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Germination Guide

Discussion in 'Newbie Central' started by Spittn4cash, Jan 30, 2007.


    Spittn4cash Well-Known Member

    this is a collection of 411 i found across the web, all my sources will be stated and full credit goes to the author. If u have anything to add do so, we need as much info as we can so please feel free to drop your knowledge here.


    Germination Guide : Special Treatment of Seeds before Sowing


    When germinating seed it is helpful to remember that a seed is made up of three parts:

    * an outer protective coat
    * a food supply under the seed coat (the endosperm)
    * an embryo of a young plant

    The protective coat prevents sprouting until ideal growing conditions exist. Bringing seeds out of dormancy involves manipulating conditions to hasten germination. Even with ideal conditions, some seeds are still very difficult to germinate.

    There are several factors that affect germination. Water (moisture), light (or dark), oxygen and heat play a part in triggering germination. In addition to environmental factors, seed MUST be viable.

    Water is essential in the first phase of germination. Water penetrates the seed coat and causes the endosperm to swell. The seed coat, softened by water, splits open as the endosperm swells. The water dissolves nutrients in the endosperm making them available to the embryo and growth begins.

    The growing medium must be constantly moist, but not wet. Any dry period may cause death of the sprouting embryo.

    Light can stimulate or inhibit a seed's germination. This determines whether the seed should be sown on the surface of the growing medium or below the surface. Check the seed packet or catalog for light requirements.

    Oxygen is required by the embryo to begin growing. The seed must respire to break down the food stored in the seed. This is one reason for using a light, well-aerated growing medium for starting seeds.

    Every seed has an optimum temperature range for germination. Many seeds have a fairly wide temperature range for germination, but some are limited to a narrow range. The temperature range is usually given on the seed packet or in the catalog.

    The temperatures required by many seeds are higher than those in most homes. The desired constant temperature can be achieved through heating cables placed under germination containers. Setting flats or pots on radiators, the furnace or on the refrigerator will provide bottom heat. However, these locations may be too hot and cause the soil to dry too quickly.

    Once germination occurs, a different, usually lower, temperature may be required for optimal growth of the seedlings.

    Moisture & Heat
    85 - 90 degrees F is best and required to make the seed germinate.

    For good germination, lay a few layers of paper towels in a dish.

    Place seeds in center of dish. Lay 2 or 3 layers of paper towels on top of the seeds. Moisten with sterilized water (boil it).

    Place dish/bowl in warm area or by heat or atop a heating pad. This is true also if you germinate seeds in rockwool, Oasis cubes, or other medium, keep it moist and warm.


    Do NOT use bleach or mix bleach with the water. Who started this rumour? Some crazy jive ass fool, I'll bet.


    When the seeds sprout, and the white shoot emerges, transplant (root down) into your soil or rockwool or whatever medium you are working with. Treat very gently, don't break the root tip.

    Some seeds take up to 12 days to start germination, but most will germinate within 24 to 72 hours. Be patient, give your valuable seeds a chance to sprout before tossing them out.

    Do not let seeds dry out - place Saran Wrap over the dish and store in a dark place. Add small quantities of water when needed to keep moist.

    Germination Techniques

    I have been experimenting with seed germination each time someone complains of seed non-germination. I have discovered some very interesting things.

    Some varieties of seeds will not germinate in moisture (between paper towels or in water itself or in moistened rockwool or moistened vermiculite) at room temperature but germinate fine at 90 degrees, about 20 degrees higher than room temperature.

    I took the White Widow(WW),Northern Lights (NL),and Bubble Gum(BG) and placed 20 seeds in a moistened porcelain bowl with sterile water, seeds between paper towels (plastic wrap over bowl to keep in moisture) and left them in a cupboard. The temp there was 68 degrees on average.

    I took 20 each of the same 3 strains and put them in between paper towels moistened with sterile water (with plastic wrap over the bowls too keep in all moisture) right above an electric baseboard heater where the measurable temperature was 90 - 92 degrees.

