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Learn how to germinate marijuana seeds

How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds

Every plant starts with a seed, including marijuana. A person might see a seed on the ground and assume it is a pebble. However, this tiny item holds the food needed for the plant to support itself.

When the seed germinates, the food turns into sugars needed to allow the plant to break through the casing and form roots. The young plant then depends on the environment to provide nutrients necessary for its survival. Scientists refer to this process as germination.


What is Cannabis Germination? 

Germination transforms a seed into a plant and launches the growth process. The seed starts the germination process when it gets the required amount of moisture. When this happens, the seed grows in size, and the shell breaks open. The germ opening appears, and the root emerges. This root allows the plant to get nutrients from its surroundings. 

How to germinate marijuana seeds

This helps the seedling benefit from the light and earth and survive. Growers must also know how to germinate weed seeds for the best results. 

How to germinate cannabis seeds

Prepare the Environment

Every seed comes ready to germinate, but the environment plays a role in their success. Every seed needs moisture to expand and break through the shell. Growers need to handle the seeds as little as possible to ensure they break no structures. Marijuana plants need springtime temperatures, those that run between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 and 22 degrees Celsius.

Growers must provide these three things to increase the odds of success during the germination stage. Successful germination of cannabis seeds establishes the foundation for future growth, which is why a person’s choice of seeds remains of great importance.

That is why indoor germination ensures the plants are protected during a critical time of development. The controlled environment means they aren’t exposed to extreme weather when they are most at risk of harm. In case you want to plant outdoor cannabis plans, you can move them outside once the plants reach a level of maturity where they can withstand harsher conditions.

Germinating the Seeds

The best way to germinate pot seeds involves using paper towels. Growers prefer this method, as it helps keep the seeds protected and moist. It’s best to use non-porous paper towels, preferably single-ply paper towels with no pattern. Cloth-like paper towels could lead to the roots growing into the towel. Maintain the appropriate temperature and never place the seeds in a windowsill. The heat generated by the sun coming through the window harms the developing plant.

What will you need?

  • A plate
  • Bottled or purified water
  • Seeds
  • Paper towel
  • Tweezers


Place the seeds between two towels and put the towel-enclosed seeds between two plates. A bowl turned upside down works in place of the plate, or the grower might place the towel-enclosed seeds in a plastic bag.

Paper Towels Germination Method

You can download our step-by-step guide to learn how to germinate by using the paper towels method.

– How long does it take to germinate seeds?

In approximately 2 to 5 days, the seed expand, breaks open and the tiny root appears. You will need to wait until the root is 0.1 or 0.2 inches or 3-5mm long before placing the plant in the soil. This root, referred to as the taproot, serves as the foundation from which all other roots of the plant develop. 

When transplanting a seedling, take care of the fragile roots. The roots could become entangled in the wet paper towel if the grower isn’t careful. Tweezers become of great help when moving delicate sprouts. 

Cannabis Seeds Germination

– Watering Cannabis

Once the seeds have started to sprout, and have been moved to soil, it’s crucial to water the seeds carefully. Too little water can cause the seedlings to die, and too much can cause them to drown. 

Watering Cannabis During Germination

Water the plants just enough to start to see water dripping below the container they’re in. This should be plenty of water for a few days, but if the soil starts to look dry, it is possible to add a little bit more water.

– Temperature and Light

Cannabis plants need light to grow and thrive. Mature plants use light to convert water and carbon dioxide into sugars. The plant uses the sugars to grow through a process known as photosynthesis. This lighting provides the seed with the heat it needs to open the shell and send the root out. 

Invest in fluorescent lights to aid in this process. Choose lights with high output and a color temperature of 6500K. These lights require little power and don’t produce large amounts of heat. Growers prefer these lights when growing marijuana from seed because they needn’t worry about them being too close to the plant. 

Some growers, especially those new to this craft, use incandescent lights when germinating cannabis seeds. They do so to avoid spending money on a hobby they may not enjoy. These lights won’t work when the roots have emerged, and the plant begins to grow. Nevertheless, they work during the germination process, and growers appreciate this. 

Grow Marijuana lights

– Why Germinate Weed Seeds Indoors Using the Paper Towel Method? 

Growers want to know why they should germinate seeds indoors using the paper towel method when they could eliminate this step and grow the seeds from start to finish outdoors or in a pot. Germinating cannabis seeds indoors increases the odds of success. Growers find it easy to maintain the necessary water levels, light exposure, and temperature. When growers attempt to germinate their seeds outdoors, they have no control over the weather and its impact on the emerging seeds. In addition, growers must wait for the last frost before starting their seeds.

Germinating weed seeds indoors eliminates this barrier. Starting plants indoors, including those made using g13 strain seeds, extends the growing season while boosting the plants’ chance of survival. 

Moving the Marijuana Seeds

– How to relocate your germinated seeds

Once the seeds germinate, the focus turns to relocating them. The taproot remains very fragile, so take care not to touch it. While some roots survive when mishandled, the plant won’t thrive. No grower wants to see their hard work go to waste because they were careless. 

The white root needs to point downward when planted. Place it approximately 0.5 to 1 inch below the surface of the growing medium. This places the top of the seeds slightly below the surface. Cover the plant lightly and allow it to sit for ten days.

Growers often worry about planting their seedlings upside down. When this happens, nature takes over. If the seedling has room for the roots to grow in a downward direction, they do. The plant makes its way to the surface with time.

How to relocate your germinated cannabis seeds

– Transplanting your Sprouts Outdoors

Knowing when to move young cannabis plants outdoors is something many growers struggle with. Care must be taken to ensure the young plant is not harmed during the process. Go slowly as you move each plant to make certain this does not happen. All chance of frost must be gone before the plants move outside, or they could be injured or destroyed. In the event the plants are moved outdoors and a late frost occurs, protect the plants so they are not damaged.

