How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
Join us as we detail the most effective methods in how to germinate cannabis seeds, along with information that will help you understand marijuana seeds from a new perspective.
Germinating cannabis seeds may seem straightforward, but it’s actually a subtle art that many have yet to master. This is the beginning of a long and arduous journey, so it’s necessary that your cannabis plants start off on the right foot.
How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds : Seeds and Dispersal
How do Cannabis Plants Produce Seeds?
Anatomy of a Cannabis Seed
Materials Needed for Germinating Cannabis Seeds
General Requirements for Cannabis Seed Germination
Cannabis Seed Germination Methods
Cannabis Seeds and the Scarification Method
How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds : Seeds and Dispersal
A seed is an embryonic plant. Just as humans are embryos at the earliest stage of life, so are seeds.
In the case of cannabis plants, their seeds are produced to enable new generations to spread across a landscape with ease.
Cannabis seeds, like all other seeds, are the result of reproduction between plants. Each plant has evolved throughout millions of years to adapt to their surroundings; thus, they’ve also made their seeds adapt to certain dispersion methods.
Since seeds eventually grow into a plant, their range of mobility is fixed. They cannot move across the land as animals do; therefore, their seeds must disperse away from their immediate vicinity.
Plants have come up with ingenious ways to disperse their seeds, using wind, water, animals, and even though their own physical force to throw them out.
Some seeds are equipped with “wings,” which are adaptations that allow the seed to ride the current of the wind for an extended period of time so that it’s dispersed away from its mother.
Many are adapted for water submersion, while others are capable of being digested and remaining intact or to latch onto the fur of a passing animal.
The ways that seeds are dispersed are many, but cannabis has recently found an interesting partner to help in its dispersal. Humans are the leading cause for transporting cannabis seeds throughout the world.
Before their popularity in the last 50 years, many cannabis species were endemic to specific regions throughout the globe.
Now, with the help of human intervention, cannabis seeds are found in the suburbs, cities, and farms. Each cannabis seed is prized, and we do our best to make sure each and every seed germinates so that no seed is wasted.
This is the general understanding between us and cannabis seeds, in which the most legendary strains have been found in unnamed “bag seed.”
Each marijuana seed carries the potential of a legendary strain within its shell, and like you, we’re always concerned with making sure our cannabis seeds make it past the germination process.
GERMINATION – Cannabis Growing Guide
Germinate seeds in sterile soil (for planting outdoors) or a hydroponic medium of rockwool or vermiculite. DO NOT (!) use a Jiffy cube #7 to germinate seeds. Informal tests and experience show these peat cubes do not work well and stunt the plants growth. Planting in vermiculite gives the seedling so much oxygen, and are so easy for roots to grow in, that the plants look large 1 week after germination!
Keep them moist at all times, by placing seeds in vermiculite filled 16oz cups with holes in the bottom, placed in a tray of weak nutrient solution, high in P. Rockwool cubes also work extremely well. When the seed sprouts, place the rockwool cubes into larger rockwool cubes. No repotting or transplanting, and no soil mixing!
You can germinate seeds in a paper towel. This method is tricky; it is easy to ruin roots if they dry out, or are planted too late after germinating. Paper towels dry out REAL FAST! Place paper towel in a bowl, saturated with weak nutrient solution (not too much!), and cover with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Put bowl in a warm area; top of the gas stove, water heater closet, or above warm lamps. Cover with black paper to keep out light. Check every 12 hours and plant germinated seeds with the grow tip up (if possible) in a growing medium as soon as the root coming out of the seed is 1/16″ or longer. Use tweezers, and don not touch the root tip.
Transplant as little as possible by germinating in the same container you intend to grow the plant in for a significant period of time. Just plant in vermiculite or rockwool. You will be amazed at the results! 90% germination is common with this method, as compared to 50% or less with Jiffy Cubes. (Your milage may vary.)
