Germinating Cannabis Seeds For Hydroponics


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The most in-depth and detailed guide on how to Germinate Cannabis Seeds. Learn 5 different methods. Decide what will work for you. Simple and easy. Full picture guide on how to germinate cannabis seeds for hydroponic growing. Foam collars and Rockwool cubes are used to protect the fragile taproot Germinate Marijuana Seeds We kind of view this as unnecessary, but have added it in because many people swear by it. The theory is that by weakening the tough hull, it makes it easier for the

How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds with Guaranteed Success!

If you are looking for different ways to germinate your cannabis seeds.

You have come to the right place.

In this guide you will learn all you need for success at sprouting your seeds.

So you will get the most genetic potential out of your growing marijuana.

Follow along, and there may be some ways to bigger yields, higher THC count and healthy plants.

Marijuana seedlings sprouting.

The germination process takes around 3 to 7 days until they become marijuana seedlings.

With so many different ways to germinate marijuana seeds.

I have included as many as I could in this guide as the way to help you in starting a new life!

Start to Germinate your Cannabis Seeds

The best way I have found is to soak your seeds to give them a head start a speed up the process.

  • Grab a glass and fill it with room temperature reverse osmosis water or plain old filtered tap water.
  • Put your marijuana seeds into a glass of water.
  • Then place the glass in complete darkness either in a cupboard or enclosed container.

Grow Tip: If you want to germinate your seeds fast! Just add Hydrogen Peroxide 1 ml to every 100 ml of water.

In this process, the seeds absorb the water through the perianth layer or outer shell.

This process may take up to 24 hours.

After about 14 hours or more the seeds should now have sunk to the bottom.

They have now absorbed the required amount water to start the germination process.

When the seeds are still floating, then they may be bad seeds and might not be not viable.

If your marijuana seeds are still floating after 24 hours give the seeds a light tap to see if they sink. If they do, you got a keeper!

Now they are ready for the next step transferring into a medium or paper towel.

Paper Towel Method

The paper towel method is the most popular and easiest ways to ensure your seeds sprout.

When germinating marijuana seeds in paper towel.

  • Fold your paper towel into a rectangle or square and soak with reverse osmosis water or distilled water of your choice.
  • Place your fresh waterlogged seeds from the beginning process into the paper towel evenly spaced out
  • Fold the paper towel and place inside a zip lock bag or between two plates.
  • Place the zip lock bag or on top of the fridge with a regular dish towel over it or in a warm dark area.
  • Wait for 24 hours or up to 36 hours and make sure to check the paper towel to make sure it has not dried up.

The seeds should now have sprouted.

Your seeds are now ready for their starter growing medium

Use a pair of micro tweezers to gently grab the top of the seeds to transplant.

Jiffy or Coco Coir Pellet Method

This method is one of the best ways to germinate your marijuana seeds. It has a great advantage over some other methods.

A lot of growers experienced great germination results from these little inexpensive pellets.

They come highly recommended for beginners.

  • Fill a container with reverse osmosis water or filtered tap water ph balanced water to about half way. A big bowl works just fine
  • Place the pellets into the water
  • Wait until they expand and full of water
  • Optional if you deem it necessary: Gently squeeze the jiffy pot to release some water. (DO NOT Squish) be gentle
  • Squeeze the pellet to halfway closed at the bottom.

We do this so the seed does not fall into the lower part of the medium that would be tragic.

There is a hole in the top of the pellet this is where we will place the seed next. So the seed does not fall into the bottom of the medium that would be tragic.

  • Take your recently soaked cannabis seed and place it into the hole on top of the Jiffy Pot
  • Brush over with the rest of the peat or coco coir on top do not push down hard
  • Place into a humidity dome

Once your seed starts to sprout leave in the dome and releases the lid so they can breathe at least twice a day.

Make sure the temperature is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 23 to 27 degrees Celsius.

Humidity is around 70 to 80 percent.

