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 Find out why your seeds aren't germinating and learn how to not make the same mistakes again with this guide on what NOT to do. Did your cannabis seeds fail at the first hurdle? Don't worry, our germination guide will keep you right moving forward!
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
Why Didn’t my Seeds Germinate?
Why didn’t my seeds germinate? This is a question often asked by novice and experienced growers alike. Some people think that it’s because they bought old seeds or badly made seeds, but it’s generally because the germination process isn’t done properly. Cannabis seeds have a 99% germination chance, even after being in a box for up to 5 years.
Cannabis seeds are life matter, and if germination isn’t done correctly then the seeds are worthless. Cannabis plants are generally quite sturdy and they grow quite fast, but they’re extremely fragile before they begin their growth spurt. You need to germinate in humid places with a decent temperature, and make sure that the seeds have enough humidity for the 2-10 days it can take for them to germinate. Just because it hasn’t shown any roots in four days doesn’t mean that the seed isn’t going to open, you just have to wait and have some patience.
One of the most common errors is just leaving them in some damp kitchen paper on a plate, as they’ll dry up before they can root. You need to make sure that the paper isn’t dry, if it’s dry you’ll need to give them a bit more water, some people give them too much water in case they dry out etc. These practices are what cause seeds to dry out or to drown in too much water; it’s not the seed’s fault, but generally the grower’s.
Another big mistake is germinating in a glass of water. The issue with this method is many people don’t take into account the water temperature. If the water’s too cold then the seeds will sit there for days until they eventually rot due to the low temperature in the water. This method’s okay for warm summer months when there’s a decent temperature and the water doesn’t get too cold. This still isn’t the seed’s fault.
One of the biggest mistakes is germinating straight in a jiffy or soil. The issue here is that the seeds will most likely take much more than 48h to germinate, and by then the upper layers of soil will have dried out, and if it doesn’t die off due to that then it will probably die if you try and water it to keep humidity up; in these cases, the seed tends to come to the surface or they can sink even further into the soil. Once again, this is the grower’s fault.
The only way to be sure that your plants are going to get a chance to grow is to germinate them before putting them in the desired medium. The only way to make sure that they germinate is to make sure that the temperature never goes below 20º and that the paper doesn’t dry. How? By using a simple plastic kitchen container. If you germinate your seeds in a plastic container with some damp kitchen paper and you keep it closed, the water from the paper won’t evaporate and dry out. Even if it takes 10 days it will still germinate. Once the seeds have opened, you’ll need to place them in a properly watered pot because you won’t be able to water again until the seedling pops through the surface, although this should only take one day indoors and maybe 2 outdoors. With this system you can germinate hundreds of seeds in a small Tupperware container. If it’s summer and it’s warm, you can just stick them anywhere out of direct light. If it’s the winter and it’s colder you can place the container on top of your TV or internet box to give it that extra bit of heat. If it’s going to be somewhere where light can get to it, cover the box in tin foil.
So, now you know the best way to germinate your seeds. You might have been doing it one of the “wrong” ways and you’ve been lucky so far, but the only way you can germinate and blame the seeds if it doesn’t work is if you use the correct method we mentioned last. Happy growing!
Why Won’t My Cannabis Seeds Germinate?
If you’re growing cannabis from seed, life begins at germination. But what happens if your seeds won’t germinate? Are you just doing it wrong?
It’s possible, but other factors contribute to the successful germination of seeds. Let’s look at what to do right, what can go wrong, and how to minimise the risk of germination failure.
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What is Cannabis Seed Germination?
Germination is when the outer shell of a seed cracks open, and the first sprout pops its tired head out to see daylight for the first time. From there, your seed is awake, alive, and ready to grow into the superb cannabis plant it dreamed of becoming. The first initial sprout to break the surface of the seed is known as the taproot. That’s the root from which all other roots made by your plant will sprout. Once the shell breaks open and the taproot emerges, you can plant it in soil. With time and the right conditions, you’re well on your way to growing a healthy marijuana plant. If you’re wondering why your cannabis seeds won’t germinate, there are some important things to know.
