How to Germinate Autoflower Seeds: A Step-By-Step Guide

Autoflowers are very popular among growers because they don’t need to adjust light cycle to plant development. Autoflowers are usually ready to harvest around 80 days after planting seed. These automatic flowering plants are ideal for those who don’t have time or patience to watch their plants grow and flower. But how do you know…

How to Germinate Autoflower Seeds: A Step-By-Step Guide
John Kees

Author: John Kees

Publish Date: July 17, 2023
Last Update Date: September 13, 2023

Germination of Cannabis Seed

Germination of Cannabis Seed

Autoflowering cannabis seed germination is process by which cannabis autoflower sprouts.

Marijuana seed germination is big first step in life of every cannabis seed.

Autoflowering seed is dormant, and to germinate cannabis seeds, you have to trigger them into action.

That requires right temperature, air, and good moisture. To start sprouting autoflower seeds, you have to provide them with perfect environment.

When it comes to seed germination process of autoflowering weed seed is same as with regular cannabis one.

How to Germinate Autoflowering Seeds

It is important to know that auto-flowers don’t request speciific light cycles to start growing. Once you plant seed in soil or on moist paper towels that have sprouted, they will start growing automatically.

Makes sure you have prepared room and environment for germinating before buying any seeds! In this course, we will teach you how to start autoflowering weed seed sprouting step by step and show you our preferred methods. Let’s go!

Choosing the Right Autoflower Seeds

First thing is choosing right seeds:

  • Choose feminized autoflower seeds if you want growth of only females, which is safer option since males can’t produce THC and are useless, and they can pollinate your girls so choose feminized autoflower seeds if you have limited space or time.
  • Choose low-maintenance autoflower seed’s if you don’t mind losing some yield for easiness of growing them without pruning and training. These strain are ideal for beginners.

Equipment and Supplies

For germinating autoflower seeds, following equipment and supplies are recommended:

  • Autoflower seeds: purchase high-quality seed from reputable sources such as DSS.
  • Germination tray: tray with individual cells for each helps to keep them in place and makes it easy to transfer them to larger containers.
  • Growing medium: nutrient-rich soil, such as coco coir or rock wool, or simply water that will provide seed with necessary environment for sprouting.
  • Watering can or spray bottle: moistening seed and keeping it at correct moisture level.
  • Heat mat: for giving warmth and maintaining ideal temperature for germination.
  • Humidity dome: for keeping environment moist and humid, which is essential for germination.

Preparing Medium

Preparing Medium

Before you start germination, you should prepare your growing medium. That will give your autoflower seeds nutrients and shelter during their early growth stage.

First, you must decide whether you want to cultivate your plants in soil or hydro.

To start sprouting your seeds, you need to create suitable enviroment for them to develop their root system in. If you’re growing in soil, dig it lightly with fork and add some seeds.

You can use any soil, but mixture based on peat moss or coconut fiber is best choice. These materials are very light and have high water capacity, making them perfect for germinating autoflower.

These are both very good for young plants’ growth and promote good soil drainage. Also, add some compost, which contains organic organisms that can help roots develop and will increase yield.

If you’re growing in hydro, fill up pots with clay pebbles or perlite and water them well untill they are completly wet. Clay pebbles provide young plants with sufficient drainage, and perlite gives them enough oxygen.

Best Way to Germinating Marijuana Seeds

Best Way to Germinating Marijuana Seeds

In this course, I will teach you most used methods to start sprouting your seeds. I will also show you some other possibilities, so you can always find best method for you.

First of all, there’s no best method to sprouting your seeds. It’s matter of preference and circumstances.

Some prefer paper towel method because it’s easier and faster, while others like direct in soil method because it provides more extensive root system from start.

I use paper towel method in my room, but when I start growing outdoors, I will definately try direct in soil method.

You can also start sprouting with any of these methods and later transplant them into other growing mediums.

