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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
- Why a Cannabis Seed May Not Germinate
- Age of the Seed
- Thick Shell
- Incorrect Storage Methods
- Left Underwater for too Long
- Planted Too Deep
- Too Much Nutrients in the Medium
- What to do When a Cannabis seed Doesn’t Germinate
- Last Resorts
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.
You can watch this tutorial video from “Percys Grow Room“. It will tell you everything you need to know about germinating cannabis seeds correctly.
If you have used these techniques, and still, you have no success with your seed, then we can move onto other methods.
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.
If you’re a new grower, or thinking about starting your own grow, then you are welcome to come and join our cannabis grower’s forum. We have a very friendly community, that is very welcoming to all grower’s, no matter what your level of experience is.
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Thanks for reading! Stay safe, and happy growing
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