Are you planning on starting your cannabis farm? If so, you need to understand the germination process of cannabis seeds fully. As it is broadly known, germination is the process where new plants develop from a once tiny seed. If your cannabis seeds fail to germinate, you will not get any harvest. There are several sources that you can acquire a variety of cannabis seeds, depending on the strain and quality. If your aim is getting a good harvest, you need to immaculately choose the best online seed bank that can provide you with superior quality cannabis seeds in different varieties.
Even so, before beginning to plant, you need to scrutinize your seeds. You should go for seeds that seem to have a dark brown appearance and have a solid feel. Pale green or white seeds indicate that they are immature and have little or no chance to grow.
Unlike what you hear about crushed seeds failing to germinate, for cannabis, when you expose a slightly crushed seed to the right conditions, it will germinate. But what are these conditions that a cannabis plant needs to grow?
Before planting cannabis seeds, you should always soak your seeds in water for a maximum of 32 hours. However, you should be careful not to oversoak them. The plant will start the sprouting lesson upon meeting the water and heat conditions that are needed. By attending to these conditions, the taproot will develop from the seed by breaking out of its shell.
You should be extra careful with the seeds once they are on this stage of growth. If the seed shell breaks an there is no presence of water; the plant could die quickly. You have to ensure that the roots are kept in an area with ample moisture at all times for its survival.
For cannabis germination to take place, you should ensure that the planting temperature lies between warm and hot. The ideal temperature should be in between 22 and 25 degrees Celsius. The seeds cannot grow in a cold environment as the process take s an even longer time. A pleasant environment should be one whose air is full of humidity. To stop worrying about low temperatures, you should get a few grow lights and install them in the seedlings area. Seeds germinate well under fluorescent lighting.
For germination to take place, you need to be extra careful with how you handle the taproot. The best way to show needed care is by leaving the seeds alone. By doing so, you can protect the seeds from breaking. For sees that are germinating, you need to plant them in soil or whichever growing medium that you want. Ensure that you place the seeds 0.5 to 1 inch beneath the ground with the white root facing downwards, giving the plant the right orientation.
There are several methods you can use to grow your cannabis. This article will explore some of those methods that are easy to execute and effective at the same time.
Cannabis Germination Methods
Using Starter Cubes and Seedling Plugs
The use of starter cubes and seedling plugs is one of the highly recommended methods for setting up a seedling station. The cubes help in making the germination process easy. By merely placing the seeds in the plug or cube and providing it with water, the seedling will automatically set itself up for growth. Each plug or cube comes with a hole where you will place the seed. Growing cannabis by use of cubes and plugs is indeed the most straightforward method that does not have any room for error. By using this method, your cannabis plants will have a germination rate that is close to 100 percent.
Which are the Best Starter Cubes to Use When Germinating Cannabis?
These are cubes that you can use on all the different planting setups and can work with any growing medium in the market. The cubes are easy to use as you need to stick the cannabis seed into the rapid rooter with the pointy end facing downwards. Rapid rooter provides your plants with the necessary planting conditions. All you then need to do is allow the cannabis to grow without interruption. Within a few days, marijuana will sprout, and the roots will appear.
You can use the rapid rooter in a hydroponic system as well as if you want to plant in soil.
Advantages of using a Rapid Rooter
- It is easy to use
- There is no preparation or setup necessary.
- You can use it regardless of the planting system.
Disadvantages of Rapid Rooters
- You can only get more than 50 at one go; hence, it would be wasteful if you are planning to germinate one or two seeds.
- The rapid rooters dry out after only one week.
There are several types of rapid rooters in the market. Here are three types you can choose from depending on your preference.
Rapid Rooter mats
You can get a rapid rooter in the form of a mat. It appears to be sectioned off and come with a hole where you put the seed. It comes with a pack containing 98 cross-cut planting areas that are suitable for germinating seeds. The rapid rooter is made into cubes that have a flat bottom to allow them to stand on their own.
- They can easily stand on their own since they have a cube shape with a flat bottom.
- They are good at aiding in transplanting.
- The cubes are sectioned-off and come with pre-cut holes to accommodate the seeds
- You can plant 98 cannabis seeds at one go.
Rapid Rooter Grow Plugs Bag
The rooters have a round bottom making them unable to stand alone. They work best in a hydroponic setup and are perfect for growing seedlings. The plugs are made with a proprietary composting method and make use of natural fungi. They are purely biodegradable and 100 percent organic. You need to soak the plug in a mild-nutrient or water before using it.
