8 Effective Ways to Germinate Cannabis Seeds

7 Effective Ways to Germinate Cannabis Seeds.

Cannabis seeds are a novelty item, and the law has no restrictions on anyone who wants to buy them in the US.

Limits come in when we start the conversation about germinating the cannabis seeds.

As per the cannabis laws, you can only germinate cannabis seeds in states where cannabis is legal, or else you do so at your own risk in states where cannabis is illegal.

Germinating marijuana seeds involves inducing the growth of cannabis plants from cannabis seeds.

The idea is to induce white tendrils that we call radicles out of the seeds, which become the leading root that we call the taproot as the marijuana plant grows in the soil.

As the taproot grows down, it pushes the seed up. Then, as the pot seed emerges through the growing medium, the outer shell breaks, exposing the first set of leaves we call the cotyledons.

The cotyledons are part of the embryo and cause the seed to crack as they grow. The true leaves that the cannabis plant grows itself then develop like in the photo below.

an image showing the cotyledons and true leaves of a cannabis seedling.

Requirements to germinate cannabis seeds

Marijuana seeds can’t germinate when you don’t provide the appropriate conditions.


The cannabis seeds require adequate water to soften the outer shell and induce germination, but it also moisturizes the soil and ensures not to drench it; at least you kill the seeds.


The seeds need air to sprout. When water activates the embryo, oxygen is necessary for respiration which induces the stored food in the embryo. It explains why we open the humidity dome so the seeds can breathe, or else they suffocate and die.


Energy essential for growth is produced after respiration


Cannabis loves light. Though in the beginning, the seeds require darkness to induce germination, once they sprout, they need light for the different stages and potency, especially for the photoperiods.

Temperature and humidity

During the germination process, cannabis seeds require humidity of 70-80% and a temperature of 23-270c or 75-800f to avail the weed seeds of sufficient warmth to burst forth from the growing medium.

Viable cannabis seeds germinate in 3-7 days no matter the germination method you use

Methods of germinating cannabis seeds

Before germinating cannabis seeds, you can use germination starters to speed up the germination process.

You can use a germination station.

A germination station keeps the soil warm by using a heating pad underneath a soil-filled tray to provide optimal conditions for germination.

From the germination station, you transfer the seedlings to a starter seedling cube.

1. Soaking cannabis seeds

During water soaking, you keep the cannabis seeds in lukewarm water overnight. The aim is to soften the outer shell to speed up the germination process.

How to soak cannabis seeds?

Fill a glass with clean tap water at room temperature

Place the pot seeds in the water, then place the container in a dark place

The outer shell of the seeds absorbs the water

In approximately 14 hours, the weed seeds start sinking to the bottom, meaning they have absorbed sufficient water to germinate.

The process takes at most 24 hours. Therefore, the seeds floating after 24 hours are most likely not viable.

To confirm their viability, slightly push the seeds; if they sink, they are worth taking a chance on

2. Direct planting

In direct planting, you don’t soak the seeds.

Once you prepare the soil, place the marijuana seeds at a depth of 0.5 inches and cover lightly with soil.

You keep checking the seeds and adding water until the pot seeds sprout

Direct planting is effective for viable seeds because there are higher chances of 100% transition. After all, seedlings don’t suffer transplanting shock.

3. Paper towel method

Many people love to germinate cannabis seeds using this method because it’s easy and guarantees a higher transition from seeds to seedlings.


paper towels

Cannabis seeds

Distilled water

Two clean plates or zip lock bag


Fold the paper towel into a square or rectangle and soak it with distilled water or osmosis water, so there is no excess water dripping.

Lay the fresh soaked seeds in the towel and evenly space them

Fold the towel and place it between two plates or zip lock bag

Place the zip lock bag in a warm dark place with a dishtowel. The covering provides a dark environment and protects the seeds

Keep checking the towels, so they don’t dry up and leave for 24-36 hours

You notice a tail form from pot seeds meaning they are sprouting and hence ready for transfer to the grow medium

Carefully transplant the pot seeds using micro tweezers and gently grab the top of the seeds

4. Jiffy or Coco Coir Pellet Method

Jiffy pots are round disks that are exceptionally prepared to germinate cannabis seeds. The pellets come dried, so you can keep them for a long time before soaking them in water.

For better results, I recommend these pellets, especially for beginners. They, however, are not suitable for hydroponics. You transfer the pellet directly to the soil.


Pour filtered tap water or reverse osmosis water with a pH of about 7 in a container.

Put the pellets in the water and give them time to absorb the water

If the water is excess, gently squeeze the pellet to release some water

Place the freshly soaked cannabis seeds in the hole at the top of the pellet

Brush the top with pear or coco coir

Put the pellet in a humidity dome with humidity of 70-80% and 23-270C or 75-800F

Let the marijuana seedlings grow to 6-8 inches before transplanting them.

