Germination Guide: How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds Successfully

Cannabis germination is first stage of plant life cycle. It takes place inside seed, after which plant will emerge and grow into full-fledged marijuana plant. It’s an exciting moment because this is moment you can start growing your plants. But it’s also a delicate process because incorrect temperature or lack of water can damage or…

Germination Guide: How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds Successfully
John Kees

Author: John Kees

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

Germinating Cannabis Seeds

Germination is process by wich cannabis seed sprouts. Germination is big first step in life of every cannabis seed.

Cannabis seed is dormant, and to germinate cannabis seeds, you have to trigger them into action. It’s also straightforward process to do and takes only couple of days.

That requires the right temperature, air, and good moisture, meaning you have to provide them with perfect environment.

How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds Properly

To sprout your cannabis seed, you need to make an environment for them suitable for germination. 

You do this by placing your cannabis seeds in moist environment and at right temperature.

There are lot of different ways to germinate cannabis seeds.

What Do Weed Seeds Look Like

What Do Weed Seeds Look Like

Cannabis seeds are small and oval.

They come in different colors, beige, grayish-brown, or brown.

They have hard outer shells that need to be treated before germinating.

Preparation for Cannabis Germination

You want to create best possible environment for your germinating cannabis seeds.

That means you need to create right temperature, humidity, and darkness. And, of course, you need to prepare your soil or growing medium for them.

Best Temperature and Humidity

Best temperature for germinating cannabis seeds is between 70 and 90 degrees. Best humidity for germinating cannabis is around 70% at start, lowering to 50% as plant grows.

You can measure these values with a hygrometer or thermometer. You can hang them above your germination room, so you always know what’s going on there.

Temperature Chart

Germinated seed need much warmth to start growing. They use this energy to break out of shells and get started. If they don’t receive enough warmth, they’ll remain in same state for longer period.

That can ultimately lead to a decreased chance of success because they won’t break out of their shell.

To sprout marijuana seeds quickly and properly, you want them to be between 70 and 90 degrees. That is temperature at witch they recieve enough warmth to start growing.

Dark or Light

Dark or Light

Dark is essential for plants to sprout. Light, on the other hand, doesn’t matter much at all. You could grow cannabis plants just fine in complete darkness.

Once plant has germinated, you need to expose it to light. This stimulates growth and photosynthesis.


Moisture is key to germination. You have to ensure your marijuana seeds get enough water to start germinating, but no more than that.

If you put them in too moist environment, they’ll stay dormant and won’t break out of their shell yet.

If you put them in too dry an environment, they’ll die because of lack of moisture. Make sure soil or rockwool doesn’t completely dry out, and provide your cannabis seeds with little spray at least couple of times per day.

Best Way to Germinate Cannabis Seeds

From best way to sprout cannabis seeds, we can conclude that you can use many variables and techniques.

Choosing the best method is a matter of preference and not facts.

Paper Towel vs Soil Method

Best Way to Germinate Cannabis Seeds

Many growers prefer the paper towel method because it ensures better control and monitoring of your germinating seedlings.

It also allows for much more airflow, which is suitable for seedlings. 

However, some growers prefer soil over paper towel methods. They argue that roots will grow faster in soil and plants will get bigger quicker.

There is little difference between the two methods regarding growth and yield.

Where to Germinate Cannabis Seeds

Where to Germinate Cannabis Seeds

When it comes to germinate cannabis seeds locations, you can choose indoors or outdoors.

Indoor Germinated Cannabis Seeds

It is always best to sprout your cannabis seeds indoors. It is an easy and safe way to do it, and not to mention you can closely monitor your plant’s development.

  • Air circulation
  • Watering habits
  • Temperature regulation

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

You also don’t have to worry about fungus or other diseases that can attack young seedlings.

Read blog post on how to grow weed indoors with a detailed description of all the techniques.

Cannabis Seeds Germinated Outdoor

Outdoor cannabis seeds germination is exciting. You get to see whether your seed will survive the harsh outdoor environment.

However, this comes with its own set of challenges. First, it can be hard to determine the best time for outdoor growing in your area based on climate conditions and other factors like rain or drought.

It’s common for people to try to sprout outdoors because it seems more natural compared to indoor methods. Still, they fail at the actual planting process due to inexperience or bad luck. 

