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fully germinated weed seed

Fully germinated weed seed
After examining each method, if you absolutely had to pick one, it would be starter cubes and seedling plugs.

Best Way To Germinate Weed Seeds

You’ve probably noticed by now that there are a few different methods you can choose to germinate your cannabis seeds.

Not all of these methods have the same success rate, and your precious cannabis seeds are expensive to buy.

Therefore, you really want to choose the germination method that’s going to give your seeds the best chance to become beautiful, bud producing plants.

So what is the best way to germinate weed seeds? Read on to find out…

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Best Way To Germinate Weed Seeds

First, take a look at the comparison table below to get an idea of some general success rates for each germination method.

We’ll explore each method in more detail below.

Germination Method Success Rating
1. Starter plugs & Seedling Cubes 5/5
2. Planting directly into soil 3/5
3. Soaking seeds in water 4/5
4. Paper towel method 3/5

1. Starter Cubes & Seedling Plugs

This is by far the best method to germinate weed seeds.

Germinating with starter plugs or cubes is easy and the most reliable method on this list.

What Plugs Should You Use?

Options for starter cubes are seemingly endless, but the majority are made of either rockwool or peat.

The differences are subtle, but very important depending on how you plan to grow your plants after germination.

Peat plugs are an organic option, and sometimes contain a small starter nutrient charge which helps young seedlings after germination.

Rockwool cubes, composed of fibrous wool-like material provide great water and air exchange, which is ideal in hydroponics.

Peat plugs hold more water than air compared to rockwool cubes, so they aren’t ideal for hydroponic grows.

So, rockwool or peat? The primary difference comes down to how you will grow the plant after germination.

For hydroponics, rockwool is the better choice.

For soil/coco/etc., peat plugs generally fare better, but ultimately germination will be nearly identical for these two germination mediums.

How To Germinate With Plugs:

Step 1: After buying your plugs or cubes, soak them in water until they are fully saturated.

Step 2: Place your seed(s) into the pre-cut holes in the plugs. Use some of the plug material to gently cover the opening.

Step 3: Put the plugs into a square box or tray and cover with a plastic dome. This ensures a high humidity environment, which increases germination success, and helps seedlings along after germination.

2. Planting Directly Into Soil

This method is as old-school as it gets, drop your seeds in some dirt, add water, and you’re done.

If only it were that easy!

Unfortunately, it’s not quite so simple.

There are lots of factors that go into this method, and each must be nearly perfect for germination to occur.

How to germinate seeds directly in soil:

Step 1: Purchase quality soil from a reputable source. You want soil with good drainage, this allows for air exchange; seeds need moisture but you don’t want to drown them.

Step 2: Now, you need to plant your seeds at the right depth. A good rule of thumb is to plant seeds 2 times deeper than the width of the seed.

Step 3: Provide water for your seeds by soaking your container in a tray containing about an inch of water. This allows the soil to be moistened uniformly, preventing over-watering. This also keeps the seed in the perfect place for germination to occur.

Check out this method in action:

This method allows you to start your seed directly in your planting medium, but if you aren’t careful with this technique, you can run into trouble.

Seeds need air and water to germinate, if there’s too much of one, the other falls short, preventing germination.

If planted too deep, the energy available to the seedling won’t be enough for it to break the surface.

This will essentially starve and kill your seedling.

If you don’t plant deep enough, the seedling may dry out, or never become moist enough to germinate.

3. Soaking Seeds in Water

This method is not so much a way to fully germinate your seeds, but rather ensures rapid and reliable germination.

As mentioned in the previous methods, seeds need water to germinate.

This method involves placing seeds in a container filled with water rather than into a plug or the soil.

How to start germination with water:

Step 1: Place your seeds in a container of clean water and allow to soak overnight, or for at least 12 hours.

Step 2: After soaking at least 12 hours, use sterilized tweezers or clean hands to remove the seeds. Immediately place the seeds into your medium, such as a plug or soil.

Check out this method in action:

Why does this work?

This method increases germination rates because the seed is primed, it’s already absorbed water and broken dormancy, so is ready to push out it’s first roots.

