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.
So, you’ve decided to grow your own cannabis plants. You purchased a pack of seeds, assembled cultivation materials, cleared a space in your garden, and are ready to grow your first cannabis crop . With everything in hand, it’s time to begin the very first step of cannabis cultivation : germinating seeds.
First, make sure you use the correct type of soil, either gently fertilized potting soil or a seed starter with a pH level of approximately six (6). The soil contains the right acidity and enough nutrients to strengthen your young cannabis plants for the first two weeks. Be careful not to add more nutrients, or you risk overfeeding and killing your seeds.
Germination is the first stage of the cannabis growth cycle : the process that brings a cannabis seed out of its hibernation period and starts the cannabis growth process. After all, seeds in a bag don’t spontaneously start developing roots. Also known as “popping” seeds, seed germination begins when a seed receives environmental cues letting it know the setting is perfect to start growth.
When the seedling stems reach two to four inches in height, it’s time to transplant your cannabis into larger pots with more room for roots to spread down and out. After you’ve done this, you’ve successfully germinated your cannabis seeds into proper, young plants.
Germination is the process that brings a cannabis seed out of its hibernation period and starts the cannabis growth process. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Lay one paper towel on top of a countertop, place a few seeds, and cover them with a second paper towel. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
What is germination?
The downside of water germination is that once they’ve popped, you’ll need to maneuver them into their growing medium manually. This is a delicate process, as germinating seeds are extra fragile, and any harm risks the development of your plants. Make sure to place the seed roots down in the soil when you transfer to a pot.
The paper towel method is also a common way cultivators pop their seeds. Some even use this method with cotton pads instead of paper towels, but the necessary steps are the same.
In commercial cannabis production, generally, growers will plant many seeds of one strain and choose the best plant. They will then take clones from that individual plant, which allows for consistent genetics for mass production.
Cannabis seeds vs. clones
Some varieties of cannabis can produce male parts alongside female flowers on the same plant, especially if exposed to environmental stressors. These plants are known as hermaphrodites, and sometimes they can self-pollinate to create seeds.
How weed clones work
Plants grown from seed can be more hearty as young plants when compared to clones, mainly because seeds have a strong taproot. You can plant seeds directly into an outdoor garden in early spring, even in cool, wet climates.