Cannabis seed germination is the first step of cultivation, and if we make a mistake in this first phase, any subsequent effort will be in vain. There are several germ… How to Tell if a Cannabis Seed is Good Got a cannabis seed, but you’re not sure if it’s any good? No worries. By the end of this article you’ll know everything you need to get started. The How to Tell if Cannabis Seeds are Good or Bad Ultimately, you can use the senses of sight, feel, taste and smell to determine whether cannabis seeds are good or bad. You want to make sure you
The most common mistakes when germinating cannabis seeds
Germinating the seed is the first step in any cannabis grow. It is the process during which the seed begins to develop, and the radicle emerges. There are several methods of germination and there are a number of common mistakes made in each of them, which can be easily avoided.
Here we explain what not to do during germination in each case, and we tell you that the method recommended by Dinafem Seeds is germination in Jiffy, as it is the simplest and has the lowest error rate.
Mistakes when germinating cannabis seeds in Jiffy
Jiffies are dehydrated peat discs, pressed into a biodegradable mesh which, when moistened, become tiny sacks of earth. Water is usually applied so that the wet discs swell and become mini containers of substrate where you can plant the cannabis seed so that it germinates inside the peat. What could go wrong with this method so that we don’t get to see the seedling emerging from the Jiffy?
- Adding too much water to the Jiffy: the disc must be moistened so that it swells, but it should not be drowned. The goal is to keep the soil in the Jiffy moist during the germination process, but never drowned. Some growers water the Jiffy too much, and more often than necessary, and end up drowning the seed because excessive moisture prevents the ventilation of the seed, stopping its germination.
- Covering the Jiffy so that it is too hermetically sealed: the Jiffy has to be protected, but some people shut it away in a germination greenhouse or Tupperware container with holes, increasing the moisture excessively, which leads to the growth of fungi.
- Burying the seed too deep: The seed should be about one centimetre from the surface. Although it is true that the depth of a Jiffy is not more than 10 centimetres, pushing the seed to the bottom of the Jiffy will make it difficult for the radicle to find its way out into the light. Just insert the seed with your finger, near the surface, and cover the tiny hole made when you insert it.
- Not providing it with the right light intensity: in the first germination stage, when the radicle begins to rise up, it is better to provide too much light rather than not enough, because light does not bother cannabis. Of course, in the case of the Jiffy, we must keep in mind that the light, whether from the sun or a spotlight, is linked to the possibility of drying out. So, even if it is good that the Jiffy has plenty of light, we have to make sure that this is not drying the soil too much.
- Subjecting the Jiffy to changing temperatures: changing the temperature for example from 25 degrees (indoors) to 5 degrees (on a terrace) will make germination impossible.
- Putting several seeds in the same Jiffy: these peat pellets are not big enough for several seeds. We should use one for each seed we want to germinate.
- Keeping the seed in the Jiffy for too long. As soon as the seedling has a pair of cotyledons, it must be transferred to the substrate. The Jiffy is small and can only be used for so long before space must be given to the roots to grow in the pot or in the soil.
Mistakes when germinating cannabis seeds in damp cotton wool or paper
The method of germination in damp cotton wool or paper consists of moistening these materials and wrapping the seeds in them. In this case, it is advisable to put these wet fabrics in a germination greenhouse or Tupperware container with holes for ventilation, so that the temperature remains the same throughout the process. So where could we go wrong in this case?
- Letting the radicle grow too much: if the root becomes too long, it will probably end up getting caught up in the cotton wool or paper and will then break when detached from them before being transferred to the substrate. To avoid this, we need to do two things. First, don’t let the root get too long. As can be seen in the photos, the radicle grows very fast, so we have to put it in the soil when we see that it has grown in a certain direction (we can see that it either grows in a straight line or it adopts a more curved shape). Second, do not use pure cotton wool or kitchen paper, but rather cotton fabrics such as rags or pieces of old T-shirts.
- Exposing the seeds to changing temperatures: if we keep exposing them to different temperatures, seeds will not germinate. We must ensure that the place where we put them is warm, between 25 and 28 degrees Celsius, and that this temperature is kept stable until we transplant them to the substrate.
- Leaving the root in contact with the air for too long: left in contact with the air the root will oxidise, which will in turn kill the plant. When the root begins to grow, it is best to transfer it to the substrate immediately. Or, failing that, keep it well covered with the wet fabric.
