Best way to germinate cannabis seeds!… Seed priming lets you get to the fun part of growing faster while increasing success rates and even yields. Handling cannabis seed germination is no difficult task, but it requires a great deal of precision and care. If you can provide that, you’re good to go.
How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
For many growers, purchasing cannabis seeds is no less than children getting candies. The excitement is palpable, and you’re ready to try every trick in the book to make sure that everything works according to plan. However, Mother Nature is unpredictable and the seeds you sowed with care may not germinate at all. If that has frustrated you and you want to learn how to germinate cannabis seeds, here are a few pointers that can steer you in the right direction.
Best way to germinate cannabis seeds
There are many ways to germinate cannabis seeds, but we will get straight to the best method. This technique has worked almost every single time for us. Of course, no matter how hard you try, you cannot expect 100% germination at all times because some seeds may be old or just not viable. However, you can rest assured that this one’s better than the others.
Step 1 – Choose the best seeds
Take a look at all the seeds in your stash. While some will be super hard, some might be soft and disintegrate as soon as you press them. This is another reason why you must purchase seeds only from reputed companies. At Fastbuds , all seeds are checked rigorously and then sent across different locations. Once you inspect the seeds, choose strong ones that are hard to the touch.
Step 2 – Get rubbing!
This is a step that will help the seeds germinate so fast you’ll find it unbelievable. Generally, most cannabis seeds require at least 4-5 days to sprout, but by doing this you’ll make sure that the process speeds up by at least 2 days.
So, all you need is a hard and scratchy surface like, say, sand paper. You can also opt for a nail file. Then, pick your seeds one by one and rub the tips once or twice on the sand paper. Remember that it has to be light and swift because if you press too much you might destroy the seeds way before you even soak them in water!
Step 3 – Soak seeds in water
After a quick rub, immerse the seeds in a glass of clean water. They won’t sink immediately, but after 10-12 hours a light touch will send them down. Let the seeds remain in the water for at least 24 hours. Do not soak them for more than 48 hours or you risk ruining them completely.
Step 4 – Get paper towels
After 24 hours have passed, you’ll see that the seeds have split a bit. It’s not going to be easily visible, but if you look closely you will see a slight crack and the white interior of the seed inside. At this point, get a few paper towels, and place the seeds in them. Wrap the seeds lightly and sprinkle some water on the towels.
Note that you cannot overdo this step. Meaning the towels have to be moist – neither too wet nor too dry. Place the towels in a ziplock bag or anything that’s airtight. This is important since placing the towels in an open area will make them dry out faster and the seeds will not be viable anymore. Next, place the airtight container in a dry area. Now, you’ve done everything you can, and it all depends on time and the seeds after this stage.
Step 5 – Check the seeds
Generally, it’s best to wait for at least 4-5 days for the seeds to sprout, but since the seeds were rubbed on a hard surface earlier, they may sprout in just 2-3 days. After a couple days have passed, you can check on the seeds. If they haven’t sprouted, place them back in the bag. Sometimes, you’ll see half of the seeds sprouting while the remaining look dull. Simply select the sprouted ones and leave the remaining in the bag.
Step 6 – Get the container ready
This is something you need to do before taking the seeds out because you cannot let them dry out. Grab a container of your choice and fill it with a good potting mix. Use containers that have ample holes at the bottom or use fabric pots that let the water drain out completely. A mix of coco coir + gardening soil + perlite in a 40-40-20 proportion seems to work well for cannabis plants.
Also, if you’re growing photoperiod plants, you may shift the seeds to small cups with soil and then transplant them later. But, if you’re using autoflowering seeds, it’s best to plant them in their final containers so you don’t have the headache of transplanting them later.
If the seeds have sprouted with the taproot clearly visible, plant them immediately in the soil. To do this, poke a small hole about an inch deep with your finger and place the seed in it. Do not sow more than one seed per hole. Remember not to push the seeds too deep into the soil or they will have issues breaking out.
Step 7 – Water
Once you’ve covered the seeds with some light soil, sprinkle water on the seeds. Remember not to pour the water too quickly or the seeds will dislodge themselves. If you don’t have a sprinkler, grab a coke bottle and poke holes on the cap to use it in a pinch. This works nicely as a sprinkler and isn’t too hard on the seeds.
If you see any of the seeds poking out after watering them, simply cover them with soil again. It’s important for the seeds to NOT be exposed to sunlight. At the same time, you must ensure that the soil isn’t bone dry or dripping wet. It must be moist – just like you did this with the paper towels.
