Starting Marijuana Seeds In Solo Cups


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Beginner’s how to guide to germinating cannabis seeds, plus early seedling stage of cultivation. Specific to outdoor autoflower growing in soil. Germinating marijuana seeds,how to germinate marijuana seeds,how to store marijuana seeds,germinating marijuana,how long to germinate,marijuana seeds,seedling cannabis,germinate marijuana seeds,how to germinate marijana seeds,germinating your cannabis seeds with paper towels,marijuana seedling stage,weed seedling stage Categories: Setup. Seedling. Grow Question by MagicPlants17. Best place to get answers to your grow questions. Worldwide community of enthusiast growers will share experience.

How To Grow Cannabis #2: Germination and Seedling Stage

Disclaimers: NOT FOR SALE OR TRADE. The following post features content about cannabis cultivation and other related substances that are illegal under federal law as well as under state law in certain states. This content has been produced by Thunderbird Disco—located in the Commonwealth of Virginia—for educational and entertainment purposes only. All cultivation described below was completed in accordance with Virginia law as authorized in § 4.1-1101 Home cultivation of marijuana for personal use; penalties.

Ok, so you’ve got some cannabis seeds that you found on the side of the road, or were maybe gifted from a friend in the same state. Nice job!

The next step is to germinate these seeds. Again, I’m growing outdoor, in soil, and was gifted three autoflower strains, so everything below is specific to those parameters.

If you’re growing outdoors and want to maximize your time, plan to start germination a few weeks before the last spring frost date in your region, so by the time the weather is warm enough and risk of frost is gone, you’re ready to move these ladies outside.

This won’t all make sense yet, but here’s a handy dandy week-by-week outdoor autoflower cannabis growing cheat sheet for all your watering, nutrient and general maintenance needs


White paper towels (no dyes or patterns)

Liquid seaweed (I used Neptune’s Harvest)

Glass measuring cup (something with a spout)


Step 1: First Soak

Pour purified water into measuring cup and add just a drop of liquid seaweed. Stir. If you’re growing multiple strains, don’t mix all the seeds together in one vessel! Label different glasses with the different strain names and pour some seaweed water into each glass. Place your seeds in this water and let soak for about 24-48 hours in a warm, dry, dark place.

Step 2: Second Soak

Add another few drops of liquid seaweed to some purified water. You’re going to make this little wet paper towel sandwich with your seeds in the middle (follow this video). Stack 2-3 paper towel squares, fold in the corners to make into a diamond, place it on a dinner plate and then wet it down with seaweed water. Gently spread your soaked seeds onto this paper towel (again, keep the strains separate, and transfer the label from the glasses to the dinner plate). Now add another stack of 2-3 folded paper towels on top, and again wet it down. You want this stack to be wet but not soaking (no standing water on the plate). Plan to leave this for another 24-48 hours.

Step 3: Keep Moist

Don’t let the paper towels totally dry out. Check every 8-12 hours or so and add more seaweed water as needed.

Step 4: Check for Taproots

After 48 hours, very carefully peel back the paper towel and check to see if there’s a taproot coming out of each seed. The root is likely a bit stuck to the paper towel, so go very slow and make sure you don’t damage this sprout while you’re peeling off the paper towel. If you see taproots, go on to the next phase. If not, let the seed sit in the moist towel for another day or two.

Once you have your taproot showing…



pH Meter (I used this)

pH Adjusters (General Hyroponics pH Up/Down, or distilled white vinegar)

LED Grow Light (I used something basic like this)

Hydroton clay pebbles (optional, like this)

Seedling Heat Mat and Thermometer (optional; like this)

NOTE: You’ll find some videos online (like this one from Homegrown) that recommend first planting germinated seeds in Solo cups and then transplanting to larger pots or grow bags…but this is only for photoperiod plants. I accidentally did this with my seeds and the transplant process either killed or at least stunted my autoflower plants, which aren’t as robust and don’t have as much time to recover from the stress of transplanting. Plus, it’s an annoying extra step. Having tried it both ways, I highly recommend planting germinated autoflower seeds directly into the pot or grow bag that they’ll live in forever. You can see the side by side comparison below.

