Can You Just Plant A Weed Seed In The Ground

The Beginner’s No-Fail Guide to Starting Seeds Indoors If you’re new to seed starting, this foolproof beginner’s guide to starting seeds indoors will take you step by step from seed to harvest, I heard that if I don't, then it would take longer for it to grow? Is this true? What will happen if I just plant it without doing this? If I bury this pot seed will it grow? February 20, 2009 4:02 PM Subscribe So every now and then a few seeds show up in the shake. Are these real, growable marijuana seeds? If I planted one, and

The Beginner’s No-Fail Guide to Starting Seeds Indoors

If you’re new to seed starting, this foolproof beginner’s guide to starting seeds indoors will take you step by step from seed to harvest, quickly and easily. You don’t need any fancy gear or grow lights to get started, and you can even upcycle small containers to put your seeds in. All that’s needed is a sunny window, a basic seed-starting mix, and something underneath your pots to catch drips.

Exactly as the title says — this is an easy, no-fail guide to indoor seed starting.

You don’t need to read any gardening books first. You don’t need any fancy equipment. You just need your seeds (these are the best garden seed catalogs that I order from every year) and a few basic supplies to get started.

Whether you have a dedicated vegetable bed in your backyard, or a cluster of containers on your patio, it all starts out the same way. You have to plant your seeds, and germinating seeds inside your home (where you have the most control) is the best way to do so.

Starting seeds indoors is ideal if you want to get a head start on the season, or if the weather is still too hot or too cold to put anything in the ground.

This simple step-by-step tutorial will take you from seed to seedling with a minimum of fuss. Just the stuff you need to know, and none that you don’t. (But if you’re the really-need-to-know type, I’ve added footnotes at the end to explain why you’re doing what you’re doing.)

Disclosure: All products on this page are independently selected. If you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.

How to start seeds indoors: a step-by-step guide

Step 1: Gather your seed starting supplies.

  • Seeds
  • Seed starting pots or cell trays
  • Plant markers
  • Seed starting mix (homemade or store-bought)
  • Seed tray with humidity dome (often called a 1020 plant tray or propagation tray, or use any DIY drainage tray with plastic wrap)
  • Spray bottle or squirt bottle filled with water

If you’ve already made your recycled newspaper pots, you’re all set. If you’ll be using other seed starting pots or cell trays, make sure they’re clean. 1

You can also repurpose household items into seed starting containers, like egg cartons, Dixie cups, and yogurt cups. Just wash them out and poke a few drainage holes in the bottom with a nail or an awl.

Step 2: Fill your pots or trays with seed starting mix.

Dump your seed starting mix into a large tub or bucket, pour in a generous amount of water, and stir it up with your hands or a trowel.

As the seed starting mix starts to absorb the moisture, add more water as needed. (This will take several minutes, as peat-based seed starting mixes are slow to absorb.) You want the mix to be uniformly damp, like wet sand.

Fill your seedling pots with this pre-moistened seed starting mix. 2

Step 3: Sow your seeds.

Place two to four seeds on the surface of the seed starting mix, and gently press the seeds down so they’re nestled in nicely.

If your seeds are very small, like basil or mustard, you can leave them uncovered. 3

If your seeds are larger (like beans or peas) or they require darkness to germinate (check the instructions on the seed packets), cover them with a layer of vermiculite or seed starting mix equal to their height, usually 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch.

Step 4: Label your newly planted seeds.

Label each pot. Trust me, you will never remember what you planted where, as most seedlings look the same at birth.

At this early stage, cheap plastic plant markers work very well and stay out of the way, so save your big and beautiful metal plant markers for the garden.

Step 5: Keep your seeds moist and warm.

Mist your seeds with water. 4

Assemble your pots in a seed tray (or reuse a disposable aluminum roasting pan, a baking pan, even that plastic clamshell that your salad greens came in) and cover with a humidity dome (or just plain old plastic wrap). 5

If your dome has vents, keep them open to help with air circulation during the sprouting period.

Now, you need to add heat. Since sunlight is not essential at this point, your seed trays can be placed wherever it’s warmest in your house, such as an attic, bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen. 6

If your seedling pots stay covered in a warm nook, the low humidity will keep your seeds happy until they sprout. High humidity will make them sad. Only spritz the seeds with more water if the mix feels dry to the touch. 7

Within a couple of days to a couple of weeks, the seeds will germinate. As your seedlings start to emerge, some of them will look like they’re wearing little seed hats.

