So many Growers, so many Preferences. We asked 143 growers: what is the best way germinating weed seeds? Seed priming lets you get to the fun part of growing faster while increasing success rates and even yields.
The Best Way Germinating Marijuana Seeds?
We asked 8 Experts + 143 MSB Growers!
Do you think there is 1 way to make your ladies sprout? Think again!
We asked 8 Experts & 143 MSB Growers:
What is your Preferred Germination Method?
We were blown away by the number of variations we received!
Perhaps your new best way of Germinating Marijuana Seeds is amongst them!
- Study Best Way Germinating Marijuana Seeds
- Dr. Dina, Queen of cannabis
- Ed rosenthal
- James Loud, Loud Genetics
- Jennifer Martin, Cultivation Sector Consulting
- Jesce Horton, LOWD
- Melanie Carruthers, 7acres
- Ryan Douglas, Ryan Douglas Cultivation
- Rudy Ellenbogen. Whole Grow
- Preferred Germination Method MSB Community
- Conclusion: What is the Best Way to Germinate Marijuana Seeds?
Study on Best Way Germinating Marijuana Seeds
Here at Marijuana Seed Breeders, we get many questions. From Beginner to Expert.
We love helping growers.
In fact, we try to address frequently asked questions into articles so that everyone, even non-MSB Growers can benefit.
One of these questions is about germination: what is the best way for germinating marijuana seeds?
Interesting one, because perhaps is our best way, not your best way. Therefore we created the article How to germinate weed seeds.
In the article we give steps for 5 frequently used cannabis germination methods:
- Glass of water
- Wet towel
- Directly in soil
- Stone wool blocks
- Using a starter kit
We also give pros and cons to every method. So this should give you enough information to determine what is the best fit for your next growth.
Which Germination Method is the most used?
Every spouted seed counts. To more plants the better, right?
That’s why we are interested to understand how marijuana growers around the world germinate their cannabis seeds.
When we ask people this question we get a lot of different answers. Which germination method is the most used one?
We had an idea, but we didn’t know for sure.
It was time for a survey amongst our beloved MSB Community. We also reached out to experts in the field to learn more about their preferred method.
We were blown away by the number of enthusiastic replies! Both from our MSB community as well as the experts.
Yes, sure we received replies, just confirming one of the 5 methods.
But the larger group of people actually took the time to reveal their ‘secret’ to cannabis seed germination!
But first: let look at the statistics from our own research.
Results Preferred Marijuana Seed Germination Study
Without further ado, the most favorite germination method amongst 143 growers is:
#1. Wet Towel (37.3%).
#2. Other. 21.1% of the growers follow another germination routine.
#3. Directly in Soil. A surprisingly high percentage (19%) put their precious seeds directly in soil!
#4. Starter kits. 10% use starter kits (like Spongepot).
#5. Glass of water is the best way for 8.5% of the growers.
#6. Stonewool (3.5%).
Here is the breakdown in a chart:
Preferred Germination Method Experts
Ok, enough of the statistic, it’s germination time.
Let’s start with Expert advice!
First off: even though they were busy, we received kind feedback from the Experts. This shows again how approachable and awesome the people in our growing community are,
We received feedback from these experts from the field (sorted in alphabetical order):
#1. Dr. Dina, The Queen of Cannabis, Co-Owner of AHHS WeHo
#2. Ed Rosenthal, The Guru of Ganja
#3. James Loud, Founder of Loud Genetics Loud Seeds
#4. Jennifer Martin, Founder Cultivation Sector Consulting LLC
#5. Jesce Horton, Founder and CEO LOWD
#6. Melanie Carruthers, Director of Propagation 7ACRES
#7. Ryan Douglas, Cannabis Growth Consultant Ryan Douglas Cultivation
#8. Rudy Ellenbogen, Founder and CEO Whole Grow
Ready? Let’s dive right in!
Dr. Dina, The Queen of Cannabis, Co-Owner of AHHS WeHo
When someone gets a nickname from Snoop Dogg, and when that person is referred to as The Queen of Cannabis, the Mona Lisa of Mary Jane as well as The Queen of Weed AND the main character of the 8 season series Weeds is based on their person, then you know that you are dealing with a true expert.
I prefer to germinate My seeds in root gel (clonex) and stick them in cubes. Paper towels work well too, but I think the root gel gives the seeds the extra push to become a strong plant.
– Dr. Dina, The Queen of Cannabis
Ed Rosenthal, Author, Educator, Social Activist, And Legalization Pioneer
I use starter trays and plugs from iHort – EXcel T-50 and 32 Star Excel trays to start seeds. They come pre-moistened, with a little hole to drop a seed.
