Here's a complete guide to autoflowering marijuana seed germination. Learn everything there is to know about how to germinate autoflowers! The most known methods to sprout your seeds and get your grow cycle going in no time. Growing your own autoflowering cannabis is easy, cost-efficient, and produces fast results. As you can see, sprouting autoflowering seeds is easy and produces rapid results.
Autoflower Seed Germination Guide
Autoflowering cannabis seeds are just like any regular ones and the process of germination is the same, in fact, the only differences are in the way you treat you seedling when it has sprouted. Some growers say that autoflower seeds can be germinated in colder temperatures but I have not tested this hypothesis myself and have not seen side by side tests that show temperature differences and autoflower seed germination rates.
There are basically two methods of germinating autoflower seeds and they are natural seed germination and germination without growing medium. In nature autoflowering cannabis seeds usually drop down in the autumn, then they survive the winter and in the spring when the temperature reaches optimal level and the surrounding area gets moist they start to germinate. Autoflowering seeds don’t like overly wet conditions and if the seeds drop into a puddle or any other water reservoir or even a swamp then they usually start rotting and die. Looking from the other extreme when a cannabis seeds germinate it looks for a wet environment and if the tap root encounters a dry environment it shivers and dies. From the environments that these seeds encounter in nature we can see that they need to be really strong to survive different conditions and that is why autoflower growers in perfect conditions can achieve more than 99% seed germination.
Autoflower marijuana seeds can germinate in a wide range of temperatures. The optimal temperature for the surrounding air is 27 degrees Celsius but a bit of variation won’t harm the germination rate.
The soil temperature should be a bit lower and it should be around the 25 C mark, but again a little variation won’t affect the germination process that much.
If you are in a colder environment you need to get a heating pad that can heat up your growing medium and if you are in a hot environment get some fans or install an air conditioning unit.
More about autoflower temperature you can find in my previous post!
Autoflowering germination process requires a certain amount of water and water is the life-juice of the seedling that encourages it to start the growing process. Cannabis seeds require clear water, they can be germinated in tap water but you should check the PH level of it because it should be in the 5.6 – 6.2 range, but you can also use distilled water.
You should definitely avoid any nutrients at the germination process and first weeks of growth because the little seedling has a certain amount of nutrients inside the seed, and too many nutrients can halt its growth.
Growing medium preparation
Before putting your seed inside a growing medium you should fully wet that medium by flushing and only after it has dried up a bit you can put the seed in it. Almost any growing medium will be suitable for autoflower seed germination and you just need to check if the PH level is not too high or too low.
After the seed is put inside that growing medium, keep it damp but not too wet as the too humid environment can cause bacteria to spread rapidly causing the new seedling to rot away.
Natural autoflower seed germination
Just take your autoflower cannabis seed and put it in a wet growing medium 2 to 3 times as deep as the width of the seed. That little plant will shoot its tap root down into the ground and with those seed leaves will try to find the light.
Because the seed leaves are growing as they search for the light they will sprout into the air and the little seedling will be firmly held into its place by the taproot. If you plant your autoflowering seeds any deeper the seedling will struggle to push itself towards the light but if you plant it right at the surface the root can get in the light that can stun the plant’s growth.
This is the easiest germination method and this is how nature intended the seeds to be germinated, so you can pretty easily germinate seeds this way and they will pop 90 to 99% of the time depending on the seed quality and age.
Some growers prefer to put the seed in water for 24 hours before planting it in the ground but that does not increase the germination rate for young seeds and usually is done for older seeds.
This method is easy and if you don’t put those automatic seeds into the water for soaking then you just need to dig a small hole and put that seed inside.
This method is the least stressful for the little seedling as you don’t move it around and the soil acts as a buffer if there are any temperature or light fluctuations.
One of the disadvantages is that you cannot control every aspect of this germination process and you can’t know which seeds will germinate and which won’t.
This not knowing also creates a need for more pots and ultimately can cost you money because some seeds will not germinate and you can’t tell which will, but you need to plant each of them inside a different container.