5-55-17 plant food such as Peters Professional will stimulate root growth of the germinating seed and the new seedlings. Use a very dilute solution, in distilled water, about 1/3 normal strength, and keep temperatures between 72-80 degrees. Warm temperatures are very important. Many growers experience low germination rate if the temperatures are out of this range. A heating pad set to low or medium may be necessary, or a shelf constantly warmed by a light may do, but test it with a few seeds first, before devoting next years crop to it. No light is necessary and may slow germination. Cover germinating seeds with black paper to keep out light. Place seedlings in the light once they sprout.
Plan on transplanting only once or twice before harvest. Use the biggest containers possible for the space and number of seedlings you plan to start. Plants will suffer if continuously transplanted and delay harvesting. You will suffer too, from too much work! 13 2-liter plastic soda bottles filled with vermiculite/pearlite will fit in a cat box tray, and will not require transplanting for the first harvest, if you intend to grow hydroponically. Transplant them for a second regenerated harvest.
Cut holes in the bottom of containers and fill the last few inches at the top with vermiculite only, to start seeds or accept seedling transplants. Since vermiculite holds water well, wicks water well, but does not hold too much water, roots always have lots of oxygen, even if they are sitting in a tray full of water. A hydrogen peroxide based plant food is used to get extra oxygen to the plants when the pans are kept continuously full. The water can be allowed to recede each time after watering, before new solution is added. This allows the plants roots to dry somewhat, and make sure they are getting enough oxygen.
Use SuperSoil brand potting soil, as it is excellent and sterilized. If you insist on using dirt from the yard, sterilize it in the microwave or oven until it gets steamy.(NOT RECOMMENDED) Sterilize the containers with a bleach solution, especially if they have been used a previous season for another plant.
Germinating cannabis seeds in vermiculite
I have some horticultural grade vermiculite and I’ve seen seedling germination kits at nurseries that are just vermiculite in a little cup. Is there any reason I shouldn’t germinate in vermiculite? Does anyone else do this?
Even if people advise against this, does anyone have any tips on the best way to do this besides just putting the seed in cup of moist vermiculite?
I usually germinate seeds from other plants in paper towels, but I feel like if I was going to germinate cannabis seeds I’d have better luck with vermiculite.
paper towel works fine, no need to change it. Vermiculite is inert last I checked, so it will probably need feeding while very young.
I also have good results with a “seed starting mix” that looks like brown dust particles. they suck alone, but awesome with 50% coco, otherwise it doesn’t wet all the way through, it gets dry pockets. I try and start them in something that can feed the plant at that early stage.
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Yea theres absolutely no nutrition in vermiculite, but I’d read you can put it in a cup with the seed and poke holes in the bottom of the cup then put it on top of a watered down solution with a higher P level. Tthis sight actually suggests you can mix piss and water to nurish the seedling. I guess the verm will soak up the solution. I should probably test this out before I attempt it.
I just don’t always have success with the paper towel method for other seeds, and although I’ve never tried the vermiculite method, it sounds logical for the seed to immediately have something to grow into and I know vermiculite holds water well, but doesn’t stay over saturated. I wouldn’t let it grow much at all in the verm. I figure a couple days after germination I’d put the seedling into soil mix while still in some verm.
This potentially outdated guide I’m reading suggests either rockwool(which I don’t have) or vermiculite over paper towels. I think coir has too low a PH for me to mix in the verm.
The dust stuff in seed starter kits might just be vermiculite fine grade. I’d read the ingredients on a seed started kit and all it said was vermiculite and cups or something simple. The horticultural stuff I have is fairly large. I’m not entirely sure what makes it horticultural vermiculite besides maybe the size of the pieces.
I’m tempted to do paper towel method because I have experience with it, but I’ll have only a few shots at getting it right. I wish seeds were cheaper/easier to get.
I think I might be reading instructions for hydroponic growing, but I’d be using the TLO method so I have no fukin clue what I should be doing anymore. Couldn’t I just put the seeds directly in moist soil? I’d have soil that’s specifically suited for clones and seedlings, but I don’t know if that includes fresh sprouting seeds.
These guides are kind of confusing me as far as germinating properly goes. Are rockwool cubes for hydroponics only?