5. Soil method

Mix soil and put it in a sanitized container of relative size

Fill soil in the container to just below the top

Pour the soil into a larger basin or suitable mixing area

Add osmosis water till the soil is damp to the touch. If you overwater, squeeze out the water and add dry soil

You can use disposable gloves to mix the soil or ensure you wash your hands

After thoroughly mixing the sol, add it to the sanitized container

Make a hole about half a centimeter with your middle finger

With a pair of micro tweezers, gently grab the top of the seeds without touching the germinating root and place in the hole with the taproot facing downwards and cover with very minimal soil

Slowly add a little water to the soil

Cover the container with a plastic wrap leaving some space between the soil and the wrap

Choose the suitable light of our choice and leave the seeds for 2-7 days

You find the pot seeds have sprouted

6. Rockwool Method

​Suitable for hydroponics. They hold moisture and are mold resistant

When you do the Rockwool Method appropriately, the marijuana seedlings reward you with massive root systems that equal huge buds

Safety precaution is to wear a face mask and gloves while handling Rockwool since the wool can enter your lungs which is dangerous for your health

Also, remember that rock wool is non-biodegradable, so carefully dispose of them after use.


Get a large enough container for the wool cubes to fit or a rooting tray and pour reverse osmosis water with pH 5.5-6.0. Ensure to rinse the cubes thoroughly so you obtain the required pH

You can place a heating mat below the tray if you use one

Place the rock wool cubes (1.5 inches) in the container or rooting tray and let them soak for a few hours

Remove the cubes from the water, make holes in each using a screwdriver, chopstick, or anything that can create a hole

Using a pair of micro tweezers, carefully lift the top of the seed without touching the taproot and place it in the cotton wool, with the taproot facing downwards

Using the rock wool fiber, gently cover the scissor lightly

To seal the seedling in one place, use an elastic band to close the cube

Place the seedling in a humidity dome and release the lid at least twice a day so the seedlings can breathe

Keep the temperature at 75-800F or 23-270C and keep the humidity between 70-80%

At 2-3 inches high, the seedling is ready for transplanting

7. Rapid Rooter Method

You can use the Rapid Rooter Method as an alternative for the rock wool method, and you can also use the ‘plugs’ for hydroponics setup or plant them directly in the soil once the seeds sprout.

It’s one of the easiest methods to guarantee viable seeds’ germination because you use premade seedling plugs.

They are more organic user friendly and offer better germination rates than rock woo. l


Place the plugs in a container that fits perfectly or a rooting tray and pour reversed osmosis water.

Place the soaked cannabis seeds carefully in the hole at the top of the plug with the tap rot facing the bottom and move some fiber to cover the weed seeds slightly.

Put the setup in a humidity dome and release the lid at least twice a day when the seedlings start sprouting so they can breathe.

Keep the temperature at 75-800F and the humidity between 70-80%

Start transplanting when the seedlings are 6-8 inches tall

items necessary to germinate cannabis seeds

Cannabis seeds are the primary item for seed germination, and it’s why we emphasize you buy marijuana seeds from a reputable seed bank that guarantees the germination of the seeds least your germination efforts are put to waste when the weed seeds don’t germinate.

You should also be able to differentiate between good and bad cannabis seeds.

Depending on the germination method you choose, different methods require different items


  • Soil
  • Jiffy Pellets
  • Rock wool Cubes
  • Rapid Rooter Plugs


RO (reverse osmosis) water or distilled water.

Paper Towel

Ziplock bag

Glass container

temperature and humidity meter

How to transplant germinated cannabis seeds

After you germinate cannabis seeds, the following process is to transplant them to the grow medium you want them to grow.

Remember the seedlings are fragile at this stage so handle them carefully


Fill a one-gallon container with loose, airy soil

Ensure to make holes in the containers so excess water can drain

Add water to the soil so it’s wet but doesn’t drench it. You can use a sprayer to ease the process

Make a hole in the soil, so the depth is twice the width of the seeds, deep enough to accommodate the radicle and not too deep to bury the seed top beyond 5mm

Take the sprout gently, preferably using tweezers to hold the top of the seeds without touching the radicle, and place it in the hole with the radicle facing downwards

Cover the hole with little soil, so it doesn’t prohibit the seed from sprouting

Pour a little water onto the top of the soil

For peat tablets, transfer the entire tablet into the container with soil

Always check the plants and add moisture to ensure the seedlings don’t dry out

Challenges seedlings face after germination


Spider mites

Small flies



 Power outages

Factors to consider when choosing a marijuana strain to germinate

With the evolution in the cannabis world, breeders keep coming up with new cannabis strains, leaving growers wondering which pot seeds to try out

Different marijuana strains give unique qualities and quantities, so depending on your preference, here are a few factors that will match you with a pot strain perfect for you


To buy clones, you should be in proximity to a seed bank because shipping takes longer, and clones are hard to transport so they can die in transit.

Climatic conditions

Short, tiny strains thrive indoors, while huge cannabis strains do well outdoors. So, it’s good to know your climatic zone and the marijuana strains that grow there.


Space isn’t a problem if you have sufficient room, but worry not for those with limited space. I present you with auto-flowering marijuana seeds. They grow into short, tiny plants that can even grow in your wardrobe.