Step 1: Prepare Grow Bags

Add a 2-inch layer of Hydroton to the bottom of your grow bags (optional, but helps strike a balance between good drainage and moisture retention). Fill bags most of the way with Fox Farm Ocean Forest super soil (a favorite among growers you’ll see abbreviated as “FFOF”).

Don’t press down or pack the soil in there, keep it light and fluffy.

See also  What Does A Female Marijuana Seed Look Like

Step 2: Add Seed Starting Mix

Scoop out a small bowl’s worth of FFOF and in that center hole add in some of the Light Warrior seed starter mix. This stuff is a little lighter and has less nutrients so it won’t “burn” the tender sprout. But as the taproot grows and the roots begin to establish and stretch out, they’ll reach the “hotter” FFOF mix once they’re strong enough to handle it.

Step 3: Prepare pH-Adjusted Water

You can take your chances with water straight from your tap, but it’s most likely not in the ideal pH range of 6.0 – 7.0 that autoflower cannabis plants require. Proper soil pH is what determines how well your plants can uptake nutrients, and anything too far out of the optimum range will be like they’re drinking through a pinched straw.

Use your properly-calibrated pH meter to test your tap water. Mine was in the 7.5 range, so I needed to adjust down. You can use professional products (like these) but I just added a little distilled white vinegar to make the water more acidic and bring the pH down. You only need a tiny bit, like 1-2 ml per gallon of water, to shift the pH, so go slow and see what it takes to get close to that sweet spot of pH 6.5. You’ll be using pH-adjusted water throughout the grow process, so might as well start practicing this step (don’t make the mistake I did, thinking this was a complicated an unnecessary step; bad pH can lead to all kinds of problems).

Step 4: Moisten Soil in Grow Bags BEFORE Adding Seeds

Saturate your grow bags with this pH-adjusted water to moisten the grow medium. Do this before adding the seeds, or else you risk disturbing the seed or having it float away.

Step 5: Add Germinated Seeds

Gingerly place one germinated seed in the center of each wet grow bag (the area with the Light Warrior Seed Starting Mix), taproot facing down. Just barely cover it with soil. Make sure you continue to track which seeds/strains are in which bags, adding plant labels to the bags or to the soil. Place plastic wrap over the top of the grow bag and secure with clips. Poke a couple holes in it to create a nice warm terrarium kinda thing.

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Step Two: Germinating Marijuana Seeds and The Seedling Stage

December 31, 2018

Germinating marijuana seeds means “activating” the seed,. which is the first step to start growing your weed (or technically the second step after building your grow room ). The seed contains not just the embryo, but also the food that plant will use during its very early stages of life. When exposed to moisture and warmth, the seed will naturally “activate,” and begin using its stored food to develop a taproot and push up from the grow medium. In order to achieve successful germination and rapid early growth, it is crucial to maintain ideal conditions for your germinating seeds.

If you are new to growing cannabis, and would like some extra help germinating your cannabis seeds. Then check out this awesome video from Percys Grow Room . It will take you step by step through the germination process.

Where to get your cannabis seeds from? (Seed Banks That Ship to USA)

Marijuana seed can be obtained from many sources (online and offline), the quality and the and genetic diversity can vary based on where you’re getting cannabis seeds from. Online seed banks are your best bet if you’re not located in a region with recreational legalization established.

There are many reliable outlets sell high quality seeds, here is a list of The Best Online Seed Bank for Feminized Seeds that ship to the USA, in the industry. These seed banks have strong reputations and are known for providing high quality genetics.

If it’s your first time growing, it also pays to get feminized seeds. Dealing with identification and removal of males is an additional complication that inexperienced growers can avoid simply by purchasing feminized seeds.

The choice is always up to the grower, but I strongly believe feminized seeds are a justified expensive and recommend them for any new grower.

Mature Cannabis Seeds, This Is What You Need to Do

Once you get your marijuana seeds, you will want to check if they’re matured. If you use a good seed bank, like the ones in the list above, then you will most likely receive quality seeds that are ready to be germinated.

