Germinating marijuana seeds. How to germinate cannabis seeds (shot Indoor). Marijuana weed seed germination. Germinating cannabis seeds is the first step in a successful garden. Marijuana seeds can be germinated in a number of different ways. This shot Indoor seed germination method is easy and works quite well. How to Tell if a Cannabis Seed is Good Got a cannabis seed, but you’re not sure if it’s any good? No worries. By the end of this article you’ll know everything you need to get started. The Can you test seed germination viability by floating the seed in water? How reliable is this method and does it work for all seeds?
How to Germinate a Cannabis Sativa Seed
The following is a successful step-by-step process for germinating cannabis seeds on any budget. Germination of marijuana seeds, cannabis sativa, & pot seeds with minimum failure.
Always be sure that your work area is clean. This includes YOU. Wash your hands every time before working with seeds – it will increase your success.
Germinating Marijuana Seeds
Preparation & Supplies
In preparing to germinate your cannabis seeds whether one or a dozen, make sure you have everything you need and that it is also CLEAN. I use anti-bacterial soap in my garden for myself mostly, I recommend using it for everything (hands, buckets, tweezers, shot Indoores, etc.).
(shot Indoor method)
For our tutorial, we are using a shot Indoor, mineral water at room temperature, and our chosen seed(s). We use masking tape and a black marker to identify our seeds when germinating multiple cannabis strains.
You can use your local water with one caution. Fill a pitcher with your water 24 hours before using it & leave it open. This allows chlorine and other potentially harmful chemicals to escape into the open air.
Cannabis Seed Germination
Half fill your Indoor with mineral water. We have taken a single seed (female), and placed it in the water (shot Indoor). Notice that the seed is initially floating.
We have identified this seed and now we need to put it away in a warm and dark place for 24-30 hours. This allows the seed to absorb water. The seed does not need or like any light yet, but likes everything warm.
The cannabis seed simply needs warm air, moisture and darkness to begin a good germination process.
Keeping a temperature of between 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit is excellent for starting seeds. Warm, wet and dark is what they like.
Select a warm spot that stays consistent in the temperature it offers (like on your water heater). We cover our Indoor with a dark cup to keep out all of the surrounding light.
Again, leave this covered and warm for at least 24 hours. This will allow the seed to absorb water, and is an excellent indication that the seed can grow.
The cannabis seed sinks when it absorbs water (24 hours). When you return the next day and uncover your Indoor, you may notice that the seed sank to the bottom.
If it did not, have no fear. Try stirring the water with your clean finger. The seed may have absorbed water and still be afloat by a bubble or dry spot (happens all the time).
How to Germinate
If the seed still floats, you can add some fresh water* and check back again in 8-12 hours. After that, you can still plant the seed, but chances are slimmer that it will take hold (germinate).
I then take a cup of my personal grow mix (soil) that is the same mix I use in my plants through-out their maturity.
I only transplant once, and it’s moved into the same exact grow medium in it’s final container. This prevents additional shock or stress when transplanted.
Each time you change containers or transplant, it will make the plant stress for a week or so.
Use a humidity dome until the seeds break ground (already germinated).
I use a solo cup and slice four slits in the bottom for good water drainage and added aeration. It also makes the transplant very easy.
I carefully place the seed into the soil with the knot side up. I only place it about 3/16″ under the soil surface and water thoroughly. I am still only using water* at this point.
When I water* the soil, it tends to move some soil over the seed. I label my cup and place it in a dome for high humidity and added warmth (shown next to a clone). Position a small grow light above the dome and have the timer the same as your 18 hour garden clock. We want some air, moisture, warmth and light right now.
Lights should remain ON for 16 – 20 hours and OFF for 4 – 8 hours. You are deciding this right now, because changing this light cycle in mid-growth IS stress for the plant – we will control the lights completely. This is the ‘trigger’ for future growth stages. I recommend 18 hours ON, 6 hours OFF once germinated.
