How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds

Germination refers to the process of a new plant growing from a seed. It is the first step when adding to your cannabis garden. You can purchase the requisite seeds from a variety of sources.

Once you have the seeds, it’s time to germinate them. This article outlines five methods of germinating seeds, highlights the most popular option, and discusses how to transplant germinated seeds safely.

WAYOFLEAF’S CHOICE – Homegrown Cannabis Co.

Homegrown Cannabis Co. are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options, including feminized seeds, but it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.

Why You Should Germinate Cannabis Seeds

You could 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.

For instance, 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

It’s important to note that 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.

Ultimate Guide to Cannabis Seed Germination

In theory, germinating cannabis seeds is a simple affair. They only need three things: Air, water, and heat. Each of the methods described below ticks the requisite boxes, but they also have different difficulty levels.

Before we investigate them, here is a quick overview of the best germination practices.


Be careful not to over-soak your seeds. Hard seeds should be soaked for a maximum of 32 hours, although 24 hours is usually enough. Soaking them for too long can damage them. Marijuana seeds begin to sprout when they receive the twin signals of water and heat.

Once the right conditions occur, the taproot starts burrowing through the shell of the seed.

If the root breaks through the shell and there is no water, the seedling will die. Keep the roots moist once the seed sprouts, and make sure there is ample moisture at all times.


This is arguably the trickiest aspect of germination. You have to strike a balance between ‘warm’ and ‘hot.’ Spring temperatures are ideal in a ‘normal’ year. While cannabis seeds can germinate in colder weather, the process takes longer. Seedlings also germinate faster when there is plenty of humidity in the air. If you are concerned about low temperatures, invest in incandescent bulbs and place them over the seed area.


First and foremost, seeds perform at their best when they are left alone! When you check them for the taproot, handle them with care! Try to avoid touching the white taproot because it can easily break off.


You don’t have to plant germinated seeds too deep in the soil or whatever growing medium you choose. 0.5” – 1” below the surface is plenty. Point the white root downwards into the earth to ensure the seedling is ideally oriented.

Are Your Seeds Good or Bad?

Always opt for dark cannabis seeds, as they are the most likely to germinate when kept in the right conditions. White or pale green seeds have little or no chance of growing.

how to germinate cannabis seeds

You may have heard the age-old advice on checking for viable seeds. Apparently, if you can crush seeds between your fingers, they are ‘bad.’ First of all, they won’t be good seeds because you have destroyed them! Secondly, experienced growers know that even flimsy seeds can germinate when exposed to the right conditions.

How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds – 5 Methods

Without further ado, let’s learn all about the various germination methods at your disposal.

1 – The Paper Towel Method

This is the easiest method and requires cannabis seeds, paper towels, and two clean plates. A word of advice: Choose cheap paper towels because they are non-porous. As a result, you can lay seeds and roots on the surface and not worry about them getting stuck. If you use high-quality paper towels, the roots will grow into them!

It is a simple method but also a risky one. You could damage the taproot while moving the sprouted seeds, or else the paper could dry out and kill the seeds. In any case, here is the process:

  1. Use up to four sheets of paper towel and soak them in distilled water. While you must soak the sheet, make sure there is no water dripping off.
  2. Place two of the paper sheets on one of the plates. Lay the seeds down at least 1” away from one another. Cover with the other two layers of paper towel.
  3. Cover the seeds with the second plate to lock in moisture. You have created a low-cost dome! Make sure you check the seeds often to see if they have sprouted.
  4. Keep the seeds in a room where the temperature is between 70- and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Now you must wait! Seeds typically sprout within 1-4 days, although older seeds often take up to a week.
  6. When checking the seeds, make sure the sheets are saturated. If they are drying out, add more water.

You will know that germination has occurred because the seed will split, and a little root will appear. Make sure you don’t touch the taproot when it sprouts or during the transplantation process.

