Soaking Marijuana Seeds

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The most known methods to sprout your seeds and get your grow cycle going in no time. Should you germinate cannabis seeds in moist or soaked conditions? Watch our new test video and find out which method delivers the best germination rates. Handling cannabis seed germination is no difficult task, but it requires a great deal of precision and care. If you can provide that, you’re good to go.

Germination Guide for Autoflowering Seeds

Seed germination is the first part of a successful grow cycle, to help you start your cannabis plants with the right foot, here’s an autoflower germination guide that can be used not only for cannabis but for tomatoes, mangos, strawberries. you name it!

Sebastian Good is talking about the best way to start your autoflower seed and germinates Strawberry Pie Auto.

So here’s how to germinate cannabis seeds with the best-known methods and a couple of tips that will get you harvesting in no time.

1. First Things First: Know the anatomy of your cannabis seed

The process of autoflower germination can take up to 10 days, in order to do everything correctly and know if everything’s going well, we need to know a little bit more about the seed. First of all, we need to understand the anatomy of a cannabis seed. The cannabis seed has a dark brown, hard, and often striped, shell, this shell is what protects the insides which are extremely fragile.

When germinating, we need to hydrate the seed, this will soften the seed’s shell and allow water to reach the embryo, when the water reaches it, the embryo will “activate” and start developing.

Have in mind that it’s possible to drown the seed, so we need to keep an eye on moisture levels, also making sure it doesn’t dry out. With a softened shell, it will be easier for the radicle to come out and this is when you’ll see the white taproot slowly appearing, and once it reaches 2-3cm, it’s time to plant it.

As soon as the seedling comes out of the medium, you’ll often see the shell stuck on top of the cotyledons, which are the tiny round leaves that you’re able to see once the shell has detached from the seedling. Those leaves are responsible for feeding the plant until the first set of true leaves appear. Also, there isn’t the best way to germinate marijuana seeds, you can do it any way you want, as long as you keep proper conditions, your seeds will germinate. So, if you’re wondering how do you germinate autoflowering seeds? Read along for the best methods.

2. The Best Conditions For Germinating Seeds

As you may know, cannabis plants need certain conditions depending on the stage they’re in, maintaining these conditions are the best way to ensure your plants will thrive, and when talking about seeds and germination, it’s no different.

Obviously, you can grow cannabis plants in less-than-ideal conditions and they will still grow but it may end up affecting the yields or quality of your harvest.

When talking about germinating auto seeds, germinating in less-than-ideal conditions will decrease the chances of sprouting, so unlike growing cannabis in bad conditions, which will still grow but can affect the harvest, germinating in bad conditions can end up killing your seeds. So when germinating autoflowers you should keep the temperature between 21-26°C and the humidity as close as 90% as you can.

3. Top Tricks For Germinating Old Seeds

As said above, germinating in the ideal conditions will guarantee successful germination but sometimes seeds may be old or have been kept in bad conditions and can be hard to germinate. So, to help you germinate old seeds, here are a couple of tricks that will increase the chances of germination. But first of all, you need to know the best conditions to avoid these problems.

How To Properly Store Seeds

If you are storing seeds for your next grow cycle, you need to keep them in ideal conditions. If you’re going to germinate them during the next couple of days there’s no need to do anything extra, other than keeping them in a cool place and in complete darkness but if you’re planning to store them for months or even years, you should keep them in the fridge.

You should keep your seeds in an airtight container in a fridge set at 6-8°C with a relative humidity of between 20-30%, if you can’t set your fridge to the temperatures mentioned, just keeping them in the fridge will increase the chances of germination. Just have in mind that the better the conditions, the longer your seeds with last.

Soak in supplemented water

As cannabis seeds get old, the shell hardens and can make it hard for the water to reach the embryo, and if the water doesn’t reach the embryo, your seeds won’t sprout so if you’re dealing with old seeds, you can soak them in supplemented water.

To do this, you can fill a glass cup with water and add around 30ml of hydrogen peroxide and leave your seeds soaking for 12hs, this should do the trick. You can also use germination boosters that you find in grow shops but usually, hydrogen peroxide works, also, make sure the water is around 22°C and it’s not getting direct sunlight.

Scarification

Scarification is a method used to make ridges on the seed to help water pass through, to do this properly, you will need a piece of sandpaper but you can improvise and do it with a matchbox. The goal is to thin out the shell so that the water can reach the embryo easily, just make sure you don’t overdo it and end up harming the embryo inside.

