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Bad cannabis seeds can ruin an entire grow. Here's how to spot them early and save yourself a whole lot of time and effort. Did your cannabis plant just die for no apparent reason? Frustrating, isn’t it? There is a whole range of reasons why this might have happened and in Cannabis growers often save seeds for a long time in order to preserve the original genetic of a particular strain that has worked well for them. If properly stored, a…

How to Spot Bad Cannabis Seeds [Comprehensive Guide]

You may not realize it, but the quality of your cannabis crop is, in part, determined before you have even begun. Seed quality is an enormous part of growing, so it’s vital to source marijuana seeds from a reputable company.

Sometimes, you can end up with ‘bad’ cannabis seeds that will cause problems later down the line. In some cases, these seeds just won’t germinate. Although this won’t ruin your entire crop, it is a waste of time and money, which can be frustrating.

Today, we will help you work out whether your cannabis seeds are good or bad. Hopefully, this guide will help you to determine which seeds are worthy of your time and which ones are duds.

EDITOR’S CHOICE – Homegrown CannabisCo

Homegrown CannabisCo are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options including feminized seeds, it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.

What Makes a Cannabis Seed ‘Bad’?

A ‘bad seed’ is any cannabis seed that will cause problems. In some instances, this means a dud seed that never sprouts, wasting your valuable time and a few resources. While dud seeds aren’t damaging, they are irritating.

Another type of bad seeds is male cannabis plants. There’s a 50/50 chance with regular seeds as to whether any given seed is male or female. The problem is that male plants will pollinate the females once they reach maturity, destroying the valuable THC content of female plants.

Having male cannabis plants in your garden is basically a recipe for disaster, so you want to avoid it at all costs. By the way, here’s how to figure out if your plants are male or female.

One way around this is to purchase feminized marijuana seeds. In theory, all seeds in a feminized bunch will be female – unless you buy from a disreputable grower. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell whether a plant is male or female simply based on the seeds.

This guide will only cover how to tell the difference between a potent seed and a dud seed.

The complete guide…

How to Test Cannabis Seeds

There are several easy methods for testing cannabis seeds. Most of them can be performed before germination, saving you some time and resources. Let’s find out how to check your seeds.

Method #1: The Sight Test

Cannabis seeds are surprisingly beautiful. They have a mottled brown appearance with patches of light and dark, and sometimes gorgeous tiger stripes. The seeds are also quite shiny if you view them close enough.

Sometimes, you can tell if a seed is good or bad just by looking at it. Here’s how to spot a healthy seed:

  • Coloration: A dark coloration with black or gray patches is a sign of a healthy seed. Conversely, white or green seeds are unlikely to germinate because they are not mature. Pale seeds are also more likely to be old and ineffective.
  • Waxy coating: Healthy seeds have a waxy, shiny coating. If it doesn’t, then the seed is likely a dud
  • Cracks: Cannabis seeds should not be cracked. If your seed has cracks in it, it’s probably best to discard it.
  • Shape: The rounder and fatter the seed, the more likely it is to sprout into a healthy plant. Some growers are concerned about large seeds with thick shells but don’t worry. The shell will break down with water.
  • Mildew: Grab a magnifying glass and view the seeds close up. A white, dusty powder is a sign of powdered mildew, which means the seeds have a fungus and should not be planted.

In some instances, you can crack the seed open and see inside if you can’t tell anything from the outer shell. An oily inside with a musty smell means that the seed has gone bad. Similarly, black inside the seed means that it’s fermenting. Again, it won’t germinate in this instance.

Method #2: The Touch Test

The feel of cannabis seeds is another good indicator. Hold the seed between your thumb and forefinger and give it a light squeeze. Don’t apply too much pressure – just enough to test its integrity.

If the seed cracks under slight pressure, then it’s unusable. It’s likely to be past its sell-by date.

Strong seeds, however, have a better chance of germinating and growing into a healthy plant.

Method #3: The Water Test

Are you still unsure about your cannabis seeds? You can always do a floating test to see if they’re healthy. By the way, this method works for numerous plant seeds and not just cannabis.

Disclaimer: Don’t perform this test unless you’re ready to germinate the plants right away. The water could damage the seed and ruin a perfectly healthy plant if you dry it out afterward.

