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Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2005 5:52 pm
by Weedguru Higher
Unknown Author/s

So, you have your beans in your hand. Now you are wondering what you are gonna do to get these to start growing. If you have purchased seeds from a reputable seed bank then you can be sure that they are all fit to attempt to germinate since they have been through a screening process already. However, if you have obtained your seeds from a bag then you need to do some simple checks to see if the seeds are viable or not.. You can't tell the sex of a plant by looking at the seeds. The are some theories here but there are no physical signs that one can use to distinguish male from female seeds.


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Marijuana seeds come in a variety of sizes and colors. They vary in size, from a range of about 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch. Their shapes are round to slightly oblong. Seeds range in color from brown to grey to almost black. Some seeds are plain while others have irregular shaped, different colored lines, such as "lightning" or "tiger" stripes.

A good sign that a seed is viable and healthy will be the fresh "waxy" sheen it displays on its outer coat. A white or light green colored seed is usually the sign of an immature seed. If a seed is black or dark brown and has a dull "non-waxy" appearance, the seed may be dead.

Make a quick physical examination of each seed with the use of a magnifying glass, checking for cracks, molds and other imperfections, to eliminate any "bad seeds."

Regardless of the growing method you will ultimately use, the first thing you will need to do is to germinate your seeds. There are a few standard ways this is done.

Paper Towel Method

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One common and easy way to germinate seeds is to place the seeds in between the layers of a wet paper towel or a cloth such as a clean washrag. Tap water can work fine, but it is better to use store-bought distilled water for all stages of the germination process.

The damp, but not soaked, paper towel or washcloth is placed into a suitably sized plastic bag or simply covered with plastic wrap, and then placed onto a glass plate and kept in a warm, dark place.

The temperature should be maintained between 80-90?F (27-32?C). Horticultural heating pads are excellent for this, however when using paper towels and washcloths you must check every day to make sure they do not dry out. Your germination medium should never dry out, as this will kill the fragile embryonic main root. However, also be sure to not over water. The seeds can drown if there is standing water in the bag or plate. The key words here are "constantly moist."

It is a good idea to place some type of B1 additive in the water used to germinate the seeds. There are a number of types of this vitamin supplement sold commercially. There is Ortho Up-Start, Super Thrive, Hormex, Power-thrive and a number of other additives which have this vitamin supplement. The additive should only be placed in the water the first time you moisten the towel, and should not be added with each subsequent watering.

The moisture content of the towel must be checked regularly. It usually takes anywhere from three to twelve days for most seeds to germinate. Be patient, as some seeds can take even longer to sprout.

As the moisture enters the softened shell, the embryo within begins to grow and swell. Once the shell has broken open, a single embryonic root will appear. Next the first rounded set of leaves will emerge and throw off the split shell. Once this happens you are ready to carefully move and transplant the tiny sprouts into the medium of choice. This should be done carefully as not to damage the fragile sprouts.

Cup of Water Method

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Another easy way to germinate (The easiest in my book)is using the cup o' water method .Put room temperature water in a cup or mug (not clear). Put the seeds in the cup then place the cup in a warm dark area. Ideally in a closet on top of a hot water heater. In a day or 2 check if the seeds have sunk. Any still floating dunk with your finger to see if they will sink. Past experience has told me that any floaters are not going to be viable. Most people see sprouts in 36-72 hours though some seeds could possibly take much longer



Some people prefer to germinate their seeds in the same medium in which the mature plant will be grown. However, I would not suggest germinating seeds directly in outdoor soil, even if the final destination of the plants will be outside. Your precious seeds will have a higher survival rate and be healthier if germinated indoors.

Seeds germinated in soil should be germinated in smaller two to three inch containers. The most common of these are the peat moss cups or plastic cups. The soil mixture is placed in the cup almost to the top. The mixture is lightly pressed into the cup. The medium should be watered until water drips out the bottom of the container. If peat moss cups are used, the peat cup should be moistened with tepid water.

