All cannabis growers want to learn how to germinate cannabis seeds to get the best yields. Experts believe that for a marijuana plant to grow healthy and produce good yields, it has to start with correct ways in germinating cannabis seeds. When you have achieved good germination, the rest will soon follow.
Most likely you may have a lot of questions in mind. You might be wondering if light plays an important role in germinating seeds and how long for seeds to germinate in the soil. We will answer that plus help you find the best germination solution to enhance your yields.
Germinating seeds indoors
Although you can germinate cannabis seeds outdoors in a more natural manner, the chances of getting a good sprout may become slim. This is because outdoor climates and environments can change in a snap. You can have sunny and fair weather in the morning and have pouring rain in the afternoon. So for tissue germination, germinate indoors in a more controlled setting.
Germinating your cannabis seeds
The very first step in growing cannabis seeds is to germinate them. Suppose you already have good seeds with you and you are ready to grow, you need to provide these with the best growing environment so they can sprout. Germinating white seeds is not an option because these are non-viable seeds.
Professional Marijuana Grower says that germinating cannabis seeds well paves the way for the healthy development of the plant. It is very important to make sure that every need of the plant is provided from the seedling phase till harvest time.
Soon, the first round leaves or cotyledons will come out from the seed and then the very first leaves will emerge. These leaves are completely different from cotyledons because these leaves are the first that the plant has made. These leaves have unique jagged edges or serrations.
What your seeds need to start germinating
Marijuana seeds are actually very easy to germinate. It has a few basic needs that almost all types of seeds require. Seeds need moisture to sprout. It has to be kept in an environment with high moisture. A medium that is damp would suffice but it must not be soaking wet. The seeds should be kept in a moist medium for at least 32 hours. Never leave seeds in this environment for more than the allotted time because these will fail to germinate.
Germinate seeds in light or dark? Seeds need a dark, moist AND quiet environment. You can mimic this by placing your seeds’ growing medium in a quiet spot or area in your home. Finally, seeds also require warmth to sprout.
This is why most growers germinate their seeds when the climate starts to warm up like the first few weeks of spring. Doing this will ensure that your plants will enjoy longer summer climates. So the best climate is a springtime-kind of climate. But you can still germinate in a cool climate but this could slow the seed’s germination time.
Check your seeds constantly inside the growing area. These should be ready in about 32 hours. Afterward, these will now be ready to transplant in a better growing medium. How long for seeds to germinate in the soil? If you are germinating directly in soil, it could take up to five days.
Stress and the seedling
One of the most damaging factors in a developing seedling is stress. Cannabis plants are like other plants, these are not immune to stress. It is very significant especially during the seedling phase when things may go out of hand.
As the seed starts to sprout, the taproot emerges. The taproot is the first main root section that emerges from the seed. It is where the rest of the root systems grow from and is the main supplier of nutrients to the plants.
Now the taproot has a very important function but at the same time, it is very fragile at this phase. Touching this can stress the plant. It can easily break as well and doing so can stunt the plant’s growth. So take care of the taproot as much as possible.
Never touch it when you remove the plant from its germination medium to soil or any growing medium. Some growers protect the taproot really well by using growing pellets and cubes during germination. This way, the seed grows inside the cube and as the seedling emerges from the cube, this is transferred to a soil or hydro growing medium without affecting the taproot.
But if you are not using a grow cube or pellet, take the newly sprouted seed and plant it in soil or coco coir. Create a hole in the middle of the growing medium and drop the seedling in. Orient the seedling in the soil by placing the taproot directly into the soil. Allow at least two inches of soil for your newly sprouted seeds. This is enough depth for your seeds to grow out from.
Germinating from and grow cubes
How to germinate seeds indoors or outdoors? A growth cube, starter cube or seedling plug is an ingenious way of germinating cannabis seeds and other plant seeds for that matter. This is most preferred by growers because it is easier and will reduce stress.
Simply place the seed in the cube or plug. Add water and leave the seeds to germinate. Each cube or seedling comes with a small hole where you can drop the seed in. All you need to do is to pinch the top with your fingers to cover the seeds.
Rapid Rooters is possibly the most popular growth or starter cube. This is easy to use and is readily available from any garden supplies store or shop. Just place the seed inside the Rapid Rooter and place the cube in a warm and moist environment. Soon, the roots of the seedlings will emerge from the cube as well as the seedlings’ new leaves. Rapid Rooter starter cubes can be used in soil, hydro or coco coir growing mediums.