For this test, you will need a cup, glass, or bowl of warm water. It should be quite warm, but not hot. It also works best with spring water or distilled water.

Add your seeds to the water, and then wait for 1-2 hours. Those that float on the surface are bad seeds that are unlikely to grow, whereas the seeds that sink are probably healthy.

This method is a great way to check your seeds because it’s low effort. You can also test multiple seeds at once, and it’s really cheap and easy to do.

After you’ve done this test, you need to germinate the healthy seeds. At this point, they will have absorbed water, which can damage the seed if you don’t germinate it at this point. Incidentally, germination is the final test for your seeds.

Method #4: The Germination Test

If all else fails, it’s time to germinate. You might have no idea whether your seeds are healthy but attempting to grow them is an easy final test that will separate good seeds from duds.

There are multiple ways to germinate, including planting the seed directly in soil and seeing if it sprouts. This is a pretty ‘old-school’ method, but sometimes, it works.

More commonly, growers use the paper towel method. Dampen a paper towel, ensuring it isn’t soaking wet. Place this on a kitchen plate and put the seeds on top, then put another plate upside-down on top. A moist, dark, warm environment allows the seeds to sprout. Check on the seeds once a day; after germinating, you should see a white taproot emerge.

At this point, you can transplant the seed into its pot. Use a pair of tweezers and handle each seed carefully, being careful not to touch the taproot. The taproot is fragile and may break if you’re not delicate; furthermore, touching it with your hands may contaminate it.

After germination, you’re good to go. Remember to check back as the plants mature to make sure you haven’t got any male cannabis plants.

See also  Dwarf Marijuana Seeds

Waste not, want not!…

How to Buy Good Cannabis Seeds Every Time

It’s recommended to buy feminized cannabis seeds to eliminate the possibility of males ruining your crop. Even so, some subpar retailers will advertise feminized seeds, only to sell regular cannabis seeds.

It’s vital to buy from a reputable seller that you trust. If this is your first time, read reviews on the seed banks to find out what other customers thought. If lots of buyers were disappointed by low-quality seeds, avoid that company!

Unfortunately, you might still get some bad seeds sometimes. Plants are living beings and can be a bit unpredictable – even the seller might not be aware that some of their seeds are duds. With any luck, the majority of seeds you buy will be healthy and good to go.

The sign of a bad seller is that their seeds are consistently old, dead, and covered in powdery mildew. That said, don’t be too harsh on a seed bank if a couple of their seeds don’t work from time to time when they’re generally reliable.

Final Thoughts on Good and Bad Cannabis Seeds

Telling good and bad cannabis seeds apart is not an exact science. Sadly, you don’t know what’s inside the seed beyond its appearance, so you won’t know what the plant is truly like until you start growing it.

Cultivating marijuana is a bit of a learning curve, so don’t worry if you mess up your crop from time to time. It will only get easier with time.

Hopefully, you can now tell apart some seeds, at least, giving you more opportunities to create a successful grow.

EDITOR’S CHOICE – Homegrown CannabisCo

Homegrown CannabisCo are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options including feminized seeds, it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.

How to prevent the death of cannabis seeds and seedlings

Every grower, almost without exception, will have occasionally suffered the death of a plant during cultivation, just when it seemed that everything was going along nicely. In this article, we’ll focus on the main reasons why seeds may not germinate properly, or why seedlings may end up dead in the first weeks of life.

Seeds dying before germination

Cannabis seeds can die even before we start to grow them, in which case, when the grower comes to germinate them, they won’t open up and sprout at all.

The seeds of the cannabis plant, like many other types of seeds, must always be kept in the correct conditions, especially if you want to save the leftover seeds for later use and ensure that they germinate well in the future.

The same goes for unopened whole packs of seeds that have been purchased to store for later use. Sometimes, certain varieties are in high demand and there is limited stock, so the more astute growers will make sure they grab a few packs to keep in the vault until they find the time to germinate the cannabis seeds.

Cannabis seeds must be stored in the correct conditions

What to do with leftover seeds or unopened seed packs

Cannabis seeds need very low relative humidity and relatively low temperature for their proper storage, so the best plan is to keep them in a “no frost” refrigerator, in which both the humidity and temperature are maintained at very low levels for better conservation of food.

