How To Germinate Weed Seeds For Hydroponics

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How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds: 4 Different Methods Plus Expert Tips 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 A lot of people are constantly put off when it comes to germinating cannabis seeds hydroponically. This is because of how time-consuming it is and how much effort it requires. But one thing they do…

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When it comes to how to germinate marijuana seeds, every gardener knows that you must plant a seed to grow a garden. B

But you say “Mitch, what about clones? They’re not seeds.”

This is true, but at some point in a young clone’s life there was a seed planted to produce its mother. So, it all starts with the seed.

Learn how to germinate marijuana seeds in this comprehensive tutorial from Grow Weed Easy. It covers everything you need to know, and quite possibly things you don’t, to insure those expensive, hard to come by, marijuana seeds, are put to good use. So, without further ado:

How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds Introduction

Cannabis seed germination is the process of getting your seeds to sprout.

You know sprouting has occurred when a little white tendril pops out of the seed.

The little white tendril that emerges from a cannabis seed during germination is your plant’s first root, known as a “taproot.”

All other roots made by your cannabis plant in its lifetime will sprout from the taproot.

The taproot – and maybe a few tiny early offshoots of the taproot – will get longer and longer, pushing the seed up, and after the shell breaks through the surface of your growing medium, the first leaves (these first round leaves are known as “cotyledons”) will emerge from inside the cannabis seed.

The cotyledons were already created as part of the plant embryo in the seed itself, so the cannabis seedling doesn’t have to grow them.

In fact, the emerging first leaves are what break apart the shell after it’s cracked open by the taproot, as pictured here.

The next set of leaves after the cotyledons are your plants first “true” leaves and will have jagged edges. They are the first leaves that your seedling cannabis plant has grown all on its own.

How do I know if I have good cannabis seeds?

Generally, pale-green or white seeds will not germinate, but most dark seeds will germinate when given good conditions.

I used to believe that marijuana seeds were only “good” if they were extremely hard and very dark.

One of the first tests I heard to check new cannabis seeds for viability was to try to crush them between my fingers. If the seeds could be crushed, they weren’t good, or so I was told. This has proven to be absolutely terrible advice!

Some of the best plants I have ever grown have emerged from seeds which were flimsy and could be crushed between my fingers.

As long as you provide great marijuana germination conditions. As long as you start with good genetics, Seemingly “weak” seeds can germinate and produce amazingly hardy plants with great buds.

NOTE: Most of the medical strains of marijuana we grow today have been bred over many years to produce plants that are easy to grow and which produce potent, medicinal buds. That’s good genetics.

However, these strains have not been selected for the toughness of the seeds they produce since that isn’t important to us as growers.

If the seed germinates, it’s a good seed!

What Do Marijuana Seeds Need to Germinate?

When germinating cannabis seeds, think springtime conditions.

In the wild, nature would germinate marijuana seeds in the spring so they can be ready to take full advantage of longer summer days.

If you follow the guidelines outlined below, you will see the best germination rates:

    Moisture – Keep things moist but not soaking (you can soak hard seeds for up to 24-32 hours, but do not leave seeds soaking in water for longer than that). If a seed’s root breaks through the shell and the moisture around has dried up, your seedling will die. Plain and simple.

How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds Method 1: Starter Cubes & Seedling Plugs (Recommended)

One of the best cannabis germination methods is to use specifically-made starter cubes and seedling plugs.

These plugs make cannabis germination easy. You simply place the seed in the cube or plug, add water as directed, and seedlings automatically get the perfect conditions for germination.

Each cube or plug already has a hole specifically for you to place your seed. Just stick your seed into the precut hole and pinch the top closed a bit with your fingers. Don’t worry, you can’t mess this part up As long as the seed makes it in there, you should be good.

This is one of the easiest germination methods, and doesn’t leave a lot of room for error.

Cannabis seeds and clones can be expensive, and sometimes we have genetics we just can’t afford to lose. When that’s the case, germinate your cannabis with one of the following recommended options to ensure as close to 100% germination rate as possible.

Which Starter Cubes Work Best for Germinating Cannabis?

