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.
Here’s How To Germinate Old Cannabis Seeds
Published : Jun 19, 2019
Categories : Cannabis cultivation
Old cannabis seeds can be hard to germinate. Luckily, there are a few techniques that can help them sprout, even if they’ve been forgotten for some time.
Did you find some old seeds in a forgotten corner of the house? Well, you’re in luck; below we’ll share some simple tips to help you germinate old cannabis seeds.
BEFORE YOU START, SET YOUR EXPECTATIONS STRAIGHT
Before you start, it’s important you remember the following:
• Seeds can take a while to germinate. While healthy, fresh seeds can germinate in just a few days, old seeds can take anywhere from 2 days to 3 weeks to sprout. So be patient.
• Some seeds won’t germinate at all. Unfortunately, old seeds sometimes just don’t sprout. So, if you try all of the tips below and wait patiently without any luck, it’s likely your seeds are just too far gone.
TRY SCARRING YOUR SEEDS
One of the main reasons old cannabis seeds don’t germinate is because they tend to have a very hard outer shell. Now, cannabis seeds naturally have a hard shell that helps protect them until the conditions are right for them to germinate. Over time, however, this outer shell can become so hard that it inhibits the seed from germinating altogether.
To help older seeds along, it’s a good idea to try scarring them. To do so, simply line the inside of a matchbox with some fine sandpaper, place your seeds inside, and shake the box for a minute or so. This will help make some small cuts in the seeds’ outer shells to help them absorb some moisture.
If this isn’t enough, you can try carefully (and very gently) using a sharp knife like a Stanley blade to remove the ridge running along the middle of each seed. This should expose the inside of the seed a little, helping it absorb moisture and, hopefully, giving it a better chance of germinating.
TRY GERMINATING YOUR SEEDS IN CARBONATED WATER
Try dropping your old seeds into a glass of sparkling water. The CO₂ in the water should help the seeds absorb more moisture, encouraging them to sprout. You can also add some fulvic acid to the water to help break down the shell of your seeds. You’ll only need about 2.5ml of acid for a glass of sparkling water (roughly 250ml).
TRY “THE PAPER TOWEL METHOD”
This is a very popular way to germinate seeds. And for good reason; it’s pretty successful. Here’s how to germinate your cannabis seeds using paper towel:
1. Place 2 pieces of paper towel inside a salad plate.
2. Dampen the paper towels and place your seeds on top of it.
3. Cover the seeds with another 2 pieces of damp paper towel, then cover the salad plate with another plate, and keep it in a warm, dark cupboard.
4. Check on your seeds every 2–3 days.
LET MOTHER NATURE DO HER THING
Sometimes, it’s best to leave Mother Nature to work her magic on your old seeds. Try scarring your seeds a little as we showed you earlier, then let them sit in carbonated water overnight. Next, prepare a small nursery pot with some high-quality soil. Make a small hole in the middle of the pot with your finger, roughly the depth of your fingernail. Drop your seed inside the hole and cover it. Moisten the soil and keep your pot in a warm place with indirect sunlight—a windowsill works great.
REMEMBER TO STORE YOUR SEEDS PROPERLY
If you’ve tried all our tips above and still haven’t managed to germinate your seeds, it’s likely they are beyond the point of return. To avoid having the same problem next time, here are some tips to help you store your seeds:
• Seeds like cool, dry, and dark places.
• Quick changes in temperature and humidity are really bad for seeds. Try to keep them in a jar or other container to protect them against these environmental factors.
• Seeds don’t like light. Keep them in a dark place and avoid any unnecessary exposure.
• All of our seeds are vacuum-sealed. For the best germination rates, only open a pack of seeds when you’re ready to plant them.
Just found some seeds at the bottom of a random drawer? Here are some tips to help you germinate old cannabis seeds.