Growing marijuana from seeds is a little harder than growing from clones.
If you’re buying cannabis seeds from a mail order seed bank, they can cost $10 or more each, and it’s always a tense time waiting to see if the shipment will make it.
If they don’t make it, because it’s “illegal” to order seeds through the mail, it’s sometimes hard to get refunds.
Now that more states have legalized marijuana, it’s easier to get marijuana seeds from dispensaries and home-based seed sellers.
Whether you get seeds from a marijuana seed retailer, a friend, or collect them from seeded bud, examine them closely to make sure they’re viable.
If the marijuana seeds are shiny, gray, green, extremely black or brown, or cracked, they’re not much good. They may be immature, or old, or have been poorly handled and stored.
Reputable marijuana seed companies will never include immature or old seeds in their seed packs. Read this article to learn more about reputable seed companies.
You really do have to be very alert when you buy cannabis seeds these days.
Other than always reliable seed breeders like TGA Genetics, many marijuana seed breeders are producing crappy seeds, and some cannabis seeds re-sellers aren’t helping to ensure quality control either.
I routinely hear stories from professional and serious amateur growers who bought ten seeds and only seven of them sprouted.
Of course, some of their problems come from inferior germination techniques, conditions, and materials.
I go for the easiest and simplest way…the way that creates the least handling for the marijuana seed and for the seedling.
What I mean is, I germinate in the media that I intend for the seeds to grow in, whether it’s coco, soil, or rockwool.
When I’m growing marijuana in soil, I just plant the seeds about half an inch under the surface in a Jiffy Cup or even in the larger containers my cannabis plants will end up growing in.
Cannabis seeds like temperatures between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit. You don’t want the soil to be too moist, or too dry.
You don’t start marijuana seeds in a heavily nutrient-enriched soil like Fox Farm Ocean Forest (and given the persistent quality-control problems that Fox Farm soils have, you may not want to use Fox Farm at all).
When I germinate my marijuana seeds in the container they’ll finish the grow in, I layer the soil so that the top layer is a more neutral soil like Roots Organic Original. These soils have less nutrition built in, and that’s better for starting seeds.
Below that top layer is a more heavily enriched layer that the plants’ roots will get to after they’re established enough to handle the rich nutrient elements.
You especially don’t want to germinate marijuana seeds in a soil layer with too much nitrogen, because that tends to burn the roots and create too much vertical growth.
Hydroponics growers who intend to grow in rockwool or coco may germinate directly in those media, or they may germinate the marijuana seed out of the media and then transplant it once the seed has protruded its radicle root.
The radicle root is the embryonic root: the first root to emerge during marijuana seed germination.
Some marijuana growers use the water germination or wet paper towel methods.
Take a look at the helpful videos embedded in this article and you’ll get several different opinions about marijuana seed germination methods.
For the wet paper towel marijuana seeds germination technique, you thoroughly wet a paper towel with reverse osmosis water, and fold the seeds inside.
Place the wet paper towel in a 72-78°F (on a horticultural heat mat or the top of a refrigerator if need be).
Check a couple of times a day to make sure the paper towel continues to stay moist, but not soggy. Use reverse osmosis water.
If the seeds are fresh and strong, within 48 hours you should see the cannabis seed case split and then the emergence of the white radicle root.
At this stage, the seedling is extremely fragile and should be handled with immense care. Which is why I don’t use the paper towel method. I don’t think it’s good to handle sprouted seeds.
Why germinate them in such a way that you have to handle a naked, sprouted seed?
Using the paper towel method, when the marijuana seeds have sprouted their radicle roots, it’s time to transplant them.
First, you make a small hole in moist but not soggy medium about a half of an inch deep.
Using sterilized tweezers, gently place the germinated seed in the medium with the radicle root downward.
Cover the seedling carefully with more medium and water with a small amount of room temperature water.
If you’re in hydroponics using a pump-driven irrigation system, it’s best to hand water for a few days until your seedlings have established roots.
Seedlings in the first two weeks of growth can easily be killed by overfertilization in soil and in in hydroponics. I suggest you use little if any added nutrients until your marijuana seedlings have at least two sets of true (serrated) leaves.
I use Roots Excelurator and either B-52 or No Shock after seedlings are more than two inches tall.
The best lighting for seedlings is LED or T-5 fluorescent set for a 24-hour per day cycle.
After your seedlings have at least three sets of true leaves, if you’re growing in hydroponics, start using a hydroponics base nutrients formula such as Sensi pH Perfect.
You go for 100 ppm to start with, and then work your way up to the manufacturer’s recommended dosage.
One “advanced” tip: if you have old seeds, seeds that aren’t richly brown and striped, or marijuana seeds from a batch that you’ve tried to germinate from and didn’t get 100% germination, try “scuffing” the seeds.
That means you take a little sandpaper or a nail file and LIGHTLY scuff the surface. This allegedly assists germination.
Growing marijuana from seed can work well for you if you have quality seeds to begin with, and if you follow the marijuana seed germination instructions in this article and the embedded videos. Happy sprouting!