How-to Series: How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds indoors?


Many ways can be used to germinate cannabis seeds indoors or outside. The most common way is by placing them between two damp paper towels and then setting them somewhere dark and warm. However, there are other methods as well that you might want to use if you prefer those.

In this article, you will find a list of different methods used for germinating marijuana, their pros and cons, and the steps for each technique. After reading this article, you should have enough information to choose which method works best.

Are There Positive Side Effects Of Marijuana Consumption? - The Stone
Are There Positive Side Effects Of Marijuana Consumption? – The Stone

Glossary:

Paper towel – A sheet of white absorbent paper that comes in rolls where you can tear it according to the size you need

Seed – The fertilized, mature ovule of a plant where all the genetic information is stored. It contains embryonic leaves (called cotyledons), a root, and shoots apical meristem.

Stratify – To cultivate seeds in conditions with alternating temperature ranges. Warm to cold, then cold to warm. This helps stimulate germination.

Germinate – To cause seeds to begin initiating their growth process

Steps for each method:

Sprouting in between two damp paper towels

Materials needed:

  • 2 paper towels
  • A spray bottle that emits a fine mist
  • Warm place
  • Potting soil (optional)

I. Sprouting it between two damp paper towels

Growing Cannabis Soil vs Hydro - The Stone
Growing Cannabis Soil vs Hydro – The Stone

This method is the simplest, cheapest, and most popular way to germinate marijuana. It is also known as the “paper towel method.”

The steps are as follows:

  • 1- Put a moist paper towel on a plate and lay the seed on it.
  • 2- Place another one on top and moisten it with a spray bottle that emits a fine mist. Do not pour water on the seed, allow it to settle inside the towels.
  • 3- Fold both moistened pieces in half, so they cover your seed. Put the plate somewhere warm and dark so it can germinate.
  • 4- Once you see that it’s starting to grow (the cotyledons will be visible on one side of your seed), open the towels carefully and put it all on top of another moist paper towel;

This time, use a regular size

  • 5- When the roots are long enough, carefully transplant your plant into a small container with potting soil and put it somewhere warm and dark until the taproot comes out of the ground. You can then transfer the plant to its final medium if you want to cultivate it in earth or if you’re using hydroponics. This simple method has saved millions of seeds, so give it a try before moving on to the other methods below.

II. Germinating by first soaking it in water

Cannabis Class How to Grow Weed Outdoors, Organically - The Stone
Cannabis Class How to Grow Weed Outdoors, Organically – The Stone

Materials needed:

  • Container with lid (old yogurt cup or wide-mouthed jar)
  • Potting soil (optional)

Because the water will damage its protective shell, this method is not recommended for all marijuana plants. The best time to use it is when you are cultivating auto-flowering plants because they will start germinating by themselves once they get enough light exposure.

Although the soaking process damages the hard shell, it will still germinate and mature. It has already been fertilized by its female parent, so it only needs light to germinate. Otherwise, this method can be used on anything else you want to cultivate.

The steps are as follows:

  • 1- Put your moistened container somewhere warm, and dark.
  • 2- Check it daily for germination. Once you see the first two pairs of cotyledon, leave its coat, carefully open your container and move it to a bright window or any other warm, lighted location where it will receive at least 12 hours of light each day.
  • 3- Once it emerges, transplant it into a small pot with moistened soil and put it somewhere warm, lighted, and humid until its first pair of leaves turn green. You can move them to their final growing medium if you want them in earth or hydroponically.

III. Germinating by first soaking it in a diluted bleach solution

Cannabis Class: Growing Marijuana Plants in Organic Gardens - The Stone
Cannabis Class: Growing Marijuana Plants in Organic Gardens – The Stone

Materials needed:

  • Pot or bowl
  • Bleach (1 part) Warm water (3 pieces)
  • Small container for mixing The small container needs to be tall enough so you can place your seed inside, but not too wide because your seed may be harmed by bleach if it is diluted too much.

