Use a spray bottle to moisten the paper towels and then store the cushioned seeds between two plates, under a face-down bowl, or gently place them in a plastic bag. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Germination itself is a crucial aspect of cannabis cultivation. The seed germination process is the foundation of every marijuana plant, and steps can be taken to boost successful popping. For example, some cultivators improve germination attempts by soaking seeds in 1% hydrogen peroxide or a compost tea for 12 hours beforehand to kill any dangerous pests.
Gently water the soil with a spray bottle and situate your pots under a fluorescent lamp. Keep seeds away from the windowsill, as the temperature is too volatile for germination. In general, you’ll want to keep the temperature in the range of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use a spray bottle to moisten the paper towels and then store the cushioned seeds between two plates, under a face-down bowl, or gently place them in a plastic bag. Maintain a temperature of about 72 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping the paper towel wrapped seeds in the dark and away from a windowsill. In two to five days, the seeds will pop inside the paper towel sandwich and emit tiny roots, ready to plant when they reach about five millimeters in length.
The seeds should start sprouting in about two days, though older seeds can take up to a week to sprout. You can remove them from the water and place them in the soil at any point once they’ve sprouted. Once the roots are about five millimeters long, they need to be planted.
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.
It’s essential to acquire high-quality cannabis seeds for germination, as these will go on to become high-quality cannabis plants. Seeds that are fresh-feeling or too green indicate that they haven’t reached full maturity, while pale-green, white, or very dark cannabis seeds may have trouble sprouting. However, it’s tricky to know the outcome of a popped seed, so trying may be worthwhile. If you’re not ready to pop your seeds yet, store them in a dark, cool place until it’s time for germination.
For more information on storing your cannabis seeds properly, see our blog on How To Preserve Seeds.
Do your due diligence and verify when local temperatures are high enough to set your plants outside. Usually, waiting a couple weeks for higher spring temperatures is worth it!
3. HANDLING SEEDS WITH BARE HANDS
If you allow your seeds to germinate for too long, transplanting them safely will become difficult. The reason for this is that the longer the roots are exposed to air and light, the more likely they are to become damaged. Moreover, the longer the taproot, the higher the risk for accidental damage when transplanting.
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.
Likewise, when temperatures are too low, this can introduce a whole host of its own problems, including inhibiting seeds from sprouting. Colder temperatures also increase the risk of other plant diseases. What to do about it? If you want to grow outdoors, don’t set plants outside too early. Instead, germinate indoors and allow your seedlings to grow for a few weeks.
This case isn't so bad because the root is already facing down, in the correct direction. Note: This seedling was just watered, but typically the Rapid Rooter should never look this wet. It should be moist but not shiny.
If you leave it alone, the seed will start to rise up, and open to reveal the seedling's cotyledons (first, round leaves)
As long as the tip of the root stays wet the seedling will be fine! The "root" is the same as what is going to become the stem. If it appears green it means that part of the root is already in "stem" mode and isn't sensitive to the light.
The cotyledons unfurl and then the regular cannabis leaves between to grow. Here's another view of that same seedling from above only a few hours later. Even though it may have looked a bit weird at first, this seedling is completely normal and will grow just fine from now on!
If your root is growing straight up like in the picture below, it's not good. This is most common in seedling plugs. The tender white root tip has a good chance of drying out or being exposed to too much light. You want to strongly consider doing some "plant surgery" to turn this little seedling around to the right direction ?
Sometimes you can see the young taproot of a cannabis seedling but the situation isn't as dire. If the root is already pointed in the right direction, it's probably going to be just fine! But if you're worried, you can cover up the root until the leaves actually make it to the surface.
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