If we want to keep a seed package that’s still sealed, simply put the whole unopened pack into the fridge. The best place for its conservation is usually the small shelf where the eggs or butter are kept, although really any part of the fridge is ideal for storage.

If we want to save the leftover seeds from a pack for later use, we recommend storing them in the original Eppendorf tube or container used by the bank. In the original packaging, these Eppendorf tubes hold the seeds and usually also contain a few small silica gel balls, included to maintain very low humidity (10 to 20%) and help to ensure that the seed does not lose any germination viability.

If, however, we leave the seeds for a long period of time in any corner of the house it is possible that over time their viability to germinate will decrease, and when we plant them they may take a long time to germinate or indeed not germinate at all. it is also important to protect them from sunlight.

So if you wish to save the seeds in the best conditions, always keep them in the refrigerator, well protected from air, light and moisture.

How do we store leftover seeds to grow at a later date?

Death during the germination of cannabis seeds

Death during the germination of cannabis seeds is one of the most frequent failures suffered by every grower over the course of his or her cultivation career. There are several possible reasons that can lead to the seeds dying before they even open and begin to grow, which we’ll examine here.

Not all seeds have the same resistance to the errors that may occur during the germination process. Just as not all siblings are not all equal, neither are all seeds. By this, we mean that in the case of one seed germinating and the rest of them not doing so, it doesn’t necessarily mean that those that didn’t germinate were not strong or resistant, but simply that they were less so than the one that did germinate. If this occurs, we must ask ourselves why they did not germinate and look for any possible failings in the process.

Death by drowning the seed during germination

We start from the basic premise that the seeds require moisture, oxygen and a suitable temperature for germination; If one of the three aspects is not taken into account, it is quite likely that the seeds won’t end up germinating.

Putting the cannabis seeds in a glass of water and waiting 24 to 48 hours for their germination can be a fatal error for them. Re-hydrating the seeds in water is a good idea as long as they are not out of contact with the air for long, as they will be deprived of oxygen and most of the time they will end up dying; so if we use this method, we only leave them to re-to hydrate in water for a few minutes, although, preferably we will avoid any previous soaking or re-hydration (which in any case is not necessary).

We must maintain suitable levels of humidity for germination

The reason for this is that tap water contains chlorine, which sterilises the water to make it suitable for domestic use. However, this chlorine disappears by evaporation after a few hours, so if the water then gets contaminated, the seed can be attacked by any number of pathogens and eventually die. This example also illustrates why we must always touch the seeds with clean hands; If the seeds are handled with dirty fingers, it can lead a fungal or bacterial infection to contaminate them and severely compromise their development.

See also  Cannabis From Seed To Sale

The same can happen in other germination media such as jiffy plugs, where the most common mistake is usually not draining away the excess water after re-hydrating the compressed peat. To this error, we can add that of burying the seed at more than twice its own depth, in which case it may not emerge despite having germinated perfectly well, but instead, simply end up rotting due to excess water and lack of oxygen. This error is also frequent in growers who germinate directly in the soil because when they first irrigate, the seed can be washed down into the soil resulting in them being buried too deeply, which makes it difficult for the seedling to reach the surface. It is always better to wet the substrate first, before sowing any seeds.

If you want to sow the seed directly into the soil and do it properly, when growing outdoors you must also act to prevent seed predators. Ants, birds, and many other animals or insects are another common cause of seed failure during germination. In the case of ants, they eat the small, delicate root, leaving the plant unable to develop and condemning it to imminent death.

Placing the seeds between moist serviettes/paper towels is one of the best germination methods for beginner growers. Since you can easily see if the seed has taken root or not. But we must also bear in mind that the germination medium, the kitchen paper, is made of cellulose, meaning it is an organic material that will decompose and rot, just like any product of this type.

Planting the germinated seed is also a crucial moment

It is, therefore, obligatory to change the napkins every day and a half, more or less, to avoid the seeds being contaminated by the pathogens that can appear as the napkins begin to rot. For this reason, we recommend placing the napkins in a deep plate and covering it with another one, leaving a small gap between the two so that air can enter, oxygenate the microclimate that is created during the germination of the seeds and avoiding them rotting.

