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How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds

Added 28 February 2020

How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds?

For many growers, purchasing cannabis seeds is no less than children getting candies. The excitement is palpable, and you’re ready to try every trick in the book to make sure that everything works according to plan. However, Mother Nature is unpredictable and the seeds you sowed with care may not germinate at all. If that has frustrated you and you want to learn how to germinate cannabis seeds, here are a few pointers that can steer you in the right direction.

Best way to germinate cannabis seeds

There are many ways to germinate cannabis seeds, but we will get straight to the best method. This technique has worked almost every single time for us. Of course, no matter how hard you try, you cannot expect 100% germination at all times because some seeds may be old or just not viable. However, you can rest assured that this one’s better than the others.

Step 1 – Choose the best seeds

Take a look at all the seeds in your stash. While some will be super hard, some might be soft and disintegrate as soon as you press them. This is another reason why you must purchase seeds only from reputed companies. At Fastbuds, all seeds are checked rigorously and then sent across different locations. Once you inspect the seeds, choose strong ones that are hard to the touch.   

Step 2 – Get rubbing!

This is a step that will help the seeds germinate so fast you’ll find it unbelievable. Generally, most cannabis seeds require at least 4-5 days to sprout, but by doing this you’ll make sure that the process speeds up by at least 2 days.

So, all you need is a hard and scratchy surface like, say, sand paper. You can also opt for a nail file. Then, pick your seeds one by one and rub the tips once or twice on the sand paper. Remember that it has to be light and swift because if you press too much you might destroy the seeds way before you even soak them in water!

Step 3 – Soak seeds in water

After a quick rub, immerse the seeds in a glass of clean water. They won’t sink immediately, but after 10-12 hours a light touch will send them down. Let the seeds remain in the water for at least 24 hours. Do not soak them for more than 48 hours or you risk ruining them completely.

Step 4 – Get paper towels

After 24 hours have passed, you’ll see that the seeds have split a bit. It’s not going to be easily visible, but if you look closely you will see a slight crack and the white interior of the seed inside. At this point, get a few paper towels, and place the seeds in them. Wrap the seeds lightly and sprinkle some water on the towels.

Note that you cannot overdo this step. Meaning the towels have to be moist – neither too wet nor too dry.  Place the towels in a ziplock bag or anything that’s airtight. This is important since placing the towels in an open area will make them dry out faster and the seeds will not be viable anymore. Next, place the airtight container in a dry area. Now, you’ve done everything you can, and it all depends on time and the seeds after this stage.

Step 5 – Check the seeds

Generally, it’s best to wait for at least 4-5 days for the seeds to sprout, but since the seeds were rubbed on a hard surface earlier, they may sprout in just 2-3 days. After a couple days have passed, you can check on the seeds. If they haven't sprouted, place them back in the bag. Sometimes, you’ll see half of the seeds sprouting while the remaining look dull. Simply select the sprouted ones and leave the remaining in the bag.

Step 6 – Get the container ready

This is something you need to do before taking the seeds out because you cannot let them dry out. Grab a container of your choice and fill it with a good potting mix. Use containers that have ample holes at the bottom or use fabric pots that let the water drain out completely. A mix of coco coir + gardening soil + perlite in a 40-40-20 proportion seems to work well for cannabis plants.

Also, if you’re growing photoperiod plants, you may shift the seeds to small cups with soil and then transplant them later. But, if you’re using autoflowering seeds, it’s best to plant them in their final containers so you don’t have the headache of transplanting them later.

If the seeds have sprouted with the taproot clearly visible, plant them immediately in the soil. To do this, poke a small hole about an inch deep with your finger and place the seed in it. Do not sow more than one seed per hole. Remember not to push the seeds too deep into the soil or they will have issues breaking out.

Step 7 – Water

Once you’ve covered the seeds with some light soil, sprinkle water on the seeds. Remember not to pour the water too quickly or the seeds will dislodge themselves. If you don’t have a sprinkler, grab a coke bottle and poke holes on the cap to use it in a pinch. This works nicely as a sprinkler and isn’t too hard on the seeds.

If you see any of the seeds poking out after watering them, simply cover them with soil again. It’s important for the seeds to NOT be exposed to sunlight. At the same time, you must ensure that the soil isn’t bone dry or dripping wet. It must be moist – just like you did this with the paper towels.

Maintaining enough moisture in the soil is critical. In some locations, the soil may dry out faster due to the climate. In such cases, watch the pots every 5-6 hours and pour water if they are too dry. If you’ve poured too much water, a good container will help drain out all the excess.

Step 8 – Seeds sprout

 

If you’ve done everything right, you will see the seeds break out of the surface of the soil. AT first, you’ll only see the cotyledons. At times, the seeds cannot break out of the hull and remain stuck in there. Although they break out of the hull by themselves in a couple of days, you can help them by sprinkling some water on the hull gently. Remove the hull as slowly as you can.

Step 9 – Maintain the seedlings

After the seeds sprout and you see the cotyledon, let the seedlings remain in dull light for a day until they adjust to the light around. For indoor growers, using CFLs will help. If you’re growing outdoors, you can cut the top of a coke plastic bottle and place it on top of the seedlings to prevent harsh sunlight. Make sure you do this only for a day or two and the seedlings will adjust to the environment.