Germination (the process of a seed sprouting) is highly variable, so don’t stress if it feels like it’s taking forever to happen. In most cases, seeds will germinate within three weeks (after that, try starting a new round of seeds).

Step 6: Give your new seedlings light.

At this stage, the newly germinated seedlings need light. Remove the humidity dome or plastic wrap, and move the seedlings to the sunniest spot in your house (preferably a south-facing window).

Continue to keep the mix moist, but not overly wet. Seedlings should be watered once a day or every other day, depending on how much sun and heat they get.

Remember that seedling roots are fairly close to the surface and they’re growing in a small amount of media, so they don’t need a deep soak the way larger plants do.

I like using spray bottles or squirt bottles, as the gentle streams of water won’t displace seeds or damage seedlings.

Step 7: Moving day! Transplant the strongest seedlings when they’re ready.

After your seedlings develop their first “true set” of leaves, they are ready to be transplanted. 8

If more than one seed sprouted, choose the strongest one and pinch or snip off the others. You can even keep all of them, but be careful separating the roots if the seedlings are close together.

Transplant the seedling into a larger container filled with potting mix. Hold it by the cotyledons (the first leaves that appear) and try not to manhandle the tiny roots.

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At this stage, you can lightly drench the potting mix using a diluted solution of compost tea or all-purpose fertilizer. Keep it simple, keep it organic, and don’t obsess too much over the nutrients. 9

Give the seedling plenty of sunlight each day (at least 12 to 16 hours is optimal for most vegetable seedlings) to avoid the “leggy” look. (Learn how to fix leggy seedlings if this is happening to you.) 10

Step 8: Harden off those seedlings.

To get your seedling prepped for a good life outside, you can start to harden off the seedling 11 by moving it outside under diffused light for a few hours and bringing it back inside each night.

Over the next week, move it from diffused sun to partial sun to full sun, and for longer periods of time, until it’s finally kept outside all night.

Step 9: Transplant your seedlings outdoors.

After the hardening off period, you can transplant your seedling to its final destination, whether straight into your garden or into a larger container.

And then, in a couple of months, you can enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of your loving labor!

More Ways to Start Seeds Indoors

There’s more than one way to start your seeds and make sure they sprout!

Germinate Seeds Quickly With Coffee Filters or Paper Towels

Whether you’re trying to start tricky seeds with long germination times, or find out if your old seeds are still viable, the coffee filter (or baggie) method is a quick and simple way to start many seeds at once in a small space.

How to Start Seeds in Eggshells, Save Money, and Have Fun

Save those cracked eggshells, upcycle your egg carton, and bookmark this indoor gardening DIY for a rainy day. Starting seeds in eggshells is a fun and easy project that kids will delight in helping with!

How to Soak Seeds to Speed Up Germination Time

If you’ve had trouble with seeds not sprouting, soaking them in water before you sow them can greatly increase their chances of germinating. This method works well with legumes, beets, squash, and other thick-shelled seeds.

How Long Do Seeds Last? (+ Cheat Sheet on Seed Expiration Dates)

How old is too old? All seeds have a shelf life, but their longevity depends on the quality and condition when you bought or saved them, and how they’ve been stored since. Find out whether you should keep or toss your seed stash.


1 This seems obvious, but laziness gets the best of us. Clean pots are key and help keep damping off at bay (an untreatable fungal disease that causes seedlings to suddenly keel over and die at the soil line).

Discard or thoroughly wash any pots that previously housed diseased plants. Avoid using leftover soil from the nursery container you brought home, as it might harbor weed seeds and bad bacteria.

If you have a healthy garden, you can skip washing your pots and simply dump out the dirt from your pots before using again.

I’ve put countless seed trays and humidity domes to the test over the years, and found these trays and domes to be the thickest and strongest on the market — they don’t bend, flex, or crack as easily as other brands, and can be reused for many seasons. back

2 It’s easier to start with pre-moistened mix, as peat-based mixes are harder to wet down uniformly if they dry out in pots. Although peat has a very high water-holding capacity once it’s wet, it actually repels water when it’s dry. Go figure.

