How To Germinate Cannabis Seeds

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Weed Seeds

How to germinate your cannabis seeds. Top three methods to get even tough cannabis seeds to germinate. Sprouting your cannabis seed does not have to be difficult.

You may call it weed, marijuana, cannabis (the proper name btw), pot, herb, grass, maryjane, loco weed, or even bhang. But, you are all referring to our favorite plant….Cannabis. We all want our grows to end with those huge, smelly, sinsemillia buds, covered with trichomes. And, although one can start with clones (not a bad way to go) most start with a lowly little cannabis seed. So, how does one turn that little weed seed into those big beautiful buds? Well, first you must get the weed seed to germinate, and this seems problematic for many.

Ok, so you have figured out where to buy the best weed seeds, now what? They came in the mail, you have them in hand, so what is the best way to germinate these cannabis seeds? You want to grow those monster buds you saw in the pictures. How does one go about this? Lets start at the beginning…

What Is A Seed ?

Seeds are a plants way of propagating it’s species. A flowering plant’s unit of reproduction, capable of developing into another such plant.
A seed is simply an embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering. The formation of the seed is the result of the process of reproduction in seed producing plants. Seeds are the product of the ripened ovule (a plants ‘womb’ if you will), after fertilization by pollen and some developing by the mother plant.

Cannabis seeds

Cannabis plants (that plant we all love) are dioecious, that is, they can develop into a male, a female, or a hermaphrodite (showing traits of both sexes.) This means that during flowering the cannabis plant can produce female flowers, male flowers, or female plants that produce pollen producing flowers that lack the Y chromosome….resulting in only female plants, and is the ‘secret’ to feminized cannabis seed. Hermaphrodites are the bane of marijuana growers everywhere, as this can make growing sinsemillia difficult.

3 Best Ways to Sprout Marijuana Seeds

There are many ways to get a marijuana seed to germinate. There is also a lot of concern among growers, and especially beginning growers on the best way to accomplish this. I’ve heard of scratching them with sandpaper, soaking them in an acid, even cutting the outer shell with an exacto knife. If one is working with really old seed, some of these methods might be worth a try. If, however you buy cannabis seed from me, you can skip these somewhat drastic measures (my seeds are fresh, and germination is checked periodically), and should attain a 90% germination rate, using one of the 3 tried and true methods of germinating cannabis seeds I will share below.


The Old School Method…Just Plant Your Cannabis Seeds in Soil

This is my favorite way to germinate my cannabis seed. The way cannabis seeds have sprouted for eons. As ‘natural’ as nature itself!

First I suggest you start with a fine seed starting soil. You want the soil to stay in close contact with the seeds you will be planting. It is essential the cannabis seeds stay moist to promote sprouting. I like to use a spray bottle filled with distilled water, and moisten the soil where the seed lies daily. You want it moist, and not drenched.

How deep should you plant your seed? The rule of thumb is twice the diameter of the seed. For cannabis this is about 1/4 inch. This is the depth I usually plant mine. I’ve read some say one inch, but I have always felt this is just too deep. Be aware planting them shallower will mean moistening them more often.

You can plant your seed in small starter pots, or go straight into their forever home. It’s really up to you, if you are nervous about transplanting I would go for the bigger pot. I am also a fan of those little peat pots that you soak in water before planting.

Peat pots for germinating cannabis seeds
Peat Pots

Temperature is important for the germinating cannabis seeds….I like to keep it 70-85 degrees. I usually have a thermometer right on top of the medium. You can also add bottom heat with one of the seed sprouting horticultural heating pads, just be careful to not over heat your seeds. Many times I just put them under the lights they will be growing under.

Your weed seeds can take a couple days to about 2 weeks to come up, you need to be on ‘plant time’ which is a bit slower, and demands your patients. I usually wait most of 2 weeks, and if I see no sign of them breaking ground, I very gently dig down to them to see if they are trying to germinate, or are simply a dud. (dud’s do happen)

If you are using fresh, viable seed, you should have nearly 100% germination using this method.

How To Sprout Cannabis Seeds Using The Paper Towel Method

I’m not a big fan of these last two methods, I worry about bleach or other chemicals in the paper towel, or the tape root growing too far out, as touching the tape root, or the tiny root hairs can cause problems. But, if your seed is old, or not particularly viable for whatever reason, these methods can be a time saver.


The paper towel method is simply placing a white paper towel on a plate, then you scatter your cannabis seeds on it. Then place another paper towel over the top of them. I have used several paper towels folded up underneath the seed to help hold more moisture. You then moisten the paper towels, and cover with a second plate, or a piece of plastic wrap (to conserve the moisture.) I usually moisten, but not so much there is standing water.

Next place the plate in a warm (70-85 degrees) spot. I like the top of a refrigerator or freezer, as there is a bit of warmth there. You can also use bottom heat, just be careful to not overheat your cannabis seeds. A sunny window can work great too, just again be careful not to over heat the seed.

I recommend checking your seeds every day, and as soon as the outside shell swells and cracks open plant them in your growing medium about 1/4 inch deep, just as you would in the method above.

Germinating Cannabis Seeds on a Paper Towel
Germinating Seeds on a Paper Towel

Germinating Marijuana Seeds With The Soaking Method

The third method for sprouting your cannabis seeds we will discuss is the soaking method. This method is particularly handy for the harder shelled, or older, cannabis seeds, and as you can see them, it’s easy to monitor. Simply place your seeds into a glass of water at room temperature. Allow the cannabis seed to soak for up to 32 hours. Any longer then that, and you run the risk of drowning your seeds before they germinate.

As the seeds begin to hydrate, and swell, some should begin to sink to the bottom of the glass. This is normal, and usually the sinkers are the viable seed, and the floaters are usually not. If your seeds are very fresh, they might even sprout in the glass of water.

After 24-32 hours, remove the seeds, and finish the germination process using the paper towel method, or, just plant straight away into your medium. This method gives the cannabis seeds a bit of a head start, and gives you an indication of their viability.

IMG 4088 - How To Germinate Cannabis Seeds

In Conclusion

Using these methods of germinating your weed seeds, and your germination troubles will be a thing of the past. If your seed still fails to sprout even after using these methods your seed is likely too old. Some seed that is too old is simply not viable anymore. So, are you ready? You got this! Buy your cannabis seed here.