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old cannabis seeds

Another soil germinating option that works great with aged cannabis seeds is carbonated water.

How to successfully germinate old cannabis seeds

Weed seeds are a hardy bunch, they can last for up to ten years if they are stored properly. Many growers both experienced and otherwise will hold onto seeds that were taken from marijuana strains that they enjoyed in the past. Those genetics will stay safely preserved for many years while encased in a protective shell, but sometimes time passes, they got misplaced, or simply forgotten about, and dug up some time later only for the person to assume they aren’t any good and throw them out. The thing is, that even if you are having difficulty germinating old seeds, there are several things you can do to achieve a higher success rate and breathe new life into cannabis seeds that might just need a little bit of extra love and care to get started.

1. Water – soil free method

If you want to revive your old marijuana strains than you will need to start with a massive dose of hydration. This can happen one of several ways, but the simplest and most common is a soaking in a glass of water to soften the shell and make it easier for the sprout to escape.

  1. Drop the weed seeds into a cup of lukewarm water that is ideally 21 degrees Celsius for 24 hours. Watch out for early openers, and if you see any split before the 24-hour mark, remove them immediately to prevent drowning.
  2. After 24 hours, remove the cannabis seeds, and place them on a moistened paper towel.
  3. Fold the paper towel in half, and place it into a Ziplock baggie in a warm room

2. Fulvic Acid – soil starting method

Not everyone feels comfortable with starting their precious cannabis seeds in water, and for them, there are other options like fulvic acid that can be added after the seed is planted directly into the soil.

  1. Plant the seed approximately 1 inch deep.
  2. Combine 1 liter of water with 10 milliliters of fulvic acid.
  3. Use the mixture to water the soil that the weed seeds are planted in.

3. Carbonated water – soil starting method

Another soil germinating option that works great with aged cannabis seeds is carbonated water.

  1. Plant the seeds spaces at least 1 foot apart and one inch deep.
  2. Combine 1 cup of carbonated water with 1 liter of regular water.
  3. Moisten the soil that surrounds the weed seeds that have been planted.

4. Germination enhancer – soil starting method

There are specially designed germination enhancers that are edible plant safe and can be used for marijuana strains, and each one will require a different amount of preparation and application. For the best success, it is always recommended that you invest in a cannabis specific product to avoid unnecessary toxins or other complications.

5. Storage

The most important part of having weed seeds that still sprout nearly ten years later is mainly in how they are stored. If you are just coming across some old cannabis seeds now, then this advice isn’t overly helpful, but if you store them in a sealed, dry, cool space, they can protect the genetics of your favorite marijuana strains for almost an entire decade. Giving you plenty of time to decide when you’d like to grow them.

6. Last ditch effort – sanding

If all else fails, and you have nothing to lose anyway, then there is the risky option of sanding away at the shell to thin it. This is often enough to provide a small boost for sprouts to escape but is rarely recommended as it can damage the integrity of the entire seed if done wrong. If you do decide to try it, make sure that you don’t remove any more than the surface colors before using one the moisture techniques above.

Old cannabis seeds
As the name suggests, scarifying is the process of wearing away the shell, so the first thing you need to is scuff your seeds. To do this line a small matchbox with sandpaper. Put your seed(s) in it, and shake it around for 30 – 60 seconds. This will cause micro-abrasions on the shell surface, making it much easier for it to absorb water.

How To Germinate Old Cannabis Seeds

Old seeds can be hard to get going, but it is possible. Using our following methods, you can salvage a lot of seeds that would have otherwise ended up in the bin.

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to germinate your cannabis seeds to only find that they have grown too old. Fortunately, all is not lost and it is not necessarily the end for your seeds. Using the following techniques, the great majority of old seeds can be salvaged.

The problem with old seeds is not that they have become old per se, but that their ability to absorb water through their shell has diminished as they have hardened with age – also making it very hard for them to split open. In order to overcome the problem of old seeds not germinating, you need to overcome the problem of poor absorption – there is still life in them seeds! The process we are about to explain is called scarification.

