The difinitive guide to germinating cannabis marijuana seeds from AmsterdamSeedSupply. Much controversy surrounds the raising of cannabis seed. Many first time growers are bombarded with advice, often conflicting, on how exactly this should be done. We often get beginning growers in the store looking for seed starting advice. This blog will help you set up the right environment to germinate seeds. 1. Germinate hemp seeds directly into soil 2. Activate cannabis seeds with water 3. Germinate cannabis seeds with paper towels – GIF
Germinating Cannabis Marijuana Seeds
Much controversy surrounds the raising of cannabis seed. Many first time growers are bombarded with advice, often conflicting, on how exactly this should be done; however, it need not be such a complicated task. Cannabis seed is simple to grow, and if fresh, 90-100% germination rates are not unusual.
The ‘Kiwiland Method’ for raising seed, has been developed from professional horticultural practices used the world over. We use it because it works, and it’s simple.
Table of contents
The list below is standard equipment recommended by Kiwiseeds and assumes you already have the necessary grow space and lighting set up. If you haven’t already got your equipment you can buy that online at https://www.kiwiland.com/
1. Propagator with bottom heat or
2. Heat pad + seed-tray
3. Thermostat controller
4. Soil thermometer
6. Large jiffy pots + seed-raising mix or
7. Rockwool starter blocks
8. Fine sprayer
9. Identification labels
Wet thoroughly enough perlite to cover the bottom
of the propagator approximately 2cm deep. Plug the propagator, or heat pad, into the thermostat controller, plug the controller into the power and set for 23 C. Place the heat-sensing probe into the wet perlite just beneath where the seedlings roots will be. If using a heating pad lay it out beneath the propagator tray.
Jiffy pots preparation
Pre-soak the jiffy pots in warm water then fill them to the top with seed-raising mix making sure to take out any bigger pieces that may obstruct the young shoot as it emerges.
(This can also be done with the help of a coarse sieve if you like.)
Completely saturate the jiffy-pots and their contents, but allow them to drain well. Do this carefully so as not to wash the fine soil away. Top them up and repeat if the mix has sunken too much. It’s important to have them as full as possible to give the young roots plenty of room to grow for the week or two until they are potted on, and, because having a greater volume of the mix in the pots means they take longer to dry out under the warm lamp.
With a thin pointed object such as a pencil, make a small hole in the center of each jiffy-pot about twice the depth that the seed is long (This varies with strain, but 5-8mm deep should be sufficient. Often the mistake is made of planting seeds too deeply, and they rot before they see the light of day. To ensure this doesn’t happen, never sow seeds deeper than 1cm). If sowing more than one variety remember to prepare identification labels in advance and label them as you go to prevent mix-ups.
Put the cannabis seeds in Jiffy pots
Sow seeds directly into the holes, and cover with a little of the moist seed-raising mix from around it with the help of the pencil. Use a little more fine mix if needed. Some growers have the patience to sow seeds a certain way up, and this can be beneficial, especially with big seeds. If this is done place the seed, point up, ensuring the root can travel downwards with ease.
Watering the seeds
Using the mister bottle, spray the freshly covered seeds until the mix is damp. Don’t pour water onto the pots as this can wash away the mix and expose seeds.
Transfer jiffy-pots into pre-warmed propagator tray, and settle them in making sure the wet perlite surrounds the pots, getting right up between them. This ensures the pots stay moist until well after the seeds germinate, protecting the young roots from drying out.
Lighting, temperature & humidity
Set the tray under either fluorescent lighting or a low-wattage H.P.S. to keep the newly planted seeds warm. At this stage no light is necessary but warmth is important, and low light provides this without drying the pots out. An air temp of 20-22C is ideal, a degree or two lower than the soil temp (around 23C). Humidity if regulated can be set for around 60%.
Growing the cannabis seedlings
As soon as the seedlings have germinated they need light. The food store supplied by the seed itself has all but been used up, and the plant needs light to photosynthesize and grow.
When growing marijuana in the vegetative stage you may choose how long you wish to keep the lights on, as long as it’s 18 hours or more. The advantages are that plants will grow faster with 24 hours light, and a constant temperature is easier to maintain this way, something hugely beneficial to young seedlings. Disadvantages are that you’ll need to water more, of course, your lamps and ballasts don’t get a break, and the electricity bill increases.
Some people advise keeping young seedlings under fluorescent lighting for a while but this doesn’t provide them with the correct spectrum for photosynthesis. It is best in our opinion to place seedlings directly under low wattage H.P.S lamps, 150/250/ or 400 watts, at a good distance away.
Once the plants are a few days growing they need to be moved closer to the lamps in order to prevent stretching. Move them as close to the lamp as the tops of many plants would be comfortable. (30-60cm depending on the lamp size.)
