12 hours after that, the leaves have completely emerged!
When Should I NOT Do Surgery?
Now gently extract the seed from its original home with a pair of tweezers making sure to touch only the shell and not the root (the root is the most sensitive part)! Now lay the seedling in the middle of your newly split open Rapid Rooter and gently close the plug around it again.
The cotyledons unfurl and then the regular cannabis leaves between to grow. Here's another view of that same seedling from above only a few hours later. Even though it may have looked a bit weird at first, this seedling is completely normal and will grow just fine from now on!
If you leave it alone, the seed will start to rise up, and open to reveal the seedling's cotyledons (first, round leaves)
If your root is growing straight up like in the picture below, it's not good. This is most common in seedling plugs. The tender white root tip has a good chance of drying out or being exposed to too much light. You want to strongly consider doing some "plant surgery" to turn this little seedling around to the right direction
Sometimes you can see the young taproot of a cannabis seedling but the situation isn't as dire. If the root is already pointed in the right direction, it's probably going to be just fine! But if you're worried, you can cover up the root until the leaves actually make it to the surface.
When you see your seedling looks like this, where the part of the root exposed to the surface already looks green like a stem, you don't need to do anything.
For example you could tear a tiny piece off the edge of this Rapid Rooter and gently lay it on top. Or if you were in soil you could sprinkle a tiny bit of soil over the seedling. The seedling will push it off as it grows upward.
To be clear, however, germination of seeds is not necessary prior to planting in medium. You can sow seeds directly into the medium and they will also germinate there, but not always with the same success rate. The reason growers choose to germinate outside the grow medium is because it is easier to control the conditions surrounding the seeds. This leads to the second part of your question, which is the best-case practices for germinating seeds – this leads to the harder answers.
Hi Cori, thank you for writing us! Your question is pretty simple to answer, but sometimes not so simple to do! In short, yes, most growers tend to germinate seeds before planting them into their grow medium of choice.
Of course, there are always the tricky strains or the old seeds that are quite fussy and refuse to pop. These seeds require a bit more attention and creativity. Some people prefer to soak the seeds for a short period before placing them in a moist and warm place for germinating. Some people go as far as to use mild chemical solutions to help soften the shell and prod the seeds. Other growers will even use very sharp and sterile razors to carefully slice seed shells or tips to help induce germination. These practices are all risky and should only be used as a last resort.
There are many different ways to germinate seeds. Probably the best methods involve keeping the practice as natural as possible. The simplest methods use water, warmth and darkness – all conditions the seed would naturally encounter underground. Many folks simply lay some seeds down on a paper towel on a flat plate, cover them with another paper towel, then moisten the paper and place the plate in a warm dark place. A popular hiding spot has always been on top of the refrigerator, while more professional growers employ heat mats that lie flat beneath seedling/ clone trays. Heat mats are an excellent and inexpensive aid for seed germination. Whatever you decide, the temperature should be 10-20 degrees above room temperature, or range between 78 – 90F.
Once a seed cracks open, the taproot appears. This taproot will become the plants primary root from which all other roots will grow. Technically, the seed is germinated once you can see the white of the taproot. Some grows prefer to wait until the taproot is 1-2 cm long before planting the germinated seed into a medium. Once you are ready to do so, be sure to place the seed about a half-inch below the surface of the medium with the taproot point downward and the seed shell on top. Be sure there is some space for the seed shell to push upwards through the medium, towards the light. At this point, the very young seedling still needs moisture, warmth and a bit of light now to direct its growth in the right direction. The seedling will likely be in this medium and container for a few more weeks before the seedling is ready to be transplanted into a larger container for vegetation.
the best thing is to let the seed develop a tap root to a length of about a half inch. I am also going to recommend and assume that you knew enough to let the seed(s) bob around in a glass of water that was allowed to sit for a few hours (to allow chlorine to gas out of the water. before putting the seeds in). and then put the glass of water and seeds into an empty drawer somewhere where there are no lights..and leave it there for 12-14 hours.."longer will risk drowning the seeds"..then you should have triangle folded a and dampened brown coffee filter..not white..white ones may contain bleach..which is also chlorinated..put the coffee filter triangle in a small tray and put the seeds very gently onto the filter.."don’t squish them or they will die"..after their soak they are delicate..so do this carefully..put a "once folded" coffee filter on top of the seeds..and wet it ..
Other people in this thread seem to think that it’s a good idea to plant the seed as soon as it cracks..however this can be a bad idea..the tap root is what gives the plant its early root structure..and strength..allowing them to have this before planting gives the seedling a much better chance to survive any problems it may encounter in the soil..remember..soil is a living organism and has bacteria..a seed may get halted in its early growth by encountering any numbers of chemical reactions including chlorine shock..pests..or fungus..the ones with a half inch tap root..seem to be able to cope better..
you will see the outline of the seeds through it slightly once it’s wet..put the tray back in the drawer and use the water in the cup to wet the top filter a couple times each day..DO NOT LET THE FILTER DRY OUT BUT ALSO DO NOT LET THE SEEDS SIT IN A PUDDLE..after about three days the tap root will be around a half inch on the seeds..if not leave them until they are..once the seeds are ready..plant them each in their own small 4 inch pot by poking a whole down about an inch with a chopstick or your finger..
gently place the seedling tap root down and gently push some soil in around it and then cover it gently with some more soil ( make sure you use regular potting soil with a decent amount of peril it in it..I like shultzs potting soil) spray (water @ 6.5 ph) the soil till it’s dark and wet but not puddling..place the potted plant under a 1300-2600k daylight (for vegging cycle) CFL..about 3 – 4 inches from the pot ..in about 2 days or less you will see your new seedling popping through the soil..if it takes 3 days I will be surprized..keep checking the seedling about 3 times a day..make sure to fine mist spray the soil and keep it dark..as the light will dry it out..don’t let it dry out until your plant gets about 4 inches and has its first real growth leaves..
Then water the soil as you would with regular plants..allowing the soil to almost dry out up to an inch below surface..I usually water when I see the edges of the soil pull away from the pot sides..but for the seedling when it is still just in the baby leaves..keep the surface damp ..by watering or checking it every few hours..keep a light breeze (fan) circulating in the room..not directly on the plants though..especially when they are little. good luck