Carrying out a good germination stage — like any initial stage in the cultivation of marijuana — is decisive in obtaining shoots that develop rapidly and obtain powerful seedlings. In this guide we will learn how to germinate our seeds so that they sprout in good condition and how to treat them when they do.
Make sure before you start to have the growing environment ready and time available to spend. Once the process begins the plant will not wait for you.
- 1 Introduction: Cannabis Seed
- 2 Germination methods
- 3 Transplant Sprouts once they have Germinated!
- 4 Common Mistakes You Should Avoid
Introduction: Cannabis Seed
If you germinate a seed the right way, it will swell until it breaks the shell, and the first thing you will see sprouting is a small white dot called a radicle. It is responsible for absorbing water and that is where the roots of your plant will develop.
The radicle will start to grow and push the seed up. Next, the first “leaves” called cotyledons will sprout, which will finish breaking the seed until it can fully open. At this point you should already have it in a medium where it can grow.
Next, the first characteristic leaves of marijuana will emerge — the cotyledons are not really leaves, and eventually dry out and fall off — as the root begins to develop.
Congratulations your plant has been formed correctly 🙂
How do I know if a seed is healthy?
It is possible to germinate seeds found in joint bought in the street.
But the best way to ensure that they are healthy is to buy them from banks with a good reputation and history, choosing varieties of marijuana seeds for your type of crop.
In principle, any seed that is dark and does not break easily is a healthy seed that will germinate well. On the other hand, if it is white or pale green, it is likely that it will not germinate.
Obviously it is always better to do the test before deciding to discard it. If the plant is born, it was a healthy seed.
How can I know if it is Female or Male?
There is no difference in sight. With a seed that you do not know where it came from it will be impossible to know the sex of the plant.
You will have to wait for the plant to grow and begin its flowering stage to know if it is male or female.
To ensure that the plant will be female, you can buy feminized seeds from a bank. If you do not want to buy online it is possible that you get in Growshops in your city, which they resell from these same banks. In Argentina and other countries where legalization is more complicated you are going to have to resort to donating, you can search for phone numbers for cannabis organizations or try Facebook groups.
I can tell you more about the types of seeds in this other guide.
What does a seed need to Germinate?
– Moisture is the first thing the seed needs to activate, the radicle will break the shell in search of more moisture.
– Heat (just enough), the ideal is between 21ºC and 24ºC emulating the temperature of spring.
– Leave it alone while you wait for the radicle to appear.
– Be careful when we touch or move it, it is very fragile and can break.
– Oxygen needs to be able to breathe, not flood it with water.
– Darkness is not totally necessary, but it is good for the radicle not to have direct light.
Humidity and temperature is the most important thing.
You must keep the germination medium always moist — without flooding — if after activating a dry medium is found, it will die. On the other hand, if you drown her, she won’t be able to breathe properly.
It will germinate better if you keep it warm. You can put a “normal” bulb close to it to give it heat — but remember that the root should not receive light — or better yet, put the germination medium on top of the power supply of the Play, Xbox, laptop or whatever you have. I do not recommend using 3DS, PS Vita or Nintendo Switch 😛
It can develop as soon as 12 hours, or it can take up to 2 or 4 days. If more days pass you can already know that it will not germinate (or that we made a mistake). In any case, don’t underestimate the speed of seed growth, have your growing environment ready and check them a few times a day — without fiddling with it.
There are several methods to germinate seeds that are very simple and work perfectly, in this guide we will see 3 of the most popular.
Activate them in Water
Letting the seeds soak overnight is one of the most widely used methods by marijuana growers.
You simply fill a glass with lukewarm water — between 21ºC and 28ºC — and drop the seeds inside.
Let them rest quietly until they open and the radicle comes out, at which time you will take them out of the water (taking care not to touch the radicle with your fingers) and you will proceed to plant them in the substrate or in peat tablets as I explain in the next section.
Some seeds take longer to sprout than others, but after 24 hours they could drown. If time passes and the seed has not sprouted, it is advisable to transfer it to another germination medium and leave it near a heat source.
In the following video, on germinating with peat tablets, you can see the process of activating seeds by submerging them in water.
But the most popular and the one I use most frequently is to sprout on kitchen paper.
- Put several layers of paper on a plate or a tupper.
- Dampen the paper with a sprayer until everything is covered.
- Important! Drain the excess water in case there is too much, you do not want water to accumulate on the plate.
- Deposit the seeds on the paper, leaving a few centimeters of separation between them.
- Cover them with several other layers of paper and moisten again.
- Finally cover them with another plate or lid, and secure them so they don’t separate.
When you have it armed, place it on a warm surface. A good trick is to deposit it on a transformer like that of a laptop or a PlayStation, but one that should not be moving in the coming days.
If you can’t find a transformer, you can heat it up by bringing it “normal” lamps, put them on top of the refrigerator, or anything that emits a little heat.
Now is the time to leave them alone for a few days. Separate the papers only a few times a day to make sure you keep the paper damp and find out when they are born.
Once the root has emerged from the seed and is beginning to open, it is time to transplant it into the growth medium.