Paper Towel Method

Paper towel method is simple and effective way to start sprouting seeds. Here’s how to do it:

Paper Towel Method
  1. Prepare paper towel: Take sheet of paper towel and moisten it with water. Then, fold it in half and place autoflower seeds between two layers, making sure they are evenly spaced.
  2. Seal seeds: Fold paper into small square with them inside, and place it in plastic zip-lock. Squeeze out any excess air and seal it.
  3. Place in warm, dark place: Store in place, such as cupboard or under bed, and check it after 24 hours for signs of sprouting. Ideal temperature for germinating is around 70-75°F (21-24°C).
  4. Check for germination: After 24 h, they should begin to sprout. At this point, it’s time to transfer them to growing mediums, such as soil or water.
  5. Transplant: Carefully remove each seedling from paper towel and put it in growing medium. Then, water them and place them under light source.

It’s essential to keep towel moist but not too wet and to maintain correct temperature.

Direct In Soil Method

To start germinating autoflower seeds directly in soil, follow these steps:

Direct In Soil Method
  1. Fill your pots with good-quality soil
  2. Water soil until it is evenly moistened, but don’t overwater it
  3. Make place for them in soil about 1/4 inch (0, 6 cm) deep with your finger
  4. Sow your autoflower seeds and cover them with soil.
  5. Keep soil moist but not soaking wet.
  6. Check for seed germination
  7. When they have sprouted, move them from dark location and place them in area with good lighting and ventilation.

Seeds Germination In Water

Best way for beginners to sprout their weed seed is by simply adding them to some water. All you have to do is:

Seeds Germination In Water
  1. Fill glass water or jar with water.
  2. Add autoflowering weed seed to water and let them soak for 12-24 hours.
  3. After soaking, remove any seed that float to surface, as they are likely, not viable.
  4. After 24 hours, little root of your seed will have grown out into water and can now absorb all moisture it needs.

It’s that easy! Water method will not only help you with seeds germinate process but also provide your seedling with all they need during first couple of days after sprouting; nutrients, oxygen, and pH value.

If you only have small amount of seed to sprout, shot water glass is an excellent choice and easy. Just fill it up with water and put your seed in it.

This is best way to sprout single seed. Keep shot glass in the dark, at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 C).

Rapid Rooters

Rapid Rooters are pre-moistened planting starter cube made from mixture of peat moss, vermiculite, and other organic materials. 

Cubes are designed to provide healthy root development. Rapid Rooters are ideal for cuttings but also for germinating seeds. 

To use Rapid Rooters for seed germination, follow these steps:

  1. Plant seed in cubes 
  2. Cover it with light layer of soil
  3. Provide appropriate conditions
  4. Check for seed germination


You can also sprout marijuana roots in eggshells. It’s an easy way to keep them moist, but you will have to change water every day.

  1. Fill 2/3 of shell with soil and plant seed on top of that.
  2. Put eggshell back together with an opening upwards, so you don’t lose moisture.
  3. Leave them at room temperature and keep them moist by adding more water if necessary.
  4. After couple of days, little taproots should emerge from seedling through cracks in the shell.

Jiffy Pellets

You can use jiffy pellets for germinating your autoflowering cannabis seeds.

Jiffy peat pellets are small pellets made from peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite.

You will need a plastic tray with a lid for each tray you want to germinate.

  1. Fill tray with pellet mixture until it’s about 2 inches (5 cm) deep.
  2. Make hole in middle of pellets and put seed into this hole.
  3. Then fill up hole again with pellet mix.
  4. Place lid on top of tray and place somewhere warm, but not too hot.
  5. You can also start sprouting directly in jiffy pellets if you want to cultivate hydroponically later. 

If you start sprouting in jiffy pellets, ensure to check water level of tray every other day.

Pellets need to be moist but not soaking wet.

Cotton Balls

Cotton Balls

Cotton balls also are an excellent sprouting method. They are cheap, easy, readily available, and have good water retention properties.

Just soak cotton balls in water and place seed on them.

Advantage of cotton balls is that they are sterile. Disadvantage is that you have to change them after couple of days.


Rock wool is most popular and preferred germination medium among growers. 

Rock wool looks like fiberglass wool, but it’s made from basaltic rock that has been melted and spun into fiber. 

It provides excellent drainage, wicking properties, and oxygen supply.

Since rock wool is pH neutral, you don’t have to worry about altering the pH of water or soil if you plan to transplant your seedlings later.

To start sprouting cannabis roots in rock wool, follow these steps:

  1. Place your seed between two layers of rock wool with seed facing upwards.
  2. Watering it and let it drain out until it’s moist but not soaking wet.
  3. Keep it warm at 70 degrees F (21 C).
  4. Put in dark place and wait for nice taproots to come out of seed.

