How to successfully germinate old cannabis seeds

Published May 24, 2019 12:28 p.m. ET
Credit: jetacomputer

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.

Credit: Alexander_Volkov

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