Improve your success when planting seeds by avoiding these common seed-starting mistakes and errors such as planting too deep, starting too soon or watering too much. Hi Nico, Quick question: Should I germinate my seeds before planting? If so, what's the best way to do it? Thanks, Cori W. Hi Cori, thank you for writing First-time cannabis growers have a plethora of questions when it comes to the first phases of marijuana cultivation. Even though growing marijuana plants is
Most Common Seed-Starting Mistakes
Seeds are magic to gardens. Tuck them in soil, add a little water and you are on the way to a beautiful bloom or tasty harvest. Start seeds indoors to jump-start your garden. Whether or not you have experience starting seeds, you will improve your success by avoiding these common errors.
Seed-Starting Mistake #1: Catalog Hypnosis
It is tough to resist the beautiful pictures and glowing words in seed catalogs. Even experienced gardeners struggle to resist the allure. That is the first mistake most seed starters make: ordering too many seeds. A simple secret to success with seed-starting is exercising self-restraint. If you are new to the practice, do not start too many different types of seeds. Stick with simple ones, such as Tomato, Basil, Zinnia or Cosmos.
Seed-Starting Mistake #2: Starting Too Soon
In many regions, sowing seeds gives you a chance to get your hands dirty when it is too cold to garden outdoors. Do not start your seeds too soon. Most plants are ready to shift into the great outdoors in 4-6 weeks. Learn more about perfect timing for seeds.
Seed-Starting Mistake #3: Planting Too Deep
Read seed packets carefully, for detailed information about how deep to plant seeds. The rule of thumb is to plant seeds at a depth equal to two or three times their width. It is better to plant seeds too shallow than too deep. Some seeds, such as certain Lettuces or Snapdragon, need light to germinate and should not be covered at all.
Seed-Starting Mistake #4: Not Labeling Trays
Once you start sowing seeds and get dirt on your fingers, you will not want to stop and make labels. Before planting, prepare labels and add them to containers as soon as the seeds go into soil. Otherwise, it can be tough to tell seedlings apart. Be sure to include sowing date on your labels.
Seed-Starting Mistake #5: Soil Is Not Warm
Seed packets specify the temperature seeds need to germinate – soil temperature, not air temperature. Most seed germinate at 78ºF. You will have sure success if you use a waterproof root-zone heating mat. Once you start germinating seeds in soil, aim to keep soil temperature in the 65-70ºF range.
Seed-Starting Mistake #6: Too Little Light
In the warmest regions of the country, there is enough ambient light in a south-facing window to grow stocky seedlings. In northern areas where winter brings persistent cloud cover, you will need supplemental lights. Purchase or build an illuminated plant stand to start seedlings. For stocky, healthy seedlings, provide 14-16 hours of light daily. Suspend lights 2-3 inches above seedlings.
Seed-Starting Mistake #7: Water Woes
How much water do seeds need? For seeds to germinate, you need to keep the growing soil damp but not too wet. Learning how to water seedlings is pivotal for success. Many seed starters cover the container to keep soil moist until seeds germinate. Once seeds sprout, do not miss a watering. Unlike established plants, seedlings do not have an extensive root system they can rely on for vital moisture. At the same time, it is important not to overwater and let seedlings sit in water.
Seed-Starting Mistake #8: Not Enough Pampering
Seedlings are delicate creatures. They need daily attention and lots of tender loving care, especially when they are young. If you cannot monitor seedlings daily, checking on germination, soil moisture, temperature, and lights, you will definitely reduce your chances of success. Seedlings do not survive neglect.
Learn More About Starting Seeds
Not sure you want to start seedlings? Learn why you should consider starting your own seeds.
Seedlings must be prepared for the transition to life in the garden. Learn how to strengthen seedlings before planting.
Seed Germination & Planting
Hi Cori, thank you for writing us! Your question is pretty simple to answer, but sometimes not so simple to do! In short, yes, most growers tend to germinate seeds before planting them into their grow medium of choice.
