With the many germination methods out there, mistakes are likely to happen. Especially for the newbie growers, however, these common mistakes can be easily avoided, to ensure successful germination. In this article, we will explain what to avoid during germination in each method.
By OG Team

The most common mistakes when germinating cannabis seeds

  • The germination of the cannabis seed is the first step of cultivation. Any mistake in this process your efforts may be in vain.
  • There are many different germination methods: water, in damp cotton wool, in a Jiffy, directly in the substrate, or in a greenhouse. Each method could involve a number of typical mistakes
  • No matter what germination method you use, in this article, we will list the most common mistakes made – so you know what to look out for and don’t make the same ones.

Seed Germination is the first step to growing cannabis. This is the process that allows the seed to develop and the radicle will emerge. There are many methods of germination and therefore quite a number of common mistakes which can be easily avoided.

We will explain what you should not do during germination in each method. The method Dinafem Seeds recommends is germination in Jiffy, this is the easiest and has the lowest error rate.

Mistakes made germinating cannabis seeds in Jiffy

Jiffies are peat discs, pressed into a biodegradable mesh, when this is moistened, the jiffies become tiny sacks of earth. Below are some potential things that could go wrong with this method :

  1. Pouring too much water to the Jiffy: the disc must be moistened so that it swells, but it should not be drowned. The aim is to keep the soil moist during the germination process. Some growers water the Jiffy too much and end up drowning the seeds.  Excessive amounts of moisture prevent the correct ventilation of the seed and this will stop its germination.
  2. Covering the Jiffy in an airtight container: the Jiffy should be protected, but some people shut it away in a greenhouse or in a  Tupperware container with holes, which will lead to the growth of fungi.
  3. Planting the seed too deep: The cannabis seed should be planted one centimetre from the surface. Pushing the cannabis seed to the bottom of the Jiffy makes it difficult for the radicle to find the light. Just use the tip of your finger, making a tiny hole and covering it lightly.
  4. Not providing the seed with the right light amount: during the germination process, it is far better to provide more light rather than not enough. It is important to make sure that the light does not dry out the soil...
  5. Changing temperatures:  It is important not to subject the jiffy to changing temperatures,  for example from 26 degrees (indoors) to 6 degrees (on a terrace) will make germination impossible.
  6. Putting too many seeds in the same Jiffy: the jiffy is not big enough for several seeds. You should use one for each seed that you want to germinate.
  7. Keeping the seed in the Jiffy for too long. The Jiffy is small and can only be used for a certain time period before more space must be given for the roots to grow in a  pot or in the soil.
Mistakes when germinating cannabis seeds in damp cotton wool

The method of germination in damp cotton wool consists of moistening the cotton wool and wrapping the seeds in them. It would be advisable to put the wet fabric in a germination greenhouse or Tupperware container with ventilation in order to have a constant temperature throughout the process. What could go wrong during this process?

  1. Radicle growing too much: if the root becomes too long, it could end up getting caught up in the cotton wool and could then break when detached before being transferred to the substrate.  The way to avoid this is to do two things. Firstly, don’t let the root grow too long. Secondly,  do not use pure cotton wool but rather use cotton fabric pads.
  2. Exposing cannabis seeds to temperature changes: exposing them to different temperatures, the seeds will not germinate. The seeds should be placed in a warm environment, between 25 and 28 degrees Celsius, and the temperature is kept stable until it is transplanted in the substrate.
  3. Air contact on the root for too long: if the root is left in contact with the air for too long the root will oxidize, which will kill the plant. When the cannabis root begins to grow, it is advisable to transfer them to the substrate immediately.
Mistakes when germinating cannabis seeds directly in the substrate

Planting the cannabis seed directly into soil or pot is another option for seed germination. These are usually what is done incorrectly leading to the cannabis seeds failing to germinate.

  1. Planting the seed too deep: Seeds need to only be planted one centimeter below the surface.
  2. Over-fertilising: the soil where the seed will germinate should be porous and light in nutrients. The substrate used for the flowering cannabis plant is not the ideal choice for the germination of the cannabis seed. Juvenile marijuana seedlings cannot be fed the same amount of food as an adult marijuana plant...
  3. Using a soil composition that is unknown: It is important to know the composition of the substrate used. And when a random soil is used it may contain many minerals, nutrients, or a lot of fertilizer. It is important to use a substrate whose composition is known.
  4. Overwatering: a seed that is too wet can be detrimental for germination and for the seedling's first few weeks of life.
  5. Putting many seeds in the same pot:  each seed needs its individual space to allow the roots enough room to develop and not hinder the development of others.
  6. Directly planting the seeds in the ground where the climate is not appropriate: if the temperature is too cold, too hot, too dry, or too wet it will be difficult for the seed to germinate. It is important to have a controlled temperature to allow for germination.
Mistakes when germinating cannabis seeds in water

This method involves putting the cannabis seeds in a container with warm water and waiting for it to germinate in the days following immersion.

  1. Seeds left in the water for too long: once the seed has germinated and the radicle has appeared the cannabis seed must be transferred to the substrate. Water can be used to germinate your cannabis seeds but should never be grown in it.
  2. Hydrogen peroxide overdose in the water: if you include hydrogen peroxide it is important to pay attention to the concentration level. An overdose can prevent germination.
Common mistakes of any germination method
  1. Breaking the radicle during the process of separating the shell from the bulb.  Once the cannabis seed has germinated, the seedling will generally separate the seed shell itself.  Let nature take its course and intervening only if it is really necessary,
  2. Hygienic handling of seeds, radicles, and seedlings with dirty hands. Wash your hands before carrying out any of the germination processes. This hygiene applies to all of the tools that have been in contact with the seed during the germination period.

Dirty water. Use clean tap water/bottled water at all times.


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