Please note that seed germination should only be done in locations where it is legal, and we do not endorse the germination of seeds in situations where doing so is illegal. While we sell souvenirs, we find it important to detail the germination process for those wishing to germinate in a legal capacity.
Germinating seeds can be tricky, in the natural world Spring time is when temperatures become sufficient for seed growth, while the lingering late winter showers provide enough moisture to allow for the rooting of the seed. When you germinate indoors, you’ll want to try and emulate the natural conditions of Spring in order to achieve the best results. There are never any guarantees with germination and it’s very easy to mess things up, often ironically through over-thinking the process or ‘over caring’.
There are some key aspects to germination that one needs to take into consideration:
These are the three most important parts of germination and we’ll look at why below…
Humidity is essential for the best germination rates, seeds prefer high humidity in order to root successfully. Higher humidity also means that your germination medium will not dry out as quickly, something that can kill off a rooting seed.
Moisture is the most important of the three, without the correct moisture levels your seed will not germinate. It is vital to ensure that your medium doesn’t dry out or become too moist. There is a balance that one needs to find where the medium is moist, but not wet.
Temperatures which are too low will cause seeds to not germinate, while temperatures that are too high can dry out the medium too quickly. You will want to keep temperature levels steady and above 20’C for germination, with mid-20s being ideal.
We’ll now run you through the process of germination seeds, covering what you should or can use, through our preferred germination method.
Step 1. Unpack your seeds from your holding container, and attempt to avoid contact with skin, we want to keep our filthy human oils to ourselves. Place the seed in a small glass of still water. I prefer to use tap water that has been pH adjusted with a drop of lemon juice to lower the alkaline nature of our tap water. If you do not own a pH meter, you shouldn’t worry too much about regular tap water though, it isn’t a requirement for the pH levels to be ideal during germination. Let the seed soak in this water for 8 to 12 hours, this is known as a ‘pre-soak’. It’s not essential, but many do use it in their germination methods. It is also a good way to tell the viability of a seed. The moisture the seed absorbs in order to sink lets us know it is more than likely viable, at least when it comes to the important ability for moisture penetration.
Step 2. Once your seed has been soaked, take a roll of paper towel (avoid toilet paper, and use a thicker paper towel) and fold it in half 3 times. Pour a table spoon or two of water onto the towel in the center of the fold – squeeze is gently to remove excessive water. You want the paper towel to be moist but not dripping. Place the seed into the center and fold the paper towel over so your seed is covered by moist paper towel and with no light hitting it. You may want to put a little bit more water on the top of the towel once closed, depending on the moisture it has. Remember, it must just not drip water.
Step 3. Take a zip-lock bag and place the folded paper towel with your seed in it, inside of the bag. But do not seal the zip, you still want air to be able to enter in. The baggy will just give you more humidity and keep your paper towel moist for longer. Place your seeds in a dark area while germinating, away from the light. (It will take typically 24 to 48 hours before your rooting process is visible)
Step 4. (Optional) I like to use a humidity dome, though it isn’t required by any means. You should have enough humidity in your ziplocks alone.
Step 5. (Optional) If your ambient daytime or nighttime temperatures are under 20’C, you may want to use a heating pad. Heating pads can be purchased from pet stores or hydroponics stores. Heating pads can be risky if they are not properly monitored, they will dry out your medium a bit quicker and can get too hot. If you feel like your heating pad is too hot, you can stack some towels or tshirts between your seeds and the pad. Just make sure it’s not too hot!
Step 6. Check on your paper towel every 6 hours or so and see how it is doing. If it’s drying out, mist the paper towel with a spray bottle to provide additional moisture, again making sure to not over-wet it. If the paper dries our completely you are at high risk of the seed not germination, so ensure it is always just a bit moist.
Step 7. Once your seeds are rooted, you can now use tweezers (or just drop them) to place them inside your soil or jiffy pellets. Make a hole about 3cm deep and place them inside, covering the hole. Your now established root will continue to grow, you can now also place them under light. Some people prefer for the seeds to break out the soil before placing under light, while others move straight under lights. REMEMBER, your lights should be weak (100W+-) for the first week or two of the seedling stage.
(If you use jiffy pellets, remember these hold a LOT of moisture and should only be watered when you are convinced it needs it)
Using this method, you will usually see rooting start to occur within 18 to 36 hours. Some seeds may take longer, and don’t give up until you have had them in for 96 hours or more.
This method has netted me a 98% germination rate across seeds from various breeders and in varying seasons. It may seem like over-kill, and there are certainly easier ways to germinate, but this method has provided me the best results and you should see high germination rates if you do follow these steps.
Vast majority of failed germination comes down to human error and are not seeds which are not viable.