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How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds | Complete Guide

germinate marijuana seeds

There are several different ways to germinate cannabis seeds. All of them are effective, although some can be more time-consuming than others.

Here’s a complete guide on germinating and transplanting marijuana seeds for ideal sprouting.

So, whether you are growing cannabis indoors or outdoors or using the traditional germination method (in the ground), or hydroponics, you’ll need to follow a few simple rules.


Cannabis Seeds

Cannabis seeds are the reproductive part of the cannabis plant. They’re popularly used for medicinal and recreational purposes due to their psychoactive effects. Depending on the strain, the seeds come in different shapes, sizes, and colors.

These seeds can be used for cannabis cultivation, as they have the potential to grow into a mature cannabis plant. Due to cannabis legalization and the growing interest in alternative health and wellness practices, they have become increasingly popular in recent years.


How to Identify a Healthy Seed

Many factors can affect cannabis germination rates, including genetics, environmental conditions, and seed quality. Nonetheless, checking for these factors can increase the chances of obtaining viable cannabis seeds.



Healthy cannabis seeds are usually dark brown, sometimes with black or grey hues. Dark seeds can also have stripes or mottling. Light-colored seeds or those with a greenish tint may not be healthy.



Cannabis seeds can vary in size, but healthy seeds are generally plump and round. Plus, they have a uniform shape. Seeds that are too small or too large may not be viable seeds.


Surface Texture

A viable seed should have a hard, smooth, shiny surface with no cracks or dents. Seeds with a dull or rough surface may be old or damaged during storage or handling.



A healthy cannabis seed should feel heavy and solid when held in hand. Seeds that feel lightweight or hollow may be immature or not viable.



Cannabis seeds lose viability over time, so purchase seeds from a reputable source. Storing them properly in a cool, dry place helps maintain their freshness and helps them grow into healthy plant.


Male or Female

It’s not possible to identify the sex of a cannabis seed just by viewing it. However, you may determine the sex of a mature cannabis plant by examining its pre-flowers. These small, immature flowers appear at the nodes where the branches meet the main stem.

To identify male cannabis plants, look for small, sac-like structures called pollen sacs forming at the pre-flowers base. These sacs contain pollen and will eventually burst open. Then, they release the pollen into the air to fertilize female plants.

To identify female cannabis plants, look for small hair-like structures called pistils emerging from the pre-flower base. These pistils eventually develop into flowers and will be pollinated by the male marijuana plant to produce seeds.

It’s important to identify the sex of cannabis plants early in the growing process. Male marijuana plants do not produce the potent buds typically sought after for medicinal or recreational use. In fact, they reduce the quality and yield of a cannabis crop by pollinating female plants.

This causes them to produce seeds instead of the desired flowers. Therefore, many growers prefer to cultivate only female plants. This may be achieved through various methods, such as feminized cannabis seeds or cloning.


Factors Required to Germinate Weed Seeds Successfully

The three vital factors for cannabis germination are humidity, heat, and darkness. When a cannabis seed is given a moist environment, the small root inside starts to grow and elongate, seeking out moisture.

This growth causes the seed shell to crack open, revealing a delicate and tiny root emerging from the seed. Given optimal conditions, the cannabis seed can sprout within a day or two of germination.

However, the quality of the seeds is also crucial for successful germination. Buying the best marijuana seeds only in reliable stores that guarantee at least 90% germination.


germinate weed seeds


Marijuana Germination Methods


Germinate Cannabis Seeds in Cotton Pads

For this method, you’ll need two cotton pads, a zip-lock bag, a gas-free glass of water, and seeds. The procedure is as follows:

  • Place the seeds in a glass of water for 5 to 6 hours so that it “wakes up.”
  • Moisten 2 cotton pads with water and squeeze them out. They should stay moist but not soaking wet.
  • Remove the seeds from the glass of water. Place them between the pads, take the bag, and seal the resulting “sandwich” in it.
  • Leave in a warm (20-25° C) dark place.


Usually, the seeds show the root after 12 to 36 hours, but sometimes they may need several days, especially if the seeds were stored for a long time. Therefore, giving the seeds rest and not disturbing them every hour is essential.

Once the “tail” of the germinated cannabis seed has emerged, it can be planted in a grow pot or grow bag. If high-quality cannabis soil is not readily available, a mixture of rose and lemon soils in a 1:1 ratio can be a suitable alternative.

When planting the seed, make sure to not exceed a depth of 1 cm, ideally 3-5 mm, and ensure that the root is facing downward or at least sideways. Avoid planting the seed with the root facing upwards.


