If you’re new to the whole ganja-growing game, you’re probably wondering how to germinate weed seeds to produce a healthy crop.
Have we got a treat for you! The experts at Honest Marijuana have been germinating weed seeds for a loooong time.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to the basic science of germination (no boring textbook stuff here) and give you some pro tips for starting your seeds off right.
What Is Germination?
The technical definition of germination is:
The development of a plant from a seed after a period of dormancy.
After they’re fully formed, seeds go dormant — meaning there’s no biological activity — and wait for the right conditions to start growing again. When stored properly, seeds can last up to a year and still produce a viable plant.
But once they’re dormant, how do you activate them again so they’ll produce a pot plant? Yell at them? Pet them like a cat? No and no.
Dormant seeds react to heat and moisture — the two things a plant needs most to grow.
“Now wait a minute,” you say, “if heat and moisture are all a plant needs, I could turn my thermostat up to 90 and grow my ganja in a dark closet as long as I watered it enough.”
To that we say, “Very astute of you, dear reader.” And if that were the way biology worked, you’d be right.
But when we say “heat,” what we really mean is the thing that creates heat: sunlight (or just light for short).
Seeds don’t know the difference between heat and sunlight. When the ambient gets warm enough, they “assume” there’s plenty of the light they need to sustain a fully grown plant. Then they start “looking” for moisture.
If there’s enough of both, they’ll germinate (or wake up and start growing).
It’s only once they’ve sprouted into a seedling (the end of the germination stage) that they need actual light to continue growing.
We’ll tell you how to germinate weed seeds the right way for best growth in our pro tips section. But first, let’s identify where germination falls in the life cycle of your plant.
Germination In The Life Cycle Of Your Cannabis Plant
As we hinted at above, germination is the very beginning of your cannabis plant’s life cycle. Technically, it’s also the very end as it’s the last thing that remains after harvesting.
There’s a “Which came first?” joke in there somewhere, but we’re too baked to make it work.
Anyway, after germination, your cannabis plant follows the same general course. Here are the seven stages of the marijuana plant life cycle:
Once you’ve harvested the buds and separated the seeds from the plant, you can start over on a new batch of cannabis plants.
So now that you know a little bit about how to germinate weeds seeds — they need heat and moisture — we’ll get into the specifics of how to nurture those darling little seeds into mega-marijuana monsters.
Pro Tips On How To Germinate Weed Seeds
1) Keep It Simple
Germination is really very simple: soak your weed seeds in a glass of water for 24 hours or until the seed sprouts a taproot.
If, for some reason, you don’t have access to a glass, cup, pot, or other container, place the cannabis seeds in-between layers of damp paper towels.
2) Don’t Soak Seeds For More Than 32 Hours
Seeds, like humans, can drown if they get too much water, so don’t soak them for more than 32 hours.
Keep a close eye on your seeds and remove them from the water when they start sprouting a taproot. If you don’t see a taproot after 24 hours, the seed may not be viable.
3) Tap Water Is Fine, But Distilled Water Is Better
Tap water contains chemicals like calcium, sodium, fluoride, and chlorine. In large enough quantities, those chemicals can harm your tiny seeds and actually prevent germination.
So if you want the cleanest, most organic marijuana possible, soak your seeds in distilled water.
As this tip says, tap water is fine (the seeds are only going to be soaking for 24 hours anyway), but distilled water is better. The choice is yours.
4) pH-Balanced Water Is Best
pH (or Potential of Hydrogen) is a numeric scale used to specify the acidity or alkalinity of a liquid.
It’s vital to check the pH of the water you give to your cannabis plants when they sprout because they need a slightly acidic medium to digest and break down all of the organic nutrients that you’ll be feeding them.
You can kick-start this process by soaking your weed seeds in pH-balanced water instead of the tap water mentioned in the previous tip.
Checking and adjusting the pH level of your water is a simple process. If you’re using distilled water, you can skip to step two.
- Leave tap water in an open container for 24 hours to dechlorinate it.
- Use pH tester drops or a pH tester pen to determine the pH of your water. Distilled water is already neutral (pH of 7.0), but it can absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and become slightly acidic (pH of 5.8).
- Add pH up and/or pH down to your water to keep it within an optimal pH range of 6.0 to 7.0.
5) Label Your Seeds
If you’re only growing one strain of marijuana, you don’t have to label your seeds. But if you’re growing different strains, it’s essential to keep track of which seeds are which.
The easiest way to do this is to write the strain on a piece of masking tape and stick it to the glass in which you’re soaking your seeds. If you’re soaking in a plastic cup, you can write directly on the cup itself with a marker or heavy pen.
Be sure to label the container with the strain name when you transfer the germinated seed to its growing medium.
6) Don’t Germinate Male Seeds
The male plant produces none of that. In fact, the male marijuana plant can actually be a detriment to your cannabis harvest if grown with female plants.
This is because the male plant’s sole purpose is to pollinate the female plants. And while that doesn’t sound like a bad thing, it actually is.
When female marijuana plants are pollinated, they start using their energy to produce seeds and stop using their energy to feed the buds that we all know and love.
Allowing a male plant to grow alongside a female plant is a recipe for reduced bud harvest and can ruin the euphoric properties of the female cannabis plant’s high-inducing “fruit.”
Be sure you separate all male and female plants right away.
7) Don’t Touch The Taproot
The taproot of a germinated weed seed is very fragile. Do your best not to touch it.
Treat the seeds gently when you transfer them from the soaking container to the growing medium (i.e., the dirt).
You can also invest in a small pair of tweezers to help you get a grip on the little suckers without coming into contact with the taproot.
8) Keep A Grow Journal
While this isn’t specifically related to how to germinate weed seeds, it’s a valuable habit to start.
Writing down everything you do during the grow process can help you perfect your system to yield the best results (huge buds with lots of THC or CBD).
For example, say you soaked your seeds in tap water the first time around. How many germinated? How healthy were the plants over the course of their lifecycle?
The next time around, you decide to soak your seeds in distilled water. How many of those germinated? How healthy were the plants over the course of their lifecycle?
It’s easy to forget what you did at the beginning over the course of a year. But with a grow journal, you can always look back, tweak your procedure, and change the way you do things to produce a monster crop of cannabis.
Growing Your Weed Organically
Why grow your weed organically? Because organic marijuana is tastier, healthier, and more potent for both medical and recreational purposes.
According to MMJ Business Daily, the majority of cannabis consumers in Colorado, California, and Washington State prefer organic marijuana compared to hydroponically grown weed.
In fact, those same respondents preferred organically grown schwag (a.k.a. regs) over hydroponically grown schwag. When you think about it, that’s saying a lot!
Hydroponically grown schwag is usually dry, brittle, brown, and loaded with seeds and stems. That same schwag tastes horrible when you smoke it because it was fed with lab-made fertilizers as opposed to the kind of “food” that pot plants prefer to eat.
That’s the beauty of organically grown weed — be it the highest grade or the lowest schwag — it tastes better than anything else out there.
For even more advice on how to germinate weed seeds and grow successful cannabis plants on your own, check out these Honest Marijuana resources:
- Organic Marijuana: The Definitive Guide
- How To Grow Marijuana: The Ultimate Organic Guide
- The Definitive Guide To The Best Soils For Cannabis
If you live in Colorado, find some Honest Marijuana and discover what the purest marijuana experience on the planet feels like. You won’t be sorry.
For more information on all things cannabis and to check out our 100-percent all-natural marijuana products, visit HonestMarijuana.com today.