By Palmer Adelaide
Isn’t nature magical? Plunk a few seeds in the earth, water them once in a while, then—poof! Beautiful, healthy, healing plants will appear.
Okay, there’s a little more to it than that.
A critical stage in successfully cultivating cannabis is germination. That’s the technical term for the process by which seeds open up and roots emerge. It’s what we mean when we say that a seed has “sprouted.”
Once you know how to sprout marijuana seeds, you’re well on your way to ganja-growing success. It’s true that some growers favor using the same medium for germination as for growing (meaning soil or hydroponic solution). But the majority of top cultivators use a separate process to make their seeds pop.
At Pacific Seed Bank, there’s a time-tested method we favor for the sprouting of your marijuana seeds. In fact, we published a detailed guide on the subject. But if you like your data in blog-sized chunks, this post has the short-and-sweet info you need.
Without further ado:
The ABCs of Sproutin’ Seeds.
- Fill a glass with pure, room-temperature water. We recommend distilled, spring, or rainwater rather than tap. Add up to 5 seeds to the glass. Put your glass of water and seeds in a warm, dark place for up to 18 hours.
- Pour out your seeds and water onto a plate covered with a folded paper towel. The object is to soak the towel, giving your seeds a wet place to nest. Use tweezers to spread the seeds about an inch apart. (You don’t want to touch the seeds with your hands.)Gently fold the saturated towel over the seeds so they’re covered, but don’t press down on them. Pour off any excess water.
- Place your plate in a dark spot where it can rest undisturbed. Over the next few days, wet the paper towel periodically to make sure it doesn’t dry out. It’s during this period (which can last up to two weeks) your seeds will begin to send out little taproots.</p<Check the seeds occasionally, and when the roots have reached between 1/4” and 3/4”, they’re ready for planting. Carefully remove your sprouted seeds from the paper towel (again, tweezers are your friend) and place them in your growing medium of choice.
And that’s it! Easy as ABC, right?
Three Keys To Sprouting Success
In real estate, it’s Location, Location, Location. For sprouting marijuana seeds, the mantra is Moisture, Darkness, Warmth.
You’ll want to make sure your seeds are kept wet during germination—but not too wet. If you go past the recommended 18-hour soaking period, the seeds may get water-logged or moldy. During the paper-towel phase, don’t let the towel dry out completely, but make sure the seeds aren’t swimming in water.
A warm, dark environment is also important for germination. If you can maintain a temperature of around 75 degrees Fahrenheit, your seeds will be happy. Some strains will do better with slightly warmer temps; some like it a little cooler. A little investigation into your specific seeds will give you a better idea.
Finally, you’ll want to keep them out of the light while they’re sprouting. If you picture seeds that have fallen off plants and naturally germinate, you visualize them below ground, hidden in the earth, right? Once they come up through the soil, of course, light is a critical growth factor.
Funny-Looking? Like, a Clown?
If a seed’s appearance makes you concerned about whether it will sprout or not, it’s best to give it the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes certain seeds will not look all that promising—irregular shape, odd markings, etc. That doesn’t mean they won’t shoot out gorgeous, fully functional taproots that will form the foundations for big, happy plants.
Some growers favor a practice of scuffing their seeds before germinating them, on the theory that it lets the water in and helps the seed’s outer shell break apart more easily. If it sounds like something you want to try, it’s detailed in our germination guide. But remember, be gentle with your seeds. They can be damaged by rough treatment, and you want your little green babies to grow up big and strong!
There’s plenty more growing info available here on the PSB site. Oh—and if you don’t know where to buy marijuana seeds — we humbly suggest Pacific Seed Bank for that too.