Dehydrated Peat Pellets
If you don’t like crafts, one of the best methods is to use germination pills — they can be bought in nurseries, grow shops, etc.
These are specific to start seeds of all kinds, they are very easy to use and will have the perfect conditions to germinate.
- Activating the seeds by immersing them in water — as I explained in the previous section — can be beneficial for using peat tablets.
- Once activated, the tablets are immersed in water — in a different container — to hydrate them, about 5 minutes will be enough for them to take shape.
- Then you simply make a hole in the pill and bury the seed, taking care that the root is down and the top is not buried more than 5mm.
Transplant Sprouts once they have Germinated!
If you germinated on kitchen paper – or similar – or activated the seeds in water, once the radicle expands it is time to transplant them into a medium where they can grow. They are still very delicate, so this transplant should not be the final one, but the first.
Small pots or disposable plastic cups are a good option. I don’t recommend that you plant the seeds directly into the soil or pot because it will be more difficult to maintain the conditions you need to finish the process properly. A small medium will help you to regulate humidity and temperature.
You will need to get a good substrate, airy and loose. If you use soil from your garden — it is not the best thing — make sure before that it does not form mud when it is wet, and that it does not remain hard when it has dried either.
Step by Step
- Fill your pots or cups with substrate.
- It is important to make holes in the cups in case of excess water this drains below.
- Moisten the substrate without soaking it. Using a sprayer makes things easier.
- Make a hole in the substrate with a pencil or pen.
Deep enough for the radicle to enter completely, but the top to be barely buried about 5mm.
- To transfer the sprout, take it gently and insert it into the hole with the radicle down.
- Cover the hole gently with a little soil so it can come out smoothly.
- Moisten the top of the soil a little again.
When planting the seed / sprout try to use small tweezers so you don’t have to touch them with your hands. In case you do not have it, be very careful when handling it and do not touch the radicle with your fingers.
In case you have germinated in peat tablets, you can transplant the whole tablet into the glass or small pot. As for humidity, the same rules apply, moisten without soaking.
Pay attention that the substrate is always wet as time passes. The top will dry quickly, stay tuned and keep it moist, but be careful not to water if it’s still wet.
Light: now it’s the time!
Now is when you must give them light to go out to look for it, and when they are outside, they open their cotyledons quickly to make way for the first leaves.
You can put them indoors if you are growing indoors.
If you will grow outdoors, be careful that the sun is not too strong, if the pot or glass heats up too much they will burn. You can put them where they receive sun indirectly, for example in a window.
It may take a few hours or a few days, but in a short time the seedling will come out of the substrate looking for light. If after 10 days it still has not left, it is likely that it will never do so.
Before moving to the final growth medium, wait until the seedlings are stable and have at least 4 leaves so that they can withstand the last transplant without too much stress.
The good thing about plastic cups is that you can cut them out making it easier to transplant.
Common Mistakes You Should Avoid
Looking at them too much
Constantly uncovering the seeds to see how they come can stop the whole process. You must be patient and let nature do its work in peace.
If the cultivation environment is not warm, the seed will understand that it is not yet their turn to be born. Between 21ºC and 25ºC is the ideal temperature.
Touching them with your Hands
Putting your finger in the radicle can cost you the crop, it is very fragile and easily separates from the seed. Always grab it by the part of the shell or – failing that – the cotyledons, always delicately.
Too few water
I never tire of mentioning that they must be in a humid environment 24 hours a day. If you let the environment dry the bud will die.
Too much water
Once the seed is open it needs oxygen from the air to live. If you don’t let it breathe it will die. If you can use a water sprayer it will be easier for you not to go overboard, also always make sure to drain the excess.
Hard pipe water
The water of some cities comes loaded with salts or lime, in these cases it is better to use bottled water (if you plan to irrigate your crop with this water you should see ways to clean it because it will also affect the growth of the plant).
The compost could burn it, also the plant does not need fertilizers or stimulants during its first weeks of life. Yes, a quality substrate will be necessary.
Planting them too deep
It must be buried enough so that it is barely covered and can easily break through. The ideal height is about 5 millimeters.
Using Moisture Domes?
According to the Mandala Seeds bank, it is not recommended to prevent ventilation using domes because it can quickly cause fungi in the germination environment.
On the other hand, Sensi Seeds bank does recommend them but taking care not to use them for a long time and mentions the importance of ventilation.
Thank you for reading
Any of the methods listed in this guide will achieve a germination percentage close to 100% —there can always be seeds that do not germinate, even the most prestigious banks cannot guarantee that all their seeds will sprout.
The interesting thing is that although some will be unsuccessful and others will take longer, some others will open fast and grow strongly. This will tell you from the beginning which are the most vigorous genetics or plants, and they are probably the ones you will choose if you want to have mother plants to make clones or your own seeds.
Now that you know how to germinate and transplant the seedlings, the next thing to study is how to take care of your plants in their first weeks of life. Everything that has to do with the growing environment you must have prepared before starting to germinate, or you will not have enough time to treat your seedlings properly.
In a short time I will write the guides on preparing the growing environment — whether you are going to grow outdoors or indoors — and on the treatments for the first week of vegetative growth. If you want to find out when they are published, sign up for the mailing list below.