All cannabis plants start as seeds, and they all require water to germinate properly. Each seed contains a full, little plant that has a root, stem, and a couple of leaves. There are also enough nutrients in the seed for it to survive the first portion of its life. During germination, these vital nutrients (proteins, carbs, etc.) are transformed into glucose, which all plants need to for growth.
1. Let the seeds soak in water that is 65°F (18°C) until they split open and roots appear
When seeds achieve a nice moistness level, they will enlarge and split open. A single root will grow downward with gravity out of that split. The root will always grow down no matter what and the stem will always grow up.
Placing your seeds in water ensures that they have achieved the proper moisture level for the process of germination to begin. The seeds will not take on excess water and drown until about 2 weeks after they have cracked open (you will have already transplanted them into soil by then).
When you fill your glass with water, simply put it in the living room so that it shifts to the temperature of the environment. Tap water is fine, but don’t give the seeds any extra nutrients because they already have everything they need. The seeds will crack open in between 2 and 7 days. Make sure to replenish the water in the glass every other day. Start transplanting when the roots reach 0.1 to 0.2 inches (3 to 5 mm) in length.
2. Place your seeds in a ½-inch hole in small pots with seedling soil
The nutrient level of the seeds is already adequate, so you should use a soil with fewer nutrients to start. Soil made specifically for seedlings and clones that has low quantities of nutrients is ideal. Plants are very susceptible to nutrient burn at this stage if you give them too many nutrients.
The pots should be filled halfway with the seedling soil. To make the half-inch hole, use your finger tip or a pen. Each seed should have its own pot. Since the roots will always grow down, you don’t have to worry how you place the seeds in the soil.
Place the seed in the hole, and cover it up with the soil. When you spray the soil with water, it will tamp down on its own. Avoid pressing the soil. The germination process will continue until the plant starts to surface within a week. The taproot will produce other root offshoots so that the system is strong.
3. Use a plant sprayer to moisten the soil
Water is responsible for both life and germination, making it the most vital component early on. It is extremely important that you give the plants plenty of water and keep the soil moistened.
Plants that don’t receive enough water will compensate by not growing to full capacity. This is largely to increase the plants’ chances of survival. Of course, too much water can cause the plants to lose out on valuable oxygen. Leaves will start to wither and the marijuana plant and growth medium will become more susceptible to diseases and bacteria.
The soil needs to stay adequately moist (not too dry and not over-soaked). The seedling won’t use much water, but a lot of the water evaporates fast. This is the major reason why seedlings should never go on a windowsill or near a heater. Spraying the plants 1 or 2 times throughout the day should be plenty.
4. Put pots 2 inches below CFL tube
Other than water, light is another vital component for the plant’s growth. Light and water help convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and glucose—necessary resources for plant growth. This is referred to as photosynthesis.
When plants don’t receive adequate light, they will form fewer side branches and will elongate abnormally. This stretching helps marijuana plants grow taller to grab enough light in nature. Plants that receive adequate light will grow wider (not taller) and produce a flurry of side branches with a ton of buds. Light should be kept on 24 hours per day and the room should have a consistent temperature of around 72° Fahrenheit.
The pots should be placed under a cool white CFL light at a distance of 2 inches. These tubes don’t create that much heat, they’re energy efficient, and they use the ideal light spectrum for seedlings. Seedlings require about 3 to 5 watts each. When the plants surface after 5 to 10 days, they will need all the light they can get to grow optimally.
5. Moisten the soil with a water sprayer twice a day until seeds germinate
Creating the ideal climate is also important for germinating the seeds under ideal conditions. CFL tubes don’t produce that much heat, but they will keep the soil warm. You can keep the distance between the plants and the bulbs to a minimum, but if the temperature exceeds 77° F, then you should move them farther apart or cool down the area.
Soil moisture is important to ensure that the seed disposes of the water. Avoid feeding the seeds until the initial leaves make it through the soil. This happens after about 5 to 8 days. Be patient and just check the moisture level of your soil without feeding any nutrients.
6. First signs of the seeds
As soon as the seedlings pop their heads out of the soil, it’s vital to inspect the distance between the plant and the light. Adjust the lights if the temperature goes past 72° Fahrenheit or the leaves start receiving excessive light. The soil also needs to stay moist. The leaves on the plants can absorb water, so continue spraying them 2 times per day.
Again, this early stage in life makes the plants susceptible to damage from negative conditions. Don’t use a lot of nutrients and make sure the lights stay on 24 hours to produce a reliable climate. Avoid touching the plants and do not take away the seed skins from the leaves
The plants need to grow and develop sturdy root systems. Big green leaves are capable of absorbing ample light and converting it into energy. Healthy root systems allow plants to take in plenty of water and nutrients. The plant is just starting to form the base for the remainder of its life, so it’s important that they receive proper, diligent care.
7. First two internodes
When the initial internodes start to form, you can feed your plant with root-stimulating foliar nutrients. Start the plants off with a small dose as the developing roots can’t withstand higher concentrations just yet.
The plants will start to grow rapidly (about 0.5 inches per day). Inspect your plants each day for signs of nutrient surplus (e.g. burned leaf tips).
8. Transplant into bigger pots when roots grow out of the bottom
The roots will start to grow out of the bottom of your smaller pot at which point it’s time to transplant. The plant will become rootbound and stop growing if you do not transplant.
To recognize the roots, look for white tips poking out of the bottom. Check for the roots each day and start giving your plants grow stimulator, which is high in nitrogen. Download my free marijuana grow bible for more tips about marijuana nutrients.
9. Grow your plants outdoors or under LED lights
If everything went as planned, then you have strong, healthy plants that will eventually produce high yields. A good start in life means that the plants will be less susceptible to bacteria, diseases, pests, and the effects of harsh weather extremes. Plants that are healthy can better absorb water and nutrients and will develop a faster metabolism for better yields. If you email me a photo of your seedlings, I will publish them on my site.
These plants can now grow outdoors and will thrive in a wind-free location that gets a lot of sun. The plants will also do better in a big container (15 gallons) on a stool. This keeps away any interference from animals like rabbits or snails. If you can afford a greenhouse or build an enclosure and add LED lights, it will help your plants, especially in areas farther away from the equator where you don’t get as much light to your plants as they need. Below is a good place to get LED lights: