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How to germinate cannabis seeds

Germination is the process in which a new plant begins to grow from a seed. Also referred to as “popping,” germination is the very first step in starting your cannabis garden.

Cannabis seeds can be acquired from an array of sources and can vary in quality. For more info on how to buy marijuana seeds, check out our Guide to buying cannabis seeds.

When acquiring seeds, you want to make sure they are matured and that they appear dark brown with lighter accents and a hard feel. You don’t want a seed that feels fresh and looks green, which indicates that the seed hasn’t reached full maturity.

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Once you have your cannabis seeds, make sure you have the space necessary to allow your plants to grow and be healthy. Don’t pop seeds when you are unsure of your grow space, time availability, or intention with your garden.

Check out these additional resources for more info on cannabis seeds:

What’s the best way to germinate cannabis seeds?

Cannabis seeds require three things to germinate: water, heat, and air. Because of this, there are many methods to germinate your seeds. The most common and simplest method involves the use of paper towels saturated in water.

For this method you will need:

  • Two clean plates
  • Paper towels
  • Seeds

Step 1:

Take four sheets of paper towels and soak them with distilled water. The sheets should be soaked but shouldn’t have excess water running off.

Step 2:

Take two of the paper towels and place them on a plate. Then, place the cannabis seeds at least an inch apart from each other and cover them with the remaining two sheets of water-soaked paper towels.

Step 3:

To create a dark, protected space, take another plate and flip it over to cover the seeds (like a dome).

Step 4:

Make sure the area they’re kept in is warm, somewhere between 70-90°F.

After these steps have been completed, it’s time to wait. You can check the paper towels to make sure they’re still saturated, and if they seem to be losing their moisture, you can apply more water to keep the seeds happy.

Some seeds germinate very rapidly while others can take several days. You know a seed has germinated once the seed splits and a single sprout appears.

This is the taproot, which will become the main stem of the plant, and seeing it is a sign of successful germination. It’s important to keep this area sterile, so don’t touch the seed or taproot as the seed begins to split.

Transplanting germinated cannabis seeds

Once you see the taproot, it’s time to transfer your germinated seed into its growing medium. Small 2-inch pots are a good place to start.

Fill the pots with loose, airy potting soil and poke a hole in the middle about a quarter-inch down using a pen or pencil.

To transfer the seed, use a pair of tweezers to gently pick it up, then drop the seed in the hole with the taproot facing down. Lightly cover it with soil.

Next, you’ll need to water the soil. Initially, use a spray bottle to provide moisture without over-saturating the soil. You want to give the seed water, but over-watering can suffocate and kill the delicate sprout.

Pay attention to the temperature and the moisture level of the soil to keep the seed happy, and within a week or so you should see a seedling begin to grow from the soil.

Germinating seeds doesn’t always go as planned. Some seeds will be duds. Others will be slow and take longer to sprout. But some will pop quickly and grow rapidly.

This is the beauty of seeds—often, you can tell which plants or genetics will thrive right from the get-go. This will help you determine which plants you want to take cuttings from for clones and which to breed with other strong plants to create a seed bank of your own.

Follow these simple steps on the best way to properly germinate your cannabis seeds, and find out how to transplant the seeds to soil after germination.

How to sow seeds direct into pots

For a quick-growing, low-maintenance display, you can direct-sow seeds into a pot. We show you how.

Published: Sunday, 24 March, 2019 at 3:00 pm

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is at its best in June

Plant is at its best in July

Plant is at its best in August

Plant is at its best in September

Plant is not at its best in October

Plant is not at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do not To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

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Growing flowers from seed is a great way of saving money, and summer planting doesn’t get easier than this. You can sow most half-hardy and hardy annuals straight into the container in late March (delay until April if the weather stays cold) – the first shoots often appear within days, with flowers from early June right through until October.

Place the container in full sun where your summer annuals can soak up the warmth, and get enough light to open their petals.

Find out how to grow the perfect pot of seed-sown summer annuals, below.

You Will Need

  • Crocks
  • A bell cloche
  • Vermiculite or fine grit
  • Seed compost
  • Multi-purpose, peat-free compost
  • Flower seeds
  • Container

Step 1

Place a couple of crocks in the base of your pot to aid drainage. Fill the pot with a good quality, peat-free multipurpose compost, topping off with a 3cm layer of seed compost. Water the compost thoroughly and allow to drain.

How to sow seeds direct into pots - adding compost to the pot

Step 2

Using vermiculite or sand, divide the surface into thirds. Sow three types of seed – one in each section, spacing them at 5cm intervals.

How to sow seeds direct into pots - sowing seed on the surface

Step 3

Cover the surface with a fine layer of vermiculite.

How to sow seeds direct into pots - covering the seed with vermiculite

Step 4

Protect the seeds with a cloche until they have germinated. Thin overcrowded seedlings to 10cm, by gently prising them out using a pencil. Firm in the rest.

Discover how to sow pretty, hardy and half-hardy annuals direct into containers, in our practical guide, from the experts at BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine.