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Methods to Germinate Cannabis Seeds

A great plant starts with great seeds, which is why we always recommend buying your seeds from a trusted source.

Such a source will have done its own quality assurance testing, thereby giving the best guarantee of a successful germination rate (in the case of Paradise this is 96%+!). So what is the best way to germinate cannabis seeds?

As the cannabis industry has grown there is a whole range of equipment and hardware for every stage of the weed growing process. However, the best methods to germinate cannabis seeds have hardly evolved since the pre-internet days!

There are tried and tested techniques and the most recommended usually involve the most basic of tools – a saucer, two bits of tissue (or kitchen towel or toilet paper), some water and a warm, dark place for nature to get down to the business of germinating.

The most popular ways to germinate cannabis seeds

For this reason, most seed companies recommend one of two techniques. The first is the classic tissue paper weed seed germination method which makes a nest from the damp tissue in a saucer. It’s the old faithful, tried and tested by many generations of growers.

18+ How to Germinate Your Seeds from Paradise Seeds on Vimeo.

An easy video tutorial for germinating with wet tissue method.

The next is the glass of water  technique to germinate cannabis seeds which is as simple as pouring a glass of water and placing your weed seeds inside.

This is super easy – the only thing you need to do is make sure the water is unchlorinated (so to be safe use bottled rather than tap water).

3 Paradise cannabis seeds germinating in a glass of water.
Cannabis seeds germinating using the glass of water method.

Both these techniques are Paradise’s recommended methods and they are demonstrated in this video guide, which gives tips about how to germinate cannabis seeds.

Paradise Seeds – Cannabis Seed Germination from Paradise Seeds on Vimeo.

With photoperiod cannabis plants, the process of growing – from seed to flower – takes anywhere from 3 months to 8 months (depending on whether grown indoor or outdoor and when the light changes to 12/12 and the veg stage becomes the flowering stage).

This time is considerably less for autoflower seeds which take around 60 – 80 days.

What are the best conditions to germinate cannabis seeds?

  • Water – The essential ingredient for life itself, weed seeds should be damp/moist within their grow medium but not soaking/drowning.
  • Temperature – The ideal temperature range for germinating weed seeds is 21°C – 25°C.
  • Darkness – A dark cupboard is an ideal incubator for a seed to start developing its root.
  • Good handling – Seeds should be touched minimally and not poked once in the germination medium.

METHOD 1:
Tissue paper technique for weed seed germination.

METHOD 2:

The glass of water method to germinate cannabis seeds.

Seeds should germinate between 1 and 5 days given the right conditions.

Image of a germinating Delahaze cannabis seed.
A germinated cannabis seed pokes through the soil.

Put simply, any technique used to germinate cannabis seeds needs to provide the fundamentals for its germination ie a rapid and prolonged uptake of water to start the growth process (or if you want to get scientific rapid imbibition of water). This is why we keep repeating the mantra ‘Keep checking. Keep it moist’. If a seed dries out, it won’t germinate.

Another requisite for seeds to germinate quickly and without issue is getting the temperature correct. Between 21°C and 25°C is the ideal temperature range. This can be an issue when starting seeds off in a cold house without a good consistently ‘warm’ space.

Alternative methods to germinate weed seeds

The old saying goes that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but if you are curious to know what other methods are out there, you are not alone. Here’s a guide to some other methods which may be used to germinate cannabis seeds if you feel like experimenting.

Alternative tissue paper method

The following method to germinate cannabis seeds has been recommended by a Paradise Seeds grower who has a problem with a cold house. In this environment it is hard to keep a warm temperature for the tissue paper in the saucer as it gets cold and fails to warm up.

A guide for an alternative method to germinate cannabis seeds.

This method involves taking two pieces of kitchen towel. First of all the cannabis seed (or seeds) is placed in a glass of water for 24 hours. If they haven’t sprung roots they are then transferred to the kitchen towel.

Using a water sprayer the first piece is made damp. The seeds are placed on this and then a second piece of kitchen towel is laid on top and sprayed in the same way.

The weed seed ‘sandwich’ is then placed inside a zip lock bag and put in the warmest place. Inside the bag it shouldn’t dry out (but periodically check anyway!) and while it is still damp, there is less excess moisture to get colder.

This is a great technique to use if you are lacking a warm place to put your germinating cannabis seeds.

Germinate weed seeds direct in soil

The soil method method is used by some growers who feel that it is healthier for a seed to stay in the same pot for the germination and seedling stage. To plant direct into soil, the medium should be specialist seed soil.

A successful germinate cannabis seed example.

It needs to be moistened ahead of planting and the seed should be placed into a hole that is 1 cm deep and lightly covered ie don’t pack the soil down which may make it more difficult for the seed to break through.

A newly germinated cannabis seed breaks the surface.

To ensure it has a nice microclimate to help with germination, add a ‘roof’ in the form of  a plastic wrap (cling film) covering, poked through with a couple of air holes or a small water bottle with the base removed.

Germinate cannabis seeds in rockwool

Rockwool is a medium favored by hydroponics growers, but it can be used as a starter kit for germinating cannabis seeds. It is a manmade substance (but from natural materials basaltic rock and chalk) and is inert.

Rockwool, which is presented in cubes, is a good medium because of its excellent moisture retention qualities.

Once planted with cannabis seeds, rockwool cubes are placed in a lidded container (ideally a heated propagation tray in a dark space). However, if you don’t do hydroponics, this is a method best left to those who do!

Conclusion

So this article has shown some alternative options for germinating cannabis seeds. However, we will repeat that at Paradise Seeds our preferred germinating options are the saucer and tissue paper and the glass of water methods.

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