Slightly Open The Seed

As you may have seen, the seed is made out of two halves and has a ridge around it, if your seeds are old, that ridge may end up hardening too much and the seed won’t sprout. So to help your weed seed germinate, you can use a knife or any other tool with a thin point to gently insert it in between the ridges and slightly separate it, after this process, you can soak your water and germinate it like you normally would.

4. Paper Towel Germination Method

The paper towel method is the easiest of all methods. You’ll need :

  • 2 paper towels
  • a plastic container or plates
  • water
Step 1

Moisten the paper towels and wring them out so they’re damp but not completely wet.

Step 2

Place the seeds on the paper towel, fold it over the seeds and place it in a plastic container, cover it with the lid to keep moisture in (can also use two plates instead of the plastic container, place the paper towel on a plate and use the other one to cover).

Step 3

Place the container in a slightly warm and dark place. Remember to check on it daily, we must ensure the paper towels never dry out, the seeds need to keep absorbing moisture, it’s likely that the seeds will never germinate if they don’t. Sprinkle a little bit of water if needed, you’ll know they’re ready to be transplanted when the radicle is around 1-3cm long.

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If the paper towel starts having a bad smell, it’s a sign of too much water, let it dry for a couple of days, and if the papers continue smelling bad, change the paper towels.

5. Soaking Overnight In A Glass Of Water

After many years of experimenting and looking for the best way to germinate our Fast Buds seeds, we must say that this is definitely one of the most effective ways.

This method is especially effective for seeds with a harder shell or older seeds. You’ll need:

Step 1

As the title says, grab a glass cup and fill it half with water.

Step 2

Place the seeds in the glass and leave it in a dark place, let the seeds soak for up to 32 hours.

Step 3

Most viable seeds will sink after a couple of hours and you should see the radicle after a couple of days. Remember that some seeds may need longer until you see the radicle coming out. If they haven’t sprouted after 72 hours, add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to kill accumulated bacteria in the water and return to the darkness for 2 more days.

6. Using A Germination Chamber

When you get a bit more experienced, you’ll wanna look for more professional tools and the germination chamber is one of them. It consists of a plastic base with small square cells (can come with up to 256 cells, each cell supports 1 seed), on top of a heat mat, also comes with a humidity dome, basically looks like a small greenhouse. They’re very cheap and you can make one at home.

The chamber can be used with any type of medium, Rockwool cubes, peat pellets, coco fiber, perlite, or even soil and they keep the best environment for sprouting seeds and the first days of the seedling.So how to germinate a marijuana seed in a germination chamber? To start germinating, make a small hole (1-2 cm) in moisten medium, cover without applying pressure, turn on the heat mat and spray the humidity dome, it should take a couple of days to see the seedling coming out.

7. Rockwool Cubes And Peat Pellets

Rockwool cubes are small cubes made of rock and sand fibers, with the consistency of cotton candy almost, they absorb a lot of water and usually are used for germinating seeds and clones. Using them along with the germinating chamber has an advantage, being easy to transplant to the next medium or container.

Rockwool and peat pellets are an easy way to germinate seeds but can be easier to overwater your seeds.

They also can be used along with clay pellets in hydroponics. One of the bad aspects of Rockwool cubes is you can easily overwater and get root rot. Peat pellets are similar to the Rockwool cubes but are made of compressed peat moss and come in a small disc shape. To germinate in either one of them, we will use the same technique explained before, moisten the Rockwool or peat pellet, make a little hole (1-2cm) and place the seed inside, cover it gently without applying pressure and you’re all done. You can place the pellet or cube directly in any type of medium or hydroponics chamber, after sprouting, the roots will continue to grow down, even if they reach the end of the Rockwool or peat pellet.

8. Planting Directly In Medium

Sometimes the simplest way is the better way. As it happens in nature, we can also sprout our seeds in our medium of your preference (coco, soil, perlite, etc..) Just grab a pencil, or even with your fingers, make a little hole (1-2cm deep), and place the seed in it, the medium must be moist but not soaking, then cover with soil without applying pressure.

Every time you transplant a seedling, it needs some time to readjust and can cause stress, thus one of the biggest benefits of this method is you don’t have to worry about damaging your seedling when transplanting or shocking it because it already is in its final place.

9. Top Tips to Improve Seed Germination

Planting the Seeds Correctly

Cannabis seeds have an oval shape with one of the ends being sharper while the other has an indent known as the crown. When germinating cannabis seeds, it’s recommended to plant the seed with the crown pointing upwards as this is the end where the cotyledons usually come out from.

