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Best Methods to Germinate Cannabis Seeds

Every plant begins with a seed! The journey to outstanding weed plants begins with the cannabis seed germination process. While it is relatively straight forward, there are tips and tricks to make sure that the methodology provides a smooth transition to the seedling phase.

First things first, always buy your cannabis seeds from a trusted source which provides an assurance of quality (in the case of Paradise Seeds this is 96%). If that box on the checklist has been ticked, it’s time for the next stage!

The most popular ways to germinate cannabis seeds

As the cannabis industry has grown there is a whole range of equipment and hardware for every stage of the cannabis plant grow process. However, cannabis seed germination requires no investment in kit and uses items which are lying around the home.

Tissue paper (kitchen towel or toilet paper), a plate/saucer (or a glass for method 2) a warm, dark place for nature to are all you need to start germinating:

  • Method 1: The Tissue paper method.
  • Method 2: The glass of water method.
  • Alternative methods explained.

Method 1: Cannabis seed germination using tissue paper

  • Take a plate or saucer and lay a layer of tissue paper down – toilet paper will do nicely!
  • Moisten this by soaking the tissue (and running off the excess water) and then place your seeds on top.
  • On top of this add another layer of tissue paper and soak. Place in a warm dark place and make sure your tissue paper stays moist.
  • Your seeds should germinate between 1 and 5 days given the right conditions.

Tissue paper technique for weed seed germination.

Method 2: Cannabis seed germination using a glass of water

  • This one is as simple as just pouring a glass of water and placing your weed seeds inside.
  • The only thing you need to do is make sure the water is unchlorinated (so to be safe use bottled rather than tap water).
  • Place in a warm dark place for up to 36 hours.
  • If they have not germinated in that time, revert to the tissue paper method.
  • * Some growers will add a couple of drops of H2O to the water to help loosen up the seal of the seed (but this is more usually recommended when germinating seed which may have been storage for a while).
The glass of water method to germinate cannabis seeds.

A visual guide to cannabis seed germination: Step by step

Both these techniques are Paradise’s recommended methods for cannabis seed germination and they are demonstrated in this video guide.

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

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.

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 cannabis 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 germinated 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!

How long do cannabis seeds take to grow?

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.

Conclusion

So this article has shown some alternative options which are used to germinate 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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