The hard part is done, you’ve chosen your cannabis strain and now you’re ready to germinate your seeds. This is where the fun and games begin. These little gems have the potential to produce the most mouth-watering bud and it all starts here, cannabis germination and seedling care.
At first glance, your cannabis seed appears to be just a small, simple little thing. However, don't be fooled by this tiny seed, hidden inside is pure bountiful potential. The potential to grow into a beautiful, female, mature Cannabis plant boasting with flowers, also known as "bud". The very mouth-watering reason we are all here.
Once a seed germinates, sprouts and begins to grow. This is where nature kicks into gear and the life-sustaining processes within the plants begin. However, for a seed to begin its life, it will require a little help and assisting hand. That's where you come in and provide for your seedlings as nature would.
In this article, we discuss the importance of careful cannabis germination. The reason for overnight soaking. Transplanting your newly germinated seeds and provide tips for early seedling care.
While it is possible to germinate seeds found in your everyday “local” weed. It is definitely more effective and better to choose the highest quality cannabis seeds you can afford.
There are many choices and many factors to consider regarding strains. When choosing to buy seeds its best to search for the right strain and source reputable suppliers. With well over 2000 unique cannabis strains on the market, you need to choose the right genetics for your "grow-room", be it indoor or outdoor conditions as well as the type of harvest you are looking for.
Do you prefer Indica, Sativa or a hybrid of both? Are you growing indoor or outdoor, hydroponics or soil? There are many factors to consider and choices to be made. So, consider your options carefully to get the most out of your cannabis strain selection.
Once you have chosen your strain and her ready to begin germination, you need to know what that seed is capable of producing. There are feminized seeds that have been treated to produce a female cannabis plant 95% of the time. You have a choice of auto-flowering seeds as well, which will grow to a certain height or age before automatically budding without the need to change the light timing. There are also regular seeds, these have a higher chance of being male.
You have to choose what final product we are aiming for; is it an Indica smoke: short bushy plants with a stronger more body high or a Sativa: bigger, lankier plants with generally high THC content which produces a “speedier” head high.
Germinating Cannabis Seeds
When you look at your newly obtained cannabis seeds, they should show certain characteristics that tell us the seed is healthy and ready for sprouting. Cannabis seeds that are white or greenish in color are usually immature and not good to sprout. Fresh, good seeds look waxy and have hard, intact shells. If we squeeze one between two fingers, it shouldn’t crack or break.
Germination is a very simple process and is merely getting a seed from its “sleep” stage to sprout. After getting the best quality seeds you can, there are 3 main conditions needed to wake up the seed:
Light is not needed and can slow down or even hamper the speed of germination. We have several choices of how to supply these requirements for the seed to sprout, let us have a look at what I have had the most success with and is by far my favorite method.
This IS the easiest method as 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 because the soaking process can give them a burst of new life. When you place the seeds in water, they float for a few hours before sinking to the bottom of the container.
If you use a see-through container such as glass, you get to see the white taproot break out! However, 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 sprouted by the 32-hour mark, put them in a warm and moist place to complete the germination process.
Paper towel seed germination
This is a very popular germination method, it’s an old favorite and one I’ve had plenty of success with. I begin this method by pre-soaking the seeds I wish to sprout in a small container filled with water. First, place your seeds in the container, fill this with enough water to cover the seeds, they will float at first but will sink within 12 hours. I soak my cannabis seeds in water and place the container in a dark space for no longer than 24 hours. After pre-soaking your seeds cut a piece of paper towel or even toilet paper will do, into 2 square pieces. Place one half on a small plate and spray with water (not dripping, just a little!). Both pieces of towel should be damp if you have over-sprayed be sure to squeeze off any extra water.
Place your cannabis seeds on the towel and give them a little space between each other so the new roots don’t tangle. Cover these seeds with the other moist half of towel and press down lightly. Then the last thing we need to do for our little babies is cover with another plate of the same size. This will keep the seeds dark, moist and warm, if you are in a colder climate be sure to put your seeds in a warmer space such as a cupboard between clothes or as I prefer, on top of a fridge where the vents emit some heat.
What we need to germinate our cannabis seeds:
Step 1: Pre-soak seeds in a dark space in water for no longer than 24 hrs. Get a thick paper towel and moisten thoroughly but not so it is dripping.
Step 2: Place seeds between a moist paper towel and cover with a plate. Make sure it does not get any direct sunlight and remains moist, dark and warm.
Step 3: Keep your seeds at around 21 degrees C - 29.4 degrees C (like at the top of the fridge) and don’t let them dry out or they will die.
- Check your seeds twice a day until they begin to split, and a small white root begins to show.
- All the best seeds will have opened within 48 hours
- Be very gentle when handling them at this early stage.
- After you begin to see the new root and shoot, plant the seeds in your choice of growing medium.
- Make a small hole in your medium rather than forcing them in with your fingers.
Transplanting Germinated Cannabis Seeds
There is absolutely no room for any delay when 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 1-1.5cm deep. Remember, you could break the taproot very easily. So please be careful when transferring them. Use 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 soil within a week. If it hasn’t sprouted within ten days, it will most likely die.
Turn on your grow light once the seeds have been planted. The heat improves germination rates and speeds up the process of the seedlings opening their first set of leaves. As in nature, some will fail while others will flourish. You will have seeds that pop fast but 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!
Caring for your cannabis seedlings is fun and easy and will require a small amount of daily effort. Whether you are growing indoors or outdoors, cannabis seeds need proper care. If grown in the correct environment, they don’t require much attention. Having said that, the seedling stage could be the most important and unforgiving as problems can quickly kill a small and vulnerable seedling.
Grow Medium -Initially, for the first 2 weeks of growth, you want to use a well-draining, neutral medium that isn’t very rich. Seedling soil and rockwool are good examples and are easily found at your local nursery or favorite Grow Shop.
Watering - Water is vital for your seedling. The soil should be kept moist at all times but not drenched. Tap water is not recommended as it contains harmful chemicals such as chlorine which can damage or prevent the growth of young and sensitive seedlings. Distilled water with a ph. level of 5.8 – 6.5 works best!
Sun - Your seedlings need the sun or light in order to grow. However, in the first few weeks, not too much as this could create too much heat for young seedlings to handle.
Remember that consistency is key.
Growing cannabis is fun! From choosing the right strain to sowing your seeds and watching them grow into beautiful juicy cannabis plants. With a good start, you are bound to have a vigorous plant. Once you successfully germinate your seeds the real fun begins.
Now learning feeding schedules and light cycles becomes your next hobby. It is a fine art to producing the dankest dank. Remember, most importantly, have fun and give your plants plenty of love.
Stay tuned for more on growing cannabis and tips to improve your harvest.
Peace and Love