Rapid Rooters

Rapid Rooters are easy to work with you just stick your cannabis seed in the Rapid Rooter (pointy side down), keep your seed warm and slightly moist, and let the Rapid Rooter do its magic.

Sprouts emerge and roots appear in just a few days.

Rapid rooter starter cubes are suitable for all growing methods, including hydroponics, coco coir and soil. They work for every setup and come from General Hydroponics, a trusted company (the same one used by NASA) which is known for the quality and consistency of its products.

I highly recommend using Rapid Rooters over any other starter plugs. They are less prone to problems and work great with any growing medium (including hydroponic systems).

  • Easy to Use – You Can’t Really Mess Up
  • No Prep or Setup – Open the Package and Go
  • Some of the Best Germination Rates of Any Method

Cons of Rapid Rooters

  • Can only get 50+ at a time (General Hydroponics currently does not offer fewer plugs per package)
  • After opening the package, you only have a week or two before they dry out, so if you’re only germinating one or two seeds, you’ll end up having to throw many of the Rapid Rooters away.
See also  Hybrid Marijuana Seeds

There are a few different options for Rapid Rooters, which can be confusing if you’re not sure what you want. The 3 different options for Rapid Rooters are listed here.

Round on bottom instead of being a cube, which means they cannot stand up on their own. These are best suited to a hydroponic setup where the Rapid Rooter will be placed directly in the final destination. In our hydroponic setups, we’ve had near 100% germination rates with Rapid Rooters, better than any other seedling cube we’ve tried.

  • Round on bottom (won’t stand up by themselves without support) unless you squish the bottom so it’s flat like this grower did (pic)
  • Great for starting with Rapid Rooter directly in final destination (hydro, soil, coco coir, etc)
  • Get 50 Rapid Rooters at a time

Rapid Rooters Mat

This type of Rapid Rooters comes in a mat of (usually 98) Rapid Rooters. All the individual Rapid Rooters are sectioned off and have a hole for the seed, but they must be cut or pulled away from the complete mat. Unlike the type of Rapid Rooters that comes in a bag, these ones are made into cubes, and are flat on bottom so they can stand alone. This makes them good for germinating in a shallow pool of water where the cubes need to be able to stand up on their own.

Pros of Rapid Rooters Mats

  • Easily break cubes off the mat (already sectioned off with precut holes)
  • Already shaped like cubes with flat bottoms, so they easily stand up by themselves
  • Good for seamlessly transplanting your seedlings somewhere else
  • Get 98 Rapid Rooters at a time

Rapid Rooters Tray

The Rapid Rooters tray is perfect for seeds or clones.

Allow your young plants to sit in the tray with water until their roots are well formed and ready to be transplanted to your final destination. The standard size tray fits most humidity domes.

You can refill the tray with Rapid Rooters from the bag or mat.

The Rapid Rooter Tray comes packaged up. Once you open the package, you will see 50 Rapid Rooters already set in the tray.

The resting place for each Rapid Rooter has a hole on the bottom so water within the tray is wicked up. The top part comes apart from the bottom.

Just add your seeds and pour some water into the tray – the Rapid Rooters will do everything else for you.

  • Perfect for cloning or starting seeds with a vented humidity dome (standard 10-inch by 20-inch dome – 7-inch height recommended for cannabis seeds or clones)
  • Easy to transplant to new destination
  • Just add water and seeds, that’s it!
  • Whole tray can be refilled with any type of Rapid Rooters (from bag or mat)
  • Comes with 50 Rapid Rooters, ready to go

Cannabis Seed Germination Station

One option for growers is to use a tool which has been specifically designed to provide optimal germination conditions like this germination station with heat mat.

You can make a DIY germination station at home by putting a plastic dome over a plate of Rapid Rooters on a heating pad.

There are benefits to the professionally made germination stations as they work very well and are pretty cheap to buy.

Rockwool Cubes (Not Recommended)

It’s often hydroponic cannabis growers who use rockwool cubes since these can be safely placed in hydroponic setups, hold a lot of moisture, and are resistant to mold.

Rockwool is cheap and easy to find. It comes in convenient cubes. But it does have some major drawbacks.

