Start with good quality seeds!
Before germinating cannabis seeds, it is extremely important to start with the best quality seeds you can obtain. Trust me it can save a lot of heartache, money and time. Strength, smell, taste, growing speed, flowering time, resistance to mould, fungus and pests, are all factors affected by the genetics. A good grower will only ever invest in quality. It is also sensible if growing outdoors particularly, to select a strain that is bred for your local climate and growing environment.
If growing indoors, start perhaps with quality Indica/Sativa hybrid seeds as they have generally have the best traits for indoor growing. A good hybrid Indica/Sativa combination will have both the energetic high of the Sativa and the quicker flowering traits of the Indica.
There are few simple methods for germinating your cannabis seeds that prove popular and indeed successful; providing you are using good quality cannabis seeds and each step is executed properly. Most quality cannabis seeds will show their taproots within 48 hrs, and all cannabis seeds should show their taproots within 72 hrs or so.
Pre-soaking your seeds before planting them is a popular way for some people to achieve better, faster germination rates; the two most popular being the paper towel method and the method of simply soaking in a dish or similar object, both of which should yield similar results.
This paper towel method of germinating cannabis seeds involves placing the seeds between folded, damp paper towels that are kept moist and warm (between 75-85 degrees F). Place the paper towel on the small plate and cover the plate with another plate or lid to prevent heat from escaping and to protect the seeds from the light. Sometimes, using more than one paper towel above and below the seeds will yield better results, After a period of 48 hours or so, occasionally up to a week, the good seeds will crack open with a white root tip showing. Remove from the paper towel as soon as the taproots have sprouted; If the seeds are left to soak for too long, delicate micro-roots can be torn when the seeds are removed from the paper towel, which can stress the plant and sometimes lead to it becoming a male or hermaphrodite.
An alternative method of germinating seeds is by placing seeds in a cup of some sort, which is filled with warm water and gain covered to prevent heat escaping and light penetrating. For best results, use water that is a bit warmer than room temperature. It is normal for the seeds to float on the surface initially, just let them soak for a bit then give them a little tap with your fingers to make them sink, the best cannabis seeds will usually sink to the bottom. The seeds should only be soaked until the taproot has emerged and then removed.
For each of the methods above after the taproot is sprouted, the ‘seedling’ is very delicately placed in the soil or growing medium approximately 1/2 inch deep with the tip of the root pointed downward if possible.
Regardless of which method you use, seeds should be soaked in a dark, warm environment for the best results. Once the taproot (tiny, white root-tip) emerges from the seeds, they are ready to be planted.
Seeds can also be placed straight into the soil or growing medium with the pointed end of the seed facing upwards. The soil or grow medium is kept uniformly moist and warm, usually in a propagator until the young seedling emerges on the surface. If you want to further increase your rates of success plant your seeds a little bit shallower say just 1/4inch. deep. The seedlings should break the soil’s surface between 24 and 48 hours for good quality cannabis seeds. Bag-seeds or poorer quality seeds might take a couple of days longer.
Once the seedlings have sprouted, add a bit more soil around the base of the stems just for a bit of extra support.
Personally I always germinate directly into soil. This is natures way so it works for me and I believe that any quality seed should hit its highest germination rate this way. I use about two inches of Canna professional seedling mix above the regular soil in the same pot. (prevents all transplant shock).