How to germinate Marijuana seeds

How to germinate Marijuana seeds | How to grow marijuana from seed
Estimated 3 min to read
June 05, 2021

Germinating marijuana seeds is often overcomplicated, usually because there is no way to guarantee germination. If your seeds are relatively fresh, there is a good chance they will germinate. The most surefire method to germinate seeds is using the “paper towel method”. With that said, marijuana tends to have a good germination rate in other methods too (with less work!). See the alternative methods section for other methods to germinate marijuana seeds.

Paper Towel Method

The general idea behind the paper towel method is to keep the seed at the correct level of moisture in a contained environment. After enough time (if it’s a viable seed), it will sprout and begin to grow its taproot. After which, you can remove the sprouted seed and plant it in an intermediary seedling pot like rapid rooters plugs, or the final pot it will vegetate and flower within.

Required Supplies


  1. Begin wetting enough paper towel to have a square large enough to sit all of your seeds on top of, and around 4 layers thick. You will also need another wetted paper towel on top of the seeds.
  2. Place the wetted paper towel base (around 4 layers) on top of the plate. Add your seeds on top of the paper towel.
  3. Add the remaining wetted paper towel on top of the seed.
  4. Either place the second plate on top of the first plate, creating a dome. Or place a cup on the plate, encapsulating where the seeds are.
  5. Place the plates on top of a seed heating mat or somewhere else to make sure the temperature doesn’t drop below 70°F (20°C).

Marijuana seeds germinate more reliably and quickly when the ambient temperature is between 70-85°F (20-30°C).

Once you have the paper towels and seeds set up, you are good to go! Make sure to check your seeds at least once a day - once they sprout, you don’t want the taproot to grow too much into the paper towel, with the risk of it getting stuck in the towel where you would have to cut it out.

Marijuana Seedling

A marijuana seedling in a small cup of coco coir

Alternative methods

Marijuana plants are typically pretty hearty and will germinate in several different situations. More often than not, the paper towel method isn’t necessary (though recommended because it gives your seeds the best chance).

Some people prefer to plant their seeds directly into a rapid rooters plug, dirt, or any soil-less medium they prefer. When doing this, it is vital to ensure the medium stays moist and does not dry out. As long as caution is taken, your seeds will have a great chance and germinating, and you won’t have to worry about transplanting them once they germinate.

Next steps

Congratulations, hopefully you’ve had your seed germinate! Now you need to decide on what growing medium to use. The main options being

  • Soil (Easiest, low to high yield, slowest growth)
  • Hydroponics (Hardest, highest yield, fastest growth)
  • Soil-less (Medium, medium to high yield, medium growth)

For most people, I believe soil-less (Coco Coir) is the best medium for ease of use, yield efficiency, and growth speed. See my guide here to get started with coco coir. If you are interested in the highest yields possible, see my introduction to hydroponics. Otherwise if you just want your plant to grow with little maintenance, plain old soil is your best bet!

The next stage of the growth cycle is the seedling stage. Seedlings are very sensitive to light and nutrients, and I recommend checking out my guide for growing marijuana in the seedling stage.