Scarifying Your Seeds

As the name suggests, scarifying is the process of wearing away the shell, so the first thing you need to is scuff your seeds. To do this line a small matchbox with sandpaper. Put your seed(s) in it, and shake it around for 30 – 60 seconds. This will cause micro-abrasions on the shell surface, making it much easier for it to absorb water.

Hopefully, this will be all you need to do in terms of scarification, but if worst comes to worst, there are two more steps you can take. The first of these two steps is to remove the seed’s ridge. Look at the edges of your cannabis seed. Notice how the seam holding the shell together goes all the way around, but one side is more pronounced than the other. This pronounced ridge can make it much harder for the seed to open up, but can be easily removed:

Take your seed between your thumb and forefinger, and with a sharp knife, very gently run it along the ridge at a 90-degree angle. The ridge should come away, exposing the seed beneath. Carefully turn the seed around, and dislodge the ridge at the other end of the seed so it fully falls off. Now that this is done, you should be able to germinate your seeds as normal.

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A Last-Ditch Attempt

If they are still not germinating, they are probably done for, but as a last resort, you can run a scalpel down the one side of the seed to open it up a little. This will make it much, much easier for water to be absorbed, but also exposes it to a great deal of potential damage. It is a last-ditch attempt to salvage a seed that would otherwise be thrown away – you should never do this normally.

It is also worth noting that these scarification techniques are a bit tricky to do correctly, and should not be attempted unless you are certain the seeds won’t germinate. Any healthy, viable seed should happily germinate without the need to resort to any of these measures.

Germinating Your Scarred and Scuffed Seeds

With the seeds prepared, you can move on to the germination. There are a few ways to germinate old cannabis seeds, all of which are effective in their own right. Before we get into this though, there is one optional thing you can do to boost germination chances, and this is through the preparation of your water.

Water Prep (Optional)

There are two ways you can enhance your water for the germination of old seeds. Firstly, you can use lightly carbonated water. The CO2 in the water will help it to be absorbed by your tough, scarified seeds. Secondly, you can also add a bit of fulvic acid into your water, at around 10ml per litre of water. Fulvic acid helps plants with absorption and can lead to healthy growth. Alternatively, you can try using a seed germination booster liquid, which is basically a mix of nutrients ideal for germinating seeds. Although the main obstacle with old seeds is getting the water into them, a few well-balanced nutrients can’t hurt to get them going.

Soil Germination

Our favorite method – soil germination – harnesses the power of Mother Nature and starts the seed’s life off just as She intended.

Firstly, place your seeds in a bowl of room temperature water. Place a bit of cardboard over the bowl, and put it into a dark cupboard overnight (12 hours). Once this is done, fill a small pot for each seed with soil – germination soil is best, as it has the right level of nutrients to get your little beauties going. Dampen the soil with water and then create a small, circular indent in the centre. This indent should be 3-5mm deep. Place each seed in an indent, pointed tip down, and then carefully cover them over with soil. Put the pots in a dark, warm room for 6 hours, and then put them under your lights and leave them on. You should see a shoot forming within a couple of days.

Note: Soaking your seed for 12 hours is only usually done with old, tough seeds. You can skip this step for most normal seeds.

Paper Towel Germination

Paper towel germination is another commonly used method. As with the soil germination, firstly soak your seeds in room temperature water overnight in a dark place, (once again, not normally necessary with normal seeds). Once this is done, place a couple of wet paper towels in a Tupperware container. Make sure the towels are at room temperature and then carefully transfer your seeds onto the towels. You can place the lid on the Tupperware to keep in the humidity. Mist the towels each day with room temperature water to ensure the towels don’t dry out. When doing this method it is important to a), make sure that the seeds to not become too dry, or too wet (the towels should always be damp), and b), that it is kept warm.

Once your seeds have begun to sprout, you can carefully transfer them to your growing medium of choice.

Hopefully, with this knowledge in hand, you shouldn’t have a problem breathing a bit more life into those old seeds of yours. If they are still failing after all this, then they are definitely a lost cause.