Seed germination and early growth of seedlings of 14 industrial hemp varieties were assessed in Petri dish and glasshouse conditions. Germination data were recorded every 24h for 7 and 20 consecutive days in Petri dish and glasshouse trials, respectively, and cumulative data were used to calculate the final
germination percentage and quality index (i.e. speed of germination). Significant
variations were observed among the varieties with respect to seed germination and seedling growth. The highest germination was recorded for variety Han FNQ (92% and 70% in glasshouse and Petri dish, respectively) followed by Han FNH (82% and 66%), Fedora 17 (74% and 52%) and Han NE (64% and 62%). The lowest germination was recorded for variety SI1 in both Petri dish and glasshouse
trials (10%). The quality index or the speed of germination varied significantly in Petri dish and was highest for varieties Han FNQ and Han FNH (5 seeds germinated/day) followed by Han NE, Han COLD and Yuma 1 (4 seeds/day), and the lowest was recorded for SI1 (1 seed/day). Seedling length and growth rates were highest for variety Han NE (10.46 cm and 5.23 mm/day seedling length and
growth rate, respectively) followed by Han FNQ (9.28 cm and 4.64 mm/day) and Han COLD (8.80 cm and 4.40 mm/day). The lowest seedling length and growth rate were recorded for variety Han NW (5.06 cm and 2.53 mm/day). Shoot dry weight and leaf area were highest for variety Puma 3 (0.118 g/plant and 8.70 cm2, respectively). Seedling vigour (SV) indices were highest for variety Han FNQ
(SV1, 60.79 and SV2, 853.80) followed by the varieties Puma 3 (SV1, 54.83) and Han NE (SV2 666.60).