Cannabis seeds need three things to germinate:
Each is a vital cog in the germination process, and if just one is missing – or inadequate – you’re looking at a bust. Therefore, it’s crucial to know how to germinate your seeds correctly.
Three Ways to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
As sure as there’s more than one way to skin a cat, there’s more than one way to germinate a weed seed. Which way is your choice, and how you choose is entirely up to you. Some methods are more straightforward, and some are slightly more scientific. The main thing, however, is simply knowing what’s involved in your preferred seed germination method and following the instructions to the letter. Doing this allows you to rule individual errors out of the equation if things go wrong. Here’s a quick and easy guide to three popular methods of germinating cannabis seeds.
The Wet Paper Towel Method
Without a doubt, the simplest method, and probably the most common method among home growers, the paper towel method, has been around forever.
All you need is four paper towels or kitchen paper, two plates, and some distilled water. Begin by dampening the paper towels with distilled water. Place two of your damp paper towels on a plate, then grab a utensil like a set of tweezers or tongs, and use them to place the seeds on the paper towels. Carefully place the other two damp towels on top of your seeds, and cover with the other plate.
Cannabis for Beginners
Keep your newly-crafted ensemble in a spot where the temperature is between 20 and 30°C, checking on them daily. After just a couple of days, if you see the taproots have emerged, congratulations! Your seeds have popped and are ready for the next stage.
The Glass of Water Method
It’s said that this method is less effective than the wet paper towel trick, but some people prefer to drop their seeds in a glass of room-temperature water and wait 3-5 days until the seeds pop and the taproots emerge. It’s probably even more straightforward than the paper towel method. Whatever floats your….seeds….
The problem with this method is that it seems directly counter-intuitive to the philosophy of seed germination 101 – too much water will drown your seed. Yet somehow, people have success with it.
The Soil Method
You want to limit the handling of your seeds as much as possible, so what better way than to drop them straight into the soil and let them germinate there? Put some soil in a small pot and water it, then make a small hole about 15mm deep in the centre, and carefully place the seed (one seed per pot) in the hole. Cover with a light dusting of soil, then mist with water. This method takes longer, so you’re waiting between four and ten days for the seed to germinate. The beauty of this method is that the taproot emerges into the soil, meaning no further handling, and the roots can get to work developing in the substrate.
My Cannabis Seeds Won’t Germinate
It’s not uncommon, but as long you’ve followed our germination guidelines correctly, you know at least it wasn’t your fault. So what went wrong?
Here’s a list of common reasons why your seeds may not have sprouted:
Poor Quality Seeds
Where did you acquire your seeds? There are plenty of disreputable sources for cannabis seeds out there, be they online retailers, back-alley head shops – or even just a jiffy bag of random undefined seeds from a friend. The genetics aren’t assured, quality control is non-existent, and as for after-sales care? Forget about it.
To give yourself the best chance of success, only buy your cannabis seeds from a quality seed bank like Seedsman.com. The variety and quality of cannabis seeds are second to none, and they come with the peace of mind of knowing your seeds will have a much higher germination success rate. Better yet, you get the added value of knowing those seeds will grow into cannabis plants of the highest quality, with bountiful yields. You don’t have to break the bank to purchase top-grade marijuana seeds. From competitive prices on the latest strains to regular special offers, Seedsman.com offers premium cannabis seeds to suit any budget.
Improperly Stored Seeds
Not everyone realises that seeds have to be stored correctly to remain viable. If you’ve unfortunately got your hands on some old seeds, there’s a high chance they might not have been stored properly. If your seeds have been sitting in a bag on a window ledge, chances are the heat has sucked any chance of germination out of them completely. Treat your seeds like you would treat food. Whether you store in a cool, dry place or in a refrigerator in the correct container, you need to preserve them correctly to ensure they don’t spoil.