Rock wool is perfect for germinating seeds. It’s sterile, so no fungi or bacteria can be found on it, and it provides enough oxygen to roots.

How Long Does Take Germination For Autoflowers Strains

How Long Does Take Germination For Autoflowers Strains

Once you’ve bought some autoflowering seeds, it’s time to start growing. To do so, you first have to first start with sprouting your seeds.

How long does it take for your seed to germinate, and what can you do to increase the speed at which they germinate?

Time it takes for autoflowering cannabis strains to start sprouting can vary, but it typically takes 1-3 days for root to emerge from seed. 

However, seed germination will depend on factors such as temperature, humidity, and seed quality. 

Once roots have appeared, seedlings will continue to develop and mature, with most autoflowering strains reaching maturity in 10-12 weeks from seed. 

However, growth time can also vary depending on factors such as genetics and environmental factors.

How Long Lasts Seed Germination of Auto-flowering Feminized In Soil?

Germination of autoflowering feminized cannabis seeds in soil typically lasts 1-3 days, during which time roots will emerge from seed.

It all depends on soil you’re sprouting them in. Properly prepped soil takes around 1-3 days for seed to be sprouting fully.

If you use regular soil from your backyard, it will take lot longer since chances are it doesn’t contain any nutrients or is too compact. 

In this case, you should use good quality soil that contains extra carbon and nutrients.

What Germinated Method Takes Longest To Finish?

It is not possible to say definitively which method of sprouting cannabis seeds takes longer to finish, as time it takes for seed to start sprouting can vary depending on several factors, such as temperature, humidity, seed quality, and growing conditions. 

All germinatin methods, including directly in soil and in water, have their advantages and disadvantages, and length of time it takes to finish germination process will depend mostly on quality of seed.

Proper Care and Maintenance of Cannabis Seeds

Proper Care and Maintenance of Cannabis Seeds

To start sprouting your cannabis seed, you need to make an enviroment for them suitable.

It is always best to start sprouting cannabis seeds in controlled enviroment. This way, you ensure right temperature, humidity, and light.

In this chapter, I will provide you with all neccessary information on proper care and maintenance of your seeds.

Light and Temperature Requirements

If you have good climate in your grow room, you’ll have no problems. 

Autoflowering seeds need much warmth to start growing. They use this energy to break out of shells and get started.

Temperature has to be around 70 degrees F (21 C).

When it comes to light is not needed for germination. Seed needs to be in dark to sprout.

Once seed has sprouted, you need to put it to get lots of light.

Watering and Humidity

Watering is important to keep soil moist but only do so when soil feels dry and not too wet.

Frequent watering will cause roots to rot, which obviously won’t do any good.

Best humidity for sprouting cannabis is around 70% at start, lowering to 50% as plant grows.

Nice climate with proper humidity helps sprouting seeds grow optimally and prevents fungal diseases.

NEVER use horticultural spray for this! This contains lot of nutrients that you don’t need at this stage yet.

Air Circulation

Air is very important in growing process. It brings oxygen to seeds and young plants and takes away waste products such as carbon dioxide.

If you don’t give your roots enough air circulation, they’ll develop diseases more easily.

Autoflower cannabis requires good air circulation to ensure healthy growth and development. 

Good air circulation also helps to distribute heat evenly, promoting more consistent growing environment.

What Do You Have to Do After Sprouting Autoflowering Seed

From this moment on, you have to take many actions to ensure healthy and vigorous plants.

To achieve this, you need to know what plants need and what they can do. They won’t tell you anything if something is wrong.

After germination of your seeds, you have to transplant them into bigger pots.

Put them into pot that is deep for each seedling.

Fill this pot with standard soil without any fertilizers or additives.

Put single seedling in pot and ensure it doesn’t stand in too much water but has enough moisture. 

Water it from bottom once per week until they are fully grown.

Transplanting Germinated Seeds for Outdoor Grow

Transplanting Germinated Seeds for Outdoor Grow

Once your seedlings emerge from soil, you should move them to bigger pots.

We use regular peat pellets for this. Fill up pot with pellets and plant seedlings in center.

Pellets will provide enough room for roots to grow and keep plants nice and firm.