Matured marijuana seeds shell tends to be very hard, darker brown or deep tan, with lighter accents (stripes). If they look fresh and green, it means they didn’t reach full maturity, they’re pretty much useless .

How to Germinate Marijuana Seeds

Before you plant the seeds, you need to germinate your cannabis seeds, and to do so, you will need three main things; water, heat, and air, like every living being on earth. There are a few common methods for germinating seeds, and some seed banks provide detailed instructions for how to germinate the seeds you purchase from them. Some banks also provide a guarantee on germination rates, and will provide replacements or refunds, but only when their instructions have been followed.

See also  Joe Pye Weed Seeds

Although we recognize a number of methods as being successful means to achieve germination, always follow your provider’s instructions when applicable, particularly so that you may take advantage of any guarantees included with your purchase.

Now, how to germinate marijuana seeds ; the following method (paper towel germination) is the most common, and one of the most simple. Here is what you need:

  • Clean plate, and another one to be used as a cover (optional)
  • Paper towels
  • Marijuana Seeds

And here is the method:

  1. Soak 6 paper towels sheets in a distilled water.
  2. Take 3 of the soaked sheets and put them on the plate.
  3. Put the marijuana seeds on the soaked sheets, each seed should be an inch or more apart from the one next to it.
  4. Cover the marijuana seeds with the remaining 3 of the soaked sheets.
  5. Now, if you need to create a dark environment for the seeds, you can take another plate (the same size) and flip it over to cover the seeds/paper towel sandwich. This is not necessary if you have a dark place to put the seeds, such as a cabinet, drawer, closet, etc.
  6. Finally, as for how long to germinate marijuana seeds in paper towel: just give it some time. The germination period is different from one seed to another. Some seeds germinate quickly, others can take up to a week.

Check your germinating marijuana seeds at least once a day. You will probably need to add more distilled water as they begin to dry out. You don’t need to completely drenched the paper towel, but it should always be damp to the touch. Once the seeds split, you will see a single taproot coming out (see the picture below). You will know that your beloved cannabis seeds are successfully germinated.

Once the tap root is approximately 0.25-0.75 inches (0.6-2.0 cm) it’s time to move them into a starter medium (rockwool cube, peat moss plug, etc.) or soil and straight to your grow room.

Important tips to ensure successful germination for the marijuana seeds:

  • Keep the seeds in a warm environment, between 70-77°F. High humidity is also preferable; germination rates tend to be higher at around 70-80% RH.
  • Make sure to keep the paper towels sheets soaked all the time. If them seem like they’re getting dry, simply add some distilled water to keep the sheets saturated.
  • Open the plate’s only once a day to check the progress.
  • As the seeds begin to split, do not, I repeat, DO NOT touch the seeds or the tap root. It’s very important to keep this area clean and sterile.When you are ready to transplant them to the medium, use sterilized tweezers if possible.

Moving Your Germinated Seed to A Pot

Due to the limited root system the germinated seeds have, best practice is to plant the germinated seeds in small containers. This will increase the plants’ accessibility to oxygen and nutrients by avoiding overwatering.

When plants are initially placed in large pots, they cannot use all of the water and nutrients around them very quickly. This results in damp conditions that facilitate the growth of mold and certain pests. Thus, we prefer to start our seedlings in small containers like solo cups, then transport them to a bigger container when they start developing a larger root system (once they hit the seedling stage).

Here is what you need to do:

  • Acquire a small 2 inch pot (or solo cup) for each germinated seed
  • The soil you will be putting in the pot shouldn’t be dense. It has to be rather loose and airy. You generally want a mixture of potting soil and perlite, roughly 70:30 to 50:50.
  • Dig a hole approximately 0.5 inches, or one knuckle deep, in the middle of the pot using a pen, and drop the germinated seed in it ( tap root faces down ). Make sure to transfer the germinated seed gently and carefully, I usually avoid using my hands to move the seeds; a pair of tweezers would do the job.
  • Lightly cover the hole/seed with soil (enough to block the light without obstructing the seedling when it emerges).
  • Now, add a little bit of water. Make sure the soil still covers the seed after watering it. Not much water is necessary, and you shouldn’t need to water again until after the seedling emerges.