To be clear, however, germination of seeds is not necessary prior to planting in medium. You can sow seeds directly into the medium and they will also germinate there, but not always with the same success rate. The reason growers choose to germinate outside the grow medium is because it is easier to control the conditions surrounding the seeds. This leads to the second part of your question, which is the best-case practices for germinating seeds – this leads to the harder answers.
There are many different ways to germinate seeds. Probably the best methods involve keeping the practice as natural as possible. The simplest methods use water, warmth and darkness – all conditions the seed would naturally encounter underground. Many folks simply lay some seeds down on a paper towel on a flat plate, cover them with another paper towel, then moisten the paper and place the plate in a warm dark place. A popular hiding spot has always been on top of the refrigerator, while more professional growers employ heat mats that lie flat beneath seedling/ clone trays. Heat mats are an excellent and inexpensive aid for seed germination. Whatever you decide, the temperature should be 10-20 degrees above room temperature, or range between 78 – 90F.
Of course, there are always the tricky strains or the old seeds that are quite fussy and refuse to pop. These seeds require a bit more attention and creativity. Some people prefer to soak the seeds for a short period before placing them in a moist and warm place for germinating. Some people go as far as to use mild chemical solutions to help soften the shell and prod the seeds. Other growers will even use very sharp and sterile razors to carefully slice seed shells or tips to help induce germination. These practices are all risky and should only be used as a last resort.
Once a seed cracks open, the taproot appears. This taproot will become the plants primary root from which all other roots will grow. Technically, the seed is germinated once you can see the white of the taproot. Some grows prefer to wait until the taproot is 1-2 cm long before planting the germinated seed into a medium. Once you are ready to do so, be sure to place the seed about a half-inch below the surface of the medium with the taproot point downward and the seed shell on top. Be sure there is some space for the seed shell to push upwards through the medium, towards the light. At this point, the very young seedling still needs moisture, warmth and a bit of light now to direct its growth in the right direction. The seedling will likely be in this medium and container for a few more weeks before the seedling is ready to be transplanted into a larger container for vegetation.
Thanks for reading everyone and remember: Grow… And help the world grow, too!
How Deep Do I Plant Pot Seeds?
First-time cannabis growers have a plethora of questions when it comes to the first phases of marijuana cultivation. Even though growing marijuana plants is not much different from growing other plants (since every plant needs soil, light, nutrients, and water in order to thrive), the difference is in how much of these factors the cannabis plant needs.
In order to end up with a good Sativa, Indica, or hybrid marijuana strain, growers need to take into consideration the unique requirements that each strain needs.
To help you become more confident and informed when you set out to start marijuana cultivation, we’ll get into the subject of germination and planting of cannabis seeds, providing you with everything you need to know in order to grow Marijuana.
Tips Before You Start With the Germination of Marijuana Seeds
There are a few things you’ll need before you begin germinating seeds:
- Get high-quality seeds from a reputable seed bank.
- Keep your marijuana seeds under a specific temperature for germination that should be about 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 °C).
- Keep your germinating seeds away from direct sunlight (don’t keep them on your windowsill or near a heater since they will get dry, and seeds need moisture).
- For the germination stage, you’ll need jiffy pellets or starter plugs that are designed specifically for germinating weed seeds.
- For indoor cultivation, you’ll need grow lights that will be used after you plant the cannabis seeds in pots.
Guide for Planting Cannabis Seeds
In order for the marijuana cultivation process to result in a harvest, the marijuana plant needs to go through 4 stages: germination (3-10 days), seedling (2-3 weeks), vegetative stage (3-16 weeks), and flowering (8-11 weeks). The first and second stages are the most crucial when it comes to planting pot seeds.
The first stage (germination) begins when the dry cannabis seed is placed in water until it sprouts. Some seeds may germinate, while others may not, depending on the quality of the seeds. Good cannabis seeds should be brown in color and should feel hard and dry to the touch.
