There are many ways out there on how to germinate autoflowering cannabis seeds. But the most important thing to ask yourself is which one is the right way?
Compared to regular cannabis strains, autoflowering strains are much more self-sufficient and don’t require the need for that much maintenance as regular cannabis strains out there. With that being said, it can also prove to be stressful on autoflowering seeds to be germinated in the same way as you would regular seeds.
What is the difference between Regular Cannabis Seeds and Autoflowering Seeds?
The main difference between the two is that autoflowering seeds do not rely on its photoperiod or time under light exposure to determine their growth. They rely more on the maturity of the plant which starts the moment the seedlings sprout out of their shell. This means that any stress that the plants may undergo may stunt their growth and delay their growth inhibiting their ability to yield big results.
How to Germinate Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds the Right Way
There are many ways that you can germinate cannabis seeds. But the paper towel method and the one-pot method is the most recommended germination for autoflowering cannabis seeds. This is because it provides the plants with the least stress possible and is the least likely to inhibit their growth and yields. Here are the steps for each process:
The Paper Towel Method
Although there are a lot of breeders that would recommend against having to transplant autoflowering seedlings to prevent them from becoming rootbound, the paper towel method can work in some cases as long as you are careful with handling the seedlings when they sprout. Here is the best way to go about this method:
The first step is to soak your seeds in fresh, clean water that is room temperature for about 18 hours or until the seeds have sunk to the bottom of the glass. Make sure that you don’t overcrowd the cup full of seeds putting in about 5 seeds per cup. You can set them aside in a warm, dark place to soak undisturbed.
The next thing you have to do is to place a few sheets of paper towels into a clean glass plate. You can then pour all the contents of the cup onto the sheets making sure you get all the seeds into the center of the paper towel. You can then space the seeds apart to make sure that they are about an inch apart to prevent the taproots from getting bunched up. After this, you can gently fold the other half of the paper towel gently on top of the seeds without pressing down on them.
You can now place the plate in a dark place and make sure that it is in room temperature. This will allow the germination process to begin and the seeds will start to burst out a taproot within 7 days. Make sure that the paper towel they are in is continuously damp and doesn’t dry out within this time. You can do so by sprinkling a bit of water on top of it when you feel the paper is getting a bit drier.
Once the taproot has sprouted to around ¾ inches, they are now ready to be transplanted. Be sure that you are planting them into the pot that they will be growing into maturity to avoid stressing the plants out much further.
When you are planting the seedlings, make sure that you are very careful handling them so that the taproots won’t fall out since they are very delicate. Also, make sure that you plant them deep enough into the soil for them to root properly.
The One Pot Method
Since there is a chance that having to transplant autoflowering seedlings to cause stress on the cannabis plants making their growth stunted, germinating them in the pot that they will grow in is the most recommended way to go. The one pot method is actually easier than you would think. Here are the steps to do this:
The first thing you’ll need to do is to find the right container for the autoflowering cannabis seeds to grow in until maturity. This means it will need to be big enough to support its root structure once it grows to an adult plant. A 20-liter container is recommended for autoflowering strains. Any bigger than that may be just a waste of space in your grow room.
The next thing you have to do is fill your container with the right growing medium. The most recommended medium for autoflowering cannabis is low nutrient light soil. This can be easily made with a mixture of coarse sphagnum peat moss with coarse sand, perlite, or vermiculite.
Once you’ve filled your container with your choice growing medium, you can now moisten the soil with clean water. Make sure that your water has a pH balance of 6.5 – 7. Pour in enough water to make it all damp but not too saturated. You can leave this to set for a few hours (around 6-8 hours).
Once the mix and water have settled, you can now drop in your autoflowering cannabis seed. Just one per pot. What you do is you poke a small hole into the center of the mix around a centimeter deep. You can then place the seed in the hole and brush the potting mix over it. It is very important that the seed is not exposed to any light until it germinates completely. You can then cover it in plastic wrap to provide constant humidity.
Now just because the seeds should not be poking out of the soil and exposed to light does not mean that they should be in complete darkness. This is the best time to introduce your autoflowering cannabis strains to the light exposure cycle that you will be giving them until they grow to maturity. It is highly recommended to use the 20-4 hour cycle but you can set your lights to 18-6 hour cycles if you prefer.
Once the autoflowering seeds have completely sprouted and you see a couple of leaves come out, you can now take off the plastic wrap. This is the end of the germination process and you can care for them as you would in the vegetative state.
With either germination method that you choose, the main thing for you to remember is to keep the autoflowering seeds under the least stress possible. With its fast growth, any amount of stress on these plants can cause their growth to be stunted and can hurt your yields.
How to germinate autoflowering cannabis seeds the right way can set the tone on how the cannabis plants will grow to maturity and yield. The best thing to remember is the fewer steps you take in handling them, the better it is for the stress levels of the plants.