Today we will cover the basics of germinating Cannabis seeds and root growth. We designed this article to aid you from the start of your new Spliff Seeds grow and allow you to grow a great Cannabis plant just like we do here in Amsterdam!
There are a few different ways to approach seed germination, yet the main thing to understand is how the seed needs water, warmth and darkness to grow. Without these 3 key factors, the seed will not germinate. All of the simple techniques described below will result in seeds with a protruding tap root that is ready to be planted.
Place the seeds in a small glass of room temperature water, you should make sure the water is not cold. Once you drop your Spliff seeds into the water, they will float to the surface. The reason they do this is because the seed has a protective layer around it which must be broken down in the water to allow the seed to sink. This protective layer makes sure seed germination does not occur unless the seed has been in a suitable environment for long enough. The cup of water containing the germinating Cannabis seeds must remain in darkness, so place it inside a cupboard at room temperature.
By using dinner plates and wet tissue, you will create an environment that is dark, moist and warm, making it ideal for seed germination. You will place the seeds on one layer of moist tissue paper and then cover them with another layer. You can lightly spray the tissue once the top layer is on. Avoid making the tissues too wet as germinating Cannabis seeds do not like being water logged in the tissue. Like the cup of water method, the seeds will germinate and small white roots will begin to grow, once this has happened the seeds can then be placed into the medium with the root pointing down.
Planting seeds directly into the growth medium is the easiest method of germinating Cannabis seeds. Simply place the seed in your moist medium and keep it in a warm environment, covering your pot with cling wrap can help keep the humidity high. The seed will grow from the medium and anchor itself naturally. The tap root will grow down and the first two leaves will appear and grow upwards. This is the end point of all three methods and also the point where we stop talking about germinating Cannabis seeds, and start talking about Cannabis seedlings.
For more information on and clear diagrams, also check out our manual for germinating Cannabis seeds.
A Cannabis plant does not require much help in the stages directly following seed germination and will benefit most from using a medium that breathes well and is relatively low on nutrients. For the best start, grow seedlings in a light medium with worm castings, perlite and coco. This will provide plenty of available nutrients and support the seedling very happily.
If you look very closely at a seed you will see there is a side with a sharper edge and one side with a small circle. The end with the small circle needs to face upwards as seed should be planted with the pointy side with sharper edges side facing down. You will see the tap root is growing from the sharper edged side already so you need to create a small hole, the width of the seed at a depth of 1 cm. Lightly cover the seed once inserted into the 1 cm deep space for it to grow. A good practice is to use a pair of tweezers and then carefully placing the seed in the medium.
As the name suggests, this is when the tap root begins to grow down but curves back up like a J. This can go unobserved as the root cannot be seen through the soil. The only way you would know the roots have J rooted is when the growth of one Cannabis plant becomes stunted and does not grow as the other seedlings would have. There is no real solution for a J rooted Cannabis plant, any root manipulation will likely do more harm than good. The only thing you can do in this situation is make sure the plant receives enough light, water and nutrients and hope growth will not be stunted too much.
Once a 1cm high seedling has emerged from the growing medium, it is very important now to make sure the seedlings do not stretch upwards. The easiest way to avoid this is by growing your seedlings under a fluorescent or L.E.D. light at a distance of around 10-15 cm from the pots your plants are in. The heat of the light will keep your plants warm and the intensity of the light will cause stems to grow short and wide, as opposed to tall and lanky. It is good practice to keep the lights as close as possible without damaging the plants, as this is a surefire way to prevent stretching.
This is a great technique for those who have to keep their lights further away. By using a small stick or metal wire, you can create a support for the tall thin seedling to grow against. Many times if tall lanky seedlings are left without support, they will fall over from the weight they must carry on a thin stem. Once this happens the plant is in need of serious help as at this stage of the growing phase, a Cannabis plant that has fallen over from lack of support will not survive on its own! Many growers rely heavily on staking or tying down their plants for support, a good example of this would be the Monopole technique.
Your plants are in their first few days when they will begin to grow up, so they will only need a small amount of nutrients. It is tempting to add nutrients under the presumption that “more is better”, but this is actually the stage where nutrient burn can cause the most damage. If there is a high intake of nutrients and the roots cannot handle it, there will be noticeable effects in the growth of a Cannabis plant until the soil or medium has buffered itself. Many nutrient companies offer a soft root feed which is usually applied in small amounts through a diluted nutrient solution. If feeding organically, we strongly recommend using a seaweed based product and worm castings to really kickstart the seedling. Bat guano is also organic and is brilliant for root development due to it’s high phosphorus content.
For more information on Cannabis nutrition check out our blog article on this subject, the main message, especially when adding nutrients shortly after germinating Cannabis seeds, is to avoid overfeeding.