It’s important to water the seedlings regularly during the first week. Again, remember that the soil cannot be too wet or dry. Maintain the perfect amount of moisture and your seedlings will reward you with big buds later!






Comments

HighRoller909
HighRoller909

Best way to germinate in my opinion is to put them directly into the ground.But great article

a question though ; anyone ever tried rubbing their seeds before planting? I'm about to start a new grow and don't want to waste my seeds.any instructions on how to do it would be highly appreciated.

Show all replies (6)
myspecialplace
myspecialplace

@HighRoller909,
Neve rubbed and never had a dud using rhizoctonia as a seed soak, I've been doing some experimenting and I've finally found an organic alternative that does the job exactly the same as rhizo

Notillorganics
Notillorganics

@HighRoller909, yeah that's defiantly the best way

Removed
Removed

@Naturalist, I would agree mine spout in 3 to 4 days all by itself, I water with my fish bowl water also. 4 days max in a window seal. There are definitely some crazy ways to sprout seeds LOL

TreeFarmerCharlie
TreeFarmerCharlie

For some reason I have always had issues with the paper towel method. Now I just stick mine in a glass of warm water until the tap root comes out (usually 24-48 hours) and then they go straight into rooting plugs. I haven't had any germination issues since I switched to this method.

Show all replies (1)
Smowkabowl
Smowkabowl

@TreeFarmerCharlie, I just germ'd a FB Tangie'matic in the usual 72 hours or less by doing something similar. First, soak in H2O for 18 hours. 2nd, right into a cup of starter mix. They usually pop up in 48 hrs. And with Fast Buds I've had 100% success rate. If a seed doesn't make it, it has been my fault. I have tried all the methods and this has worked the best. No stress compared to handling tap roots. Peace

Pot_Portraits
Pot_Portraits

@TreeFarmerCharlie, agree, just drop seed into water cup wait 2 days and most of the times they are sprouting already after 48h.
Used to try all kind of different method, paper towel used to be my go to but since I started just dropping them in water and they had a 100% success rate I just stick to that :ok_hand:

Fusion
Fusion

@TreeFarmerCharlie, use same method. Had seeds not take to the rock wool but seldom have any issue with germination.

Waters
Waters

So many steps! And they all seem to carry risk. Just put the seed in a jiffy pellet.

BudBoy2
BudBoy2

I have tried these methods and i wouldnt use sand paper on the ends. Some seeds are just too fragile and i have ruined a few this way. I found that if you take a old 35mm film case and put some sand in it with the seed and close the lid and shake it a few times. This scarifys the shell and isnt so rough like sandpaper.

Removed
Removed

just put a seed in a pot with soil... geez.. eventually soaking before but it works just fine with out it

Philindicus
Philindicus

Personally I sterilize a shot glass with alcohol then rinse it with distilled water. Then fill it about half ways with more distilled water then allow them to float on the waters surface. I like to cover the shot glass with a solo cup or put it in a dark cabinet. I never touch the seeds with my hands in order to prevent contamination with bacteria etc. I used to try to push them under the water after 24 hours but have found the seeds need oxygen drowning them is not a great idea. I have found that buying high quality fresh seeds will open and the tip of the tail will show at 24 to 36 hours at 75 F. I then use the moist paper towel technique. For another 24 hours then when the tail is about a 1/2 inch long they go right into the soil with the shell just barely coverd with fine soil then I cover them with a clear solo cup until I can maintain a constant 65 to 70 % humidity level.They typically are up within 24 to 48 hours tops. Since most growers store their seeds in the refrigerator I like to take the seeds I'll be growing out from the frig a week before sprouting them. I have also seen some growers use a match box with a piece of fine sandpaper 220/320 grit cut to fit inside then put their seeds inside and shake them around for about 30 seconds to scarify the shells. Pretty risky if you over do it especially at $10 a seed. Lastly adding a few drops of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) will soften up the shells if you have some older more difficult seeds to sprout. Lastly if you handle tobacco products be carefull you can transmit TMV tobacco mosaic or other viruses to your seeds and seedlings try to use sterile tools and equipment.

Easygrower
Easygrower

A little sealed pot and some good old fashioned cotton wool lightly dampen the wool wrap up your seeds put in a dark place job done in around 24 hours normally :ok_hand::skin-tone-2:

myspecialplace
myspecialplace

@Easygrower,
Breastfeeding pads are great

Grow1bud4me2
Grow1bud4me2

soaking seeds has been 100 % effective for me have put some in toilet paper unscented and planted directly also works tp hold the moisture and the seedling can break through in water I have to put in warm dark area for 24 to 36 hours and out they pop

biggreens420
biggreens420

just put them in decent coco water round the edge till a little run off put them in a dark warmish not too warm not cold place 3 to 4 days max u have seeds sprouted if there decent seeds

biggreens420
biggreens420

@Fruitgrower,it never seems to work for me it always ends up too dry so thats why i prefer the other way and never really have issues with germination

Fruitgrower
Fruitgrower

@biggreens420,really? I've always used the paper towel method in a dark warm place and just dampen it slightly when necessary but I have had some seeds fail but only a couple. This is much better, in a glass of water?

nedreynolds
nedreynolds

I use the ‘Drop the seed onto the surface tension of a shot glass filled halfway with Purified Drinking Water’ method.
Success comes with patience. The tap root gasses escape causing the seed to sink... and grow inside the water.

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