The cannabis seedling should be at least 6-8 inches high before transplanting into a growing medium.

Soil Method

This method is relatively easy.

It’s just mixing soil and putting it into a sanitized container preferably not too large.

You do not place this in a humidity dome, just only make one with plastic wrap.

One other obvious note is that this method will be the only medium you can continue in.

  • Use your container and fill it with soil to just below the top
  • Dump into either a bigger shopping bag or into a bin
  • Slowly pour a small amount of reverse osmosis water over the soil. You just want the soil to be damp to the touch and to spring back after squeezing if it’s too moist add some more dry soil.
  • Mix with hands ( make sure you wash your hands!) or use some disposable vinyl gloves to keep thing sanitary for these new seeds!
  • Add the mixed soil to the sanitized container
  • With a finger and in the middle make an indent or hole about a half a centimeter or 2/8 of an inch deep
  • Take your seed that has sprouted by using a pair of micro tweezers. Gently grab the top to the seed and careful not to touch the tap root at all.
  • Next place the seed into the hole taproot facing down and lightly cover with some soil
  • If using the seed that has just sunk to the bottom of the glass, place it into the hole and cover with soil
  • Gently drop some water on the new surface, not too much.
  • Take some plastic wrap and place over the top of the container with some gap between the soil and the top
  • Place under a light of your choice
  • Your cannabis seed should sprout in 2-7 days.
See also  How Much Are Weed Seeds

A short video on using soil for germination,

Rockwool Method

This method works extremely well with hydroponic systems which include coco coir one of my favorite mediums and Hydroton clay pebbles.

If done right, you can obtain some massive roots systems which can then leads to huge buds!

I recommend wearing a cheap mask from the hardware store, some disposable vinyl gloves when handling rock wool.

Also use a chopstick or small screw driver to place a hole in the under side of the rock wool cube.

  • Pour reverse osmosis water ph balanced to 5.5 into a container that can hold the rock wool cubes.
  • I use 1.5 inch cubes
  • Place the rock wool cubes into the water and soak them until thoroughly drenched, at least a couple hours to soak.
  • Remove them from the water
  • Take a pair of scissor and place them in the hole of the top of the cube and slice a corner so it splits.
  • You should now be able to gently open it up
  • Take your seed that has sprouted by using a pair of micro tweezers. Gently grab the top to the seed and careful not to touch the tap root at all.
  • Place the seed into the hole taproot facing down and gently cover with some of the rock wool fiber.
  • Use an elastic band to close the cube and make sure it is a little tight to seal the seedling in place.
  • Put the cube in a humidity dome

Once your seed starts to sprout leave in the dome and releases the lid so they can breathe at least twice a day.

Make sure the temperature is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 23 to 27 degrees Celsius. With the humidity is around 70 to 80 percent.

The seedling should be at least 2-3 inches high before transplanting into a growing medium.

A short video on using rock wool for germination

Rapid Rooter Method

This method is the recommended alternative to rock wool method.

The “plugs” can be used in hydroponics setups the same way as Rockwool cubes.

Except it is possible to use these for soil method as well. Although not widely used as the peat pellets are cheaper and easier available.

  • Pour reverse osmosis water ph balanced into a container that can hold the Rapid Rooter plugs
  • Remove the “plugs” and let some of the water drain off
  • If using a soaked marijuana seed. Place it into the hole on the top of the plug and move some of the fiber across the top and place into humidity dome
  • Take your seed that has sprouted by using a pair of micro tweezers. Gently grab the top to the seed and careful not to touch the tap root at all.
  • Put the seed into the hole tap root facing down and gently cover with some of the Rapid Rooter fiber.
  • Place into a humidity dome

Once your seed starts to sprout leave in the dome and releases the lid so they can breathe at least twice a day.

Make sure the temperature is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 23 to 27 degrees Celsius. Have the humidity is around 70 to 80 percent.

The marijuana seedling should be at least 6-8 inches high before transplanting into a growing medium.

