How to Germinate Weed Seeds: Three Easy Methods

Hands holding heart shaped soil with a weed leaf

People have been growing cannabis for more than 10.000 years, and the best thing about it is that it’s very adaptable to different environmental conditions.

Before we go over why that’s good and what you need to know about the process of growing marijuana, let’s familiarize you with some basic information.

Cannabis plants are divided into male and female counterparts and both of them produce flowers. Each sex has its own characteristics, and it is important to know them if you want to grow weed since they can affect the outcome of your plant’s growth.

The roots of this plant make a dense net, and they can go up to six feet in depth. When you look at the total mass of the plant, roots are only 10% of it, which means that they have low power of suction.

Female cannabis plants have stronger roots than male ones. It’s because male plants finish vegetation faster. Female plants keep adding nutrition to their seeds until they grow which means feminine seeds need more food and water to finish the process. That process makes their root system stronger.

First, Let’s Set Everything Up

Are you familiar with the term ‘germination’?

Germination is ‘’the process of seed starting to grow or the act of causing a seed to start growing.’’ So in essence, we’re trying to help kick start the growth process of your very own cannabis plant.

Before you start with your germination process, there are some things you need to prepare and learn first. Like any other plant, cannabis needs certain conditions in order to grow such as:

  • Temperature
  • Water
  • Light, etc.

Minimal germination temperature is 1°C – 2°C, while the optimum is around 30°C. Cannabis can grow in low temperatures too – as I said, they’re pretty adaptable. But still, you should do your best to maintain the optimum temperature if you want to be sure the germination process is successful.

This plant needs a lot of water, so make sure you have enough of it. Also, you need to be careful about lighting. If you lower sunlight, the plant will germinate faster, but it will be shorter and the leaves may change their shape.

Lastly, there are some technical things you need to be careful about. Hygiene is number one. It’s always important, of course, but especially if you want to plant cannabis seeds. So, take good care of your tools, your hands, the place where you plant it, etc.

If you’re a smoker, for instance, don’t even think about touching the plant if you don’t use antibacterial soap first. Nicotine can be poisonous to cannabis plants, don’t forget that.

There is one tip we can give you — always have rubbing alcohol by your side. So, whenever you want to cut, see or touch your plant, spray the alcohol on your hands, scissors, tweezers, etc. You can never be too careful!

Germination With Paper Towels

One of the easiest methods is definitely this one, where you use paper towels. There are three things you’ll need: cannabis seeds – of course, paper towels, and clean plates. You don’t have to invest a lot, the cheapest paper towels will do a great job also.

Although this method is simple, it can be risky.  You can easily damage the roots while you move the seeds, or the paper could lose its moisture, killing the seeds in the process. But if you are careful enough, everything should go according to plan.

Without further ado, let’s give you a quick step by step guide how to germinate weeds using paper towels:

  1. Soak the paper towels in water (preferably distilled). You should soak them well, but on the other hand, be careful that they aren’t dripping water.
  2. Take a plate and place two paper towels on it. Lay the seeds out (spaced well enough so that they aren’t close to one another), and then cover them with two other towels.
  3. Use another plate to cover everything. This way you ensure that the moisture is well locked in.
  4. Keep everything in the room at optimal temperature (30°C) and don’t forget to check the seeds to see whether they have sprouted. If you realize they are drying out, add a little bit of water.
  5. Be patient! This step is very important. Usually, the seeds will sprout within 24 hours to four days, but it can take up to a week.

There you go! Your germination process in just five steps. No wonder this is considered to be so quick and easy.

Germination With A Glass of Water

This is the process that involves only one single glass and lukewarm water. Simple, right? Well, it definitely isn’t hard and it doesn’t require a lot of effort, but there is a higher chance that this method won’t be as successful as the first paper towel method.

First of all, the best seeds to use with this method are old and hard seeds. Place them in the glass overnight, but no longer than 32 hours.

When you place them in the glass, you’ll notice that the seeds will keep floating. Don’t worry, in a few hours, they will sink to the bottom. Our recommendation is to use transparent containers since that way you will be able to see the white tips of roots break out.

As we already mentioned, there is a possibility this method won’t work. If that happens, take out the seeds and lay them out in a warm place. After that, the best thing you can do is use the paper towel method to continue the germination process.

Germination Using Medium

Cannabis is a plant that has grown on its own for centuries. Their seeds are sprouted in soil and they emerge as the roots start to grow down. That being said, germination in soil medium is the closest to their natural growth.

If you decide to go with this method, there is no need to worry about your seeds. There aren’t any chances to damage them while being transplanted. Usually, transplanting your seeds can cause damage since they have to adjust to their new surroundings. With this method, however, the seeds will start adjusting to the environment in no time.

The process is quite easy. Dig a hole (the size of a fingernail), and place the seed. Cover it and after that add a little bit of water to moisten the surface. Be careful about that, if you add too much water it could kill the seeds. Balance is key. We recommend you to buy a spray bottle when you want to add water to the plant to prevent overwatering the seeds.

There is one tricky part that you have to be careful about. If you want to go with this method, the humidity level in the room should be 50% – 70%, and you should always maintain it at that level.

You will have to wait for three to seven days to see results when using this method. After that, the seeds should start emerging.

Starter Cubes: The Easiest Germination Method

Germination using some type of growth medium is not hard, but it can be much easier thanks to starter cubes you can easily buy and use. There are different types, but they all have the same purpose — to make the process as easy and successful as possible.

They’re made out of a sponge-like material made of organic matter with nutrients and serve as a natural grow plug for seedlings. They’re user-friendly and you always get easy-to-follow instructions when you buy them.

They all work in the same way. Just place the seed in one of the cubes and add water. These cubes already have holes inside, which means that  you don’t have to dig and that your seedlings get the best conditions possible for germination.

There are different types of starter cubes you should know about:

  • Rapid Rooters – Using these, you don’t need any preparation. Just take them out of the package and follow the instructions. Each package usually has enough plugs that can accommodate 50 seeds at a time. *(image from amazon)
  • Rapid Rooter Trays – These are basically rapid rooters that are made into cubes and packaged into a tray. They can stand on their own thanks to their flat bottom. *(image from amazon)
  • Rockwool Cubes – Also called Stonewool cubes, these are made of basalt and chalk spun into matter similar to cotton candy. Unlike rapid rooters, these cubes may not have holes, so you’ll have to dig them by yourself.

With any of the above starter cubes, there’s little chance for error. If you’re a beginner, we highly recommend you try starting out with them first. Once you gain experience, you can try out other methods.

To Conclude…

As you can see, you don’t need any special knowledge to germinate marijuana seeds. Arm yourself with patience, practice and good tools and the results will amaze you.

We encourage you to try one of these germination methods since they do not require a lot of effort and investment.

About the author
Helena Miles

Experienced journalist with a decade-long experience of researching cannabis. She has been featured in many prominent outlets, such as The Growth Op, National Post and The Province.

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