How To Start Cannabis Seeds

Understanding Cannabis Seeds

Cannabis seeds are the foundation of all cannabis plants and are the starting point for growers. They come in a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes and understanding the different varieties is essential for successful cultivation.

In this section, we will look at the basics of cannabis seeds and their importance in growing successful cannabis plants.

Different types of cannabis seeds

Cannabis seeds come in a variety of different types, each of which produces a plant with an array of distinct characteristics. Depending on your growing needs, you may prefer one type over another. Before buying seeds, it’s important to do your research so you can familiarize yourself with the differences between them.

  • Regular Cannabis Seeds – These “regular” seeds contain a combination of male and female genetics, meaning each batch will produce both male and female plants. If you want to control the sex of your plants or if you are breeding new strains, regular seeds are essential.
  • Feminized Cannabis Seeds – Feminized cannabis is bred to produce solely female plants. Unless they have been cross-pollinated by accident or by wind-borne pollination (uncommon in indoor grows), these cannabis have an almost 100% chance of producing female buds/plants when grown properly and under the right conditions.
  • Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds – Autoflowering seeds are not as dependent on light cycles for flowering as regular photoperiodic strains; autoflower marijuana will automatically flower regardless of changes in light or dark cycles versus normal strains that would require extra darkness to flower/bud correctly. This can free up your growing space faster since the wait time for flowering is significantly shorter compared to regular seeds that must experience darkness periods before bud production begins. This type is ideal for novice growers who want quick turnover due to shorter overall cycle duration and lack of dependency on daily light cycles for flowering.

Germination process

Germination is the process of cannabis seeds transforming from a dormant state into healthy plants. To begin germination, it’s important to understand the needs of your seed. The optimal temperature for germinating cannabis seeds is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You also need to provide plenty of moisture and oxygen, as that will ensure the successful emergence of your first set of leaves or cotyledons.

Once the environmental conditions are suitable for germination, you can use different techniques to get your seeds going. The most popular ones are often referred to as “paper towel method” and “soaking method”:

  • Paper Towel Method: This is probably the easiest and lowest-cost way to initiate the germination process. All you need is a damp paper towel (a cotton cloth or filter paper work well too) and some plastic wrap like cling film. Place one or two washed cannabis seeds on top of the damp paper towel (or whatever material you chose) and then completely cover them with another damp paper towel (or other material). Then, use plastic wrap to tightly cover everything up in order create an enclosed environment that ensures constant humidity levels around your nascent marijuana plantlets. Finally, put your assembly onto a warm surface such as a windowsill or near a radiator where temperatures should remain around 65 – 75°F (18 – 24°C). Check periodically for root development which usually happens in one to five days depending on seed variety, age, etcetera.
  • Soaking Method: Soaking is slightly less straightforward than using paper towels but much more efficient in terms of speed and success rate; basically, all you have to do is drop your washed cannabis seed into moistened soil or coco coir medium and leave it there until its first root emerges from either side of the seed coat (usually requires between one day and three days). Once they do appear, move them immediately into their preselected growing medium so they can establish themselves securely before starting their vegetative growth stage which consists mainly in rapid horizontal growth along with setting up their root systems properly right away.[1]

Preparing the Seeds

Starting cannabis seeds is the first step in growing your own marijuana plants. The process starts with germinating the seeds. Preparing the seeds correctly is very important for the optimal growth of your marijuana plants.

It's important to check for the age of the seeds and make sure they are properly hydrated before you start germinating them. Next, we'll discuss in detail the steps you need to take to properly prepare cannabis seeds:

  1. Check the age of the seeds.
  2. Make sure they are properly hydrated.
  3. Start germinating them.

Soaking the seeds

The first step in preparing marijuana seeds for planting is soaking, which helps speed up the germination process and eliminate any pests, bacteria or fungi that may be present. Soaking cannabis seeds can also help to soften their shells so they’re easier to plant.

To soak cannabis seeds, it’s best to use filtered water or the purest available tap water. Fill a bowl or container with the chosen water and place the seeds in it overnight (about 12-24 hours). Make sure to keep the container covered at all times to avoid any contamination from outside sources.

After soaking, take out and dry the seed shells with a paper towel before beginning the planting process. A good rule of thumb is to plant as soon as possible after soaking; however, if necessary, you can store your wet seeds for up to 12 hours before planting them in soil.

Planting the seeds

Once you’ve selected your seeds, it’s time to start planting! Depending on the specific variety that you’re growing and the desired outcome, there are two different techniques for planting cannabis seeds: direct planting and germination.

Direct planting is the simplest of these two methods. To start your seed directly in soil, dig a small hole roughly twice as deep as the size of your seed. Place the seed in the hole, cover it with dirt and add water until moisture is achieved throughout. Planting in soil minimizes your work but can leave you susceptible to pests {1}.