    In the first group, The WW had 2 germinate out of 20, NL had 3 out of 20, BG had 4 out of 20, and these took up to 4 days to pop.

    In the second hotter group, 9 of 20 WW popped within 5 days, 15 NL popped within 72 hours, and 12 BG popped within 96 hours.

    Wow, I was so impressed, and yet at the same time fascinated that I had never heard of this before. All these strains are equatorial in origin, so they need hot weather conditions to pop (like in nature where they come from, I imagine).

    The NL had swollen to about twice their size, and the WW and BG increases in size by about 50%, allowing a vigorous shoot to emerge.

    I haven't tested this on other strains, typically I always just put 'em in the cupboard and they pop, but now I am going to do some tests on old seeds, various new seeds, and see what happens at higher temperatures.

    Germinating Marijuana Seeds Germinate Cannabis Seeds

    Spittn4cash Well-Known Member


    Some seeds benefit from pre-treatment before sowing or from being sown in a particular way. Here are brief explanations of the techniques mentioned in the following list. In almost all cases it is not critical that you carry out this pre-treatment but if it is not done the seeds will usually take longer to germinate.

    Some seeds, e.g. Sweet peas, Ipomoea etc. have hard seed coats which prevent moisture being absorbed by the seed. All that is needed is for the outer surface to be scratched or abraded to allow water to pass through. This can be achieved by chipping the seed with a sharp knife at a part furthest away from the 'eye', by rubbing lightly with emery paper or, with very small seed, pricking carefully once with a needle etc. Some of our geranium seeds have already been treated in this way when you receive them and if you examine them carefully you will see that a tiny part of the end of the seed has been carefully clipped off.


    Soaking is beneficial in two ways; it can soften a hard seed coat and also leach out any chemical inhibitors in the seed which may prevent germination. Anything from 1-3 hours in water which starts off hand hot is usually sufficient. If soaking for longer the water should be changed daily. Seeds of some species swell up when they are soaked. If some seeds of a batch do swell within 24 hours they should be planted immediately and the remainder pricked gently with a pin and returned to soak. As each seed swells it should be removed and sown before it has time to dry out.


    In some instructions you will find a reference to 'pre-chilling'. This is a pre-treatment of the seed which often helps to speed up the germination of otherwise slow to germinate seeds. However, even after pre-chilling some seeds can stubbornly refuse to germinate until a year or more has passed, so never be too hasty in discarding a seed container. Pre-chilling was traditionally done by standing the pots outside in a cold frame during the winter. It is often quicker to adopt the following technique using a domestic refrigerator and this is of particular value if you obtain your seed outside the winter months.
    To pre-chill, first sow the seed on moistened seed compost, seal the seed container inside a polythene bag and leave at 60-65F (15-18C) for 3 days then place in a refrigerator for the recommended period. For convenience large seeds can be mixed with 2-3 times their volume of damp seed compost, placed direct into a polythene bag which is sealed and placed in the refrigerator. However, there must always be sufficient air inside the bag and the compost should NEVER become either too dry or over wet. After pre-chilling these seeds can then be spread with the compost on top of a seed container and firmed down.
    The seeds must be moist whilst being pre-chilled, but it will harm them if they are actually in water. During the period in the refrigerator, examine the seeds once a week and remove all the seeds into the specified warm conditions if any of them start to germinate.
    Light also seems to be beneficial after pre-chilling, so pre-chilled seeds should have only the lightest covering of compost, if any is required, and the seed trays or pots, should be in the light and not covered in paper.

    Double Dormancy

    Some seeds have a combination of dormancies and each one has to be broken in turn and in the right sequence before germination can take place; for example some Lilies, Tree paeonies. Daphne etc. need a warm period during which the root develops followed by a cold period to break dormancy of the shoots, before the seedling actually emerges. Some seeds need a cold period followed by a warm period and then another cold period before they will germinate. In all cases the times and temperatures have been provided in the sowing instructions.