Don’t Let the Substrate Dry Out

The germination process relies on moisture to activate the biological processes that provide the energy the seedling needs to break through the seed shell and start growing. This means that the more moisture absorbed, the better. Note that the keyword here is moisture, you definitely don’t want to drown your seeds. Anyway, once the seed is in the paper towels and the germination process has begun, make sure to check regularly to ensure it’s still moist, and to help with this, it’s recommended you keep it in a warm damp place.

For better germination rates, you can opt for a heating mat and/or germination chambers, but it really doesn’t matter if you’re germination your seeds in the soil, jiffy’s, Rockwool cubes, paper towels, etc… Make sure to keep the substrate moist and you will have great results.

Planting the Seed at the Right Depth

One of the bigger issues among beginner growers is planting the seed at the right depth. These problems can get worse if you are watering the substrate after the seeds are planted. Remember, burying the seed too deep can cause it to not develop while not burying deep enough can cause the taproot to over-bend and develop a weak stem, and sometimes stunt growth.

This is why we recommend burying the seed at around 2 cm deep. You can do this by using a ruler, marking the 2 cm mark on a straw, or any other utensil that allows you to do this. Then plant your seed and cover it with the substrate without pressing too hard.

Avoid Planting several Seeds in the Same Pot

Sometimes you may not have enough substrate or pots, typically, this is when you would plant multiple seeds in the same container but they usually do not develop correctly due to several reasons. Now yes, you’re saving space and substrate but you’re definitely not helping your plants thrive as first of all, the roots need enough space to grow, and germinating in the same pot can cause the roots to fight for space.

Apart from fighting for space, if all the seedlings make it to the vegetative stage, they will continue competing for light and by doing this, you will not get the most out of each plant. Lack of light can also cause the stem and branches to grow weak which can cause problems during flower so make sure to plant one seed per pot unless you’re growing in 100-200L or bigger raised beds.

10. In Conclusion

There’s no such thing as the best way to germinate marijuana seeds, a successful germination is considered when you see the first leaves, known as Cotyledons, cannabis seeds germinate correctly with relatively high temperatures and humidity. To successfully reach the flowering stage you’ll have to use different techniques, not only for sprouting but to keep the plant happy and healthy until harvest.

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Whether deciding which germination method to choose or getting ready for your first successful grow setup, our advice for beginner growers will be to start with autoflowering strains. If you look for something easy, quick, and easy to maintain, like Zkittlez Auto and Gorilla Glue Auto, there’s nothing better than choosing to grow autoflowers.

first time ever growing and got some amazing colors from this strain with low temps ran it at about 58-64 for 2 weeks and got this color

Moist vs Soaked cannabis seed germination test

What’s the best way to germinate cannabis seeds? Let’s pursue our germination test series with another critical matter: should the seeds be placed in moist conditions, or is it better to completely soak the seeds to ensure the highest germination rates and the fastest germination speed? The answer may surprise you!

Moist vs Soaked cannabis seed germination video

To assess moist vs soaked germination conditions, Dutch Passion made a side-by-side germination test. 15 cannabis seeds were attempted to be germinated in soaked conditions and 15 seeds germinated in moist conditions. Does adding too much water to your cannabis seed germination help improve germination rates, or does it have a dramatically negative effect? The video, below, shows exactly what happened.

As shown by the video, perfect germination occurred when the cannabis seeds were germinated between lightly sprayed (i.e. moist) cotton pads. All 15 seeds germinated perfectly. However, of the 15 seeds that were placed between soaked (saturated) cotton pads, only 3 seeds were able to survive. The others showed brown coloration on the embryonic root, this is a sign that the root had started to rot in the waterlogged conditions.

How much water should you use to germinate cannabis seeds?

In the Dutch Passion ‘moist vs soaked’ cannabis seed germination experiment, some simple cotton pads were used. This is usually a reliable way to germinate seeds, whether you are using feminised seeds, regular seeds or autoflower seeds. Note that for the successfully germinated seeds in moist conditions, a minimum amount of water was used and delivered the best results. Just 3 light water mist sprays were given to each cotton pad.

The advantages and logic of germinating cannabis seeds in moist conditions

For the 15 cannabis seeds that successfully germinated in moist conditions, we ensured that the cotton pads were lightly sprayed (3 times for the lower cotton pad, 3 times for the upper pad).

The key principle is that cannabis seeds need only a small amount of moisture to soften the shell casing and allow a root to emerge into a moist, oxygenated environment. Once the root has emerged, access to oxygen is just as important as access to moisture. The root needs very little moisture at this stage.

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Cannabis roots, healthy cannabis roots ensure a healthy cannabis plant

The disadvantages and problems caused by trying to germinate cannabis seeds in soaked conditions

Of the 15 cannabis seeds that attempted to germinate in soaked cotton pads, only 3 survived. That’s because the waterlogged conditions simply didn’t provide enough oxygen for the root to grow.