Autoflowers are no good for transplanting and if you want to grow your plants into 5-gallon pots then you need to put each seed inside the end pot/rock wool cube and if some of them don’t germinate you have wasted your resources.
Autoflower starting without growing medium
This is a common method between experienced growers as it gives them full control of the germination process but in a sense is a bit more difficult. This germination method has a number of variations but the most common is the method of putting autoflower seeds in a wet paper towel in an almost closed environment.
If you are using this method you need to control your humidity and it should be at the 80 % level. You also need to control the temperature of the surrounding air because there is no buffer (soil/rockwool) that can protect the seed.
You also need to put your seed germination tray in a dark room and twice a day check if the paper towel has not dried yet. I will give an autoflower germination guide (wet paper towel method) at the end of this article.
Growers can see which seeds will germinate and put only those seeds in their containers not wasting any materials.
By germinating autoflower seeds in this manner you also have full control over the germination process and you can give the seed perfect condition for germination.
Seeds will also pop faster than if they were grown right in the growing medium!
Inexperienced growers can damage seeds while handling them to their growing medium or just getting some of the environmental variables wrong.
If they are left in the paper towel too long the growth can be stunned and they can even die.
This method requires a lot more work than just putting seed into the ground. Basically there are more things that can go wrong.
How to germinate old seeds?
Old seeds are those cannabis seeds that have been produced some 3 and more years ago but that doesn’t mean that you can’t germinate them.
Usually, seeds stay valid for 3 to 5 years if stored properly but with every passing year the seed germination percentage drops and it is harder and harder for you to germinate them. In time the seedling inside the seed loses its moisture and starts to shrink getting weaker and weaker up to the point that it is no longer alive and no moisture levels can’t bring it back to life.
The process of germinating old autoflower seeds is similar to regular seed germination, but you need to let them soak in water for a while so that the seed shell can soften and moisture can get inside the seed giving energy to cells to crack that shell and push out the tap root.
In the picture below you can see seeds in water soaking up that moisture. One of these seeds has drowned and two are floating on the top.
Usually, seeds will drown in a couple of hours and if they don’t drown in a day or two then they could be damaged. This drowning indicator is not as viable because the water surface pressure will hold even the healthiest seeds floating so you can gently push them down and if they don’t sink then, the seeds are probably damaged.
Autoflower growers usually let old seeds stay in water for 24 hours before putting them inside a growing medium or putting them in a paper towel, but be careful as leaving them in the water there for longer can harm them!
While germinating seeds you can easily stress them so you need to look out for the environmental stresses that can damage your seed germination rate.
The first thing is the light cycle fluctuations and the light itself. When germinating autoflower seeds they should be in complete darkness and no light should be shining on those newly sprouted tap roots, as it happens in the ground where there is complete darkness. After the seedling has sprouted you should not change the light schedules and let those newly grown plants grow in perfect conditions.
The second stress that those seeds should not encounter is temperature fluctuations as they can also damage the germination rate, in the ideal conditions temperature should stay the same all the way till the autoflower seed has sprouted and won’t dip in the night time or rise in the daytime.
The last stress that can damage the newly sprouted tap root or seedling itself is nutrients. For the first days and weeks of cannabis growth, you need to supply only pure water with no salts and nutrients.
Method for fixing seeds that are not sprouting:
If you tried to germinate your seeds and some of them did not crack open after 5 days or more you have one last hope and it is to gently try to crack open the seed shell hoping not to damage the seedling if it is still alive.
This method is not going to work 100% of the time and in most cases, you won’t get even 50% success rates but you can apply this method as the last resort if that seed doesn’t sprout naturally.
You can do this in a number of ways and the most common are:
Try to crack it open between your teeth, by lightly crushing one end till the seed shell breaks.
Another method is to do this with tweezers trying to get an opening at one end
The last method is just taking a small knife or scalpel and cutting around the seed till the seed shell breaks off, but you should be very careful not to damage the seedling if it is still alive.
Autoflower seed germination guide
First of all select a viable cannabis seeds that you will be germinating. You need dark-colored seeds that are strong and not too old. If you bought your autoflower seeds from a seed company then you probably should not worry about the quality of them as usually seed companies sell only the best quality seeds.