    Outdoor Treatment

    The above mentioned methods accelerate the germination process and help to prevent seeds being lost due to external hazards (mice, disease etc.) but outdoor sowing is just as effective albeit longer. The seeds are best sown in containers of free draining compost and placed in a cold frame or plunged up to their rim outdoors in a shaded part of the garden, preferably on the north side of the house avoiding cold drying winds and strong sun.
    Recent tests show that much of the beneficial effects of pre-chilling are lost if the seed is not exposed to light immediately afterwards. We therefore recommend sowing the seeds very close to the surface of the soil and covering the container with a sheet of glass. An alternative method especially with larger seeds, is to sow the seed in well prepared ground, cover with a jam jar and press this down well into the soil so that the seeds are enclosed and safe from predators, drying out etc.

    Damping Off

    A soil borne disease which attacks seedlings as they germinate, causing them to collapse. It is worse in warm, moist, muggy conditions or where seedlings are sown too thickly. Some plants are especially prone but it is best to take precautions every time you sow. Hygiene at all stages of propagation is essential, the disease is carried in soil and through water stored in the greenhouse. Use only clean pots and seed trays and make sure the greenhouse benches are sterile. Mains water and a proprietary sterilised seed compost which is moist but not over wet should also be used. Sow thinly and prick out as soon as possible, handling the seedlings by their leaves, not stems. Cheshunt Compound or a similar fungicide can be added to the water once a week provided the seedlings are not susceptible. It often affects only part of the seed tray, if this occurs remove the clump of affected seedlings and water with Cheshunt Compound.

    Sowing In Situ
    Where outdoor sowing is recommended, planting in a moist soil which is weed free and has been raked down to a fine tilth is essential. For hardy annuals and perennials sowing can be carried out from late winter onwards as soon as the ground is workable and has warmed up; half hardy annuals after all danger of frost is passed and when the soil has warmed up.


    Until germination, seeds needing light should be placed in subdued lighting out of direct sunlight and should have no newspaper, brown paper etc. placed over the trays. Seeds needing dark for germination should be placed in total darkness.


    Most reputable seed composts will be quite adequate unless we have indicated a special type such as Ericaceous etc. On no account should potting composts which have additional fertilisers be used.

    How To Germinate Marijuana Seeds
    Speed Up Germination

    Sanifsan Well-Known Member

    LOL...the diagram looks like it was taken out of my college bio textbook...I went to school In Iran and I really don't know how you guys do biology in 3rd grade u.s but anyways...I remeber they told us to put paper towls around a cup and then fill 1/4 of cup up with water. the water has a tendency to pull it self up, in other words it's adhisive, specially when there's a suface to grab from...like triachiams (as best as I can remember, too much drinking not enough studying...) in wood...(paper is taken from wood) anyways, continuing on... the water climbes up the paper towl and moistens it...not too much but just right....leave the cup somewhere dark to simulate a seed being underground (thus no light) and after couple of days it will germinate....

    Spittn4cash Well-Known Member

    How to tell if seeds are Good or Bad? (aka Viable)

    Color, Size, Texture etc...
    Never Judge a book by its cover, however if you see any small white or pale-green colored seeds in your batch - toss them out. Or if you notice any holes in the seeds, hollow insides, or any seeds that are too soft (literally take one between your fingers and squeeze..a good mature seed will not crack...) These seeds are under-developed and were pulled from the plant too early. There is no way to germinate these seeds. However, some say that by first squeezing an under-developed seed and planting it with a mature seed it will temporarily give the good mature seed additional food helping it become stronger and speeding the Germination process.

    Do A Germination Test Before Planting Old Seeds

    If you have some leftover or older seeds and wonder whether or not they will still germinate and grow, you can find out for sure with a germination test. It’s better to test your seeds before planting than to waste time and effort planting seed that is no longer viable – and why purchase more seeds if those you already have are still good?