If you’re not using homemade seed starting mix, this is a reputable brand that I like. You do not need anything fancy; seeds just need a basic mix of perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss (or coco coir) to germinate and grow into healthy seedlings. back

3 For certain varieties of plants, light will often speed up germination (the process of a plant sprouting from a seed). back

4 The moisture will help the seeds shed their protective coating and eventually sprout. back

5 This creates a greenhouse effect to keep your seeds moist and warm, the key to germination. Most annual vegetables germinate best in temperatures of 75°F to 90°F. A few, such as radish, will germinate at lower temperatures.

Seeds will sometimes sprout in less than ideal temperatures, but the germination period will be longer. back

6 I like to put my seed trays next to my heating vent on the floor. Some gardening guides suggest placing your tray on top of a refrigerator, but most appliances these days are energy-efficient and do not give off much heat. back

7 Too much water will make the seeds rot. If your makeshift greenhouse is looking a bit too wet inside, remove the cover or plastic wrap for a few hours during the warmest part of the day to allow air circulation. Mold is no good for seeds, either. back

8 The true leaves are actually the second set of leaves that appear; the first leaves that initially unfurl are not leaves at all, but cotyledons. These leaf-life structures are part of the embryo of the seed, and supply food to the seedling until its true leaves begin the process of photosynthesis. back

9 I like to use home-brewed compost tea or liquid sea kelp. No fertilizer is fine, too, especially if you start with good soil. I have grown healthy vegetables with no fertilizer through a whole season, and could barely keep up with the harvests. back

10 It sounds sexy, but it makes your seedling tall and weak as it channels its energy into straining for sunlight. I also like to gently run my hands across the top of my seedling to simulate a breeze; this slows down initial growth and strengthens the stem. A few brushes a day is all it needs. back

11 Hardening off is the process in which you gradually acclimate the seedling to its future environment outdoors… getting it acquainted with the breeze, the birds, and the bees. back

Do I Have To Germinate My Marijuana Seeds Before Planting?

I heard that if I don’t, then it would take longer for it to grow? Is this true? What will happen if I just plant it without doing this?

Well-Known Member

No. it is better to plant them straight into soil. too much can go wrong between germination and planting..but if you do it all at once then you can’t have any of those issues.
Some people use a wet paper towel, and I can say I have done this myself more than a few times. but there are too many times that I let the paper towel get too dry, or it gets too hot, Or the seed sprouts and I rip it to pieces before I can get it in the ground. or when you go to pull it off the paper towel it rips the teeny tiny new little root. The only issue with planting the seed straight away is that you can’t check to see what is going on. but after a few days you should see a sprout. if after 4 days I don’t have a sprout, I gently try to dig around the baby plant and see what is going on. The only issues with soil planting is that sometimes you might plant the seed too deep, in which case you will know if after 4 days you have no sprout, because when you go looking for it. you might find a tiny sick looking little seedling just stuck under the soil, in which case you just move it up a little, no harm as long as you catch it before it is too late. or you plant the seed too shallow and it sprouts out of the ground with it’s seed shell still stuck on. which is really easy to fix as well. just wet it really well adn then gently remove the stuck shell, or just leave it alone. I am a shell picker though. also if the seed shell is still on you can bury it a little more. the seed shell gets soft when it is wet and then the plant can just split it open and go on. but if the seed shell is above ground it dries out and gets hard like the original seed, and sometime the plant can’t make it out..but as long as you keep the seed shell wet it will get pushed off naturally by the plant.

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Well-Known Member

It will take longer to sprout is what you mean, not exactly longer to grow. Planting right into soil would be like how nature intended. Add a little heat plus keep it moist and it will be the same as if it were growing in the ground outside almost.

Germinating before hand will just eliminate your chance of a dead seed not growing. Plus you risk contaminating your seed if you handle the seed and touch its roots when its thats small. I personally have not seen that case but it was something to keep in mind. Always wash your hands before and after you handle.

Dalek Supreme
Well-Known Member

I let them soak for an hour in a lite hydrogen peroxide solution then straight to planting in my medium of choice.

