A Step-by-Step Guide: How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds

The Cannabis Seed Germination Process

Finally! Now that you know what germination is, why it’s necessary, and what the most common seed types are we can get to the moment that you’ve been waiting for–finding out how to germinate your cannabis seeds!

While there are several easy methods for germinating your feminized and/or autoflowering seeds from Growers Choice, the one we are providing you with is not just the simplest and cheapest, it is also the method that you must follow if you want GCS’ germination rate guarantee to go into effect.

In short, GCS has the highest germination success rate guarantee in the industry, in which they promise that if 90% of your ungerminated seeds don’t successfully pop, they will replace the duds free of charge, so long as you follow the exact method described below.

A glass tumbler filled halfway with water
How to start growing your own cannabis plants
Source: manu schwendener Unsplash

The Glass and Paper Towel Method

  • Items needed
    • A glass of lukewarm water that is distilled, rain, or spring water
    • Paper towels
    • A plate or tray etc.
  • Instructions
  1. Soak your seeds in water for 14-18 hours. (If they don’t sink to the bottom of the glass in the first few hours, tap them gently.)
  2. Place some paper towels onto a plate or tray.
  3. After the soaking period ends pour the water and the seeds onto the paper towel(s), making sure to drain off excess water.
  4. Fold the moist paper towel(s) over the soaked seeds so that they are fully covered.
  5. Place your tray or plate with the wet paper towel(s) and seeds in a warm and dark space that is consistently between 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. (Some use a seed mat or the back of a warm appliance to ensure this temperature range)
  6. During this germination stage, keep your seeds moist by pouring some distilled, rain, or spring water onto the paper towels so that they’re well saturated, but not to the point where your seeds are sitting in pools of water. The paper towel should be well dampened, but not soaking wet.
  7. Keep an eye on your seeds, and once their taproot is 1/4 to 3/4 inches in length, you can then plant your seeds in soil or any other suitable grow medium you are planning on using.
    IMPORTANT: It usually takes just 3-7 days for the taproot to be at the right length, but it can sometimes take as long as 14 days.

 

If you live in a place where cannabis cultivation is legal for medical and/or recreational purposes, and you’re a beginner grower who just purchased, or are about to purchase, your first order of feminized marijuana seeds from Growers Choice Seeds, the first thing you will need to do before planting your cannabis seedlings is to germinate your weed seeds. Although this may sound like some complicated undertaking that involves having a degree in horticulture, in reality, it is incredibly simple and incredibly inexpensive. To find out more, keep reading!

Cannabis Seed Germination Guide for First-Time Growers

As mentioned above, although the cannabis seed germination process might sound like a complex and even expensive undertaking reserved for a master grower, it’s actually so easy that even a young child can do it. (In fact, many kids have done so in their preschool or elementary school science classes)

However, before delving into the whole cannabis germination process, it would be good to first explain why this is a 100% necessary and unavoidable step in cannabis cultivation, and what the differences are between feminized photoperiods, autoflowering feminized, and regular cannabis seeds.

Why the Germination Stage is the Necessary First Step

The germination of cannabis seeds is the process by which a viable seed sprouts and starts to grow into a cannabis seedling. This sprouting/germinating is also commonly referred to as “popping.”

A young cannabis seedling
The seedling stage of a cannabis plant
Source: Jeremie Aubut Unsplash

When you buy your viable cannabis seeds from a reputable seed bank like Growers Choice Seeds (GCS), the high-quality seeds you receive from them will be ungerminated–as in, they haven’t popped yet, which is a good thing.

As a side note, even in states where any and all forms of cannabis cultivation are illegal, it’s not technically illegal to own and store ungerminated cannabis seeds as the THC and other cannabinoids that they contain are dormant until they pop. In fact, this is the other reason for why you HAVE to germinate your marijuana seeds as their cannabinoids won’t be “released” until a healthy seedling breaks through the seed casing.

More simply put, if you don’t germinate your pot seeds, you won’t end up with any marijuana seedlings to plant indoors or out, which means you won’t end up with any THC- or CBD-rich nuggets as you won’t have any cannabis plants.

Successful germination requires three things for your healthy seeds to pop–water, air, and heat. If you’re wondering how to apply these three forces to the germination stage, we’ll cover that at the end of this article.

However, as promised above, let’s first go over the three main seed types that exist–two of which are available via GCS, and one that is not for reasons that should quickly make sense.

The Three Common Types of Marijuana Seeds

Regular Cannabis Seeds

Regular seeds produce both male and female plants. Female cannabis plants are what produce the cannabinoid-rich buds that the majority of cultivators from newbies to advanced growers want. Male plants, on the other hand, are pollinators, and if allowed to grow will end up pollinating the female plants so that they turn to seed. While this is a highly-desirable trait by breeders and master growers who are wanting to create new strains, it’s not something that your typical, everyday at-home grower needs or wants.

This is why Growers Choice does not sell regular seeds, as the majority of our customers want female seeds only, as they’re looking to harvest nuggets that they can combust or make into a tincture, edible, etc.

As such, the two seed types described below are what GCS sells, as both types will produce bud-bearing female plants.

Feminized Cannabis Seeds

Feminized marijuana seeds are photoperiods, which are annuals. These types of seeds, which have a 99% chance of growing into all-female cannabis plants, require a consistent light and dark cycle in order to continue to grow from being healthy seedlings to the point that they enter their vegetative growth phase and then eventually transition to their flowering stage.

Basically, the flowering period of a feminized photoperiod plant is determined by the seasons, where outdoors they will start to flower and produce nuggets when daylight hours start to shorten in the autumn and the nights start to lengthen. Grown indoors, feminized strains need this same type of light cycle, which in many cases is much easier for cultivators, including novice growers and anyone who lives in a region where the climate and light/dark cycles aren’t conducive to the needs of their plants, as they have full control over these things.

Generally speaking, feminized strains need to go from an 18/6 light/dark schedule to a 12/12 cycle in order for them to move into their flowering period.

Two feminized strains that are pretty straightforward to grow and that are consistently popular amongst GCS customers are pure sative Panama Red and perfectly balanced Bay 11–both of which should grow into exceptional strains after they complete their germination stage.

Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds

While you can find autoflowering regular seeds out there, the autoflowering strains sold by GCS are feminized seeds that not only have a 99% chance of growing into female plants but are, usually, faster-flowering, more compact, and hardier than their feminized photoperiod counterparts.

Plus, what makes them particularly popular with first-time growers and those who live in more northern regions where there’s 15-24 hours of sunlight a day during the summer months, is the fact that they will automatically move from their vegetative stage to their flowering phase all on their own, regardless of their light/dark exposure.

The reason for all of these “bonus traits” is that autoflowers have had approximately 10% to 20% of the Central Asian landrace strain ruderalis added to their genetics. Long story short, ruderalis is a cannabis subspecies that, over time, evolved to be able to adapt to the short hours of light during the day and unforgiving climates of Central Asia.

Not only are autoflowering feminized seed strains popular with inexperienced growers, but indoor growers love them because their smaller size makes them easier to deal with in a limited indoor growing space, and master growers also love them as their faster flowering time allows them to maximize their harvest potential in any given outdoor growing season.

A couple of autoflowers that should start to flower in just 7-8 weeks after being properly germinated are indica-heavy Deep Purple and sativa-leaning Diablo.

Note that both feminized photoperiod marijuana seeds and autoflowering feminized seed strains follow the same germination method, which is exactly what we are going to get to in the next section!

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