- It consists of entirely organic and biodegradable materials.
- You can use them on both soil and soilless growth mediums
- You can get 50 rooters at one go.
Rapid Rooter Tray
The Rapid Rooter tray works effectively to help in the germination of cannabis seeds. The seeds will stay in the tray with water until it develops roots and becomes ready for transplanting. The tray comes in a standard size that can fit a humidity dome. One tray carries 50 rapid rooters.
- It is best for germinating seed or cloning with a humidity dome.
- It is easy to transplant.
- It is easy to use as you only need to add water and seeds.
- You can get 50 rapid rooters at one go.
Rockwool Starter Cubes
If you are looking at starting a hydroponic cannabis farm, you should consider using Rockwool cubes for the germination process of the seeds. Rockwool is favorable since you can place it safely in a hydroponic system. The cubes are resistant to mold and can hold enough moisture for the seeds. The cubes are cheap and convenient to use. However, there are some significant drawbacks to using these cubes.
Advantages of Rockwool
- The cubes are cheap and very easy to find.
- They are great for use in a hydroponic setting.
Disadvantages of Rockwool
- It does not consist of organic material, making it bad for the environment.
- Comes with a pH that is too high for marijuana necessitating treatment before use.
- It is not suitable for your health; hence, you should use gloves and a mask when using it.
Rockwool cubes on the Environment
Unlike many growing mediums, Rockwool cubes do not consist of natural products. The material is the result of heating together chalk and rock up to a temperature of 3000 degrees Fahrenheit while blowing air into the mixture. The final product is thin fibers of solid materials.
The thin rocky fibers do not breakdown, thereby remaining in that state forever.
Rockwool Cubes on Health
Rockwool comes with a lot of dust necessitating the need for rinsing before using. It is effortless to get small pieces of Rockwool and dust in your skin, eyes, and mouth. It is even more harmful if tiny fiber strands of Rockwool get into the lungs when you inhale the Rockwool dust. Even more disturbing is that it is not known if the fibers can ever get out once you inhale them. As a precaution, you should always use protective gear when handling Rockwool.
Rockwool cubes and pH
The pH level in Rockwell cubes is too high for use on the germination of healthy cannabis. It is therefore essential to first treat the cubes with water by letting them soak overnight before using them for the germination process. Rockwool is known to have the ability to hold a lot of water. You should then let it dry for a few days before using it to plant your seeds.
Rockwool cubes for Germination
It can be challenging to germinate cannabis seeds using Rockwool cubes if you do not have any experience with marijuana. As an alternative, it is best for them to use different mediums such as rapid rooters which can as well work in a hydroponic setting and is simple to use.
Many growers have reported waiting for weeks without witnessing any germination after placing their seeds in the Rockwool cubes. However, there are cannabis growers that record positive results.
You should, however, note that by using Rockwool cubes you may be put at a disadvantage when claiming seed germination guarantees. Some companies fail to honor the warranty due to the notoriously lousy growth habits the cubes have.
Jiffy pellets are very similar to Rockwool cubes. However, they are best suited to work with soil or coco coir. Additionally, they provide better germination results than Rockwool cubes. The pellets do not work well in a hydroponic setup. You can, however, transfer the germinated seeds to either coco coir or soil.
Advantages of Using Jiffy Pellets
- They provide good germination results.
- You can use them for cloning cannabis.
- You can find them as dried pellets enabling them to last for a long time.
Disadvantages of Jiffy Pellets
- They do not work with a hydroponic system
- You must soak the pellets first before using them.
To use the pellets, soak them in warm water and let them expand in size. Once they extend, gently squeeze out the water from the pellets. Once done, the pellets are ready for use. You can use them in the same way as Rapid Rooters.
Other than using starter cubes to aid in the germination of cannabis, there are other methods you can use. One such way is the planting of marijuana seeds directing in a growing medium.
Germinating Cannabis in a Growing Medium
At certain times, using natural means to plant cannabis may seem to be the easiest way. When you plant marijuana seeds in the soil, the plant will emerge as its taproot digs further down. As a cannabis grower, you may decide to plant your cannabis seeds on your final growing medium. Even though it may work well with all growing mediums, It definitely can be tough in others.
However, one of the most significant benefits to growing your seeds on the final growing medium is that you will not have to shock the seedling with a transplant. It is a well-known fact that transplantation causes a shock to the plant and if not well maintained, can have negative results. Without doing transplantation, the seedling gets enough time to self-adjust to the environment around it.