Germinating cannabis seeds means first soaking them in warm water until they have cracked open*. After soaking, place them between moistened paper towels or directly into peat pellets or rockwool cubes** soaked in cold water overnight***. Once they have fully opened and rooted (white propeller-like tails will form), remove them with precautions not to break off or damage their roots and transfer them directly into soil****. This technique maximizes overall health of young plants {2} by making sure that they remain safe from any possible pests and diseases until their immunity has been built up after a few weeks of growth{3}.

{1} When using fertilizers for your plants be sure to dilute your mixture to prevent possible root burn when you “shock” young seedlings with too much nutritional content
{2} Make sure to use containers appropriate for each seed count
{3} Number of weeks may vary depending on strain

  • * Allow between 4–8 hours
  • ** Make sure pellets are completely saturated before using
  • *** Cold soak helps simulate colder temperatures naturally found in nature
  • **** Make sure holes for drainage are created if necessary

Growing Conditions

Growing cannabis from seed is a simple process, and it can be very rewarding. You need to make sure that your cannabis plants have the right conditions in order to grow successfully. There are several factors that you will need to consider. These include the temperature, humidity, light, soil, and fertilizers.

In this section, we will discuss the optimal conditions you need to provide in order to get your cannabis plants to grow healthy and strong.


Lighting plays a vital role in cannabis seed growth, just like it does for most other plants. During the germination process, using a good full spectrum grow light will help the seeds to germinate faster and uniformly. Subsequently, throughout the vegetative and flowering stages, providing different light designed to meet their specific needs can be beneficial to their development.

In the vegetative stage, LED panels featuring a balanced spectrum of applied wavelengths of light including UVB can be beneficial for shallow rooted plants such as cannabis. Once they reach the flowering stage, switching out lights or adjusting the lighting schedule is important as cannabis plants require more red wavelength light during this stage of growth. You may also want to switch from broad spectrum lighting in your grow room from HPS (high pressure sodium) lamps to LEDs. LEDs conserve energy and have a limited heat output which makes it easier to control temperatures inside your grow room better than HPS bulbs can do alone.


Temperature is an important factor in the successful germination of cannabis seeds. Temperatures between 78–82 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for germination with temperatures below 70 degrees discouraging the process. Understanding this process and setting up the optimal environment for seeds to germinate is key when learning how to grow marijuana from seed.

For many growers, this means locating a space near a temperature regulating device such as a heating pad or another warm object; however, using too much heat can cause seedlings to experience plant stress, reducing their lifespan and yield.

Make sure your growing environment maintains consistent temperatures while also avoiding drafts or heats that could damage your seeds. Using an indoor thermometer to gauge temperatures (or even purchasing an indoor garden heater) will help you maintain an optimal temperature range for growing marijuana from seed and into larger growth stages.


As you move away from soil and into hydro or other soilless media, the process of watering your cannabis plants becomes much more precise. Since the medium is not providing any moisture to the plant, you need to be consciously in charge of providing all the water your plant needs to grow. All hydroponic systems will have some type of automated setup, however the most efficient and successful growing setups are whatever systems you manually manage yourself.

When it comes to water for your cannabis plants, reverse osmosis filtered water is generally an optimal choice if you have access to it (or can afford it). Otherwise, distilled water is still a safe bet because it is free from chlorine pollutants that can damage delicate root systems and cause nutrient deficiencies.

When watering plants in hydro systems with nutrient solutions, frequency of watering can vary depending on different nutrient concentrations or type of medium used by the grower. Generally speaking plants need frequent weekly feedings but with less overall quantity then when compared to soil-based cultivation techniques. There are many different methods within each system that require unique approaches but all should revolve around giving enough nutrients but not too much at once.

In general look for signs such as wilted leaves or yellowing when trying to determine if they need more water or nutrients respectively (although there might be other causes too), however keep in mind that less is usually more when first starting out in hydro culture to prevent any nutrient burn caused by overfeeding which can stop growth altogether and take weeks before recovering about back up growth rate again.


Harvesting cannabis plants is one of the most important stages of the growing process. It is the best time to ensure that your buds are as perfect as possible because this is the stage of the process where you will get the most benefit from your plants. Proper harvesting techniques can also help you save time and make sure that your buds are properly cured and ready for consumption.

Let's go over the main steps of harvesting cannabis seeds:

Drying and curing

Once the cannabis plants have been harvested, the goal is to dry and cure them. This can be done quickly by choosing fast drying methods, or it can be done slowly over a period of days and weeks to enhance flavor, aroma and the other attributes of fine cannabis.

The buds should be dried in a dark area with temperatures between 65°F (18°C) and 80°F (27°C). Over drying releases terpenes from the flowers, so keep an eye on temperature and humidity. Good air circulation also helps prevent mold during this process.