4. Paper Towel Method

The paper towel method is similar to soaking seeds in water, but this method will germinate your seeds to the point where the taproot has emerged.

How to germinate seeds with paper towels:

Step 1: Place a folded wet paper towel into a plastic container, or on a plate.

Step 2: Place your seeds on the paper towel with adequate space between them. Cover the seeds with another folded wet paper towel.

Step 3: Put a lid or plastic wrap on the container, or another plate on the plate. Seal the container but leave a small hole for air exchange.

Step 4: Place your plates or container in a warm (70-80F / 21-26C) and dark environment

Like soaking the seeds in water, this method provides lots of water to the seeds to start germination.

But it also allows enough air exchange for the seed to produce a taproot and begin growing into a seedling.

Check out this method in action:

This method helps to increase the chances of germination and seedling success, but can introduce some extra issues.

  • Once seeds have germinated, they may grow into the paper towel, making removal difficult and potentially damaging the fragile seedlings.
  • The paper towels and the container you use for germination must be sterile. This is nearly impossible, so you are likely to grow more than seedlings (i.e. fungus) with this method.
  • The extra handling of sprouted seedlings is the biggest issue with this method. Even if you’re very clean and careful with your seedlings, it is extremely easy to damage or contaminate them. Contamination and early damage can ultimately stunt or kill your baby plants.

Verdict

So what is the best way to germinate weed seeds?

After examining each method, if you absolutely had to pick one, it would be starter cubes and seedling plugs.

If you consider everything that can go wrong when germinating seeds, this method does the most to remove potential pitfalls.

Why Plugs?

  • It’s relatively fool-proof because the cubes can only hold so much water, so no overwatering.
  • The pre-drilled holes are not too deep or too shallow for cannabis seeds.
  • The cubes/plugs hold moisture for long enough time to allow for the seeds to take up water. They also won’t dry out too quickly.
  • They provide a soft medium for young roots to push through.

But the best way to germinate weed seeds would really be a combination of these methods.

Use either the paper towel or water soaking method to get your seeds to uptake water.

Next, transition them to either soil or plugs.

This gives you the advantages of each method, with the least downside of each.

Germination Tips

Here are a few extra tips to follow when trying to germinate your cannabis seeds:

  • Keep temperatures in the area you are germinating seeds between 70-80F (21-26C)
  • Germinate seeds in total darkness
  • Don’t use hard tap water (ppm above 120), it can damage the seed
  • Avoid using chlorinated tap water, it can damage or kill microbes that help young seedlings develop
  • Don’t add nutrients to the water when germinating seeds, the seeds already contain all the nutrients they need
  • When seeds germinate, don’t put them under intense light (HID or sunlight), the seedlings will burn and/or dry out
  • Provide non-intense light (i.e. T-5 fluorescent light) for seedlings as soon as they emerge, this will prevent stretching

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Fully germinated weed seed
The paper towel should never dry out once germination begins

5 common mistakes when germinating cannabis seeds

How do we germinate cannabis seeds?

Although the germination of cannabis seeds is a relatively quick and easy process, it is crucial to take into account a series of important factors in order to obtain as high a germination rate as possible. In addition, it’s in our interest that the seeds germinate as quickly as possible, and especially if we want to avoid problems like fungal infection or a low germination rate.

In our article on how to germinate cannabis seeds we explain step by step what you must do to achieve successful germination. Today we will take a look at the main mistakes made during this process, some simple errors that, as we will see, can easily be solved. Let’s see where many growers fail to germinate their seeds, it’s a great way to learn what not to do if we want to make the most of our seeds.

A germinating cannabis seed

Letting the germination medium dry out

By placing the seed in a moist culture medium, it begins a series of reactions that will lead to germination in a few hours or days. Whichever substrate we choose for germination, we must ensure that it never completely dries out, because as the seed stops absorbing moisture, it’s likely that the seed will cease its activity and never germinate.