  • The container also needs a lid that closes tightly to avoid evaporation.
  • As with the previous method, this cannot be used for all seeds, but it can be used to germinate feminized seeds if you want them in dirt or hydroponically, the bleaching process damages the shell of feminized seeds. The steps are as follows:
  • 1- Mix 1 part bleach with three parts warm water in your container, then close it tightly. Ensure that the mixture is not too diluted because this can also harm your plant.
  • 2- Place your seed inside and leave it there overnight without opening the container, so the mixture does not dry out.
  • 3- Check it the following day for signs of germination. Once you see that it’s starting to grow, open the container carefully and put it in a warm, lighted place where plenty of humidity is present because chlorine damages plants’ leaves by causing them to wilt quickly. Transplant your plant after it has developed its first 2-3 pairs of leaves if you want to cultivate in soil or hydroponically.

IV. Germinating by planting it directly into moistened potting mix

Materials needed:

  • Potting mix (cottonseed, peat, vermiculite, perlite…)
  • Container with lid (shoebox or plastic box)

One method that does not require much effort is germinating by planting it into moistened potting mix. This works well for most weed plants because they are protected from drying out until they mature.

The steps are as follows:

  • 1- Fill your container with moistened potting soil (use cottonseed, peat, vermiculite, or perlite…).
  • 2- Evenly spread the seed on top and cover it with a thin layer of earth. Please do not bury it too deep because this reduces its chances of germinating successfully.
  • 3- Put the container in a warm, dark place and check it regularly to ensure that the soil does not dry out. Once you see signs of germination, move it somewhere lighted because sunlight is essential for weed plants as they develop chlorophyll.

V. Germinating by placing it between moistened sheets of paper

A Customer Asks Why Is Legal Cannabis So Expensive The Stone Provides - The Stone
A Customer Asks Why Is Legal Cannabis So Expensive The Stone Provides – The Stone

Materials needed:

  • Paper towels or toilet tissue tubes
  • Water
  • Container with lid (shoebox or plastic box)

This method is best for germinating Lavender Kush seeds because it helps them absorb moisture from the bottom up rather than from the top down. This reduces cracking and allows the seed to start growing without a significant delay. You can also use it for germinating feminized seeds if you want them in soil or hydroponically because it absorbs excess moisture from the shell of feminized seeds, making them easier to handle.

The steps are as follows:

  • 1- Fold a paper towel into two and moisten it with water.
  • 2- Place your seed inside and fold it over to make a pouch, then close it tightly to keep in moisture.
  • 3- Keep the pouch in a warm place and check on it regularly to ensure that it does not dry out. Once you see your signs of germination, remove the pouch and place your plant in a lighted place. You can transplant it into potting soil or hydroponic solution once it has developed its first 2-3 pairs of leaves.

Indoor germination is a process that begins when the seed comes either from plants grown indoors, bought from the store, or plants that were grown outdoors and brought inside in the fall. It can end when you transplant them in soil or hydroponically, in a container filled with potting soil, peat moss, or vermiculite with which you have mixed perlite.

Cannabis Class How Does THC Work in the Body - The Stone
Cannabis Class How Does THC Work in the Body – The Stone

However, this process is not so simple because marijuana seeds are more sensitive to moisture and temperature than other types. This is why it is crucial to know the best conditions for germination to grow healthy, vigorous plants. These conditions are as follows:

  • The optimal temperature range for germination is 77 degrees F (25 degrees C), so they can sprout quickly, and the plant can grow normally.
  • The best light conditions are 16 hours of light and 8 of darkness until they reach the third or fourth leaf stage. Then, you can gradually reduce the dark time to 12 hours.
  • If they are not stored under ideal conditions (dry with low humidity), it is better to start them in a paper towel moistened with water and place them in a warm, dark place. This will allow them to germinate quickly, and you can transplant your plant as soon as they appear above the ground.

You can also use this method for Lavender Kush

because it allows them to absorb moisture from the bottom up rather than from the top-down, reducing the possibility of cracking and the delay in germination.

  • If they come from plants grown indoors, you should also place them between two moist paper towels inside a plastic bag with holes for ventilation to give them humidity until they germinate.
  • You can also use this method for Lavender Kush because it reduces the risk of cracking and allows them to start growing without a significant delay.