Keep the soil moist, but not wet. there is a difference. After my initial watering, I do not water* it again for 2-3 days, and then I am spraying water* over my cup of soil.
Usually, in about 2-5 days you will see the seedling begin to pop out of the soil. I have seen seeds take 11 days, but usually less.
Sometimes, as in this example, the seed shell stays attached while the seedling works it’s way upward and fights to exist.
Cannabis seed curling upward with seed shell still intact.
Spray the leaves with water* for two days to help transition from the high humidity dome. Don’t water yet, just spray them.
Germinating marijuana seeds
Once the seedling has broken ground and I can see green leaves, I remove the cup from the humidity dome. Move your new baby to the nursery side of your garden with the 16-18 hour grow light cycle and circulating air.
As the seed uncurls and begins it’s beautiful life, it will lose the seed case and begin to sprout it’s first leaves.
As you can see, the sprout stretches upward while wrestling with the seed casing to be released (all this work for our smoking pleasure).
As it spends more time under the light, the sprout should be able to shake the seed and begin to form it’s first 2 leaves (cotyledon).You will find that once you have a regiment down that works, it’s fairly easy to germinate your cannabis seeds indoors at any time of the year.
Congratulations! We have now moved from the germination stage to the seedling stage. Patience, cleanliness and good soil products can help insure a high percentage of germination success with your marijuana seeds.
Germinated Cannabis Seed
First Week (Seedling)
Your new seedling is alive and prospering. In our example, you can leave it in the cup for a couple of weeks while it gains strength. It has everything it needs to begin a stress free life. From here we move into the caring and growing of your marijuana.
At times, I plant more than one seed to a cup. Sometimes I leave them both in the cup, and sometimes I separate them immediately after they break ground.
You should now be on your way to some wonderful romance with your plants.
Do not be afraid to “talk to” and raise your youngsters to be strong, vigorous and ‘stinky’ young ladies.
Be careful not to over water* your seedlings. Wait for the top of the soil to get dry and crusty before you consider watering again.
Water* – In this Chapter, the term water relates to mineral water, distilled or bottled water, or house water that has sat in open air for 20-30 hours.
Giving the seedlings a mild nitrogen mixture in your water* will help vigorous, healthy growth at this stage (if your soil does not compensate in this important area). Be careful! They are still young and very impressionable.
Once your seedling has 5-7 growing days in the cup, you can transplant it anytime to it’s larger container. Make this large enough for the life of the plant (I use 5 gallon containers) I never want to run out of room (soil) at the point of flowering.
I recommend water* throughout this process because my soil mixture contains initial nutrients like nitrogen, phosphates, guano, seafood, and more. At some point, you’ll probably develop your own soil too.
How to Tell if a Cannabis Seed is Good
Got a cannabis seed, but you’re not sure if it’s any good? No worries. By the end of this article you’ll know everything you need to get started.
The legality of growing cannabis varies depending on where you live in the world. Know your laws.
What to Look for in a Healthy Cannabis Seed:
You can tell a lot about a seed’s health just by looking at it. Here are a few different things you should look for when deciding if a cannabis seed is good or not.
- Darkened Color – Good cannabis seeds will be brown, black, and/or gray. White or green seeds are immature and unlikely to sprout. Your seed should also have stripes or spots all the way around.
- Waxy Coating – A healthy seed will have a thin waxy coating around it. This coating should appear to have a slight sheen to it.
- Hard Shell – You should be able to lightly squeeze a seed without it crushing. If a seed crushes easily between your fingers then the seed is likely dead or weak and will not grow well.
- No Cracks – Inspect the entire seed to make sure there aren’t any small crack or holes. This will most likely cause the seed not to sprout.
Ways To Test Cannabis Seeds
Now that I’ve gone over a basic guide for what to look for I’ll give you a couple of ways that you can test your seeds.