Maintaining enough moisture in the soil is critical. In some locations, the soil may dry out faster due to the climate. In such cases, watch the pots every 5-6 hours and pour water if they are too dry. If you’ve poured too much water, a good container will help drain out all the excess.
Step 8 – Seeds sprout
If you’ve done everything right, you will see the seeds break out of the surface of the soil. AT first, you’ll only see the cotyledons. At times, the seeds cannot break out of the hull and remain stuck in there. Although they break out of the hull by themselves in a couple of days, you can help them by sprinkling some water on the hull gently. Remove the hull as slowly as you can.
Step 9 – Maintain the seedlings
After the seeds sprout and you see the cotyledon, let the seedlings remain in dull light for a day until they adjust to the light around. For indoor growers, using CFLs will help. If you’re growing outdoors, you can cut the top of a coke plastic bottle and place it on top of the seedlings to prevent harsh sunlight. Make sure you do this only for a day or two and the seedlings will adjust to the environment.
It’s important to water the seedlings regularly during the first week. Again, remember that the soil cannot be too wet or dry. Maintain the perfect amount of moisture and your seedlings will reward you with big buds later!
How to Prime Seeds for a Head Start on the Grow Season
Looking to give your seeds a head start? Seed priming lets you get to the fun part of growing faster while increasing success rates and even yields.
Few things compare to the joy of seeing that first bit of green poking through the soil. Growing is an art, and a beautiful one at that.
Germinating seeds yourself brings a sense of accomplishment as well as pure excitement for what’s to come. For impatient gardeners like me, seed priming offers a true edge in the process of seed germination, increasing success rates, and speeding things up.
What is Seed Priming?
Think of priming as hydrating seeds. Seed priming establishes consistent moisture and temperature for seeds so they begin the germination process. In many cases, seeds are primed and then the germination process is halted before roots and sprouts emerge.
This can occur because controlled priming works within a window of time between priming and pre-germination. As long as priming does not surpass the maximum length of time, seeds can safely dry back to a dormant state and await planting. Amazingly, at the time they’re sown, primed seeds will sprout more quickly and abundantly than non-primed seeds.
Seed Priming at Home
Seed priming is possible for hobby and home gardeners, although it may be more or less a little-known secret or a proud discovery of greater gardening success. Only this year did I learn the amazing experience of improving germination by priming and testing seeds in wet paper towels.
Soak seeds in a small bowl of water for no more than 24 hours.
Soaking Seeds First
When priming seeds at home, you can soak seeds or use the paper towel method of germination. If soaking, place seeds in a small bowl of water and soak for no more than 24 hours. Recommendations on total soak time vary but range commonly between eight to 12 hours and absolutely no more than 24, or else the seeds might begin to rot.
Wet Paper Towel Seed Priming
The plastic baggie and paper towel method of starting seeds is a very useful technique. A kind gentleman in a Facebook gardening group suggested it for planting pea seeds to see if they’d sprout. Here are the steps:
- Fold a paper towel in half.
- Space out pea seeds on the folded paper towel.
- Spray room temperature tap water lightly on the paper towel.
- Fold it to fully cover the seeds and ensure it is evenly moist.
- Place the folded paper towel in a zip-top plastic baggie.
- Label with the date and type of seed.
- Place near a heating vent or on a warm surface such as the top of your fridge or microwave.
I couldn’t believe my luck the next morning! When I checked on the pea seeds in the baggies, I saw the radicles (first roots) had begun to emerge from almost all the seeds. Amazed, I proceeded to use the same wet paper towel and baggie-priming method with beans, Roma tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, and even fruit seeds for fun. Almost everything germinated. Brilliant!
You can gently bury the entire primed seed loosely below the soil.
As Seedlings Emerge
Prior to priming, be sure to check your local weather. Once you start the priming process at home, it’s vital to get the seeds into the ground soon after they begin germinating. In as little as 24 hours, you may see some tiny seedlings starting to push their way through the seed coats. You can gently bury the entire primed seed loosely below the soil and it should continue its journey to the surface in short time.
Why Should I Prime Seeds?
Planting primed seeds results in shorter germination times and better rates of germination. For both commercial farmers and home gardeners, seed priming saves time and optimizes growth. Here are some key advantages of using primed seeds or priming seeds yourself:
Faster Seed Germination – Moisture added when priming seeds speeds up the germination process.
Higher Rates of Germination – Seeds sprout in greater numbers when primed before planting. Proper priming can overcome seed dormancy for stubborn varieties.
More Forgiving to Temperature – Seeds go through many of their temperature-sensitive changes during priming. Therefore, they can germinate more easily in cooler temperatures, which in turn can impact heating bills in larger scale farming operations.
