We can only expect to use the old seeds with the cost of seeds floating above potheads’ reach. However, improper or long-term storage of seeds can cause Just found some seeds at the bottom of a random drawer? Here are some tips to help you germinate old cannabis seeds. 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.
How To Germinate Old Cannabis Seeds
We can only expect to use the old seeds with the cost of seeds floating above potheads’ reach. However, improper or long-term storage of seeds can cause infertility – and they cannot germinate. However, how do we let those old cannabis seeds come to life again? This guide will help us convert the relics into a sea of green sections of robust cannabis fields!
Sorting Old Cannabis Seeds
The first step in any farming process is to make sure we have the right seeds, and the same goes for weeds. When harvesting autoflowering marijuana seeds, everything is preserved, and nothing is lost. This means that all types of seeds are ripe and immature. How do we distinguish good seeds from bad ones? You are considering the following.
Sorting Seeds By Color And Shape
Whether we obtained the seeds from a seed bank, a store, or a retailer, different cannabis seed strains have different colors. Mature cannabis seeds acquire a dark coat, while immature ones are brighter and usually white. The most visible colors are brown, tan, and sometimes black. In contrast, bright yellows and whites quickly identify immature seeds.
Cannabis seeds are known for their aesthetic properties and shape. Round and symmetrical seeds are best. Larger seeds have a reasonable rate of germination compared to small seeds, which tend to be immature.
Classification Of Seeds By Hardness
Although the seeds have taken some time inside storage containers, ripe weeds seeds’ hardness is not compromised. Hard and tough seeds with a smooth shell guarantee a reasonable degree of germination. Also, pay attention to wavy and cracked seeds. They will lose time and energy and will not germinate after planting.
Ways to Germinate Old Cannabis Seeds
Below we will go through 3 popular methods used to germinate old weeds seeds. Remember that we have to do the part by trying to keep the temperature between 26 ° C – 28 ° because that is where the clones seem to season-best. You must also ensure that the seed is kept in a dark area, as light can slow down the germination process.
Method 1 – Scarification
The first method is scarification. This includes causing injury to the seeds’ outer shell to allow water and air to enter, which is essential for germination. For manual scarification, we will need a container or box lined with sandpaper or any coarse material to scar the seeds’ outer surface. Put the seeds in a container or box and shake. After a while, we will find that the roots become dull, and we can see parts of the sources inside the container. Once we scare the outer shell of the cannabis seeds, we can germinate them as usual.
Method 2 – Carbonated water
The second method involves the use of carbonated water with a pH below 7. This slightly acidic solution absorbs the outer layer of the seeds. Put the seeds in a container full of carbonated water and wait for about two hours. The solution loosens the seed coat and allows it to absorb water, which helps germinate.
Method 3 – Mixture of hydrogen peroxide
Method 3 requires that we use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide to soften the seed’s outer skin. It would be best if we were careful when mixing the peroxide solution, as we can burn the seed, and it will never germinate.
To use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide for the germination process, use 1 to 2 drops of 99% hydrogen peroxide in a glass of water. After soaking for 24 hours, the outer shell is softened enough to germinate the seeds.
In addition to chemical and mechanical scarification, we can use other DIY methods to loosen seeds. For example, we can use a small knife to scratch or open the seed coat. We can explore different approaches as long as we do not damage the seed embryo.
- One part 3% hydrogen peroxide with six parts water.
- One part 4.5% hydrogen peroxide with nine parts water.
- One part 6% hydrogen peroxide with 12 parts water.
- One part 30% hydrogen peroxide with 60 parts water.
Always Use Clean, Fresh Water
Clean and clean water contains oxygen and hydrogen molecules. These are two life-supporting elements necessary for germination. Soaking the seeds for at least 12 hours allows water to enter living cells, a process known as osmosis. Now that the internal conditions promote germination, the semen embryo expands and breaks out of the protective sheath.
Old cannabis seeds sometimes pose a challenge for germination. You can sort ripe seeds, release the hard protective layer by various methods, try new chemical germination enhancers, or use biocatalysts. Similarly, soaking the clean, soft seeds in clean water will push the embryo out of its protective blanket. After trying some of the above processes to germinate the old cannabis seeds, we can be sure to grow healthy and living plants and expect good yields.
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.
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.
- Moisture Is Key To Cannabis Seed Germination
- Best Methods for Germinating Old Seeds
- Place Old Weed Seeds in a Glass of Water
- Use the Scarification Method
- Crack Your Weed Seeds
- Remove the Ridge
- Surgically Open the Seed
- 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.