I use the 50 per tray when I will be transplanting within two weeks and the 32 per tray for growing up to 3 weeks.
When I’m using fresh seed, I just drop them into the hole in the cube.
With stale seeds, first I soak them in a 0.5% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) solution for 3-4 hours. The recipe is 1 part drugstore 3% H2O2 to 5 parts water. This sterilizes their surfaces. Then they soak in mycos and liquid kelp solution for about 6 hours. Then they are placed in the cubes.
Upon first signs of germination, I water them with mycos and kelp to promote root growth. The next day they are watered with a weak combo of veg and flowering formula about 400 PPM.
– Ed Rosenthal, The Guru of Ganja
James Loud, Founder of Loud Genetics
Well it’s a loaded question because it depends on scale.
I sterilize in an h2o2 Soak then germinate in a jiffy #7 typically. However, large scale I prefer a needle/vacuum seeder to place the seeds evenly in the substrate.
Well and with autoflower I believe direct sow in optimal conditions can yield better results.
– James Loud, Loud Seeds
Jennifer Martin, Owner Cultivation Sector Consulting LLC
I use coco plugs. I gave up the wet paper towel method years ago because managing the moisture was too cumbersome.
I buy coco plugs that come in the 50-cell sheet, make a light nutrient mix, put all of the plugs in a pitcher of the nutrient mix, squeeze them to fully saturate them with the mix, put them back in the cell sheet, push a seed into each hole, and put a dome on the tray under the light.
Then I just keep the plugs moist. The seeds start to pop in about 3 days. Some take up to a week. I leave them in there until they overgrow the tray, then transplant into 3″ pots.
Jesce Horton, Founder and CEO, LOWD
I’m a water glass guy. I like to know before planting which seeds are more vigorous and then assess based on that benchmark throughout the growth process.
I carefully pull the seeds with a spoon and drop them into a coco mixture a day or two after they pop.
– Jesce Horton, LOWD
Melanie Carruthers, Director of Propagation, 7ACRES
Our processes at 7ACRES for seed germination use a combination of a glass of water and wet towel.
How to Prime Seeds for a Head Start on the Grow Season
Looking to give your seeds a head start? Seed priming lets you get to the fun part of growing faster while increasing success rates and even yields.
Few things compare to the joy of seeing that first bit of green poking through the soil. Growing is an art, and a beautiful one at that.
Germinating seeds yourself brings a sense of accomplishment as well as pure excitement for what’s to come. For impatient gardeners like me, seed priming offers a true edge in the process of seed germination, increasing success rates, and speeding things up.
What is Seed Priming?
Think of priming as hydrating seeds. Seed priming establishes consistent moisture and temperature for seeds so they begin the germination process. In many cases, seeds are primed and then the germination process is halted before roots and sprouts emerge.
This can occur because controlled priming works within a window of time between priming and pre-germination. As long as priming does not surpass the maximum length of time, seeds can safely dry back to a dormant state and await planting. Amazingly, at the time they’re sown, primed seeds will sprout more quickly and abundantly than non-primed seeds.
Seed Priming at Home
Seed priming is possible for hobby and home gardeners, although it may be more or less a little-known secret or a proud discovery of greater gardening success. Only this year did I learn the amazing experience of improving germination by priming and testing seeds in wet paper towels.
Soak seeds in a small bowl of water for no more than 24 hours.
Soaking Seeds First
When priming seeds at home, you can soak seeds or use the paper towel method of germination. If soaking, place seeds in a small bowl of water and soak for no more than 24 hours. Recommendations on total soak time vary but range commonly between eight to 12 hours and absolutely no more than 24, or else the seeds might begin to rot.
Wet Paper Towel Seed Priming
The plastic baggie and paper towel method of starting seeds is a very useful technique. A kind gentleman in a Facebook gardening group suggested it for planting pea seeds to see if they’d sprout. Here are the steps:
- Fold a paper towel in half.
- Space out pea seeds on the folded paper towel.
- Spray room temperature tap water lightly on the paper towel.
- Fold it to fully cover the seeds and ensure it is evenly moist.
- Place the folded paper towel in a zip-top plastic baggie.
- Label with the date and type of seed.
- Place near a heating vent or on a warm surface such as the top of your fridge or microwave.
I couldn’t believe my luck the next morning! When I checked on the pea seeds in the baggies, I saw the radicles (first roots) had begun to emerge from almost all the seeds. Amazed, I proceeded to use the same wet paper towel and baggie-priming method with beans, Roma tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, and even fruit seeds for fun. Almost everything germinated. Brilliant!