Well-Known Member

It’s your choice you can germ them in a paper towel or just chuck them straight in some peeps pre soak them some don’t it’s all a learning curve

Global Moderator

I pitch mine into a shot glass of water for 12-24 hours & then straight into the dirt.
Works like a charm.

Active Member

Place seeds in a glass of water for 24 hours then place them in paper towel soak paper towel with water but not to much place paper towle on a teaplate put a bow over then place in a warm area.
Leave for about 6 hours check it has not dryed out wet agian if needed leave for 6 hours repeat until you see the tap root let that get to about 2.5cm long then plant into the soil root pointing down.

Well-Known Member

Interesting. I just noticed that one of my darker seed has a little “white root” coming out of it. Its really small but I think I will plant it. I just want a small plant with bud on it.

Well-Known Member

i use the paper towel method

2 small matching plates, fold a paper towel in 1/2 twice (2 folds) dampen paper towel (to make it easier to work with) put seeds in middle and then soak the paper towel, place second plate on top put in a warm spot and within 48 hours you should have some tap roots coming out. i have had a couple seeds take longer than 48 hours but the average is about 24-36 hours. i generally let them sit in the paper towel for ran additional 24 hours after i first see a root, then just take a pen, poke a small hole in the medium and place the seed in the hole and moisten the soil.

the biggest thing is to “moisten” the soail not saturate it, and after you moisten it you shouldnt have to add any water for a while (unless you have some really hot/dry conditions that small seedling will never use all that water) at least 2-4 days you want the soil to dry out a bit so the root has to “search” for water towards the bottom of the container

biggest thing that kills small sprouts/seedlings is death by drowning, either you cause a situation called “damping off” or you just straight up drown them either way dont over water them, they only need the bottom 1/2 of the soil to be moist so its ok if the top layer gets a bit dried out.

good luck, plant more than one if your using reg seeds (i suggest at least 4) so your not setting yourself up to get let down after 4-5 weeks of growing a plant to find out its a male. if your inside get some decent lights, CFL’s are a bit “cheaper” (not really but you can buy a couple at a time so the up front cost is spread out) than a HID light. inadaquet lighting will also set you up for a let down as you will grow a plant for 12 weeks (minimum maybe more) just to get a gram of 1/2 way smokeable herbs

lots of good info and people on this site to use to your advantage just try not to keep asking the same questions a million other people have already asked like “how do i germinate a seed” do a bit of research and when searching go right to the advanced search instead of using the quick search as it yeilds better results.

If I bury this pot seed will it grow?
February 20, 2009 4:02 PM Subscribe

So every now and then a few seeds show up in the shake. Are these real, growable marijuana seeds? If I planted one, and gave it all the TLC yer supposta, would it grow? Or do you need to get your hands on some sort of special seed stock if you hope to raise a plant?
posted by It ain’t over yet to Home & Garden (11 answers total)

Yes, you can likely grow them. There are plenty of fora discussing various techniques. Looks like a lot of work to me.
posted by jdfan at 4:10 PM on February 20, 2009

Yes, it should grow, but the breeding stock will vary depending on where it comes from. There is a correlation between the quality of the marijuana and the quality of the seeds. Keep in mind that if it was grown south of the border, it might not be well suited for your local climate. If you are looking for indoor use, some seeds will be much better for indoor use.

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If you have a variety of marijuana, save a few seeds from each kind and you can find out which ones do best.
posted by diamondsky at 4:18 PM on February 20, 2009

I’ve raised a few from seeds. They definitely have not been as strong as what I can buy. But the ones I raised were literally thrown in the garden or rescued from the compost and ignored to grow wild like the weed they are.
posted by saucysault at 4:31 PM on February 20, 2009

I accidentally grew one once, from a seed that was discarded by throwing it in a pot with another plant.
posted by at 4:39 PM on February 20, 2009

“It doesn’t take a miracle to cultivate a weed”
posted by piedmont at 4:40 PM on February 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

I’ve been tossing seeds in potted plants for years and they inevitably sprout into long leggy things that drop dead a week later. Even if they matured they would reflect the quality of the original weed — not so great if I’m picking out seeds in the first place.

Growing quality pot takes some work — myself, I’ve never had the patience or inclination to see a crop through. There is also an investment in lighting (pay attention here, large growers get popped all the time because their attics spit out a huge IR signature and/or their utility bills spike), ventilation (good weed stinks, like a skunk) and time. That said, if you want to grow for personal use I encourage it. It tends to remove the whole sleazy “drug dealer” part of the equation and puts you clearly in the victimless crime category.

