Marijuana (Cannabis)

How To Germinate Marijuana Seeds


Three methods of germinating seeds are described with additional sections related to sterilizing water, temperature, humidity, after germination, notes.

When you decide a seed is ready to grow a plant from, you will have to initiate the plant life cycle by germinating the seed. Directions shown on this page will work with all cannabis strains.

Germinating marijuana seed is comprised of supplying the seed with moisture and keeping it in an environment with constant warm temperatures and high humidity.

Water for germinating seeds.
Paper towel germination for soil and hydroponics.
Seed tray germination for soil and hydroponics.
Hydroponic germination.
Temperature, Humidity....
After germinating.
Notes.


Water

You can try using tap water or well water to germinate seed. But depending on the source they may contain impurities that will have a negative effect on the seed.

If you want to start with pure water, or if tap or well water fail, reverse osmosis and distilled water are virtually free of impurities. Very mild nutrient solution can also be employed for germinating seeds.

For sterilizing the water or nutrient solution that the seeds will be supplied with, hydrogen peroxide is an option. This will ensure the vulnerable seeds have some protection against mold and other potential threats.

Hydrogen peroxide sold in pharmacies usually comes in concentrations between 3%-6%, or larger. This is too strong to be applied directly without being diluted first.

To make sterile water that can safely wet paper towel or soil, soilless, hydroponic media for germination:
Dilute 1 part 3% hydrogen peroxide with 6 parts water.
Dilute 1 part 4.5% hydrogen peroxide with 9 parts water.
Dilute 1 part 6% hydrogen peroxide with 12 parts water.
Dilute 1 part 30% hydrogen peroxide with 60 parts water.


Paper Towel Germination For Hydroponics Or Soil

Marijuana seeds can be hard to germinate directly where they will be grown. Germinating seed on paper towel is a method that works for hydroponics or soil.

Get the items required for the job together and prior to working sterilize your hands, the plate, bowl, tools, work surface, anything that will contact or be in the vicinity of the seed.

For sterilization purposes you can wipe things with a clean cloth moistened by hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or a similar method that you prefer.

Do not sanitize the paper towel with full strength hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or anything similar. Use hydrogen peroxide diluted with water to soak. This will wet the paper towel for germinating, and sterilize it.

Soak 2-4 sheets of clean paper towel (1-2 sheets for the top and 1-2 sheets for the bottom) with sterile water, or if you prefer, a very mild nutrient solution.

After the paper towel has been soaked, squeeze it to the point where it does not drip water unless you apply light pressure.

Wet Paper Towel Folded And Placed In Center Of Plate

Take 1-2 sheets of paper towel and carefully fold them until the paper towel fits into the center of a plate.

A bowl will be put over the plate and the paper towel can not stick out from around the bowl.

Seeds Spread Out On Wet Paper TowelWhen you are ready, with clean hands, spread the seeds over top of the damp paper towel.

Don't clump all the seeds together. Spread them out so they all have room.

Layer Of Wet Paper Towel Placed Over Top Of Seeds After all the seeds have been placed on the paper towel, put the other 1-2 sheets of damp paper towel over the top of the seeds.

The wet paper towel on top of the seed will ensure that the seed is in contact with moisture on all sides.

Bowl Placed Over Plate To Maintain High Humidity Levels Turn a bowl upside down and place it over the plate. The paper towel should not stick out around the outside of the bowl.

The bowl will retain moisture and slow the rate that the paper towel dries out. A glass or plastic bowl that lets light pass through works well too.

The plate and bowl with germinating seeds can then be stored in a clean environment that stays warm, 70-80°F/21-27°C.

Check the seeds at least 1-2 times daily and add small quantities of sterile water when needed to keep the paper towel moist.

Germinating Marijuana Seeds That Have Sprouted A Root

When the seed sprouts and the white root emerges, transplant the seed when the root is under 1/4 inch or 6.35 mm long, with the root down into soil, soilless, or hydroponic media.

You can work with seeds that have a longer root, but as the length of the root increase it becomes harder to work with and insert into the media.

Transplant The Seed Root Down Into The Hole In The Media

Treat the seed very gently and don't touch or break the root tip when you place it root down into the media.

If the root tip breaks, the seed will explode within minutes, take shelter in another room.

A seed explosion produces so much force that every living thing in the same room will be mutilated horrifically or killed.