How do I germinate marijuana seeds

Location plays a role in this because cannabis plants need a certain amount of sun exposure each day.

Photoperiod cannabis plants need 18 hours of sunlight every day to thrive during the grow phase and 12 hours during the bloom phase. If they don’t get this amount, their development slows and they start flowering. Furthermore, mutations occur when plants aren’t exposed to the correct amount of light, the yield decreases, and the potency of the buds declines.

If this is a concern, consider growing autoflowering seeds or photoperiod strains with dominant tropical Sativa genetics. These plants thrive when exposed to 18 to 20 hours of light every day regardless of the phase.

– Hardening Cannabis Plants

Furthermore, cannabis plants need to be hardened before being moved outdoors. Indoor light lacks the spectrum and intensity of sunlight, and young plants can be severely damaged when placed in full sun. They may never recover from the stress.

However, steps may be taken to prevent this from happening.

STEP 1. Set the plants out for a few hours every day in the shade. Allow them to receive filtered sunlight during this time.

STEP 2. Once the plants become accustomed to filtered sunlight, move the plants into direct dun for a few hours. Avoid the hours of 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. because this is when the intensity of the sun is at its peak. Do this over a period of one to four weeks to prevent damage to the plants.

This process likewise allows plants to adjust to the heat and humidity outdoors. Nevertheless, growers need to take care. Black pots attract heat and can be deadly to developing plants, as the full sun hits the roots almost directly. Aim for white cloth pots to avoid this issue. Not only will this prevent the roots from becoming overheated, but it will allow for more airflow and automatic root pruning.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Cannabis Germination Process

Should seeds be germinated before planting them? 

Yes, most plants benefit from going through the germination process before the grower plants them. 

Should growers cover their seeds during the germination process? 

Always cover germinating weed seeds. This traps the moisture while reducing the risk of evaporation. 

Once a person knows how to germinate marijuana seeds, they start on a journey that ends with an abundant harvest. Learn about how to grow cannabis. Germinating marijuana seeds is only the first step in the process. The more one knows about growing marijuana from seed, the easier the process becomes. Begin your journey today, as it is one you won’t regret when you see the results. 

Determining If a Seed is Healthy

Growers want to know how to distinguish between healthy and frail seeds. However, doing so is difficult. If seeds appear whiteor pale-green, they could have issues during the germination process. Nevertheless, growers need to plant these seeds, as they could thrive. There’s no way to know until one tries.

If all seeds aren’t needed immediately, store the extras in a cool, dry, dark area, such as a refrigerator. This helps to keep them safe until the grower is ready to begin germinating the weed seeds. 

Some growers learn crushed seeds mean they aren’t viable. Don’t believe this myth. Germinate each seed, as some that appear weak will grow. Others that look healthy don’t germinate. When working with a cannabis seed bank USA, ask about their germination guarantee.

Certain seed banks now replace any seeds that don’t germinate. However, the grower must know how to germinate weed seeds to ensure the guarantee remains in place.

Alternative Germination Methods

– Water Germination

An alternative method that may be used is water germination. Although it may seem that this method would not work due to the amount of water and light present during the process, it is actually very effective.

The key to successfully germinating cannabis seed in water is to not leave the seeds in the water once the tail has emerged from the seed casing. This typically takes 24 to 48 hours, although the seed can be left in the water for seven days without fear of it being destroyed.

Watering Germination Cannabis Seeds

What will you need?

  • Distilled water is needed.

STEP 1. Fill a glass with this water and let it sit out until the water reaches room temperature, approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Nutrients do not need to be added to the water at this time.

STEP 2. Add two or three seeds to the glass and monitor the seeds for changes.

STEP 3. Every other day, replace the water with fresh water, being sure to allow the water to come to room temperature before placing the seeds in it.

STEP 4. The marijuana seeds should begin to crack open within two to four days and the taproot appears. Once this happens, start again with that paper towel method. However, never let the roots get longer than 2 to 5 mm before planting them.

STEP 5. Cover the roots lightly with soil and place the pots under lights before continuing with the growing process.

One thing to keep in mind when germinating Gorilla Glue Regular seeds or Sour Diesel Feminized seeds in water is that these seeds do need to be handled gently at times. These seeds are extremely fragile as are the roots. Care must be taken to ensure they are not damaged or the plant might not develop properly. Again, be sure to place the root so it is facing down.

– Other Germination Methods

Starter cubes and plugs are two you may wish to consider. While they don’t always work, they do eliminate the concern of damaging the plant when relocating it to a new home.

Other available methods include Rockwool, peat pellets, and planting directly in the soil. However, before using any of these methods, be sure to check with the seed supplier. Many suppliers only guarantee certain germination methods, and the buyer must be aware of this to ensure the guarantee remains in place as the growing process begins.

Where Do the Seeds Come From? 

Cannabis plants come in both sexes. Female marijuana plants produce the buds individuals desire. Males come with pollen sacs and bear the responsibility of pollinating female plants. When they do so, the female flowers produce seeds. 

Once these seeds mature, the female plant dies off, dropping seeds to the ground. These seeds either begin developing to produce a crop the next season or someone might harvest them. Manufacturers use the seeds to create food products or seed oil. Some individuals collect these seeds and store them for future use

Cannabis used for recreational or medical use comes from female plants that haven’t been pollinated. The grower used seeds that produce no males or they removed the male plants before they could pollinate the females. When females don’t produce seeds, they turn their attention to producing the buds people desire. The seeds produce high-potency marijuana known as sinsemilla. This translates to seedless.