Pros of Rockwool

  • Cheap & Easy to Find
  • Inert Medium (useful for hydroponic growers)

Cons of Rockwool

  • Bad for the environment (unnatural material that does not break down)
  • Bad for your health (especially your lungs) – wear gloves and cover your mouth/eyes when handling rockwool
  • Has a pH that is too high for cannabis, so it must be thoroughly rinsed and treated
  • Poor cloning and germination rates
  • Difficult for new growers

Always use a mask, goggles and gloves when working with rockwool.

If you do use rockwool, it’s recommended you germinate your seeds using another method like the paper towel method, then transplant your seeds to the rockwool cubes after roots have already appeared.

I highly recommend using Rapid Rooters instead for your hydroponic application (or any grow setup), as they are much more user-friendly and tend to get far better germination rates.

Jiffy Pellets

Jiffy Pellets are used in a similar way to rockwool cubes, though these tend to get much better germination results.

Jiffy pellets are not suitable for most hydroponic setups where the roots are grown directly in water, but Jiffy Pellets can be directly transferred into soil or coco coir or soil.

Pros of Jiffy Pellets

  • Good Germination Rates for Soil and Coco Coir
  • Good for Cloning
  • Come in dried pellets, so they can be kept for a long time

Cons of Jiffy Pellets

  • Not suitable for hydroponic setups
  • Must be soaked to expand each pellet before use

How to Use
Soak Jiffy pellets in warm water, which makes the pellets expand in size, as pictured below.

Once the compressed Jiffy pellets have expanded in warm water, gently squeeze excess water from each pellet and you’re ready to go. Treat them the same as Rapid Rooters.

How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds Method 2: Plant marijuana seeds directly in growing medium

Sometimes nature’s way is the easiest way. In nature, marijuana seedlings sprout from the soil as their taproots start growing down.

As a grower, you can also plant your seeds directly in your final growing medium. This works in all growing mediums, though some can be tougher than others.

One of the biggest benefits of planting your seed directly in the growing medium is you don’t have to worry about shocking your young seedling during transplant.

Because your seed is already in its final resting place, your new seedling will immediately start adjusting to the environment. Every time you transplant a sprouted seed, it can cause stress as the young plant needs to readjust its new surroundings.

  • Soil – Plant seeds a knuckle deep (0.5-1 inch OR 1.3 cm – 2.5 cm) in moist yet not soaking soil. Use a light or a heating pad to keep things warm. This is one of the easiest marijuana germination methods for beginners. or other soilless growing medium – Plant in a similar way to soil.
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How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds Method 3: Soak marijuana seeds in water overnight

Another method to germinate marijuana seeds is to soak them overnight in slightly warm water, usually done in a glass drinking cup.

This method is especially effective for seeds which have extra hard shells, or seeds which are older (more than a few years old).

The warm overnight soaking can help “wake up” older seeds.

Most viable seeds will start out floating, and then eventually sink to the bottom of your glass after a few hours of soaking.

If soaked in a clear drinking glass, you will see when the little white tap root first breaks through the shell.

Some seeds take longer than others to sprout. Especially older seeds, they tend to need longer to pierce through their shell. However, if seeds are left soaking too long, and haven’t yet sprouted, they can drown.

Therefore, do not leave seeds soaking in water for more than 24-32 hours.

After 24 hours, I recommend putting any still-ungerminated seeds in a warm, moist place to finish germinating.

How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds Method 4: Paper plate method

This is old school and a very tried and true method.

To germinate seeds, wet a paper towel and then fold your seeds in it, then leave the paper towel in a warm place.

There is also the possibility of having the towel dry out which will kill your new seeds so I recommend putting your paper towel under an upside down bowl or between two paper plates.

Also, if you move the paper towel to the upper edge of the plate, leaving part of it near the center, you can put a bit of water in the center of the plate. This allows moisture to wick up the paper towel leaving the seeds out of direct contact with the puddle.

If you germinate marijuana seeds in a paper towel, be very careful when moving them to your grow medium. There is the risk of hurting the tap root (the little white root that grows out of your seeds) when moving the sprouted seeds. Make sure you are careful when you’re checking to see if the seeds sprouted.