Both the upper and lower cotton pads were soaked in water and the seeds were placed in-between. The soaked conditions allowed the shell casing to soften and open. However, as soon as the roots started to emerge, most of them simply started to rot and die. The easiest way to spot this is via the brown discolouration the root tip.

This is usually a sign of root damage, and for freshly germinated seeds this is often fatal. Even if the seedling survives, with root damage the plant may be permanently stunted only allowing a small, poor yielding plant to grow.

Soaking cannabis seeds during germination causes them to stagnate.

Dutch Passion advice on cannabis seed germination

There are many different ways to germinate cannabis seeds. We should also remember that cannabis seeds have found ways to germinate for thousands of years without human intervention.

But since cannabis home growing became so widely adopted, many growers want to aim for the very highest germination rates that they can achieve. If you are buying the best cannabis seeds at premium prices, you may want to get your seed germination rates as high as you can possibly get them.

For that reason, the Dutch Passion team recommend the cotton pad seed germination method. Remember to lightly spray the upper and lower cotton pads only 3 times each to create moist conditions. Adding more water, and soaking the cotton pads will only decrease your germination rates.

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How to germinate cannabis seeds in cotton pads?
How to germinate cannabis seeds in soil?
How to germinate cannabis seeds in RootIt Cubes?

If you are serious about giving your cannabis seeds and seedlings the best possible start in life then the following blog is essential reading. It explains how to avoid the top-10 mistakes made by growers with seeds and seedlings.

Germinating cannabis seeds in moist cotton pads results

In the Dutch Passion cotton pad seed germination video 5 cannabis seeds were placed in-between 2 cotton pads. Each cotton pad had been lightly sprayed with 3 squirts from a simple water mist spray bottle. To evaluate the seed germination test properly, a total of 15 seeds were germinated with 100% germination rates.

Note that the moist cotton pads were placed on a dinner plate and the plate was sealed with transparent kitchen film. This ensured that the moist cotton pads didn’t dry out. If this happened, the germinated seeds would eventually die. The experiment took 4 days, though many home growers would perhaps inspect after the germination after a couple of days and re-plant the germinated seedlings into a grow container.

Germinating cannabis seeds in soaked cotton pads results

Experienced cannabis growers know the dangers presented by soaked/saturated seed germination conditions. That’s why many of them avoid using e.g. toilet tissue, which can hold a lot of water and not drain well. In the Dutch Passion moist vs soaked seed germination video, only 3 of the seeds just about survived the waterlogged conditions. All the rest were ruined by the soaked/saturated germination conditions.

Once the root emerges from the seed, it needs a certain level of aeration in order to survive. Leaving cannabis roots in waterlogged conditions inevitably results in root rot. That’s why so many growers find that they achieve superior results when using grow containers (e.g. air pots or felt sacks) that offer superior root aeration levels. Experienced growers know that overwatering plants or seedlings can stunt growth, and in worst cases kill the plant.

The main message for growers is that it is very easy to get low germination rates even from perfectly viable cannabis seed simply by using germination conditions that are too wet/soaked. To get the best germination rates, use moist conditions. Never use soaking wet conditions for cannabis seed germination. If the root emerges and spends too long in these saturated conditions the seed/seedling will die.

How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds

Cannabis, better known as marijuana, is getting more popular across the United States as more medical reports deem it highly useful for better health and more states legalize its sale and use. There’s no question of how potent and beneficial marijuana is for health and recreation, so it is no surprise that more individuals are more getting interested in growing the herb in their homes.

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Like any other plant, cannabis goes through the germination process before full growth. Handling cannabis seed germination is no difficult task, but it requires a great deal of precision and care. If you can provide that, you’re good to go.

Below here, we breakdown the main aspects of cannabis seed germination you need to know.

The Ideal Germination Conditions for Cannabis

For maximum cannabis seed germination, you need to provide the following conditions:

Moisture

Marijuana seeds need adequate moisture in the soil to develop properly. You can maintain moisture by using well-watered soil or a naturally-moist medium such as compost. Alternatively, you can use mulch on the ground to lock the moisture in.

Stability

Your seeds need a stable setup during planting to guarantee proper germination. You can achieve this by placing the seeds about 1.3cm to 2.5 cm into the medium, not any further or closer to the medium surface.

Temperature

Marijuana seeds require a proper balance between hot and cold temperatures for proper germination. Keep the temperature around the germinating area adequately warm, because colder temperatures tend to delay the germination process.