Transplanting (Planting the Seed)
Once your seed has sprouted, it’s ready to be placed in soil so that it can start growing. Its taproot will grow downwards, while the stem grows upwards. As the plant grows, two cotyledon leaves grow out of the stem these take in sunlight to help the plant grow healthy and stable.
Germination: The Wet Paper Towel Method
This germination method includes germinating your seeds with damp paper towels and has been a tried-and-tested method for germinating seeds. Two pieces of paper towels are soaked in tap water and the seeds are stored between the sheets. Additional water is added over the next few days to keep the seeds moist.
Sprouting times tend to vary, but the seeds will generally take between two and four days to sprout, and if they take longer it’s best to throw them away, as they probably aren’t viable. After a few days, tiny roots should appear, and that is an indication that the seed is ready for planting.
Germination: Soaking Seeds in Water
Another method for germinating cannabis seeds that works well with harder seeds is the soaking method. This method requires you to place the seeds at room temperature tap water and keep them soaked for 32 hours.
After you’ve put the seeds in water, some of them will sink to the bottom. These seeds are viable. The non-viable seeds will float, and they need to be thrown away. After 32 hours, you can use the paper towel method on the seeds that sank, and after they sprout, you can plant them.
Planting the Seeds Directly
This is a harder germinating technique and one that isn’t recommended for first-time growers. In order for it to work, growers need to be informed about the plants’ required nutrients, humidity levels, and the appropriate pH soil levels that are needed.
For this type of seed germination, you’ll need to plant the marijuana seeds in moist soil, about an inch deep. You’ll also need to have some additional heating system to keep the plants warm for the first few days. Even though planting the seeds directly may not be the best option for novice growers, it does have its benefits, like not risking breaking the taproot off when you’re transferring the plant to another pot.
Transplantation of Germinated Marijuana Seeds
After germination, you can plant the germinated seeds in a pot. Remember that the cannabis seedlings and its taproots are fragile in this early stage and you need to handle them with care, so it might be good to use tweezers when you do this.
Fill small pots (2 inches) with potting soil that is loose and moist to the touch. The pots should be filled ¾ of the way. Make half-inch pre-drilled holes by using your finger, and carefully place one sprouted seed in each hole.
Cover the seed with soil, spray it with water, and refrain from pressing the soil. It will take about one more week for the germination process to conclude, after which a stem will surface, and the taproot will produce secondary roots.
The best soil for sprouting cannabis seeds is a seed starter with only a little bit of fertilizer, as cannabis seedlings need loose soil in order to grow easily. For hydroponic cultivation, you may want to germinate in rockwool cubes because they retain moisture better.
Replanting for Healthy Growth
Young plants need to be planted in smaller pots before they’re replanted into bigger containers, so that they can grow a stronger root system. That’s because small plants that are planted in bigger pots may find it harder to get oxygen when they’re surrounded with too much growing medium, which can result in stunted growth.
It’s best to replant your cannabis plant as it outgrows its pot. Avoid leaving your plant in a small pot for too long as that can result in you having a “root-bound” plant (the roots grow too large for the pot and the plant can asphyxiate and die.)
Some growers will directly plant the seedlings in the final container. However, this is not recommended because it will be harder for the plant to get oxygen when it is surrounded by too much growing medium. On the other hand, if you find that your plant absorbs water within a day, it might be time for a bigger pot.
If the thought of transplanting your weed seeds sounds tiresome and challenging for you, then you can always plant directly in the final container. But do expect slightly slower growth, and make sure you are careful when watering the plant so as not to give it too much water.
Cannabis plants require specific conditions in order to thrive and produce a good harvest. However, taking care of marijuana seeds isn’t as hard as you may initially think. Planting these seeds is similar to planting any other seeds when you’re gardening fruits and vegetables. All you need to know is how to properly germinate and transplant your young plants. With a bit of knowledge and practice, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a seasoned cannabis grower.