For this reason, it is advisable to check every day to make sure the germination medium remains moist, especially if a heat source is used to achieve a higher temperature and therefore a better germination rate; the heat will cause the substrate to dry more quickly, something that must be kept in mind to avoid nasty surprises. In case of hydroponic cultivation it is always better to germinate in rock wool cubes, which of course must always remain moist.

The paper towel should never dry out once germination begins

Leaving seeds to germinate for too long

Another common mistake, in this case when germinating in kitchen paper or similar, is to let the seed germinate until the cotyledons appear. If we do this, then the subsequent transplant is very difficult, and it is very likely that we’ll damage the root in the attempt. Additionally, the longer the root is exposed to air and light, the more damage will result, so it is preferable to transplant it before this occurs.

To avoid problems, it is best to plant the seeds when the tap-root measures approximately 1cm, or 2cm at the most. This will make it much easier to transplant and we won’t harm the development of the roots, which can be expand into the new growing medium without setbacks.

Direct germination in soil

This is a common mistake that usually results in non-germination, especially if the substrate hasn’t been previously watered before sowing the seed but is watered afterwards. By planting the seed directly in the substrate, we run the risk of it being buried too deep, made worse when we irrigate the growing medium post-sowing.

To obtain much better results, first germinate seeds in kitchen paper, jiffy pellets or peat plugs used for rooting cuttings and then transplant them to the soil or to a pot once the small seedlings have been born. Another benefit of this method is that we can germinate a large number of seeds in a very small space, such as a small greenhouse, which will make it much easier to provide the correct temperature and humidity.

Temperature and humidity for germination

Cannabis seeds germinate correctly with relatively high temperature and humidity values. It will be necessary, especially during some seasons of the year, to use some source of heat to get a temperature of about 26-28ºC. For this purpose there are many options on the market, such as thermal cables or heated greenhouses. The latter are particularly interesting because they also provide the perfect high humidity environment for seed germination.

The ideal is to maintain the germination medium at about 26-28ºC and at 70% relative humidity. Lower values ​​will result in a slower and less successful germination, while higher values ​​can bring fungal or rot problems.

A heated greenhouse is perfect for germinating seeds

Planting the seed incorrectly

If you look closely at a cannabis seed, you will notice that it has a slightly oval shape, ending in a point at one end and forming a small “crater” at the other end, which is called the crown. When planting your seed (whether it’s a seed that you want to germinate, for example, in a jiffy, or a seed already germinated on kitchen paper that you want to transplant) you must keep in mind that this crown should always be facing upwards.

So, you should plant the seed with the tip down and the crown uppermost and facing you. Once the seed germinates the crown will serve as a hinge, so that the seed will open at the tip and let out the root. In case of placing the seed incorrectly, the tap root will grow upward and the seedling downwards, which should be avoided at all costs because it is likely that the seedling will not be born.

Planting at the incorrect depth

Too often the seed is buried too deep (a problem that we have already seen in case of watering after planting the seed), so the seedling may never emerge. In the other case, if we sow too close to the surface, we can find that the seed germinates well but the stem grows weak, bending and not allowing the seedling to develop correctly.

To avoid these problems it is be best to sow the seed at about 2cm depth. In addition, we can cover the lower stem as the seedling grows, so that it gains stability and produces new roots along the length of stem we have buried. In this way we can accelerate the growth of the plants.

We should plant the seed with the root downwards

Planting several seeds in the same pot

Although it may be tempting, germinating several seeds in the same container is not usually successful. In addition to the difficulty of correctly planting several seeds in the same pot, once they are born they will compete for the little space available for their roots. Having restricted root growth does not suit cannabis plants, which will grow more weakly and with greater internodal distance.

In addition, the scarce space between the plants will also mean they will compete for available light, something not recommended if we want to get the most out of each plant. The plants will produce very little lateral branching, and will center their growth on a weak main stem, with too long an internodal distance, factors that usually affects negatively on the final yield of buds.

We hope that this article will help you avoid problems when germinating your seeds, it can be very frustrating to start a grow with all the enthusiasm and excitement, only to run into problems straight away! Do not hesitate to leave us any doubts, comments or your own tips and tricks, we’ll be happy to answer you.