Newbie popping cherry--first time germinating


Okay, first of all I just want to say that I’m soooo glad I came across this site on Google. :slight_smile: Secondly, I have some seeds I’ve had for a while and I stored them in a plastic bag, then put the bag in a plastic container that’s been in a black sack for months. I’m taking steps to try to germinate them. I have them in a plastic cup of room temp tap water and I placed the cup in one of my kitchen cabinets. I made sure the seeds were mature (not light green) and that they weren’t cracked or anything. It’s been close to 24 hrs. When I checked on the seeds it seemed like the color of them darkened or something. Is that a good or bad thing? Is it because they’ve been in the water for a long time? Long story short, does the darkening color indicate that the seeds may be bad or do i just need to let them do their thing and germ?

Second question I have is about autoflowering. Does autoflowering mean that I don’t have to worry about putting the plant on a light schedule and that it’ll flower on its own? I just germinate the seed then once the sprout appears, plant it and water and fertilize and whatnot?


The darker look to the seeds may just mean they did absorb the water, and yes you may have to let them just do their thing, be careful not to drown them though, you might want to put them into some growing media, they need oxygen rich water and if the water they soak in goes stagnant they will die. Having them in soil or growing media that is not too wet allows more air to keep the dissolved oxygen levels up. Roots need darkness and O2 and Leaves need CO2 and lots of light.

Yes, autoflowers need pretty much 24 hours of light their entire life cycle, no 12 hour dark cycle to get them to flower. They flower pretty much on a set schedule regardless of light.


How will I know if the seeds are drowning if the sprout hasn’t come in yet? Is there a way I can make sure the water doesn’t go stagnant in the cup? Should I change it out so that I don’t have to worry about that? Sorry if the questions sound dumb but I’m new to the world of MJ horticulture lol…I hope I don’t make any mistakes doing this but if I do I’ll just take it as a learning process. I’ve been doing a lot of YouTube getting my learn-on with all of this.


Yes changing the water very regularly will help if you are trying to use the technique of having them crack open before putting in soil. This is why the seed/s folded between a damp paper towel method is used also, as it will kinda act the same way as a well aerated soil is letting air dissolve into the water better. Others will do 8 hours (over night) in the pure water, to as much as 24 hours but then into the folded damp paper towel, on a plate with plastic wrap over it to keep in some moisture, or have the paper towel folded in a sandwich bag, zip lock or otherwise. Fresh air needs to be let in regularly as well as making sure nothing is drying out too much. The best way to get highly aerated water onto the paper towel is by fine misting it with a spray bottle. Another thing you could try that some people do, but is more of an investment, is similar in a way to the deep water culture hydroponic growing method and they use a real small aquarium air pump with a very small (like one inch) “fine bubble” air stone, they are usually white in color instead of blue, green or black like the regular small air stones and come in a multi-pack from a pet store and use this in the cup the seed or seeds is soaking in. The problem with this is most air pumps are made for about a ten gallon or bigger aquarium and too much air may bubble your water and seeds right out the cup, and if you are trying to crack multiple seeds of different strains it could be hard to keep the seeds separate so you know which is which.


Wow…I had no idea about that and with all the vids I watched on YouTube no one said anything about the possibility of having seeds drown or the fact that changing out the water would be a good idea. There was one guy’s vid I watched that said not to leave the seeds in the water for no more than 3 days. So what I did was take the seeds and put them in a folded wet paper towel and put that in a zip lock bag. I left one corner of it open so that some air could get into it and put that in my cabinet.

Honestly using a water pump with stones seems like a lot to do just to get some seeds to sprout. I was familiar with the paper towel method but from what I gathered about the water-in-the-cup method, I got the impression that the chance of the seeds germinating would be 100%. Will using the paper towel method guarantee a high chance of germination too? I assume that me moving the seeds from the cup to the paper towel won’t harm them either, right?


Yes, going to all that trouble is a lot, but it is 100% guaranteed to have a healthy seed crack and survive even if you don’t check on it and remove it from the body of water at the right time. I’m not necessarily recommending going that far as it is by no means the only way to get near 100% to 100% germination rates with healthy seeds.

Be sure you are not keeping the paper towel too wet. You don’t really want it water logged, just very moist.

