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cannabis seeds not germinating

Reasons Cannabis Seeds Don’t Germinate

A fear many growers have is their cannabis seeds not germinating. The good news is, it’s not an uncommon issue; if this has happened to you, you’re not alone.

We understand it’s frustrating not knowing what happened. That’s why this guide aims to help identify the reasons germination didn’t occur. 

Read on for the best tips to get successful germination every time.

What could have gone wrong? Why did your seeds not germinate?

Did you germinate your seeds, but they didn’t sprout? Rest assured that it’s not always the grower’s fault; sometimes, you get a bad batch of seeds. 

Germinating seeds properly requires some practice. Luckily, if you learn from past mistakes, you’ll be on the route to success. 

Simple mistakes such as the incorrect humidity for growing weed can prevent seeds from popping. Fortunately, this list will help you pinpoint the possible cause and how to get some healthy tap roots.

Here are the top 7 reasons your weed seeds aren’t germinating:

It’s genetics… all over again

Sometimes seeds are just bad, and there’s not much you can do about it. Nevertheless, what makes a seed inferior?

germinated cannabis seeds

Firstly, it’s their sex. Growers want bud-producing females; having a male around can reduce the harvest quantity. Keep those guys around for breeding and creating new hybrids only.

Secondly, color is essential. A healthy seed will be dark with black or gray patches, while immature seedlings are white or green.

The third and final thing to look for is a waxy coating. If there’s no shine to the seed, there’s a high chance it’s a dud

Your best bet to avoid purchasing poor-quality seeds is to source them from a reputable seller.

As tempting as a sale from an unknown vendor is, aim to purchase high quality weed seeds from a seed bank such as ours. This guarantees a smooth and rewarding cultivation experience.

You spoiled your seeds by improper storage

Did you know that seeds can be safely kept for up to 5 years if done correctly? Incorrect storing can mess this up. The following are the most common reasons:

  • Incorrect lighting. A change in light makes seeds tap into their nutrient supply. Store in a cool, dry, and dark place
  • Temperature. The ideal range for storing your seeds is 43–47°F; anything higher and the germination process may start on its own.
  • Humidity. If your cannabis seeds are not sprouting, it may be because they’ve been stored in the wrong humidity. Between 21–30% is the perfect level.
  • Too much air. Your future plants enjoy fresh air; unfortunately, your seeds don’t, as this causes them to germinate. Use airtight containers to keep the air out
proper weed seeds storage

Understanding how to store cannabis seeds will ensure they stay in good shape until the next grow.

Your cannabis seeds just… got old

Like all things, weed has an expiry date. Seeds stored past their shelf life can’t be expected to sprout quality buds

How do you recognize old seeds?

old weed seeds can hardly germinate

If you press the seed between two fingers and it cracks, this could indicate old age, nutrient loss, and low moisture. 

That poses the question, Will cracked seeds germinate?” Most likely, they won’t, so always make sure fresh seeds are used to guarantee top-notch cannabis sprouting. 

You handled the seeds with bare hands

Another common mistake is handling seeds with bare hands. You may not think so, but this can contaminate seeds with harmful pathogens like bacteria and fungi.

Cannabis seedlings are especially vulnerable, and you should take extra caution. Avoiding this scenario is easy; keep handling to a minimum, wear gloves, and use a sanitized tweezer for transferring seeds. 

Too much or not enough water

What is the right amount of moisture to avoid cannabis seeds not sprouting? Firstly, too much water will drown seeds, cut off oxygen, and encourage fungal growth. On the opposite spectrum, too little will hinder germination.

Over-watering marijuana seeds is preventable with a few simple adjustments. If you’ve followed our paper towel germination method, here are some tips:

  • Be sure the paper towels aren’t dripping wet; moist is fine.
  • Check on the setup every 24 hours. If the towel is dry, mist it with a hand sprayer

If you’re germinating directly in soil or pots, the first thing to check is drainage. Make sure there are holes in the bottom of the pots, and add perlite to the soil. This action increases filtration and decreases the chance of seeds drowning. 

Check if seeds need water by sticking a finger 1–2 inches into the soil. If it comes out dry, top it up; if it’s still wet, hold off.

You used tap water for germination

Not all water is the same and what’s safe for human consumption isn’t always sufficient for cultivating cannabis. Always use tap water with caution as it could contain harmful chemicals, which could be the cause of weed seeds not germinating.

What water should be used? The answer involves two main aspects:

  • pH level and PPM. Marijuana needs a neutral pH between 6–7 for optimal nutrient uptake. PPM, or parts per million, measures the percentage of contaminants in H2O, like chemicals, bacteria, sediment, and uranium.
  • Sourcing water. There are a few options; filtered from the tap, collection systems, reverse osmosis systems, or bottled water for germination.

Choosing a source will depend on budget and grow medium. Using municipal water is the cheapest option but risky. Cultivators should let the water sit for 24–48 hours; this allows chemicals to evaporate, making it safer for plants.