    How to Set Up Easy Seed Germination Test


    Method 1 (Grandma's way):

    1. Fill a mason jar about three-fourths full of water.
    2. Pour seeds directly into the quart of water.
    3. If the seeds sink to the bottom, they are good.
    4. If the seeds float on the top, they shouldn't be used.

    One way to test for signs of life is to pre-soak the seeds in distilled water. After about 24hrs the good seeds will sink and the bad ones will float. Those that float are sterile (contain no embryo and are therefore lighter); those that sink are likely to be viable.

    Method 2 (An alternate method):

    1. Moisten a paper towel thoroughly with water from the spray bottle.
    2. Place a handful of seeds (ten or more) on the paper towel.
    3. Fold the paper towel over a couple of times.
    4. Moisten the towel again with the spray bottle.
    5. Put the towel into a plastic bag and tie with a twist tie.
    6. Put the plastic bag in a warm spot, such as on top of the refrigerator.
    7. Every three to five days, check to see how many seeds have germinated.
    8. If you have seven to eight germinated seeds, you have a good return.
    9. Sow the seeds at a normal rate.
    10. If five or less out of ten germinated, you probably need to buy new seeds.

    Take a small sample of your seeds to test, maybe ten seeds or so from each batch. Slightly dampen a paper towel and place the sample seeds on it. Fold the barely damp paper towel it in half over the seeds. Enclose in plastic wrap or place inside a sealed plastic bag so it will stay damp. Label the package with seed name and date. Set the package in a relatively warm place (70 to 75 degrees) such as the top of your refrigerator or on a high shelf. Do not put it in direct sun. (Direct sun could cause it to overheat.)

    How Long to Wait: Check Seeds Often

    The seeds should absorb water and swell. Check daily for germination and to make sure the paper towel is still just barely damp.."almost dry". Mist it lightly if it begins to dry out.

    Depending on which specific plant you are testing, the seeds may begin to sprout in a day or two or may take several weeks to begin. Usually the majority will sprout within a few days of each other. When germination stops and no more seeds have sprouted for several days, you will know what approximate germination rate to expect from that batch of seeds.

    HGTV:Wil they Germinate?

    Spittn4cash Well-Known Member

    feel free to add any more info to this thread
    BudgetGrower87 likes this.

    iloveweedforever Active Member

    does anybody know how long i should wait to take the plasticwrap off the freshly sprouted plants???cause a couple just sprouted and i can see the seed still atached to the plant ,i mean its still just a babie but i dont want to sufercate it!!

    BudgetGrower87 Well-Known Member

    Cannabis seeds need only water, heat, and air to germinate. They do not need extra hormones to germinate. Seeds sprout without light in a wide range of temperatures. Properly nurtured seeds germinate in two to seven days, in temperatures from 70-90*F (21-32*C). Temperatures above 90*F (32*C) impair germination. At germination, the outside protective shell of the seed splits, and a tiny, white sprout (radicle) pops out. This sprout is the root or taproot. Cotyledon, or seed leaves, emerge from within the shell as they push upward in search of light.

    Seeds are prompted to germinate by:
    Air (oxygen)

    soaking seeds in water allows poisture to penetrate the protective seeds shell within minutes. Once inside, moisture continues to wick in to activate the dormant hormones. In a few days, hormones activate and send enough hormone signals to produce a radicle. The radicle emerges upward to bring a new plant into the world. Once a seed is moist, it must receive a constant flow of moisture to carry nutrients, hormones, and water so that it can carry on life processes. Fi germinated seeds are allowed to suffer moisture stress now seedling growth will be stunted.
    Cannabis seeds grow best at 78*F (25*C) Low temperatures delay germination. High temperatures upset seed chemistry causing poor germination. Seeds germinate best under native condidtions where they were grown. Once germinated, move seedlings to a slightly cooler growing area, and increase light levels. Avoid high temperatures and low light levels, which cause lankly growth.
    ... I'll finish up later. some of this is redundant from your post

    ganjaluvr Well-Known Member

    Hey everyone,

    listen I have a few seeds germinating as I type. As of today, One of the seeds.. has cracked open.. and I can just see the tip-end of the tap-root starting to emerge from the tip of the seed.

