Germinating your Autoflower Cannabis Seeds
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When it comes to germinating autoflower seeds, it is important to keep in mind the optimum environment in which seedlings will germinate and thrive. This is going to be a temperature range of 78-85 Fahrenheit and a relative humidity (RH) range of 85-95%. We recommend using a seedling germination kit that has a dome, along with root cubes (brand doesn’t really matter). This is a proven method that will result in almost any seed that is viable coming to life.
Take your root plugs and insert them into the root plug tray. At this point, you want to insert
your seed into the pre-drilled hole in the root plug. CAUTION – DON’T PUT IT TOO DEEP! This is a common issue we see. Burying the seed deep in the middle of the root plug is not the correct way. What happens when the seed is buried too deeply is the tap root can grow in the wrong direction. This mistake can result in all kinds of weird things, such as your seedling trying to come out the bottom or the side of the cube. You want to place the seed no more than 1⁄4 of an inch into the root plug. Basically, just enough to make sure that the seed can absorb moisture from all around. You want the entire seed covered by the root plug and that’s it.
Make sure that your incubator kit is in a warm place, not hot and definitely not cold – or even cool. Temperatures are one of the most important things to think about when it comes to germination. To achieve this warmth, some people will use a heat mat. Now that your seed is into the root cube, simply place the clear plastic dome on top of the root plug holder and reservoir trays. This will create a very humid environment, which is the optimum for autoflower seeds. The vents on the plastic dome will allow you to control the ambient relative humidity inside the incubator. In most cases, having them all shut will keep the inside at the perfect RH.
Now you want to hook up your light! For most situations, simply put a T5 light fixture on top of the plastic dome. Again, these lights are not very powerful – but they don’t need to be. The primary reason to have a light source is to minimize “stretching” early on. Having almost any source of light will achieve this. So don’t get too bogged down in searching for a special seedling light. Next is the part that MANY people have trouble with. LEAVE IT ALONE. Do not pull the plugs out to check on the seeds – no matter how curious you are. They are doing their thing; don’t stress! Don’t mess with the mat, the dome, or the plugs. Just leave it alone for 72 hours and 95% of the time you will have seedlings ready to transplant.
Once your seedlings start to emerge, you will notice what we call a “goose neck” starting to
push its way through the pre-drilled opening. This is the part of the root crown that attaches
plant to root system. It is at this point that we recommend transplanting into their “forever home.” This guide will be focused on soil based growing styles. We will have a hydro, and a coco grow guide coming in future updates – so stay tuned!
Because of the delicate nature of the tap root and root cap, transplanting at this point will help ensure the stability of the root system. One of the major things that we have found in achieving the best results with autos is proper care of the root system at the beginning stages of growth. By transplanting when the “goose neck” is starting to show, the tap root in most cases is still inside the root plug. This will significantly minimize root damage risk. Generally speaking, if these steps are followed you will have a seedling in 72 hours or less; some cultivars will take less time, some can take a little more. With this method of germination, we have achieved a 98% success rate in germinating our autoflower seeds.
Big thanks to @804grower for letting us use your seedling photo!