Cannabis Seed isn’t Germinating
Cannabis seeds are very easy to germinate, within a few days after being exposed to water, and warmth, most seeds would have germinated. After a week, if your cannabis seed isn’t germinating, there may be problems. There could be a few reasons why your cannabis seed isn’t germinating, in this guide we will discuss why your seed hasn’t germinated, and ways you can get it started. By the end of the guide, you should be able to pop that stubborn seed, and see signs of your plant growing within a week! Good luck!
Germinating Cannabis seeds
Germinating cannabis seeds is relatively easy, as long as you know what you’re doing. Providing the seed with the optimal conditions will improve your chances of a successful germination, so you waste less seeds. This guide is on what to do when a cannabis seed isn’t germinating. The first thing you can do is make sure you have germinated your cannabis seeds correctly. To know what the problem is, it is good to understand possible reasons why a cannabis seed doesn’t germinate.
Why your Cannabis seed isn’t germinating
95% of the time, cannabis seeds will germinate easily, and quickly, just by adding some water, and some warmth. A seed can germinate and show a shoot above ground in just a few days. At the most it should take no longer than a week for a cannabis seed to germinate, and show signs of shoot above the medium, if you do not see a shoot after this long, there may be a problem. There can be a number of reasons why cannabis seed isn’t germinating, let’s explore some of them.
Genetics is half the battle towards a good crop. This can’t be stressed enough, though you can get good plants from random genetics, buying good quality seeds from good seed banks will increase your chances of germination, and a quality end product. Some growers may be tempted to use seeds they found in a bag of cannabis they bought from somewhere. These seeds may not germinate at all, they may be infertile, or if it does grow, it could grow into a hermaphrodite cannabis plant. Improve the chances of your seeds germinating by buying good genetics. You won’t regret it!
Age of the seed
Inside of a cannabis seed there are some stored up nutrients. When a seed gets wet, a small amount of water will make its way inside, and this is a signal for the plant to begin germination. These food stores can become less and less nutritious as time goes on, and if cannabis seeds are not stored correctly, these stores can be used up, without the seed germinating at all. Your seed will need this food store to grow a tap root, and push a shoot above the medium, if it is used up, your seed isn’t viable, and it will not germinate.
The Older a seed is, the harder the outer casing will be. So, if you know your seed is old, you should soak it for a little longer before planting it to soften the shell a little. This will make it easier for the tap root to get out and start to grow.
Incorrect storage methods
If a cannabis seed is stored incorrectly, they will lose viability. To keep cannabis seeds viable for longer, they need to be stored correctly. Incorrect storage is a big factor in germination, and could be the reason why your cannabis seed isn’t germinating. Cool temperature between 5 and 10°c and humidity levels no higher than 25% is a great way to store your cannabis seeds. A dark cool place with very few temperature fluctuations is ideal. A refrigerator is perfect, but do not use refrigerator that you use often. Opening and closing the door will change the environment in the fridge. A stable environment is what a cannabis seed needs. If they have been stored incorrectly, they may not germinate at all. Store your seeds in a light proof container, in the back of the fridge, and your seeds could stay viable for years.
Left underwater for too long
Some growers like to soak their cannabis seeds in water before germinating them. This softens the shell, and prepares the seed for planting. If the shell is soft, the tap root will not have to work so hard to push its way outwards. The seed is placed in a glass of water, and usually, the grower waits until the seed sinks before planting. But this can be a problem. A Cannabis seed needs air to breath, and once the seed has fully submerged it cannot get air any more. This can kill a seed, as it can drown. Do not leave your seeds fully submerged for more than a couple of hours. Once they sink move them into paper towels or your chosen medium.
Planted too deep
Don’t plant seeds too deep! A seedling will only have a certain amount of energy it can use. To make its food, it needs light. Whilst a seed is underground, it will get no light, and without it, the plant cannot photosynthesize and make the food it needs to grow. If you plant your seed too deep, it will not have the energy it needs to break through the surface. Plant cannabis seeds about 1/2″ deep (2-3 cm) and this will give them plenty of room to grow a tap root, and then shoot above the surface. Planting your seed to deep may be the reason why your cannabis seed isn’t germinating
Too much nutrients in the medium
Sometimes, cannabis seed will germinate beneath the medium, and of course, you will not see it. The tap root will grow and come into contact with the medium. If the medium has a lot of food in it, it can severely shock your seedling and it can kill it. When you are germinating cannabis seeds, be light on the nutrients, and if you’re planting into soil, make sure you’re using a potting mix. A potting mix will have less nutrients in it than normal soils, and this can be better for young plant to grow into, before moving them into strong mediums.