Reduce Fungi – It’s reported that priming seeds can lower the incidence of seedborne fungi in resulting plants.
Increase in Yield – Significantly higher yields are likely to occur with primed seeds. One study revealed a 21 percent greater yield when priming seeds first.
Higher Density and Vigor – Plants grown from primed seeds tend to be more vigorous and may also reach maturity sooner. This also means harvests may begin earlier in the growing season.
Affordable – Priming seeds at home is easy to do and you can use materials you already have around the home. It’s cheap, easy, and quite honestly, much neater than starting everything in soil first.
Environmentally-Friendly – This method of enhanced gardening is friendly to plants and the environment. Your green thumb is now even greener!
Save Valuable Planting Space – Priming seeds first speeds things up and allows you to identify viable seeds as well as potential duds. You can swiftly pot up the promising seeds and discard or bulk plant those that don’t seem viable.
Soak It — Seeds Best Suited for Priming
Starting seeds is so much fun, and it’s even better when you’re able to up the ante for quicker and better results. Consider what you’re planning to grow and whether priming the seeds can enhance your gardening experience. You can prime these seeds for quicker and more abundant germination. Try at-home priming with wet paper towels or seed soaking for the following seeds, to name a few.
Commercial Examples of Seed Priming
In professional environments, seed priming may involve a solute, whereas in-home gardeners will likely use water to prime their seeds. Even water vapor can aid in the seed priming process.
In a study of nanoparticle-mediated seed priming, seeds received a treatment of nanopriming agents, in this case turmeric oil nanoemulsions (TNE) and silver nanoparticles (AgNPs). This seed priming measure improved the germination of notoriously temperamental watermelon seeds and resulted in improved germination, better growth, and increased yield without altering the quality of the fruit.
Another study tested seed priming in developing countries. This study largely found “on-farm” seed priming to be significantly positive in its impacts to seed germination, plant growth, and crop yields.
Professional Seed Priming Methods
Commercial growers and suppliers rely on proven methods to prime seeds for best germination, growth, and yield. Some have their own proprietary means of priming seeds while others adhere to tried and true techniques. Here are the most common commercial priming methods.
Drum Priming – Seeds soak up moisture from controlled humidity within a rotating drum. The monitored water vapor moistens the seeds and primes them for optimal growth.
Hydropriming – While used in commercial operations, this method would also work at home. Hydropriming involves soaking seeds in water, specifically in aerated distilled water if possible.
On-Farm Seed Priming – Farmers can soak seeds overnight and allow them to dry briefly before planting. This method can reduce the overall time needed for the seeds to soak water directly from the soil.
Osmopriming – Soaking seeds in low water content paired with osmotic solution relies on osmosis to jumpstart the seeds without kicking them into true germination. Plant hormones or beneficial microorganisms may also be mixed into the priming solutions.
Solid Matrix Priming – A slower method, seeds begin in an insoluble medium that readily absorbs water, such as vermiculite. This method limits water uptake by the seeds.
Take these tips on priming seeds at face value and give it a whirl with your next planting. This is one case where it’s quick, clean, and easy to make a difference in your gardening endeavors!
Tip: Not all seeds need to be primed. Some, particularly those that are finicky when transplanted, may not be great candidates for seed priming or may sprout just fine on their own. Those that are small may simply not need it. Carrots, lettuce, radishes, and some herbs and flowers may do better without priming. If you do choose to prime these seeds, soak in a small dish of water and watch closely every few hours to avoid overdoing it. Trial and error is one of the best parts of gardening!
How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
Cannabis, better known as marijuana, is getting more popular across the United States as more medical reports deem it highly useful for better health and more states legalize its sale and use. There’s no question of how potent and beneficial marijuana is for health and recreation, so it is no surprise that more individuals are more getting interested in growing the herb in their homes.
Like any other plant, cannabis goes through the germination process before full growth. Handling cannabis seed germination is no difficult task, but it requires a great deal of precision and care. If you can provide that, you’re good to go.
Below here, we breakdown the main aspects of cannabis seed germination you need to know.
The Ideal Germination Conditions for Cannabis
For maximum cannabis seed germination, you need to provide the following conditions:
Marijuana seeds need adequate moisture in the soil to develop properly. You can maintain moisture by using well-watered soil or a naturally-moist medium such as compost. Alternatively, you can use mulch on the ground to lock the moisture in.
Your seeds need a stable setup during planting to guarantee proper germination. You can achieve this by placing the seeds about 1.3cm to 2.5 cm into the medium, not any further or closer to the medium surface.