Actually if you damage or break the root tip it could slow growth and stunt the plant, or possibly end the chance of producing a plant from that seed.

Some media has holes to put the seed in. If not you can make a hole in the media for the root to fit in with something like a drill bit.

Don't use a dirty drill bits from the set with your drill. Get new clean bits, sterilize prior to use and use them only when working on plants.

Germinated Seed In Hydroponic Media

You want all of the root to be in the hole you made in the media and the seed itself to be level or up to a maximum of 1/4 inch, or 6 mm, below the surface of the media.

Different growers have their preferences and might vary them depending on the seed strain and media. With the strain and hydroponic media in the image, the grower prefers the bottom of the seed being level with the surface of the media.

Another grower might place the seed so it was 1/4 inch, 6 mm, below the media surface and cover the seed with a small bit of media over the top, to block light but not hinder the seed.

For soil and soilless mixes, make a hole that is larger and deeper than the root with your finger or something similar. With the root facing down, hold the seed where you want it, and gently fill in around the root with the soil or soilless mix you have.

The seed should be a maximum of 1/4 inch, or 6 mm, below the surface. Then it should be covered by the soil or soilless. The soil or soilless should be loose, not compacted around it.

After all the seeds that need to have been transplanted into the garden that they will grow in, be sure to supply them with an appropriate amount of light.


Step By Step - Germinating On Paper Towel

A) Get everything together at work region.
B) Sterilize items prior to starting work.
C) Put a plate on your work surface.
D) Soak 2-4 pieces of paper towels with water.
E) Place 1-2 paper towels in the middle of the plate.
F) Place seed on the wet paper towel.
G) Put 1-2 wet paper towels over seeds.
H) Put bowl over seed on the wet paper towel.
I) Store in a clean warm environment.
J) Monitor, add water to keep paper towels wet.
K) A white root will emerge within a week.
L) Move to soil, soilless, or hydroponic system.
M) Supply light.


List Of Materials - Germinating On Paper Towel
water
a plate
a bowl
paper towels
marijuana seed
hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol

*** water *** Water is needed to supply the moisture needed to germinate seeds.

*** a plate *** You need a plate with a flat center area.

*** a bowl *** To seal in the humidity you need a bowl that will be flipped upside-down and cover the center area of the plate.

*** paper towels *** To soak with water and supply moisture for the seeds, paper towels will do a good job. Clean cloth can be substituted for paper towel.

*** marijuana seed *** Seed that you want to germinate.

*** hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol *** For sterilizing items like the plate and bowl, prior to working wipe them with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol.


Seed Tray Germination For Hydroponics Or Soil

Clear Plastic Humidity Dome On Top Of Black Seed Tray

A seed tray is another option when it comes to germinating seeds. Seed trays can be used to germinate seed for hydroponic or soil applications.

In addition to the seed tray itself, there are several accessories that can be combined with it to make germinating seed more efficient.

Accessories include:
--- Tray inserts to hold media for hydroponic, soil, soilless applications fit into the tray.
--- Humidity domes for maintaining high humidity levels.
--- Heat mats to raise the temperature.

Get the items required for the job together and prior to working sterilize your hands, the seed tray, humidity dome, tools, work surface, anything that will contact or be in the vicinity of the seed.

You can wipe things with a clean cloth moistened in hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or choose another method that you prefer. Follow the directions here to sterilize water or nutrient solution.

A new bag or box of sealed hydroponic media is sterile enough to germinate on. If you think your hydroponic media is contaminated it might be best to sterilize it. Some growers will choose to sterilize soil.

Prepare the media that the seed will be germinated upon according to manufacturers directions. Sure to grow root cubes are being used as the media in the accompanying images.

To prepare them, they have to be soaked in water or nutrient solution for a few seconds until they are saturated. These were soaked in mild nutrient solution and put in hydroponic grow cups.

Media like rockwool has to be soaked in water that has been pH adjusted, prior to use. Other types of media will have to be prepared in some way.

With a seed tray, you can substitute soil or a soilless mixture in something like containers or peat cups instead of hydroponic media and grow cups.

Or instead of sure to grow, seed can be germinated on other types of hydroponic media, like rockwool or oasis root cubes, according to your needs and preference.

Inserts are available to fit into seed trays. They can accommodate various types of media like hydroponic and soil seed starter plugs or soil and soilless mixes can be poured directly into the cavities in the insert.

