Here’s How To Germinate Old Cannabis Seeds
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.
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.