Germinate Cannabis Seeds in Soil

The recommended germination method for cannabis seeds is to directly sow them in the growing environment. Prior to planting, it is advised to soak the seeds in water with a root growth stimulator for 5-6 hours.

When planting, the seeds should be placed at a depth of 5-10 millimeters in soil, coconut, or another substrate. Deep planting can result in slower germination and an increased risk of rotting in a humid environment.

The top layer of soil dries quickly, so it is crucial to keep it moist by regularly watering with the appropriate amount of water as it dries. Some growers prefer this method, as it is pretty simple and does not have strong stress on the seeds, and their roots grow and develop in the soil.


Germinating Weed Seeds in Mineral Wool

Mineral wool is a substrate that does not react chemically and is ideal for seed germination, particularly if you intend to cultivate in a hydroponic system.

In this case, placing the seeds in the mineral wool and pouring them with water is necessary. To promote growth, a root growth stimulator can be added to the water if desired.

Then, place the wet mineral wool with seeds in a plastic container with a lid or mini-greenhouse kit to maintain high humidity and reduce the need for additional watering during germination.

Place the container in a warm and dark area, and the seeds should germinate within 1 to 2 days.


Germinating Cannabis Seeds with Paper Towel Method

The method of germinating marijuana seeds in wet wipes is one of the most common worldwide.

The essence of this method is to awaken the seeds to life between wet wipes. To do this, you will need two saucers and paper towel.

  1. At the bottom of the first saucer, slightly moistened with water, put several layers of paper towel (you don’t need to soak them in water). Then put the seeds on them at the maximum distance from each other.
  2. Cover the seeds with a few more paper and add a little water. Do not soak the napkins too much (if necessary, squeeze out excess water).
  3. Cover everything with a second inverted saucer so that they form a kind of shell. The stable conditions necessary for germination will be maintained inside this shell: no light and humidity.
  4. Place the saucers in a warm place with a temperature of 20-25° C. (they mustn’t be exposed to direct sunlight).
  5. Check the humidity level every day. If necessary, add a little water.


It is important to note that the seeds should be hummed, not wet. If the seeds are wet, they will germinate for a very long time (10 to 14 days) as the cannabis roots break out of the seeds in search of more water, and in this case – they will be provided with the necessary amount of water directly inside the shell.

At the same time, if the seeds are too dry, it can significantly increase the risk of root damage.


Germinate Marijuana Seeds in Peat Tablets

Peat tablets are a compressed peat mass of a small fraction, to which the nutrients and minerals necessary for the healthy development of the young seedling are added.

It is placed in a special shell of a thin organic mesh to prevent the tablet from crumbling. The peat structure moderates the plant’s roots, does not squeeze them, and evenly distributes moisture.

Before planting the seed, it is filled with warm water. You can’t fear waterlogging the tablet – it will not absorb excess water. In 20-30 seconds, the peat tablet will swell and increase in height several times.

Marijuana seeds are placed in a designated recess and carefully sprinkled with a peat 1-2 mm layer. Covering the tablet with a transparent glass or food film will be necessary to create a greenhouse effect.

Transplanting into the ground occurs after the sprout appears a little stronger. Usually, it takes no more than a week after germination, but with autoflowering cannabis seeds, it is better not to delay and transplant after 2-3 days.

The transfer is very simple. The entire tablet is placed in the recess, prepared in the ground, and then lightly sprinkled on top of the earth, which needs to be slightly compacted. This ensures the smooth growth of the autoflower, reducing the likelihood of stress to almost zero.


How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds in Water

This method is especially effective for seeds with an elastic shell or for “awakening” seeds stored in the refrigerator for over a year. Practice shows that when using this method, about 90% of cannabis seeds successfully germinate.

Fill a small glass with clean water. You can also use tap water if you are sure that the pH leves does not exceed critical levels. The most optimal for germinating seeds is a neutral pH value of ~ 7.3.

If the water is cold, wait until it warms to room temperature (23 to 27° C). Then, carefully place the seeds on the water’s surface using a spoon. The seeds should float, so don’t touch them with your fingers.

Next, place the glass in a dark, warm place (20-25° C) for 2-3 days. If, after 72 hours, the seeds have not sprouted, add 3-4 drops of hydrogen peroxide to the water and put it back in a dark place for another two days.

When the cannabis seeds germinate, and the root length is about 1 cm, they can be taken out of the water and transplanted into the ground.


