How to make Seed Sprout Tea (SST) for cannabis plants

What is Seed Sprout Tea or SST?

Despite forming part of Chinese cuisine and medicine for centuries or even millennia, it's only been in the last 30 or 40 years that the western world has really woken up to the health benefits of eating seed sprouts, or germinated seeds. These days it's widely accepted that adding some sprouted beans or other seeds to our daily diet is highly beneficial for their high content of protein, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. But did you know we can get some great results by adding seed sprouts to the diet of our cannabis plants too?

Yes, it's true! Our plants can make the most of the beneficial properties of sprouted seeds and enjoy a natural boost in growth and plant health. Seed sprout tea (SST) is an easy, economical and environmentally-friendly way in which we can irrigate our garden with our own homemade plant growth stimulant, rich in phytohormones, enzymes, minerals and nutrients, and is suitable for use on cannabis plants in vegetative growth as well as during the flowering period, depending on the seeds being used.

Barley seeds sprouting in a jar
Barley grains sprouting in a jar

What seeds can we use to make SST?

Seeds or grains will sprout when we expose them to air, water and warmth. This sets in motion a series of biochemical reactions that alter the composition of the seed, during which process the macronutrients are broken down and the bioavailability of micronutrients is hugely increased. In short, the sprouted seeds are far more nutritious than either the grown plant or the seed itself, and it's this vitality that we want to capture and apply to our organically-grown cannabis plants, whether we're cultivating outdoors, in greenhouses or indoors using grow lamps.

There are a few types of seed that are most commonly used for this purpose, these are primarily maize, barley, alfalfa and lentils. These are used at different times, depending on what stage of life our plants are in, and the desired effect.

Barley (Hordeum vulgare)

Sprouted barley grains contain are very high in enzymes and gibberellins, as well as many vitamins, minerals, amino acids and nutrients. As well as the growth-promoting effects of gibberellins, barley SST is principally applied in order to establish and maintain the enzymes in the substrate. These enzymes help to digest dead roots, keeping the substrate and root zone in good health, as well as potentiating the soil food web and improving nutrient uptake. Some of these enzymes, specifically chitinase enzymes, have been shown to have an inhibiting effect against fusarium, a pathogenic fungus that causes great losses in agriculture as well as in cannabis gardens.

If whole barley grains are difficult to find then malted barley is a good substitute. Because the grain has already been sprouted as part of the malting process, this is a much faster method and will only need to be steeped, or "bubbled" in water for a few hours to make a natural enzyme tea, although freshly-sprouted seeds will always be more effective. To use malted barley add 2 tablespoons per gallon of water. Apply this or Barley SST once a week during vegetative growth and then give a top-up application roughly halfway through the flowering period.

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)

Rich in enzymes, vitamins, proteins and, most importantly, triacontanol, a potent growth-boosting plant hormone which increases photosynthesis by raising chlorophyll levels, increasing root mass, alfalfa seed sprout tea is a powerful plant stimulant that's perfect for the transition into flowering, when it helps to maintain close internode spacing and increase root mass. It can also be used in combination with Corn SST during vegetative growth and flowering as a general growth booster. More care must be taken with alfalfa as it is very powerful indeed and we recommend to either start the process with half the amount of seeds or to dilute in double the quantity of water before application.

Alfalfa sprouts are rich in triacontanol
Alfalfa sprouts are rich in triacontanol

Corn (Zea mays)

Corn or maize sprouts are high in enzymes, minerals and nutrients, and also very rich in cytokinins, a plant growth hormone which promotes lateral budding, branching and the development of thicker stems leading to improved nutrient transport and the capacity for heavier crops. It can even be used at twice the strength to control height, resulting in really squat, bushy plants, perfect for growing spaces with reduced headroom. Organic sweetcorn grains are the most common source of corn to use for sprouting, but all maize grains are easy to germinate and some growers even seek out heirloom varieties like Blue Corn to ensure their SST is GMO-free. Corn SST is best applied in late vegetative growth and up to the fourth or fifth week of flowering.

Lentils (Lens culinaris or Lens esculenta) and other legumes

While alfalfa is, in fact, a legume, here we're talking about other legumes, not only lentils but also larger seeds such as peas, beans or chickpeas. The sprouts of these seeds contain high concentrations of auxins, producing an SST that makes a great rooting stimulant as well as working to boost growth in general. Lentils are a great choice because, due to their relatively small size, they will germinate faster than the larger legumes.

These are the most commonly used seeds for making SSTs, but it doesn't mean that other types of seed won't work equally worth experimenting with. For example, an SST using sprouted hemp seeds ought to be an excellent growth booster for cannabis plants, while sunflower seeds are well known to be high in phytohormones, and many others such as rice, fenugreek, pumpkin have been recommended as well.

How to use plant hormones in cannabis cultivation

In this blog post, we take a look at the complex world of plant hormones, talking about the wide range of effects they have, and how they control and regulate almost every aspect of our plants' lives.

It's important to always use seeds from organic agriculture for our SSTs, to avoid the possibility of introducing any trace of chemical pesticides and other undesirable compounds into our garden. The organic aisle in the local supermarket or health store is often the most convenient place to source seeds for sprouting, usually providing us with all the seeds listed above, alongside a range of other seeds that we could try out for ourselves at home.

What will we need to make SST?

  • 28g (1oz) of your chosen seeds, beans or grains
  • 1/4 tsp Kelp meal
  • Clean water
  • Sieve
  • Glass jar
  • Cheesecloth & elastic band
  • Blender/food processor

Everything you'll need to make an SST
Everything you'll need to make a seed sprout tea

How do we make SST?

