Can Old Marijuana Seeds Still Germinate?

can old marijuana seeds still germinate

Nowadays, you can see a lot of people planting and growing their own marijuana seeds at home without having to fear getting caught. That is because growing marijuana plants is now legal regardless of whether those plants are for recreational or for medical purposes. As long as you are growing those plants within limits provided by law, you should have no problems when germinating older marijuana seeds.

When growing marijuana seeds, the first part of the plant’s life is germination. Learning how to germinate cannabis seeds is essential, especially if you want to master the art of growing your own marijuana. That is because, without knowing how to germinate the seeds, you practically cannot jumpstart the life of a marijuana plant.

While germination is not exactly a difficult task to learn, the problem arises when your seeds are quite old. Germinating young and viable seeds can be quite easy, but the older ones tend to be very problematic to the point that they might not even germinate if you do not know what you are doing. In that regard, can they still germinate? That is a question that will be tackled in this article.

What is Germination?

Germination is the term used to describe the propagation of life in plants that grow from seeds. It is when you will be starting the life of the plant by having it sprout out of the seed. This is basically when you give birth to a new plant by using the genetic material housed in the seed.

During germination, you will be giving the seed all of the essentials it requires to grow. This includes heat, moisture, and darkness. Sounds familiar? Well, when you are germinating the seeds, you are basically trying to mimic the conditions they encounter when they are left the alone underground, where there is heat, moisture, and darkness.

Depending on the technique or method you used for germination, the entire process can take at least 24 hours and can last for even as long as a week. Of course, certain environmental factors, as well as the viability and age of the seed, also play roles in how long you need to wait before they sprout out or germinate.

How to Germinate Seeds: The Popular Methods

Now that you know what germination is, it is time for you to know how to germinate your cannabis seeds. There are plenty of ways for you to germinate any kind of seed, but there are those that stand out because of how comparatively affordable they are and how easy they are to do.

In that regard, here are the most popular germination methods you might want to use if you are still starting out in your cannabis cultivation endeavor:

Paper towel method

The paper towel method of germinating your cannabis seeds is one of the most popular ways of germination simply because it is very easy, efficient, affordable, and quite effective compared to the other methods. This method is quite simple as you only need three things aside from your cannabis seeds: a spray bottle of water, paper towels, and plates.

To start, dampen the paper towels using the spray bottle. You may use any other way to dampen the paper towels, but using a spray bottle is the best way of doing so because you can apply water to the towels evenly and at moderate amounts. Make sure that the paper towels are not too wet to the point that they are waterlogged. See to it that they only stay damp and moist.

After that, you can add the seeds onto one paper towel. The next thing to do is to cover the seeds with another damp paper towel. Place the seeds on the plate and then cover them with another plate. Leave the entire setup in a place that is dark and warm. An isolated cabinet or drawer in your kitchen might be a good place to hide the setup.

Check the seeds daily and make sure that the paper towels stay damp. If they dry out, spray some more water until they moisten up again. The seeds might germinate in as quick as a span of 24 hours, but they may take a few days or even a week to germinate depending on a lot of conditions.

Once a taproot (the small white root where all of the other roots and parts of the cannabis plants grow from) starts to appear, it is time to plant the seedling into their medium. This is a very delicate process because you have tom make sure that you do not damage the taproot. The best way to transfer the seeds is to use a pair of tweezers. Use the tweezers to grip on the seed and not on the taproot. After that, carefully transfer the seeds into their medium and make sure that that taproot faces downwards so that the roots will sprout down towards the soil and not upwards. The hole where you planted them should not be deeper than two inches. Cover the hole with the medium and then wait for the plants to sprout out of it.

Starter plugs and cubes

While the paper towel method is one of the more cost-effective and efficient ways of germinating your marijuana plants, using starter plugs and cubes might be a more expensive option but is still nonetheless just as effective as any other popular method.

The reason why this method is expensive is that you have to buy starter plugs and cubes from marijuana specialty stores. These starter plugs and cubes were pre-made to have a slot where you can simply punch your seeds through to start the germination process. After that, punch the pre-made hole to close the starter plug or cube.

Once you have safely placed the seeds in the starter plug or cube and pinched the hole closed, you should moisten the seeds with purified or drinking water that does not contain any additional chemicals that can harm your seeds. Always make sure that the starter plugs or cubes are moist but not waterlogged. The seeds may need about 4 or 5 days to start sprouting.

When the seeds start sprouting out, you have the option of either taking them out of the starter plugs or cubes using a pair of tweezers or to simply cut an opening at the bottom of the plugs and cubes and then planting the entire setup straight into the medium. Both methods are quite risky in the sense that you might damage the taproot. As such, you need to be extra careful when using tweezers or when cutting an opening at the bottom of the starter plugs or cubes.

Water cup method

The water cup method is arguably the most inexpensive method of germinating your cannabis seeds because all you need is a clear cup that is full of water. Nevertheless, this is not exactly the best way to germinate the seeds because it is not as tried and as tested as the other methods are. And when using this method, you are taking the heat out of the equation because the water tends to be quite cool.

All you need to do in this method is to simply place the seeds in a cup of distilled drinking water and then leave them inside. It is important that you use a clear cup because it will be easier for you to observe what is happening to the seeds.

While the water cup method does not always guarantee results, it tends to be quite fast when it comes to germinating your marijuana seeds. In most cases, you only need to wait for an entire day for the seeds to begin to sprout or until they sink to the bottom of the cup. However, some growers leave the seeds in the water for an extra day or two until the taproot reaches a length of about a quarter of an inch. After that, you should carefully transfer the seeds into their medium using the usual tweezers method.

germinating older marijuana seeds
Growing cannabis. A female marijuana plant in a pot, shot from above on a vibrant teal blue background

Germinating Older Marijuana Seeds

Like any other organism or thing on this earth, cannabis seeds will deteriorate over time and will start to lose their viability as they grow older. What that simply means is that they are less likely to germinate if they get older compared to viable seeds that are a lot younger. However, that does not mean that they cannot germinate. It is sometimes unavoidable to have older marijuana seeds because you do not always have the time and space to grow the seeds, especially if you consider the fact that the law only allows us to grow a limited number of cannabis plants at a time. Nevertheless, so long as you stored your seeds properly, you have won half the battle.

The first thing you need to make sure of when trying to germinate older marijuana seeds is to check the storage conditions. When storing cannabis seeds, they must be kept in a place that is cool, dark, and dry. If that sounds familiar, then you must know that those conditions are the exact opposite of the conditions needed to germinate marijuana seeds. In that regard, think of a refrigerator or even a freezer when you are thinking about a good place to store your marijuana seeds. As long as you stored your seeds in such a place, there is a chance that they will stay viable for about a year and a half. But seeds stored for longer than that will be much more difficult to germinate because their shells tend to harden to a point where it will be difficult for water and the taproot to break them open.

Hydration is the key when it comes to germinating older seeds. What you need to do here is to use the water cup method because leaving the seeds in the water tends to “wake” the genetic material up while the water softens the shell. You can add more a few drops of hydrogen peroxide into the glass of water because it helps in softening the shell so that it will be easier for the taproot to break out of it.

Leaving the seeds in the cup of water for a period of 24 hours is ideal. You do not have to wait for the seeds to sprout open, but if they do, you should remove them quickly so as to prevent them from drowning. If the seeds did not sprout after 24 hours, soaking them in the cup of water would have been enough to soften the shells up. You can use any other method of germination after that, but it might be better to use the paper towel method.

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