Germination is the process in which a new plant begins to grow from seed. Also referred to as “popping,” germination is the very first step in starting your cannabis garden.
When acquiring seeds, you want to make sure they are mature and that they appear dark brown with lighter accents and a rugged feel. You don’t want a seed that feels fresh and looks green, which indicates that the seed hasn’t reached full maturity.
Once you have your cannabis seeds, make sure you have the space necessary to allow your plants to grow and be healthy. Don’t pop seeds when you are unsure of your grow space, time availability, or intention with your garden.
What’s the best way to germinate cannabis seeds?
Cannabis seeds require three things to germinate: water, heat, and air. Because of this, there are many methods to germinate your seeds. The most common and simplest method involves the use of paper towels saturated in water.
For this method you will need:
- Two clean plates
- Paper towels
Take four sheets of paper towels and soak them in distilled water. The sheets should be soaked but shouldn’t have excess water running off.
Take two of the paper towels and place them on a plate. Then, place the cannabis seeds at least an inch apart from each other and cover them with the remaining two sheets of water-soaked paper towels.
To create a dark, protected space, take another plate and flip it over to cover the seeds (like a dome).
Make sure the area they’re kept in is warm, somewhere between 70-90°F.
After these steps have been completed, it’s time to wait. You can check the paper towels to make sure they’re still saturated, and if they seem to be losing their moisture, you can apply more water to keep the seeds happy.
Some seeds germinate very rapidly while others can take several days. You know a seed has germinated once the seed splits and a single sprout appears.
This is the taproot, which will become the main stem of the plant, and seeing it is a sign of successful germination. It’s important to keep this area sterile, so don’t touch the seed or taproot as the seed begins to split.
Transplanting germinated cannabis seeds
Once you see the taproot, it’s time to transfer your germinated seed into its growing medium. Small 2-inch pots are a good place to start.
Fill the pots with loose, airy potting soil and poke a hole in the middle about a quarter-inch down using a pen or pencil.
To transfer the seed, use a pair of tweezers to gently pick it up, then drop the seed in the hole with the taproot facing down. Lightly cover it with soil.
Next, you’ll need to water the soil. Initially, use a spray bottle to provide moisture without over-saturating the soil. You want to give the seed water, but over-watering can suffocate and kill the delicate sprout.
Pay attention to the temperature and the moisture level of the soil to keep the seed happy, and within a week or so you should see a seedling begin to grow from the soil.
Germinating seeds doesn’t always go as planned. Some seeds will be duds. Others will be slow and take longer to sprout. But some will pop quickly and grow rapidly. This is the beauty of seeds—often, you can tell which plants or genetics will thrive right from the get-go. This will help you determine which plants you want to take cuttings from for clones and which to breed with other strong plants to create a seed bank of your own.
In the world of plants, reproduction can happen in a variety of ways. Monoecious plants produce two different types of flowers on the same plant, and hermaphrodite plants grow single flowers that have both male and female reproductive organs.
Cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning male or female reproductive organs appear on different plants.
With cannabis, females are usually isolated away from males—introducing males into a garden will result in pollination, causing females to create seeds.
This is important for a breeder to achieve new genetics, but most growers remove the males to allow females to produce seedless buds, also called sinsemilla. These are the resinous buds that appear on the store shelf; they all come from female plants.
Seeded buds are generally regarded as low-quality cannabis.
To ensure female genetics, one can acquire clones and utilize feminization methods (genetic modification). For those working with regular seeds, it is crucial to know how to determine the sex of your plant. This knowledge is invaluable for developing new genetics, collecting seeds, or cultivating sinsemilla. Mastering this skill is essential for achieving optimal results in your cannabis cultivation endeavors.
What are hermaphrodite cannabis plants?
Hermaphrodite cannabis can express both sex organs and self-pollinate. (Amy Phung/Leafly)
When a female plant possesses both male and female sex organs, it is classified as a hermaphrodite. This means your cannabis plant is now capable of producing pollen that can pollinate your entire garden. “Herming out,” as some call it, is something that generally happens when a plant becomes excessively stressed. Some plant stressors include:
- Plant damage
- Bad weather
- Nutrient deficiencies
There are two types of hermaphrodite plants. Although both lead to pollen production, true hermaphrodites develop sacs that must rupture, while anthers are exposed as pollen-producing stamens.
The other primary cause of hermaphrodite plants lies in the plant’s genetics. To safeguard your garden, it is advisable to steer clear of plants with inferior genetics or a track record of hermaphrodite development. If you notice any pollen sacs or anthers at any point, remove the plant from your garden immediately to prevent pollination of female plants.
When considering pollination for your crop, keep in mind that pollen is highly potent and exceptionally adept at dispersal. Keep your males intended for pollination far from your garden space and work carefully with that pollen.
Ready to start your cannabis garden? Learn how to properly germinate and grow cannabis seeds for successful cultivation! Check out our store for premium seeds and start your growing journey today! Contact us for any assistance or questions. Happy growing!
*Always consult a physician before making any changes to your health or fitness regimen.*