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starting marijuana seeds in soil

Why Jiffy Pellets are the Best Medium for Popping Pot Seeds

The life of any plant begins with germination, making this process the most important in your plant’s life. You will undoubtedly come across many different methods for germinating your marijuana seeds . Some may be successful, but others will disappoint you.

Why Jiffy Pellets are the Best Medium for Popping Pot Seeds

For the best results, you need a precise understanding of how to get started growing your marijuana plant. Choosing Jiffy Pellets as your initial medium is probably the best way to go. Outside of this option, coir is your next best alternative to Jiffy pellets. But first, let’s discuss how a marijuana plant grows.

How to Sprout Marijuana Seeds

Marijuana plants start as a seed . That tiny thing resembling a pebble is a whole plant securely stored with a supply of food to support itself for a few days. In the germination process, the food converts into sugars, which the plant uses to cut the shell and develop its root. Identifying a healthy seed is, therefore, the first thing that you need to do.

The sprouting process is the foundation of your marijuana plant, so do not take this step lightly. Other than starting with a high-quality seed , you need to ensure that your conditions are optimal. It is challenging to optimize the natural mediums, which is why a medium such as Jiffy pellets comes in handy.

Related: How To Germinate Your Cannabis Seeds

Different mediums for sprouting marijuana seeds

There are many different germination methods, and results will vary. Here are some ways to sprout your seeds .


Sprouting marijuana seeds in regular soil is a common practice. Soil is a natural medium and can protect the seeds as it develops its fragile roots. For this option, be sure to start with the right type of soil for marijuana. Use a seed starter or fertilized potting soil with a pH of around 6. Soil has both minerals and spores that supports growing marijuana plants.


Water is another method for sprouting a marijuana seed. This method produces a seedling in 24-48 hours. The advantage of using water is that you can ensure adequate moisture for germination.

The plant will also have an easier time ‘breaking its shell’ compared to when it is in a soil medium. For this method, water daily while checking the temperature, ensuring that it is around 65° F.

How to germinate cannabis seeds?

Want to know how to germinate cannabis seeds? Then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide you will find tips for germinating seeds.

What do we need for the seed to germinate well?

Humidity – First of all, we need to give the seeds the impulse to germinate. Depending on the method chosen, we expose the seeds to moisture. The roots do not tolerate light, so always protect the seeds from light of any intensity during germination.

Temperature – Keep the room temperature around 22 degrees. Cannabis sprouts do not tolerate temperature fluctuations, so a higher position in the living room is ideal ( in the dark, of course ) Cannabis seeds can germinate even in colder temperatures, but expect it to take some extra time and risk of rot, which is same for higher temperature. The rule is higher temperature = faster sprouting but at the cost of the risk of rot.

Relax – Once the germination process begins, leave the cannabis seeds where you left them and do nothing about them.

Be gentle – If you are going to check upon the seeds, or want to manipulate them somehow, pay attention and be gentle. While you manipulating with sprouted seed, be very careful. They are more fragile than you think and could break off easily.

Correctly placed in the medium – Plant the germinated seed with the root downwards. It will help the seed to grow faster. Do not try to repeat process If you did not place them correctly, they will be just a little slower.

Correct depth – 0,5-1,5cm is the right depth. Use a thin stick to make a hole, then place sprouted seeds and close the hole so the light can´t endanger roots of your seeds

These are the factors that will positively influence germination itself. So what germination methods do we know?

Method 1: Place seeds directly to a medium

Rooting sponge

This sponge simulate the soil itself, so the seed will feel good. Working with these sponges is very simple. Carefully place the seed inside this sponge and then water it regularly.

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Each of these sponges has a hole in its central part directly onto the future seedling, so you have a rather easy work.

Rockwool cube

Rockwool cubes are made of basalt wool and calcium in a furnace at high temperature.

Rockwool is the ideal medium for growing hydroponics. However, it can be used for germination. Rockwool does not have an ideal PH, so it needs to be placed in PH-adjusted water for 24 hours before use.

Peat planting tablets Jiffy

These small peat tablets are also very well known. The material is of plant origin (spahagna peat) and thanks to soaking in water it swells into a nice cylinder, into which you then insert the cannabis seed. The tablets are very airy, so the seeds will be like in heaven and take root faster. They contain minerals to adjust the acidity of the soil medium.

Method 2: Dip cannabis seeds in water overnight

A very effective method that is well built especially for older seeds.

Most of the quality seeds start swimming on the surface of the water, but eventually they sink to the bottom of the glass as soon as they are soaked with water. After a while, you’ll notice that the box is beginning to expand and a tiny root is sprouting.

The ideal soaking time is 24-32 hours. Some seeds have a harder cover than the other, so they don’t have to germinate in one single moment. But it should not take more than three days.

