How Long Does It Take To Germinate Marijuana Seeds

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If you have considered growing your own pot plant, you might have heard about germination. Yes, the germination of marijuana seeds is essential to any grower’s success. You cannot grow a weed plant without first germinating the seeds (we recommend ILGM for quality seeds).

So, how long does it take to germinate marijuana seeds? Usually, it should not take more than 5 days for the germination process to happen from start to finish, and there are various methods you can use to do this which we cover on this article to help you.

how to germinate weed seeds


What Is Seed Germination?

Ok, so the important thing to remember here is that you do need to germinate your weed seeds before you can plant them and start growing a plant. You cannot just stick a marijuana seed in dirt and expect it to start growing.

Now, germination is the process in which the food which the seed has stored inside of it is converted into sugars, so that the interior can begin to grow break through the shell of the seed and begin sprouting roots, the root system which your plant will need to grow.

A marijuana seed requires water to be applied to it in order to bring it out of its dormant state and begin its growth process.

Once you add moisture to the equation, the seed will break open and increase its size, this beginning the root growth process. Once again, you cannot start growing a pot plant without first germinating the seeds.

How Long Does Germination Take?

Cannabis Seedling

Generally speaking, with the right temperatures and the right amount of moisture, a marijuana seed will take between 2 to 5 days to fully germinate. What you need to know here is that you do need to apply a fair amount of water to get this process started.

Moreover, the temperature for weed seed germination needs to remain at a steady 20 to 22 degrees Celsius, or about 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

The seeds should also be kept in a dark place while this germination process is in the works. If all goes well, it should never take longer than 5 days for this process to occur.

What you also need to know is that not all weed seeds will germinate. Some may just be dead ducks in the water. You can usually tell if a seed is healthy by examining in.

Generally speaking, a dark green seed should always germinate, whereas a pale or white seed is a good indication that nothing will happen.

When it comes down to it, usually between 60% and 90% of seeds will germinate. If you do this right, you can expect about 4 out of 5 seeds to germinate.

However, there is really no way to tell until you actually do it, because all seeds are different. Sometimes they might all germinate just fine, and sometimes you might get a batch where none germinate.

It does kind of come down to chance, seed health, and the conditions. Trial and error and repeated tries are things you will have to deal with if you are going to attempt marijuana seed germination.

These are the common 4 issues why seeds won’t germinate.

How To Germinate Marijuana Seeds – Common Methods

Now that you know how long it takes for a marijuana seed to germinate, you probably want to know how to germinate them in the first place. Well, there are several common methods used for weed seed germination.

Let’s quickly go over each of them, how well they work, and what you need to do in order to achieve success with each germination method.

1. In Soil

The first and most commonly used marijuana seed germination method is by germinating the seed directly in soil. Germinating marijuana seeds directly in soil works well because it allows for minimal root interference and damage.

In other words, you are germinating the seed in the same medium or place that you will begin the growth process.

This means that you can germinate your seed and start root growth, without having to transfer that fragile seed, with fragile roots, into potting soil. It minimizes the risk of having your weed seed’s root system being damaged.

The Right Kind Of Soil Is Important

First and foremost, when using the soil germination method, you need to ensure that you have the right kind of soil. You can’t just use the dirt from your garden or backyard. It needs to be mildly fertilized, only very mildly as too much fertilizer will cause burns and result in the quick death of your seeds.

The soil should have a pH level of roughly 6.0. Good potting soil can allow your seed to germinate and even provide it with enough nutrients for roughly the first 2 weeks of growth.

Place the potting soil in a small pot and then use your finger to make a little hole, about 1.5 cm or 0.6 inches deep. Take a seed, place it in the hole, and then cover it with soil, but don’t pack it down very hard. It should be somewhat loose.

Do not push the seed down further or mess with it in any way.

Don’t Forget Plant Sprayers

Use a plant sprayer to moisten the soil, ensuring that water gets down to the seed. However, make sure that you don’t apply too much water, as you can easily drown a marijuana seed and kill it.

Some people will begin to provide fluorescent or other types of lighting already at this stage, but technically this is not necessary until you see the plant sprouting from the dirt.

