There’s very little more disappointing than getting your own cannabis plantation prepped and ready, only to find yourself hitting a brick wall at the seed stage. Technically speaking, germinating marijuana seeds is a relatively simple process - it is also the most fundamentally important process of all. Nevertheless, for a wide variety of reasons there will always be thousands of would-be home growers who fall at the first hurdle and never get their cannabis crop dreams off the ground.
Which begs the question – why?
Well, there are essentially only two reasons why cannabis seeds fail to germinate. The first and most common reason is that of getting something entirely wrong with the germination process – the second being damaged or poor quality seeds. In the case of the latter, there’s really not a great deal you can do about it. If it’s all down to your own mistakes however, it’s simply a case of learning from them and making sure you get it right the next time around.
If your seeds fail to germinate, the first thing to do is take a look at the seeds themselves to find out what happened. You will probably notice one of three things, which are as follows:
- The seeds look and feel exactly as they did when you first planted them with no visible changes whatsoever.
- The seeds are still largely intact, though have become a much darker colour and/or have developed a white substance toward the round end.
- The seeds appear to have begun sprouting, though clearly stopped growing as soon as the seeds cracked.
In the case of seeds that look and feel the same as when planted, this is generally an indication that the medium in which you planted them was too dry. It could be that there wasn’t enough moisture in the first place or that moisture levels were not kept consistently high enough for the seeds to absorb as much water as they needed. The good news being that if the seeds are still intact and healthy, you can have a second attempt with them.
If it’s the second of the two scenarios, this tends to be indicative of a fungal attack. Cannabis seeds are prone to rotting when the quality of the soil is poor, too much moisture is provided, if the seeds have been pre-soaked prior to being planted or the pH levels are entirely wrong for marijuana growing. In this instance, the seeds are pretty much done for and you’ll have to try your luck again with new seeds.
As for the third scenario, each of the above factors with regard to seed rot also apply, but it may also come down to the fact that the temperature of the soil was too high or the soil suddenly became dry at some point – even for a brief period of time. It could also be that there was a problem with water quality – heavy mineral content, too much salt etc.
How Not to Germinate Marijuana Seeds
Just as there are plenty of tried and tested methods for successfully germinating cannabis seeds, there are also certain approaches that should be avoided at all costs. So while you may come across various guides and resources suggesting otherwise, experts recommend staying well away from the following bad habits:
- Using the wet paper towel method to germinate seeds
- Covering pots with plastic
- Increasing the ambient temperature excessively
- Using mini-greenhouse covers
- Not paying attention to soil quality when germinating seeds
- Providing too little or too much water
- Germinating environments that are too cold or dark
- Fertilising seedlings
- Ignoring PH levels