Because of this, I strongly recommend starting indoors with an easy-to-maintain setup and, after gaining some experience, moving on out into the garden.

Germinate Cannabis Seeds In Cold Weather

If you’re living in colder climate, chances are that there will be periods when your cannabis seeds won’t sprout. That is because most cannabis plants need temperatures above 21 C to start growing.

Cold can slow or stop germination process. In case of cold weather and no sign of growth for few days, it can help to put seed in heated room.

When to Start Weed Seeds

If you order your seeds online and live in a warm climate, it’s best to start seeds germinate at the beginning of spring.

If you live in cold climate, and it’s not very favorable to plant outdoors yet, you have the option to start growing cannabis seeds indoors.

In this way, you can grow them in a nice and warm indoor climate until it gets a little warmer outside.

Germinating Pot Seeds – Step by Step

There are different methods and materials you can use to sprout cannabis seeds. Cannabis germinating methods are:

Paper Towel

Paper Towel

Paper towel method is a straightforward way to sprout your seeds.

You’ll need a few paper towels and plastic bag to get started.

  1. Take 3 or 5 paper towel sheets and spread them out on table (or any flat surface)
  2. Put them in the middle of each sheet, about 1/8 inch apart from each other – Fold up all but one corner of paper towel (to prevent water from evaporating too quickly) and put it in bag for optimal humidity level
  3. Leave at room temperature in dark place for 24 hours
  4. Open bag and check. They should be nice and wet, but there shouldn’t be too much water on paper towels.

Check every day and make sure they stay moist. Check on progress every other day by looking at corner of paper towel to see if roots are peeking out.


Napkin is great way to sprout your roots. You can use napkin for couple of days and just throw it away afterward.

Napkins are very cheap, so you don’t really have to worry about wasting them. 

It would be best if you cut napkin into square that is little bit bigger than seed you want to germinate. 

Put few seed on top of each other in the middle of square and fold one side over itself and press firmly.

Then put your germinating seeds in some warm place. 

If you use napkins, it’s clever idea to put plastic bags over them to prevent water from evaporating.



Rockwool is most popular and prefered germination medium among growers. 

Rockwool 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 rockwool 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 sprout cannabis roots in rockwool, follow these steps:

  1. Place your cannabis seeds between two layers of rockwool with seed facing upwards.
  2. Water your medium and let it drain out untill it’s moist but not soaking wet.
  3. Keep your medium warm at 72-77 degrees F.
  4. Put your pots in dark place and wait for nice taproots to come out of seed.

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

Jiffy Pellets

Jiffy Pellets

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

Jiffy 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.

Fill tray with pellet mixture until it’s about 2 inches (5 cm) deep. Make hole in middle of pellets and put seed into this hole.

Then fill up hole again with pellet mix. Place lid on top of tray and place somewhere warm, but not too hot.

You can also germinate seeds directly in jiffy pellets if you want to grow hydroponically later. 

If you sprout in jiffy pellets, make sure to check water level of tray every other day.

Pellets need to be moist but not soaking wet. 

Cotton Balls

Cotton balls also make an excellent germination medium. They are cheap, readily available, and have good water retention properties.

Just soak cotton balls in water and place cannabis seeds on them.

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


Aerogarden is perfect start for beginners. It has everything you need to sprout your roots in a sterile enviroment.

You can sprout up to 16 seed per aero garden. Each seedling will have its little hydroponic pod where it can root and grow until it’s big enough to be transplanted into soil.

That will take about 7 to 14 days. Afterward, you can remove seedlings from an aero garden and place them in soil.



I want to discuss about water method. Best way for beginners to sprout their cannabis seeds is by simply adding them to some water.

All you have to do is add them to some water and let them sit there until germination starts. 

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

How Long to Leave Seeds in Water

Best way to sprout cannabis seeds is by keeping them in water for 24 hours.

You can then put them in soil or another medium for continued germination.

It often takes about week before seedling breaks through surface, but it can also take couple of days.

Plastic Bag

Plastic bag is another good way to sprout your marijuana seeds. You have to take ziplock bag, fill it with moist soil, and put cannabis seed on top of it.

Then you close bag and place it in a warm spot (around 70 degrees Fahrenheit). 