Seeds dying due to lack of moisture

Just as excess water is one of the most common causes of germination problems, the lack of moisture is equally detrimental to the process.

If outdoor temperatures are around 20 to 24ºC, then we shouldn’t need do much more than start the seeds to germinate and wait for them to open, following the precautions already discussed. But in case of having warmer or cooler temperatures, we must act to raise or lower the environmental temperature for optimal germination, and find the best location for germination to be successful.

If it is winter, the plates holding the seeds are often placed on top of a low heat source to raise the temperature. We must, however, be careful: if this heat source emits hot air, the paper towels will dry out and the seeds will run out of moisture, affecting germination. If you realise this in time, you can re-hydrate the seeds and they will usually recover from and continue to germinate, although it is also possible that there will be consequences that may affect the subsequent development of the plant during its cultivation.

Not long after sowing the seed, we will see our little plant emerge from the soil

If we haven’t noticed soon enough that the seeds have been left without moisture, we can assume that they will have dried up completely, with their consequent death, and this is even more likely if the seeds had already opened up to show the root. This can also happen very easily if we germinate during summer when temperatures are high and humidity is usually very low compared to other times of the year.

Death of the plants during the growth period

The start of the growth period is a very important stage in a plant’s life, so several aspects must be taken into account so that it does not die of any of a number of causes.

One of the most frequent problems is root rot due to excess irrigation and lack of oxygen in the substrate. Up till now, this has been one of the most common causes of plant death during the growth period, especially with beginner gardeners who lack previous cultivation experience. In addition, the likelihood of this happening increases considerably in crops with auto-flowering varieties; we’ll explain what to do here.

When the plant emerges from the substrate, leaving behind its germination stage, it is crucial to take care with any excess water and the lack of humidity in its aerial parts such as leaves, stems and branches.

The proper conditions guarantee good germinación

When the plant is young and only has a very small root, its needs are few, it feeds and drinks very little. If we saturate the substrate with too much water, apart from halting the growth of the root (leading to little or no growth in the aerial parts), it creates the ideal conditions for the small roots to slowly rot. If the plant loses a part or all of its tiny root system in its first stage of life, it is almost guaranteed that it will die within a few days.

If we use a small 0.5L to 1L plant pot for the first part of vegetative growth, before transplanting them to a bigger pot, we will be covering our backs in case of any excess of irrigation, since the substrate will dry out again much faster than in larger pots. For this reason, this issue is very common for novice growers who are cultivating auto-flowering cannabis plants, where the use of 20L pots is recommended from the start.

It is often said that you must irrigate with an appropriate amount of water and nutrients for the size of the plant. As this is often complicated to carry out, as a rough guide we can irrigate the plants with an amount not more than 10 or 20% of the plant pot’s capacity. So, if they are 1L pots we will water from 100 to 200ml as long as it is not an auto-flowering plant.

If the plan is to grow automatic varieties, then during the first two weeks we water with 100 to 350ml per irrigation, every 1 or 2 days. Remember that the substrate must maintain a minimum of humidity to allow the plant to feed and continue to develop normally. If it is raining and the plants are outdoors, it’s a good idea to move or cover them, to prevent the substrate from getting soaked, which could easily lead to root zone problems.

The first stages of growth survived with success!

We hope that this information will be useful and help to stop your seeds and seedlings dying. Don’t hesitate to leave any comments or questions, we’ll be pleased to help.

The articles published by Alchimiaweb, S.L. are reserved for adult clients only. We would like to remind our customers that cannabis seeds are not listed in the European Community catalogue. They are products intended for genetic conservation and collecting, in no case for cultivation. In some countries it is strictly forbidden to germinate cannabis seeds, other than those authorised by the European Union. We recommend our customers not to infringe the law in any way, we are not responsible for their use.

See also  Weeds And Seeds

How to Rescue and Germinate Old Cannabis Seeds

Saving cannabis seeds is a widely used method for preserving genetic varieties that one has particularly enjoyed or that worked very well when planted. Therefore, growers often store some seeds for many years.

However, over time seeds lose their germinating power. This means that, after a few years, when farmers prepare to plant them, they run into problems getting them to sprout. To prevent this from happening, and to once again enjoy that cannabis you found worth storing, there are a number of tricks.

