How to Germinate your Cannabis Seeds

Updated: Oct 19, 2020

Germination relates to the process of a seed growing into a healthy plant. You can get your cannabis seeds from a variety of sources. On the downside, it means that cannabis seeds vary enormously in quality. Ensure the seeds that you get have proven qualities. However, please note that there are legal issues to contend with if you buy seeds. This is especially the case if you decide to buy them from a source outside the Canada.

When buying seeds, opt for mature options with a dark brown appearance and a firm feel although some varieties have a almost clear appearance. Once you have them ensure you have plenty of space for them to grow and thrive. The how to germinate cannabis seeds correctly is crucial to enjoying years of healthy plants and fruitful harvests. For the purpose of this guide, we outline the ideal germination conditions and show you five different methods.

Best Guide to Cannabis Seed Germination

In theory, germinating cannabis seeds is pretty simple. Cannabis seeds need only three things: Air, water, and heat. The famed ‘paper towel’ method is incredibly easy as long as you follow the steps outlined below. Here is a quick overview of the best germination practices before we show you the various methods.

Water Usage

Be careful not to over-soak your seeds. Hard seeds should be soaked for a maximum of 32 hours, although 24 hours is usually enough. Soaking too long can damage your cannabis seeds.. Your Marijuana seeds will begin to sprout when they receive the two requirements of water and heat. Once the right conditions are in place the root will burst through the seed casing.

If the root breaks through the shell and there is no water to feed the root then the seedling will die. it is very important to keep checking on your seedlings to ensure they gave the proper moisture to live.

The best water to use for germination rain water and spring water. I get my spring water for germinating my seeds from the Dollarama, this seems to work best for the germination process but any spring water will do. rain water is also a very good base to use for germinating seeds.


This is arguably the trickiest aspect of germination. You have to strike a balance between ‘warm’ and ‘hot.’ Spring temperatures are ideal in a ‘normal’ year. While cannabis seeds can germinate in colder weather, the process takes longer. Seedlings also germinate faster when there is plenty of humidity in the air. If you are concerned about low temperatures, invest in incandescent bulbs or a heat mat,

Caring for Seedlings

Cannabis seeds perform at their best when they are in the dark and left alone! When you are checking for growth ensure you also give notice to the moisture level, Remember that seedlings need moisture to grow. If and when you need to handle your seedlings to plant in soil or such ensure to handle with care! Avoid touching the white taproot because you can contaminate the seedling root or it can easily break off.


Sprouted seeds do not need to be planted too deep in the soil, or other grow medium. 0.5” – 1” below the surface is optimal. Ensure to point the white root downwards into the earth to ensure the seedling is ideally oriented. I make a little hole first, then I spray the hole with plenty of water, then I insert the seedling so gently into the hole and proceed to pack the soil all around the root. I top the seed with a very small amount of dirt and give it one final spray.

How to Germinate Cannabis/Marijuana Seeds - 5 Methods

1 – The Paper Towel Method

This is by far the easiest method and requires only cannabis seeds, paper towels, and two clean plates. Ensure you choose cheap paper towels because they are non-porous. As a result, you can lay seeds and roots on the surface and not worry about them getting stuck. If you use high-quality paper towels, the roots will grow into them!

It is a simple method, but also does have it's risks. You could damage the taproot while moving the sprouted seeds, or else the paper could dry out and kill the seeds. In any case, here is the process:

  1. Use up to two sheets of paper towel and soak them in prepared water. While you must soak the sheet, make sure there not to over moistening the paper towel.

  2. Place the paper sheets on one of the plates. Put the seeds down on the paper towel at least 1” away from one another. Cover with the other paper towel.

  3. Cover the seeds with the second plate to keep in the moisture. Ensure you check the seeds often to see if they have sprouted and if they need more moisture.

  4. Keep the seeds in a room where the temperature is between 70- and 90-degrees Fahrenheit.

  5. Cannabis Seeds typically sprout within 1-4 days, although older seeds can take up to a week. My seeds usually sprout within 2 days and ready for transplanting in 3-4 days.

Germination has occurred when the seed splits and a little white root appears. Ensure not to touch the taproot when it sprouts or during the transplantation process

2 – Planting Directly

Marijuana seeds will germinate in the soil and emerge with its roots growing into the earth. You can easily plant cannabis seeds straight into a growing medium of your choice. One benefit here is that you don’t have to worry about ‘shocking’ the seedling while transporting and/or transplanting it.

Seedling will in most instances instantly adjust to their new environment and grow. To use this method, dig a hole 0.5” – 1” deep in soil that is moist but not saturated. Keep things warm with a heating pad or lighting.

3 – Starter Cubes and Seedling Plugs

Said to be one of the easiest germination methods. It can be effectively a foolproof method. To perform this method, place the seed into the cube/plug and add water. With the proper temperature, germination should occur automatically within a few days. You can also use Rockwool cubes as they are cheap and easy to find. However, they are a terrible burden on the environment and bad for your health. Rockwool also has a high pH (which means you must rinse the cubes first) and offers a low cloning and germination success rate.

4 – 24 Hour Soaking

This is a simple method. Place the seeds in a glass of lukewarm water overnight. After 24 hours place them as described in Method 1 - paper towel The soaking process can help with the germination process and in the long run save you seeds. When you place the seeds in water, they float for a few hours before sinking to the bottom. leaving seeds in water more than 24 hours is not recommended as the seeds will drown.

5 – Germination Stations

You can build your own germination station by placing a plastic dome over a plate which then sits on a heating pad. Professionally made stations can be bought online or at a Cannabis Store and are relatively inexpensive and work well.

Transplanting Germinated Cannabis Seeds

Don't wait to plant once your cannabis seeds have begun to sprout. This is the time to transfer the seed to its growing medium. Most growers prefer to use small pots, to begin with. Make sure you fill enough pots with loose potting soil and poke a hole around 0.25” deep. Remember, the taproot can break very easily. Transfer it using tweezers and drop the seed into the hole with the root facing down. Finally, cover it with a thin layer of soil.

For the first few days, use a spray bottle to water the seeds, because adding too much water can drown them. It is worth investing in a pH meter to test the soil regularly and make sure it has enough moisture. If all goes well, the seed should sprout within 2-4 days. If it hasn’t sprouted within ten days, it probably died.

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