Sterilized Seed Tray On Work Surface

For the seed germinated here, the seed tray insert was removed and grow cups with hydroponic media in them were placed directly in the seed tray.

Place the sterilized seed tray on your work surface. Then put the growing containers and prepared media in the seed tray.

Prepared Media Placed In Seed Tray

A maximum of 30-35 of the grow cups pictured could be germinated at the same time in a seed tray the size of the one shown.

Even if you were only going to germinate 2 seeds, a smaller sized seed tray is worth it because the humidity dome adds another layer of protection in maintaining high humidity levels. If the seed dries it dies.

Cannabis Seed On Media Where It Will Germinate

When everything looks ok and you are ready to proceed, drop a single seed on each piece of hydroponic media.

If you are using soil or soilless mix place a seed in the spots you want seed to grow.

In addition to the humidity dome, when all seed is sown, to further ensure high humidity levels for the seed you can put wet paper towel over the seeds, as is done when germinating on paper towel, described above.

Alternately you can put a layer of plastic wrap over the top of them. Be sure to remember to remove the paper towel or plastic after the seed sprouts.

Clear Plastic Humidity Dome On Seed Tray

When that has been accomplished, put the humidity dome on the seed tray.

The humidity dome is put on top to keep moisture in, so make sure it fits on snugly and provides a good seal.

Put the seed tray in a warm and sterile environment between 70-80°F/21-27°C where the seeds can germinate.

Light is not needed at this point for germinating seeds but as soon as the seed sprouts a root, light will be necessary.

Check the seed every 12-24 hours and if necessary add sterile water or nutrient solution to the media to keep it moist, until it sprouts a root.

Seed Germinated On Hydroponic Media

If the conditions are right, viable seed will develop a root within a week. Most seed will develop a root in 1-3 days but some can take a bit longer.

After the seed germinates and the root starts growing into the media, the seed and media can be moved to a hydroponic, soil, or soilless garden.

If they are going to be grown indoors most marijuana growers will start to supply the seed with 16-18 hours of light per day, after moving it from the seed tray to another location.

Or after the root starts, before moving them the seeds can be allowed to grow in the seed tray for a few days by supplying sunlight or lighting via grow lights.

The benefit of seed trays is the ability to germinate directly on the media rather than having to move the seed from paper towel. You can provide conditions that might not be possible to replicate in the spot the plant will grow.

Keeping the humidity and warm temperatures constant during germination might not be possible if you are growing outdoors or with an indoor grow room. In some cases a seed tray might be the best option.

Seed trays can be pretty flimsy and over time will tend to crack and leak water. To avoid this kind of problem you can line them with plastic.

That way if the tray cracks, the plastic will keep the water from spilling. A good way to accomplish this is to place the tray in a thick garbage bag that is larger than the tray.

To keep movement from causing problems with the thin plastic, the seed tray can be placed on a piece of plywood that is slightly larger than the tray.

When the seed tray has to be moved from one location to another, you can pick up the wood base it is on rather than picking up the tray itself.

Working on the seed tray in the location where the seeds will germinate will mean the tray doesn't have to be moved after the work is complete.


Step By Step - Germinating With Seed Trays

A) Get everything together at work region.
B) Sterilize items prior to starting work.
C) Place seed tray on work surface.
D) Prepare media that will be employed.
E) Put prepared media in seed tray.
F) Put seed on top of media.
Fa) Optional, layer of paper towel or plastic wrap.
G) When all seed is sown put humidity dome on.
H) Place the tray in a warm clean environment.
I) Monitor and add water to keep media moist.
J) A white root will emerge within a week.
K) Move to soil, soilless, or hydroponic system.
L) Supply light.


List Of Materials - Germinating With Seed Trays
water
media
seed tray
humidity dome
marijuana seed
hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol
optional drill bits
optional tweezers
optional eye dropper
optional heat mat
optional tray insert
optional germination kit
optional block covers or root guards

*** water *** Water is needed to supply the moisture needed to germinate seeds.

*** media *** The are various types of seed starting mediums available to start seeds, both for hydroponic applications and soil gardens.

If you are planning on working with soil and a seed tray with inserts, look for soil seed starter plugs that will fit into those particular seed tray inserts.

If you are going to germinate marijuana seeds directly on hydroponic media, you can get media that was designed for starting seeds on like rockwool starter cubes, oasis root cubes, stg starter cubes, or some other type.