Mistakes when germinating cannabis seeds in substrate (in a pot or in the ground)
Planting the seed directly into the pot or the ground where we plan to grow is another option for germinating the seed. Let’s have a look at what is usually done wrong in this case, leading to the cannabis seeds failing to germinate.
- Burying the seed too deep: the seed should be one centimetre below the surface and not any deeper. As a general rule for seed germination and cultivation, it is recommended to plant the seed at a depth equal to twice the size of its diameter. It is enough to cover the cannabis seeds, which are small in diameter, with just a little soil.
- Over-fertilising the substrate: the soil where the seed will germinate should be porous and light in nutrients. The substrate used for a flowering plant is not the best choice to germinate a seed, because a marijuana ‘baby’ cannot assimilate the same amount of food as an adult marijuana plant. So, let’s be sparing with the diet in the soil where we have placed the seed to be ‘born’.
- Using a soil with an unknown composition: the soil from the park near our house, or from the vegetable garden of the house in the village are not the best options for germination. It is important to know the composition of the substrate where we are going to plant the seed. And when we take soil from somewhere else, it may contain many minerals, or many nutrients, or a lot of fertiliser, and if we have not bought it in a bag where its ingredients are listed, we will not know its composition. So, it is important to use a substrate whose composition we know, especially for this first step in growing.
- Watering too much: a substrate that is too wet, especially in the case of autoflowering seeds, can be lethal for germination, and for the seedling’s first few weeks of life.
- Putting several seeds in the same pot: unless it is a very large pot, let’s give each seed its individual space so that the roots have enough room to develop. If we put several seeds in a 14-litre pot, for instance, some seeds may end up hindering the development of the others.
- Planting the seed directly in the ground where the climate is not appropriate: if the weather is too cold, too hot, too dry, or too wet it will be difficult for the seed to germinate. Since we do not control the environmental conditions in an outdoor substrate, changing weather conditions can easily hinder the germination of the cannabis seed.
Mistakes when germinating cannabis seeds in water
This method consists of putting the seed in a container with warm water and waiting for it to germinate in the days following immersion.
- Leaving the seed in the water for too long: as soon as it has germinated, and we see that the radicle has emerged, the seed must be transferred to the substrate. Water can be used to germinate it, but never to grow it. So, as soon as we have achieved the goal of placing it in the liquid, we have to take it out of there and provide it with the substrate it needs to survive.
- Overdoing the dosage of hydrogen peroxide in the water: if you want to include hydrogen peroxide to prevent fungi or bacteria during germination, you have to pay attention to the concentration. Overdoing the amount can prevent germination.
Common mistakes of any germination method
- Breaking the radicle while trying to separate the shell from the bulb. Being very invasive in the germination process can be lethal to the seed. Once it has germinated, the seedling will generally eject the seed shell itself, so we should leave the seed to do its job. We recommend intervening only if it is really necessary, and we see that the plant is growing upwards and that the shell is still attached to some of its parts.
- Handling the seeds, radicles or seedlings with dirty hands. We don’t know what type of dirt we might be carrying on our hands without realising it, so we should always wash our hands before carrying out any of the germination processes. This hygiene also applies to each of the tools that are in contact with the seed during the germination period.
- Using dirty water. It is important to use clean tap water at all times.
If you have made other mistakes not described in this post, please share these in the comments section. The growing experiences of some are usually useful to others.
And please, don’t hesitate to ask us any questions you have about cannabis seed germination.
Jásminka Hi, I’m Jásminka, from Dinafem Seeds, and I spend the whole day surrounded by Dinafem Girls. I’m an eager journalist, who lives with the phone glued to my hand, always trying to keep up with the frantic pace of the cannabis world. When something grabs my attention: I ask, listen, write and tell you all I find out on this blog.
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How to Tell if a Cannabis Seed is Good
Got a cannabis seed, but you’re not sure if it’s any good? No worries. By the end of this article you’ll know everything you need to get started.
The legality of growing cannabis varies depending on where you live in the world. Know your laws.
What to Look for in a Healthy Cannabis Seed:
You can tell a lot about a seed’s health just by looking at it. Here are a few different things you should look for when deciding if a cannabis seed is good or not.
