THE BASICS Like almost everything else about growing excellent Cannabis, germinating your seeds successfully is pretty simple. We’ve used this very basic, inexpensive method for many years and have shared it among thousands of growers worldwide who have all had excellent results with no issues. First make a mix in the Starting plants from seed, while economical, can feel like spinning a roulette wheel. Some seeds germinate, some don’t. Because of this, home gardeners are always on the lookout for ways to increase germination rates. Enjoy this full guide on how to germinate cannabis seeds, the three most popular methods and tips from your home grow experts for successful germination.
Like almost everything else about growing excellent Cannabis, germinating your seeds successfully is pretty simple. We’ve used this very basic, inexpensive method for many years and have shared it among thousands of growers worldwide who have all had excellent results with no issues.
First make a mix in the ratio of 1/3 3% hydrogen peroxide to 2/3 distilled water.
It’s important to use only distilled water – some of the common chemicals in tap water can stunt, warp or kill your plant even well past seedling stage when you’ve already spent weeks tending it.
Then soak your seeds in the distilled water/hydrogen peroxide mixture overnight. If you’re growing multiple varieties, be sure to soak them separately. (Don’t laugh. It’s happened.)
Next, pour some of the soak water onto really absorbent paper towels, then wring or squeeze them out lightly and lay them flat. We use 2-3 towels layered together to make a nice thick absorbent nest.
The best seeds often sink and compromised seeds sometimes float, but there are always exceptions to the rule.
Then sprinkle the soaked seeds, using a clean spoon or gloved fingers, onto the moist paper towels, not crowding the seeds.
Then fold the moistened towels over the seeds to make a flat little package.
If you’re sprouting more than 12 seeds at a time, make more than one package – don’t crowd them.
Then put the moist towel and seeds flat inside a closed, unzipped storage-size plastic baggie, laying it flat somewhere away from direct light at room temperature.
In two or three days the seeds will sprout – maybe not all at once, but that’s not a problem because within 24 hours of the first seed sprouting all the others will have sprouted too. Keep your inspection peeks short as not to dehydrate the paper towel.
When the seeds each have a 3/4” root and the halves of the shell are beginning to open noticeably, meaning the embryo leaves are swelling inside, they’re ready.
You then want to move each sprouted seed into a Jiffy Cube you’ve prepared by making a small hole using a pencil or chopstick. Again – be sure you used distilled water to hydrate your Jiffy Cubes and of course use it everywhere else during germination.
Replanted into Jiffys:
Using your fingers, pick up the seed very gently by its shell, and avoid touching the sprouting root as you transfer it into the jiffy cube.
Also remember what’s unfolding inside that little shell as you handle it, be super delicate and stay conscious of the life emerging inside.
Now place the sprouting seed root-down in the hole letting it settle in naturally with the top of the seed even with the top of the hole – never push it down.
If it doesn’t nest right in, lift it out and poke the hole a little deeper. The cells at the tip of that little root hold the most miraculous ecosystem of emerging life one can imagine and while they are incredibly tough in nature they are also vulnerable to our mis-handling.
Now all you have to do is let the new sprouts do their thing they do so well, with a little help from their friends. With a day or so they will raise up their first leaves. Keep them lightly misted if you’re in a dry environment but don’t over-do it.
In a couple of days when they’ve developed their first set of true leaves, not the embryo leaves, it’s time to put them into larger pots with living soil and a mild fertilizer and then let the plants fully establish themselves.
3 Days Later:
10 Days Later:
The same Skunk #1 x Haze seeds are available at:
Is using distilled water really important for germination?
Using distilled water is probably the most important part of the germination process because well water, tap water, bottled water and even rainwater contain traces of contaminants that can inhibit germination and later vegetative growth and flowering.
High chlorine in tap water, herbicides in well water, phthalates in bottled water, as well as many other kinds of common water contaminants can kill or damage germinating seeds and will definitely affect your plant’s health, yield and flower quality.
Can I remove these contaminants with a garden hose filter?
Yes most of them you can. There are a variety of relatively inexpensive filters that screw onto the end of the garden hose that you use to fill containers and water your plants. Some have replaceable screens, while others use granular activated charcoal.
There are also screw-on systems with carbon block filters that run $20-$30 and are very effective at reducing chlorine and chloramine, and at removing pesticides, heavy metals, and herbicides.
What’s some of the science behind using Hydrogen Peroxide for germination?
Here are two core articles from the PubMed database:
“Different Modes of Hydrogen Peroxide Action During Seed Germination”
How Does Hydrogen Peroxide Affect Seed Germination?