Ziplock bags will keep air humid and will warm up inside. Plastic bag method is very effective way to sprout your cannabis seed.

Shot Glass

If you only have small amount of seed to sprout, shot glass is an excellent choice. 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.



Soil method is probably best way to germinate seeds. It allows for easy and natural development of root system without damaging or breaking seed coat in any way.

The best thing about soil germination method is that it can be used for indoor and outdoor growing, so you can use it from the beginning until the end.

  1. Step: Preparing soil
  2. Step: Sowing seed
  3. Step: Water it
  4. Step: Waiting
  5. Step: Keep soil moist and wait for seedlings to emerge from soil.

Soil is most common growing medium, and many growers prefer it over other substrates. 

It is easy to obtain or make and provides good conditions for growth of cannabis plants.

Soil has natural nutrients, including nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. 

It also offers enough water retention capacity for roots to absorb as much moisture as needed. 

And if you mix in coco coir or perlite into soil, you provide your cannabis roots with an even better environment in which they can grow optimally.

Solo Cups

Solo cups are great for germinating weed seed. They let enough air in, and you can see when seed cracks open to come up.

You can also transplant seedlings into solo cups to let them grow until they need more space. Solo cups are disposable and very cheap.

How to Sprout Seed in Solo Cups:

Fill a solo cup with 1/8″ of soil.

Drop your weed seed into soil and cover them with another 1/8″ of soil.

Water well, keeping water at room temperature (70 degrees F).

Keep it moist but not soaking wet.

Check every day to see if seed has cracked open and little white root is poking out.

When that happens, plant it in bigger pot or outdoors if you live in warm climate.


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.

Fill 2/3 of shell with soil and plant seed on top of that.

Put eggshell back together with an opening upwards so you don’t lose moisture.

Leave them at room temperature and keep them moist by adding more water if necessary.

After couple of days, little taproots should emerge from seedling through cracks in the shell.

Seedling will finally break out of its shell itself after a week or two.

Cannabis Autoflower Seeds

Cannabis Autoflower Seeds

Autoflowering cannabis plants are different than regular cannabis plants in that they don’t need to experience 12 hours of darkness for every 12 hours of light to grow.

Instead, auto seeds will start to flower automatically after a certain time. 

However, when it comes to question how to germinate autoflower seeds, it’s the same as with regular cannabis seeds.

If you want to grow autoflowering plants you can buy yours at DSS. We offer 5 free specimen for orders of 100$ and free shipping.

Cannabis Feminized Seeds

Cannabis Feminized Seeds

Female weed seeds are bred so that they grow only female plants.

However, there will always be tiny possibility of male plants that appear, just due to natural variability in process.

Male cannabis plants will not grow bud and have no use, and they can pollinate your female to produce seeds.

Seeds feminized sprout in same conditions as regular do.

If you want to grow feminized plants you can buy cannabis seeds at DSS. We offer 5 free specimen for orders of 100$ and free shipping.

Seeds Germination for Hydroponic

Seeds Germination for Hydroponic

How to germinate seeds for hydroponics weed cultivation?

Answer is the same as for soil. You just have to take care of your roots before they stick out of substrate.

How to Grow Cannabis From Old Seeds

Old seeds are always problem. They are usually more difficult to sprout, and there’s big chance that they will not sprout. 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 for 24 hours. If they sprout, they’re still viable, and you can grow them.

If they don’t sprout after 24 hours in water, it means that they’re old and no longer viable.

How Long Does It Take for Seeds to Germinate

Most seeds sprout in period of 2 weeks. Some exceptions, like White Widow, take only ten days.

However, you don’t want to wait too long before checking for the first signs of germination. If you let your seeds sit in water for too long they will die.

Cannabis Germination Time Chart

For best results, germinated time needs to be adjusted according to strain.

Knowing how long it takes for your seeds to sprout allows you to adjust your growing cannabis schedule.

How to Germinate Seeds Fast and Quickly

There are several ways to germinating seeds quickly so you can begin to grow cannabis as soon as possible. Here are some tips:

Soaking in Hydrogen Peroxide

You can speed up sprouting process by soaking your seeds in hydrogen peroxide. 

That is very useful when you grow cannabis and want germinated seed faster.

Hydrogen peroxide is an acid and will dissolve protective layer of seed that doesn’t let it absorb water.

