Sprouting begins the life of the plant and hence it is essential to understand how it works. This guide will discuss the different ways of sprouting your cannabis seeds and some of the strategies for ensuring you achieve the best results.
Why You Need To Germinate The Cannabis Seeds Before Planting
Many plants can be germinated directly in the ground. However, cannabis seeds are too fragile and should be germinated separately before planting.
Immediately after the seeds have sprouted, they should be planted in a hydroponic setup, a soil-less medium or the soil. During the planting process, you should ensure that the seeds are planted one inch deep in the medium and covered lightly. After planting, you should wait for one week for the seed to start emerging from the soil. If the seed hasn’t poked by the tenth day, likely, they didn’t survive.
When To Sprout Your Cannabis Seed
We recommend that you germinate your cannabis seeds when the sunlight supply is sufficient and stable. In short, ensure that the weather is good- as simple as that.
You don’t need to follow a fixed calendar. You just watch the signs and ride with Mother Nature. Nonetheless, you must ensure that the good weather is going to stay for some time.
Further, ensure that your plants face the south direction, this is because your plants should be subjected to 12 hours of sunshine every day. Now that we have a solid foundation of where to start, let’s learn how to germinate the cannabis seeds.
How To Sprout Your Cannabis Seeds
Before we highlight the different methods of germinating marijuana, we need to understand what conditions the seeds need to germinate. The conditions include:
· Moisture – You need to ensure that the seeds are moist. You can soak the seeds for 20 to 32 hours. Do not over soak them.
· Peace- Don’t disturb the seeds, wait for the taproot to show up.
· Warmth- Keep the seeds in a warm environment to encourage germination. Make sure the environment is not too hot. Seeds can germinate in cool temperatures, but the process tends to take a long period when it’s cold.
· Gentle- Be careful when taking care of the seeds, treat them gently as you move them. If possible avoid touching the white root; the taproot is fragile and can easily snap off.
· Plant the root facing downwards- When planting the seeds, point the root downwards to the growing medium. This will prevent the seedling from reorienting itself.
· Plant knuckle Deep – Don’t place the seed too far under, in the soil. You can place the Seed Half Inch down from the surface.
Different Methods Of Germinating Cannabis Seeds
The best germination method depends on the choice of the cultivator. Below are some of the common ways to germinate your cannabis seeds.
Germinating Seeds In The Soil
This is the easiest and most natural method to germinate cannabis seeds. The soil protects the cannabis seeds and ensures that the roots grow without any interference. So what steps are involved in germinating the seeds in the soil?
Step 1: Ensure That You Use The Correct Soil type
This is the very first step. The soil should either be gently fertilized or a seed starters with a PH level of 6.
The soil should also contain enough nutrients and the right acidity to strengthen the young plants during the first 2 weeks. Avoid adding more nutrients to the soil unless there is a need. You might overfeed and kill your seeds.
Step 2: Place The Soil In A Container And Use A Pencil To Create A Small Hole
Once the soil is in the pot, you can use a pencil to create a hole that is half an inch deep. Once the seed is in the soil, bury it with the soil. After this stage do not touch the seed because it is very fragile.
Step 3: Water The Soil
Carefully water the soil with a spray bottle and place the pots under a fluorescent lamp. Ensure that the seeds are away from the window since the temperature can be too volatile for germination. You need to ensure that the temperature range is between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ensure that you monitor the soil each and every day to ensure that it is moist. After 4 to 7 days you will see small stems sprouting through the soil.
Once the seedling attains 2 to 4 inches in height, you can now transplant the cannabis to a larger pot with more room for the roots to spread out. This stage is an indication that you have successfully germinated the seeds to young plants.
Germinating Seeds In Water
This method is popular because it is faster. All you need to do is place your seeds in water and make adjustments accordingly.
As we started earlier, germinating seeds require a balanced and ideal growing condition. Germination in water only requires 24 to 48 hours to ensure that the stems pop out of the stems. Though some cultivators can soak seeds for up to one week!
Water germination is fast because the seeds can acquire all the moisture that is required immediately, thus softening the shell and cracking more easily. So what steps are involved in germinating seeds in the water?
Step 1: Fill A Glass With Tap Water And Leave It To Attain Room Temperature
Once you fill a glass with tap water you should leave it for some time in a warm room until it attains 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2: Add Seeds To The Cup
Add 2 or 3 seeds in a cup and allow them to settle for some time. Then watch the glass for any changes. You can change the water to freshwater after every two days, but always make sure that it attains room temperature.
The seed may start sprouting after two days, though some old seeds may take a whole week to sprout.
Step 3: Remove The Seeds From The Water
Once the seeds have sprouted, remove them from the glass and place them in the soil.
The only disadvantage with water germination is that you need to move the sprouted seeds very gently. The process is very delicate since the seeds are fragile and any harm to the seeds can destroy the plant.
Germinating Seeds On Paper Towels
Germinating marijuana seeds on paper towels is commonly used by cultivators to sprout seeds. In some cases, the cultivators use cotton pads instead of towels, but the steps are all the same.
Step 1: Lay The Paper Towels On A Flat Surface
To germinate seeds using paper towels, you should lay paper towels on a countertop, then place some seeds and cover them using another paper towel.
Step 2: Moisten The Towels
Later, use a spray bottle to moisten the towels and then store the seeds between the plates. Cover the cushioned seeds with a face down bowl or place them in a plastic bag to ensure that they are secure.
Step 3: Control The Temperature
Ensure that the room temperature is about 72 degrees Fahrenheit. To maintain this temperature, you should wrap the seeds in the dark and away from the wind. In 2 to 5 days, the seeds will emit tiny roots. You can now plant them when they are 5 millimeters in length.