Length of growth

Do you want rapid maturing strains, or do you not mind waiting for the long maturing weed strains? You can grow auto-flowers and harvest in 7-9 weeks or grow regular pot seeds and wait 12 weeks.

The growing conditions

Some strains are more demanding than others. Its because some are naturally resilient to pests, diseases, molds, and even climatic conditions, while others are susceptible to them

Features to look out for before you germinate cannabis seeds

Damage to the pot seeds

Check out the marijuana seeds for any damages and ensure the seeds are damage free for a successful germination process.

Age of marijuana seeds

After ordering the seeds, please don’t keep them for so long because germination rates decrease over time.

I recommend you buy cannabis seeds that you are ready to grow immediately

Color of cannabis seeds

Though cannabis seeds have different sizes, the color of quality viable seeds is constant.

They are between light to dark brown. If you receive light green to pale white seeds, they are immature and won’t sprout.

Common mistakes you should avoid when you germinate cannabis seeds.

Less heat

Keep the temperatures between 70-750F to keep the environment warm enough to induce germination.


Once you start the germination process, you must leave the marijuana seeds alone to mature and sprout.

Don’t constantly check on them because you can interrupt the germination process, and the seeds fail to sprout.

Underwatering and overwatering

When you don’t keep the growth environment moist, the seed will die

When you overwater the seed, you limit the oxygen supply, so the seed suffocates and dies.

You can use a sprayer to regulate the amount of water instead of watering directly.

Touching the radicle with hands

When the radicle sprouts, it’s very delicate, so any tampering can disconnect it from the seed.

I recommend you use a pair of micro tweezers to grab the seed by the head during the transplant.

Not opening the moisture domes.

Ventilation is essential for the respiration of the seeds, so it’s vital to open the moisture domes at least twice a day so the seeds can breathe.

Using hard water

We emphasize distilled or osmosis water because it’s pure and free of chemicals and salts that can harm germination.

Planting the marijuana seeds too deep

Planting too deep gives the seeds a hard time breaking through; that’s why we recommend a soil cover of at most 5mm so that the seeds can easily penetrate to the surface.

Fertilized soil

Naturally, the pot seeds store food in the embryo, so water is enough to jump-start germination.

Nutrients can burn the seeds and interrupt germination

Frequently asked questions on how to germinate cannabis seeds

How long do cannabis seeds take to germinate?

Cannabis seeds take between 14 and 72 hours to ten days to germinate. In 14-72 hours, you can see white tendrils out of the cannabis seed, proving that the seed is sprouting.

After about four days, the taproot grows into the soil, and the seed breaks through the growing medium to expose the cotyledon.

The plant then develops its first actual leaves.

If none of these happen in ten days, the seed is not viable and will not germinate.

How do quicken the germination process?

Use hydrogen peroxide. Add 1ml of hydrogen peroxide to 100ml of water.

When can you germinate cannabis seeds outdoors?

Spring is the beginning of the marijuana-growing season. However, take your time and wait for the weather to settle, so don’t be tempted into early planting fully.

You need your garden free of winter debris to spend the first weeks preparing your garden.

The first fourteen days are essential to your cannabis plants, so you must germinate them in optimal conditions to prevent blockage so your plants can fully enjoy the spring sunshine.

When can you germinate cannabis seeds indoors?

Any time of the year. It is the reason why many people prefer to germinate cannabis seeds indoors because you can optimize the growing environment to provide the requirements to grow.

So you have the power of the results of your germination process

How to germinate cannabis seeds that are old

Though old cannabis seeds have a low viability rate, all hope is not lost.

You can increase their germination chances by Cannabis Seed Scarification.

What is Cannabis Seed Scarification?

Scarring is when you use sandpaper or a nail file to create a few scrapes to scar the outer shell of the seeds to ease water penetration, ignite the embryo, and start the germination process.

You then use your favorite germination method to germinate your old cannabis seeds.

How to know viable cannabis seeds

The assurance of viability starts with the seed bank from which you buy cannabis seeds. No wonder most seed banks back up their marijuana seeds with a germination guarantee to build trust in their clients, so they know they are not buying bad cannabis seeds.

The physical viability test for marijuana seeds is the color. Healthy mature seeds range from light brown to dark brown.

Immature non-viable seeds are light green to pale white

How do I determine the sex of my cannabis seeds?

The physical guarantee of the sex of your seeds lies in the category you buy from the seed bank. That’s why seed banks sell cannabis seeds as feminized, auto-flowering, and regular marijuana seeds.s

If you want purely female seeds, you buy feminized seeds; if you want male and female seeds, you buy regular cannabis seeds.

parting remarks on how to germinate cannabis seeds.

We hope the information we provide on how to germinate cannabis seeds is helpful. If there is anything you are struggling with germinating your cannabis seeds, feel free to leave a comment below, and we will share our thoughts about it.

You can also comment on topics you like us to write about, and we will be glad to share our growing experience with you.

Hope to catch you next time. Thank you.

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