Starting plants from seed, while economical, can feel like spinning a roulette wheel. Some seeds germinate, some don’t. Because of this, home gardeners are always on the lookout for ways to increase germination rates. At-home methods include stratification (chilling the seeds), mechanical scarification (nicking the seed coat with a pin or sharp knife) and chemical scarification, which involves soaking, rinsing or misting the seeds in water or a water and hydrogen peroxide solution.
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Seeds Need to Breathe
A seed needs light, water and oxygen to germinate. Most gardeners remember the light and water part of the germination equation, but overlook the seed’s need for oxygen. Old seeds and seeds with particularly hard coats are particularly likely to come up short on the ability to absorb oxygen. This negatively impacts their germination rate — and your garden success.
Break Down Those Barriers
Recent scientific studies back up the effectiveness of chemically scarifying seeds by soaking them in a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. Hydrogen peroxide is thought to increase germination rates by breaking down the seed coat, thus allowing the seed to take in more oxygen. In a study reported in the journal “HortScience,” aged corn seeds (Zea mays L.) treated with a solution of 15 percent hydrogen peroxide germinated at a significantly greater percentage (nearly 95 percent) than seeds treated with aerated water but no hydrogen peroxide (67 percent germination rate). In addition, oxygen consumption rates of seeds soaked for 24 hours in the hydrogen peroxide solution were approximately twice as high as seeds soaked in aerated water for the same time.
Better Chance of Sprouting
A similar study, this one using seeds of eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides), compared the effectiveness of stratification and hydrogen peroxide soaks. As reported in “Acta Horticulturae,” the publication of the International Society for Horticultural Science, soaking seeds in a 15 percent hydrogen peroxide solution was most effective at breaking seed dormancy and inducing germination. Gamagrass is hardy growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11.
Help Your Seeds Breathe
It’s easy to improve your at-home germination rates by using hydrogen peroxide in your pre-planting routine. Simply add 1 ounce of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide to 1 pint of water; choose one of the following three methods. One, soak your seeds for 18 to 24 hours, rinse and plant. Two, place your seeds on a length of paper towels, use a mister filled with the hydrogen peroxide-water solution to thoroughly dampen (but not soak) the towels and the seeds, then roll up the towels loosely or simply fold them over so that all sides of the seeds are in contact with moist paper towel. Mist them lightly each day (or when the towel dries out) and plant them when sprouts emerge. Three, just rinse your seeds with the solution, then plant.
How To Germinate Cannabis Seeds
A marijuana plant is cultivated in one of two methods, from growing seeds or using clones. Growing your marijuana plants from cannabis seeds has many benefits and it is worthwhile to learn how to germinate cannabis seeds. Many growers view growing from seeds as being a purer method than using clones and let’s face it, harvesting the lovely ladies we nurtured from birth is rewarding. Germinating, also called “popping”, is the first step to enjoying your own weed garden.
Benefits of Germinating Cannabis Seeds
Cannabis seeds allow growers to cultivate cannabis plants with a fresh batch of genetics, with DNA code that has not been exposed to disease and a poor growing environment. Growing with seeds typically yields more than a clone, as seeds produce a tap root which gives the plant anchor for better support and a better nutrient and water uptake system. Beginners might have an easier time learning how to germinate cannabis seeds as clones can be tricky, a bit delicate and could have inherited disease or pests.
Cannabis seeds are also much easier to find, a good quality cannabis seed bank will offer a wide selection of quality cannabis seeds. Whereas, finding quality cuttings from a vegetating mother plant can be difficult, and not within the limits of the law depending on where you get it from and where you live. Seeds can also be stored for a while in the refrigerator until you are ready to germinate, clones must be used immediately or they’ll die.
Growing from seeds might add a little time to your full harvest cycle but can definitely be worth the effort. Ultimately, the choice is subjective but we feel that growing from quality cannabis seeds is highly rewarding.
How to Prepare to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
Before you want to start the germination process, follow these tips for greater success:
● Keep seeds cool, damp and dark – make sure you’ve been storing your seeds in a sealed bag, in a damp, dark place like the refrigerator (approximately 55 degrees F) in a bed of rice. Take them out when you are ready to plant them, this is similar to the temperature change cannabis plants are used to when going from winter to spring and helps to promote successful germination. Seeds do not germinate so well in light as too much light will harden parts of the seed by decomposing carbonic acid gas, expelling oxygen and fixing the carbon which can prevent vegetation.