After selecting the best autoflowering seeds you have two options: putting them right in soil or germinating on wet paper towels. In this guide, I will show the second method.
You will need a container, clear water, and paper towels. For this autoflower seed germination guide, I chose to document one of my micro grows with a yogurt container as a pot, but the principles are all the same for any grow and the basic germination methods stay the same!
The seeds I used were Sweet Seeds – Fast Bud #2, the soil was a basic potting soil with balanced N-P-K and I used tap water.
First of all, you need to germinate your selected autoflower seeds!
Germination Guide for Autoflowering Seeds
Seed germination is the first part of a successful grow cycle, to help you start your cannabis plants with the right foot, here’s an autoflower germination guide that can be used not only for cannabis but for tomatoes, mangos, strawberries. you name it!
Sebastian Good is talking about the best way to start your autoflower seed and germinates Strawberry Pie Auto.
So here’s how to germinate cannabis seeds with the best-known methods and a couple of tips that will get you harvesting in no time.
1. First Things First: Know the anatomy of your cannabis seed
The process of autoflower germination can take up to 10 days, in order to do everything correctly and know if everything’s going well, we need to know a little bit more about the seed. First of all, we need to understand the anatomy of a cannabis seed. The cannabis seed has a dark brown, hard, and often striped, shell, this shell is what protects the insides which are extremely fragile.
When germinating, we need to hydrate the seed, this will soften the seed’s shell and allow water to reach the embryo, when the water reaches it, the embryo will “activate” and start developing.
Have in mind that it’s possible to drown the seed, so we need to keep an eye on moisture levels, also making sure it doesn’t dry out. With a softened shell, it will be easier for the radicle to come out and this is when you’ll see the white taproot slowly appearing, and once it reaches 2-3cm, it’s time to plant it.
As soon as the seedling comes out of the medium, you’ll often see the shell stuck on top of the cotyledons, which are the tiny round leaves that you’re able to see once the shell has detached from the seedling. Those leaves are responsible for feeding the plant until the first set of true leaves appear. Also, there isn’t the best way to germinate marijuana seeds, you can do it any way you want, as long as you keep proper conditions, your seeds will germinate. So, if you’re wondering how do you germinate autoflowering seeds? Read along for the best methods.
2. The Best Conditions For Germinating Seeds
As you may know, cannabis plants need certain conditions depending on the stage they’re in, maintaining these conditions are the best way to ensure your plants will thrive, and when talking about seeds and germination, it’s no different.
Obviously, you can grow cannabis plants in less-than-ideal conditions and they will still grow but it may end up affecting the yields or quality of your harvest.
When talking about germinating auto seeds, germinating in less-than-ideal conditions will decrease the chances of sprouting, so unlike growing cannabis in bad conditions, which will still grow but can affect the harvest, germinating in bad conditions can end up killing your seeds. So when germinating autoflowers you should keep the temperature between 21-26°C and the humidity as close as 90% as you can.
3. Top Tricks For Germinating Old Seeds
As said above, germinating in the ideal conditions will guarantee successful germination but sometimes seeds may be old or have been kept in bad conditions and can be hard to germinate. So, to help you germinate old seeds, here are a couple of tricks that will increase the chances of germination. But first of all, you need to know the best conditions to avoid these problems.
How To Properly Store Seeds
If you are storing seeds for your next grow cycle, you need to keep them in ideal conditions. If you’re going to germinate them during the next couple of days there’s no need to do anything extra, other than keeping them in a cool place and in complete darkness but if you’re planning to store them for months or even years, you should keep them in the fridge.
You should keep your seeds in an airtight container in a fridge set at 6-8°C with a relative humidity of between 20-30%, if you can’t set your fridge to the temperatures mentioned, just keeping them in the fridge will increase the chances of germination. Just have in mind that the better the conditions, the longer your seeds with last.
Soak in supplemented water
As cannabis seeds get old, the shell hardens and can make it hard for the water to reach the embryo, and if the water doesn’t reach the embryo, your seeds won’t sprout so if you’re dealing with old seeds, you can soak them in supplemented water.