When planting seeds, you should place them only a knuckle deep in moist soil or any other growing medium. You can use a heating pad to keep the growing area warm. This method of germination is the best for use for new cannabis growers due to its simplicity.
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Germinating Cannabis in a Germination Station
One of the best options that you can take advantage of is the growing of marijuana in a specially made germination station that is fully equipped to provide your seeds with the optimum germination conditions. It is simple to make your germination station using locally available materials such as having a plastic dome over a tray. However, it is even more beneficial to get a professionally built station as they are practical and inexpensive.
A capable germination station can protect your seedlings from external elements, scavengers, and anything that can provide harm. It gives you full control over the temperature and humidity of the station. The station is made up of everything that you will require to give your seeds a healthy start.
Once the seeds sprout, you can quickly transfer them to the next growing medium or container.
Overnight Soaking of Marijuana Seeds in Water
One of the simplest germination methods available involves soaking seeds in lukewarm water overnight. The overnight soaking is especially useful if you want to revive hard seeds or old seeds. The warm water lightens the outer covering of the seed giving room for the taproot to break out. When you soak the seeds in water, they will first start by floating and later on sink to the bottom of the glass.
You can witness the breaking out of the taproot only if you use transparent glass. The maximum time you can keep seeds soaking in water is 32 hours. If there are seeds that are yet to show the signs of sprouting hen, they will drown to the bottom of the glass. If some seeds are however to grow by then, you should place them in a warm and moist place and finalize the process of germination. During this stage, you can make use of the paper towel method of germination.
Read next: Weed Growing Kit-Marijuana Grow Kits
The Paper Towel Germination Method
This method of germination makes use of paper towels, two clean plates, and some marijuana seeds. Ideally, you get a paper towel and put the seeds in them then store it in a warm area. You should make use of cheap paper towels as they tend to work better due to their non-porous nature. The seeds and the roots do not attach themselves to the paper towels. If you use the expensive paper towels that appear to be cloth-like, the roots may end up growing into them rather than just laying on top of them a situation that is not good for germination.
Even so, the mere idea of germinating your cannabis sees in a paper towel is embracing a high risk of accidentally hurting the taproot. Therefore, it is essential always to be cautious when checking or moving the sprouted seeds.
You should also be cautious about letting the paper towel dry out, a situation that can lead to the death of your seeds. It is where the importance of the plates shines. You can prevent the drying out of the towel if you put them under the two plates.
You should carefully inspect the seeds after every 12 hours and plant any seeds that are sprouted right away.
Giving Your Seeds the Best Care
In many situations, the germination process goes smoothly, without any troubles. For this to happen, there are some additional factors that you need to consider when planting your marijuana.
The top leading condition is the lighting. You should provide lighting to your marijuana plants from as early as the germination stage. During this period, you can use fluorescent light or CFL grow lights as they can provide the required light wavelength to facilitate germination. But what makes CFL grow lights to be the best type to use on young seedlings?
Best Cfl Grow Lights:
Advantages of Using CFLs
- The bulbs provide the required light for seedlings
- They are incredibly cheap
- They help to save on electricity
- They are easy to find and purchase.
You should make sure that the light is 15 centimeters away from the seeds. Once sprouting begins and the first leaves show you can move the lights closer as much as 5 centimeters apart. As a precaution, you should always put your hand in between the leaves and the light to test out the amount of heat. If you are cannot leave your hand for more than ten seconds without feeling it be too hot, you should increase the distance between the light and plants by 2 centimeters. Ensure that your hand can feel comfortable with the temperature the light produces. You do not want to kill your plants during its initial stages of growth.
Always be cautious of the distance between the grow light and the seedlings. You do not want the seedling to damage due to burns throughout the whole growing phase.
As the seedling continues to grow, you should continue adjusting the lights if your eventual goal is to get a good harvest. You have the option of switching your type of lighting after two weeks an upgrading to a more powerful model such as a high-powered HPS or CMH grow lights.
There are times when a growing cannabis seedling may seem to have the root growing upwards tempting you to intervene and save the situation. However, trying to reposition the seed yourself is a dangerous situation that may cause more damage than good. In many cases, the part looking like an upward root projectile is just a U-shaped stem of the cannabis plant. The roots will never grow facing upwards. Due to gravity, the roots can sense downwards and will always flow in that direction.
If you are filled with doubts, you should first let the first leaves of the seedlings appear before interfering with the plant.