You can gently bury the entire primed seed loosely below the soil.
As Seedlings Emerge
Prior to priming, be sure to check your local weather. Once you start the priming process at home, it’s vital to get the seeds into the ground soon after they begin germinating. In as little as 24 hours, you may see some tiny seedlings starting to push their way through the seed coats. You can gently bury the entire primed seed loosely below the soil and it should continue its journey to the surface in short time.
Why Should I Prime Seeds?
Planting primed seeds results in shorter germination times and better rates of germination. For both commercial farmers and home gardeners, seed priming saves time and optimizes growth. Here are some key advantages of using primed seeds or priming seeds yourself:
Faster Seed Germination – Moisture added when priming seeds speeds up the germination process.
Higher Rates of Germination – Seeds sprout in greater numbers when primed before planting. Proper priming can overcome seed dormancy for stubborn varieties.
More Forgiving to Temperature – Seeds go through many of their temperature-sensitive changes during priming. Therefore, they can germinate more easily in cooler temperatures, which in turn can impact heating bills in larger scale farming operations.
Reduce Fungi – It’s reported that priming seeds can lower the incidence of seedborne fungi in resulting plants.
Increase in Yield – Significantly higher yields are likely to occur with primed seeds. One study revealed a 21 percent greater yield when priming seeds first.
Higher Density and Vigor – Plants grown from primed seeds tend to be more vigorous and may also reach maturity sooner. This also means harvests may begin earlier in the growing season.
Affordable – Priming seeds at home is easy to do and you can use materials you already have around the home. It’s cheap, easy, and quite honestly, much neater than starting everything in soil first.
Environmentally-Friendly – This method of enhanced gardening is friendly to plants and the environment. Your green thumb is now even greener!
Save Valuable Planting Space – Priming seeds first speeds things up and allows you to identify viable seeds as well as potential duds. You can swiftly pot up the promising seeds and discard or bulk plant those that don’t seem viable.
Soak It — Seeds Best Suited for Priming
Starting seeds is so much fun, and it’s even better when you’re able to up the ante for quicker and better results. Consider what you’re planning to grow and whether priming the seeds can enhance your gardening experience. You can prime these seeds for quicker and more abundant germination. Try at-home priming with wet paper towels or seed soaking for the following seeds, to name a few.
Commercial Examples of Seed Priming
In professional environments, seed priming may involve a solute, whereas in-home gardeners will likely use water to prime their seeds. Even water vapor can aid in the seed priming process.
In a study of nanoparticle-mediated seed priming, seeds received a treatment of nanopriming agents, in this case turmeric oil nanoemulsions (TNE) and silver nanoparticles (AgNPs). This seed priming measure improved the germination of notoriously temperamental watermelon seeds and resulted in improved germination, better growth, and increased yield without altering the quality of the fruit.
Another study tested seed priming in developing countries. This study largely found “on-farm” seed priming to be significantly positive in its impacts to seed germination, plant growth, and crop yields.
Professional Seed Priming Methods
Commercial growers and suppliers rely on proven methods to prime seeds for best germination, growth, and yield. Some have their own proprietary means of priming seeds while others adhere to tried and true techniques. Here are the most common commercial priming methods.
Drum Priming – Seeds soak up moisture from controlled humidity within a rotating drum. The monitored water vapor moistens the seeds and primes them for optimal growth.
Hydropriming – While used in commercial operations, this method would also work at home. Hydropriming involves soaking seeds in water, specifically in aerated distilled water if possible.
On-Farm Seed Priming – Farmers can soak seeds overnight and allow them to dry briefly before planting. This method can reduce the overall time needed for the seeds to soak water directly from the soil.
Osmopriming – Soaking seeds in low water content paired with osmotic solution relies on osmosis to jumpstart the seeds without kicking them into true germination. Plant hormones or beneficial microorganisms may also be mixed into the priming solutions.
Solid Matrix Priming – A slower method, seeds begin in an insoluble medium that readily absorbs water, such as vermiculite. This method limits water uptake by the seeds.
Take these tips on priming seeds at face value and give it a whirl with your next planting. This is one case where it’s quick, clean, and easy to make a difference in your gardening endeavors!
Tip: Not all seeds need to be primed. Some, particularly those that are finicky when transplanted, may not be great candidates for seed priming or may sprout just fine on their own. Those that are small may simply not need it. Carrots, lettuce, radishes, and some herbs and flowers may do better without priming. If you do choose to prime these seeds, soak in a small dish of water and watch closely every few hours to avoid overdoing it. Trial and error is one of the best parts of gardening!