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How To Germinate Marijuana Seeds?

Every first step is important and worth lots of time and effort. With that thought in mind, cannabis growers may pay much attention to the first stage in a cannabis life cycle: germination.

How to germinate cannabis seeds? You have several options to consider. No matter if you choose to germinate your seeds in the soil, water, paper towels, or plugs, there are some crucial factors you need to make clear. 

Now, let’s read on to discover the germination stage of your cannabis crop!

What Is Germination?

Germination is the first phase in a cannabis development cycle. It’s the act of bringing the seed out of its dormancy and beginning the growth cycle. 

Seeds in a packet don’t actually grow roots on their own. Germination, often called popping seeds, occurs when a seed obtains environmental signals indicating that the environment is appropriate for expansion.

what is germination
Germination is the first stage in a marijuana development cycle

Once the seed receives adequate moisture, its size can grow and eventually break out of its shell. Roots form from the germ or seedling. The root can assist the young plant in collecting nutrients from the ground. 

Seeds have roots that extend below and stems that rise upward. It enables the immature marijuana plant to thrive on both light and soil at the same time.

High-quality seeds are crucial for germination. They will grow into high-quality plants. Fresh seeds or green seeds are not ideal because they haven’t matured entirely. Besides, the seeds that are white or very dark may face difficulty germinating.

However, it’s difficult to predict the result of a popped cannabis seed. Trying to germinate them seems to be the only solution. 

If you still hesitate to plant the seeds, maintain them in a cool and dark area until they’re ready for the phase.

The Method To Germinate Seeds In The Soil

To germinate the weed seeds, you may use soil as a simple and natural approach. The soil shields the delicate roots from the outside influence. Moreover, the soil is where a marijuana plant would naturally flourish.

germinate seeds in soil
Soil is the natural approach of germinating cannabis seeds

The process of germinating cannabis seeds in soil is as follows:

    • To begin, ensure you’re utilizing the right kind of soil. Soil with a pH of around six appears to be ideal for the stage. 
    • During the first two weeks, the soil needs the appropriate nutrients and acidity. These chemicals help your immature marijuana plants grow big. If you add additional nutrients, you may risk overfeeding and destroying your seeds.
    • Fill a small container halfway with the soil. Create a half-an-inch hole in the soil using your finger. After that, place the seed in the said hole and cover it with soil. It understands how to place itself in the soil. So, try not to touch the seed after this moment. The baby plant is quite sensitive. 
    • Mist the soil carefully with a sprayer and place the pots beneath a fluorescent light. It would be best to keep the seeds away from window sills. The temperature there is too fluctuating for their germination. For this period, the temperature between 70 and 80 °F is good.
    • Check the soil every day. Make sure that it also stays moist. You may notice small stems growing from the soil after four to seven days.
    • After the stems reach up to four inches. You need to transplant the plant in larger containers. The roots need more space to expand. 

Once you have finished everything, you have completed the germination stage of your cannabis plant successfully. 

The Method To Germinate Seeds Using Paper Towels

Farmers frequently apply the paper towel technique to pop their cannabis seeds. Some people utilize cotton pads rather than paper towels for this approach. Yet, the processes are all the same.

germinate seeds using paper towels
Germination in paper towels is popular

Please follow these instructions:

    • To germinate your seeds in this method, put a paper towel on a tabletop. Lay some cannabis seeds on it, then cover with another layer of paper towel.
    • After that, moisten the towels with a sprayer. 
    • You should keep the seeds between two dishes with one of this facing down. Or, you may put the seeds in a plastic bag.
    • Keep the temperature at 72°F during that time. Also, put the towel-wrapped cannabis seeds out of direct sunlight and away from window sills.
    • The seeds should come out of the towel coats and develop small roots after three to five days. Once they grow around five millimeters in size, you can plant them.

The sensitive seedlings may get harmed during the potting procedure using the paper towel approach. The paper towels may also clog the small roots. So, before the seed roots develop too long, place them in potting soil. 

Remember to only take each seed out of the towels with your tweezers or hands. Then, set it in a prepped growth medium.

The Method To Germinate Seeds In Water – Soak In Water

Germinating seeds by immersing them in water is also possible. It takes a little less time than the soil technique. 

