Next, you’ll want to place the towel-covered seeds into a plastic bag. This creates a humid, warm atmosphere, like a greenhouse. You can also place the paper towels on a glass plate or baking dish and cover them with plastic wrap. Find a dark place in your home to put them while they are getting ready to germinate. A drawer in your kitchen or a closet shelf would make an ideal germination environment.
Growing cannabis from seeds is no more difficult than growing any other plant. It doesn’t take a magic touch or a green thumb, and it doesn’t require special knowledge of horticulture.
The Paper Towel Method
Wherever you live, the springtime is when you see incredible plant growth and new, green life sprouting up all around you. The key to successful cannabis seed germination is to replicate a spring-like condition for the seeds, inducing them to vegetate. This means that seeds should be moist but not soaked, and warm but not hot.
An easy way to accomplish this is by placing seeds between layered, moistened paper towels. It’s best to use real rainwater for this method, and if you live in a rainy area you can collect rainwater in any receptacle left outside. If you don’t get much rainfall where you live, you can substitute bottled, distilled water instead. Moisten the paper towels with the clean water, making sure that they are not sopping or dripping, and place the seeds between the layers.
What Is Germination?
For the soil method, you will need to purchase sturdy containers with drainage holes, potting soil, and a secondary plant fertilizer. Mix the fertilizer and potting soil together and fill the containers, tamping it down slightly. It’s best to start out with very small containers, no more than three inches wide. Moisten the soil with distilled water or rainwater, taking care not to drench it. Make a small hole with your finger approximately one and half inches deep, and place a seed into the hole. Try to position the seed with the pointed edge facing downward.
Use a spray bottle to moisten the paper towels and then store the cushioned seeds between two plates, under a face-down bowl, or gently place them in a plastic bag. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The paper towel method is also a common way cultivators pop their seeds. Some even use this method with cotton pads instead of paper towels, but the necessary steps are the same.
Gently water the soil with a spray bottle and situate your pots under a fluorescent lamp. Keep seeds away from the windowsill, as the temperature is too volatile for germination. In general, you’ll want to keep the temperature in the range of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
To germinate seeds this way, lay one paper towel on top of a countertop, place a few seeds, and cover them with a second paper towel.
The paper towel method also has its risk, as the fragile seedlings can be damaged during the potting process. The tiny roots can also get tangled in the paper towels, so make sure to move the seeds to potting soil before roots grow too long. Use your hands or tweezers to gently remove each seed from the paper towels and place them in a prepared growing medium.
Lay one paper towel on top of a countertop, place a few seeds, and cover them with a second paper towel. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Germination is the process that brings a cannabis seed out of its hibernation period and starts the cannabis growth process. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
How to germinate seeds using paper towels
When a seed enters an environment with enough moisture, it will increase in size and slowly break out of its shell. A seedling or germ forms from which roots will emerge, helping the baby plant absorb nutrients from the soil. Seeds naturally develop roots facing down and stems stretching upward, allowing the young cannabis plant to simultaneously feed off light and earth.
The environment in which seeds germinate also plays a role in the outcome. While there are several different germination methods, each requires proper moisture, minimal handling, and warm springtime temperatures between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.