With solid hydroponic media like oasis, rockwool, sure to grow, if it is too large you can easily cut the media with a utility knife or scissors so it will fit into seed tray insert holes, grow cups, other shapes, if necessary.

*** seed tray *** Seed trays come in various sizes. Choose the size of the seed tray based on your needs. Germinating a small number of seeds will require a smaller seed tray than a tray for a larger number of seeds.

*** humidity dome *** A humidity dome will retain moisture and ensure high humidity levels. Get one that is the proper size to fit on and provide a good seal for the seed tray it will go on.

If you can't find a humidity dome to fit your seed tray or if the humidity dome for you seed tray breaks, a layer of plastic like plastic wrap might substitute. The plastic should provide as tight a seal as possible.

*** marijuana seed *** Seed that you want to germinate.

*** hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol *** For sterilizing the seed tray, humidity dome, other items prior to working, wipe them with a clean cloth soaked with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol.

For sterilizing accessories like seed trays hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol can be put in a spray bottle. Then when a seed tray or something else needs to be sterilized, a light coat can simply be sprayed on. Plants are more tolerant to hydrogen peroxide than alcohol.

For sterilization purposes hydrogen peroxide can be added to water or nutrient solution that will be supplied to seeds for germination, if it is added in small quantities.

Seeds are especially vulnerable to bacteria, diseases, fungi, etcetera. If you are concerned about keeping the potential of attack to a minimum, consider hydrogen peroxide.

Hydrogen peroxide sold in pharmacies usually comes in concentrations between 3%-6%, or larger. This is too strong to be applied directly without being diluted first.

To make sterile water that can safely wet paper towel or soil, soilless, hydroponic media for germination:
Dilute 1 part 3% hydrogen peroxide with 6 parts water.
Dilute 1 part 4.5% hydrogen peroxide with 9 parts water.
Dilute 1 part 6% hydrogen peroxide with 12 parts water. Dilute 1 part 30% hydrogen peroxide with 60 parts water.

*** optional drill bits *** A set of drill bits is handy for making holes in media to accommodate roots, if it becomes necessary to do so.

*** optional tweezers *** If for any reason you have to move a seed that has sprouted, a pair of tweezers can be employed so you don't touch and/or damage the root.

*** optional eye dropper *** An eye dropper will allow you to add small amounts of water to the media so it can be kept moist at all times.

*** optional heat mat *** A seedling heat mat will help increase the temperature, if the environment you have available is too cool.

Cheaper model heat mats will provide a set amount of heat while more expensive mats have controls that adjust the temperature. Be sure to get a heat mat that is similar in size to the tray that will be set on it. If the heat mat is too small not all the seeds will receive heat. If it is too large heat will be wasted.

*** optional tray insert *** A seed tray insert fits into a seed tray and holds soil, soilless mixes, starter plugs for soil and hydroponic media. Get the insert when you buy the seed tray so you know the insert fits into the seed tray and provides space for the type of media being employed and number of seeds you will be germinating.

*** optional germination kit *** A germination kit like this includes a humidity dome, an electric heat mat to keep seeds warm, a water-tight grow tray, an insert for starter plugs for soil and hydroponic media.

*** optional block covers or root guards *** Block covers, root guards, other similar products like neoprene inserts will restrict light from getting to media, roots, nutrient solution, etcetera.


Germinate Seed In A Hydroponic System

Germinating seed directly in a hydroponic system will mean that you have to setup the hydro system and prepare media prior to germinating seed in it.

A new bag or box of sealed hydroponic media is sterile enough to germinate on. If you are unsure as to whether the hydroponic media you have is sterile it might be best to sterilize it.

Prepare the media that the seed will be germinated upon according to manufacturers directions. Sure to grow root cubes are being used as the media in the accompanying images.

Prepare Media And Setup Hydroponic System That Seed Will Be Germinated In

To prepare them, they have to be soaked in water or nutrient solution for a few seconds until they are saturated. These were soaked in mild nutrient solution and put in hydroponic grow cups.

Media like rockwool has to be soaked in water that has been adjusted to 5.3-5.5 for 8-12 hours prior to use. Other types of media will have to be prepared in some way.

After adding water, and if applicable nutrient, to the hydro system, check/adjust the pH level and nutrient strength. The nutrient requirement for seeds is very low.

Some growers don't add any nutrient to the hydroponic system when starting the germination of seeds, they wait until about a week after the seed has sprouted a root.