A short video on using rapid rooters for germination

Gear for Germinating

Below you will find a list of supplies you may require. All items are not that expensive, and many will get multiple uses.

Not all is needed depending on the method you choose

Cannabis Seeds can be purchased from a reputable Seed House online and or online suppliers.

Some retail stores in some parts of the world where it is either, legal or used medically.

I do not recommend using seeds that were from a recent purchase of Buds. As these seeds tend to be hermaphrodite and have poor germination. The perianth layer (outer shell) has damage due to the drying and process.


Soil this is one of many mediums. Marijuana seeds can be planted straight into or used as a medium to transplant.

I recommend one that is not time released nutrients.

Free of excess nutrient N-P-K and source one that is good overall and organic.

The most notable and easy to obtain almost everywhere is PROMIX.

Some other organic brands of soil are FOX FARMS (ocean forest ) and (happy frog) and Roots Organic or any other local brand.

You will also require a container to store the soil. I like the air pots, what I do is make my own out of Landscape fabric.

But remember any pot under 6-inch diameter will do. Even plastic cups work ( and they are cheap for the amount)

Jiffy Pellets(Peat Pellets) or Coco Coir Pellets. The pellets are filled with either peat or coco coir(coconut husks). And surround by a thin air flowing fabric.

Jiffies come in pellet form and to expand them you just soak them in water.

I highly recommend these for transplanting to soil or coco coir medium.

Organic / In-Organic Mediums

Rock wool Cubes are great inexpensive starter medium and come in many sizes.

Rock wool has many benefits but it does come at a cost to the environment.

It does this by being inert according to Wikipedia and not degrading and remain dormant in landfills.

On the other side of the coin, some would argue it is good for landfills. By providing air pockets in the landfill to assist on it breaking down.

I will show this method as some people do use this method with great success.

It has known that if done properly can grow massive plants with an enormous root system.

Also, they are resistant to mold and hold moisture extremely well. Rockwool is suitable for hydroponic growing.

There is an alternative to using rockwool if you are more conscious of the environment and looking for a bio-degradable solution they are the following.

Rapid Rooter Plugs are from a company called General Hydroponics. The plugs work by providing the balance of water to air. Which prevents rot and promotes root growth which is essential for your young seedlings starting out.

See also  How To Grow Autoflower Weed Seeds

Another version is also out called Root Riot.

The “plugs” are made up of composted organic matter held together by plant-derived polymers. The Rapid Rooter plugs could be transplanted to all growing mediums.


Light it is required for all plant growth stages except the very beginning. Some use just sunlight or a standard light bulb. These tend to get mediocre results.

There are all types of bulbs out there from your standard grow lights (HID) or LED to CFL and fluorescent.

When using, your grow lights do not place your lights to close to the new seedlings. The light will burn the leaves and kill the plant.

CFL Bulbs I recommend are full spectrum, at least, 5000K to 5800K with 45 watts or more. The bulbs can be obtained either online or at your nearest hardware store.

T5, T8, T12=(size of a bulb) high-intensity UVA UVB fluorescents or full spectrum bulbs.

The regular fluorescent bulbs work as well. You will need two different types of bulbs.

Cool White or a spectrum of 6500K and a Warm White(Soft White ) 2500k-3500k range.

Some growers use the UVA/UVB lights during the last two weeks of the growing cycle, and they say it can increase THC count by 5%

Green Lightbulb it can be either a CFL or regular incandescent bulb. This light is superb for the overall general grow. The green light does not interrupt the plant’s light cycle. Which is key to growth and overall well-being of the plant.

Additional Items

Humidity Domes are essential in keeping the humidity high for your new marijuana seedlings. Promoting healthy growth at the start is important for your marijuana flowers.

They are inexpensive, come in various sizes. Humidity domes can be used over and over again with a proper sanitation and cleaning.

RO (reverse osmosis) water or distilled water.

I do not recommend using tap water, even though it’s right there somewhat free.