The amount of time for drying varies depending on humidity levels, bud size and other factors but generally takes three to seven days, not including transport time from the field or large-scale growing facility. When using quick-drying methods, moist buds may reach a moisture content of 17%.

Curing is the process of maturing cannabis by storing in glass containers in temperatures between 70°F (21°C) and 80°F (27°C). Humidity should be maintained at 60-65%. You can use plastic airtight bags as well but beware that it will penetrate and mix with terpenes already present in buds thus resulting in a different bouquet. The curing process lasts roughly two weeks if done correctly; this helps develop complex flavors while simultaneously reducing harshness found in some strains. During this time buds should be checked regularly to ensure proper curing conditions are met; this includes regular container openings so that CO2 buildup due to respiration kept at bay. Now your cannabis is ready for consumption!

Storing the cannabis

Once you have harvested the cannabis buds, it is important to store the buds properly in order to maintain their freshness and potency. The best way to store cannabis is in a dark and cool environment, such as a pantry or closet, away from direct light sources. Moisture can also be an issue with freshly harvested buds and must be monitored as too much humidity in the storage container can cause mold growth.

For longer-term storage, consider using air-tight glass containers or mason jars to keep out moisture and light. Make sure that you burp (open the lid slightly) these containers every few days in order to release any built-up humidity inside the container. You should also place a hygrometer inside of these containers in order to measure and monitor the relative humidity levels throughout the storage period.

It is also important not to store cannabis buds alongside other aroma producing items as terpenes will often migrate into other substances if improperly stored together. Finally, remember that if you wish to preserve your harvest for long periods of time, it should be stored at temperatures lower than room temperature, such as refrigerator or even freezer temperatures depending on your needs.


Starting cannabis seeds can be a tricky process as there are many different variables that can go wrong along the way. If you are having trouble getting your cannabis seeds to germinate, there are a few troubleshooting routes you can take. In this section, we'll provide tips on how to avoid common mistakes and how to approach the issues you may be facing:

  • Check your water temperature and adjust if necessary.
  • Make sure the soil is moist but not too wet.
  • Check the light intensity and adjust accordingly.
  • Check the humidity level and adjust if necessary.
  • Ensure your seeds are viable by testing them.
  • Check the nutrients of the soil and adjust if necessary.

Identifying and treating common issues

When starting cannabis seeds, it’s important to pay attention to the germination process and be prepared to identify any issues that may arise. Sometimes root or foliage problems can occur if there is too much water or if seeds are planted too deep. It’s also possible that the seed has been exposed to extreme temperatures prior to planting or it wasn’t stored in optimal conditions.

These common issues can usually be treated with just a few simple steps:

  1. Identifying the cause of the issue – Inspecting your plants and paying attention to their environment is key. If you think roots are clogged, remove seed hulls from soil surface and make sure the soil isn’t overly wet. If the plant is too wet, move it away from sources of humidity. Monitor temperature levels around your plants so they remain within ideal range for germination (between 60-80°F).
  2. Checking for disease – There are a few diseases that can affect cannabis when starting from seed. If you find spots on leaves/stems or any other odd signs of discoloration on your plants, spray them with a fungicide and discard any diseased plants as soon as possible before they spread their disease further.
  3. Providing adequate nutrition – Make sure your soil is rich in organic matter by adding compost tea or fertilizer every two weeks throughout growing season (or more often if needed). However, avoid overfertilizing which can stunt growth of young seedlings and cause burning on foliage.

By keeping an eye out for potential issues early on in the germination process and troubleshooting quickly when something goes wrong, you should be able to successfully start your cannabis seeds without any issues.

Dealing with pests and diseases

Cannabis is susceptible to a variety of pests and diseases that can have major impacts on crop yields and quality. To keep your cannabis crop healthy, you need to be vigilant when it comes to preventing pest and disease infestations. Here are some steps you can take to help protect your plants:

  1. Remove dead or withered leaves and other plant material from your garden immediately: This can reduce the chance of fungal infection spreading through the plants.
  2. Monitor for pest activity: Look for signs such as chewed foliage, webbing on stems, eggs or aphids on undersides of leaves, etc.
  3. Control temperature and humidity levels in the grow area: Keeping temperatures below 90°F (32°C) and relative humidity below 60%, will reduce the growth of powdery mildew, botrytis, root rot and other fungi.
  4. Use natural pest repellents such as neem oil or pyrethrin-based products as needed: These are both safe for use around cannabis plants and can help control many types of pests like spider mites or thrips if used at the first sign of an outbreak.
  5. Provide adequate irrigation: Overwatering can create a damp environment that encourages fungal spores to spread quickly through your crop so make sure you water only when necessary — allow soil to dry out between irrigations — preferably before midday when temperatures are cooler.
  6. Finally practice good sanitation throughout your garden by removing debris (old plant material, etc.) regularly from around the grow area – this helps to disrupt breeding sites for potential pests like aphids or thrips.