Test Method #1: Floating Seeds in Water
This is a great test that works for many different seeds – not just cannabis. Take your seeds and drop them in a cup full of warm (not too hot) water then wait a couple of hours. If they sink then they’re probably good to go. If they won’t sink then they are probably dead and won’t grow.
Note: Only do this if you’re ready to germinate your plants. Otherwise, it could harm your seed. I cover germination in a later section.
Test Method #2: Just Go Ahead and Try to Germinate the Seed
I know this seems obvious, but it really is the best information I really could give. If you really want to know if a cannabis seed is able to germinate then go ahead and try germinating it – what do you really have to lose? Not quite sure how to germinate a seed? No worries. Here’s a quick guide:
How to Germinate a Cannabis Seed
Germinating a seed simply means getting the plant to sprout from the seed. It’s the first step in your cannabis seed’s journey to a full grown plant. There are several ways to go about this.
One way is to simply plant it in your soil and see if a plant pops up. It’s old school, but no one can deny its simplicity. Plant the seed about 1/4″ deep and wait.
Another way is to put the seeds on a damp paper towel. Make sure the paper towel is damp, but not soaking wet. If it dries out you can add a few drops of water to the paper towel. Leave the paper towel in a dark place. The amount of time is going to vary among strains. Some may take only 2 days while others could take longer. Continue to check them once a day.
How to Tell if a Cannabis Seed is Male or Female
Unfortunately, there is no way to know if a cannabis seed is going to be male or female simply by looking at it or doing a simple test. This is a bummer since most people don’t want male cannabis plants in their garden.
If you want feminized seeds then you’ll have to buy them from a reputable seed bank. Make sure they say feminized – if they don’t say it then they probably aren’t.
If all you’ve got is a bag seed then the only way to find out if it’s going to be male or female is to grow it.
Can My Cannabis Seed Go Bad / Expire?
The short answer is yes, but if you store your seeds properly they can stay viable for years and years. Moisture, UV degradation, and extreme temperatures could all affect the quality of your seeds.
If you plan to store your seeds for a long period of time make sure to keep them in an airtight container in a dark area. Ideally, seeds should be stored in a climate controlled area (like inside your house instead of in a shed or garage. One study showed laboratory-sealed cannabis seeds were still viable after 19 years.
It’s nice to know what to look for, but in the end the best test is just to put it in soil. If you’re using bag seeds then you never really know what you’re getting anyways. If you’ve bought your seeds from a legitimate seed bank then you shouldn’t have to worry about it.
Floating Seeds in Water – Is This a Good Seed Viability Test?
How do you know if your seeds are still viable? Simple, do a seed germination test. Place the seeds in some water. The ones that sink are still viable – the ones that float are dead.
This advice is all over the internet so it must work? But how reliable is it?
Floating Seeds in Water – Is this a Good Seed Viability Test?; source: Pens & Pencils
Do the Floating Seed Test Properly
If you check out a number of sites that describe this test you soon realize that there are several different ways to do it. Some people add soap to the water to reduce it’s surface tension. Others put the seed in a jar and give it a good shake or they might soak the seed for 24 hours before doing the test.
There is no agreement on how to do the test properly. That means the test results reported on social media are not very reliable since they rarely include the details of the method used.
There are also silly claims like “this method is not 100% accurate and it only works with freshly harvested seeds of certain fruits such as melon, watermelon, cucumber, squash, peppers and tomatoes”. There are thousands of different types of seeds. Why would it only work on some vegetables and what does “not 100% reliable” mean? Maybe it only works 10% of the time?
Another site says, “the test only works for melons or cucumbers if the seeds are fresh and have not dried out.” So it doesn’t work on purchased seed. This same site went on to state that you need to ferment tomato seeds to get them to germinate, and I have already shown that this is a myth.
This gardening technique is so poorly defined that it is not possible to know how to do it correctly.
Citizen Scientists – Floating Seed Test for Viability
A number of gardeners have done tests to see how well the floating seed test works.