The key: the storage conditions

First, you have won half the battle if you were careful with the original storage. Seeds must be kept in a cool, dry place. Therefore, the best option is to store them in refrigerators at a temperature between 6 and 8 degrees Celsius, and with relative humidity levels between 20% and 30%. And sheltered from light, of course.

For all this you will need an airtight container or canister, or an opaque plastic bottle in which, in addition to the seeds, you should place little pouches of silica gel, to reduce the moisture. With regards to the best place in your refrigerator, the crisper is a good choice, as it is a little warmer than the rest of the fridge. Also, one last tip: if you store several strains in different bottles, it is a good idea to label them, so that you won´t have to open them to see which is which when you decide to plant them.

Hydration to trigger germination

If you have only saved the seeds for a year and a half, they should not give you any problems. After this time period, even if you have stored them properly, germination may be more complicated because the older the seeds are, the harder their shells, so the water used to open them will take longer to penetrate them. Therefore, the first method to try to get the plant’s embryo to develop is to put your old seeds in a glass of water, with a few drops of hydrogen peroxide, for 24 hours. Hydrogen peroxide softens the shell and facilitates the water’s infiltration.

But you must be careful: the liquid must not be cold, but rather at a temperature of around 22° C. And you must keep the container away from major sources of light. During the 24 hours that the seeds are there you will have to keep a very close eye on them in order to remove them quickly if they open, so they don´t “drown.”

Because of this risk, there are growers who choose another way: germinating their seeds with the help of wet paper towels and dishes. If this method is chosen, you’ll have to grab a plate and place a soaked paper towel on it. After placing your cannabis seeds placed on top, with enough space between them, cover them with another damp paper towel. Although this method is widely used, some purist growers insist that you have to be very careful, because the towels used may contain chlorine and chemicals that could impede germination.

For those beginning with the glass of water, the second step would be to move the seeds, after 24 hours, to the wet paper towels. Germination normally takes between 48 and 72 hours, and, in the case of old seeds, can last up to 5 or 6 days, or even weeks. Therefore, transferring the seeds to wet paper gives you more peace of mind, as you are dealing with less water and, if they open, they will not quickly drown.

Other good choices for germination

There are growers who prefer their seeds to germinate directly in the soil. In this case, in addition to ensuring that you have light and well-nourished soil, you can choose to dilute 10 ml (a teaspoon) of fulvic acid per litre of water, and use it to water the site where you have planted the seed. Another option is to use slightly carbonated water, as the additional CO2 will help the liquid penetrate the seed, causing it to germinate. It is also possible to use enzymes or germination enhancers, designed to help seeds open and develop in those first stages.

Another good investment, which can be key in the case of old seeds, is Jiffy 7. This product is a compressed pill of dried peat that you need to soak for a few minutes. At this point it becomes a small sack of soil that is specially designed to facilitate germination, because it features the ideal structure, is sterilized, has all the necessary elements to nourish the seedlings during the first week, and is pH-neutral. Due to these characteristics it can be your best bet to get your older seeds to sprout.

Last resorts to save your seeds

If all else fails, there are still a few more aggressive tricks that should only be used when, after a few days, your seeds have failed to hatch and make their way into the world.

For example, you can scrape off the outer layer of the seed with a little sandpaper, creating micro-abrasions that should let some water in. So you don’t overdo it with this scraping we have a little trick: roll up a piece of very fine sandpaper, with the rough side on the interior, and secure it with tape. Place the seeds inside and cover the openings with your hands. Then just shake it for a couple of minutes and the sandpaper will do its job. Another more risky option is to use a knife to cut the seed transversely, ever so slightly, which will help the water penetrate the shell.

If these methods work and get your seeds to break, allowing the embryo of the cannabis plant to emerge, you will have achieved your goal. You’ll have to be very careful when handling them during the first few days, but after a week your old strain, preserved for years, should grow just like a younger seed and, after a few weeks, offer the same harvest you got from it before and so fondly remember.

Author

Dinafem Seeds The Dinafem team comprises cannabis experts and growing specialists eager to share their knowledge and expertise with the entire cannabis community. Don’t hesitate to give us your feedback on our posts. We’ll be happy to answer your queries and, above all, to learn new tricks and techniques.

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