There are many contaminants in the water that will affect the new seeds growth. Either excessive ph or calcium fluoride just to name a few.

Paper Towel (3 sheets ) and a Ziplock bag this is pretty self-explanatory

Portable temperature and humidity meter. These can be purchased for around ten dollars or online at Amazon

Optional Hydrogen peroxide. A small amount of Hydrogen peroxide adds to the cup of water for germinating.

After germinating cannabis seeds

Now for the time after you have planted your marijuana seeds and are facing the challenges after germination.

There will be many obstacles.

You are not home free from here. You have to deal with:

  • Possible mold
  • Spider mites
  • Small flies
  • Over watering
  • Neglect
  • Power outages
  • The possibilities are endless.

But in all seriousness, it should be no problem from here.

By following the simple steps listed above it should guarantee you success. The next time you germinate those marijuana seeds.

In the next month or so depending on the size you want, you can start to focus on transplanting.

This guide, I have touched on virtually all methods with some added awareness to different steps.

Let me know in the comment your preferred method, and how your plants are doing.

Germinate Seeds for DWC (Hydroponic Germination)

This guide will show you how to germinate seeds for DWC (Deep Water Culture) growing.

Starting from clones is much easier than starting from seed when it comes to DWC. Seeds are fragile and require extra care when being propagated for hydroponics. This is probably the one area where soil growers have an edge over DWC. Since soil typically contains trace nutrients simply plopping a seed in moist soil is usually all it takes to get a healthy 3-4″ plant.

Materials Required for DWC Germination:

Paper Towel Germination

Start your DWC germination using a moist paper towel. Wet 2-3 sheets of paper towel using tap water. I don’t bother with adjusting pH this early into the grow. Ring the paper towel out so that it is moist but not dripping.

4.4g dry weight, 35g wet weight for the nerds out there

Spread the seeds out over the paper towel and fold over so that the seeds are sandwiched by at least two layers of paper towel. Work with clean hands and minimize air exposure after soaking.

Put this somewhere warm, 80F is ideal for germination but in my experience, anything above 65F will work fine.

Top of the fridge is an oft-recommended spot but when I actually tested surface temperatures in my house the top of my fridge was about 5 degrees colder than the top shelf in my pantry

If you live in a very cold climate like me and my fellow Canadians you can put the seeds in the oven with the light on to generate a bit of heat. Goes without saying you should put a sign up if you are using the oven method!

After 1-2 days the seedlings should crack and the taproot will begin growing. Leave them a few more days.

After 3-5 days the taproot should be over 1″ long. This is when they are ready for transplant. The seeds were a freebie so I’m ok with the 66% success rate. Typically, you should have 90% or greater germination rate for high-quality genetics.

Rockwool Sleeve

EDIT: Since writing this post I have tried inserting the rooted seedling directly into the foam collar and found it works just as well. IMO the rockwool sleeve is not necessary.

What I do next is something I came up with out of necessity. A full rockwool cube I find to be unnecessarily large. If you’ve read my DIY Cloner article you’ll know that I feel Rockwool can create a low oxygen environment where pathogens thrive.

Rockwool serves a purpose for hydroponics germination. It helps protect fragile taproots and holds water between spraying.

Start by soaking your Rockwool in pH 5.5 water.

Take a Rockwool starter plug and cut it into 4 long strips. Use a clean knife to cut a slit in these strips.

Place the germinated taproot into the slit that you created.

Rockwool Sleeves for Foam Cloning Collars

As per my DIY cloner article I prefer foam collars over neroprene. The foam holds up better and surprisingly absorbs less water.