Make sure a breeze (oscillating fan) is blowing over the young plants, primarily so they don’t overheat, but furthermore to help strengthen delicate stems by stimulating cellulose production. Spindly stems cannot support heavy flowering growth. The importance of your internal air circulation cannot be stressed enough. It will exercise your plants and make them grow stronger while reducing many hazards that could ruin your crop.
Now that the plants have strong light they require more water and nutrients as well. A light organic feed or nutrient solution starting with an E.C of no more than .8 (with the water already at .5) can be sprayed directly on the plant and watered into the soil. The seed-raising mix contains no nutrients so within a few days the plants will be hungry.
Young seedlings love humidity, and a constant 60-70% is ideal at this stage. Use a cheap mister bottle, and spray regularly freshwater (ph- 6.5-7.5) over the leaves. This increases humidity, and washes dirt and dust off the leaf surface, unclogging stomata and enabling the plant to breathe properly. In natural conditions, the rain would do this for us.
Problems raising seedlings
Problems can occur during germination. Here is a list of some of the more common reasons why your seeds may not be doing so well.
Seeds need to be damp, not wet for germination. Excess water prevents oxygen from getting to the seed. Poorly drained soils may also cause soil fungus diseases. The condition of wet soils may be improved by adding perlite, which will aerate your soil. Make sure any trays or pots you use have holes in the bottom to let the excess water drain.
A certain amount of water is essential for germination, so maintaining constant soil moisture during the germination period is vital. Spray the soil surface with a fine mist, or cover containers with glass or a damp cloth to prevent your soil drying out. Make sure you remove the cloth once the shoot emerges.
High temperatures result in excessive soil desiccation and injury to seeds and seedlings. We recommend a constant temp of 20-25 degrees.
Cold temperatures can kill seedlings and prevent germination. Cool temperatures can result in slow, uneven germination, and attack by soil diseases. If growing outside, you may want to start your seeds indoors, before outdoor planting. Make sure planting is not done too early when there is still a chance of frost.
If you sow your seeds too shallowly the seeds can dry out. A depth of between .5 to 1cm is about right.
Soil too firm
Making your soil mix too firm can prevent oxygen from getting to your seeds and drainage can be affected. Pat freshly covered seeds lightly with your fingers.
Soil too loose
Soil that’s too loose results in too much air surrounding the seed. Seeds planted in this manner will not absorb moisture properly, and it’s likely they’ll dry out. Cover freshly sown seeds with fine mix and pat down lightly with your fingers.
Seeds may rot, or the young seedlings may fall over. Overwatering, poor drainage and lack of aeration will increase the likelihood of this occurring. Plant seeds in sterilized potting mix, and make sure your containers are clean.
If your seeds have not been stored correctly they can deteriorate. Look for darker seeds that are a little bigger, without cracks or chips. Any seeds that look shriveled or wrinkled should be discarded, as this means the seed has dehydrated and is dead.
How We Germinate Seeds Indoors
We often get beginning growers in the store looking for seed starting advice. To germinate seeds, or take them from dormancy to sprouting, you need to set up the environmental triggers to assist the seed. There are many different techniques for germinating seeds, and a lot of products and advice out there for how to get started if you’ve never done it. So much advice, that it can be very confusing. The following is a little advice for what we have found that works for a wide variety of seeds for flowers, vegetables, herbs, and even cuttings/clones:
When is the best time to start your seeds? If you are going to be growing your plants indoors, then anytime you’re ready is the best time. If you will be transplanting to an outdoor space, then it depends on the weather where you live. Check with The Farmer’s Almanac, or the back of the seed package will usually tell you how many weeks before the expected last frost date for your area to plant. Don’t know the last frost date for your region? This is a good page to help you figure that out.
Getting Your Seeds Planted
Always wear a mask when working with perlite!
Always wear a mask when working with perlite! Perlite is a form of obsidian characterized by spherlulites formed by cracking of the volcanic glass during cooling, used as insulation or in plant growth media. It is like tiny shards of glass and is very dangerous to your lungs if it’s inhaled.
Step one: Coco coir comes in a dehydrated brick. I hydrate the coir according to the package directions. Before doing this you would benefit from reading the notes in the Watering section of this post.
Step two: I mix perlite into the coir at a ratio of one-part perlite to two parts coir. The coir in our mixture holds moisture without staying too wet. The perlite helps aerate and loosen the media for water to drain easily while also retaining moisture. To keep the dust down, we recommend using water from a spray bottle to wet the perlite prior to handling. I stress again to wear your dust mask when handling perlite.
Step three: I have found that using a product with mycorrhizae increases germination rate and root growth rate after the seed sprouts. I mix the package-recommended amount on whichever product I am currently using.
Step four: Fill the seed tray with media and plant your seeds! Tip: A general rule for seeds is to plant them no deeper than one to two times the diameter of the seed. For very tiny seeds (i.e. lettuce) I simply drop a few seeds on the surface of the media and leave them uncovered.
