Starting Cannabis 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. 1 weeks old tomorrow I’ve just been feeding ro water at pH 6.0. When should I do my first transplant? Any suggestions? I’m using a 600 king led grow light pretty cheap paid 80 bucks for it about 20 inches away. Gonna switch once I started feeding stronger ppm.

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.

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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.

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).

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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.

Seedlings In solo cups

1 weeks old tomorrow I’ve just been feeding ro water at pH 6.0. When should I do my first transplant? Any suggestions? I’m using a 600 king led grow light pretty cheap paid 80 bucks for it about 20 inches away. Gonna switch once I started feeding stronger ppm.


Wait till the root stays together when u tap out of cup. If it falls apart… not ready Freddy.

Thanks for the feed back sunny

I wait till you get your first nodes and leaves span the diameter of cup!

Much appreciated feedback

I’ve never gone longer than 14 days in the cups. A nice vigorous plant and I’m getting that thing in a 1gl in 10 or 11 days. Then 2 more weeks in a 1 gl. I love transplanting.

I feed to water for the first 2 weeks after it sprouts then I’ll start low pppm like 275 right that’s what I did on my auto flower that are 2 weeks ahead of these seedlings but I just wanna make sure I don’t have to give nutes till a littler later stage I haven’t even been adding cal mag to the ro water wanna make sure I don’t burn them but they looking weak rn maybe I should start 275 now after the first week of just to water

Yeah 1st 2 weeks don’t need any additives. A sign they’re ready for nutes is when the cotyledon leaves fade to yellow and die.

There are variables that determine the amount you feed, but sounds like you have a good starting point to me.

This are the rounder leafs not the sedated ones right

Yes the rounder ones.

I wanna thank you for your feedback btw it’s been very helpful I’ve been studying this more and more everyday I got a whole shedule that I’ve put to get her from days of studying so atleast I know I’m not going in lost I just over think stuf a lot

I can tell by the pics you are watering too much.
Get a spray bottle and keep the soil moist. It should not compact, which is was pouring water will do.
That is probably why they look weak to you.
Environment and lighting should be suitable for a seedling as well. Low intense light at close distance is best. 75-85 degrees and 60-75% humidity is a good range. The ideal numbers are within that range.

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I thought coco and perlite was no such thing as over watering cause the air to water ratio that it has idk maybe I read wrong I’ve been getting a lot of good info from great info for coco

I’ve been watering it every day just very little to get a little run off I figure that also give the roots air like as it run off

The climate is deff dialed in

78 degrees at 65 humidity

No runoff needed. The seedling stage should be treated differently than the veg stage. You should be nursing the little girl to develop a root system first. Small amount of water…moisture, not wetness. If that makes sense.
Sounds like you’re doing a good job, just let it dry out a little then start misting the coco. About 15-20 sprays once a day, sometimes twice.

I just read that once the cleyotede have been open for 24 hours and in its first container I should start to fertigate with a ppm no higher than 400 I mean that’s what I’m feeding my other four bigger autos that’s Are one week ahead plus they grew faster these are feminizes so should I start to follow my low ppm of 275 for the next Tyne I spray the coco/per which I don’t need run of for or should I follow my shedule and just Waugh’s the 2 weeks cause it’s sounds to me with what your telling me that I shouldn’t water it a lot to no move the roots around to let them grow and fill in the cup so every how many days should I water or fertigate in this solo cups

You would be ok to feed up to 400ppm, that not bad advise, but the idea of that is to have available nutrition at a concentration that won’t burn the roots and keep that concentration at a low amount then increasing the amount as the plant gets bigger. This can prevent deficiencies later on. It’s not completely necessary, but I can see the benefits when growing in coco.

It’s tricky watering a young plant, so for a less complicated and more nurturing strategy, I suggest adding nothing for 10-14 days then transplant to 1 gallon pot and begin feeding at 400ppm.

one of them got a small hole on the serated leaf got me thinking maybe it needs calmag I mean I did buffer it with calmag at a pretty good strength mix maybe it’s nothing and rn I got the kingled 600w I don’t think it a strong like bought it for cheap i feel like it’s easier to use that then a bunch of bulbs do you think my light might be to strong for them I don’t have it that close

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