You must, however, alter the environmental conditions in accordance. Note that effective seed germination needs the right combination of excellent planting conditions.

Seeds germinate quickly in water, taking just 24 to 48 hours to break the stems.

However, some growers still soak them for up to seven days if necessary. Water germination is quicker because the seed receives all of the hydration it requires right away. After immersing in the water, the shell can soften and break more effortlessly.

germinate seeds in water
Water germination is quick

Let’s follow these steps:

    • To start, fill a cup of water halfway. Then, wait for the cup to reach room temperature, which is around 65 °F. Put two or three cannabis seeds per cup to rest. After that, monitor for any changes. 
    • You need to change the water every two days. Don’t forget to maintain the room temperature in the cup. 
    • Seeds typically grow after two days. The older seeds may need a week. After they’ve germinated, you can take them out of the water and plant them in the soil. Remember to check the root length as a sign to plant it. A length of five millimeters is ideal.

The disadvantage of this method is you’ll have to manually move seeds into their growth media after they’ve popped. Because sprouting seeds are so sensitive, this step turns out to be a delicate procedure. Any damage to the plants jeopardizes their progress. 

When transferring to the pot, ensure the seed roots are still staying in the soil.

Germinate Seeds Using Starter Cubes & Seedling Plugs

The most frequently suggested technique for putting a seedling platform is to utilize starting cubes and seedling plugs. The cubes make the germination go more smoothly. 

germinate seeds using starter cubes
Sowing in starting cubes and seedling plugs allows smoother germination

The seedling can naturally set things up for development by just inserting the seeds in the cube or plug and watering it. Each cube or plug has a hole for the seed.

Growing marijuana using plugs or cubes is, without a doubt, the most basic approach with no error. Your cannabis seeds will have a near-100 percent germination percentage if you use this technique.

The process is simple to follow:

    • Immerse your cubes and plugs in water and wait until they completely get soaked.
    • Fill the pre-cut holes in the cubes and plugs with your seed. Cover the hole with a little amount of the plug substance.
    • Wrap the cubes with a plastic dome and place them in a tray or square or box. You need to offer a high moisture condition. Humidity can aid plant growth after germination and enhances germination rate.

There are many different types of cubes. The most popular tools come from peat or Rockwool.

According to how you want to nurture your cannabis plants after the germination stage, the differences are minor yet significant.

Peat plugs are a natural solution. They may include a tiny amount of fertilizer, which aids small plants after the germination stage.

Besides, Rockwool cubes with a fibrous substance allow for excellent air and water exchange. They’re wonderful for hydroponics.

If you choose Rockwool, soak your cubes beforehand. The pH of Rockwool cubes is usually high. Hence, you need to adjust the pH level of 5.5 in the water.

The Method To Germinate Seeds Using A Germination Station

The germination station is a special piece of equipment that features a growing area. This method allows you to effectively regulate the temperature and humidity. It ensures that marijuana seeds germinate in the best possible environment. 

Most difficulties with cannabis seed germination come from a medium that is too cold, too dry, or too moist.

germinate seeds using germination station
An example of a germination station

Farmers can overcome obstacles with the help of the germination station. The station is a perfect size, as well as user-friendly and discreet. It comes with a heating pad that maintains your growth media warm and damp at all times.

In the trays of a germination station, you can choose any growth media. Here is a detailed process:

    • Immerse the cannabis seeds in water for one day. Gather and insert the seeds in the tray, coating them with a small portion of the medium.
    • Check out if there are any leaves to emerge before adding adequate illumination over your germination station.

This technique does not require light. As a result, when employing the germination station, you won’t need to supply any light to the seedlings.

The Method To Germinate Seeds Using RQS Starter Kits

Starter kits offer a significantly greater rate of success and include all you should start germination. The Royal Queen Seeds (RQS) Starters Kit can give a marijuana seed everything that it needs to germinate and thrive.

seeds using RQS starter kits
Easy Start kit

The kit features a tray of seedling pots and Bacto. This packet contains a blend of helpful microorganisms that help plants grow and flourish. 