Seeds respond to warmth and need heat to germinate. If your media, or the water you’re using, is too cold, the seeds will stay in their dormant state. Most cool weather plants or plants that do best in spring and autumn (i.e. spinach, kale, etc.) generally need temperatures between 45°F and 70°F to germinate. Seeds that require warmer weather (i.e. tomatoes and zucchini) will germinate better generally between 65°F and 90°F. Most seeds have about a 25-degree range in which germination will be activated in the seed. This is great for us beginners trying out lots of plants for the yard. If your room is cool, and you’re trying to germinate seeds, pick up an agriculture heat mat and thermostat from your local hydroponics store to dial in the ideal temperature.
Our seedling/clone rack at the Lush Lighting Hydroponic Store
The light requirement of seeds is a tricky subject. Some seeds do not require light to germinate (mushrooms), some do. There is a ton of scientific research available about this if you’re interested in learning about the phytochrome system in seeds. If you would rather just grow the plant what do you do? My advice: Use a light. Here’s why: All sprouts need light. As soon as that sprout emerges from the media it needs light; even if it didn’t need light to germinate. A seed that needs darkness, planted at the right depth, will be far enough under your media and will be shaded from the light for germination. In the store, we use a Lush Lighting Herbal Vador LED grow light hung beneath a shelf. Others have used CFL’s which are widely available (we also have CFL’s available in the store). Some others have had great success placing their seed tray in front of a south-facing window.
A few notes about water:
- Seeds like to be kept moist, and they don’t like to be immersed in water for too long. If seeds stay too wet for too long they will rot. If seeds stay too dry for too long they will dry out and die.
- Doing a pH test on your water is a really good idea. When water pH is too high or too low, your seeds will not germinate. Most seeds germinate between pH levels 5.8 and 7.0. Matt Johnson wrote an excellent explanation of the importance of checking water pH.
- Water quality can make a big difference in your success rate. If you live with city water consider using RO filtered, or bottled distilled water (READ LABELS! You might be really surprised at some of the stuff that is in bottled water being sold on store shelves!). City water has been treated with all kinds of chemicals to remove bacteria and the like. Some of those chemicals (i.e. chlorine) are not good for plants.
- Water temperature matters. Cold water from a tap is often too cold for germination. Use water within the best temperature range for your plants. Leaving your water to sit out overnight to come to room temperature before you water your seeds is a good idea (Matt Johnson’s article –mentioned above—can give you more good reasons). The water we use to water all the plants here at the store has come to room temperature before it goes on the plants, including the seeds.
How often do we water? Water as often as it takes to keep the media moist and not drenched. We use a variety of techniques to keep our seeds happy: a mister, bottom-watering container, and/or a humidity dome.
The mister has a gentle mist that does not “skate” the tiny seeds (like lettuce) across the top of the media. It’s very important to make sure your seeds stay where you initially place them.
Another watering technique we use is bottom-watering. Put about ¼” of water in the bottom tray for your media to wick up. This technique is very helpful if your media is drying out too fast. If your growing room is dry, bottom-watering combined with a humidity dome may be a good option for you. If you need to step away from watering for a few days, it will retain the moisture for the seeds and keep any small sprouts from drying out. Small plants generally do well with a humidity level around 60%.
Be patient! Sprouts will come in due time!
How Long Will It Take before I see something happening?
A common question with an answer most of us don’t want to hear… it depends. I will say, the highest success rates come from recreating each particular seed’s ideal germination environment. Most seed packages will give you a time range anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. All seeds are a little different, even the same packet of seeds can have some that sprout quicker than others. Be patient, monitor your temperature and moisture and then you will be rewarded greatly when those first seeds germinate and those little sprouts emerge. It’s exciting to watch those small seeds become large plants. Happy Gardening!
About Matt Johnson
Matt is the President and Founder of Lush Lighting, Inc. He is a leader, a visionary, a mentor, and caring family man. Matt openly shares his wisdom, generosity and assistance with everyone he encounters. He is a sharp business man, admirable, loyal, and willing to step out of the box to make things happen. Whenever he gets a chance, he squeezes in a round of golf or a movie with his wife.
If you want to check more on different techniques for germinating seeds, we can share to you our hidden steps.
The best way to germinate cannabis seeds!
With this guide, we would like to explain to you, how to germinate a cannabis seed most successfully. There are three common methods of cannabis seeds to germinate. Properly executed, they will be successful in almost every case.
- Germinate hemp seeds directly in soil
- Activate cannabis seeds with water
- Germinate cannabis seeds in damp cloths
So that cannabis seeds can be germinated under optimal conditions, in all three breeding types, some basic rules have to be considered. Before we describe the methods exactly, we first want to talk about these basics; The first golden rule is for example, not to treat cannabis seeds with bare hands to avoid the chance of contamination with bacteria or fungus. We strongly recommend the use of clean gloves and some disinfected tweezers!
