Germinating Your Cannabis Seeds

Germination Methods

Germination is the first step to starting your grow! But, you don’t want to start germination until you have your grow area in order first as it can start growing very quickly sometimes. You don’t want to have seeds ready to go into soil and no where to put it. The key to successful germination is warmth, moisture and darkness. There are a few ways of germinating your seeds:

  • Paper towel method
  • Directly in soil
  • Jiffy peat pellets

Pre-Soaking the Seeds

You can pre-soak your seeds like you would before any germination method. Although, with the peat pellets, it isn’t really needed. Just place the seeds in a cup of water (with out without root stimulator) for about 18 hours or until the seeds sink. I personally like to pre-soak before using the paper towel method and always get good results. When doing a pre-soak first, you can simply use some of the water in the cup to saturate the paper towels when ready.

Paper Towel Germination Method

Germinated Seeds in Paper Towel with Taproots Extended

This is the one of the most commonly used method for germinating your seeds. All you need for this method is:

  • Paper towels
  • 2 Clean plates or paper plates
  • Water (either distilled or tap water left out to let the chlorine dissipate)
  • Seeds

Simply place a couple sheets of paper towel on top of one of the clean plates. Then, pour some of the water onto part of the paper towel that is on the plate. Be careful to not over saturate, you want it wet with no excess runoff on the plate. Gently place the seeds on the wet paper towel and fold the dry part of the paper towel on top of the wet part, soaking the dry part as well. This covers the seed with the moisture it needs to sprout.

You’ll want to cover it with the other plate (inverted) to create a dark, protected environment. Then, you want to keep it in a dark room with a temperature range of about 70°-85°F or 21°-30°C. Now, you just have to monitor the seeds daily to watch for moisture, making sure the paper towel is always moist but not soaking wet. Then, just watch for the seed to pop out its taproot. This can happen anywhere between 12-36 hours after moisture is introduced to the seed.

Ready for Planting

Once the taproot is about 1/4-1/2 inch long, It’s ready to be transplanted to soil. To do this, water the soil where you’re going to place you seed, just enough to cover a small area and create a moist environment (about 1 inch in diameter). You can use a spray bottle to wet the soil to avoid over-saturation. Then, make a small hole in the soil, about 1/2-1/4 inch deep with a pencil or a pinky finger, then very carefully using tweezers, transfer the seed into the soil, taproot down.

Lightly cover the seed with some loose soil. You can also cover the seed to create a high humidity environment by placing a clear plastic cup or plastic wrap over the soil where the seed is planted. At this point, you can turn the grow light on for a schedule of 18-6/20-4/24, whichever you prefer for vegetation. Be sure to keep a close eye on your soil to ensure it stays moist.

Directly in Medium Germination Method

Seeds Planted Directly Into the Soil

This method is for growers with a little more experience, but new growers can still get good results germinating your seeds directly in the medium. For this method, you’ll need:

  • Pot of your choice
  • Medium of your choice
  • Water (distilled or de-chlorinated)
  • Seeds

After soaking the seed in water (with or without root stimulator) for a 3-18 hours, place the seed directly into pre-watered soil/coco coir. It’s important to use pH balanced water anytime you water the plants/soil. You want to get the soil completely damp but not fully saturated. Plant the seed approximately 5-10 millimetres/0.5-1 centimeters deep. Then gently cover the seed with loose soil. At this point, you can turn your grow light on for the desired light cycle. By not planting the seed too deep, it can sprout out of the soil faster. Be sure to watch the soil while waiting for the seed to sprout, making sure its always moist. The seed can take between 2 days to about 10 days to sprout up from the soil.

Jiffy Peat Pellets

Jiffy Pellets Germinating Seeds in the Greenhouse

This method for germinating seeds is beginner friendly and simple to do. It does require you to buy the Jiffy peat pellets but they’re well worth it and you have the greenhouse afterwards. For this method, you’ll need:

  • Jiffy peat pellets
  • Greenhouse that comes with peat pellets
  • Water (distilled or de-chlorinated)
  • Seeds

Simply add the amount of water suggested for how many pellets you will be using. Once they have expanded, you can rip the the mesh covering at the top. This will allow you more room to place the seed into the peat moss pellet. Place the seed about 1/4″ into the pellet and gently cover with peat moss. Once the seed is in the peat moss, you can cover the pellets in the greenhouse. Leave it on your grow room or on a window still until they sprout. Once sprouted, you can gently and carefully rip open the mesh covering and then transplant the uncovered pellet into a bigger pot.

Patience is the Key

Patience is the name of the game with germination. It can extremely difficult but just give the seed some time to do its thing. Before you know it, you’ll have a little seedling to care for.