You can now place them outside, preferably under protection of some sort. This could be shade net, tent, or just cardboard box. 

Monitoring for Growth and Development of Seedlings

Monitoring for Growth and Development of Seedlings

There are different life stages in general. Seeds, sprouts, young plants, adult plants, and harvest.

All these stages have certain needs and problems you have to deal with.

Once your sprouting autoflowering seeds have germinated, they develop into small seedlings. This happens in first two weeks of growth.

During this time, first pair of ‘true’ leaves appear, and roots will grow out of seedling.

Once your auto-flowering cannabis seedlings have sprouted, you must take care of them.

Especially outdoor growers must closely monitor their plants because climate can influence development.

You have to see if they’re getting enough water, if they’re getting too much sun and if they need additional nutrients.

Plants that are growing indoors also need close monitoring, but less. For example, you don’t have to worry as much about wind and rain in our grow tent.

From now on, growing autoflowering plants will develop very quickly.

Main leaves will grow out, and first pair of secondary leaves will appear.

Plants will become greener and will start to look like real marijuana plants.

These are conditions cannabis requires when it is in seedling stage:

  • Light: Ambient light
  • Temperature: 68-77°F (20-25°C) 
  • Humidity: 70-80%
  • Fertilizer: No fertilizing yet because plants can’t absorb nutrients yet.
  • pH: 6.0 (neutral)

Common Problems and Solutions

Common cannabis germination problems and their solutions are:

  • Problem: Damping off is caused by over-watering or lack of air circulation, which leads to mold growth on seeds. 
  • Solution: Reduce watering frequency and improve air circulation.
  • Problem: Poor germination rate can be due to various reasons, including old or low-quality seeds, improper temperature, or moisture conditions. 
  • Solution: Use fresh, high-quality seeds and maintain proper temperature and moisture levels during germination.
  • Problem: Slow germination can be due to hard seed coats or suboptimal temperature and moisture levels.
  • Solution: Soak them in water overnight to soften seed coat, or use paper towel method to improve moisture levels.
  • Problem: Unsuccessful root growth can result from poor soil, disease, or pests. 
  • Solution: Use high-quality, sterile soil, and take precautions to prevent disease and pest outbreaks.

Proper attention to temperature, moisture, light, and soil conditions is crucial for successful cannabis germination.

Slow Germination

Sometimes, autoflower germination takes longer than expected. It’s not always because of bad seeds or because you didn’t keep them at right temperature. Sometimes, it just happens.

If you have old seeds, they will take a bit longer to germinate.

If you instead have freshly harvested seeds, they should be sprouting within 1 to 3 days. 

Old seeds are always problem. They are usually more difficult to sprout, and there’s a big chance they will not. So can you grow old seeds?

There are a couple of ways to see if you can.

First, you need to make sure they’re viable. This can be done simply by putting them in water. If they sprout, they’re still viable, and you can grow them.

They’re old and no longer viable if they are not sprouted after 72 hours in water.

Seed temperature also plays significant role in timing of germination process.

If it takes longer than week for your seeds to germinate, there are two things you can do; 

Scarifying consists of cracking seeds seed coats to increase water absorption and nutrients. 

You can help your roots get their start by performing this action yourself.

Use nail file or sandpaper, and remove thin layer from top of your seeds. 

Second thing you can do is place glass with little bit of water and some drops of hydrogen peroxide in it next to your seeds.

This will increase their metabolism and thereby increase their chances of sprouting.


Here are most commonly asked questions about autoflowering seeds germination with answers.

Do Autoflowering Marijuana Seeds Need Light To Germinate?

No, they do not need light to germinate. It’s enough that you keep them moist and at right temperature.

Where Can I Buy Auto Seeds Wholesale?

DSS has most extensive selection of autoflowering cannabis seeds on market wholesale. You can buy these in bulk and resell them for profit. 

Do You Have To Germinate Auto-flowering Feminized Seeds?

Yes, you have to first start with seed germination for them to start growing.

Do Autoflowering Marijuana Seeds Take Longer To Germinate Than Regular Cannabis Seeds?

No, autoflowering marijuana seeds don’t take longer to germinate than regular seeds. They need periods of darkness and warmth to start sprouting like regular cannabis seeds.

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