Transplanting Sprouts After Germination

Transplanting cannabis seed sprouts after germination is an important step in the cannabis growing process. Once a cannabis seed has successfully germinated and sprouted, it must be transplanted into a larger container or directly into the ground.


Transplanting Step by Step

  1. Prepare a new container with fresh soil and water it thoroughly. Choose a container at least twice the size of the previous container. Then, fill it with fresh soil or soilless growing medium, and water it thoroughly before transplanting the seedling.
  2. Carefully remove the young plant from its current container, careful not to damage the roots or stem.
  3. Place the young seedlings into the new container and plant them at the same depth as in the previous container. Fill in any gaps with additional soil, and water it thoroughly.
  4. After transplanting, place the young marijuana seedlings in a suitable environment with adequate lighting, temperature, and humidity. Monitor it closely for signs of stress or shock, such as wilting or yellowing leaves, and adjust the environment as needed.


By following these simple steps and providing appropriate care, you can help ensure a successful transplant and healthy growth of your cannabis plant.


Provide Light

Providing adequate light after transplanting cannabis seeds is crucial to their growth and development. Young plants require a certain amount of light to continue growing and photosynthesizing. Insufficient light can result in stunted growth, weak stems, and poor overall health.

After transplanting, it’s best to give seedlings 16 to 18 hours of light daily. This can be accomplished using artificial lighting, such as fluorescent or LED lights, or natural sunlight. If using artificial lighting, place it approximately 2 to 3 inches above the seedlings to prevent stretching.

It’s also important to monitor the temperature and humidity levels in the growing environment. Maintain distance between the light source and the seedlings to prevent heat stress or light burn. As the cannabis seedlings grow and develop, adjust the distance between the light and the plants to ensure appropriate light exposure.


germinate cannabis seeds


Frequent Answer to Questions


How Long Does It Take to Germinate Cannabis Seeds in a Wet Paper Towel?

Some seeds may germinate within a few days in the paper towel. Germination should be complete in around 24 to 96 hours. Older and weaker cannabis seeds tend to require more time than younger ones.


Can You Put Marijuana Seeds Straight Into the Soil?

Yes! It’s a possible and natural way for cannabis plants to grow. Ensure you use the right soil (mildly fertilized potting soil or a seed starter).

Do not add nutrients for the first two weeks.


How Long Do Weed Seeds Take to Germinate?

It can take 24 to 48 hours for your cannabis seeds to germinate. Older seeds can take up to 96 hours to germinate.

Ensure they have the right conditions; somewhere moist, warm, and dark. These are ideal places for cannabis seeds to germinate and they will sprout.


How Germinate Cannabis Seeds Fast?

One easy way to make all your seeds grow faster is by pre-soaking them for 12 hours in the water in the darkness. Don’t soak the seed for more than 24 hours because they could rot.

Then plant it immediately into moist soil and watch how fast the seeds sprout!


Should I Soak Cannabis Seeds Before Germination?

Soaking cannabis seeds before germination is not necessary. But it can potentially germinate your cannabis seeds faster by softening the seed coat and making it easier for the taproot to emerge.

However, soaking too long can also harm the seed and increase the risk of fungal growth.


Is It Better to Germinate Cannabis Seeds in the Dark or Light?

It’s better to germinate seeds in a dark environment. Light exposure can inhibit germination by preventing gibberellic acid production, a hormone that stimulates seed germination.


What Are the Tricks for Germinating Cannabis Seeds?

Some tricks for germinating seeds include using a moist environment, such as a humidity dome, to encourage germination. Another trick is to use a germination medium, such as peat pellets or rock wool cubes, to provide a sterile environment.


How Often Should You Water Weed Seeds During Germination?

During germination, cannabis seeds should be kept moist but not overwatered. Watering the seeds twice a day with a spray bottle or misting the final growing medium is recommended.


What is the Best Method for Germinating Marijuana Seeds?

One popular method is the paper towel method. It involves placing seeds between moist paper towels and keeping them warm and dark until they sprout.


When Do Germinated Seeds Sprout After Planting?

After planting germinated cannabis seeds, they typically sprout within 2 to 7 days. This depends on the strain, temperature, and humidity. However, it’s not uncommon for some seeds to take up to 10 days `to sprout.


Wrapping Up with Germinating Cannabis Seed

You can get the necessary healthy seedlings in a few weeks using one of the above methods.

However, do not forget that there is no 100% guarantee of germination of all seeds since they are living organisms.

So always keep this in mind and germinate a few more seeds.

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