To do this, you can fill a glass cup with water and add around 30ml of hydrogen peroxide and leave your seeds soaking for 12hs, this should do the trick. You can also use germination boosters that you find in grow shops but usually, hydrogen peroxide works, also, make sure the water is around 22°C and it’s not getting direct sunlight.
Scarification is a method used to make ridges on the seed to help water pass through, to do this properly, you will need a piece of sandpaper but you can improvise and do it with a matchbox. The goal is to thin out the shell so that the water can reach the embryo easily, just make sure you don’t overdo it and end up harming the embryo inside.
Slightly Open The Seed
As you may have seen, the seed is made out of two halves and has a ridge around it, if your seeds are old, that ridge may end up hardening too much and the seed won’t sprout. So to help your weed seed germinate, you can use a knife or any other tool with a thin point to gently insert it in between the ridges and slightly separate it, after this process, you can soak your water and germinate it like you normally would.
4. Paper Towel Germination Method
The paper towel method is the easiest of all methods. You’ll need :
- 2 paper towels
- a plastic container or plates
Moisten the paper towels and wring them out so they’re damp but not completely wet.
Place the seeds on the paper towel, fold it over the seeds and place it in a plastic container, cover it with the lid to keep moisture in (can also use two plates instead of the plastic container, place the paper towel on a plate and use the other one to cover).
Place the container in a slightly warm and dark place. Remember to check on it daily, we must ensure the paper towels never dry out, the seeds need to keep absorbing moisture, it’s likely that the seeds will never germinate if they don’t. Sprinkle a little bit of water if needed, you’ll know they’re ready to be transplanted when the radicle is around 1-3cm long.
If the paper towel starts having a bad smell, it’s a sign of too much water, let it dry for a couple of days, and if the papers continue smelling bad, change the paper towels.
5. Soaking Overnight In A Glass Of Water
After many years of experimenting and looking for the best way to germinate our Fast Buds seeds, we must say that this is definitely one of the most effective ways.
This method is especially effective for seeds with a harder shell or older seeds. You’ll need:
As the title says, grab a glass cup and fill it half with water.
Place the seeds in the glass and leave it in a dark place, let the seeds soak for up to 32 hours.
Most viable seeds will sink after a couple of hours and you should see the radicle after a couple of days. Remember that some seeds may need longer until you see the radicle coming out. If they haven’t sprouted after 72 hours, add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to kill accumulated bacteria in the water and return to the darkness for 2 more days.
6. Using A Germination Chamber
When you get a bit more experienced, you’ll wanna look for more professional tools and the germination chamber is one of them. It consists of a plastic base with small square cells (can come with up to 256 cells, each cell supports 1 seed), on top of a heat mat, also comes with a humidity dome, basically looks like a small greenhouse. They’re very cheap and you can make one at home.
The chamber can be used with any type of medium, Rockwool cubes, peat pellets, coco fiber, perlite, or even soil and they keep the best environment for sprouting seeds and the first days of the seedling.So how to germinate a marijuana seed in a germination chamber? To start germinating, make a small hole (1-2 cm) in moisten medium, cover without applying pressure, turn on the heat mat and spray the humidity dome, it should take a couple of days to see the seedling coming out.
7. Rockwool Cubes And Peat Pellets
Rockwool cubes are small cubes made of rock and sand fibers, with the consistency of cotton candy almost, they absorb a lot of water and usually are used for germinating seeds and clones. Using them along with the germinating chamber has an advantage, being easy to transplant to the next medium or container.
Rockwool and peat pellets are an easy way to germinate seeds but can be easier to overwater your seeds.
They also can be used along with clay pellets in hydroponics. One of the bad aspects of Rockwool cubes is you can easily overwater and get root rot. Peat pellets are similar to the Rockwool cubes but are made of compressed peat moss and come in a small disc shape. To germinate in either one of them, we will use the same technique explained before, moisten the Rockwool or peat pellet, make a little hole (1-2cm) and place the seed inside, cover it gently without applying pressure and you’re all done. You can place the pellet or cube directly in any type of medium or hydroponics chamber, after sprouting, the roots will continue to grow down, even if they reach the end of the Rockwool or peat pellet.