Marijuana seeds require a proper balance between hot and cold temperatures for proper germination. Keep the temperature around the germinating area adequately warm, because colder temperatures tend to delay the germination process.
Marijuana seeds need direction when being germinated. When placing the germinated seed into the growing medium, ensure that the white root is looking downwards into the medium and the seed body is looking upwards. Positioning it otherwise means the root will have to reorganize itself, which can slow germination.
Seed Germination Methods
There are more than a few options to choose from when picking a method for your seed germination process. We list and explain the best of them below:
Use Starter Cubes & Seedling Plugs
This is the most recommended cannabis seed germination method on this list because of its ease. Starter cubes and seedling plugs are specially designed for the purpose of seed germination, so they come filled with the right kind of planting mix and a hole drilled adequately in the middle for placing your seed. All you have to do is place your seed carefully into the hole and close it with a simple pinch of the nearby planting mix.
- They have high germination rates thanks to adequately pre-set conditions
- They are easy to use; you open them up and start planting
- They give less room for error
- Some of them are designed to allow hydroponic growing (water-based planting)
- They aren’t too expensive
- Are usually sold in packages of 50 plugs or more at once, no less.
- Some plugs dry out too quickly after opening.
- Some plugs must be soaked for a while first before use.
Plant your marijuana seeds directly in the final growing medium
Another good method for germinating your cannabis seeds is by planting them within your final growing medium from the very beginning, whether it is soil or compost or water.
- The seeds don’t get transplant shock during transplanting
- The seeds get accustomed to the medium early on, which fosters growth
- Some final mediums are not adequately nutrient-rich to support cannabis seed germination in its earliest stages
Use a germination station
For best seed germination results, you can alternatively employ a germination station before transferring to a final growing medium. Germination stations are pre-designed to offer optimum conditions for germination.
- Germination stations are cheap to purchase
- You can create your own DIY germination station at home using a plastic dome fitted over a plate that’s placed on a heating pad.
- Germination seeds are only appropriate for the early stages of growth, unlike, say, the final medium.
Soak Your Marijuana Seeds in Water Overnight
Alternatively, you can germinate your cannabis seeds using water alone. Place the seeds in a glassful of mildly warm water overnight and wait for the white root to break through the seed shell. Then you can transfer to a final growing medium.
- It works well for seeds with extra hard seed coats
- Cuts out all the extra preparation required in soil-based germination
- Some seeds, especially the older ones, cannot germinate in water because they require a longer time
- There is always the risk of over soaking the seeds and killing them
Try the Paper Towel Method
The most DIY cannabis seed germination method on this list is the paper towel method, which involves wrapping your seeds in thin paper towels, making them wet and leaving the setup a warm place. Soon enough, the white roots start showing and the seeds can then be transplanted.
- It is so cheap; the thinnest (and cheapest) paper towels work best
- It is so easy to do.
- Thicker paper towels can be hard to separate new seedlings from after they’ve sprouted
- There is a high possibility for errors during transplanting, such as root breakage when seed roots are found to have grown into the paper towel, not on its surface.
- Paper towels can dry if unattended, thereby killing the new seedlings.
Planting Germinated Seeds
Once the cannabis seeds have germinated, they need to be planted in order to grow into proper cannabis plants. The recommended method for planting cannabis seeds includes the steps below:
Step One : Set and prepare your planting medium. You can use either a rooting cube or a planting mix for planting, depending on your preference. Rooting cubes have no major preparation requirements –have one ready from Oasis, Jiffy or another good brand. If you’re using a planting mix, procure sterile soil for the process. Random soil doesn’t cut it here.
Step Two : Next, add water to the sterile soil or rooting cube to saturate it. Then use a needle or chopstick to drill small planting holes within the soil or rooting cube. Please do not use your finger for this task.
Step Three : Get your tweezers and sterilize them with alcohol or spirit first. Then use the tweezers to pick the seeds, paying good attention to the fragile white roots.
Step Four : Place each germinated seed into a hole of its own, ever so tenderly, such that the root faces downward. Don’t place the seeds too deep into the ground either, because it slows growth. Move quickly because the roots are easily damaged by exposure to the atmosphere.
Step Five : Next, cover each of the holes with adequate soil or rooting cube. Make sure the planting mix or root cube is moist and not too cold.
Germinating and growing cannabis seeds requires a bit of work, but when done right, the end results are worth every minute spent. Like any other plant, cannabis seeds have to go through germination and then plant growth. Making sure each of these stages is done right will guarantee you a super bouncy harvest every time.