anything more than you need to with it.

Here is what it should look like:

Step 2: Plant Your Seeds

Most Rockwool cubes come with holes in them, if yours did not, than create a hole in one side that is approximately a quarter inch (0.75 cm) deep.

They should look like this:

Take 1-2 seeds and insert them carefully into the holes. Use a toothpick or similar object to push them down to the bottom, as you want them to be at the bottom of that hole. Rip or push a piece of the Rockwool over the hole (you don’t have to fill it completely), so that the seed can germinate in a dark moist environment.

Now, if you can, place them in a tray with a dome on it. This will help create a little humidity in there which seedlings like. This is not mandatory, but it helps. Whichever you choose, take your cubes and put them in a cool dark place, and leave them alone. The temperature should be roughly 68 degrees F, though my house stays at about 72 and they do fine there. I usually place them above my refrigerator and just leave them for a day or two. My lettuce seedlings sprouted with a quickness the last time I tried, and by the 3rdday they had grown so tall that I had to take the plastic dome off of my container because they were bumping up against the ceiling.

See also  Scotts Fall Weed And Feed Seeding

Step 3: Leave Them Alone And Let Them Grow

If you put more than one seed in your cube (just in case one didn’t make it), than you probably have several seeds sprouting up in each cube at the end of ~3 days. Once the first true leaves emerge, we want to select for the strongest one (the one that grew the tallest), and cut off the tops of all other seeds that are growing next to it. Do not pluck them out, as you may uproot it’s neighbors. Simply cut it off as close to the hole as you can without messing with the stronger one that you plan on keeping alive.

Depending on how hot it is (and other factors) you may need to water your cubes 1-4 times a day. Use the Ph adjusted water when doing so (that’s why I had you save the leftovers from step 2). If you already threw that water out, go make another batch of Ph adjusted water and keep it in a separate bottle or container for watering. Note: Do not over water, in fact while some say to water 1-4 times a day, I did it only once a day when I got home after work.

Some people claim they use a diluted nutrient solution to water their Rockwool cubes with during germination. Do not do this, as my experience has always been negative. Note the picture below, where I did an experiment by adding a very diluted grow nutrient to the Rockwool cube on the far left. It died within an hour or two, and the others went on to live happy lives. In my opinion, they do not need nutrients until they get into your hydro system.

Do not add any nutrients to your Rockwool Cubes. The one on the left got nutrients, the other two did not.

Step 4: Transplant Into Their Final Destination

About 2-3 weeks after germinating, you are ready to transplant these babies into the hydroponic system of your choice. A good rule of thumb to go by is that you want to transplant them once the first roots begin poking out of the Rockwool cube. Don’t wait too long though, as eventually the roots will begin tangling around the cube since it is their only source of water. You want to catch them right as they pop out, so that when you transfer them into your hydro system the roots will grow down into the system, and not just try to feed off the Rockwool cube alone.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, please leave them below and I will do my best to answer all of them.

Best way starting seeds in rockwool?

Hey i really do need a BEST advice how to start my uniq seeds in high success rate! Some of my seeds may be damaged over years, but i need to try to save them!

Strains,
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Ghost of Ghana 100% equatorial sativa. (special).
Food of Gods secret strain from village of south Africa! (special).

Professional advice = reputation+

Charlie Green
Well-Known Member
Humboldt14
Well-Known Member

germinate them them move them to the rock wool cubes

Charlie Green
Well-Known Member

germinate them them move them to the rock wool cubes

Humboldt14
Well-Known Member

germinate them what ever method you prefer to use,

I use the paper towel method 100 percent success rate for me, then once the little white tail pops out of the seed, then move the seeds to the 1 inch rock wool with the tail facing down in the hole then lightly put a little piece of rock wool over the hole that the seed is in.

Dirty Harry
Well-Known Member

Soak the rock wool in 5.5 PH water for an hour or so. Squeeze out a little water from each piece. Put a seed 1/4- 1/2 inch in each one and put a cover or humidity dome to prevent from drying out. When they pop, keep them moist and under cover until they get a good start.
Any seed that doesn’t pop just didn’t pop. Pre-germination is just a say to see what seeds pop before you put them in what ever. Some of those will die before they pop out after being put into what ever.
I find it is less stressful on the seeds to just start them in what your going to grow in as they can be damage when moving them when they are just a sprouted root. but that is just MHO and it works for me. Your mileage may differ.

Humboldt14
Well-Known Member

you dont use a humidity dome for starting seeds and second rockwool cubes will not dry out. they retain allot of water, and with

seedlings in them you would not have to water for about a week maybe longer.

i have a Hydro set up also so i have been starting seedlings in rockwool for years.

Dirty Harry
Well-Known Member

you dont use a humidity dome for starting seeds and second rockwool cubes will not dry out. they retain allot of water, and with

seedlings in them you would not have to water for about a week maybe longer.

i have a Hydro set up also so i have been starting seedlings in rockwool for years.

Just stating my opinion and am not going to argue about it. But trust me, rock wool dries faster than you think when it has seeds/sprouts in it. Cost me some $ to learn that lesson.