What to do when a Cannabis seed isn’t germinating
After you have tried to germinate your cannabis seed, but had no success, you shouldn’t just give up there. There are ways you can still get your cannabis seed to germinate, it may just take a little more work. The main objective is to soften the shell, and provide the tap root with as much help as possible it is emerging from the seed. Sometimes all it takes is a slight break in the shell, and the seed can germinate.
Soak the seed with H²O²
If you’re seeds are old, you may want to do this on the initial soaking, before you try germinate your seeds, but it is also a great method to try and crack stubborn seeds. H²O² will make the water a little more reactive, but only use a few drops in a glass. Hydrogen Peroxide will help soften the shell, making it easier for water to get inside the shell, and for the tap root to emerge.
Add some microbes to the seed
Roots love microbes! If your cannabis seed isn’t germinating, try rolling it in a rooting power and plant it again. When exposed to moisture these powders will begin to grow colonies of friendly bacteria that works in conjunction with the root zone. These can help soften the shell, and produce some nutrients for when the tap root emerges from the seed. If your cannabis seed isn’t germinating, some beneficial bacteria can be very helpful.
Using 2.5ml per cup of water of fulvic acid can also help weaken the shell of your seed and help it germinate. Fulvic acid is an organic acid, that is found in soils, and comes from the decomposition of organic matter. This will help break down the outer shell of your seed, as the organic molecules break down the casing.
Carbonate water has CO°2 dissolved into it. This takes it from being still water to being fizzy. The bubbles in carbonated drinks are formed on nucleation sites. This is where the CO²2 can latch onto a place, and turn into a bubble. The bubbles then form and float up through the water. This makes the water more reactive, and can help soften the shell of your seed if it isn’t germinating.
If none of the above techniques have worked for you, there are some last resorts you can turn to if your cannabis seed isn’t germinating. These are harsh, but they can work, you just have to be gentle. The whole idea of these techniques is to either soften or crack the shell, so water can get into the seed, and the tap root can get out. This can be difficult if the seed is old, or has been stored incorrectly, so we have to give it a helping hand sometimes.
Take some sandpaper, of a very fine grain, and gently scuff at the outer shell of your seed. Now be careful, you’re not trying to removing the whole layer of the seed. Just scuff the surface in a few places, and begin the germination method again. This will weaken areas of the seed, which can now be softened and penetrated by the water. But sometimes this still isn’t enough. You can also use a nail file to scuff the edge of your seed, just make sure its fine grain as you do not want to remove big pieces of shell.
Cracking the shell
The very last case scenario, and your last resort is to actually crack the seed manually. This can be done by holding the seed between your finger and thumb, and using your other hand to pick of a bit of the casing with your thumb nail. By putting a small crack in the seed, you can be sure water will get in, and the germination process should begin. Do not soak the seed for too long, and it may be better to go straight into the medium after you have cracked the seed. Too much water can drown it, and you don’t want to kill your seed after going through all this trouble to germinate it.
Final thoughts on Cannabis seeds that won’t germinate
If your cannabis seed isn’t germinating, then you should just be a little more patient, most of the time, they will pop without any extra help, they just need a couple more days. If you have waited for longer than a week, than you should start using these methods. Buy your seeds from a seed bank with a good reputation, and your seed should germinate first time every time, as long as you germinate them correctly. Thanks for reading! Stay safe, and happy growing More news in Soft Secrets about Preparing your seeds for Spring
How To Germinate Weed Seeds (Fool-Proof Method)
Whether it’s your time to step into cannabis cultivation, or you’re just curious about the process, here we are, ready to learn how to germinate weed seeds.
Also referred to as “popping seeds” or “popping beans,” germinating seeds is the first step in growing cannabis from seed (growing from clones is a bit of a different story). This article contains everything you need to know before you germinate your seeds, and the best method to go about it.
(Note: This guide is for educational purposes only and not intended to be followed if it would place you at odds with local and/or federal law.)
What Is Germination?
Germination is the process by which a new plant grows from a seed. Every plant seed, not just cannabis, contains a tiny, ready-to-grow dormant plant, curled up around a tightly packed store of nutrients. When you plant seeds of any kind, these seeds germinate as the first step of their life.
