Can You Drown A Weed Seed

If you find yourself with an old pack of cannabis seeds, is it too late to give them a grow? Not necessarily! Here's how to germinate those old cannabis seeds. 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.

How to germinate old cannabis seeds

Although prime cannabis seeds are typically younger, old weed seeds may still be viable! However, you have to go about germinating them differently, as time tends to harden these magic beans. Learn how to germinate your old cannabis seeds to achieve a bumper harvest.

Contents:

  1. Moisture Is Key To Cannabis Seed Germination
  2. Best Methods for Germinating Old Seeds
    1. Place Old Weed Seeds in a Glass of Water
    2. Use the Scarification Method
    3. Crack Your Weed Seeds
    4. Remove the Ridge
    5. Surgically Open the Seed
    1. Avoid Putting Old Cannabis Seeds Straight Into the Medium

    If stored properly, marijuana seeds can remain viable for many years. However, the longer you keep them, the harder it is to make them sprout. More often than not, you’ll have to use different hacks to successfully germinate old cannabis seeds. We’ll teach you how, but first, let’s see what conditions make cannabis seeds come alive in the first place.

    Moisture Is Key To Cannabis Seed Germination

    If you want to successfully germinate cannabis seeds—whether fresh or old—you must satisfy the following conditions: warmth, darkness, and moisture. The first two are important, but it’s moisture that causes the dormant embryo inside to begin its life cycle.

    That’s why it’s so important to store cannabis seeds in a dry place—so they don’t germinate prematurely, become mouldy, or rot.

    The problem with very old seeds is that their outer shell dries out over time, and it gets more and more difficult for water to penetrate them. As such, you, the grower, must take some steps to facilitate this process.

    Best Methods for Germinating Old Seeds

    So, the question of how to germinate old cannabis seeds translates to: how do you help moisture get inside your old seeds? The obvious first choice is to pre-soak them before germination.

    1. Place Old Weed Seeds in a Glass of Water

    With old weed seeds, your favourite germination technique, such as the paper towel method or the straight-into-the-medium method, may not work. The reason is simple—these techniques don’t provide enough moisture to penetrate the hardened outer shell.

    Instead, take a glass of water and throw your seeds into it. Twelve hours will be enough for the shell to soften a little and the water to finally get inside and wake up the embryo. Don’t forget to check the seeds regularly. As soon as they crack and the taproot appears, you should take them out. Seeds are living organisms and they need oxygen. Leave them submerged for 24 hours or more, and they may drown.

    In most cases, you can simply use drinking water, but germinating old cannabis seeds may require some further tweaking. Some growers use carbonated water because the presence of CO₂ supposedly helps water penetrate the seed shell. Hydrogen peroxide (a few drops per glass) is said to have the same effect. You may also consider adding some biologically active compounds, such as:

    • Superthrive (one drop to a glass of water)
    • Nitrozyme (10ml/L)
    • Humic and fulvic acids (10ml/L)
    • Rooting hormones

    The problem with these stimulators is that you never know the correct dosage. The information shared on marijuana forums is anecdotal, and legitimate studies have only been performed on other crops. So, if you decide to use any of these additives, do some research or ask other growers, and always err on the side of caution.

    2. Use the Scarification Method

    Another method of making the outer shell more penetrable is scarification, and the most straightforward way to do this is to use sandpaper. Take a matchbox and line its inside with sandpaper, or roll a piece of sandpaper into a tube. Then, place the seeds inside and shake them for a minute.

    This will be enough to make a lot of tiny scratches on the protective outer layer of the shell, allowing moisture to get inside much more easily.

    3. Crack Your Weed Seeds

    Some people buy a special cracking tool for old cannabis seeds. This simple contraption applies mild pressure on a seed until an audible crack is heard. Others simply bite on the seed—ever so gently—until they hear it crack.

    Please keep in mind that this particular method of germinating old cannabis seeds is a bit risky, as are the techniques described below.

    4. Remove the Ridge

    The ridge is quite prominent on the seed. It connects the two halves of the outer shell, and when the embryo pushes against them, it’s this ridge that cracks. However, in older seeds, it’s too hardened by time and needs to be cut off.

    Use a sharp knife to cut the whole length of the ridge, on both sides. Be sure not to cut too deep and damage the embryo.

    5. Surgically Open the Seed

    This procedure is similar to cracking because you’re forcefully opening the seed—not by applying pressure this time, but by using a sharp knife. Please consider this a last resort—suitable only when all else fails.

    Germinating Old Cannabis Seeds Requires Patience

    Please note that, besides poorer germination rates, old cannabis seeds also take longer to sprout. So, how long exactly does it take to germinate old cannabis seeds? While fresh seeds usually germinate in 1–3 days, older beans routinely take as long as 7–10 days or even more. So, be patient, and, if the seed remains dormant, try one of the tricks described above—starting with the least invasive one. It’s also best to try them one after another, as opposed to all at the same time.

    Avoid Putting Old Cannabis Seeds Straight Into the Medium

    Personally, we like germinating weed seeds in soil, but when you’re dealing with old ones, it’s best to regularly check on their progress. This will spare you a lot of nail-biting, because you never know how many days this will take. So, check the quality of your seeds, and, if you have any doubts, choose a more “visual” method, such as germinating in a glass of water.

    Fascinated by the wellness potential of nature, Luke has spent over a decade writing about cannabis and its vast selection of cannabinoids. Creating, researching and writing content for Cannaconnection, alongside several other industry-related publications, he uses strong technical SEO skills and diligent research to bring evidence-based material to thousands of unique visitors.

    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!

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