The kit also has a Propagator Pro container. This tool is useful to generate a high-moisture environment ideal for cannabis seed germination. To start, you can also get perlite, lights, and three RQS Critical seeds.

Here is how to germinate cannabis seeds using RQS Starter Kits:

    • To begin, combine one liter of warm water with Bacto. Set the tray of Easy Start containers in the water after the bacteria has dissolved.
    • After that, cover the bottom of the Propagator Pro with a coat of perlite. It does wonder for ensuring consistent humidity levels. Lay the tray on the perlite layer after one good soak. Fill every pot with your seed after widening the hole on top with a pencil.
    • Last, cover the propagator with the lid to establish a damp and dark setting. During a period of one to six days, your seeds can germinate.

Suggestions To Help You Choose Cannabis Seeds

Besides the techniques, it’s also helpful to learn about the cannabis seed types. Let’s have a look at the most common seeds available.

Photoperiod  And Autoflowering Seeds

First, you should choose between auto-flowering and photoperiod cannabis seed.

photoperiod and autoflowering seeds
Photoperiod And Autoflowering Seeds

A photoperiod seed can produce both female or male plants.

Marijuana is the annual plant whose flowering time is dictated according to the season, and the plant will die at the completion of the life cycle. When the days become shorter, marijuana plants stop developing. They begin to bloom instead and create buds.

Farmers decrease the light schedule from 18-hour light as well as 6-hour darkness to 12-hour light, 12-hour darkness to mimic this procedure indoors. If you still keep the 18/6 light schedule, your plant will remain in this vegetative phase and cannot bloom.

Auto-flowering marijuana seeds create female plants which do not require photoperiod circumstances to transition from vegetative to flowering phases. 

The changeover to the blooming stage is straightforward. They may begin blooming at a specific time, regardless of light or environmental influences.

Novice planters will like auto-flowering cannabis since they know their plants’ gender. Moreover, auto-flowering seeds grow quicker than photoperiod ones because their life cycles are shorter.

Regular And Feminized Seeds

Regular And Feminized Seeds
Regular And Feminized Seeds

Choosing whether to use feminized or regular seeds is also important.

Regular seeds can produce both female and male plants. 

Growing cannabis plants from regular seeds appear to be one of this simplest methods. Regular seeds are easy to get and grow too. They are definitely less expensive than the feminized seeds.

Feminized seeds only generate female plants. These seeds can be pricey. However, you may be certain that you are investing the right resources to produce female flowers. 

The female plants from feminized photoperiod seeds require 12-hour light with 12-hour darkness to reach the flowering phase.

Tips Before Starting To Germinate Marijuana Seeds

Most methods for germinating marijuana seeds are straightforward to carry out. However, to get the best of them, you need more growth hacks.

Here are some helpful tips for growing and germinating cannabis seeds effectively.

Don’t let your medium dry out

To begin, insert your seeds in a growth medium with the proper temperature and humidity. If you’re using germinating soil, be sure it mustn’t dry out entirely. The seed may cease collecting moisture and, as a result, cannot germinate.

You must check your medium regularly to ensure that it always stays wet. When you utilize a heating element to raise the temperature and boost germination, the soil may dry up more quickly. As a result, you should keep an eye on it to prevent it from drying out. 

If you’re employing hydroponics, Rockwool cubes are ideal to keep the soil moist.

Don’t let the germination last too long

This is a basic mistake made by marijuana cultivators, especially when employing paper towels or other growth media. 

You may face a difficult time transplanting your seeds if you wait for the cotyledons to develop. During the transplantation process, you may end up ruining the root.

You are harming the root if you expose it to the light or air for a long time. As a result, you have to begin transplanting as soon as possible. Then, when the taproots are approximately one or two centimeters in length, you may prevent the problem. 

It is also simpler to transplant during that time. Your roots can develop unrestrictedly in the new medium after transplanting.

Don’t let the germination phase last too long
Don’t let the germination phase last too long

Recommendable depth to plant seeds

You may sow the seeds at the incorrect depth. This mistake results in seedlings that will never germinate. 

Besides, when you put the seeds near the surface, they can germinate. However, the stem may be too fragile in this case. Hence, it may begin to bow, hindering the seed from properly sprouting.