2. In Paper Towel

Another commonly used method for marijuana seed germination is using paper towel or cotton pads. The benefit here is that germination process is very easy to keep an eye on, it tends to be fairly safe, and is very easy to get started. Now, be sure to pick good cotton pads or paper towels, ones that are smooth.

You don’t want to use overly porous materials here because once the roots start to come out of the seed, you run the risk of having them grow into the porous paper towel.

The result here will be that the roots are hard to remove from the paper towel, potentially damaging them before you get the chance to transfer them into good potting soil.

All you have to do here is take some of that paper towel, a double layer of it, and fold it in half. Now, take your marijuana seeds and place them in between the paper towels, where you folded it in half.

Once again, use a plant sprayer or just drip some water onto the paper towels to moisten them. Be sure to get them wet enough so that the seeds inside get moisture, but don’t soak it to the point of dripping because you will drown the seeds.

Use A Plastic / Sealable Bag

Here, most people will choose to place the paper towel in a plastic and sealable bag. Don’t worry, there will be enough air in there for a few days.

The good part about this is that you can keep an eye on the process. Yes, you can open up the bag, unfold the paper towels, and check to see if the germination process has started.

However, do not do this more than once or twice. For instance, you can check on day 3, and then on day 4 after you have started the process.

Darkness is best for this, so don’t keep them open for long, only long enough to check if the roots have started sprouting.

IMPORTANT: Wait For 4 MM Before Moving To Soil

Once the roots have sprouted, and are about 4 mm long, you then have to place them into soil. Do not place them into soil if they are shorter than 2 mm, and don’t wait until the roots are longer than 5 mm, as the roots will start to grow into the paper towels and cause you trouble.

Just be careful when transferring the germinated seeds to soil, as the root system will be fragile.

3. In Water

The next commonly used method for germinating weed seeds is by placing them directly in water. This method does usually work quite well, but it can also be a hit and miss depending on who you ask.

Most people would say that placing your seeds in water for germination provides them with both too much water and light, thus potentially drowning and killing them. Although, depending on the seeds you have, it can work.

This tends to work best if you leave the seeds in the water for about 1 day. This method is usually pretty quick with germination, and can jump start the process, often only taking a single day for germination.

However, if nothing has happened in the first 3 days, chances are that the method has failed you, and the seeds may have drowned.

Take some normal tap water and fill up a glass, making sure to maintain a steady 18 degrees Celsius, and keep replacing the water every day. The seeds should sprout and the seeds need to be transferred to soil before the roots are longer than 5 mm.

There is the risk here of damaging the roots during transfer, the risk of the seeds getting too much light, and of course, the risk of drowning. Some people do prefer this method, but we find it to be way too risky when compared to the others.

4. In Peat Pellets

Actually one of the easiest ways to germinate marijuana seeds, especially for beginners, is to use peat pellets. Peat pellets are great because they have a high germination rate, usually between 80% and 90%, and they are great for the roots too.

For one, peat pellets already have some nutrients in them, they retain water well, provide a dark place for germination, and you can just take the peat pellets once germination has occurred and plant the whole thing in soil, this protecting the root systems of the seeds.

Simply take the peat pellet, soak it in warm water for a couple of minutes, plant the seed about 1.5 cm deep in it, and then place the peat pellet in a fairly dark area with the proper temperature level.

Once you see the plant beginning to sprout out of the peat, you can then take the entire peat pellet and put it right into your potting soil. It’s a really easy method with a good success rate.

Related: How big your plants should be at 2 weeks.


As you can see, if you want to grow your own marijuana plants, the beginning is actually quite easy.

Yes, you do absolutely have to germinate your weed seeds, but it is a fairly easy and straightforward process with many available methods.

Just choose the one which suits you best, and you are well on your way to having a happy and healthy weed plant.


My passion for the sticky icky started nearly a decade ago, and it all began when I first laid my eyes on the beauty that is the marijuana plant.

I cover all aspects of growing from equipment recommendations to plant health/care tips to help both new and experienced growers.