I like to place the cups in 12 inch x 24 inch germinating trays or flats. Each flat will hold a certain amount of containers. The flats will help the containers retain heat, and can be placed directly on top of heating pads. These trays are also sold with plastic see-through tops, which will create a greenhouse atmosphere and raise the humidity.

Non-heated plastic cups will hold heat better than non-heated peat moss cups. The evaporation of moisture from the peat moss will lower the temperature of the sides of the peat cups. For this reason either a heating pad or some other assurance of temperature control should be used. The seedlings require an 80-90?F (27-32?C) ambient temperature.

A small device such as a pencil is used to make a hole approximately 1/2 inch deep in the center of the pre-moistened medium. The seed is placed in the hole, pointed end down. Cover the seed with soil using your finger. The container of medium is then lightly watered with a solution of a vitamin B1 supplement.

Rockwool and Others

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Some growers will want to germinate their seeds in rockwool cubes, coconut fiber cubes, lava rock or Oasis felt-type cubes. This is easily done. These items are all porous materials, which have the ability to hold water for a long period of time.

Rockwool is a heated and spun material, which has some environmental concerns. Rockwool cubes should be pH balanced before use. Coconut fiber will biodegrade faster than rockwool. The Oasis cubes are made of a pH neutral, porous felt-type material, and are one of my favorite mediums for germination. They may be purchased as 12 inch x 24 inch slabs, which fit perfectly into similar sized rooting flats.

Regardless of whichever of these mediums is used for germination, the process is the same. First place the medium in the flats and moisten them to saturation point. They are watered in the flats and if needed a hole is punched in the center top of each cube. A seed is placed point end down. The cubes are watered a second time. This time with the vitamin B1 root stimulant, after which any extra or standing water is drained off.

Plastic covers may or may not be needed to maintain additional humidity. The flats are placed on heating mats, and placed in a dark place. Water as required. The cubes are kept moist but there should be no standing water in the trays. Always pour off any excess water after watering.

Seedling Stage


Once your seed has germinated it is a seedling. It is now very fragile. The lower end of the young sprout is a single main root. This root will aim itself downward as it follows gravity. On the opposite end of the sprout are two rounded leaves called the cotyledons. If the seedlings were germinated in a paper towel they should be immediately moved into some kind of larger container, such as a two or three inch container of man made soil, or a similar sized medium.

Once the seedlings have sprouted they are ready to begin photosynthesis. This means they will need some light. The seedlings may be placed under HID or fluorescent light.


The sprout will emerge first with the 2 seed leaves(cotyeldon). These leaves are small, smooth and round followed by a set of single bladed, serrated leaves known as the first leaves. The height of your light from the sprout will depend on what kind you are using. If using florescent lights, they usually run cool enough to put them within 1-2 inches of your sprouts. If your going with a HPS or MH type of light, they get hot, so you won't want them too close. A good way to test a light is to put your hand between the plant (or in this case soil) and test how hot it is with your hand. If it's uncomfortable for your hand, it's too hot. Raise the light up until you reach a good temperature. These type of lights will also dry your soil out fast, so keep your eye on it. Once your light is set and the leaves start coming in you now are on you way to growth stage.

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Once the seedlings become exposed to a light source they begin to grow at an accelerated rate. The single embryonic root begins to form lateral rootlets. These lengthening rootlets absorb more
nutrients and water each day. These young roots may be damaged by a lack or excess of water, as well as exposure to light, heat, cold, or rough treatment.

The roots like access to air, to breathe. So the plant is watered, and then the medium is allowed to almost dry out. The medium is allowed to dry to the point where it is not completely dry, it is still just slightly moist. This drying of the medium allows air to be drawn into the medium. The medium is never allowed to dry out completely! Just before the medium can dry completely, the medium is watered again, and allowed to almost dry again. This process is repeated.


The rounded cotyledon leaves are soon joined by a pair of the more recognizable serrated leaves. The new plant aims upward as it reaches for the light. Upward growth will continue as more leaves are created. As each new set of leaves appear on the plant, the space between the sets of leaves will lengthen. The spaces between the sets of leaves are called the internodes. The growth areas where these leaf pairs and lateral growth appear are called the nodes.

