How To: Germinate Marijuana Seeds

Germinating your marijuana seeds is the very first step of any successful grow. Germination simply refers to the process of getting a seed to sprout. Marijuana seeds have good germination rates, but you can increase those rates even more by making sure that you provide your seeds with everything they need.

Germination Basics

No matter what method you end up deciding on, marijuana seeds need proper levels of moisture, warmth, and oxygen. If these conditions aren’t met, then the seed may never sprout. Don’t worry, finding the right balance is easy.

Moisture – As is the case for any seed, water signals that it is time for the seed to sprout. The water enters the seed’s shell and triggers hormonal changes, indicating that the outside environment is now favorable for growing. In nature, this would be signified by spring showers.

Warmth – Spring is also accompanied by an increase in temperatures. Marijuana seeds germinate best around 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius). Keeping things too hot or too cold may slow down or stop the germination process.

Oxygen – The last important component of the germination process is oxygen. You shouldn’t need to take any special measures to increase your seed’s access to oxygen – just make sure that you’re not actively doing anything to stifle oxygen flow. For example, don’t cover the seeds with plastic wrap.

Given these three conditions, most marijuana seeds should sprout within a few days to a week. However, some seeds, especially older ones, may need 10 days or more.

Germination Methods

There are three basic methods used by most growers for germinating marijuana seeds. Different growers swear by different methods, but each one can work just as effectively as long as the criteria listed above are met.

1) Germinating in a paper towel

Paper towel germination is probably the simplest and most common method. All you need is to put some moist paper towel on a plate. Space a few seeds out on top and cover them with another layer or two of paper towel. You may also want to cover them with another plate to keep the moisture in, but this isn’t necessary if you check back and moisten the paper towels often.

2) Germinating in a glass of water

Soaking your seeds directly in a glass of water is another useful method, particularly for seeds that are older. Fill a drinking glass with slightly warm water, drop your seeds in, and leave them overnight. If any seeds are still ungerminated after about 24 hours, then you should remove them and finish their germination with the paper towel method instead, as the seeds may drown if left in the water for too long.

3) Germinating directly in the growing medium

Finally, you can simply plant your seeds into your chosen growing medium right off the bat. Make sure that your soil or hydroponic medium is moist and relatively loose. Make a hole about half an inch deep and gently place your seed inside. If germination is successful, your seedling should pop up in a week or two. The only downside to this method is that you won’t know until then whether your seed germinated successfully or not.