If you live in a place where growing marijuana is legal and you’re wanting to start cultivating your own plants from seed, the first step will be to germinate marijuana seeds. While it might, understandably, sound like a daunting task–especially if you don’t consider yourself as having a green thumb–the truth is once you find out how easy it is, chances are you’ll be saying: “Oh?!?! Really?!?!? Is that all there is to it?!”

However, before getting into how to germinate your seeds, we should first go over some of the basics about cannabis seeds themselves and what the differences are between photoperiod vs autoflowering and feminized vs regular. Today’s blog will teach you how to germinate marijuana seeds like a pro, no matter if you’re a novice or an experienced gardener. Keep reading for our germination tips!

Germinate Marijuana

How to germinate marijuana seeds of photoperiod strains

Photoperiod cannabis strains, which are annuals, require a consistent light and dark cycle to properly grow. Essentially, the flowering stage of a photoperiod strain is dictated by the seasons, wherein nature starts to flower and produce buds in the fall when days (light) start to shorten, and nights (dark) lengthen. When photoperiods are cultivated indoors, they require this same light cycle, albeit in a human-controlled environment where light cycles, pruning, and trimming, have to be carefully monitored and carried out by the grower. 

They need 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness before being transitioned to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. If this shift doesn’t occur, then they won’t start to flower. Grown indoors, it’s up to you to ensure the light cycles and their staging, which means you’ll need to first plan how long you want your photoperiod strain to vegetate and when you want it to flower.

If you’re cultivating photoperiod strains outdoors, you need to live in a part of the world where it’s possible for your plants to get the amount of light and dark they require, so that they can flower in the autumn. While the reward with growing photoperiod strains either in or outdoors is huge plants and large yields, the amount of care they require is why they aren’t generally recommended for beginners. One last thing to note about photoperiod strains is that as a general rule of thumb, photoperiod sativas tend to do better outdoors in terms of achieving their full growth and yield potential, and photoperiod indicas can do so both inside and outside.

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How to germinate marijuana seeds of autoflowering strains

Ruderalis is a subspecies of cannabis that’s native to Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Over time, it evolved into requiring a much shorter growing season of going from germination to flowering due to the shorter summers and longer winters in those regions. 

Autoflowering cannabis strains are hybrids that contain some of the genetics of ruderalis, which generally allows them to grow from seed to yield in only 8-12 weeks. They produce female plants that don’t require the same light and dark cycles that photoperiods do. Autoflowering strains, as their name states, are able to automatically switch to the flowering stage regardless of how much light exposure they have. In addition, just as ruderalis, they are generally much more resilient than photoperiod strains, as not only did ruderalis have to adapt to the shorter daylight hours, but they also had to be able to survive the more brutal climate in the regions it’s native. 

All of these factors are what make autoflowers an ideal choice for those who are new to growing. That said, they are also beloved by professional growers for both their fast turnaround from seed to yield and the fact that they tend to be much smaller than photoperiod strains, which allows for discreet growing when need be. While autoflowering strains don’t require as many nutrients as photoperiod ones, they do require well-aerated soil.

Germinating regular seeds

Regular marijuana seeds produce both male, female, and hermaphrodite plants. They can be used to breed and create new strains. As such, they are a much better option for experienced breeders as opposed to novice growers, as you have to be able to identify the male, female, and hermaphrodite seeds from one another and know their genetic makeup, strengths, and weaknesses, and what type of environment they require to thrive. In short, while they are cheaper and are what you need to choose if you want to breed and create new strains, they’re harder to grow if you don’t have much experience. 

Furthermore, while most autoflowering seeds you’ll find available on the market are feminized, there are autoflowers that are regular, which means that they don’t have feminized genetics. Regular autoflowering cannabis seeds give growers all the benefits that come with using regular seeds along with the benefits of autoflowering strains. Regular photoperiod cannabis seeds require transitions in their light cycle and will be either male or female plants, as you would find commonly occurring in nature.

Germinating feminized seeds

As mentioned above, while not all autoflowering seeds are feminized, the majority are. Feminized seeds only produce female cannabis plants, and make for the ideal starter for new growers. While they cannot be used for breeding, this should hardly be an issue for a novice cultivator. One last thing to note is that feminized photoperiod strains produce female plants that require 12/12 of light and dark to begin flowering.

Germinate Marijuana

How to germinate marijuana seeds

Now that you know the basics of photoperiod, autoflowering, feminized, and regular seeds and their various combinations, all you’ll need to do next is choose your seeds and germinate them. We like to recommend the glass and paper towel method as it is simple and consistently provides solid results.

To germinate your seeds: 

  1. Soak them in a glass of water 
  2. Lay the soaked seeds out on some wet paper towels 
  3. Place them in a warm and dark room, and keep them moist by replacing the dry paper towels with wet ones. 
  4. When they begin to sprout, plant them

And that is it! The only other thing you will need to do is to harvest your nice dank nuggets when they’re ready!

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