Rockwool Cubes is another popular option for germinating cannabis seeds as well as vegetable and herb seeds. This is popular among hydroponic cannabis growers because this can be used in hydroponic setups. Rockwool can accommodate more moisture and are resistant to mold growth. This is cheap but has some disadvantages.
Rockwool cubes have a fine texture and can cause irritation of the eye and respiratory system if this is inhaled. This material is not natural, will never break down and therefore can fill up landfills. You need to wear gloves, mask, and goggles when using Rockwool cubes.
Jiffy Pellets is a good option if you are growing cannabis in soil or coco coir. It is more health-friendly than Rockwool. Jiffy pellets provide better germination rates and available in dried pellets which you can use over and over again. All you need to do is to soak Jiffy pellets in warm water to expand. Once the pellets have expanded, squeeze the pellet to remove excess water. Simply place the seed in and pinch the top to seal it. How long can seedlings stay in peat pellets? Usually, after roots appear from the cubes, it’s time to transplant these in a growing medium.
Using a germination station
A germination station is like a warm place where seeds can sit and germinate. It provides a conducive environment for seeds to sprout and to get the best germination rates. You can purchase a germination dome or station from a garden shop. But if this is not available then you can make your own germination station.
You can use a plastic dome placed over a plate and place the plate on top of a heating pad. Use a starter seedling cube to germinate the seeds inside a germination dome. Starting seeds in starter cubes will make it easier to transfer these to soil or hydro or to a larger final pot.
Soaking cannabis seeds in water overnight
A simple way to sprout marijuana seeds is to soak these in water overnight. This is effective for stubborn seeds or seeds with exceptionally hard shells. This will work for seeds that are older. Soaking seeds will soften the seed cover and will help the taproot sprout easier.
Start by placing your seeds in a glass of water. Let the seeds remain for a while. Seeds that will float are empty and does not contain viable insides. These should be discarded because these will never grow. Meanwhile, seeds that will sink are viable ones and should remain in water for at least a day. Seeds that have sunk will likely germinate.
The damp paper towel method
Another popular way to germinate seeds for a better yield is the damp paper towel method. This is easy to do and will only require very simple materials. You will need some damp paper towels and two plates for this technique.
Simply wet some paper towels and drain it well to remove excess water. Fold the seeds in the damp towels and cover everything with plates. Leave your seeds in a quiet and dark place to start germinating.
Always maintain a damp environment inside the plates. Always be careful when checking your seeds. Never touch the tap root if it has sprouted because this will only stress and can even kill your seedlings. You may also place this setup under an upside-down bowl or between two plates. You must only open the plates to check on your seeds once every 12 hours. The seeds will germinate in about three to five days using this method.
Why care for cannabis seedlings?
Continue caring for your seeds long after these have sprouted to improve yields. After the seeds have sprouted, the seedling needs a place to take root. You must now aim to develop a healthy root system or root zone.
Caring for your seedlings at this phase is very important. If your seedlings don’t reach their full potential at this time then it is likely that your seeds won’t reach their full growth potential. Seedlings that fail this early may not even grow at all.
It starts early on when you buy marijuana seeds. You need to make sure that your seeds are fresh and viable to ensure good germination rates.
Providing the best growing environment for seedlings
Juvenile cannabis plants should be treated gently like you would your own children. These will rely on you for everything. If you intend to grow it in outdoor soil, make sure that your outdoor climate and environment is ideal for growing the cannabis strain. If you will grow indoors, in a growing room or tent, make sure that your seedlings get the best growing environment. This includes providing the ideal growing soil or medium, lighting, humidity, air and water.
Seedlings may also be very frail at this time because these may have not grown strong stems yet. Place a small stick or a toothpick and tie the seedlings here with some garden wire. At this period, an 18/6 light/dark schedule will work well with seedlings to young plants.
Choosing the ideal to grow lights is crucial to your seedlings’ growth. The best choice according to growers is white light. The best kinds of lamps with white light are CFL, MH, or LED. But if you have an open window in your grow room where seeds can get direct sunlight then this would suffice for now.
While seedlings grow higher when exposed to light, roots grow in the dark. This is one of the reasons why your seedlings need an 18/6 or 20/4 light/dark schedule rather than a nonstop 24-hour light cycle. When to put light on germinated seeds, as soon as these sprout new sets of leaves.
Your seedlings need high humidity levels at this stage so make sure that it is 70% RH inside your growing environment. Temperatures should be at 20–24°C range. You must constantly monitor the levels inside your growing area as well. You need a hygrometer and a thermometer to monitor these levels. And to improve humidity, use a propagator, thermo-hygrometer and a spray bottle of water.