Final Steps – Marijuana Plant Seedling Stage

Place the small pot(s) in your grow room, and turn the lights on. The seeds technically don’t need the light at this point, but they immediately do once they pop out of the soil. Having the light on and waiting for the plant will assist the young plant to develop better and faster. You can leave a fluorescent light close to the surface (a couple of inches away) from the plant since fluorescent lights don’t emit a lot of heat, but HID or LED should be at least 24 inches away, if not further. Refer to the light manufacturer’s instructions to see if they provide a recommendation for distance from the canopy at various stages of growth.

See also  Marijuana Seeds Arizona

Here are a few other things to keep in mind for germinating your seeds:

  • The temperature should be around 73 F at all times . Warmer temps will not cause any problems, at least until closer to 90 F. Cooler temps, however, can stunt growth in early stages.
  • Humidity should be around 60-70% RH.
  • When you water the pots where you planted your seeds, you want to make sure giving them just the right amount of water without over saturating the soil, which may cause suffocating the sprouts and kill it. Using a spray bottle can do the job; they do not need much water early on..
  • Make sure your pots have holes in the bottom to allow water to drain.
  • Do not overwater! It is really easy to overwater and cause severe stunting or even kill the seedlings. If you can feel any moisture at all when you touch the soil, they do not need water yet.
  • In 3 to 7 days, you should start seeing the first signs of your newly born cannabis plant.
  • Once you see the first sprouts; have your fluorescent lamp running 18 hours on, 6hours off in 24 hour intervals.
  • In 3 to 4 weeks, the cannabis plant should be around 4 inches high, which is big enough to be moved to a bigger pot; this is the true start of The Vegetative Stage ! If you are using a solo cup, the plant’s fan leaves should now be stretching over the edges of the cup. This is a good indicator that you are ready to move up to a larger pot.

If you have any questions, and you would like more help with starting your cannabis grow, then join the cannabis growers forum over at Percys Grow Room. They have over 1 thousand members, waiting to help you with your grow.

Percys Grow Room also have competitions, grow diaries , Guides on fixing cannabis plant deficiencies, and much more. If you’re a new grower it would really benefit your grow if you signed up.

Just click here , it will take less than a minute, its free, and your plants will thank you for it.

Here is our complete Step by Step Beginners Guide to grow marijuana Indoors

  • Step One:Choose the right strain/seeds. Here are the Best Marijuana Seed Banks
  • Step Two:How to Build the Perfect Indoor Grow Room (For up to 6 Plants)
  • Step Three:Germinating Your Marijuana Seeds and The Seedling Stage
  • Step Four:Marijuana Vegetative Stage
  • Step Five:Flowering Stage
  • Step Six:Harvesting and Drying
  • Step Seven:Curing and Trimming

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in Jan 2018 and has been revamped and updated as needed for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Solo cups vs clear plastic cups for seedlings

I’m gonna plant sprouts in solo cups, but thought it might be cool to use clear plastic cups (to see when roots reach the edges). Would it be bad to use clear plastic cups? Maybe the roots/soil won’t like the light idk?

If you use see through just put a cooler cup on it if you got one that slides over it easily. Good luck and happy growing :evergreen_tree::evergreen_tree::evergreen_tree::facepunch:

Correct, plant roots do not like light and will die if exposed to it for a prolonged period. Roots grow under the ground – a dark environment, period.
Hope this helps. Organoman.

Debatable when soil vs. DWC lol I first started in water bottles with the tops cut and transplanted when the roots were spaghetti around the bottle :expressionless: lmao they love it, I love. debatable :the_horns::facepunch::ok_hand::+1:

Opaque cups. Roots hate Light. Trust me I am a dwc grower and well all know the troubles of root stress if the roots are exposed to light they can burn, which can in turn cause stress to your lady. It also attracts algae when watered which can in turn lead to much worse things in my opinion anyway. Though I will end with what I always say on this site. There is no “Correct way” to cultivate a cannabis plant. every grower has different methods that work for them. So dont take my advice as gospel use your common sense and I’m sure you will excel with the new seedlings 🙂 Best of luck for all your future harvests 🙂 Peace out

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