Check on germinating seeds once every 12 hours or so, making sure not to disturb them or their root. Plant any seeds which have sprouted right away.

That’s it, we’ve just sprouted. It’s really not hard to grow marijuana. Just plant a seed, water it and watch it grow.

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.

Best Way to Germinate Cannabis Seeds for Hydroponics

A lot of people are constantly put off when it comes to germinating cannabis seeds hydroponically. This is because of how time-consuming it is and how much effort it requires.

But one thing they do not know is that growing seeds in a hydroponic system will minimize the damage the seeds can get through other methods of germination.

What you Need for your Hydroponic System

First, you need to have a grow tray (not to be mistaken for grow tents) to hold your plants in a hydroponic system. This will create an ideal environment for your plants to grow in. Also, to avoid certain diseases and pests that usually comes along whenever a hydroponic system is set up.

Inside your grow tray, you should invest in a heater or heating mat to maintain a temperature that will encourage growth in your seeds. Aside from that, proper lighting should be installed as well to help your seeds sprout.

Another important thing to take note of is the pot where the germination will take place. You may want to buy starter cubes that can withstand being soaked for a very long time. Rockwool has got to be one of those products that will not dissolve in water.

Step by Step directions for ontogenesis Seeds during a aquacultural System

  1. The first thing that you should do is to soak your starter cubes or Rockwool in clean water for an hour. Once they have been given a chance to soak, place a few seeds into the cube’s hole. You may want to add a few more on each cube, just in case some seeds do not germinate.
  2. Once they sprout, you can take out the weaker or unsuccessful plants to allow the strongest to prosper instead.
  3. Prepare the grow tray with an inch of clean water or a nutrient solution that is not too strong.
  4. Arrange the light source and heating mat until a suitable environment is met. You can keep the lid on to stay the warmth and wetness within the receptacle.
  5. Place the planted cubes into the grow tray and add water or the half-strength nutrient solution.
  6. After regarding four days, you’ll start to see some sprouts emerging.

Apparently, some people prefer to use Ziploc bags, rather than getting grow tray when trying to get the seeds to germinate since it functions as a greenhouse. There is nothing really wrong about that. Just make sure to seal the bag with a little bit of air and place it in a dark place for four days to get the seeds to sprout. After that, you can put the starter cubes with sprouted seeds into the grow tray.

Another method is by using a paper towel. You can easily achieve this by following the steps below:

  1. Soak four sheets of towel in water. Once soaked, you must make sure that there is water dripping off of those sheets. Too much water is not good for the seeds.
  2. Set two paper sheets on one of the plates and place the seeds at least 1 inch apart from each other. After that, cover them with the other two sheets.
  3. Cover the seeds with the second plate to keep the moisture is locked in. Be sure that you check the seeds regularly to see if they have sprouted or not.
  4. This is where you will find out if your seeds have a chance to prosper.
    Always be sure that the seeds are stored in a room where the temperature is maintained between 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Cannabis seeds usually sprout within 1–4 days. However, there are other seeds, older seeds to be exact, that often take up to a week to sprout.
  6. Whenever you try to check the seeds, make sure that the towels are moist. If the towels are dry, just add enough water, not too much.

You can understand that germination has occurred because the seed will split, and a touch root seems. Be sure that you don’t touch the taproot when it sprouts or during the transplantation process since it is very fragile.

Just be sure to use a paper towel that is nonporous. Using a porous paper towel will cause the cannabis seeds to cling to the pores of the paper towels.

Conclusion

Although you may not be successful at first, that is just part of life. You win, you lose; all that matters is
that you learn through these experiences. Even if you lose a few seeds in the process, you should not be disheartened by it since it happens to everyone — even if you follow the rules and step as meticulously as possible.

The Weed Blog has an article that directly compares traditional soil germination and hydroponics. Have a read at it if you are still undecided on what method to use; it might help.

Germinating through the process of Hydroponics is definitely a chore, but it is still worth it once you see the roots of your cannabis plants soaking wet and brimming with life. Once you succeed, you will be enjoying every hit you take from your own weed growth.

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