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How to germinate Cannabis seeds.

Updated: Jan 26, 2023


1. Confirm your seed supplier has properly produced and stored the seed you will germinate.

2. Clean your seed. A little soap and water should do the trick.

3. Start indoors using the paper towel method

4. Transfer to pot with good soil and water gently

Every plant seed requires unique conditions to germinate. Some need a cold spell to condition them, others require direct sunlight or fungal symbioses that present the best opportunity for germination.

Cannabis seeds are extremely versatile. The cannabis plant grows in many conditions around the world. Seeds can be hardy well below zero degrees fahrenheit and survive in dry and desert conditions. For this reason cannabis seeds are easy to germinate.

If you have tried germinating cannabis seeds before without success in may not be your fault. Cannabis seeds begin to loose viability with time. Seeds should always be stored in a consistent cold temperature to remain viable for long periods of time. Seeds stored at room temperature may only be viable for several years. If your seeds do not germinate using the following methods it is appropriate to contact the seed supplier and inquire the age of the seed batch. In addition seed shells can host a number of fungal spores that may affect germination and plant health. Bacterial spores especially can kill a seedling while it emerges if the conditions favor the fungi. If the seed supplier has produced seeds in contaminated space, those spores often pass the fungi to the next generation. It is important that the seed producer takes all measures to be transparent about their practices to ensure the best viable seed.

Cleaning your seed is a precautionary step that ensures the shell of your seeds are clean. Swish your seeds in a mixture of soap and water for five minutes and remove them using a paper towel or strainer to catch the seed. An additional wash in 5% bleach solution for several minutes can be taken as well to fully sterilize the seed coat.

Germination conditions for cannabis are very broad. Germination can occur in temperatures ranging from 35-90 degrees fahrenheit. Moisture is essential for germination. Clean fresh water should always be used to germinate seeds.

Starting cannabis seed indoors has the advantage of being able to manage closely the conditions under which the seeds are sprouted. The paper towel method is a reliable and easy way to achieve this for the small time grower. Follow the easy step below.

The Paper Towel Method

1. Clean hands with soap and water

2. Fold a paper towel so that it is serval sheets thick and soak it in clean water

3. Press seed into the paper towel so that they stick in place

4. Place paper towel inside a zip lock back and set on a partially sunny window sill

5. Seed can be transplanted carefully once germinated. I like to wait until the seed husk has been shed and transport them grasping the leaf to avoid damage to the roots or stem.

6. Plant seedling into moistened well composed soil by creating an indent, inserting the roots and carefully covering the base of the seedling. Water gently.


Germinating many cannabis seeds in greenhouse conditions for mass production takes the same conditions as starting seeds in the windowsill.

1. First determine how many seeds you would like to germinate and place them in a secure top container to bring to the greenhouse. Do not bring more than you need. Accidents happen and loosing or damaging seed is more likely to happen in the outdoor environment.

2. Gather the amount of trays needed to sprout the cannabis seed. I use 32 cell trays that are two and a half inches deep and 1.5 inches in top diameter. These size trays work best for most tow behind transplanters.

3. Fill trays loosely with a well composed started mix and stack them for transportation. The underside of each tray will slightly pack the soil on the tray below it.

4. Lay the trays out on the bench tightly together and water the soil thoroughly with a soft hose nozzle. Water until trays are thoroughly soaked and heavy when lifted.

5. Trays can them be stacked again and set in a comfortable workstation where sowing can begin.

6. Have labels and a marker ready to label each individual tray with tag facing towards the isle with legible variety name and date sown.

7. Place your thumb and forefinger a quarter inch up from the butt end of a permanent marker pinching it between them. This will be your gauge for planting depth. Use that end to poke a hole in the center of each cell, stopping when your fingertips contact the soil. This should ensure that each indent is the appropriate depth for germination.

8. Removing enough seed to fill the palm of one hand pick several seed between your other hands fingers and drop a single seed in each cell. Keeping the planting hand dry ensures that seeds do not stick to the hand making them unwieldy.

9. Once sown pinch each indent closed burying the seed beneath the soil.

10. Place the sown tray onto the greenhouse bench and water in lightly. Keep soil moist. While germinating shade cover can be used to reduce evaporation and cut down on waterings. When seeds sprout remove the shade cloth for maximum light.

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