8. Planting Directly In Medium
Sometimes the simplest way is the better way. As it happens in nature, we can also sprout our seeds in our medium of your preference (coco, soil, perlite, etc..) Just grab a pencil, or even with your fingers, make a little hole (1-2cm deep), and place the seed in it, the medium must be moist but not soaking, then cover with soil without applying pressure.
Every time you transplant a seedling, it needs some time to readjust and can cause stress, thus one of the biggest benefits of this method is you don’t have to worry about damaging your seedling when transplanting or shocking it because it already is in its final place.
9. Top Tips to Improve Seed Germination
Planting the Seeds Correctly
Cannabis seeds have an oval shape with one of the ends being sharper while the other has an indent known as the crown. When germinating cannabis seeds, it’s recommended to plant the seed with the crown pointing upwards as this is the end where the cotyledons usually come out from.
Don’t Let the Substrate Dry Out
The germination process relies on moisture to activate the biological processes that provide the energy the seedling needs to break through the seed shell and start growing. This means that the more moisture absorbed, the better. Note that the keyword here is moisture, you definitely don’t want to drown your seeds. Anyway, once the seed is in the paper towels and the germination process has begun, make sure to check regularly to ensure it’s still moist, and to help with this, it’s recommended you keep it in a warm damp place.
For better germination rates, you can opt for a heating mat and/or germination chambers, but it really doesn’t matter if you’re germination your seeds in the soil, jiffy’s, Rockwool cubes, paper towels, etc… Make sure to keep the substrate moist and you will have great results.
Planting the Seed at the Right Depth
One of the bigger issues among beginner growers is planting the seed at the right depth. These problems can get worse if you are watering the substrate after the seeds are planted. Remember, burying the seed too deep can cause it to not develop while not burying deep enough can cause the taproot to over-bend and develop a weak stem, and sometimes stunt growth.
This is why we recommend burying the seed at around 2 cm deep. You can do this by using a ruler, marking the 2 cm mark on a straw, or any other utensil that allows you to do this. Then plant your seed and cover it with the substrate without pressing too hard.
Avoid Planting several Seeds in the Same Pot
Sometimes you may not have enough substrate or pots, typically, this is when you would plant multiple seeds in the same container but they usually do not develop correctly due to several reasons. Now yes, you’re saving space and substrate but you’re definitely not helping your plants thrive as first of all, the roots need enough space to grow, and germinating in the same pot can cause the roots to fight for space.
Apart from fighting for space, if all the seedlings make it to the vegetative stage, they will continue competing for light and by doing this, you will not get the most out of each plant. Lack of light can also cause the stem and branches to grow weak which can cause problems during flower so make sure to plant one seed per pot unless you’re growing in 100-200L or bigger raised beds.
10. In Conclusion
There’s no such thing as the best way to germinate marijuana seeds, a successful germination is considered when you see the first leaves, known as Cotyledons, cannabis seeds germinate correctly with relatively high temperatures and humidity. To successfully reach the flowering stage you’ll have to use different techniques, not only for sprouting but to keep the plant happy and healthy until harvest.
Whether deciding which germination method to choose or getting ready for your first successful grow setup, our advice for beginner growers will be to start with autoflowering strains. If you look for something easy, quick, and easy to maintain, like Zkittlez Auto and Gorilla Glue Auto, there’s nothing better than choosing to grow autoflowers.
first time ever growing and got some amazing colors from this strain with low temps ran it at about 58-64 for 2 weeks and got this color
How to Sprout Feminized Autoflower Cannabis Seeds
Growing your own autoflowering cannabis is easy, cost-efficient, and produces fast results. This makes growing autoflowering cannabis a great option for beginners and veteran growers alike. In this article, we discuss the first, crucial stage of growing autoflowering cannabis seeds germination and overview several easy, simple ways to sprout your autoflowering cannabis seeds. As you’ll see, germinating autoflowering cannabis requires little effort and can be achieved in just a matter of days.