Pulsatilla albana ssp. armena – the Pulsatilla ‘seeds’ are actually fruits – achenes with “fluffy tails”, source: BotanyCA
I had some red pepper seeds from a store bought fruit and tried floating the seeds without drying them. Half floated and half sank. I removed the floaters and used them to try the test again. Half floated and half sank. I then tested this last group of seeds for germination. The ones that floated and then sank had 8/10 germinate, and the ones that floated twice had 3/10 germinate. So it is possible that floaters have a lower germination rate, but the floaters in this test were certainly not all dead.
I tested some Camassia seeds; 38 of 48 (79%) sinkers germinated and 12 of 16 (75%) floaters germinated, after a month in the fridge using the baggy method.
Someone from our Garden Fundamental Facebook Group tested Briza maxima (quaking grass) and found better germination with floaters.
Marijuana seed that floats will germinate on top of the water in 24 hours.
Twelve different kinds of pepper seeds were tested in this video and both floaters and sinkers had good germination.
I’ve germinated quite a few clematis seeds and most of them have fussy tails. They all float. Many seeds have this characteristic including some grasses and pulsatilla.
Both floating and sinking peppers seeds germinate, source: Daisy Dawes
The top picture in this post shows two jars. The one on the left contains black pepper seeds – they sink. You can distinguish them from papaya seeds that float, and are frequently added to spices since they look like black pepper but are much cheaper.
Science on Seed Viability Using the Water Float Test
Acorns have very low germination because many seeds don’t develop completely inside the nut and because various pests lay their egg in viable seeds which are subsequently eaten by the larvae. Floating them is a common way to eliminate many of the non-viable seeds. Even with this test, too much agitation of the water will cause viable seed to float.
Juniperus polycarpos, the Persian juniper, also produces a low number of viable seeds. Floating in water is not a reliable means of separating the good from the bad, but floating in a sugar solution does work. Sugar water has a higher density than water and this difference can be used separate seeds of various densities. The heavier viable seed sinks.
The float test “works well with hard-seeded peas in the family Fabaceae (e.g. Daviesia, Chorizema, Gastrolobium and Gompholobium) and Mimosaceae (e.g. Acacia), and has also been used on species in Hemigenia with good success. Do not attempt this test on seed of Allocasuarina. Allocasuarina seed is mucilaginous. This means it has a mucous membrane around the seed that gets very sticky on wetting.”
Arabidopsis seed forms a sticky mucilage on the outside of the seed as it absorbs water. Mutations of arabidopsis have been found that don’t produce this coating, allowing them to be separated from normal types with a float test. This is an example where within a single species, some seed floats and some does not, depending on genetics that has nothing to do with seed viability.
Arabidopsis wild seed (WT) sinks while a mutation (mum) floats. The floaters germinate in 24 hours siting on the water, source Helen M North
“Wheat was used in one set of experiments, and the average of all tests showed a germination of 68.3 per cent for the sunken seeds and 72 per cent for those that floated. In another set of experiments lentil was used, and it was found that 75.4 per cent of the sunken seeds and 86.7 per cent of those that floated germinated.”
The floating characteristic of seeds depends very much on their weight, surface coating, shape and specific gravity. Some seeds do develop a large seed coat which can be empty and these likely float. The specific gravity of a seed is controlled by the environment (moisture) and internal enzymes and hormones. Some dead seeds sink, while some spongy seeds like spinach float even if viable.
Does The Seed Float Test Work for Testing Viability?
There are cases where a float test can be used to identify viable seed, but when science reports on these they are quite specific about the type of seed and the method used.
On the other hand gardeners tend to simply lump all seeds into one category and say they all work, without specifying the method that works.
As a general rule, gardeners should assume that the float test does NOT work for testing seed viability, unless there is evidence it works in a specific case.
A Better Way to Test Seed Viability
Use my baggy method if you want to test seed germination. You will actually see the root come out of the seed and know for certain that the seed is viable.