Size of the Pot to Use
If you plant on growing cannabis on a container, you should select a good pot size that will fit the plant. One general rule is using a 2-gallon pot for a plant with a height of 12 inches. Even so, you should always be aware that plants grow differently. But what is the right size of the container to start your seedlings? To achieve faster growth, you should plant your seeds in tiny pots the size of a disposable cup.
The main reason for using small containers is because the roots of a young cannabis plant feed off oxygen. Therefore, it is vital for plants to get as much oxygen to push for faster growth. Since the roots of a young marijuana plant do not consume much water, when you water the seedlings in a large container, they tend to use up all the oxygen. Since the pot is large, it can prevent the growing medium from drying. For a large plant, all the water will be consumed. However, when dealing with seedlings, you need to wait until the growing medium dries. While waiting for the growing medium to dry, your seedlings are waiting in an environment that is not only wet but also does not contain oxygen, thereby leading to weak growth.
When you plant your seedlings in a small container, you should poke some holes in the bottom to help in the draining of the growing medium. By doing so, your plants can get the needed oxygen and water with the excess draining away. If you want to avoid transplanting young marijuana plants, you should start your seedlings in a seedling plug and wait until you see developed roots appearing from the bottom so that you can transfer to plant to a big container.
If you end up planting your marijuana seedlings in a large container, they will experience slow growth during the first few days since the amount of oxygen they are receiving is not enough. There is also a long waiting period between the watering. It results in the roots not having enough oxygen. If you plant your seedlings in a large container, provide it with a small amount of water on the areas around the roots. Do this at set time intervals until the plant grows a few sets of leaves than you can resume to the regular watering habits. One advantage that comes with using a large container is there is no need for transferring the plant to another container.
It is necessary to transfer your growing marijuana plant of you started growing it in a small container. When plants grow, they run out room to ensure the expansion of roots. Therefore, if you do not transfer your young marijuana plant, the roots run out of the growing space and start developing several root problems since they cannot get the correct ratios of water, nutrients, and oxygen.
When Should You Start Feeding Your Marijuana Plants?
The feeding of your plants with the necessary nutrients depends on the growing medium you are using. A majority of times, you may need to provide your plants with nutrients within the first two to three weeks. If you are dealing with soil, you will find it with plenty of nutrients. The same case applies to coco; however, it will need a boost after a week.
When working on a hydroponic farm, you should provide the plants with nutrients 0.25 times stronger than the regular strength. One it produces its first set of leaves, you can increase the concentration by 0.25 per set of leaves. If you want a cannabis venture, we recommend the use of soil as a growing medium. The main reason is due to the simplicity and the ability to gain much more knowledge on how to grow cannabis efficiently. Also, if you make any mistakes, you can quickly correct them. The case is not similar when it comes to using other growing mediums such as a hydroponic system. A slight error in a hydroponic system can mean death to all the plants. It is, therefore, better to start using the medium when you have gathered enough information about growing marijuana.
One of the simplest ways to tell if a plant requires nutrients is by observing the leaves. When the nutrients in the growing medium start to get depleted the serrated leaves of marijuana start to depict some traces of color becoming pale. When you do not address the problem immediately, it could eventually lead to the leaves turning yellow. The marijuana plants are not in any danger of death when the leaves turn to yellow. The color change is like a beacon notifying you that something is missing and it needs immediate attention.
During the growing period, the most common nutrient in high demand is Nitrogen. Once you feed the seedlings with the right nutrient, the color of the leaves will return to normal. The time it takes to return to normal depends on how long the condition has lasted before resolving to take action.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes my seedlings bend during the early stages of germination?
When the seedlings start to germinate, you may note that the stem may be slightly bent. At times you may even confuse the bending stem with the root. However, the bending is a result of the plants need to reach out for sunlight. You should not try to straighten it as any involvement may cause further damage to the plant. The plant will straighten itself as it continues to grow.
During the first few weeks of seedling germination, the plants do not experience much interference. Once the seeds sprout, be sure to carefully move the sprouts to the final growing medium in a way that is not intrusive to the plant. Take special care of the fragile taproot. Moreover, you will need to regularly adjust the amounts of nutrients as well as the lighting you provide the young plants. Once the germination stage passes, you will have a few weeks to relax as the cannabis takes shape. However, once the period is over, you will get back to serious work as you embrace the vegetative stage of cannabis growth.
Read How to Grow Cannabis Series:
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