How-To: Germinate Cannabis Seeds


If you’re a cannabis enthusiast there is nothing more satisfying than growing your own stash of the magical herb. Worried you don’t have a green-thumb? Don’t fret! We, at, are here to walk alongside you during this journey. If you are starting fresh, check out our Guide to Starting Your Own Grow to see what equipment you will need. If you have all your equipment and are ready to pop your seeds, read on to learn the best methods for cannabis seed germination.


Photo Courtesy of Allie Beckett

Merriam-Webster defines germinate as, “to cause a seed to begin to grow.”  What we’ll be doing is tricking the seed into believing it’s been planted, which will trigger the opening of the seed casing. A tiny tap-root will start to work its way out of the seeds during this process, and that will be our signal to plant them in a more permanent home.

Successful seed germination is reliant on environmental factors such as temperature, water, oxygen, and darkness. The seeds will absorb water until they swell and break open. Oxygen then provides their main source of energy until the seedlings grow leaves. All seeds germinate differently, but cannabis seeds prefer a dark, warm environment around room temperature (60-70 F).

Soaking Method

Soaking your seeds in water is the easiest and most low-maintenance way to germinate.


Photo Courtesy of Allie Beckett


  • Glass Container
  • Water
  • Seeds
  1. Gather a glass container – if you are germinating less than 10 seeds, a shot glass will work perfectly. If you’re germinating more than 10, I recommend using a container with a larger surface area.
  2. Fill your glass container with water.
  3. Pour your seeds into the water.
  4. Place container with seeds into a warm, dark cabinet.

That’s it! Leave your seeds in the cabinet for a couple of days, trying not to disturb them. Some genetics germinate very rigorously and will begin rooting within hours. Most seeds won’t pop this fast but it won’t take longer than 3 days.

If you are planning on growing hydroponically, this is the method I recommend for you. As long as you change the water, you can keep the seedlings growing until their taproots are a couple inches long. From here, you would very gently place the seedling in an aeroponic cloner.


This is an example of some seeds that I left soaking in water for about a week.

Starter Cube Method

The starter cube method requires more equipment than the soaking method, so it is more expensive without necessarily having a higher germination rate. However, using starter cubes does make transplanting into soil or coco coir very easy.


Photo courtesy of Kira Volkov /


  • Bag of Starter Cubes (Rapid Rooter)
  • Seedling Starter tray (Entire Germination Station available for purchase here)
  • Humidity Dome
  • Heat Mat *optional
  • Water
  • Small Watering Can
  • Seeds
  1. Open the bag of starter cubes.
  2. Place cubes in the tray, one per opening.
  3. Gently place your seeds into the starter cubes, one seed per cube.
  4. Pour some water into the tray.
  5. Place humidity dome on top of your tray.
  6. If you have a heating mat, find a dark spot to plug it in and station your tray. If not, you can place your tray in any dark, warm location.

You’ll want to check on the seeds daily to make sure the cubes aren’t too wet or too dry. The moisture level should be right in the middle, which means you’ll probably be giving them water every other day. When you see the seedling sprouting through the top of the cube, you can directly transfer the starter cubes into soil or coconut coir.

Paper Towel Method


Photo Courtesy of Allie Beckett


  • Paper towels or tissue
  • 2 Plates
  • Water
  • Seeds
  • Spray Bottle

The Paper Towel method requires a daily check-in and can be more high-maintenance.

  1. Wet a paper towel and gently wring it out so that the entire towel is damp but not dripping water.  
  2. Place the damp paper towel on one of your plates.
  3. Pour your seeds out onto the damp paper towel. Space them a couple centimeters apart.
  4. Wet another paper towel and gently wring it out to get rid of any excess water.
  5. Place the second paper towel directly on top of the first paper towel, covering the seeds like a blanket.
  6. Gently set your second plate upside-down on top of the seeds, forming a dark environment for the seeds to germinate.
  7. Place the plates in a warm (room temperature) area away from direct light and potential disruption. But not in a place where you will forget to check on them daily!

You want to check on the seeds daily because the towel can easily dry out and kill your seeds, depending on the stage of germination. To keep the humidity up, you use a spray bottle to keep the paper towels damp. In several days you should see a fuzzy white root popping out of each of your seeds!

Time to Plant!

No matter what method you use, when you see a short (1+ inch) white root shooting out of your seed, it is time to transplant it into a new home.


Photo Courtesy of Allie Beckett

Pick your grow medium: soil, coconut coir, rock wool, etc.

  1. Place your germinated seed, root first, a couple centimeters beneath the surface of your chosen grow medium.
  2. Place the pot(s) with your newly transplanted seedlings inside under artificial grow light(s).
  3. After a day or two you should see your seedlings breaking the surface of the grow medium.

Now, it’s time to wait and watch your babies grow! Plants love listening to music and love being talked to, so don’t forget to shower your seedlings with attention and love on the daily. Most importantly, have fun!

Cover Photo Courtesy of wk1003mike /


About Author

Allie is a NW-based content curator for and an organic farmer at TKO Reserve. She has been a professional in the marijuana industry since she was 18 years old, spending the first five years of her career working for Dope Magazine as lead photographer. Allie has worked on mainstream projects such as Idiot's Guide: Growing Marijuana, Branding Bud: The Consumerization of Cannabis and her own self-published book, As The Grass Grows.

1 Comment

  1. I soak the seeds for about 18 hours in pure water, in a shot glass, in a warm place like on top of my DVR box.
    Rather than risk damaging an exposed tap root (paper towel method) I then plant the seed directly in my grow medium.
    Works at over 90% with a good seed source.

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