How To Germinate Weed Seeds in 8 Simple Steps

You’re here as you want to learn how to germinate weed seeds, right?

Hi, I’m Parker Curtis. I’ve been growing cannabis most of my adult life. By day I worked in the medical field, and by night, I’d tend to my garden.

I’ve played around with many different methods, and I enjoy sharing these with experienced and new cultivators.

There are loads of articles on how to grow cannabis, but the first process is often left out. And that’s germination.

I’m going to go over the best way to germinate cannabis seeds, but first, let’s look at why this process is so vital.

Why You Should Germinate Cannabis Seeds

You could just plant your cannabis seeds into the soil and let nature do its work. Some growers do that and get mixed results.

Why wouldn’t you want to give your plants their best start in life? Germinating cannabis seeds before growing them is essential for several reasons:

You’re giving the plant a strong foundation. Germinating cannabis seeds can help accelerate the growth process, as the seed has already begun to sprout and develop a root system. Giving the plant a chance to germinate can lead to a larger and healthier plant.

why you should germinate cannabis seeds

The plant is at its most vulnerable from the seed to the seedling stage. Germinating seeds before planting can help prevent diseases affecting the seedlings or plants, reducing the risk of contamination from soil-borne pathogens.

Unfortunately, not every seed is viable. By germinating them first, you can test this. If in seven days nothing has sprouted, the seed is most likely a dud. If you’d just gone ahead and planted it, you would have been even more disappointed.

Overall, germinating cannabis seeds is a crucial step in the growing process that can significantly increase the chances of success and lead to a healthier and more productive harvest.

The Many Ways to Germinate Seeds

There are several ways you can achieve this goal. From germinating seeds in water to buying ready-made materials, they all have merits and some downfalls. Here are a few:

the many ways to germinate seeds

Direct Planting

As I mentioned earlier, some cultivators prefer to just plant the seeds directly into the soil or another growing medium and provide proper moisture and light.

Direct planting is by far the most no-mess-no-fuss way to do it. However, there’s no way of knowing if the seed is viable, so you could waste time and valuable resources in the long run.

Floating in Water

Floating in water seed germination is a method that’s been around for ages. It’s commonly used for mature seeds that are particularly hard. It works as a viability tester.

This method involves placing the seeds in a cup or bowl of water for up to 24 hours until they sink to the bottom. At the bottom, they will open, exposing their taproot, indicating that they are ready for planting. Any that stay afloat are most likely unviable.

The risk of this method is that the seeds can take on water if left in it too long and drown, causing them to die.

Jiffy Pellets or Seedling Plugs

Jiffy pellets are small discs made of peat moss and other organic materials that have already been pre-fertilized. When you buy them, they are dehydrated and compressed. With a quick soak, they’ll rehydrate and expand, ready for the seed.

Seedling plugs are small containers made of peat moss or other materials. The concept is straightforward. You place the seeds in the pellets or plugs and wait for them to germinate.

The challenge with either of these methods is that they can become too wet, leading to mold growth or seed rotting. Also, there’s no way to observe what’s going on, and you can’t see what the seed is doing; they can also be expensive items, therefore, not ideal for those on a budget.

If I were to use either of these, it would be after the seeds have germinated; they’re excellent mediums.

Rockwool Cubes

Rockwool cubes are made from molten basalt fibers. The method is similar to the Jiffy pellets and seedling plugs in that it’s a pre-prepared medium for you to place the seeds directly into.

The problem with Rockwool cubes is that they’re finicky to work with and are best left for more experienced growers. For someone who wants a more sustainable and environmentally friendly substrate, there are better options.

The Best Germination Method

Now, we’ve arrived at my favorite germination method.

The paper towel method for seed germination is the one that many expert cultivators, myself included, swear by. The germination rates are much higher than the others. Here are the reasons why I prefer this process:

  • Faster germination: The germination process is accelerated as the seeds are exposed to moisture which promotes growth.
  • Easy to monitor: Easily watch the progress of each seed, and you can see the roots and sprouts developing.
  • Constant supervision: The paper towel method allows you to check the seeds regularly for any issues and adjust the moisture levels as needed.
  • Cost-effective: It only requires a few household supplies, such as paper towels, water, and two plates or ziplock bags.
  • Reduced risk of contamination: It prevents contamination from soil-borne pathogens, as the seeds are not in direct contact with soil or other growing media.
  • Germination guarantee: Online seed dispensary Homegrown Cannabis Co. offers a replacement guarantee on any seed that doesn’t germinate, provided this method is used.

Now you know why it’s the best way to germinate cannabis seeds; it’s time to find out how easy it is.

The Paper Towel Method in 8 Simple Steps

the paper towel method in 8 simple steps

1. Gather Supplies

One of the many reasons the paper towel method is so popular is that it can be performed using everyday household items. All you’ll need are your cannabis seeds, two paper towels, two dinner plates, a spray bottle, and bottled or purified water.

Pro tip: Don’t use tap water. It may contain additives like chlorine that could affect germination. Bottled or purified is preferred.

2. Moisten the Paper Towels

Wet the paper towels thoroughly, but make sure they are not dripping with water. Squeeze out excess water so they’re damp but not sopping wet.

Fold the damp paper towel and place it in the center of the dinner plate. If there’s water in the plate, the towel is too wet, so wring it out some more.

3. Place the Weed Seeds on the Paper Towel

Very carefully, place the cannabis seeds about an inch apart on the paper towel, ensuring they’re not touching each other.

If you can, wear some gloves as your fingers, may have oil or other contaminants on them that may damage the seed.

4. Cover With the Other Paper Towel

Gently place the second paper towel over the first, and press it down lightly on the edges.

5. Create a Chamber

Place the second plate over the first to create a dark environment. Put this chamber in a secure place like a drawer or a closed kitchen cabinet. The idea is to create a high-humidity environment, free from light..

create a chamber

6. Check Daily

At least twice a day, check on the seeds to make sure the paper towels are still moist. Add a small amount of water with the spray bottle if necessary.

It’s absolutely imperative that the paper towels don’t dry out. So be vigilant.

7. Wait for Sprouts

Using the paper towel method, the seeds can begin to pop in as little as one day. I’m often asked how long to germinate cannabis seeds for, and 24–120 hours is the usual range. Any longer than that, and it’s unlikely they’ll sprout.

8. Transplant the Sprouted Seeds

Once the seeds have sprouted and the root is about ¼ inch long, carefully transplant them into the desired growing medium.

For the best start in life, make sure the root is facing down. Doing this will save the plant from trying to re-orient itself.

Use the Paper Towel Method

There you have it. Germinating cannabis seeds is a simple 8-step process. Following the above instructions should help you ensure success. 

The paper towel method delivers the best results, as you can watch the process happening, adjust moisture when needed, and easily access and plant the seeds as they germinate.

Don’t forget that if you buy your cannabis seeds from Homegrown Cannabis Co. and follow the paper towel method, they’ll replace any that don’t germinate after five days. To be eligible for the guarantee, be sure to photo or video document your process.

As a final reminder, during the paper towel method, it’s crucial to keep the seeds warm and moist but not too wet, as excessive moisture can lead to the fragile seeds drowning or other issues. Also, be careful when handling the seeds, both before and after sprouting, as they can be very fragile.

Now you know how to germinate cannabis seeds! Enjoy the very first steps of the journey to your next harvest. Giving them this extra boost will deliver you better and healthier yields. Happy growing.

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