Ideally, allow 24 hours to pass and then remove the seeds and place them in a medium.

Method 3: Paper towel

Perhaps the classiest method of germinating cannabis seeds. Take a paper towel, soak it and wrap the seed in.

Expensive paper towels are not required. An alternative to napkins is a standard make-up swab or cotton wool but not with a chemical content. When you check the seeds, be careful if the budding root has grown through the paper/cotton wall.

There is a risk that the paper napkin may dry out. It is recommended to place it between two plates or cover it with an inverted bowl. Drought would probably kill the seed.

Check the sprouting seed every 12 hours. You can plant the germinated seed immediately.

How to plant sprouted cannabis seeds?

Once germinated, the seed is ready to be planted in the soil. If you have more seeds, it is good to plant them together.

The germinated cannabis seed is very fragile at this stage, so be super gently. If you happen to break or pluck a small white root by mistake, the plant may survive, but it will be severely paralyzed.

We put the germinated seed in the soil to the mentioned depth. A seedling can sprout in a matter of hours or days. If it takes more than 10 days, the seed probably didn’t make it. It can happen sometimes even to healthy seeds, it is a nature.

The first weeks of your seedlings

The soil must not contain large amount of nutrients at first. It will suffice to be well aerated. As the number of leaves increases, you can add a smaller amount of nourishment or plant it in your own super soil mix, which will contain the optimum amount of nutrients.

If you grow in coconut fibres or grow straight hydro, use 1/4 of the recommended amount of nutrition first. Once more leaves have sprouted, you can add 2/4. After a few days or add 3/4 and then after another few days add fertilizers by the guide.

Keep your pH under control. Whether it is a seedling or an adult plant, pH will always play an important role.

With seedlings, it’s good to start with something weaker or place HPS higher, if you plant the seedlings indoors.

Using the germination station

We’re talking here about a device that was created directly to germinate cannabis seeds, and that’s a germinating station. It is a mini greenhouse what keeps humidity and temperature inside. They are particularly popular in the USA and Holland. You can insert either root sponges or pellets into individual holes.

Germinating Cannabis Seeds – A Step by Step Guide

Germinating cannabis seeds is one of the most exciting parts of the whole grow. It is almost magical to summon new life from a dormant seed; however, it can be very frustrating when things don’t go well. In this article, I explain how to germinate cannabis seeds successfully. I begin by reviewing the science of germinating cannabis seeds. I then describe several common cannabis germination strategies and share some cannabis germination tips and tricks. At the end of the article, I provide my step-by-step guide to germinating cannabis seeds. Be sure to watch my Germination Tutorial on YouTube!

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Germination will always be exciting, but it does not need to be intimidating. There are many ways to germinate cannabis seeds successfully. Understanding the science and the shifting needs of the developing plant will allow you to choose the germination strategy that is right for you.

The Science of Germinating Cannabis Seeds

Cannabis seeds are among the easier seeds to germinate. They are large dicotyledon seeds that store a reasonable amount of energy for early life. Furthermore, cannabis seeds do not have any significant seed dormancy factors to overcome. If they are viable seeds they will germinate easily when exposed to the correct conditions.

Seeds become Sprouts During Germination

This may sound obvious, but it is important to consider because seeds and sprouts are different. When the cannabis seed is still a seed, it is resilient and does not depend on ideal conditions to survive. However, sprouts are different. As soon as the seed cracks open and exposes the radicle (tip of the root) it becomes a sprout. As a sprout, it becomes much more sensitive to external conditions. Whereas the seed only needs warmth and moisture to germinate; the radicle on a sprout needs warmth, moisture, oxygen, and darkness to survive and grow.

Germination Stage 1: Imbibition

The seed’s journey to planthood begins by getting wet which starts the process of imbibition. Imbibition is similar to rehydration. When wet, the testa or seed coat of cannabis seeds imbibe water which causes them to swell and soften. The force of water entering the cells in the testa physically ruptures the seed coat and allows the radicle (root tip) to escape. The imbibition of water also activates the metabolic activity within the seed protoplasm.

Warmth is Required for Metabolic Activity

The metabolic activity within the seed will only activate if the temperature is in the appropriate range. Like other seeds, cannabis seeds will not successfully germinate if the temperature is too low or too high. Room temperature is warm enough to allow germination, but warmer temperatures enable more metabolic activity and faster germination. The ideal temperature range to germinate cannabis seeds is 80-86 F (27-30 C).

Germination Stage 2: Respiration

Seeds carry stored energy to help power metabolic activity and growth until the plant can begin photosynthesis. However, just like humans and other animals, plants must engage in respiration in order to convert that stored energy into active energy that the plant can use. During the earliest stages of metabolic activity as the seed awakens from dormancy, the respiration is anaerobic or without oxygen. However, the sprout needs to quickly begin using oxygen in aerobic respiration to continue to survive and grow.

