How to germinate cannabis seeds

22 October 2019

germinating cannabis seeds

Germination is the first step of growing any cannabis plant. Cannabis seeds are small in size and have a light to dark brown hard outer layer. When put in enough moisture and darkness, they crack open and let out the first of what will become a fruitful plant.


1. Seed structure
2. Popping seeds with Jorges Cervantes
3.  6-step germination guide

3.1. Step 1. Items needed
3.2. Step 2. Soaking
3.3. Step 3. Packing
3.4. Step 4. Waiting
3.5. Step 5. Transplanting
3.6. Step 6. Growing!


But before we get into the details of growing a plant, lets learn about the seed and its structure.

cannabis seed germination

The cannabis seed contains everything needed – in the right conditions – to grow into a healthy, heavy-yielding plant. The image above shows the side view, a cross section and a cannabis seed inside a swollen calyx  with key parts being labelled with a letter below:

A – Root Cap

B – Radicle

C – Primary Leaves

D – Shoot Apex

E – Cotyledon

F – Perianth

G – Calyx

Cannabis has been cultivated for thousands of years. In addition to being used for growing cannabis plants, it can be processed to form cannabis oil and other foodstuffs due to its high oil and mineral content.

high yield strainsGo to heavy yielders

Cannabis Sprouting Method By Jorges Cervantes

Jorges’ easy-to-follow video contains all information you need to successfully sprout cannabis seeds, but we suggest the following tips to get it right every single time:

  1. While Jorges uses metal tweezers to transfer the sprouted seed from the paper towel to the pot, it’s less damaging to the seed to just drop it in directly from the paper towel.
  2. Ensuring you maintain a sterile environment is pivotal in successfully germinating seeds. Use paper towels if possible and if using sponges, use brand new ones.
  3. Wash your hands before handling anything.

Follow These Steps for Beautiful, Healthy Plants

Step 1

To germinate seeds successfully, you only need to consider a few key factors: heat, moisture  and air. Our easy-to-follow step-by-step guide makes it easy for you to get the first step in growing beautiful, healthy plants right every single time! You will need the following items to make your growing dreams become a reality:

  • A glass/plastic cup
  • Cotton pads/paper towels or a sponge
  • Water ( E.C. between 0.3 – 0.6, pH ~6)

best way to germinate cannabis seeds

  • Seeds – you can use any type of cannabis seed you would like whether it’s feminized, regular or autoflower. One thing to ensure is if you’ve obtained them from a reliable source which stocks high-quality cannabis seeds. If you want an easy way to get premium cannabis seeds with fast shipping at great prices, visit the Herbies Seeds webstore.

germinating cannabis seeds in water

Step 2

The second step in successfully germinating cannabis seeds is to soak them in a glass/cup of water for 12 – 24 hours in a warm, dark place. This will allow them to absorb enough water to soften their hard, outer shell allowing for the taproot to break through. Ensure that the temperature range of the germination area does not exceed 82 – 90 ˚F (28 – 32 ˚C) to keep them at a healthy level of warmth with the moisture and warmth stimulating Spring conditions. If you want to give your plants the best chance of germination, you can use stimulators such as hydrogen peroxide. Add 2 – 3 drops to your feeding water to kill off any harmful bacteria that may damage the young seed.

fast flowering cannabisOpen collection

how to sprout cannabis seeds

While they both get the same job done, there are benefits of using cotton pads vs sponges. Cotton pads are all-natural and retain water very well meaning your seeds will have a constant supply of water to stay nourished however a common problem is a taproot growing into the cotton and becoming difficult to separate when planting. Sponges do not have this problem but are more expensive and don’t retain water as well as cotton pads.

Step 3

Now that you’ve done the preparation, storing your cannabis seeds correctly is the best way to ensure that they germinate successfully. The best place to keep them is in a warm, dark place with very few temperature or humidity fluctuations. Ensure your Ziploc bag or plastic container is airtight to keep a constant relative humidity of 75 – 90%.

germinating cannabis seeds in soil

Step 4

Cannabis seeds can take a range of different times to germinate fully. Some can germinate in as few as 24 hours while others can take several days – either way, you will know it’s time to plant them once the seed as split a white root begins to grow out. Check every 24 hours to ensure there is enough moisture on your cotton pads/sponges.

cannabis seed germination time

Step 5

The next step in the growing process is to transplant your cannabis seeds from their germination containers into their first growing mediums. You’ll know they’re ready as soon as the seeds are cracked open and have a 0.1 – 0.3" (3 – 8 mm) long white root growing out. One of the most common germination mistakes – particularly when using cotton pads – is letting the taproot grow too long and experiencing difficulty when transplanting so avoid this by paying close attention to your seeds. Follow these tips for seeding into soil and other substrates such as coco coir:

  • Do not handle the seed directly with your bare fingers to avoid contamination.
  • If using metal tweezers to transplant into growing medium, do not squeeze too hard to avoid damaging the extremely sensitive seed.
  • Ensure substrate is completely soaked with rooting solution before transplanting to avoid any issues.
  • Plant seed with the tap root facing downwards and partly cover the top of the seed with some substrate. Ensure there is sufficient contact between the root and the substrate but do not overpack the seed.