    My question is (i've been away from growing for a little while.. need a brain reboot) lol..

    But yeah, my question is: Since the seed has cracked open a little bit.. and I can just start to see the tip-end of the tap-root starting to emerge from the tip of the seed... I can go ahead and plant her and put her under the lights right? Since she's cracked open and starting to show the tip-end of her tap-root right?

    Just double-checking myself before I make a mistake. Better safe than
    sorry right? :)

    Thanks for any help! Just need to know if I can go ahead and plant her.. and start her lighting schedule.

    Peace... and again! thank you.

    JR793 Member

    Read that it was cool to pre soak seeds than place into rockwool before seed has cracked is this true if not ima b one said pimp lol as i just started 6 super skunk seeds this way good thing i got 100 of them

    flamdrags420 Well-Known Member

    any one else notice (at least from what I've done) that as the seeds germinate they seem to get much darker?
    Wonder if thats a biproduct of the hormones or what not doing their thing.

    xylem Member

    Who started this rumour? Some crazy jive ass fool?
    Mel Frank & Ed Rosenthal, Marijana grower's guide revised 1990
    page 111 , 1 teaspoon of bleach to 1 cup of water

    Unequalibrium Active Member

    Lol, busted. And lol extra hard at the viagra banner.

    jdillinger Active Member

    This was crazy helpful, even bought some of the cheapest viagra online ;)

    barbazul Member

    When seeds are involved in water, whether it is a paper towel or a space shuttle, they deteriorate since they are biodegradable. The reason why seeds become darker is because they are deteriorating. When you are tying to germinate a seed thats taking too long, keep an eye on it and when it turns almost black remove it from wherever you have it, it is already decomposing, but can still survive if you dry the shell a bit (i mean slow drying so that it also afects the interior without over drying the shell, but never dry it too much cause that will kill it too!)

    bigbillyrocka Well-Known Member

    Well i seen this and thought id move it up for the noobs.

    billsmurray Member

    HOOOOOOly shit help me.

    My " cotyledon leaves " are yellow. The baby ones

    My young ladies are now 13 days old, have sprouted and the majority of them are working on their second set of bladed leafs.

    They are all in Rock wool starter cubes - Feed at no less than every 12 hrs. with straight ph'd 5.8 RO water

    My samples Within the rockwool, before watering again, have read 6.4 even though I first soaked in 5.5 for 12 -13 hrs.


    This is my question?

    I am thinking about starting to add nutes at 1/4 streangth to help with the yellowing cotyledon leaves "

    Or is the PH not in the right zone and thats what is causing the yellowing cotyledon leaves???

    How do I fix this?

    Using CFL 125 right now at 18/6 with 50 percent humidity
    Commander Strax

    Commander Strax Well-Known Member

    The better question is Why Did You Post Your Question Here?​

    PhilFree New Member

    Good post! I recently had 7 out of 12 pop because I neglected to pay attention to the temp. They were around 75-80 degrees. Also I think humidity is important and that was also neglected.
    Grosse Pointe Dank

    Grosse Pointe Dank Member

    I enjoyed reading this! Very informational, most people don't take the time to worry bout the first stages of the plant.
    Rep + man good job
    Canna Bus

    Canna Bus Well-Known Member

    An old NorCal grower showed me this method of germinating seeds about 10 years ago. Soak your seeds in Rocket Fuel germinating water. Good seeds should crack, show it's tap root and be ready to plant in 14 to 18 hours on average. I had a Holy Grail Kush germinate in 9 hours once but that is not the norm and has never been repeated. This is the formula for 8 oz. of Rocket Fuel germinating water: Into 8 oz of spring water (6 to 6.3 pH) put - 2 drops 35% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide - 1/2 tsp Nitrozime - 10 drops Wet Betty or Coco Wet - 1/2 tsp Ultimate Willard Water. Keep temps at around 75-80F.

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