● Label your containers – no matter what method you choose, get some labels or tape and markers to write the strain and dates on your containers.
● Moisture – seeds require moisture to expand and break through the shell.
● Temperature – keep the temperature around 72°F (20-22°C) which mimics springtime. *never place your germinating seeds in the windowsill.
● Humidity – the best humidity for seeds to germinate is around 70 to 90%
● Handle with care – treat your germinating seeds like the new babies they are to avoid accidentally breaking delicate structures.
Just follow these tips and remember that germinating seeds requires minimal interference to start their life’s journey. Within a matter of anywhere from 3 to 10 days, you’ll see your sprouts and be ready to plant into your growing medium.
How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds: Most Popular Methods
Germinating cannabis seeds can be started indoors or outdoors, although starting indoors can give your seeds a better chance of survival. If germinating outdoors, small plants are exposed to pests, mold, wind, and extreme temperature changes. Newly germinated seedlings are quite vulnerable and must be kept safe, which is easier to do indoors.
The three most popular methods for germinating cannabis seeds are the:
1. Soak In Water & Hydrogen Peroxide Method (Mosca Preferred Method)
2. Paper Towel Method
3. Plant In Soil Method
1) Soak in Water & Hydrogen Peroxide Method to Germinate Cannabis Seeds (Mosca Preferred Method)
Some people find success by soaking their seeds in water with 20% Hydrogen Peroxide for about 12-18 hours then putting directly into soil. You can do this to combine the soak and plant in soil methods, or check for sprouting within 48 hours and then plant.
1) Use distilled water – Use a small, 8 oz. cup of either distilled or reverse osmosis water with 20% Hydrogen Peroxide at room temperature.
2) Drop your seeds into the cup – label it and check them every 8 hours.
3) Swirl around the water – this encourages the seeds to sink to the bottom.
You should begin to see sprouts, what looks like tails, coming out of the seed casing within about 12 to 18 hours. Once you see the beginning of the tap root emerging from the seed, carefully remove from the water and plant into your growing medium with the root facing downward. Water the soil, coco or grow medium with distilled water for the first few weeks.
2) Paper Towel Method to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
Using the paper towel method is simple, requires common products you have at home and has a high rate of germination. For this method you’ll need:
● Paper towels
● Distilled water
● Two clean plates, a sealed container, or a zip lock bag
1) Wet a paper towel – use distilled water or reverse osmosis water at room temperature.
2) Fold it twice – and place your seeds on the wet towel.
3) Keep seeds dark, warm and humid – place the paper towel either in between two covered plates, in a covered container or in a Ziplock bag.
4) Spray with water every few hours. Do not forget to keep your seeds moist! Your seeds will not sprout if left unattended on a dry napkin.
When you see your seeds open up and show the first sign of a tap root, get ready to plant into your growing medium (peat, coco, soil). Plant your seed with the root facing downward.
3) Plant in Soil Method to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
Some people have success planting their cannabis seeds directly into quality, potting soil. The key here is to use only fresh, never before used potting soil. If you try to reuse soil that had been used to grow other things the soil is already devoid of precious nutrients.
1) Fill your containers with quality soil – fill your pots or seedling trays with fresh potting soil and tamp down the top.
2) Plant twice as deep as the seed is wide – you don’t want to dig a deep hole to place the seed in. Simply indent with your finger about 1/8 to 1/2 of an inch.
3) Water thoroughly for the next few days – give your containers a good soaking without disrupting the seed. Use a gentle soak method and water until you see water coming out the bottom of the container to make sure they’re good and soaked. You don’t want your containers continually, excessively soggy but you can’t let them dry out either. *use only distilled or purified water for the first few weeks until you can transition to a nutrient solution.
4)Cover loosely with saran wrap to help keep moisture levels up. Remove once the seedlings emerge from the soil.
You should soon see green sprouts popping through the soil. Remember that you do not need to, and should not, provide light to your germinating seeds. Seeds require darkness, the right temperature and humidity to germinate. Once your seed sprouts, you can begin to add lighting although young cannabis plants are not yet able to process high-intensity light. It’s best to start with a lower wattage light like LED or CFL lighting, something like a blue (cold) spectrum light is good for this young age to promote vegetative growth.
Mosca Seeds offers a wide selection of quality cannabis seeds to get you started on growing your own cannabis garden. Whichever growing method or medium you choose, starting with quality cannabis seeds bred with experienced and trusted breeding genetics will yield you the best result. Check out our seed bank to choose the quality cannabis seeds of your choice and follow these tips to successfully germinate your cannabis seeds.