As far as moving them, they aren’t really that delicate until they crack open. Once cracked open you need to be very careful not to break the tiny tip start of the root just peeking out the crack, or in the paper towel, the seeds in the more perfect conditions may get a huge sprout and actually have a centimeter long or longer root and so be very careful not to break any part of the roots or anything else.


Gotcha…so moist paper towels…maaaaan this is a lot to learn and do!! I tell ya, from watching the vids and reading it seems so easy. I guess with time I’ll get the hang of all this but I’m excited to do this. I kind of see it as a challenge and something new to do at the same time. Another question, if I accidentally have my paper towel too wet I could just ring it out and that’d make things all good? After this question I promise I won’t have anymore…for a while lol


No problem ask away, I just can’t guarantee I can always get back to you as quickly.

You could do that, kinda wring it out, or open the bag a lot until it drys a bit on its own.


Okay cool…thanks for putting up with my many questions. Okay, so I checked on my paper towel and seeds and so far nothing. When I opened the paper towel I noticed that 2 of my seeds had a hole at the end that wasn’t there prior to soaking them in the cup of water and then putting them on the paper towel. The hole isn’t at the oval part of the seed but it’s on the end (the booty of it is what I call it).

Please tell me that a sprout is about to be on the way to creeping out. I know germination takes a few days but how many days have to go by before I end up tossing them away if they’re bad? And btw, the color of the seeds are a dark red/brown color. Looks a lot different from before they got soaked.


I think they are dead. Dark seeds is not necessarily a sign of healthy seeds. Yes if they are light green or kinda white they have not fully developed. A seed should actually have a kinda dark brown look, but at a closer look you can see almost a bunch of little veins on the surface of the seed, and maybe a kinda marbled pattern. When it cracks open, the inside spout should be bright white and it is not a “hole” but a split along the seem, and that is where the little tip of the root will be peaking out.


I took a look again at the seeds and one of them has cracked but no sprout yet. If the seeds are dead, is there a way I can prevent that from happening next time? I do have more seeds that I can use to germ (thank goodness I saved the seeds I have). What causes the seed to die? Is it from soaking too long? Do dead seeds have the veins you talked about or just a dark color to them?


The one that cracked might be good. Maybe they are all still good. The red/brown color you described worries me. If it is also discoloring the paper towel, then the seed is dead and the red could be pythium, fungus or bacteria causing the reddish/brown color, root rot on adult plants also has this reddish brown kinda look to it, not that much different looking than that reddish brown algae/sludge that can form on stagnant ponds. If some seeds look like they are rotting, throw those away and put the good ones in a fresh paper towel.


BTW, almost all seeds kinda have that hole on “the booty end”, that is kinda the seed’s belly button, you can kinda think of it like a peach or apricot seed and where the branch/stem attached to the fruit/seed. Same thing with sunflower seeds, that side is the side that is attached to the cannabis flower, very similar to the way that side of a sunflower seed is attached to the sun flower. Also when they split open they are similar to the sunflower seed, that little pointy tip on one side of the sunflower kernel would have been what turns into the root tip.


One of them was stone cold black so I did trash that one. The color of them isn’t leaking onto the paper towel so I guess that’s a good sign. As funny as this is gonna sound, I also sniffed the paper towel to see if there was any odor (no stank was present). I tried to take a pic of them on my phone so you could get a good idea but the focus didn’t wanna cooperate and even with turning on my light it still didn’t make the pic bright or clear enough. Even though they did darken they still have that turtle shell look to them. It’s just that they didn’t get all dark like that until I put them in water.

I also started 4 more last night, this time I took one of my nail filers and rubbed it on the seeds some before dropping them since I found out (that darn YouTube) that doing that can help speed the germ process. Three sunk right away after an hour passed and later on before I went to bed I got the last one to go down there. Later this morning I went on ahead and put them in another paper towel, then put them in the same bag with the ones I started the same day I joined here. One of them is trying to crack open while the others are doing their thing.

The veins you mentioned, you said they’re on the surface of the seed. Are those the little crinkly areas on the seeds? I was wondering if that’s what that is or if it’s something else.


Yes, the wrinkle crinkly things and kinda turtle shell look is exactly what I was talking about in a healthy looking seed. And yes the stone cold black might mean it rotted in the bud, you see a lot of those types of seeds from brick weed.


And thanks for giving me heads up too on what’s like the belly button of the seed. I’m having a lot of fun learning all this stuff!!


Grow knowledge is like food. Addictive too.