To prevent planting too shallowly or too deeply, a depth of around 2 centimeters is ideal. You may also cover the base stem as the seed grows to provide it more support. 

Based on the depth, your seed can also grow new roots throughout the stem length. It’s a certain method to get marijuana plants to develop faster.

Don’t sow many seeds in the same pot

Growing many marijuana seeds in the same pot may seem fine, but it can’t be a smart choice. The seeds will have some trouble growing appropriately in the same pot. Once they sprout, they may begin to compete for the limited space for root growth.

Marijuana plants can’t develop healthily if the medium size limits their root growth. They’ll almost certainly be very weak and have a long internodal range. 

For the finest results, you should use various pots for different seeds. Note that when you have limited the space, your plants begin to compete for the light.

Place the seeds correctly

Most marijuana seeds have an oval shape. They include two ends: one is the tip and the other is the crown. While putting the seeds in the soil, ensure that the seed is always facing upwards.

The tip end should point downwards while the crown is heading upwards at the surface. When your seeds germinate, the crown forms a hinge, allowing the tip to form roots. 

If you place the seed improperly, the taproot develops vertically whereas the seedling rises downwards. You’d better avoid such a thing happening. If not, your seed may fail to germinate.

FAQs – Germinate Cannabis Seeds

How to store cannabis seeds?

If you want to store your seeds in a short-term period, a dark closet with the right temperature is ideal. Remember to keep the seeds away from places that are sensitive to seasonal temperature variations in your region.

If you’re looking for long-term preservation, keep your seeds in the fridge. Bear in mind that opening its door might result in some significant temperature variations. Using a backup refrigerator to store the cannabis seeds is a better option.

How long do cannabis seeds take to germinate?

Some cannabis seeds can germinate quickly, whereas others take more time. However, seeds may germinate in three to ten days on average. If your seed hasn’t grown after two weeks, it’s likely a fake and cannot grow.

How to germinate old cannabis seeds?

Old cannabis seeds are harder to germinate. First, you have to soak the seeds in supplemented water. Then, scarify them to let the water pass through the shell. Take the ridge out for water absorption. This step also allows your seeds to open more easily. 

What is the best temperature and humidity for cannabis germination?

The optimum temperature to germinate weed seeds is 72 to 78° F. The humidity level should be from 40% to 70%.

When is the best time of the year to sprout cannabis seeds?

The first month of the spring is the ideal time to sprout Cannabis seeds for outdoor growing. Marijuana plants are annuals, meaning they will thrive throughout the spring then summer before blossoming in the autumn as the daytime becomes shorter.

The cannabis seeds still haven’t sprouted, why?

One of the most typical mistakes is putting them on a tray with moist paper. They will dry up before their roots come out. Ensure the paper isn’t too dry. If it is, you have to add a little extra water.

Another common mistake is when you germinate in a cup of water. The problem with this technique is that many planters overlook the temperature of the water. 

If the water is excessively cold, your seeds can stay in the water for some days, finally rotting because of the low temperature.

Moreover, germinating directly in the soil might result in a mistake. 

The problem is that it may likely take considerably longer than two days for the seeds to germinate. This length of time makes the topsoil layers dry out. In these circumstances, the seed is more likely to reach the surface rather than the soil.

A Cannabis seed just sprouted but the seed shell is stuck on the seedling. What should I do?

Using water to moisten the stuck shell can help soften it sufficiently. However, the most common solution for removing an adhered seed shell is spitting on it. 

This method comes from the idea that enzymes present in seeds can work softly to eliminate anything preventing the seed shell from sticking to the seedling.

Do I need growing lights for cannabis germination?

Marijuana plants require a lack of light to develop. All of the approaches listed above necessitate the use of darkness. Once they’ve grown, they’ll want a lot of light, at least 18 hours each day.


Above is the comprehensive guide on how to germinate cannabis seeds. There are numerous techniques to choose from. Each approach has its own advantages. You should consider your budget and targets to make up your mind. 

Besides, don’t miss any single tip in the article. Even the depth of your seed in the soil can affect your result.

Hopefully, your seeds can grow well so that they all will enter the vegetative stage. 

If you need any further information, please feel free to ask.


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