Cannabis seed germination guide that will have you popping seeds like a pro. Learn how to germinate and plant in these easy steps. Get your seeds ready and let’s get growing.
Successfully germinating cannabis seeds isn’t rocket science and can be quickly perfected. Getting it right the first couple of times can take a little bit of practice though. Just a couple of minutes to master these essential tips will ensure that you start your grow on the best foot. So before you put those precious pips to the test and send your supplier a gritty email a week later about all of the seeds failing; let’s cover the basics.
Know your cannabis seeds
You are more spoilt than ever with just about any genetic being somewhat freely available. This means that there is an overwhelming amount of options to select from. We’ve fortunately already done some homework for you with this handy cannabis seed guide. Visit it to learn more about feminized, regular and auto-flower cannabis seeds. Once you have found the perfect seeds for your needs they will all start at the very same place. No matter how varied the final results may be of the million and one cultivars out there, they all begin their lives with three key ingredients…. water, air and light.
Pick your germination technique
The first step is sprouting your cannabis seed. There are two techniques that are traditionally used. You can simply plant the seed directly into the growing medium. Or take a more hands on approach by sprouting seeds in clean water, then transplant them into the grow medium once the white tap root starts too immerge. Let’s start with the simplest way to germinate cannabis seeds.
Technique 1 – Direct sowing
Buy far the easiest way is to follow mother natures example and add a little care for best results. Start my making your grow medium or soil evenly moist. Not soggy, just nice and moist. Then create a small hole that is 1cm deep. Place the seed directly into the hole and gently cover with the growing medium or soil.
The key to success is to now place some sort of humidity dome over the freshly planted seed. I love clear party cups for this as they are cheap and very reusable. Soda bottles carefully cut in half are an excellent DIY option. This micro greenhouse will trap moisture in and keep the top layer from drying out. Place in a warm well lit environment. Seeds tend to surface in 3 to 4 days. Old or poorly stored seeds may take up to 2 weeks to surface. This technique is very forgiving on all seeds.
Once the seed has surfaced, keep the moisture dome on until the seedling has broken free from the hard brown shell. Some seeds take a little longer than others to pop their lids. Be patient and only gently remove with clean fingers or tweezers as a last resort. Be careful not to pull the seedling out.
Then remove the moisture dome. You have now successfully germinated a cannabis seed. Or hopefully a whole bunch of them. But don’t quit reading yet. We still have a few more tips to get the most out of your young plants.
Technique 2 – Soaking
Another very popular technique for germinating cannabis seeds is soaking. This is done by either putting seeds directly into clean water or resting them between two wet paper towels. It’s a bit like growing beans as kids and germinating them in wet cotton. You can put seeds directly into a glass of clean tepid water somewhere warm and out of direct light. The seeds will slowly sink and begin to sprout a little white tap root within a couple of days.
You can alternatively use wet paper towel or cotton. Simply place seeds between two wet sheets and keep moist. A little white tap root should start sprouting within a couple of days. Old or poorly stored seeds may take a little longer to sink or sprout. Be patient.
Once the tap root is showing, gently and promptly transplant with the root pointing down into a 1cm to 2cm deep hole in the growing medium and gently cover it. Use your discretion and make the whole deeper for longer tap roots. Keep the surface moist, not soggy, until the seedling surfaces. I recommend using a humidity dome as in Technique 1 above for best results.
Top tips for healthy cannabis seedlings
Now that you have successfully popped your pips they are hungry for life. You will want to give them the ideal conditions for optimum growth, as there is a huge difference between a plant that is surviving and one that is thriving. Here’s the essential info on how to keep your seedlings growing.
Lots of light
Cannabis seeds love strong direct light. Too little light will cause seedlings to get tall and topple over as they stretch and look for bright light. A high quality grow light or direct sunlight will keep plants happy and healthy. You can gently stack the grow medium up the stems for support or transplant leggy seedlings a little deeper to bury the tall stems. New roots will grow from this submerged stems. 16 – 18 Hours of light is ideal. Any less could lead to early flowering or limp plants.
Do not plant seeds or seedlings in very rich or nutrient strong soils/mediums. Also avoid feeding any nutrients until the seedlings are a week or two old. The first round leaves that appear are called cotyledons. They contain all of the food for the young plant’s beginning. You can start with light dose nutrients once the first few sets of serrated leaves have fully developed. Over feeding will cause plants to curl up and frizzle.
Watch the water
Over and underwatering is by far the most common way to an early end for you cannabis seedlings. The roots feed on both water and air. A soil/medium that is either too wet or dry will cause plants to wilt. So don’t overdo it. Soggy pots lead to plants leaning over and Damping Off (drowning roots). You can pick up pots to feel their weight and judge the saturation. Keep an eye on the top layer as this is where pots tend to dry up first.
Start with small pots
Using a smaller pot will allow you have more control over how often to water and feed your seedlings. It will also allow your plants to get a bit root bound for neater transplanting. Healthy roots are white and fuzzy, but will die quickly when exposed to direct air. Plant gently and quickly.