The downside of water germination is that once they’ve popped, you’ll need to maneuver them into their growing medium manually. This is a delicate process, as germinating seeds are extra fragile, and any harm risks the development of your plants. Make sure to place the seed roots down in the soil when you transfer to a pot.
While many plants can be germinated in the ground, cannabis seeds are fragile enough that you should germinate them before planting.
Germination is the process that brings a cannabis seed out of its hibernation period and starts the cannabis growth process. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
How to germinate seeds using paper towels
Gently water the soil with a spray bottle and situate your pots under a fluorescent lamp. Keep seeds away from the windowsill, as the temperature is too volatile for germination. In general, you’ll want to keep the temperature in the range of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use a spray bottle to moisten the paper towels and then store the cushioned seeds between two plates, under a face-down bowl, or gently place them in a plastic bag. Maintain a temperature of about 72 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping the paper towel wrapped seeds in the dark and away from a windowsill. In two to five days, the seeds will pop inside the paper towel sandwich and emit tiny roots, ready to plant when they reach about five millimeters in length.
You can also germinate your seeds by placing them in water. It’s slightly faster than the soil method, but you need to adjust your environmental factors accordingly. Remember, successfully germinating seeds requires a perfect balance of ideal growing conditions. When germinating in water, seeds need only 24-48 hours to pop their stems, though cultivators can keep them soaking for up to a week as needed. Water germination is faster because the seed gets all the moisture it needs immediately, and the shell softens and cracks more easily after soaking.
When a seed enters an environment with enough moisture, it will increase in size and slowly break out of its shell. A seedling or germ forms from which roots will emerge, helping the baby plant absorb nutrients from the soil. Seeds naturally develop roots facing down and stems stretching upward, allowing the young cannabis plant to simultaneously feed off light and earth.
As soon as the first pair of leaves grow on the seedlings transplant them into 14-16 cm/5,5-6,5” pots, so that they have sufficient space for their root development and nutrients. You can also choose larger containers if you are confident that you will not over-water. We recommend a 4-5L/1 gallon container for the first 4 weeks of growth and subsequent period of sexing under 12/12. Repot females into larger containers after sexing. See our SOIL GUIDE for info on container sizes.
This does not mean that pre-soaking should never be used with seeds from other sources, or that we criticize growers who prefer this method. We are aware that some breeders recommend it for their products. But to prevent complications and achieve the consistent level of high germination rates that you should be getting from your Mandala seeds please trust our advice and follow our guidelines.
A practical solution is offered by this portable and easily assembled lean-to greenhouse. It has a heavy-duty galvanised steel framework with zip-on and zip-off heavy-duty UV stabilised PVC covers. The greenhouse is ideal for propagating and hardening off young plants and offers essential protection from frost, weather conditions and pests.
Please use high quality soil that is suitable for seedlings (see our SOIL GUIDE for more info), or use rockwool starter cubes for germinating seeds.
Please take note that customers who soak their Mandala seeds in water or wet paper tissue do so at their own risk. We are not accountable for any failure in germination or complications caused by this method.
A simple low-cost cloche is very handy if you need to transport the pots from inside to outside daily.
Mandala Seeds places great emphasis on the quality of the seed stock. We guarantee that the seeds from all products are fresh and viable when they are dispatched to resellers and customers. Seeds harvested from each mother plant are checked for optimal germination rates before they are approved for sale! In large tests (1000 or more) our seeds achieve a germination rate of 99,6%. Our seed stock is refreshed every 6-12 months! Therefore seed vendors and customers can be certain to purchase and store viable seeds at any time.
To avoid disappointment, seeds that have a darker colouration stand a better chance of germinating, while pale green or white seeds are likely to fail. Even if dark seeds look slightly damaged, they should be planted anyway. There is a good chance they will still germinate, even if the outer shell is somewhat crushed.
Maintaining the ideal temperature (between 22–25°C/71–77°F) and moisture for germination is tricky. Leaving seeds out in the open environment or on a windowsill is far from ideal; a DIY climate-controlled cupboard would do a much better service. A warming mat is perfect for maintaining a constant temperature, but it doesn’t tackle the issue of moisture.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN CANNABIS SEEDS
There is, of course, a far simpler way to germinate seeds. Ideal for beginners, the feminized starter kit by Royal Queen Seeds has everything you need to kick-start your next cannabis project.
After 3–5 days, the seeds will start to open, and you should see tiny white tips appear. Once these roots reach 2–3mm in length, use extreme care to transfer them from the water to pre-prepared soil pots.
Before you can be met with bountiful hauls of dank buds, there are several stages of cannabis growing that take precedence. Unless you can successfully germinate cannabis seeds, you won’t have a plant to harvest. Give your seeds the best possible start in life by reading our definitive guide to germination.