5 Tips For Germinating Old Seeds
Here are some good tips for germinating seeds that are hard to start or are having trouble germinating. Have some patience though as it could take anywhere from three days to three weeks for a seed to germinate. Some of these tricks I would only use if the seed has not sprouted after two to three weeks or if you have a few seeds in reserve from a batch that haven’t germinated.
Seeds are comprised of an outer hard layer and an embryo which is inside the hard shell. The reason that older seeds don’t germinatem well is that the shell has become to hard and water is unable to penetrate, this process of imbibition is the start of the germination process. The seed will swell with water and eventually the shell will pop open and a small tap root will erupt.
One thing i wouldn’t do is to germinate your seeds on a paper towel. White paper is filled with bleach and other chemicals and is not a good thing for your plants. Use small jiffy starter blocks or a light soil:
1. Dilute 10ml (roughly one tsp) of Fulvic acid per litre (33 oz) of water.
2. Scuff the outer shell of the seed with some sand paper. Roll up a small cigar or sand paper or line a match box and gently shake the seeds over it. This will create micro abrasions letting in more water.
3. Use a lightly carbonated water. The extra Co2 will help the water penetrate the seed.
4. Use a light enzyme or seed booster, Plagron Nutrients has a very good one.
5. Finally if all else fails use an Exacto knife to slightly slice the seed open down the spine of the seed. This will make it easier for water to penetrate the shell.
Here are some good tips for germinating seeds that are hard to start or are having trouble germinating. Have some patience though as it could take anywhere
Four Hacks for Germinating Old Cannabis Seeds
When your old cannabis seeds don’t want to pop, one of these four techniques could come to their—and your—rescue. Aging seeds are more difficult to grow than fresh ones and we’ll explain what you can do to help germination.
The older a cannabis seed gets, the harder it is to pop. But hard doesn’t mean impossible. If you’ve been saving your seeds for a rainy day and it finally started pouring, these tips could help you get most, if not all, of your old beans to germinate.
1. PRE-SOAK WITH SUPPLEMENTED WATER
As cannabis seeds age, their protective outer shell hardens and prevents water from passing through. Unless the tiny, dormant embryo that lives inside the shell detects moisture, it doesn’t know that the conditions are right to sprout. As a first step, pre-soak your old cannabis seeds for about 12 hours to see if that does the trick.
To improve your chances, use carbonated water and/or add one of these supplements that help with water absorption. Fulvic acid and most boosters also give your seeds a light dose of nutrients.
- Fulvic acid
- Germination booster
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Gibberellic acid
Keep the water warm, but not too hot. Aim for around 22°C. Avoid direct sunlight, and keep an eye on the glass. Do not soak seeds for prolonged periods, more than 24 hours can deprive them of oxygen and make them drown.
Scarification, or scuffing the shell, can also help water pass through an older seed’s tough outer shell.
To scarify your seeds, line a matchbox or other small container with sandpaper. Drop the seeds inside, shake vigorously for 30–60 seconds, then remove. You may not notice much of a difference, but the small micro-abrasions are sometimes enough to let water breach the shell and trigger germination.
3. REMOVE THE RIDGE
The seed’s shell is made up of two pieces, with a seam going all around. The side that’s raised more than the other is the ridge. A hardened ridge can make it difficult for the seed to open. To remove the ridge, run a sharp blade along the ridge on both sides. Handle gently and it should come off without damaging the inside of the seed.
Removing the ridge not only makes it easier for the seed to open, it helps with water absorption.
4. SLICE THE SEED
In a life or death situation, surgery may be the only option. Meaning—only do this if nothing else has worked because this technique ruins as many seeds as it saves.
- Remove the seeds from any moisture and allow them to dry out completely.
- Use a sterile scalpel to slice into the seed at the seam and open it slightly.
- Try to germinate it again.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
If you’re going to keep seeds more than a year or two, proper storage will dramatically increase the chances of late-stage germination. Place them in an airtight container. Put the container in a refrigerator set at 6–8°C with 20–30% relative humidity. If excess moisture is a concern, add silica gel packs to the container.
As you proceed through these steps, the risk of damaging your seeds past the point of recovery increases. Between each suggestion, give them a few days to a week to germinate. Allow the outside to dry each time to prevent rot. Do not try all or multiple techniques at once.
In the future, consider growing your seeds before they get a chance to get old. They’re not cheap, so letting them go bad is a waste in all kind of ways.
As cannabis seeds age, germination success rate decreases with each passing year. Use these tips to revive your old beans.