Trim the foam collar to create room for the Rockwool sleeve

Aeroponics Cloning Nutrient Solution

  • 1 Gallon Water (Target pH 5.5) (1 mL each Micro, Gro & Bloom)
  • 1.2 mL of Rapid Start

A few drops of pH Down gets me down to 5.5

See also  White Weed Seeds

Unlike soil (which has trace nutrients) cloning/germination in hydroponics requires immediate additions of nutrients. Once you get the pH to 5.5 add:

  • 1.2 mL GH Rapid Start
  • 1 mL of FloraGro
  • 1 mL of FloraMicro
  • 1 mL of FloraBloom

My starting ppm was 100 and the final ppm was around 300.

Seedling Growth

From here the process is the same as with clones. Simply run the pump on a cycle timer and let nature do its work.

The plants will not look happy on day one, but don’t worry they will perk up quickly under the light.

Rockwool Watering (Why I started using aeroponics for germination)

aeroponics cloner I needed to water the seedlings multiple times per day, even with the humidity dome! You can also see why I have the plants so close to my light now. Fluorescents are not very strong and can cause extreme stretching if they are not within a few inches of the plants.

Germinate Marijuana Seeds

We kind of view this as unnecessary, but have added it in because many people swear by it. The theory is that by weakening the tough hull, it makes it easier for the tender seed to emerge. Some gardeners use a nail file to put a small nick in the marijuana seed; others use sandpaper to thin and scratch the hull.

Peat pellets or Jiffy pots and Rapid rooters

These can be found at most garden centers in home improvement or large department stores such as Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, etc. These are thin wafers filled with peat (Jiffy Pots) or composted bark (Rapid Rooter) and a fabric outer layer that plump up considerable when wet and only cost about 10 cents apiece when bought in bulk though most are sold with a plastic humidity dome. From experience, these are the most foolproof method we have yet to use and have a high success rate. Simply wet the wafer and after it expands, push the marijuana seed in the center just until it is no longer visible. Then place the pot in the humidity dome and wait. Several days after the sprout appears, put the peat pot in the medium of your choice. Success can be high with this method. Rockwool cubes used for germination Rockwool is made out of spun melted rock or mineral fibers. They hold moisture quite easily and may be used in the same manner as peat pellets. Because they are slower to dry out, a humidity dome is usually not required. Starting the seed off in Rockwool is an excellent method of germinating marijuana seeds especially if you are going to use hydroponics for growing. One of the best characteristics of Rockwool is it contains a lot of air and is generally a nice start to your seeds life. Try and use 1 inch X 1 inch cubes, soak the cubes with water then squeeze a little excess water out, place the seeds (sideways) into a small hole in the top, pinch the hole together or cover with more Rockwool, then place the Rockwool cubes in a tray container. You can fill the container with water later on and the Rockwool will suck it up using capillary action. Try and use good quality spring water, it can be the cheap stuff, or rain but it is better than water from the faucet which might be outside the pH required by marijuana. Place the tray in a warm dark spot to germinate. After a day or so you will see the seeds crack open and the roots take hold in the medium. You can then transplant the entire Rockwool cube over to the main hydroponic system.

How to look after marijuana seedlings

Your marijuana plant will start to grow very quickly after germination. It is very fragile when it is small and sometime growers put a humidity dome over the top of them which protects and keeps them warmer but make sure there are holes drilled into the dome so that some air can make it in. Keep the seedlings away from draughts and use a very diluted nutrient mix when watering. Pot it up to a bigger pot once it has established itself and filled the pot or container you started it in.

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Final notes on marijuana seed germination:

No matter which method you use, the temperature requirement is the same. Optimal is about 75º to 80ºF (24º C to 26.8ºC). Going above 90º F (32.2º C) can damage the seedling. Seedlings may still germinate as low as 65º F (18.3º C), but will take longer. Germinating marijuana seeds is quite easy, so why do people struggle so? Too wet, too cool and too much handling are the main culprits. Many growers swear by the use of distilled or RO (reverse osmosis) filtered water. We have just about the hardest tap water in the USA, yet never have any problems. Use purified water if it makes you feel better, but personally we see no need to. If you are or want to be a serious grower, keep different weed strains separate from each other. Be sure to label your seeds with which strain and date before you start germination.

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