Germination of cannabis seeds

The first stage for any grower is germinating the seeds. To achieve best results, we should use healthy, quality cannabis seeds. All seeds from Philosopher Seeds come in labeled packages with a batch identification number, so the product tracking is much easier.

Although seeds do not need much to germinate, we do have to consider a few basic aspects to be successful. It’s kind of a prenatal stage in which the grower has to be very careful to meet the few needs of the seeds during this phase.

What are the needs of a seed to germinate?

First of all, we should state that healthy and viable seeds do not need any type of additive or special handling to germinate.

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Germination of a cannabis seed

Basically, seeds need 3 things to germinate:

  • High moisture level (80-100%)
  • Average temperatures (20-24ºC)
  • A bit of oxygen

For this article, we used Heaven’s Fruit and Spicy CBD / SuperJuani seeds.

Philosopher Seeds
Cannabis root hairs

Different propagation media for germinating cannabis seeds

These are the most commonly used mediums to germinate marijuana seeds:

  • Glass of water: Some growers use a simple glass of water to germinate their seeds. You just have to put them in the water and in few days you’ll see the radicle sprouting. This method works well especially for hydrating the seeds, but we must remember that they can’t be soaked in water for more than 2-3 days, otherwise they may rot. Using RO water is advised, although you can also use tap water (let it set for some hours so it reaches room temperature and all chlorine is evaporated). Once you see the radicle, it is time to plant the seeds in a suitable growing media. Many growers add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to the water to accelerate the process.

    Philosopher Seeds
    Cannabis seeds germinating in a glass of water
  • Paper towel: Probably, the most commonly used technique. Just place your seeds between two moist paper towels (do not use too much water, you just want the paper towels to be humid). You can place the paper towels on a dish or tray and leave it in a dark, well ventilated area with constant temperature. The paper towels should never dry, so we’ll have to check them regularly (twice a day) to ensure proper germination.

    Philosopher Seeds
    Germination of cannabis seeds on paper towels

    Philosopher Seeds
    Seed ready to transplant
  • Peat Moss Pellets: These small pellets, made of dehydrated peat moss or coco coir, have to be hydrated before use. They are easy to store since they take few space when not hydrated. They retain moisture and have a correct amount of oxygen.
  • Rockwool: Small rockwool cubes are also used to root cuttings and germinate seeds. However, they retain lots of water, which means less oxygen. Always try not to hydrate them too much.
  • Rooting cubes: With a texture similar to foam, these cubes are made of composted organic matter and have an excellent water/air relation, perfect to germinate seeds.
  • Definitive substrate: Of course, a pot filled with growing media can also be used to germinate our seeds. If you are using clay pebbles, mapito, volvanic rock, etc. you should previously germinate your seeds in another medium, preferably rockwool or rooting cubes.

    Philosopher Seeds
    Transplanting the seed

Regardless of the chosen substrate, put the seeds about 2-3mm deep and cover them with a thin layer of substrate. Always remember that seeds are living organisms and some of them may be weaker than others. We are especially concerned about customer satisfaction and always encourage you to tell us your experience. Producing seeds is a passion for us!

Seed banks do not produce seeds but optimism!” Goeffrey Stephen Hamilton

Grow lights for germinating cannabis seeds

Right after the seedlings start sprouting from the seeds, they need a light source for proper growth.

If you are growing cannabis outdoors, make sure that your plants have enough sunlight for proper development.

Philosopher Seeds
Seedlings sprouting under fluorescent tubes

On the other hand, if you’re growing indoors, use fluorescent tubes or CFLs during the first days. In some days/weeks, you can change to MH lamps or LEDs, always checking the temperatures inside the grow room.


There is a method for germinating aged seeds which have lost most of their germination capacity. Although this method is not necessary to germinate our seeds, it can be useful for some of you.

This method implies keeping the seeds at very low temperatures for a short amount of time, and then let it reach room temperature slowly. In this way, we replicate the winter-spring period, which stimulates the germination of seeds. Seeds are kept for 3 days in the freezer, 3 more days in the fridge and 3 more days at room temperature before starting the germination process.

The best method to germinate cannabis seeds

There is neither a miraculous technique to germinate seeds, nor a miraculous method to grow cannabis. Each grower has its own preferences depending on knowledge, equipment,etc. The key point is understanding the needs of the plant.