As metabolic activity resumes, the sprout will begin to grow. Cannabis seeds store most of their energy in their cotyledons in the form of starches and proteins. The plant uses energy from aerobic respiration to digest these starches and proteins into simple sugars and amino acids, which it mobilizes to grow the radicle (root tip) and hypocotyl (stem).

Cannabis Sprouts need access to both water and air

Seeds can be completely submerged in water during the first part of imbibition. However, if they are completely submerged after the radicle is exposed then the sprout will die from lack of oxygen. As soon as the seed cracks open and exposes the radicle it needs to have access to oxygen for aerobic respiration. This means that it needs some contact with air. However, it also needs continuous contact with water. To achieve the best results in the sprout and seedling stages it is best to use a grow media that will trap both air and water. As I explain below, paper towels work well for this during the early sprout stage and germination media like Jiffy Pellets or Rockwool cubes are perfect for young seedlings.

Germination Stage 3: Orientation

At this stage of germination, the plant must orient itself to grow properly. The radicle must push down into the soil or media and the hypocotyl must push the cotyledons (first leaves) up out of the soil or media. Both gravity and light help orient the plant to grow in the proper direction.

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Apply Light but Keep the Radicle in the Dark

Cannabis seeds do not require darkness to germinate. However, the radicle is sensitive to light. Bright light will stunt the radicle and can lead to a failed germination. When seeds are germinated in paper towels it is best to keep the sprout in total darkness until the radicle is about half an inch long (about 1.25cm). However, as the cotyledons emerge from the seed casing, they will be looking for light to indicate the direction they need to grow. Therefore, when the radicle is longer than half an inch it should be placed in media which will protect it from light. Once the radicle is safely in the media, light should be applied to the top of the media to signal the direction of growth for the cotyledons.

Germination Stage 4: Photosynthesis

During the germination stage the plant relies exclusively on stored energy from the seed. This energy is limited, so the plant must quickly begin producing its own energy through photosynthesis. The young plant works to establish its radicle in the media and push the cotyledons up into the light to begin photosynthesis. Once the cotyledons open and receive light, the plant will begin photosynthesis. At this point, germination is complete, and the plant can start producing its own sugars, starches, proteins and fats.

Nutrients for Germinating Cannabis Seeds

The nutrients and supplements that we provide to our plants are not their food. Nutrients and supplements support photosynthesis. Therefore, they are not needed until the plant has begun photosynthesizing. Indeed, adding nutrients to the water used for imbibition can actually inhibit germination. It is best to use plain water at a neutral pH (7.0) to imbibe the seeds.

Once the cotyledons are open, the plant can use very small doses of nutrients. However, it is easy to overdo it and burn the plant. When and how to begin fertilization depends largely on the media that you are growing in. If you are growing in coco or other inert and unamended media, be sure to read “How to grow cannabis seedlings in coco coir”.

Cannabis Germination Strategies

There are many viable ways to germinate cannabis seeds. Different germination strategies may be more suitable for different growers. Therefore, before explaining my step-by-step guide to germinating cannabis seeds, I will review some of the more popular germination strategies.

Soaking Seeds

Many growers begin germination by soaking seeds in water. This allows for faster imbibition of the seed because it is surrounded by water. It is a safe strategy to follow as long as you remove the seeds from the water before the seed actually cracks open. If you soak seeds, you should use plain (low EC) water with a neutral pH (7.0). Filtered or distilled water is best.

The Paper Towel Method

This seems like a make-shift hack, but wet paper towels provide an excellent air/water ratio for germinating seeds. They also allow you to precisely control the temperature of the seed/sprout during germination. As a result, using paper towels can speed the germination process considerably.

The paper towels should be fully saturated with water, but not dripping wet. I like to fold the paper towel so that there are two layers below and above the seed. You can then place the paper towels in an air-tight container to prevent them from drying out. I use pyrex containers. If you use a plastic bag, just make sure that you trap some air in the bag (don’t squeeze all the air out). The radicle does need some air, but there will be plenty, even in a sealed container. Place the sealed container someplace warm and cover it to protect the radicle from light.

The main drawback to the paper towel method is that it is possible to damage the young sprout when you transfer it to media. There are some easy practices to mitigate this risk. First, use cheap, single-ply paper towels. This prevents the radicle from growing between the plies. Second, place only one seed on each paper towel. This allows you to pick up the whole paper towel and avoid touching the sprout when you transplant to media. Finally, don’t keep the seeds in paper towels for too long. Once the root has grown to about 0.5in or 1.25cm, it is time to transplant it to media.