Nonetheless, the paper towel method also has some risks. This is because the seedlings might be destroyed during the potting period. Further, the roots might get tangled in the towels, therefore, make sure you move the seeds before the roots grow very long.
You can use your hands or some tweezers to move the seeds and place them in the best medium.
Other Popular Germination Methods
The above methods we have mentioned are the easiest ways of germinating marijuana seeds. However, they are not the only ways. You can also consider other methods such as using starter cubes or plugs.
The methods are very simple, you only need to drop a seed in the growing medium, add some water and wait for the plant to germinate. These methods are rarely successful but they protect the plants from damage especially when they are being transported to their final homes. Below are some of the starter materials we can use to safely germinate seeds.
Sprouting Seeds In Rockwool
A Rockwool provides a suitable environment for germinating cannabis seeds. It comprises mineral wool that is made from volcanic elements for example basalt and limestone. So, what steps are involved in germinating seeds in a Rockwool?
Step 1: Make A Rockwool
To make a Rockwool, you need to melt the elements into lava and quickly span them into threads. The threads are later compacted and cut.
Step 2: Adjust The Growing Environment
Though the rock wool provides an ideal environment for growth, you will be required to make some slight adjustments for the plants.
First, you will be required to add some fertilizer to the seeds. The TDS will be adjusted to 600ppm. Then you will be required to lower the Rockwool’s PH from 7.0 to 5.0 or 5.5. To reduce the pH, soak the rock wool in water for one day. Water has a PH of 5.5 hence it will easily reduce the pH.
Though this method provides a suitable environment for germination, it is important to note that it has some serious drawbacks. This is because it does not happen naturally. Moreover, it is dangerous for your health. You are therefore advised to always cover your eyes and mouth when handling these staff and always wear gloves.
This method is also not recommended for beginners, due to the extra steps that are required such as adjusting the pH and nutrients. Outside that, the material is affordable and very easy to find. This is because it doesn’t require soil but it can grow hydroponically.
Germinating Seeds In Peat Pellets
This is another method of germinating seeds without damaging the young roots. Peat pellets are made of decomposed vegetables that are essential for young plants. The pellets enlarge when you add some water to them forming a nutrient-rich container.
Unlike with Rockwool, the peat pellets are optimized for with a PH of 5,5 and a TDS od 625, hence you don’t need to worry about any adjustments. The only step that is required is soaking the pellets in warm water.
Once the roots appear, move the whole pellet into the medium where it continues growing. Nonetheless, this method is not recommended for hydroponic setups. Peat pellets are good for germination and hence can be used by beginners. They can also be used in cloning.
Planting the Germinated Seeds
After the seeds have sprouted, they should be planted in the most suitable medium.
If you used a germination process that expects you to move the sprouts, do so with a lot of moderation since the roots are very fragile. You don’t want to touch the root or you will break it. The root may survive, but it will slow down the plant's growth.
Also, when planting ensure that the root is dropped downwards. It should also be placed half an inch or an inch deep in the growing medium. The top side should sit immediately below the surface. After positioning the germinated seed, cover it lightly for one week and wait for the seedling to emerge through the soil.
Some seeds emerge the same day while others take a period of 10days. If the waiting period exceeds 10 days, your seed did not survive.
If your seed is planted upside down, don’t panic, nature has a way of working things out. So long as there is enough room, the root will eventually find its way. Just give the root some time and it will finally do its thing!
Cannabis Seeds Versus Clones
For typical home growers, it is very easy to obtain cannabis seeds as compared to clones. Also, growing seeds produce stronger plants with solid genetics.
Cannabis plants that are grown directly from seedlings tend to be heartier as compared to plants that grow from clones. This is because they develop strong taproots. You can plant your seeds directly in your garden in spring and cool climates.
If you plan on growing the seeds outside, ensure that the seeds germinate inside because they are highly delicate during the early stages of growth. Moreover, growing the plant indoors will enable the seedling to access supplement light and then transplant them when they are mature enough.
Is Lighting Important For Cannabis Germination?
Just like water, lighting is also an essential requirement for germination. Light enables the plant to convert carbon dioxide and water to sugars. The plant later uses these sugars to grow, this process is commonly referred to as photosynthesis.
For germinating seeds, light is also important because it offers heat to the plant. The seed requires this heat when breaking through the shell. The best way to provide the seeds with the required temperature is by using fluorescent bulbs (with a T5 output and a colour temperature of 6500K)
We recommend fluorescent bulbs because they consume little power and don’t produce a lot of heat. In fact, you can place them very close to the young plant without damaging the plant. Though the plants don’t require much light at this stage, they will as soon as the first leaves peek out of the soil.
You can also use incandescent bulbs in generating heat. They can’t be used as grow lights but they can work fine in germination. You can also use a seedling heating pad instead. These pads heat the seed from the bottom section to the top. However, once your plants start growing, the pads will not be enough.
Remember to always keep the soil temperature at 72 degrees Celsius. Seeds can only germinate in warm temperatures similar to that in springtime. To create a humid temperature, wrap a plastic cover around your pot to create a biodome for your plants. Nonetheless, remember to remove the wrap as soon as you see any emerging sprouts in the soil. Also, if the water or soil is hot surpassing 72 degrees Fahrenheit, you can move the plant away from the lighting. The dry air doesn’t kill the seedlings, but it is better to reduce it.
Germination is the most crucial stage of cannabis cultivation, therefore, you need to be careful during this stage.
We have highlighted the best germination strategies for ensuring that you get the best results. Nonetheless, we believe that the best method is the one that works well with you. If you are like me, you will settle for something natural and simple. I prefer soaking seeds for 32 hours followed by germination. Nonetheless, something else may work for you, you only need to explore and settle for the best!