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How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds (Quick & Easy)

Last updated: May 4, 2020

germinate cannabis seeds 2

Getting cannabis seeds to sprout is known as germination. In nature, this happens underground, but it isn’t an entirely reliable process in a well-organized grow-op.

In the case of cannabis, it is often better to germinate a seed before planting to ensure that the plant will indeed grow and eventually lead to a successful harvest.

Duds are a common issue, even with quality cannabis seeds. Taking care to rear these fledgling plants in a more controlled environment than dirt can help reduce the amount of non-sprouting seeds and save the grower from some amount of disappointment.

There are a few techniques to consider when germinating cannabis seeds.

Common Methods

Cannabis seeds only need three ingredients to be able to grow: heat, water, and air. Anything that provides those will result in a sprout, as long as the seeds are viable, so some precautions should be taken when storing seeds in warm or humid climates.

cannabis cbd

Photo by lovingimages on Pixabay

The following methods are all tried and true alternatives to the direct planting of the seeds. However, growers should take note of the color of their seeds before attempting any germination, as immature seeds will not be successful.

Always avoid seeds that are light green, as they have not aged long enough to sprout. More mature seeds are darker in color and almost brown.

1. Paper Towel Method

This technique is really popular and recommended even for the most novice of growers.

Simply take the seeds and place them between a couple of wet paper towels. Next, take the towels and put them between two plates to create a sort of protective, dark dome. Finally, make sure it all stays relatively warm (70F-90°F) and after several days the seeds will begin to sprout.

They may end up soaking up more moisture than expected, so be sure to check on them throughout the process and add more water if needed. Not too much though, just enough to keep the paper towels damp.

paper towel

Example of seeds with Paper Towels, Credit: Mannewaar, Flickr

2. Soaking Overnight

When older, dried out seeds need to be revitalized, a good soak can wake them up when done properly.

Place the seeds in a glass of warm water, move them to a dark environment, and within about 24 hours, the taproot should begin to poke through.

If it has not, the seeds should be moved to a different environment as too much water can drown them. 24-36 hours is the maximum recommended time for this and is only needed on seeds that have dried out for a long period.

This is slightly riskier than the paper towel method because of the aforementioned risk of drowning, but it has the potential to revitalize older seeds.

seeds in water

Example of soaking seeds in water, Credit: Wikimedia Commons

3. Peat Pellets

The concept here is to use a piece of growing medium, such as widely available peat pellets, and to plant the seeds directly into it.

Soak the pellets in warm water and then poke a small hole into them, about a half-inch deep and just big enough for the seed to fit snugly into. Here, they can be watered, kept warm, and even begin to take root. The whole pellet will eventually be transferred to wherever the germinated plant will be grown.

Setups involving many pellets on a warming rack are colloquially known as “germination stations” and are very commonly used in both amateur and professional grows. Very little trauma to the seed can occur here, and the trauma of transplantation becomes a non-issue.

Transplanting Seedlings

And here are the steps to transplant the seedlings:
  1. Once the seeds have begun to split the seed and the white taproot begins to reach out from within, the seeds are ready to be planted.
  2. Small pots are recommended for this stage; these should be prepared with soil before transplanting.
  3. Poke a hole into the soil, about a half-inch down, and gently place the germinated seeds into the ground. Tweezers work well here since they are very delicate at this stage.
  4. If using the peat pellet method, that can be planted with the seed, which reduces the risk of any mishaps during this process.
  5. Once transplanted, the soil should be watered with something like a spray bottle or mister to gently saturate the ground, as too much moisture can be detrimental to the seeds.

After a few days of being kept moist, and at the correct temperature, a sprout should poke its way out of the ground that is ready to be grown.

cannabis leaf

Photo by lovingimages on Pixabay

Featured Image Credit: 7raysmarketing, pixabay