Other growers, like the person germinating the seed shown, add a minimum of nutrients for a very mild nutrient solution.

With that in mind, aiming for a nutrient solution with an EC meter reading between 000-200 µS or a TDS meter reading between 000-100 ppm (NaCl) is recommended.

For the example seed shown in the accompanying images, the nutrient solution was about 100 µS or 50 ppm (NaCl) and the pH was kept between 5.8 and 6.2 throughout the germination process.

The temperature of the hydroponic nutrient solution should be a minimum of 68-70°F/20-21°C or a bit warmer. A marijuana seed will produce a root that won't grow into the media, if the media is too cool.

Place Seed On Media

When you are sure everything works properly and the media is prepared and installed in the hydro system, with clean hands you can place a seed on each piece of media you want a plant to grow on.

Most hydroponic media for starting seeds has a hole for the seed on the top surface. The seed has to stay in contact with wet media, but it can not be submerged under water.

After all the seeds are placed you can put a layer of wet paper towel over the seed. This will ensure the seed is in contact with moisture on all sides.

Alternately a piece of plastic wrap can be placed over the grow cups or growing containers to help seal in moisture. Also you can put something over the grow cup to retain moisture.

Plastic Cups Over Seed To Seal In Moisture

For the seed shown here a piece of plastic wrap was placed over the grow cups to seal in moisture and a plastic cup was placed upside-down over each grow cup.

The important thing is the seed be kept in a very humid environment between 70-80°F/21-27°C. If there is no way to maintain a humid and warm environment, it might be best to try an alternate method to germinate the seed.

Check the seed every 12-24 hours and if necessary add nutrient solution to the media to keep it moist, so the seed will sprout. The light can be turned off until the seed sprouts a root.

There should be no need to add water to media in a hydroponic system but sometimes the top of the media, because it is in contact with surrounding air, will dry out a bit.

Seed Germinated On Hydroponic Media That Has Sprouted A Root

After the seed had sprouted a root, it will be necessary to supply a source of light for 16-18 hours a day.

See the marijuana grow light guide here. When the plant produces a root and set of leaves it is considered a seedling.


Step By Step - Germinate In Hydro System

A) Add media and setup hydro system.
B) Place a seed on each piece of media.
Ba) Optional, layer of paper towel or plastic wrap.
C) Cover grow cups to retain moisture.
D) Check every 12-24 hours, keep media moist.
E) Seeds will develop a root within a week.
F) Supply light.


List Of Materials - Germinate In Hydro System
water
media
marijuana seed
functioning hydroponic system
glass or plastic cup, something similar
optional drill bits
optional tweezers
optional eye dropper
optional hydrogen peroxide
optional block covers or root guards

*** water *** Water is needed to supply the moisture needed to germinate seeds.

*** media *** For germinating marijuana seeds directly on hydroponic media, you can get media that was designed for starting seeds on like rockwool starter cubes, oasis root cubes, stg starter cubes, or some other brand.

*** marijuana seed *** Seed that you want to germinate.

*** functioning hydroponic system *** Prepare media and setup the hydro system prior to germinating seed in it. After adding water and, if applicable nutrient, to the hydro system, check/adjust the pH level and nutrient strength.

*** glass or plastic cup, something similar *** Something should be put over the container the seed is in to retain moisture.

Hydroponic media will stay moist in a properly functioning system, but the top of the media in contact with the seed can become dry because it is most exposed to surrounding air.

In addition to the glass or plastic cup, you can put a layer of wet paper towel or cover the growing container with a layer of plastic wrap over the seed.

*** optional drill bits *** A set of drill bits is handy for making holes in media to accommodate roots, if it becomes necessary to do so.

*** optional tweezers *** If for any reason you have to move a seed that has sprouted, a pair of tweezers can be employed so you don't touch and/or damage the root.

*** optional eye dropper *** An eye dropper will allow you to add small amounts of water to the media so it can be kept moist at all times.

*** optional hydrogen peroxide *** For hydroponic purposes, adding hydrogen peroxide to the nutrient solution in the reservoir for sterilization purposes during germination is a good idea.

As the plant grows it is better able to defend itself, but hydrogen peroxide can be added to nutrient solution at any and all stages of the life cycle, not just for germinating.

Rather than getting hydrogen peroxide from a pharmacy that may contain additives, for this purpose you can get 29% or 35%, or other concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, that is food grade or designed for hydroponic applications.

