Tips and Tricks for Germinating Seeds

If you are struggling with germination or if you have some great advice for those that struggle getting their seeds going, this topic is for you.

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This post is primarily intended for any newer growers (or anyone else struggling to get seeds started). The photo is of my little seedlings exactly one week since I put the seeds to soak and one day since emerging from the soil. You will note how puny they are at this point. These tiny seedlings will each produce about a pound of dried and cured buds in about four months time. Patience and attention to detail (temperature, rH, nutes) are your friends from start to finish, just don’t mess with them too much.

The first week or two seem to be the most difficult for newer growers as things appear to happen very slowly leading folks to mess with their seeds and/or seedlings too much causing many problems up to and including death of the seedlings.

My process works well for me but many others have very successful processes that differ from what I do. Below is a description of my germination and seedling process which has not failed me.

  1. Soak seeds in water for 24 hours (sometimes I add a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide)
  2. Place seeds in a zip-loc bag between a moist, folded paper towel checking daily for seed tails. This usually takes a couple of days. Temperature: 75 F. Any seeds that have not cracked in five days get replaced and we go back to step 1 for the replacement seeds.
  3. When the seeds have cracked (germinated and little tail showing) they are planted about 1/2" deep in clear solo cups filled with moist seedling/starter soil. The clear solo cups have drainage holes and are placed in red solo cups (also with drainage holes) to keep light from hitting the roots when they form. An inverted clear solo cup placed over each seed functions as a humidity dome. Many folks keep the newly planted seeds in the dark but I start lighting (6/2 schedule) from the start with an intensity of about 300 ppfd under the domes. Temperature: 77 - 80 F
  4. The next milestone takes place when the seedlings emerge from the soil. This usually takes two or three days but has taken as long as a week. Longer than that the slow seeds are replaced (the process starts over for the replacement seeds). I keep the new seedlings under the domes, to keep relative humidity up, for about one week. Temperature: 77 - 80 F

When I remove the humidity domes the light intensity is about 450 ppfd and I keep it there until the first transplant (one gallon pots) when I start ramping the light intensity up to 800+ ppfd for the vegetative growth period.

Be patient during this first two weeks and resist the urge to mess with them too much. What LITTLE water they get after going into the solo cups is applied VERY sparingly in a ring around the outside edge of each solo cup. Too much water, especially near to the seedling’s stalk, may result in “damping off” and death of the affected seedling.

I must repeat myself now…This process is the one that works well for me but many, many others use different processes that are equally effective. You may need to do some research (read posts on this forum) and experiment to find what works best for you.

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Following with interest! :nerd_face:

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The only thing I will add, is possibly using a seed start soil, lower nutrient content so it doesn’t burn up the seedlings.
I know this can be an issue with some growers, and the best germ rates and growth I’ve had with coco. Ocean forest is good, but a few have had issues with putting seedlings directly into that medium.

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Got my Vote!

But, Dont shoot me, I voted for Reagan!

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You’re not kidding. I’ve been going through a rough patch recently, so I changed a few things, and so far I think it’s working. Seedling stage can be a challenge no matter the experience.

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Truth. :+1:

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When I first started, I was germinating them like @merlin44 and had a reasonable success rate… and then I hit a dry spot… I was killing seeds left and right and just getting roughly 10% germination rate.
Since then, I stopped the paper towel stage and just soak them for 1 day. The next day they go in a cup of Pro-Mix with a little Mychorizzae and a pich of bokashi and now, (knock on wook) I have 100 % success so far…

I’m just sharing an alternative that was pointed out , and worked, for me! There are a thousand way to achieve our goals, just find one that works for you and be confident in nature!

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This is the whole reason for this thread! Perfect!

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Seedlings always test my patience .

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Isn’t that their main job? :rofl:

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Another very important tip : LESS IS MORE!

In the seedling stage, our plants are really fragile. Don’t fiddle with them and give them a chance to establish themselves before “trying” things…
In that stage, I found out (for me) that I was always trying to fix imaginary deficiencies. And I would end up drowning them… be patient… it only lasts a few days…

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This is really important and I wanted to emphasize this proper temperature range.

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Another solid tip.:point_up::point_up::point_up:
I go straight into pro mix / no nutes till the cotyledons just start to yellow

:v::call_me_hand:

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Here 4 it love it

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When you have time, I urge anyone that has a proven method of germinating seeds to post the procedure (from start to finish) so that folks can benefit from your knowledge and experience in this most difficult phase of growing cannabis.

And don’t forget to link or reference this thread for folks that are struggling with germination.

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i will gladly share my process as soon as i start up with seeds, again, beginning January,…it is somewhat unusual, as my cloning is…

no shit :sweat_smile:…ill break a main stem 12 times in 6 inches, than start a seedling…

keep it green fam…
:green_heart: :v:

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My method for seed germination

  1. Cut a few drain holes at bottom of solo cup, fill solo cup 3/4 full with medium and wet it down til a little runoff.

  2. Poke a hole about a half inch down and plant the seed and cover, no spraying or any more water til they sprout. No domes. I don’t soak the seeds or use paper towel, just plant straight to the medium.

  3. Place into tent with light on 24/0 schedule (LED at about 50-60 watts) and about 30 inches over the cups, no fans or exhaust running to dry out the medium. This keeps my tent at about 78F, humidity I don’t really care about.

4 days later the sprouts will have popped thru the soil. At this time I lower the light some (about 18") to avoid seedling stretch.

A day or 2 after they sprout I give them their first watering, about 4-5 oz of water (or Jacks these days) which will produce a little runoff, In soil that will hold them for about 4 days til they need watering again (I start wet/dry cycles in soil immediately), in coco about half that time as coco should be kept moist.

After a week to 10 days I change light to 18/6 and turn on a circulation fan to make the seedlings dance in the breeze to strengthen the stems. A few days later I’ll start the exhaust fan on lowest speed to bring in a constant flow of fresh air.

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Get them to sprout not a problem keeping them alive is the problem

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Describe your process and what happens and some of these really experienced growers will be able to help you keep them going.

@AfgVet @dbrn32 @Covertgrower @Myfriendis410 @MattyBear @Bulldognuts @kaptain3d @PurpNGold74

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