How to Successfully Germinate Your Cannabis Seeds and Things to Avoid

When it comes to germinating cannabis seeds, there are several methods you can use. Here, I’ll go into great detail about the most popular and effective method: the paper towel method. I’ll also highlight some common mistakes to avoid during the germination process.

Materials Needed

Cannabis Seeds

2 Clean & Sterile Plates or Paper Towels

Distilled, Rain Water or Filt

A Sealable Plastic Bag or Container

A Warm, Dark, and Undisturbed Location

Prepare the Working Area

Ensure your work area is clean and free from contaminants. Wash your hands thoroughly or wear disposable gloves to prevent introducing any harmful substances to the seeds.

Pre-Soak the Seeds (optional)

Pre-Soak the Seeds (optional): Some growers choose to pre-soak their cannabis seeds in water for a few hours or overnight to encourage faster germination. However, this step is not necessary and can be skipped.

Moisten the Paper Towel

Take a paper towel and dampen it with a small amount of distilled or filtered water. Make sure the towel is moist but not soaking wet. Alternatively, you can use a clean and sterile plate.

Place the Seeds on the Towel

Spread the cannabis seeds evenly on one-half of the moist paper towel or on the plate. Leave some space between the seeds to allow room for the roots to develop.

Cover the Seeds

Fold the other half of the paper towel over the seeds, or use a second paper towel or plate to cover them. This helps create a dark and moist environment ideal for germination.

Create a Sealable Environment

Carefully transfer the towel or plates with the seeds into a sealable plastic bag or container. Make sure it is sealed tightly to retain moisture and create a humid environment.

Find a Warm and Dark Location

Place the sealed bag or container in a warm area with a temperature of around 70-85°F (21-29°C). Avoid direct exposure to light, as it may hinder germination.

Check For Progress

After 24 to 72 hours, check the seeds regularly to monitor their progress. You should see tiny white taproots emerging from the seeds.

Transplant the Germinated Seeds

Once the taproot has emerged to a length of about a quarter to a half-inch (0.6-1.3 cm), it’s time to carefully transplant the germinated seeds into your preferred growing medium. Handle the delicate taproots gently to avoid damage.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

By following these detailed steps and avoiding common mistakes, you can increase the chances of successful germination and give your cannabis plants a healthy start.


Excessively wet paper towels or over-soaking the seeds can suffocate them or promote mold growth. Ensure the paper towel is moist, not dripping wet.

Rough Handling

Be gentle when handling the germinated seeds to avoid damaging the fragile taproot.

Exposing Seeds to Excessive Light

Light inhibits germination, so it's crucial to keep the germinating seeds in a dark environment until they are transplanted.

Using Untreated Tap Water

Tap water may contain chlorine or other chemicals that can harm the seeds. It's best to use distilled or filtered water to ensure the highest quality germination conditions.

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