Sometimes hemp seeds don't germinate because they are lifeless. Here's how to recognize a hemp seed if alive or dead to avoid wasting time. Read more here! 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 So, I first want to say thanks to everyone here who is always helping peolpe with their questions. I've read many forums and threads and without you guys'…
How to tell if a seed is dead? Here are some tricks
Sometimes hemp seeds do not germinate because they are lifeless. Here’s how to spot a dead hemp seed and avoid wasting time
In previous articles, we have repeatedly stressed how the quality of cannabis seeds can make all the difference in achieving a healthy and productive plantation.
Poor quality seeds can lead to weak and unprofitable plants or even to no germination at all.
PSYCHO XXL AUTOMIX
This article will learn how to recognise quality hemp seeds (such as BSF seeds) and tell if a seed is dead and therefore totally useless.
Dead or bad hemp seed: here’s why quality is essential
In the field of hemp growing, some choose to buy ready-made seedlings, and those prefer to plant the marijuana seeds themselves so that they can monitor the growth of the plantation from the very beginning.
Of course, in order not to waste time, it is essential to make sure that you are dealing with quality seeds of the right genetics (such as auto-flowering seeds, feminised seeds, etc., which you can find for sale at SensorySeeds), but above all, they must be alive!
Yes, you got that right!
If the seeds are too old or have been stored incorrectly, they may have lost their ability to germinate, and so, even if you put your mind to it, the seedlings won’t grow.
In the next section, we will clarify the main signs that the seeds you have in your hands may be lifeless.
Dead seeds: how to recognise them?
Many novice cannabis growers are tempted to buy low-quality marijuana seeds because they are sold cheaply.
Up to this point, it all seems quite normal. However, in such cases, the problem is that the seedlings often do not grow, and it isn’t easy to understand the cause.
Many people wonder what they might have done wrong and try to figure out what to do if the seeds do not germinate.
Of course, sometimes you make mistakes, but you have to check whether the seeds you have bought are still alive in other cases.
Knowing how to distinguish high-quality seeds from bad ones is very important to avoid wasting time and money.
Let’s start with the appearance.
Good quality seeds usually have a kind of waxy layer that shines when exposed to light. As a result, their colour can vary from brown to grey or black, with some speckling.
If you are dealing with white or light green cannabis seeds, they are immature and unable to germinate.
Seeds that appear ‘dried out’, have cracks or dents are of poor quality.
You can also tell by touch whether the seeds are good or not.
If you hold a hemp seed between your index finger and thumb and apply pressure, some seeds crumble, while others do not at all. The quality ones and the ones most likely to be alive are, of course, the latter.
A test is considered almost foolproof to see if hemp seeds can germinate: water immersion.
If by putting them in a glass with warm water they float, then it means they are dead or rotten; whereas if they go down, they are of good quality.
Of course, all these tricks apply to seeds of all genetics and types.
If we have intrigued you, you too can try floating feminised seeds, fast seeds or auto-flowering seeds from your collection (but remember that growing cannabis is not allowed in the UK).
Concerning the flotation test, however, we would also like to point out that it should only be carried out during the hours before sowing and that the seeds must be removed from the water within 24 hours. Otherwise, they will be irreparably damaged.
Live seeds which do not germinate: what is the cause?
If also thanks to the advice given above, we know that our seeds are alive but still do not germinate, there is probably another cause.
Let’s see what the main ones might be.
- Soil which is too cold
- Sometimes it is the temperature of the soil that is too cold that prevents marijuana seeds from germinating. If you keep the soil warm enough, you will see faster germination.
- Incorrect choice of substrate
- It is usually recommended to use a relatively friable and light substrate when sowing cannabis. If the seedlings do not germinate, the root growth may be prevented by too loamy and difficult to penetrate.
- Sowing too deep
- Cannabis seeds, being relatively small, should be planted close to the surface of the soil. Otherwise, the sprouts will not be able to emerge.
- Insufficient irrigation
- Sometimes cannabis seeds fail to germinate because they are not watered enough.
- It is essential to keep the soil well moist, as this is the only way for the seeds to swell and germinate.
As we have seen, you can use a few tricks to find out if your cannabis seeds are dead or not.
Unfortunately, even if the seeds appear to be alive and of good quality, they may have genetic defects. That is why the best choice is always to buy quality fast flowering seeds (such as BSF seeds) at the outset.
After this in-depth analysis and always remembering that cultivating and consuming cannabis is forbidden in the UK, we invite you to consult the seed proposals in our SensorySeeds.com store.
Choose the products you prefer to complete your collection, take advantage of our advantageous prices and fast delivery.
We look forward to seeing you in our SensorySeeds online shop. See you soon!
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.
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.
Dead Germinated Seed?
So, I first want to say thanks to everyone here who is always helping peolpe with their questions. I’ve read many forums and threads and without you guys’ help I would be even worse at this. I’m a COMPLETE Noob and this is my first grow ever.
I got 3 LR2 x AK47 seeds from Attitude and germinated 1 of em (Paper towel method). I then got a 8 1/4″ pot, which I think may be entirely too big, after filling it with Fox Farms Ocean Forest and watered thoroughly (all extra drained water I disposed of) then I put the seed about half an inch under the moist soil and put it in my closet. There’s a fan that cirulates air and the light was put about 2″ from the soil. First day after 18 hour light with a 125Watt 5u CFL, nothing. Second day, nothing, but I looked at the seed and the taproot was green but the tip was a light brown. This morning after another 18 hours, the seed shell is a light brown, and the plant inside the shell looks crispy almost. I moved the light a few inches away from the soil after making sure the soil was moist again (Seed was taken up anyway to see its “development”) I’m not sure if this is overwatering or heat? I tried to make sure to have a balance, but the top of the soild and about an inch down just seemed so dry.
Grumpy Old Dreamer
I think it is both overwatering and the light being way too close.
Forget the paper towel, just pop the seed in damp soil and leave it alone – too many seedlings are killed by growers – they know how to grow without us screwing them up
So lets say I moved the light up and I don’t water for 2 days, can it work itself back in a groove or is it too far gone and time to germ another. Also did I add lights too early? I turned them on right after planting it, like 3 minutes afterwards, and for a full 18 hour cycle.
A plant doesn’t need light until it’s seed cap falls off and having light before that can stress the plant. Leave it in darkness to germinate and pop out of the soil. Once it’s first leaves unfurl, then add light.
Over watering can cause all sorts of problems for seedlings. It sort of sounds like it got rotten from the moisture and heat. I’d let your pots dry for a nice long time and only water them when the plants are showing signs of dryness.
OK thanks guys! I hope I turned everything off in time for it not to die. OK, fans and lights are off in my closet.. Has Humidity of 50% Temp of 77 degrees F. Just leave it in there and wait for it to grow outta the ground? And how long would this usually take? I wouldn’t want to add light again, too early.
OK, well now the whole thing is brown. I’ll leave it. but in the mean time.. If I germ another seed, how long until I put it under the 18 hour light cycle?
scrap the seed, you killed it. Germ another and DO NOT use lights until it is fully out of the soil, then you can start the 18/6 cycle.