When plants produce seeds, they send off these potential offspring into the world, ready to spring into action when the conditions are right: usually a dark, warm, moist place. The darkness paired with moisture are key indicators to the seed that it’s time to wake up and start growing a plant from the soil (or whatever other growing medium) it’s in. Essentially, telling the plant it’s spring time, and time to start growing!
When those conditions are met, the plant inside the seed awakens from its dormant state, sends a tap root down into the soil, sends its first stem up towards the air above and the seedling starts to grow b!
Why Do We Germinate Cannabis Seeds?
Germination happens in the wild all the time, since it’s the process by which plants produce offspring via seed. When we’re growing cannabis from seed, we want to control as much of the process as possible to limit any potential issues, starting with germination of our cannabis seeds.
There is another way to grow cannabis, from “clones,” but you need to have a mother plant to begin with! How do you get that mother plant? Often, through your chosen cannabis seed.
For breeders, germination is a crucial step in the pheno-hunting process (phenotype hunting), in which dozens, and sometimes hundreds of cannabis seed are germinated and grown, to the find the proverbial needle in the haystack of the perfect marijuana plant, to then clone from.
For beginner growers, especially those that can’t find themselves cannabis seedlings, purchasing from cannabis seed companies is the only way to get their first plant, so learning to germinate cannabis seeds will be essential for any new grower getting started.
What’s the Best Way to Germinate Cannabis Seeds?
There are a few ways to handle germinating your seeds. This most basic, tried and true method requires just a little bit of household equipment and a few days! Put frankly, cannabis germination is something that is hard to mess up, so you should have “great success” with this method!
What You Need
- Two small side plates
- One or two sheets of paper towels
- Tap water (distilled/filtered, ideally but tap water usually works just fine)
- A warm, safe location you can leave them (70-90°F) that won’t get knocked over
- Cannabis seeds
Step 1: Stack & Soak
Stack your paper towels one on top of the other and fold them into a square. Then, soak the paper towels with your water. You don’t want them sopping wet (dripping) but they should be thoroughly dampened. Hold them up while they drip until they stop dripping altogether. Place them on one of your plates.
Step 2: Lay Out & Label
Unfold one fold of your paper towel, put it on your plate, and lay your cannabis seeds out, evenly spaced. We recommend adding some sort of label if you’re popping seeds of multiple strains, and include the date you’re starting them.
Step 3: Nighty Night!
Fold back the paper towel over the cannabis seeds to cover them, and place the second plate upside down, on top of the first plate, creating a dark, safe space for your seeds to start to come to life!
Step 4: Warm, Watch, Wait
The length of the taproot before transplanting is a bit of a personal preference, but we recommend waiting until there is at least a half inch of root. Carefully pick up the seed and place it in your growing medium – whether that’s soil, rockwool or coco – root facing down. Use tweezers to pick it up if you’re worried about being gentle enough!
If the seed coating didn’t shed from the cotyledons (the first two leaves on a seedling, pronounced “coddle-edens“), try not to remove it. You risk damaging the leaves and stem and the seedling should shed the seed cap on its own.
Make sure your growing medium is properly moist, using a spray bottle if you have one, to keep your watering gentle and seedling safe. Pouring water onto your seedlings can cause them to fall over, so be gentle.
Step 5: Transplant
Place the seeds in a warm location, ideally somewhere between 70°F-90°F, for a few days. Room temperature is fine usually. Too hot and you will dry out and cook the seeds. Too cold, and either it will take too long and the seeds will mold/rot before they sprout, or it won’t stimulate the seeds at all.
You’ll want to check the seeds frequently (daily is ideal) to make sure the paper towel doesn’t dry out. Just add more water if required.
After anywhere between three days and 14 days (yes, there can be that much variation!) you’ll see the tap root emerging from the seed! If you wait even longer, the seed can also shed, exposing pale, green, rounded leaves called the cotyledons. If kept in the dark too long they may appear more yellow than green, but that will go away in time.
Not all seeds will germinate, and you can just discard any duds. Give them enough time to make sure they’re not just late bloomers though!
You also might see tiny white fuzz on the root, but don’t panic – those are likely root hairs, not mold! Mold is very distinctive (when you know what you’re looking for); these roots hairs are still fibrous, and won’t drift away at a breeze or touch.
Step 6: Let There Be Light!
You’ll want to move your new seedlings in their growing medium to a location with a significant source of light, that’s on for anywhere between 18 to 24 hours.
