Cannabis is cannabis, and germinating autoflower seeds is exactly the same as any other variety. Just make sure to use the most effective technique because with autos you don’t want to lose any time at any stage, including germination.
Also, autoflower growers often choose the straight-into-the-final-pot method of germination to spare their precious babies any shock of transplanting.
How To Germinate Autoflower Seeds
Your preferred method won’t make much difference in how long it takes for marijuana seeds to germinate. What actually matters when it comes to germinating cannabis seeds quickly is the quality of the seeds, their genetics, and how old they are. Normally, fresh seeds of good quality will never take more than 5 days to show taproot. However, if your seeds have been waiting for their hour for a little too long, it may take them around 10 days to germinate. Luckily, this won’t affect any characteristics of the future plant.
Finally, another nice touch to keep your sprouts safe and sound would be to provide them with a small improvised greenhouse of their own. Loosely covering the starting pots or pellets with a plastic bag will do the trick. However, in garden stores, you can also find specialized containers with tall transparent lids. Whatever you choose, this will help the seedlings stay warm, hydrated, and safe from any dangers of the outside world.
The perfect pH for cannabis seed germination is between 5.5-6.0.
Germinating in Rockwool is one of the most widely used germination methods done today. The great thing about starting on hydroponic media (such as rockwool) is that once the seed germinates then you can place the media containing the seed directly into the garden without touching the seed itself. This is a good idea because a minimum of stress is caused to the plant.
Step 1. Soak rockwool cubes in solution of pH-adjusted water.
Step 2. Drain off excess water from rockwool cubes.
Step 3. Place small hole in the middle of the rockwool cube with a match (or any other similar apparatus). Make the depth of the hole about twice the depth of the seed you intend to germinate.
Step 4. Place seed into this hole in the rockwool that you have made and gently brush across rockwool so seed is completely covered.
Propagation kits tend to have a very high success rate (oftentimes 100%). They are inexpensive, but you can make your own! Old water-bottle cases work perfectly. You know, the cardboard/plastic ones. Just get a hold of some seedling pots and you can use it as your mini-greenhouse. This is essential for amplifying germination success because these containers can hold the moisture in. Adding a heating pad underneath is essential in colder weather, or else your seeds might still think it’s winter and remain dormant.
Once Your Seed Sprouts
Air (oxygen) is a critical factor to take into account when germinating your seeds. Quality fresh abundant air is a crucial component for germination and general vigorous marijuana plant growth. If your grow medium is too soggy and moist it will literally drown the seed by cutting off it’s air supply. Also planting seeds too deep can cause this poor germination to happen as well. A general guideline is to plant the seeds twice as deep as the width of the seed.
Materials: Cup/mug (one that retains heat well; i.e. ceramic coffee cup), plate/dish/lid (big enough to cover cup/mug/etc.), warm pure water.
Procedure: Place the seed(s) inside the cup filled with warm water. Next, cover it with a ceramic plate (this will prevent heat from escaping, as well as shield the seeds from light). For best results, use water that is a bit warmer than room temperature. This will
compensate for any drop in temperature. It is normal for the seeds to float on the surface; just let them soak for a while then give them a little tap to make them sink (the best, most viable seeds will sink to the bottom). Although it is hard to accidentally over-soak, it’s worth mentioning that seeds using this method should only be soaked until the taproot has emerged.
This method is extremely effective if executed correctly. Most seeds should show their taproots within 24 hrs., and all seeds should show taproots within 48 hrs. (assuming you are using good, viable seeds).
Crucial Tip (for soil-growers): If you want to further increase your germination rates, simply plant your seed(s) shallow; approximately 1-2 cm. deep. The seedling(s) should break the soil-surface within 24 hrs., or 48 hrs. for the most (again, assuming you are using good viable seeds – otherwise, it may take another day or two). Once the seedling(s) has/have sprouted, add a little extra soil at the base of the stem(s) for additional support and root-protection.
You can prepare the seed by soaking it in a glass of lukewarm water overnight, keep it room temperature and stable, for 12 – 24 hours, and if the seed has sprouted put the seed so the sprouting points downwards, i.e. the crack in the seed should face downwards. Make sure the seeds get nice and soaking wet to activate growth hormones.
Once soaked your seeds are ready to be placed between moist paper towels to sprout or they can be planted in a medium such as a rockwool cube.
WARNING: DO NOT soak seeds more than 24 hours. They may get too wet and suffer from oxygen deprivation and rot.
Note: Many professional weed cultivars have a secret; they claim that if you put the seed in Gibberellic acid and the seed is more likely to produce a female plant.
It is useful to know that nutrient deficiencies can have the same symptoms as nutrient excesses. In general, if sprouts are gaining an inch or more of height per day, have leaves that are solidly lime green in color, are branching out to be bushy and dense, and have upright (not drooping) leaves and sturdy stems, this is a sign that pH, ppm, water supply and feed regimen are ideal for the plants.
At this point you should have a general idea of which seedlings are healthy and which are sickly. By the 3-5th week of growth your seedlings will be big enough to determine whether or not they are strong and healthy. Remove from your garden any weak, sickly plants and focus your attention on the remaining strong survivors.
Watching a cannabis seed germinate can be a lot like waiting for water to boil — it takes time (typically a couple of weeks). The seeds will eventually crack open and a white root will shoot out of the cracked cannabis seed shell. The white root is often referred to as the taproot. Once your sprouting seed has a strong taproot (an inch or so) it is ready to be transplanted.
Cultivating cannabis from a seed is not as easy as many beginner growers might think. Various factors are involved which will ultimately determine if the cultivator is successful and has a large harvest, or if they fail and have to go back to the drawing board. Learning how to germinate cannabis seeds is the first step to becoming a cultivator.
Viable cannabis seeds tend to have a darker color with shades of grey, black, and/or brown. A really good cannabis seed will typically have a ‘tiger stripe’ across it. Another way to tell if a cannabis seed is viable is by touching it (make sure to wear gloves when handling cannabis seeds). A quality seed should withstand a bit of a pinch. If the seed collapses under a little pressure, then it wasn’t viable.
When Is The Seed Ready To Be Transplanted?
Various products such as “rapid rooters” can be incorporated into germination strategies, however, they are not as cost-effective as the paper towel method.
Cultivating cannabis is a never-ending educational journey. Even the most experienced cannabis cultivators will be quick to tell you that they are always learning and seeking out cultivation information.
Some cannabis cultivators prefer to start with cannabis clones versus marijuana seeds. Each route has its own advantages, however, seeds are typically easier to acquire than clones. While clones and seeds will both do the trick, seeds also seem to be a more popular route in many areas.
Arguably the easiest and most cost-effective way to germinate a cannabis seed is to place it between wet paper towels (often referred to as “the paper towel germination method”). Add a bit of water to the paper towels and squeeze out the excess water.