- Darkened Color – Good cannabis seeds will be brown, black, and/or gray. White or green seeds are immature and unlikely to sprout. Your seed should also have stripes or spots all the way around.
- Waxy Coating – A healthy seed will have a thin waxy coating around it. This coating should appear to have a slight sheen to it.
- Hard Shell – You should be able to lightly squeeze a seed without it crushing. If a seed crushes easily between your fingers then the seed is likely dead or weak and will not grow well.
- No Cracks – Inspect the entire seed to make sure there aren’t any small crack or holes. This will most likely cause the seed not to sprout.
Ways To Test Cannabis Seeds
Now that I’ve gone over a basic guide for what to look for I’ll give you a couple of ways that you can test your seeds.
Test Method #1: Floating Seeds in Water
This is a great test that works for many different seeds – not just cannabis. Take your seeds and drop them in a cup full of warm (not too hot) water then wait a couple of hours. If they sink then they’re probably good to go. If they won’t sink then they are probably dead and won’t grow.
Note: Only do this if you’re ready to germinate your plants. Otherwise, it could harm your seed. I cover germination in a later section.
Test Method #2: Just Go Ahead and Try to Germinate the Seed
I know this seems obvious, but it really is the best information I really could give. If you really want to know if a cannabis seed is able to germinate then go ahead and try germinating it – what do you really have to lose? Not quite sure how to germinate a seed? No worries. Here’s a quick guide:
How to Germinate a Cannabis Seed
Germinating a seed simply means getting the plant to sprout from the seed. It’s the first step in your cannabis seed’s journey to a full grown plant. There are several ways to go about this.
One way is to simply plant it in your soil and see if a plant pops up. It’s old school, but no one can deny its simplicity. Plant the seed about 1/4″ deep and wait.
Another way is to put the seeds on a damp paper towel. Make sure the paper towel is damp, but not soaking wet. If it dries out you can add a few drops of water to the paper towel. Leave the paper towel in a dark place. The amount of time is going to vary among strains. Some may take only 2 days while others could take longer. Continue to check them once a day.
How to Tell if a Cannabis Seed is Male or Female
Unfortunately, there is no way to know if a cannabis seed is going to be male or female simply by looking at it or doing a simple test. This is a bummer since most people don’t want male cannabis plants in their garden.
If you want feminized seeds then you’ll have to buy them from a reputable seed bank. Make sure they say feminized – if they don’t say it then they probably aren’t.
If all you’ve got is a bag seed then the only way to find out if it’s going to be male or female is to grow it.
Can My Cannabis Seed Go Bad / Expire?
The short answer is yes, but if you store your seeds properly they can stay viable for years and years. Moisture, UV degradation, and extreme temperatures could all affect the quality of your seeds.
If you plan to store your seeds for a long period of time make sure to keep them in an airtight container in a dark area. Ideally, seeds should be stored in a climate controlled area (like inside your house instead of in a shed or garage. One study showed laboratory-sealed cannabis seeds were still viable after 19 years.
It’s nice to know what to look for, but in the end the best test is just to put it in soil. If you’re using bag seeds then you never really know what you’re getting anyways. If you’ve bought your seeds from a legitimate seed bank then you shouldn’t have to worry about it.
How to Tell if Cannabis Seeds are Good or Bad
Ultimately, you can use the senses of sight, feel, taste and smell to determine whether cannabis seeds are good or bad. You want to make sure you don’t have seeds that have been hastily processed, or damaged for some other reason. Or how about some bluzu those are also great seeds that can do what all other seeds can.
To find out if you have duds (seeds with a low germination rate that will never be ready to plant) or winners, whether you have seeds that will actually sprout or remain permanently dormant, apply these senses to your investigation.
Use a Magnifying Glass to Give the Sight Test
- The best seeds are big and fat with a rounded shape
- The rounder and fatter, the better likelihood that they will sprout.
- The biggest and the chunkiest seeds are the best. They are well fleshed out. The surface should be glossy and hard, with a slight sheen.
- They are dark in colour (usually brown, black or grey). If they are light, white, or pale green, they were harvested way too early and they are probably immature, not good, and unlikely to sprout.
- If they are pale and dusty they are probably old. The older they are, the slower they will germinate.
- The darker the colour, the more likely they are to grow and produce more weed. The dark shell means they came from better quality weed.