Seedlings that don’t receive enough light will stretch to reach the light making them tall and gangly and risk damage. Seedlings with too much light can be stressed into submission. Generally, a cheap fluorescent light a few inches away is the way to go. A fluorescent grow light is enough light for the seedlings, without producing heat to stress them out. Eventually, you’ll want a more powerful grow light, though!
You’ll now want to consider adding a small, light fan to your grow space at this point as well, blowing very softly, so as not to blow the seedlings over, but just to provide a little resistance, allowing the cannabis seedling to stiffen up.
Now that you’ve got cannabis seedlings, you’re ready to take your growing to the next stage – vegetation – producing a big healthy plant that’s ready to either make clones or take into the flowering stage after a few weeks.
The taproot from your seedlings will shoot down towards the bottom of your grow container, as more roots extend from the taproot and spread throughout the container. Healthy cannabis roots are bright white, and at this stage of the grow it’s important to nurture those roots as best as you can.
Maintaining the proper pH of the soil or growth medium (5.8-6ish) and being careful not to over-water (a classic beginner error) is going to be crucial to maintain strong, healthy roots.
Other Germination Methods
Straight in Soil
Of course, most seeds in nature germinate straight in soil, and this is definitely an option when you germinate cannabis seeds as well, and many purists will recommend you do this.
That being said, in our opinion, the paper towel method is an easier way to maintain a consistently moist environment, suitable for your seeds during such a crucial step. It also allows you to remove any dud seeds before spending more time on them!
Other sites will also recommend you put your paper towel in a plastic sandwich bag. We’d caution against this unless you aren’t going to be able to watch your seeds for an extended period of time. The lack of oxygen and build up of moisture can cause unwanted molds and bacteria to find their way in.
If you’re having trouble keeping the paper towel moist from day to day, use a plastic sandwich bag but don’t close it, to help keep that oxygen flow moving and mold from settling in.
Optional Pro Tips
Pre-Soak & Scrape
Some folks recommend soaking their seeds overnight in a glass of water before beginning germination (and for some, rare and particularly stubborn strains, even scraping the seed coating to thin out the seed making it easier for the seed to germinate) but in general, neither of these techniques is required for the majority of seeds out there.
Some growers will also opt to soak seeds in a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide to sterilize the exterior of the side prior to germination. Because some seeds are rare – and expensive – growers will do just about anything to improve the rate of their germination attempts and guarantee success.
How to Select Cannabis Seeds
Ready to get your hands on some cannabis seeds and get started? There are a few different types of seeds you may not have been aware of. Aside from picking the strain you want to grow, you’ll want to keep these things in mind as they can profoundly impact your grow.
Mature Seeds vs Immature
Pictured above is a mature seed next to an immature seed. The smaller, green seed can still possibly germinate, but it’s also possible it’s too underdeveloped. If you purchase seeds and they don’t look like the one on the left, you should definitely take it up with your seed bank.
Auto-Flowering Seeds vs Regular Seeds
Auto-flowering cannabis seeds can be purchased from many seed banks and have certain advantages over regular seeds.
Auto-flowering seeds contain the genes from Cannabis ruderalis, a subspecies of cannabis that does not begin its flowering stage of plant growth, based on the amount of light it receives. In other words, an auto-flowering plant will begin to flower on its own, and not depend on the grower changing the light schedule it receives.
Marijuana plants grown from regular seeds will only flower if provided a light cycle of 12 hours on, 12 hours off, or if some other major stressor causes the plant to pre-maturely flower.
What does this mean for you? If you have the ability to vary the light your plants receive, or want to produce a single harvest outdoors, then regular seeds are a good option for you.
Feminized Seeds vs Regular Seeds
Many seed companies also sell feminized cannabis seeds, which many people prefer to purchase for their first time. Regular marijuana seeds produced from a “male” and “female” cannabis plant have a 50-50 chance of being either “male” or “female.” In most cases (unless you are breeding plants) the female plants are the only seedlings you’ll want to keep.
Feminized seeds are produced by applying colloidal silver to a flowering and pollinated cannabis plant. Some growers lament that you increase the risk of cannabis plants developing hermaphroditism in the flowering stage and stay away from them.
Distinguishing between males and females in the garden can take experience, time, energy and resources, so feminized seeds provide a great solution for beginners, in particular.
Germinating your own cannabis seeds at home doesn’t have to be a daunting task, and we hope today’s lesson has given you the seed of inspiration to try sprouting weed seeds on your very own – Local laws allowing, of course. Happy growing!