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marijuana seeds popping from ground

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Lay one paper towel on top of a countertop, place a few seeds, and cover them with a second paper towel. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Whether you’re planning an indoor cultivation or outdoor grow, it’s best to germinate your seeds indoors. It’s easier to maintain proper temperature, light exposure, and moisture inside, and you can protect your seeds from the elements. Indoor germination, whether using soil or paper towels, will ensure your cannabis seeds have the best chance for survival.

The best germination method depends on the cultivator’s choice. Here are some of the most common ways to pop your cannabis seeds.

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Germination is the first stage of the cannabis growth cycle : the process that brings a cannabis seed out of its hibernation period and starts the cannabis growth process. After all, seeds in a bag don’t spontaneously start developing roots. Also known as “popping” seeds, seed germination begins when a seed receives environmental cues letting it know the setting is perfect to start growth.

So, you’ve decided to grow your own cannabis plants. You purchased a pack of seeds, assembled cultivation materials, cleared a space in your garden, and are ready to grow your first cannabis crop . With everything in hand, it’s time to begin the very first step of cannabis cultivation : germinating seeds.

Soil is an easy, more natural method with which to germinate your cannabis seeds because the soil protects the fragile roots from any interference. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

You can also germinate your seeds by placing them in water. It’s slightly faster than the soil method, but you need to adjust your environmental factors accordingly. Remember, successfully germinating seeds requires a perfect balance of ideal growing conditions. When germinating in water, seeds need only 24-48 hours to pop their stems, though cultivators can keep them soaking for up to a week as needed. Water germination is faster because the seed gets all the moisture it needs immediately, and the shell softens and cracks more easily after soaking.

Got a bag of “mystery seeds” from your local source or “bargain seeds” from an unknown vendor off the internet? If so, chances are they won’t germinate. Reputable seed banks like Royal Queen Seeds will always test their seeds for quality and germination rate.

Instead, germinate your seeds directly in soil, or even better, use the Royal Queen Seeds Starter Kit.

1. BAD SEEDS

If your substrate drains poorly, excess water in the soil will prevent your seed from accessing oxygen, and it will encourage fungal growth. You can improve the water drainage of your soil by adding some perlite. Also, always make sure your planting containers have holes in the bottom for water to drain out.

Solution: Only plant your seeds in a sterilised (i.e. new) potting mix as this won’t contain these harmful organisms. But your substrate isn’t the only thing you need to keep an eye on. You’ll also need to make sure your containers are clean, as these can also carry mould and other harmful pathogens. If you encounter fungus problems when you’re germinating, it is best to get rid of the seed and the contaminated growing medium and start over.

Handling your cannabis seeds with bare hands can contaminate them with all kinds of nasties like bacteria and fungus. Unfortunately, seeds and seedlings are especially vulnerable to these types of harmful pathogens.