Charlie Green
Well-Known Member

Well i putted them in wet toilet paper and inside 2 saucers holding them locked inside. I didnt soak it with water i just made the paper wet. Now im waiting them to crack that shell open, then i will fast plant them into rockwool carefully (becouse later when the root is too long its more danger them to put in rockwool). So lets see what happens! I will start posting some pics also.

ganicsarebetter
Well-Known Member

germinate in paper towl folded up, leave a littel pocket, and moisten the paper towe, and keep moist. leave it in a tupperware contaier in the dark for 3-7 days, keeping the towel moist, and you should see the embryo.

See also  Cannabis Gone To Seed

another ethod that ive HEARD works is just to put in a shotglass over night, see what happens ins the seed absorbs the moisture until it pops. thats what ya want..

the paper towel method ALWAYS works. IMO

Dwezelitsame
Well-Known Member

i would have soaked mine over night first 75 percent of time is split the next day

from there go to paper towel all in dark on heating pad at about 80 degrees

once split i transfer to cup with holes in bottom covered with a baggie and rubber band for a little greenhouse effect once soil break i remove plastic once again all heating pad .. i normally use heating pad until first transplant at 3 or 4 weeks old

Fuzzbutter
Active Member

Pre-sprout your seeds in a moist paper towel and then plant in the rock wool once the spouts are over 1/2″ I did this and got 14/20 sprouted from which I had to pick 7 and they are all doing AMAZING.

It’s easy:
get 2 paper towels
fold them in half together
place the seeds in-between the folded area
dampen the paper towel (damp, not dripping, but not too dry either)
place the damp paper towel with seeds in a ziploc bag
put them somewhere dark for a couple days
ta-da!

Also, rock wool is naturally alkaline, so you’ll need to soak it in PH balanced water over night first before putting ANYTHING in it. My plants are currently in rock wool and doing great

Fuzzbutter
Active Member

you dont use a humidity dome for starting seeds and second rockwool cubes will not dry out. they retain allot of water, and with

seedlings in them you would not have to water for about a week maybe longer.

i have a Hydro set up also so i have been starting seedlings in rockwool for years.

Just stating my opinion and am not going to argue about it. But trust me, rock wool dries faster than you think when it has seeds/sprouts in it. Cost me some $ to learn that lesson.

He’s right, rock wool can and does dry out very fast. I had to work with professional hydroponics in my horticulture classes and we ended up losing a whole crop from a tard forgetting to properly set the water timer and the cubes dried up.

Serapis
Well-Known Member

I don’t know where the paper towel method started, I only know that it has been around far too long. I first learned of it over 30 years ago. It’s hogwash. does it work? Most of the time, but why risk handling a delicate seed and it’s new born tap root when you can simply place the seed in any moist medium and have it germinate? If the seed germinates in a paper towel, which surely can’t sustain the seed, won’t it surely germinate in moist rockwool?

Please don’t tell me God created weed that needed man’s assistance to sustain it’s self because there is no paper towels laying around in mother nature. LOL I’m sorry, but I have to laugh at the though of all the extra work towlies have to go through. Just plant the seed already, if it’s viable, it will grow, because amazingly, it is a weed. It’s hardy. The only time the plant has troubles is when we try to care for them.

Serapis
Well-Known Member

He’s right, rock wool can and does dry out very fast. I had to work with professional hydroponics in my horticulture classes and we ended up losing a whole crop from a tard forgetting to properly set the water timer and the cubes dried up.

Yep, you can skip the dome ONLY if you are flooding the tray and watering from bottom up, which is actually recommended. I understand Humboldt’s concern too, because moist seedlings in a cold environment run the risk of damping-off disease. Those trying to avoid damping-off disease, usually the same one’s who have lost crops to it, do not use dome tops unless absolutely necessary. So it’s not that one guy is more right than the other, it is just 2 different methods. Pick the one that best suits you or develop a 3rd.

Well-Known Member
Serapis
Well-Known Member

No, I sense a debate/argument brewing with this one. lol Also, we haven’t heard the other 27 ways to do it yet.

Well-Known Member

i know, i know. i think you nailed it pretty much with the viability aspect. i personally use root riot plugs but i have also had 100% success rate with striaght into coco and water. i don’t know why people make a big deal out of germinating seeds, it couldn’t be much simpler.

Serapis
Well-Known Member
Fuzzbutter
Active Member

I don’t know where the paper towel method started, I only know that it has been around far too long. I first learned of it over 30 years ago. It’s hogwash. does it work? Most of the time, but why risk handling a delicate seed and it’s new born tap root when you can simply place the seed in any moist medium and have it germinate? If the seed germinates in a paper towel, which surely can’t sustain the seed, won’t it surely germinate in moist rockwool?

It’s done because it gives a higher growth yield. This is a fact. In my horticulture class we were taught this by having to germinate seeds in different ways. Some were just dropped in soil, some rock wool, and others were pre-germinated like the above mentioned method. You get a higher yield because you are supposed to germ more seeds than you expect to sprout, once sprouted, so long as they are properly taken care of, you’re all set to go and you already know that your plants are started vs waiting to see it the seeds ever sprout. It’s very rare to lose a sprout from transplanting long as you know what you’re doing. Also, germinating with the paper towel method let’s you already see which plants are growing fastest and strongest so you can do an initial picking of stronger genetics to start with and possibly end up with better plants. I’m a wee bit stoned, so i hope this makes sense. I’ll re-read it later and edit if necessary. but I think that conveys what I’m trying to get at.

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