Direction

Marijuana seeds need direction when being germinated. When placing the germinated seed into the growing medium, ensure that the white root is looking downwards into the medium and the seed body is looking upwards. Positioning it otherwise means the root will have to reorganize itself, which can slow germination.

Seed Germination Methods

There are more than a few options to choose from when picking a method for your seed germination process. We list and explain the best of them below:

Use Starter Cubes & Seedling Plugs

This is the most recommended cannabis seed germination method on this list because of its ease. Starter cubes and seedling plugs are specially designed for the purpose of seed germination, so they come filled with the right kind of planting mix and a hole drilled adequately in the middle for placing your seed. All you have to do is place your seed carefully into the hole and close it with a simple pinch of the nearby planting mix.

The Pros
  • They have high germination rates thanks to adequately pre-set conditions
  • They are easy to use; you open them up and start planting
  • They give less room for error
  • Some of them are designed to allow hydroponic growing (water-based planting)
  • They aren’t too expensive
The Cons
  • Are usually sold in packages of 50 plugs or more at once, no less.
  • Some plugs dry out too quickly after opening.
  • Some plugs must be soaked for a while first before use.

Plant your marijuana seeds directly in the final growing medium

Another good method for germinating your cannabis seeds is by planting them within your final growing medium from the very beginning, whether it is soil or compost or water.

The Pros
  • The seeds don’t get transplant shock during transplanting
  • The seeds get accustomed to the medium early on, which fosters growth
The Cons
  • Some final mediums are not adequately nutrient-rich to support cannabis seed germination in its earliest stages

Use a germination station

For best seed germination results, you can alternatively employ a germination station before transferring to a final growing medium. Germination stations are pre-designed to offer optimum conditions for germination.

The Pros
  • Germination stations are cheap to purchase
  • You can create your own DIY germination station at home using a plastic dome fitted over a plate that’s placed on a heating pad.
The Cons
  • Germination seeds are only appropriate for the early stages of growth, unlike, say, the final medium.

Soak Your Marijuana Seeds in Water Overnight

Alternatively, you can germinate your cannabis seeds using water alone. Place the seeds in a glassful of mildly warm water overnight and wait for the white root to break through the seed shell. Then you can transfer to a final growing medium.

The Pros
  • It works well for seeds with extra hard seed coats
  • Cuts out all the extra preparation required in soil-based germination
The Cons
  • Some seeds, especially the older ones, cannot germinate in water because they require a longer time
  • There is always the risk of over soaking the seeds and killing them

Try the Paper Towel Method

The most DIY cannabis seed germination method on this list is the paper towel method, which involves wrapping your seeds in thin paper towels, making them wet and leaving the setup a warm place. Soon enough, the white roots start showing and the seeds can then be transplanted.

The Pros
  • It is so cheap; the thinnest (and cheapest) paper towels work best
  • It is so easy to do.
The Cons
  • Thicker paper towels can be hard to separate new seedlings from after they’ve sprouted
  • There is a high possibility for errors during transplanting, such as root breakage when seed roots are found to have grown into the paper towel, not on its surface.
  • Paper towels can dry if unattended, thereby killing the new seedlings.

Planting Germinated Seeds

Once the cannabis seeds have germinated, they need to be planted in order to grow into proper cannabis plants. The recommended method for planting cannabis seeds includes the steps below:

Step One : Set and prepare your planting medium. You can use either a rooting cube or a planting mix for planting, depending on your preference. Rooting cubes have no major preparation requirements –have one ready from Oasis, Jiffy or another good brand. If you’re using a planting mix, procure sterile soil for the process. Random soil doesn’t cut it here.

Step Two : Next, add water to the sterile soil or rooting cube to saturate it. Then use a needle or chopstick to drill small planting holes within the soil or rooting cube. Please do not use your finger for this task.

Step Three : Get your tweezers and sterilize them with alcohol or spirit first. Then use the tweezers to pick the seeds, paying good attention to the fragile white roots.

Step Four : Place each germinated seed into a hole of its own, ever so tenderly, such that the root faces downward. Don’t place the seeds too deep into the ground either, because it slows growth. Move quickly because the roots are easily damaged by exposure to the atmosphere.

Step Five : Next, cover each of the holes with adequate soil or rooting cube. Make sure the planting mix or root cube is moist and not too cold.

Conclusion

Germinating and growing cannabis seeds requires a bit of work, but when done right, the end results are worth every minute spent. Like any other plant, cannabis seeds have to go through germination and then plant growth. Making sure each of these stages is done right will guarantee you a super bouncy harvest every time.

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