For 29% hydrogen peroxide, add 3.0 milliliters of hydrogen peroxide per 1 gallon/3.8 liters water or nutrient solution.

For 35% hydrogen peroxide, add 2.5 milliliters of hydrogen peroxide per 1 gallon/3.8 liters water or nutrient solution.

Hydroponic and food grade hydrogen peroxide also comes in 17.5% concentrations. Add 5.0 milliliters of 17.5% hydrogen peroxide per 1 gallon/3.8 liters water or nutrient solution.

Hydrogen peroxide can lower pH. If you are maintaining the pH level within certain limits, measure and if necessary, adjust the pH after adding hydrogen peroxide to water or nutrient solution.

If not diluted, high % hydrogen peroxide can harm skin. If it comes into contact with your skin, wash the affected area thoroughly with water as soon as possible.

*** optional block covers or root guards *** Block covers, root guards, other similar products like neoprene inserts will restrict light from getting to media, roots, nutrient solution, etcetera.


Temperature, Humidity...

To germinate most types of seed, from tomatoes to marijuana, you will need:
--- high humidity
--- warm temperature 70-80°F/21-27°C
--- clean hands, clothes, and sterilized equipment

The humidity surrounding the seed should be as high as possible during germination. There should be some means of supplying water and sealing the area around the seed to keep humidity from escaping.

When germinating marijuana seeds:
Seeds germinate too slowly below 70°F/21°C.
Seeds germinate best at about 70-80°F/21-27°C.
Try not to exceed 80°F/27°C.

Finding an area that will sustain these temperatures might be an option, if not some form of heating or cooling will need to be provided.

In a cool environment a seedling heat mat can keep the temperature within range if there is no place that maintains a warm enough temperature available.

Always wear clean clothes, and sterilize your hands and any equipment when working with seeds, they are most vulnerable to disease in the early stages of life.


After Germinating

After germinating the new sprouts are, if not germinated directly on soil, soilless, or hydroponic media, moved to them and supplied with light.

A few days after the root sprouts the plants will develop cotyledon, also called seed leaves, and their first true leaves. During the same period the root will have continued to develop and expand.

Within A Few Days The Seed Will Produce Leaves

The cotyledon leaves are rounded along the edge. The true leaves are jagged edged. When the plants have grown cotyledon leaves they are considered seedlings.

To restrict light and minimize any detrimental effect it has on the media, roots, nutrient solution, etcetera, you can cover the growing containers with block covers or root guards or another similar product.

The light provided for the plants in the images was 64 watts total, 2 x 32 watt bulbs color 4100k, in a T-8 fluorescent light fixture. It is turned on for 16-18 hours a day during the germination and seedling stages.

Marijuana Plant Later In Seedling Stage

As the seed matures and produces its first leaves, the nutrient strength will be increased. As time elapses the plant will develop several sets of leaves with a larger and stronger root system.

After it has established a solid root system and several sets of leaves, it will have started the vegetative or growth stage of life.

For vegetative growth the wattage of the light, and the length of time the lights is on, can be increased to promote faster growth rates.

With stronger wattage light turned on for 20 hours or more per day, the plants can be ready to flower 4 weeks or less after germination was initiated with that seed. With lower wattage light, the plants can take a bit longer.

As the plants shown in the images on this page grow they will get to the point where they have to be transplanted into a larger hydroponic system. Directions on transplanting are located here.


Notes

1 --- If the paper towel or media dries out, the sprout will die. Be sure to keep it moist.

2 --- Light colored and cracked seeds usually do not germinate. Select darker colored uncracked seeds.

3 --- Marijuana seed will start germinating in 1-7 days, under suitable conditions. If your seed doesn't produce a root after 7 days, the seed might not be viable.

4 --- If you are making a hole for the root in hydroponic or other solid media with a drill bit or something similar, wait until the media is wet. Drill bits will bore through quickly and cleanly when you twist them by hand.

5 --- You can germinate with strong light like metal halide or high pressure sodium for faster growth rates than mild light, but will have to keep the temperature under about 80°F/27°C. Strong light may also be prone to drying out the seed and media.

6 --- Sterilize your hands prior to touching the seeds for any reason, and be very gentle. Do not touch the root itself, it is very sensitive and may be permanently damaged if mis-handled. You don't have to, but some growers find tweezers the best way to work with seeds.