Over-Handling or Incorrect Handling
Treat your seeds with the utmost care at every step. If you over-handle them, use bare or dirty hands or use the incorrect tools to lift and lay your seeds, there’s a good chance you’ll damage their viability. Bare hands are harbours of all manner of bacteria, so it’s a good idea to use medical-grade gloves if you’re picking them up. Failing that, always wash your hands before and after handling cannabis seeds – but be careful what you use as soap!
The less you handle cannabis seeds, the lower the risk of damage. Sure, cannabis seeds seem hardy enough with that tough outer shell, but it would surprise you how easily they can be damaged. The same rule applies if using tools to lift and place seeds – tweezers and so on should be cleaned before and after use. Resist temptation to apply too much of a squeeze, as that can damage the seed shell.
Incorrect Planting Techniques
If you’re planting your seeds straight into the soil, place the seed carefully and gently into that 15mm hole mentioned earlier. Cover lightly with soil, and do not be tempted to push the seed further down into the soil. Don’t compress a large amount of soil over the top of the seed, either. This will do more harm than good because your seed won’t have the oxygen it needs. Likewise, excess moisture can scupper the chance of germination.
Everything from handling tools to pots and soil has to be spotlessly clean and sterile. Otherwise, you limit your seed’s chances of making its big breakthrough. Ensure you sterilise your pots; otherwise, there’s a good chance there will be residual mould and pathogens. Likewise, only ever use clean, new soil to accept your seeds.
Incorrect Water/Moisture Levels
Too much moisture in your soil and your seeds will suffer from a lack of oxygen. If that’s not bad enough, excess water will encourage fungal growth.
Too little moisture is just as bad – remember, moisture is one of the three critical components in the seed germination process. If using the paper towel method, ensure those towels are damp and not soaked. When potting in soil, make sure to mist the soil with a spray bottle. Don’t pour copious amounts into the soil, thinking the more, the merrier. If you’re overwatering the soil at this stage, neither you nor your seeds will be particularly merry.
You Germinated for Too Long
It can happen – if you take your eye off the ball, your seeds will have germinated, and that taproot has been exposed to air and light for too long before being planted in a safe growing medium. Don’t keep them out in the open beyond 2cm. If you do, handling and transporting the sprouted seed increases the risk of damage. Get them in soil or your preferred substrate as soon as possible.
Seeds germinate best when the temperature is between 20 and 25C. High temperatures increase the risk of drying out the soil. Any lower exposes the seed to conditions that could effectively stunt development or halt germination altogether. For this reason, we recommend carrying out germination indoors, where you can control the temperature.
After successful germination, allow your cannabis seedlings to develop indoors in pots. Wait until the outdoor temperature is high enough that your young plant will thrive (if you’re planning to grow your plants outdoors, of course).
Too Much Light
Cannabis plants love light – well, photoperiod ones, certainly. But seeds? Not so much. Light is not essential to seed germination; in fact, it’s not conducive to seed germination. Keep your seeds away from light as much as possible if you want them to have a chance at popping. Carry out germination away from windows and any other light sources, or you’ll hinder the likelihood of success.
The ‘Wrong’ Water
Avoid using tap water in the germination process. Tap water contains chlorine, fluoride and other additives that can harm seeds and potentially stop them from sprouting. Instead, use distilled water. Bottled water is fine.
They Can’t all be Winners
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why your seeds may not germinate successfully, and it’s a lot to consider. Keep this guide handy if you’re new to growing cannabis from seed, and follow the steps outlined above until you’re experienced enough to go it alone.
Always remember that, even if you do everything by the book, some seeds just won’t germinate. Frustrating though that is, sometimes it’s just bad luck. But by taking control of all the factors mentioned above, you significantly increase your chances of successfully germinating your cannabis seeds every time. Over many grows, an 100% germination success rate is unheard of. By obtaining good quality cannabis seeds from a reputable source like Seedsman.com, and following the guidelines, you can get pretty close. Good luck!
Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.