You drowned your seeds when germinating in water

Some breeders begin germination by soaking seeds in water. While a simple method, there’s a possibility of overdoing it and drowning the seedlings. The amount of time they should spend in water depends on how hard the shell is. 

cannabis seeds soaked in water during germination

Firmer seeds should soak for a maximum of 32 hours, but 24 hours is usually enough. Remember, seeds activate as soon as they receive water and heat. 

Too high or too low temperature

The trickiest aspect of growing weed is finding the right temperature. Are your cannabis seeds not germinating because they’re too hot or cold? Let’s find out.

Finding the golden zone for seeds is difficult if you’re a beginner. For those who don’t know, the optimal temperature to start sprouting is between 68°–72°F

Steer clear of excessively hot and cold fluctuations, especially in the beginning stages. Use a thermometer to monitor any changes. Temperature stress on weed can impair growth and possibly kill seeds.

You burned your cannabis seeds in the sun

Burning seeds in the sun can happen in one of two ways. Firstly, they were improperly stored and exposed to direct sunlight. Secondly, they were subjected to too much light if placed directly into the soil to begin germination.

Seeds don’t need as much direct daylight as adult plants and prefer fluorescent lighting or heating pads. To ensure their safety and avoid your weed seeds not sprouting, keep them out of the sun in a shielded environment.

Your soil/pots were not sterile

Did someone say fungus? That’s right, using unsterile soil or pots threatens seeds’ health since they can contain mold and harmful organisms.

To avoid infections, plant seedlings in new, clean containers. Don’t recycle soil from previous plants; instead, use fresh, top-quality potting mix.

Cultivators who prefer indoor cannabis growing in soil have an advantage over outdoor gardeners. Sprouting weed inside is more controlled, and noticing an infestation is easier than if seeds were germinating outside. 

We suggest that beginner growers germinate indoors to secure the safety of future plants.

You planted them too deep

Pot seeds not germinating could be because you planted them too deep. For sprouting to occur, they need oxygen; if they’re too far down, there’s not enough to reach them. Further, moisture in the soil can overpower them and cause seeds to rot.

Place seeds about 0.5–1.0cm deep to ensure enough airflow and prevent them from drowning.

Another issue faced when seeds are placed too far down is insufficient luminescence. Seedlings need about 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness; this is the optimal light cycle for cannabis. LED bulbs are perfect for this step.

You planted lots of seeds in one pot

The saying “less is more” applies to growing marijuana, so, “How many weed seeds per pot should you plant? “

The best way to sprout seeds is by planting a single seedling in a pot at a time. This lessens competition over light and nutrients and later gives cannabis ample space to grow.

plant one seed in a single pot for proper germination

Crowding can lead to more than one weed seed not sprouting; that’s why there needs to be enough room.

What to do if your seeds aren’t germinating

Sometimes seeds don’t grow, and it can be disheartening, but don’t give up just yet. Other factors to consider besides those mentioned above are the types of seeds planted. 

Cannabis seeds come in photoperiod, autoflowering, regular, and feminized forms. Each possesses advantages but also requires special care.

Autos are gaining popularity as they flower automatically. This doesn’t mean they don’t need the proper TLC. Incorrect levels of nutrients, heat, and moisture may lead to autoflower seeds not germinating.

We’ve established that there are many reasons a seed won’t sprout, but what can be done to fix the situation?

In the case of germination, prevention is the cure! Everything we’ve mentioned in this article will help get those seeds blooming. 

If after five days your seeds haven’t sprouted, they’re not going to, and it’s time to throw them out. For those of you who followed our germination method and have picture or video documentation, we will replace those seeds for you.

By now, you should know all about how to germinate cannabis seeds successfully.

Get those seeds popping

Why do some seeds fail to germinate? As frustrating as it can be, knowing the answer to this question will save you a lot of grief in the future. Seedlings are fragile and need a nurturing hand to ensure success.

Successful germination requires a combination of good quality seeds and the right amounts of heat, light, and moisture. Always remember that the first few weeks of a seed’s life are vital, and hiccups can be expected. 

As long as action is taken immediately, you can avoid the dreaded scenario.

Are you ready to get your hands on top-quality seeds and begin the germination process for yourself? Visit our store today.

AUTHORED BY: Douglas Kester Mr. Kester came to i49 with a wealth of experience. He’s worked in the cannabis industry for more than ten years. As a growing expert at i49, Douglas finds it hard to choose a favorite strain. Instead, he regards each one as unique and full of potential. Douglas finds it rewarding to experiment with specific cultivars and cross-breed to discover a new one. He strongly believes in sharing the benefits of marijuana with as many people as possible to avoid any misconceptions about the herb. Mr. Kester creatively produces information based on what he’s learned and his experience obtained by implementing what he knows. i49 is proud to have Douglas as part of the team.

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