If you have further questions or doubts before germinating your seeds, do not hesitate to leave a comment here, we’ll be pleased to help you in any way we can!

Comments in “Germination of cannabis seeds” (6)


GreenFarmer 2021-08-06
I’m just starting to learn through trial and error. I’m getting seeds from people who sell, not from seed banks. I’ve been trying about 5 seeds using variations of germinations methods - but the yield is pretty low. For peace of mind, is germination or a sprout guaranteed from every seed?

Philosopher seeds Staff

Tim 2021-08-16
Hi GreenFramer, thanks for your comment. If a seed has been properly maintained in a cool, dark and dry environment, and all the instructions for germination are followed correctly, there's no reason for it not to germinate. Reputable seed banks and breeders (like us) will store seeds in a specialised fridge or cold room to ensure the longest life and viability possible. When seeds don't germinate it's usually due to inadequate storage conditions or incorrect germination conditions. I hope that helps, all the best!


Cannapot 2020-11-09
I really enjoyed reading this article. Thanks for sharing your amazing photographs.

Philosopher seeds Staff

Tim 2021-05-21

We're happy you enjoyed it, thanks for letting us know!


John Aitken 2020-10-08
John, yes I am having the same problem put 2 seeds per peat discs and the have came through but over a week and they are very skinny and we’re bending over I had to cut a straw sliced it to make 2 supports to keep them straight I’m watering them not to much I’ve never had this problem so I’m at a kind of loose end any help will be greatly appreciated. Regards John


Sergio 2020-07-01
Hi, I planted my Royal Gorilla & Wedding Cake seeds all at the same time, separately, in small jiffy-peat pots. It is winter here in my part of Australia - not so cold ( 10'c overnight low - 19'c Daytime Max) and it is mostly sunny - although where I have had my germinating box sitting only gets a few hours direct sun at present. I have kept all the little pots nice and moist - and just to be safe, I opened the two small vents on the top of the germinating box so that in the afternoon, in the direct sunlight, I wasn't accidentally roasting the seeds to warm. I had some other seeds growing in the box to, tomatoes, eggplant and beans, which I planted on the same day using the same Jiffy-Pots. - It has been about 2 weeks now - And All of the vegetable seeds have begun to sprout - so the conditions of the germinating box must be Ok. But no sign of any sprouting activity with the Royal Gorilla or Wedding Cake. Maybe around a week ago, I made a small DIY planter pot out of newspaper and filled it with seed raising mixture, then planted a CBD Beyond Diesel seed - and I left this sitting uncovered in the same spot. It just sprouted yesterday. So I have moved my other seeds in the jiffy pots inside on my kitchen window ledge where it gets a lot more sun (Maybe should have done this to begin with!) My question: Is it too late now after 2 weeks of seeing nothing? - Or might I get a pleasant surprise now they are sitting a much more sunnier spot??? Can it take this long to see a sprout?? I have kept them moist -and- they were planted correctly at about 1cm with the crown up


zara 2020-06-18
ive had my seeds in water for a couple of days, but still unsure if the glass should be in the dark or in light. can anyone ansa, this is my first attempt


Ando 2019-06-29
Hi,I got some seeds ( med Auto kush hindu ) I put them between 2 cotton pads and watered as per info, also had a g3 speed which sprouted almost immediately but transferred it to a clean cut cola can, wrong way round i might add and in normal compost, I over watered and managed to retrieve the seed which still had some tail left, re-planted it in canna grow dirt but as yet no show. The kush seeds 4 off have shown signs of side cracking but I think my conservatory is to hot and not much is happening, have I ruined it all or can I save them clearly a complete novice but other than the heat in conservatory in which the +G3 speed sprouted so quickly I'm not sure what the problem is, pls help..thanks

Philosopher seeds Staff

Dani 2019-07-04
Hi Ando, About the G3 seed, I'm afraid the only thing you can do now is cross your fingers and hope she'll make it! With regard to the Auto Kush seeds, it's advisable to replace the cotton pads every 2-3 days, using new ones moistened with fresh water. You can add a few drops of oxygen peroxide to 100ml of water and use the mix to moisten the pads, you'll increase germination rates. Best of luck!

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About this Cannabis Blog

This is the blog of the seed bank Philosopher Seeds. It is intended for the use of adults over the age of 18 years.

You'll find information on homegrowing cannabis, tips, tricks and news from the cannabis sector.

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