Germinate weed seeds – The quality of the water:
The water temperature should be around 20 degrees and have good quality. The quality of the water can be tested with a PH meter and an EC meter. Recommendation: Osmosis water or drinking water very debil (with little salts and mineral arm).
The ideal substrate to germinate weed seeds:
You can work with different substrates. The most common are earth (light mix), coco and rock wool. Even with the substrates, the soil and ambient temperature should be right. A light mix is specially adapted to sensitive plants such as hemp. Most mixtures contain nutrients and minerals for a few weeks, which the young plant absorbs when it needs them.
For Coco substrate, before working with it, you should test the EC content, as most Coco substrates have a very high value. To lower the value, wash the Coco once with mineral water (osmosis water).
Breeding for coco and rock wool is also referred to as hydroponic cultivation, which means that significantly more air circulation at the roots is created. But the nutrients that are then fed to his plants are more directly absorbed by them. The risk of over or under-fertilization is greater but also the expected yield. Breeding on hydroponics is what gardeners with more experience.
Required air, light, and temperature for germination:
In order not to endanger the germination capacity of the seed, it should be stored in a dark and cool place (6 ° – 10°).
Before the seed is germinated, it must not be exposed to light and the air temperature should not be below 20° C (68° F) nor exceed 30° C (86° F). Maintaining a temperature around 25°C (77° F) is ideal. For outdoor cultivation, it’s recommended to germinate indoors, letting the seedlings grow for a few weeks, and don’t set plants outside too early.
Method 1. – Germinate hemp seeds in soil
- Prepare material (fill small flowerpots with soil).
- Lightly moisten the potting soil with good water. (Too much moisture = mold and fungal danger).
- Place the seeds in a 0.5cm recess in the center of the pot. Make sure that the seed is transverse and not upright, this can affect the germination rate. Nature has not shaped the seed without reason oval. If you set the seed transverse, it will easily position itself properly in the soil after germination! When you work with jiffies it works something similar. The jiffy is only soaked in water until it swells apart, then the water is expressed again without crushing it until residual moisture is over. At Jiffy, the factory usually prepares a slight depression for the seed.
- Lightly cover the seed with soil so that no light can shine directly on the seed. Also with the jiffi one covers the seeds with a little material. Wet but not wet! Now pour no more that could flush the seed back up and the amount of water is also difficult to control.
- In case of too little moisture, we recommend wetting the plant with a spray bottle.
- Now put the plant in a safe place and depending on the variety and genetics can be expected in the next 36 to 72 hours with a first result. In some cases, it can take up to 6 days.
Method 2. Germinate cannabis seeds in a paper towel.
- For preparation, we gonna need two plates, some sheets of kitchen roll, good quality water as described above, and our seeds.
- Put two sheets of kitchen paper on one of the plates and moisten them with water.
- Put your seeds on the damp cloth and put two more kitchen towels over it.
- Moisten also the upper cloths. Runoff excess water that the wipes are only slightly saturated.
- Put the second plate on the other plate like a shell.
- Store in a dark place and check daily that do not dry out the kitchen towels and of course to see if the seedlings are already broken. Once it is germinated, a small white shoot comes from one side. Now the time has come, the seed can be placed in the substrate of your choice. Carefully remove the seeds with tweezers from the cloths and carefully place them diagonally with the small germ downwards into a prepared hole. Only so deep that the seed is slightly covered with soil (max 5mm).
7. Wait, wait, wait and then be happy.
Method 3. Germinate cannabis seeds in a cup of water
This method is particularly suitable for activating seeds that have been stored for a long time
The addition of hydrogen peroxide is suitable for softening the husk of the hemp seed. About 3 – 5 drops per 100 ml of water are sufficient.
- Prepare a cup of water at a temperature of about 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Put the seeds into the water for 12 hours.
- Prepare to plant the seed in a small flower pot. Exactly as we described in method 1, under point 3.
- After planting, cover the seed with the substrate and moisten again with water.
- After about 2 – 3 days, the germ should gradually see daylight.
Cannabis seeds do not germinate? These are the most common mistakes:
- The pH of the water is too high or too low. Regardless of the method used to germinate the cannabis seeds, the pH should always be between 5.5 and 6.5.
- The EC value of the water is too high, it should be below 0.8.
- The water temperature was ignored, it should be between 20 ° and 22 ° celsius.
- If you let the hemp seeds germinate into soil, it may be that too much water was used, the soil was fertilized too much, or that the seed was pushed too deep into the soil, or was placed upside down.
- The seeds were exposed to strong temperature differences during transport.
This information is only of interest to customers who live in a country where cultivating and cultivating cannabis seeds is not a violation of the law.