The people I know who have grown high quality weed from seed have started with good seed stock. It’s my understanding that having seeds sent from overseas (seed banks) has a pretty good success rate. Obviously you will want to take commonsense precautions to maintain deniability just in case those pesky postal inspectors are paying attention and you probably don’t want to use your credit card.

If you want to grow for profit my advice would be to start working out now. It’ll make you look better when you start doing push-ups with your new friends in jail.
posted by cedar at 4:55 PM on February 20, 2009 [2 favorites]

They are, and it would. Cultivation methods (as well as genetic makeup) make a big difference in final quality. Also be aware that for your purposes only the female plants matter, so for each seed that reaches maturity, there’s only a 50% it will prove interesting.

And as Cedar points out, please recognize the significant legal implications of allowing said seeds to do what nature intended.
posted by fogovonslack at 8:16 PM on February 20, 2009

It’s cute to see them germinate (toss them in with a houseplant) but it takes a little extra love to get them to grow big.

Also, you might end up with male plants which won’t do much for you, recreation-wise.

If you do end up getting a healthy happy grown up female plant, she’s gonna be odourous smelly.
posted by porpoise at 8:35 PM on February 20, 2009

Best answer: They’ll grow, just pick the ones that aren’t cracked!! Put em on a wet paper towel and cover with saran wrap, then wait until they look like a little sperm, pop em in the soil, give LOTS of light for 24 hours for a month, switch to 12 hours of darkness, and enjoy 😉
posted by In Heaven at 9:58 PM on February 20, 2009

Best answer: Putting aside all other issues of legality, security and so forth (which you should definitely not do were you to hyconsider taking this question beyond the hypothetical) sure, there are viable seeds in most weed.

The quality of the plant is variable and impossible to determine in advance. Marijuana is sexually gendered (it has distinct male and female plants, although there are varieties that strongly exhibit hermaphroditism as well). Males produce the pollen and are useless in terms of producing high quality marijuana – so half the seeds you might theoretically plant are going to be pointless except for making more seeds. More importantly, the biggest factor in the quality of the plant’s product is its genetics.

The seed in your shake may be resulted from pollination by some random male, including an agricultural variety, because there are massive amounts of wild hemp from decades old agricultural production all over the place and there is plenty of hemp pollen floating around as a result. The genetics of the seed could therefor be pretty unfavorable for producing marijuana for smoking.

On the other hand, a seed might have set from stray pollen from the grower’s own propagation program, in which case it could be as good as the product it was found in. Grown carefully, it could be better, if the product was poorly grown/harvested/dried/transported.

It’s worth noting that many of the foundation varieties of the high-end cannabis breeding world were developed by people in California breeding out of stock from mostly indifferent Mexican commercial pot. The potential is always there: the principles of breeding for specific characteristics is like any other plant.

Serious commercial growers are managing their own propagation programs to generate a stable quality seed stock or getting seeds from the well-established and very lucrative market that exists, in some places openly or semi-openly (Holland, Canada – in Canada there was a thriving market that has been under attack by their authorities for a while now), for seeds of known varieties of exceptional quality. Some commercial seeds even exploit chemical manipulations to produce seeds with only female plants.

If you are really fascinated in the entirely hypothetical world of growing weed, consider checking out some books – Ed Rosenthal and Mel Frank are two classic authors.

Legally growing is quite a different issue than the sort of small scale possession most pot smokers deal in. Personally I’d never chance it these days but of course I’m a father now and a lot more conservative with respect to risk in general. I still wistfully hope someday (within my lifetime, please) it might become as accessible as home brewing, as it should be.
posted by nanojath at 10:37 PM on February 20, 2009

Best answer: Your seeds are likely from an outdoor grow since an indoor grower would never let pollen spread among the female plants. Your seeds can be grown indoor or outdoor but if you go the indoor route in can definately be worth to try to get your hand on a specific indoor strain since theese are breeded for yield and quality under controlled curcumstances opposed to the outdoor strain where you want them as though as possible.
posted by ilike at 2:58 AM on February 21, 2009