2 – Direct Planting

In nature, a marijuana seed germinates in the soil and emerges with its taproot growing into the earth. Therefore, you can plant cannabis seeds straight into your growing medium of choice. The main benefit here is that you don’t have to worry about ‘shocking’ the seedling while transporting it.

Your seedling should instantly adjust to the new environment and grow. When using this method, dig a hole 0.5” – 1” deep in soil that is moist but not saturated. Keep things warm with a heating pad or lighting.

3 – Starter Cubes and Seedling Plugs

This has been championed as the easiest germination method. It is effectively a foolproof method. All you have to do is place the seed into the cube/plug and add water. Assuming you put the seeds in a room with the right temperature, germination should occur automatically within a few days. There is a pre-made hole for the seeds, so it is a ‘set it and forget it’ method.

The main downside of this germination method is that such plugs are generally available in packs of 50. Waste is inevitable if you only plan on planting a few cannabis seeds. The plugs dry out in a week or so and become unusable.

You can also use Rockwool cubes as they are cheap and easy to find. However, they are a terrible burden on the environment and bad for your health. Rockwool also has a high pH (which means you must rinse the cubes first) and offers a low cloning and germination success rate.

4 – Overnight Soaking

This is as simple as option #3. It involves nothing more than placing the seeds in a glass of lukewarm water overnight. It is a good idea if you’re using old and hard seeds. The soaking process can breathe new life into them. When you place the seeds in water, they float for a few hours before sinking to the bottom.

The soaking process can breathe new life into old seeds.

If you use a transparent container such as glass, you get to see the white taproot break out! You shouldn’t leave seeds soaking in water for more than 32 hours. Otherwise, seeds that haven’t sprouted yet will drown. If the seeds haven’t germinated by the 32-hour mark, put them in a warm and moist place to complete the process. You should probably use the paper towel method at this point.

5 – A Germination Station

You can purchase a readymade version online. Alternatively, attempt a DIY station by placing a plastic dome over a plate that you then add to a heating pad. Professionally made stations are relatively inexpensive and work rather well. You can buy one for under $40, and their plastic tops ensure better humidity control. With top brands, all you have to do is choose your growing media and plugs to start growing.

germinating weed seeds

What Is the Best Germination Method?

The paper towel method is the one that many expert cultivators swear by. The germination rates are much higher than the other options. Here are the reasons why seasoned growers prefer this process:

  • Faster germination: The germination process is accelerated as the seeds are exposed to moisture, which promotes growth.
  • Easy to monitor: You can easily watch the progress of each seed and 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: Top seed dispensaries, such as Homegrown Cannabis Co., offer a replacement guarantee on any seed that doesn’t germinate, provided this method is used.

Transplanting Germinated Cannabis Seeds

There is no room for a delay once your cannabis seeds have begun to sprout. Now is the time to transfer the seed to its growing medium. Most growers prefer to use small pots, to begin with. Make sure you fill enough pots with loose potting soil and use a pencil to poke a hole around 0.25” deep. Remember, you could break the taproot very easily. Transfer it using tweezers and drop the seed into the hole with the root facing down. Finally, cover it with a thin layer of soil.

For the first few days, use a spray bottle to water the seeds because adding too much water can drown them. It is worth investing in a pH meter to test the soil regularly and make sure it has enough moisture. If all goes well, the seed should sprout from the earth within a week. If it hasn’t sprouted within ten days, it will probably die.

Turn on your grow light once you have planted the seeds. The heat improves germination rates and speeds up the process of the seedlings opening their first set of leaves. These leaves will remain yellow until exposed to a sufficient level of light in any case.

WAYOFLEAF’S CHOICE – Homegrown Cannabis Co.

Homegrown Cannabis Co. are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options, including feminized seeds, but it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.

Final Thoughts on Germinating Cannabis Seeds

When you plant multiple seeds, they grow at different rates. Inevitably, some will fail, while others will flourish.

You will have seeds that pop fast and proliferate. Don’t be disappointed if you have a few failures because that’s part and parcel of the growing process. Even when you get everything right, you will inevitably lose a few seeds, and it won’t be your fault!

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