The best starter substrate material
Now that your seedlings are juvenile plants it is time to place these in their growing medium or starter substrate material. The growing medium should be wet but not waterlogged. You must adhere to a wet-dry cycle.
Do not overwater your plants because this can lead to mold and cause root rot which can kill your plants. Mist plants with a sprayer or water only when the soil is dry.
To test the growing medium, touch it to feel how dry or how wet it is. This is a way to test if you need to change or adjust your humidity levels. Remember that despite the importance of transplanting your seedlings in a larger container, switching to another growing medium can be hazardous. You may also consider growing seedlings in soil and transplanting these later into a bucket.
Cubes, cups and small containers for planting
You can use cubes and blocks for hydroponic growing. Your seedlings are placed in a small cube so that the cube may be transplanted easier later. From a large block cut small cubes. This is a good way to transplant cannabis plants without stressing the seedlings.
A growing medium that is oxygen-rich and will drain excess water and nutrients is the best mix for those who wish to grow in soil or coco coir. From these two there is an overlap of stages during the seedling phase.
Coco cubes or peat cubes are the easiest to use because you just need to place the seedlings in and plant in your medium. These are also cheap and will last for many uses. Rockwool blocks is another growing medium. This may be toxic to humans when dry but when wet, will be able to grow your plants well. This will let you monitor root growth as the white strands will stick out from the cube. Growers report higher success rates when cannabis are grown in cube growing mediums.
Small plastic pots or party cups is another popular way to plant seedlings. Although a good idea to hold small, underdeveloped cannabis seedlings, you need to transplant seeds to a large pot soon and this is very stressful to seedlings.
The ideal mix is lightly fertilized soil with perlite or coco with 30–50% perlite. As long as the bottom of the container has good drainage and the interior will be able to hold the volume of medium, you can grow in cups or small pots. Other possible growing containers include coffee cups, plastic party cups or any small cup. Use a knife or a screwdriver to create small holes at the bottom of the container.
Transplanting seedlings to larger pots
If you chose the latter and planted seedlings in a small pot then you have no choice but to plant these in larger pots soon. If you don’t do this, your plants’ roots can become root locked or root bound. This is when roots grow in the very small environment causing them to lock onto each other. This is not good and may even lead to poor plant development and poor yields.
The best time to transplant is before they outgrow their current container or pot. So as soon as you spot roots coming out of the drainage holes or roots out of the growing pellet or cube then it’s time to transplant.
Spotting true leaves of the seedling is also another sign that you can place these in a larger pot. Growing vertically will also indicate that it is time to transplant. Usually, it could take 7–10 days for a seedling to take root and to be ready for transplant to a larger pot or container.
Safety when transplanting seeds
Use good starter cubes to grow seedlings. Cubes are better when it comes to germinating seeds because you can safely transplant your cannabis plants when they grow. You may cut a hole to size from a bigger block, or create a hole in the medium using your fingers and insert the cube in.
When potting your young plants, do it carefully. Don’t fill your big container with soil to the brim. Leave room for water to accumulate and be absorbed in the top. Placing too much soil inside the pot will just cause water to spill from the pot. You must leave at least one to one and a half inch from the top of the pot.
Now create a space in the middle of the soil in the container. Use a small pot to do this so you have a clear idea where your young plants will be placed. Create this impression in the medium after you have watered the soil.
Wait until the medium inside the old pot where the plant is dry before transplanting. When the soil is dry, turn the dry plant upside down and pat the bottom of the small pot. Hold the plant stem from the base and remove it from the compacted medium. This will let the plant slide out of the container in one piece. Take the plant carefully and slide it in the large container. As soon as the plant is settled, place topsoil or coco coir and add a little more water.
Using small pots or big final pots
If your final container is large enough then you can grow your cannabis here from seed form. This is the only option if you don’t want any stress affecting your plants starting when it is in seed form.
When you are growing clones it is another way around. This will not take root in a large container at all. You need to grow this in a medium first, let it develop roots and then transplant these when these are ready.
Usually, seedlings in large pots will grow slowly compared to seedlings in smaller containers. After a few weeks, you will see the difference. If you don’t transplant, you can prevent transplant shock. But you can limit the potential of your plants.
A first and final transplant is the best option if you are growing auto-flowering strains with a short flowering cycle. Bigger pots are better for all kinds of cannabis and for all strains.
Transplanting is stressful but it should not be avoided because you will end up stunting your plants. You must, therefore, practice perfecting this technique.