- There is a caveat, however. If they are too dark—deep purplish, that means they’ve been dyed and that’s not good.
- Also, beware if you see a white dusty powder on the bud—that is fungus—powdered mildew.
One key as to whether you own healthy cannabis seeds is to look at whether they have slightly lighter stripes. Good seeds are dark with lighter stripes or brown or black spots all the way around. Often, the healthy ones have stripes that resemble lightning, or have a tiger stripe appearance, and a distinctive colour pattern. Take your magnifying glass and look at the stem. If it is furry, that means there is mould from too much moisture—probably because it was bagged too early.There are so many different seeds, bruce banner seed is just one that will do the trick and help you in the long run.
That being said, however, you cannot always judge a seed by its color alone. It can look fantastic, but you need to know what is inside. If you crack a seed open and it is oily and has a musty taste, it is going bad. If it is black inside, that means it’s fermenting and won’t germinate. If you crush it in your hands and you smell salt, it’s unflushed. If the bud is flushed, it means the roots are absorbing salt and nutrients.
Once you have separated the good seeds from the bad via the sight test, touch and feel your seeds as you continue your investigation .
The Touch Test
Lightly squeeze a seed without crushing it. If it crushes easily, it probably will not grow well. As you feel it, there should be no small cracks or holes. If they have small cracks or holes, they probably will not sprout. They should not be crinkled or cracked. If they’re not cracked, you know they are intact. If it holds up under the feel test, it will survive the germinating process.
The Float Test
Good quality seeds will sink – so apply the float test. (Note that you should only do this when ready to germinate). Put them in a cup of warm, distilled water for two hours. If they sink, they’re good. If they float, they are premature, and they probably won’t grow and so are unusable. Healthy seeds are heavy enough to sink.
If you think you have good quality cannabis seeds that have fully matured (that would be seeds with a growth rate of 85%), and are pretty sure you have a great batch of high-quality seeds that are not immature or damaged by the environment, but you’re still saying to yourself, “How do I know for sure I’m going to get a good yield?”, try germinating them.
The last resort test is to just plant it and see if it grows. The ideal temperature is 75 degrees. Good seeds should push up in three to six days. If you don’t want to plant them, you might want to use the paper towel method. Put them in a damp paper towel between two plates, keep the humidity high, and wait two days.
Why your Cannabis Seeds Haven’t Germinated?
If you have been unlucky and some or all of your cannabis seeds haven’t germinated, there is usually an easily identifiable reason. Germination isn’t just about your seed cracking and a taproot appearing, it’s about the transition of a seed into a very small but viable cannabis plant. So let’s start at the beginning.
How long did you soak your seeds in the water?
Did they sink to the bottom of the glass before transferring them to the moist paper towel? Seeds that are still floating are unlikely to have absorbed sufficient water to successfully germinate. If you leave your seeds in water for too long the taproot will not form and the germination process will grind to a halt. Once you have transferred your seeds do the damp paper towel over the next few days.
Did you ever let any parts or all of the paper towels dry out?
At the earliest stages of germination, the smallest of errors can have major consequences. Similarly, the paper towel mustn’t be steeped in water. The taproot grows naturally as it searches for water. If it’s too easy to find it just won’t grow if your water has loads of additives such as copper and chlorine this can poison your plants while handling the seeds with dirty hands can also poison them.
Make sure you either wash your hands with a non-toxic soap wear latex gloves or use tweezers. The next thing to check is the temperature of the seeds. The optimum temperature to keep them good for germination is between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 to 21 degrees Celsius. If the seeds are too cold they just won’t germinate even. If everything else is perfect.
The owners and members of the Cannabis Clubs claim: “The roots of the plants don’t like light and the same applies to the taproot and subsequent roots that will develop when your seeds germinate. Almost total darkness is ideal for germinating seeds even though.”
It is hopeless for growing seedlings it is interesting to note that it is certain wavelengths of light that affect germination and it is the blue length that tends to corrupt germination, while red wavelength promotes germination. You will also have to take into account when you bought your seeds. While cannabis seeds can remain viable for a large number of years if stored in perfect conditions. They can be ruined in a couple of weeks if not stored correctly.
Finally and unfortunately it is a fact of Mother Nature that not all seeds will germinate. Some will be duds and this is out of our control.