7 --- If you have a limited number of seeds and this is your first time germinating it might be best to practice with a single, or minimal number of seeds.

When you are confident in your ability to germinate marijuana seed, you can germinate a larger number of seeds on subsequent attempts.

8 --- Some people add plain reverse osmosis or distilled water with no nutrients to paper towels or media when initiating germination.

For all the seed being germinated in the images on this page, a mild hydroponic nutrient solution, about 100 µS or 50 ppm (NaCl), was used to soak the paper towels or media. The pH of the nutrient solution was 5.8-6.2.

9 --- You can use a thermometer that stores the high and low daily temperature to test the temperature in the place where the seed will be germinated, before attempting germination.

If necessary a heat mat can raise temperatures. With temperatures that are too high, air conditioning or another method of lowering temperatures, like finding another area to germinate, will work.

10 --- To guarantee high humidity when germinating with a seed tray or in a hydroponic system, moistened paper towel can be placed over the seeds in a similar manner as to the way it is when germinating on paper towel.

Remove the paper towel and supply mild light as soon as the root has emerged. If the germinated seed remains in darkness or light that is too mild, the stem of the plant will stretch looking for stronger light.

If the new plants don't get enough light they will tend to grow tall and thin. Stronger light than 60 watts of fluorescent can be supplied to make the plants grow faster.

11 --- Right after the seed has produced a root, it should be supplied with light. The minimum recommended amount of light is 60 watts of fluorescent light. Place mild fluorescent lighting about 6-8 inches/15-20 cm over the top of the seed.

High output fluorescent light should be positioned about 12 inches/30 cm over the tops of the plants. As the plants grow and produce leaves, you can bring the light a bit closer as long as the heat doesn't burn the tops of the plants

The higher the wattage of the light the more heat that will be produced, and the more distance there should be between the bulb and the top of the plant.

Metal halide and high pressure sodium light usually isn't introduced this early, but higher wattage light will promote faster growth rates.

Beware that metal halide and high pressure sodium lighting will have to be positioned further from the tops of the plants than fluorescent light, so the heat from the light doesn't burn the tops of them.

12 --- All seed germinated on this page was the same strain from the same batch. They were produced eight months before.

Seeds were germinated with the same hydroponic nutrient on paper towel, seed tray, hydroponic media. Temperature ranged from about 70-75°F/21-24°C.

With all methods of germination all seeds sprouted within 36 hours of starting germination. There was no method that was faster or slower than another.

However, seeds that are germinated on paper towel rather than the media they will grow in, may take a little longer to root into the media. This might slow growth for a day or two in comparison.

13 --- Sometimes a seed will germinate on media but the root will grow on the media rather than growing into the media.

Root Growing On The Media Not Growing Into The Media

If this happens to you, follow these directions. They are also applied to transplant seeds germinated on paper towel into the media the will grow in.

Before the root gets any longer than 1/4 inch or 6.35 mm, make a hole in the media that is slightly larger and deeper than the size of the root.

You can work with seeds that have a longer root, but as the length of the root increase it becomes harder to work with and insert into media.

Transplant The Seed Root Down Into The Hole In The Media

Don't use a dirty drill bits from the set with your drill. Get new clean bits, sterilize prior to use and use them only when working on plants.

Treat the seed very gently and don't touch or break the root tip when you place it root down into the hole you made in the media.

Germinated Seed In Hydroponic Media

You want all of the root to be in the hole you made in the media and the seed itself to be level with the top of the media.

For soil and soilless mixes, make a hole that is slightly larger and deeper than the root with a drill bit or something similar.

With the root facing down, hold the seed where you want it, and gently fill in around the root with the soil or soilless mix you have. The seed can get covered with a bit of soil or soilless, but don't compact the media tightly around it


Related Books

Marijuana Grower's Handbook
Very good book by Ed Rosenthal that encompasses indoor and outdoor marijuana cultivation with soil and hydroponics. A reference manual with over 500 pages and color images throughout.
Marijuana Grower's Handbook


The Cannabis Encyclopedia
Easy to read with comprehensive focus on growing and consuming for medical and recreational purposes. This will be of interest to growers, patients, caregivers, consumers, or anyone interested in consuming, growing, or producing cannabis products.

Over 2,000 color images on 596 pages. Loaded with recent information covering all aspects of marijuana. The grow section explains hydroponics and soil growing, growing indoors, outdoors, and in greenhouses.
The Cannabis Encyclopedia