What can we do now?

At this stage, some growers like to "bubble" or aerate the SST for 12-24 hours in a bucket with an air pump, while others will add molasses to the tea and ferment it to preserve it for a longer time. Here at Alchimia, we recommend diluting and using any SST right away for maximum freshness and effectiveness, it's easy and cheap enough to make a new batch next time you need some more.

If you'd like to boost the SST with more micro and macronutrients, amino acids and other essential elements, you can mix in some more organic, natural ingredients. For example, you could mix in some Nettle Flour, which is ideal for the growth period, or an infusion of dried Comfrey leaves for a nutritional and health boost during the flowering phase.

While SSTs may not be a replacement for the scientifically formulated, high-precision stimulants and boosters used by many cannabis cultivators, there's no question that, when used correctly, they can be a powerful tool for the self-sufficient organic grower, not only giving great results but also rewarding the grower with the satisfaction of having created their own plant stimulators in a natural way.

We hope this article has been of interest to you, please don't hesitate to leave a comment with your own experiences, suggestions or any questions you may have.

Happy sprouting!


The articles published by Alchimiaweb, S.L. are reserved for adult clients only. In France, the age of majority is set at 18 years old. Consult your country's legislation and obey it. Alchimiaweb, SL is a Spanish company governed by Spanish law and can not, in any case, be held responsible for any misuse or non-compliance with the laws and regulations specific to each country, in relation to the articles published on its Blog. We remind you that the cultivation of cannabis seeds on French territory is strongly prohibited by law. We do not encourage our customers to break the law in any way and are not responsible for their use.

Comments in “How to make Seed Sprout Tea (SST) for cannabis plants” (3)

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Daniel2x 2021-04-07
Hello, I'm sprouting some alfalfa and barley at the moment of writing this. Great info, thanks a lot. I was just wondering if there was some more of a guideline/advice along feeding schedule? How do you dose it and is foliar feeding preferred over soil amending? Would appreciate some info on that. Thanks

Alchimia Staff

Tim Alchimia 2021-04-13
Hi Daniel, thanks for your comment. You're right, there's not much information available on feeding schedules for SST, it's a bit of a grey area. Personally, I use them as often as I can be bothered to go through the process of sprouting the seeds and liquidising them, which when I'm busy tends to be around every month or so. That said, I don't see any reason not to apply more frequently, I've seen growers using SST on a weekly basis and others who just use it once in a while as a special treat for the plants. I always use SST in irrigation because I'm all about feeding the soil, so I've never tried foliar application, but that's not to say it won't work, just use a more diluted mix until you can be sure there are no adverse effects. I hope that helps, best wishes and happy growing!

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Beau 2021-03-26
I recently did a barley SST and worked great. Then I noticed quinoa in the pantry so I did one of those too, very frothy and milky post blend/dilution, smelled great, used it fresh on mid bloom and late veg. I should be drinking the stuff too . Any info on quinoa for SST? Thanks

Alchimia Staff

Tim Alchimia 2021-03-30
Hi Beau, thanks for your comment. Glad the barley SST worked for you, wonderful stuff and yes if you have high-quality barley (I normally use animal feed quality because it's available almost for free here but if I was wanting to drink it I'd definitely get some fancy brewing barley!) then I see no reason not to drink it! I've not seen any information on Quinoa SST for plants but it's definitely a seed sprout that seems popular for human consumption: "it’s high in manganese, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, fibre, folate, and zinc. Quinoa also boasts more vitamin E than any other grain, alongside a plethora of flavonoids that offer concentrated antioxidant strength. It's also a source of plant-based protein because it contains two prized amino acids, lysine, and isoluence." What's unclear, however, is the range of phytohormones that it provides for our plants. I would definitely give it a try although tread carefully and start by applying in low concentrations to avoid stress or shock and observe the results. Best of luck with it and please let us know how you get along. Best wishes and happy sprouting!

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michael_2r1 2021-01-20
I am currently growing gelato, sunset sherbet, and zikkitels all from ilgm. I had learned about using SST but was fresh out of the listed seeds, or them by themselves that is. I'm currently in the 6th week of veg and or 9 weeks from seed and my plants are short, thick and have the most massive stalks. After I used each month a substitute combination of seeds I payed only $4 for. It's a seed variety for feeding Patriots called bonanza. Which you can find cheap at any pet or grocery store for that matter in on the pet isle... this seed combination includes white millet, whole wheat, red millet, oats, black oil sunflower seeds, canary grass seeds, corn seeds, flax seed, safflower seeds, squash seed, and pumpkin seeds. I figured with such a combination the plant would be sure to get as many hormones, aminoacids, enzymes, and cytokines that I could offer them. I would be happy to share photos of my growth now and once in flower in the coming weeks. The results have been life changing I will never use anything else. Oh I forgot to mention. The seed mix also contains dried spent brewers corn and mash which means yep trichoderma and bokashi are both in the same seed mix. As well as mycholrizal fungi I have found growing on the sprouts every time I use this mix. So it's like a win win.. plus one more win. All for just $4

Alchimia Staff

Tim Alchimia 2021-01-20
Hi Michael, many thanks for your comment. I'm so happy that this worked out well for you, and also very happy that you took our advice and just used whatever seeds you could get your hands on! I'm guessing the seeds are for Parrots, but I'm sure patriots can enjoy it too! Anyway, it sounds like a really excellent mix of phytohormones, micronutrients and beneficials... probably the best thing you could have done. Thanks for sharing, we really appreciate it! Best wishes and happy growing!

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