It would be best to put your seeds in a 3% solution (3 grams per 100 ml of water) for 24 hours. Don’t put too many because this could cause them to rot.

After 24 hours, put your soaked seeds in a pot with soil, and they’ll sprout within a couple of days. 

It’s same principle as scarifying but faster and more effective method to remove protective layer.


This process is called scarification, consisting of cracking seed coat to increase water absorption and nutrients. 

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

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

Don’t press too hard because you risk that seed won’t sprout at all if you do. But also don’t be too careful. 

Seeds usually have thicker outer shells on both sides, and only inner side should be removed with sandpaper or nail file. 

Do this for all seeds in pot or jar you want to germinate.


Stratification is tricking seeds into thinking it is the right time of year to germinate.

This process makes it possible for your seeds to sprout during right time of year.

Fill up Ziploc bag with your seeds and place it in freezer. 

Once winter has passed (and days are getting longer), take out your frozen seeds and put them outside in garden or directly into pots with soil or hydro medium.

What to Do After Germinating Weed Seeds

Once you’ve seen first little root hairs come out of seed, it’s time to get your plants started.

In this chapter, I will tell you what to do after germinating seeds:

Growing Marijuana From Seed

For anyone who wants to learn more about growing weed from seed, this chapter is very important.

It’s not difficult to sprout seed, and it’s not difficult to grow seedlings into plants, but there are some things you have to take into account.

Cannabis Life Cycle

Females begin to produce flowers after few weeks of germination. Males begin to produce pollen around the same time.

Once female receives some pollen, it will begin to produce seed, and flower production will stop.

That is why it’s important to check if your female cannabis plant are fertilized before they start producing seed. You don’t want to waste your cannabis but instead focus on producing the best possible cannabis.

Cannabis Stages

There are three different stages of growing cannabis:

  1. Stage: Seedling
  2. Stage: Vegetation
  3. Stage: Flowering

Every stage has its own needs. Proper care of plants is key to a successful harvest later on.

Cannabis Seedling

Cannabis Seedling

Once your seeds have germinated, they’ll grow little roots.

At this point, you can place them on soil, but make sure they don’t get too much light.

They need darkness to develop roots optimally, and photosynthesis will be halted.

Once you see two true leaves, you can slowly give them more light. They’ll continue to grow for some time already.

Planting Cannabis Seed

Before you begin planting your seeds, you must ensure substrate is ready.

Fill pot with soil or rockwool and make sure it’s wet but not dripping wet.

You can also use perlite and soil. 

Cannabis plant will start to grow roots through perlite within a few days.

FAQ – Seed Germination

What makes cannabis seed so special? How do they germinate? This post answers most frequently asked questions about seed germination.

How Long After Planting Germinated Seeds Do They Sprout?

It depends on how fresh your seeds are. If you have at least few months old seeds, they will take a bit longer to germinate.

If you instead have freshly harvested seeds, they should sprout within week or two. 

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

What to Do When Cannabis Seeds Won’t Germinate?

Once your seeds have germinated, it’s time to transplant them into soill. 

First, you have to rinse off your seeds and let them dry out a bit.

Then you can carefully transfer them into their new home. 

Don’t worry too much if roots are still connected to each other.

As long as they don’t break during transplanting, cannabis plant will eventually become healthy individuals.

Do Weed Seeds Need Light to Germinate?

No, cannabis seed don’t need light to germinate. 

Many growers like to keep their seeds in the dark first and only expose them to light once they’ve sprouted.

It can take up to couple of days before they start to grow roots. During this period, they need darkness. 

Once roots are there, they will automatically seek light and begin to grow.

How Long to Leave Seeds in Water?

It’s recommended to leave seeds for 24 hours in water. During this time, seed will create little roots to start grow.

If you have very fresh seeds, they usually don’t sink and will float on surface of water for several days. You can begin planting them when you like.

How Long Do Germinated Seeds Take To Break Surface?

Answer to this question depends on type of seed. 

Once your seeds start to germinate, it takes them about a week to break through surface of soil.

When to Plant Germinated Seeds Into Soil?

When roots start to grow out of seed, you can place all your seeds in soil.

Make sure you have enough soil for them to grow into, and take care not to damage roots when placing them in pot.

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