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Germinating Marijuana Seeds

Before you can understand how the germination process works properly, its important to know that the seed of a marijuana plant comes packed with the nutrients it needs to survive for the beginning phase. 

We don’t know exactly how much nutrients a cannabis seed may have to last it through till the roots reach nutrients but we do know, during this starting phase, it doesn’t need supplementary nutrients.

To be safe, growers may leave the seed to sprout up to 3-4 true leaves before fertilising. Another ballpark figure some suggest is to leave the pot plants to grow for up to a month before feeding any nutrients.

Wait for the taproot to appear

The first time you see a white taproot root appear on your marijuana seed, 3-4 weeks after planting that in your grow medium (soil or hydro) is when you should feed. As said before, a good time frame is about a month then you begin feeding. 

Whats the Taproot?

The taproot is the white root that comes out of a marijuana seed. When you see this, the germination process has begun.

This root will seek out water and nutrients – firstly being water as the seed has enough nutrients to aid it in its entirety to grow more roots to spread and accumulate more nutrients and water.

This root will expand with time to accommodate to the growing needs of nutrients and water your marijuana plant may need. It’s important not to feed too much to your plant during this stage – less is more in this scenario.

Cotyledon Leaves

When your marijuana seed breaks through the white roots, it will usually dig down to find its nourishment. Almost at the same time, the cotyledon leaves will push through upwards. These leaves (two of them) will appear first before showing the true leaves.

Cotyledon leaves are round and essentially becomes rendered useless once the true leaves form. We guess the reason for their importance is, they are like the first leaves to be able to photosynthesise and convert the energy to grow the true leaves which will support the plant to its final days.

Another reason cotyledon cannabis leaves are beneficial is that they help break the shell to expose the roots and initial stem that the marijuana plant needs to grow.

How Long Does Germination Take?

Generally speaking, it takes 5 – 10 days for germination to occur from placing your seed in to water or the wet paper towel method of germination. There are other ways of germinating weed seeds but these are the most popular methods.

The Environmental Requirements of Marijuana Seed Germination

To successfully germinate cannabis seeds, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Especially temperature and moisture.

  • Temperature needs to at a level where the roots and initial stem can grow without hindrance. For temperature, a good level would be at 19 to 21 degrees celsius.
  • A consistent amount of water whether it be just plain seed in water or a wet paper towel soaked as much as possible. This promotes the plant to break out of it’s shell to grow outwards.
  • Right angle of placing the seed. As you witness marijuana grow out of its seed, you will notice where the taproot breaks out, once you know, place the taproot down where it needs to grow into soil or water if hydro.
  • Do not disturb and leave the seed in darkness. Once you have initiated the above, leave your seeds alone to grow its taproot out. Keep the plant in the darkness in order to promote this process.

Germinate your seeds in a warm and moist environment

You must make you have a warm and moist environment to help assure your plants germinate successfully. If your struggling in colder environments, invest in heat pad to help your plants get through this stage of marijuana growing. Also make sure the cannabis roots aren’t in direct contact of lighting to prevent over exposure of the vulnerable roots.

Methods of Germinating Marijuana Seeds

We all have our own methods of marijuana germination but here are the ways most people use. Check out these methods and see which suits you the most.

Plugs & Cubes

For most beginners, this is the most friendly method for them. A plug or a starter cubes has an indent to place the seeds in. You simply place your seed there and add water. You can then close the hole up, completely covering the seed from light exposure and watching your seed sprout seeds. This method is the easiest and most user friendly. If your unsure of what your doing, please leave a comment.

This is one of the easiest ways to start your cannabis seed. Each starter cube or seedling plug has a small hole, in which you place your seed. Then you simply add the required amount of water and close the hole, covering the seed. This is a simple and helpful way of giving your seeds the best conditions to start the growth cycle.

Plant Seeds Directly in Soil or Growing Medium

As you can already guess, this method should have been first on the list. However, it isnt the most efficient. The success rate isn’t as high but it is the tried and true method.

This method is great for absolute beginners but it isn’t what the experts do. An advantage to this method is, you don’t have to move the germinated seed into another medium, it’s already there. So basically, once it’s placed in soil per se, you just leave it there to grow to avoid any root damage from transferring.

Plant your seed in a small pot to be sure and not soak the soil too much. If you wish, fertilise the soil a little bit and aim for a pH level of 6ish. Do not over fertilise, remember less is more in this stage!

If your unsure on how deep to plant cannabis seeds. a good marker is creating a hole 1.4cm to 2.4cm. This allows the plant to have less exposure to potentially damaging light at the seedling growth phase.

Once the seed is in, cover the hole with soil and keep moist. The soil and moisture will trigger the plant to grow out of its shell. If the taproot shows up and is growing in the wrong direction, simply gently turn it over – placing the root downwards to your soil.

Keep the temperatures the same, have plenty of moisture and have ideal soil. If you can maintain the right balance of these factors, you will have a happy marijuana plant at the beginning seedling grow stage.

Keep checking regularly, making sure the temperature is correct and that your seed remains moist, and withing 5 to 10 days you will see a little seedling come through. Once this reaches 5-10cm, move the seedling into a larger pot (placing it further down into the soil than before).

Soaking seeds in water

This method is beneficial for cannabis seeds with a hard shell. Most growers will place marijuana seeds in water for up to 24 – 48 hours using this method. It is not preferred, but it is a method used by many cultivators of cannabis for years.

A good way to know this method works is to leave the seeds in water for up to 2 days and wait for the tap root to appear. Then transferring from water to a grow medium like soil – making sure the white root goes downwards into the soil your using.

This method is very effective for hard shell marijuana seeds as it softens the seed to allow for the white cannabis taproot to appear without fuss.

You don’t need any specific type of water, just use tap water and make sure its warm to the effect of 17-19 degrees celsius.

Make sure to exercise caution when transferring the seed with a protruding white tap root to a pot with soil. Don’t be too rough, be gentle as you relocate your germinated seed from water to a container with soil. You can kill your plant if you are too rough with transplanting.

Paper towel germination

A method that a lot of growers swear by when it comes to germination is the wet paper towel method. You simply get some paper towel, fold it in half and place the seeds within it. Just make sure your seeds are in the centre, allow up 2 sheets to overlap, then spray with water until it is mildly soaked. Once your seeds are covered by the paper towel, place your wet paper towel with the seeds in it to an air tight container and place it in a dark environment for up to 5 days. If your doing this method, make sure your seeds and wet paper towel are in a warm environment around 19 -23 degrees celcius. 

Once the taproots of your weed plant reaches a rough size of 3 – 5mm, tranfer them into your soil with great care as mentioned before. Being too rough can damage the roots and hinder your marijuana plants growth thereafter.

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