how to sprout cannabis seeds

Step 6

Once you have followed all of the previous steps, it is now a waiting game to see if your hard work has paid off. Within 2 – 3 days, a shoot will emerge from the substrate and grow towards the light. It’s important to ensure there is sufficient light with ample moisture to allow your plant to get the best start to its life! The first week sees the shoot going from a set of green cotyledons to having its first set of leaves. One of the most overlooked factors at this stage is humidity – it is vital to have a high relative humidity in your grow space during the first 3 weeks of your plants life. To boost your plants chance of surviving, you can create a humidity dome out of a clear plastic cup/bottle which can be placed above your shoot and used until it outgrows it. The best substrates to use for growing shoots are the following:

  • Root cubes – a biodegradable material which can be used to grow strong roots and a large, healthy plant.
  • Oasis cubes – more suited to hydroponic growers, these are an excellent option to plant your seeds in.
  • Jiffy bags – these old-school bags can be used to start your plant in a range of substrates including soil and a mix coco coir and perlite/vermiculite.

The best lighting hours to use to ensure successful germination are between 18 – 20 hours a day which gives your plants enough light hours to grow as much as they need to.

Hey guys. What is the best way to grow my plants?

Hey! Read here
I used a cotton pad, wet in clear container w/ saran wrap over put in sunlight and after first day checked every 12hrs, and they cracked on the 2nd day. worked well
Hello Keepinit, we are happy to hear that our article is useful to the growers, we wish you best of luck in your hobby!
what i find the most effective way is placing in a coffee filter then putting a coffee filter on top, then put on a plate and place a cup over the seeds and coffee filters and keep moist until germination occurs
What's the longest you've ever had to wait for a seed to germinate and still had a normal, healthy plant? I've had 100% success the last 4 strains I've germ'ed with seedlings showing in 3-5 days. Recently got 10 Northern Lights seeds from a local vendor, and the first three went 15 days and nothing. I retried with two more and I'm on day 8 and still nothing. Maybe just a bad batch of seeds.. I'm behind schedule now for my next grow!
most good and healthy seeds sprout after a couple days, some older seeds take longer. I usually give them a couple of days to germinate if i still see no signs after 5-6 days i start to get worried.
15 days is a lot.... I've waited a week at most, longer than that u will see the seed get darker, kinda sluggish nd swelled, that’s a dead seed decomposing, sometimes they just flood
Big Yin
How's it going? I'm new to the game and was wondering the best way of altering PH level of water? I have an abundance of 500ml bottled water that has a PH of 7.9, a good way off the optimal PH 6 required I know, but is there a way of adding solution to each bottle separately and if so any suggestions of best solution to use? Thanks.
Many thanks to Herbies! Top quality seeds! 100% germination!
Phat budz
The pic at the top is wrong ,the seed is up side down pistols or the hairs should come out of the seed butt hole that's how the pollen gets in .2 hairs pair seed one for seed the other for the food sac ,
Such a good article
What happens to Seeds overtime they dry out and the carbohydrate that's inside of them to feed them becomes weaker. As far as the potency of genetics that does not change however I recommend soaking all Seed between 12 and 24 hours. I use of seed starter MassiveGro invented formula pH to round 5.8 I pour about a quarter inch in a cup put my seeds in there put the next couple on top of it to force them down into the liquid. Occasionally give them a shake you don't want them to be floating when you plant them. Then I soak my paper towel are use the nice cotton felt like paper towels I think a Brauny or veva with that seed starter formula pour the seed right onto it a ring out the excess moisture put it in a 1 gallon freezer bag place bag up high where it is 80° or put it on the heat mat with a thermostat and check it after one day because it'll sprout fast. I like to let the sprout get a half inch long and then plant it The biggest problem you have with old seed is the lack of carbohydrate it may sprout then usually burn up all it has and die right away. Unless your seeds got hot you probably won't have any problem unless they're more than four years old. Old seed you can assist the carbohydrate by watering the soil with potato water a few drops of corn syrup or a fish fertilizer soak and Endo Mycorrhiza sprinkled around the seed. NPK industries wrong line of Omina is a good gentle amino acid helps break down substances so plants uptake faster when everything's good I usually mix half strength of the weak dosage. NPK raw stuff can be bought on Amazon in small 2 ounce packages there everything's pretty concentrated usually last you quite a while. But This is where a seed starter formula comes in because it usually has the carbohydrate to keep it going right away. I use pro mix BX with added perlite and when plants are tiny etc. I always measure my water and times with measuring spoons till a plant is healthy pro mix keeps plants from damning off as long as you're not drenching it right away because it doesn't dry out very fast easiest way to kill seeds to drowned it that's why I measure watering and write it down I don't try to push or stress my plants I either used seed starter fertilizer or plain pH water until they are about 6 inches high before a poor nutrients to them and once a week I do a full soil drench and drain prior to that you're probably talking tablespoon or two of Water. Never let your pH get above 6.4 you lock out nutrients and you also root slower, once your plants are growing an strong between the 6 inch and 12 inch stage I'll use about two weeks of red light will actually give you more roots. You can go to in sign up for Harley Smith's advanced grow you won't be sorry Harley is like the master of the world lol
just learning but extremely interesting If I had not chanced upon this I would have not been prepared .
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