This method is best for germinating Lavender Kush because it helps them absorb moisture from the bottom up instead of from the top down.

How to improve the taste of homegrown buds - The Stone
How to improve the taste of homegrown buds – The Stone

This reduces the possibility of cracking and allows your plant to start overgrowing. You can also use it for feminized seeds if you want them in your dirt or hydroponically if you prefer to grow them in water. The towel absorbs excess moisture from the shell, making it easier to handle. The steps are as follows:

  • 1 – Fold a paper towel into two and moisten with water.
  • 2- Put your seed inside and fold the towel over to make a pouch, then close it tightly to keep in moisture.
  • 3- Keep the towel pouch in a warm place and check on it regularly to ensure that it does not dry out. Once you see your signs of germination, remove the towel and place your plant in a lighted place. You can transplant it into potting mix or hydroponic solution once it has developed its first 2-3 pairs of leaves.

Remember that when you germinate feminized seeds…

…the plant will be a female with which you can enjoy harvesting your resin-filled buds on flowering plants. But if you are looking for more sources to produce new plants, make sure you either use regular seeds or grow your male weed plant in a separate area from where you grow your female plants.

This way, you can start harvesting resin much faster when pollinated females mature, and their buds gather the resins that contain cannabinoids such as THC and CBD.

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Featured - How-to Series: How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds indoors?

How to make feminized seeds at home? (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of a 3 part series on Making feminized seeds at home. Follow along with Part 1 here and Part 3 here. 

Therefore it doesn’t matter if you start with regular female seeds or an existing female plant to produce feminized seeds. You will get the same result in both cases: a homozygous female plant. This is important to keep in mind because most seed banks offer regular seeds of many feminized strains, and often the customers assume that the resulting plants will be all-female if they are grown from these seeds.

What about starting with an already existing female plant?

If you begin your project by starting with an existing female plant, you will have to ensure that the strain is suitable for this purpose. This means that it must carry the feminizing gene! If you purchase your seeds from a reputable seed bank, they will be able to tell you if the strain has this trait or not.

It doesn’t matter if it’s an Indica, a Sativa, or a Ruderalis strain. It also doesn’t matter how it will look when it flowers because this is not linked to the sex chromosomes! You only need to know if the feminizing gene is present in the corresponding line.

In case of doubt, you can always do an extra check by looking at the resulting offspring after the self-pollination of a female plant. If you get 100% female offspring every time, you have found your winner!

If you are not sure which strains are suitable for this purpose, here are some suggestions:

Sour Diesel Feminized by Barney’s Farm is one of my favorite Indica strains because it’s incredibly potent! I highly recommend you purchase your seeds from Serious Seeds, as they offer a variety of other high-quality strains.

If you like Sativa dominant plants, I suggest you look at Amnesia Haze by Soma or Cream Caramel by Delicious Seeds. You can also browse through the list of feminized strains offered by Dutch Passion, as they carry many other suitable options.

I’ll keep updating this article with more info about suitable cannabis strains for producing feminized seeds, but until then, you can find a pretty good selection in all the seed banks that I have listed at the top of it.

After selecting the strain you want to use for this purpose, it’s time to begin the actual project. If your goal is to create regular seeds, you can skip all of these steps and start growing/breeding!

Step 1: Find a male plant to cross it with

This part may be tricky at first because you need to find a suitable male plant that is homozygous for the feminizing trait (so it only carries the female gene). If there are no males available in your starting material, you can always purchase one from another breeder or grower.

Don’t worry about getting an unstable reverse hermaphrodite. Even if you end up with hermies, the ratios are still in your favor. So if you get 10% male offspring instead of 5%, you can discard them and continue to grow the rest of the plants (which all should be females).

The lucky few that end up with exactly 5% males must clone these plants for further breeding projects (see step 2) because they are valuable males. These can also be used to breed auto-flowering strains, but it’s better to use only some of the resulting offspring!

Stay Tuned for the next part of this series. How to make feminized seeds at home? (Part 1), How to make feminized seeds at home? (Part 3).

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