Different Methods for Sprouting Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
Another advantage of growing autoflowering cannabis is the versatility of its growing cycle. There are several different methods you can use to sprout your autoflowering cannabis seeds, all of which are equally effective.
Growers can easily germinate autoflowering cannabis with materials that are readily available in their own homes. One simple method for autoflowering cannabis seed germination is using plain water. To begin, fill a small glass with room-temperature water. If you use water from a tap, you may want to invest in a pH monitor to ensure that the pH of your water does not exceed 7.3.
Next, scoop your autoflowering seeds into a spoon – it is extremely important to handle them delicately–and gently slide them into the glass: the seeds should fall and float on the water’s surface.
Having followed these steps, you can proceed to relocate the cup into a proper environment. Place the cup of water with your seeds in a dark environment (the darker, the better) with an average temperature of 75 to 80 degrees. After completing this step, your work for the germination phase is done; simply leave your seeds undisturbed for two days, and check back to see if they’ve sprouted–if they haven’t, continue to leave them in the same environment until they sprout.
The “paper towel method” is another easy way to sprout autoflowering seeds with materials that you’ll already have in your home. This method involves using a wet, folded paper towel and a plastic container to sprout your autoflowering cannabis seeds.
This method is easy and produces rapid results. To begin, you’ll need a wet paper towel and a plastic container with a lid.
Begin by cleaning and drying your plastic container to ensure a proper germination environment. Next, fold a paper towel two to three times over, then saturate it with water: though you’ll want your paper towel to be soaked all the way through, it should not be dripping water.
Next, cut two holes in the top of the lid of your container; these perforations will allow excess water to escape the container during germination.
Having done so, place your autoflowering cannabis seeds on the wet paper towel, tucking them between folds to ensure that the seeds are in direct contact with the paper towel on all sides. Proceed to place the folded paper towel with your seeds inside inside of your plastic container, and fasten the lid.
Like any other germination technique for autoflowering cannabis, the paper towel method requires a proper germination environment–and darkness is the most important factor. Store your container in the darkest possible environment. With this, your work is done: simply wait for two days to check on your seeds, which will likely have germinated–if they haven’t, continue to check the container until they sprout.
You can also germinate your autoflowering cannabis using seed starter cubes, which are easily obtainable online. Do some research to find the best starter cubes, which you will place knuckle-deep into your soil. Be sure to have your hole ready before you insert your starter cube with your autoflower seeds inside.
Make sure that your cube is moist–if it’s too dry, moisten it slightly with distilled water. Then, gently pick up one of your autoflowering cannabis seeds, and insert it into the the premade hole at the top of the starter cube. Next, insert the starter cube–with the precut hole and autoflower seed facing upwards–into a hole in your soil.
Finally, place a cup overtop of where you inserted your seed starter cube in your soil. Leave the cup in place for at least seven days after you plant your starter cube; this will help retain humidity levels during the germination process. Once your seed has sprouted, you can remove the cup and move into the next phase of the growing cycle.
Though the aforementioned methods are easy and great for beginners, some growers prefer to use soil as a natural medium. This will require specialized resources such as a pH monitor, the correct soil for growing, and a humidity monitor.
To sprout your autoflowering cannabis, begin by moistening your soil and establishing a proper growing environment with an average temperature of 77 degrees. Ensure that pH levels do not exceed 7.3 . Finally, dig a hole of the appropriate depth in the top of your soil, and bury the seed inside.
The Advantages of Autoflowers: Quick, Easy, Methods to Sprout Your Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds Germination
As you can see, sprouting autoflowering seeds is easy and produces rapid results. It is also cost efficient, as many of these methods involve materials that most people already have in their homes. Growing autoflowering cannabis is much faster and easier than growing photoperiod plants; using these easy germination methods, your autoflower seeds will sprout in no time, and with minimal effort. And the easy part doesn’t stop there–every stage of the growing process for autoflowering cannabis is rapid, productive, and easy for all growers, no matter their experience.