The stem of the plant carries nutrients and water up the plant, where they are used on the way and also to create new foliage. If the seedlings have an oscillating fan blowing on them, the plant will produce internal cellulose to create larger and thicker stems as the plant attempts to compensate for the additional environmental interaction. A thicker stem now helps support bigger buds later. A light misting of water a few times a day during lights-on time will help to keep the surfaces of the leaves clean. This will help the leaves with their processes of inhaling and exhaling, as well as photosynthesizing.

The relative humidity should be kept around 50%, and the ambient temperature should be lowered to around 73-78?F (23-26?C) This lower temperature is more conducive to the vegetative state of the larger growing plant.

After the seedlings are about two weeks old they should have developed some nice roots and created some lush foliage. The seedlings roots will have used up most of the space they have in the smaller containers, and may already be overrunning them. It will be time to move and transplant them to larger living quarters. If the seedlings are still under fluorescent lights, now is the time to place them under the metal halide. At this time you can begin feeding them a light 1/4 dose of nutrients.

Congratulations, your plants have survived the most difficult and dangerous part of their lives! With some strains you can start them to flowering almost immediately, or you might prefer to grow them larger first, or to use these plants as clone mothers. Whatever your preference, you are now well on the road to growing yourself some excellent marijuana.

Unknown Author/s
Excerpts taken from

Germination Videos

Cup of Water Germintation

Re: Germination

Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:38 pm
by Weedguru Higher
This guide has been updated as of today

Re: Germination

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:46 am
by (weedguru)scarf
thankyou higher

Re: Germination

Posted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:51 pm
by Grrrl
Good reference point, just posting here so I can find it quicker as n when required, also quick question, after 14days in cup method even if they have sunk but they haven't split or showed signs of roots should I give up hope and jump ship? Or pot them in propagator n just hope? Some of them are about 2-3years old but were kept in fridge in packet in air tight container if that added info makes ny difference? I have known people grow from seed successfully where they've been in fridge for ten years plus.

Re: Germination

Posted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:00 pm
by Weedguru Higher
14 days? It's safe to say they'll never sprout considering that most people see sprouts in 36-72 hours...
No point popping them into the propagator if they haven't sprouted

The last seeds I germed using that method took less than 48 hours

What kind of seeds were they? From a seedbank or from bagseed? What color were they?

And if you click the Marijuana Growing Guide Links thread at the top it'll bring you an organized link page of the guides so you won't have trouble finding what you are looking for

Re: Germination

Posted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:27 pm
by Grrrl
No they were from one of my ex's plant love potion no 9 x hash plant. I'd never grow from bagseed, I like to know what I am smoking cos I smoke for both recreational and medicinal reasons. They were all pretty light brown with dark speckles on em in colouration. Looked healthy enough. Maybe it's cos I haven't sustained a high enough temperature? My elec cut out a few times recently cos meter ticked over whilst i was away so flat did get a little nippy. Its ok anyway cos I have some others I bought a couple of months ago I can use, I just thought I'd give them ago as I recall the bud being rather moreish :) Gonna have a go at some kc brains and motivation (magus genetics) so I will keep heat on full and ensure elec doesnt run out again and hopefully we'll start making progress.

Re: Germination

Posted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:43 pm
by (weedguru)scarf
you dont need temperature although im sure it helps... my seeds were in a cold cup of water with no heat in a dark cupboard...
middle of winter... and they still sprouted... took about 5 days... but they got there...

i think your seeds are just fucked

Re: Germination

Posted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:48 pm
by Grrrl
yea I think your right, I have 10 kc brains in the cup, all sprouting a wee root as of this morning so looks like it was just those seeds :( ahh well game on again :)

Re: Germination

Posted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 12:56 pm
by Ponker
Grrrl wrote:yea I think your right, I have 10 kc brains in the cup, all sprouting a wee root as of this morning so looks like it was just those seeds :( ahh well game on again :)
hey, man, sounds not very healthy :blunt:
hi, in between!