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Germinating old cannabis seeds

Discussion in 'Organic Growing' started by MGB, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. Well on Monday I began germination on 3 strains and I am running into a problem. One of the strains I am germinating is DNA Genetics feminized Pure Afghani. A friend of mine was gifted an unopened pack/ sealed vile of these seeds. I watched him open the sealed pack right in front of me. Two of the strains (crosses I have made) germinated in 24 hours. Well here we are a week later and to no avail the Pure Afghani still has not germinated. My suspicions are that the seeds are old.

    My germination method is the wet paper towels between 2 plates, and a heating mat with the temperature control set at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. With a heavy bath towel over the whole set up, so the mat does not constantly turn on and off

    I was reading a thread a few days ago, I believe it was the Gravity/Monsanto sticky, where I believe Chunk said he had germinated 20 year old seeds before. I believe he said it took some finesse. Chunk if you read this maybe you could share this finesse method for old seeds, or anyone else whom have tried germinating old seeds and had success.

    I would really love to get these seeds to come alive. This strain would be a great addition to my modest breeding program. I did try to research this subject and did find info but all it did was confuse me. Meaning folks were contradicting each other in the threads I found on the subject. I could not find any scientific data on this subject.

    Well any how thank you all in advance for any thoughts on this subject matter. Have a great day.

  2. First do some scarification, you should take some sand paper (high grit) and lightly sand on the edges of the seed.

    Then I take them and do a 15 min soak in 3ml/liter supermax b1 (or superthrive), then into a cup of distilled water for 12 hours. If it hasn't popped, put it in a paper towel with a spoon full of your vitamin formula on it.

    25c I find is best.

    If that doesn't do it, then the seed has been stored improperly and is basically fucked.
  3. Well I do truly thank you for the suggestion. I am all for trying the scarification portion of your suggestion but I think I will pass on the Superthrive.

    SUPERthrive is a WARF testing lab certified non-toxic liquid concentrated growth enhancer product for plants, which has been available since 1940. It contains ".09% vitamin B1, .048% 1-Napthyl acetic acid",[1].

    The hormone 1-Naphthyl acetic acid (NAA) does not occur naturally. Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), products containing NAA require registration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as pesticides. The sale of Superthrive is prohibited in Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Oregon as an unregistered pesticide.

    I am still researching the other product you suggested but have not yet been able to find its contents published. Generally this is not a good sign. Once again I do thank you for your reply.

  4. MGB
    Outstanding idea.........

    On germinating any seed there are certain and specific physiological changes - massive levels of enzymes are produced that interact with enzymes in the soil and vermicompost is extremely rich in the enzymes that facilitate the development of the plant from cracked seed to actual seedling [cite: Seaweed & Plant Growth, Chapter 7, - Dr. T.L. Senn]

    Fulvic and Humic acids (the real stuff anyway) can play a beneficial role as well. Kelp meal contains the very same rooting compounds found in the powders, gels & whatever at the grow except these are not synthetically produced and co-exist with a complex web of amino acids, enzymes, compounds and elements.

    And then there's this whole weird deal in the cannabis world about starting seeds between paper towels or whatever. Check out the chemicals used in the production paper products in general and which chemicals are retained even after the 'bleaching' process and see how those chemicals stack-up against the benefits found in a living soil and/or vermicompost.


  5. Thanks LD

    So I take it that you recommend planting directly into my soil. Better yet would trying to germinate them in straight quality worm castings with a very very weak solution of "real" humic acid and fulvic acid be out of the question? I have all 3 on hand.

    To be honest I never thought about the paper towel deal. Common sense I guess. I have very little of that these days. As of today I will begin directly sowing my seeds. If you can kindly answer my question above I would be most appreciative. Thanks again.


  6. The recommendation from BioAg (which is the brand that I use) you want to soak the seeds in a solution with one or the other.

    If you're use the BioAg Fulvic acid then you want to add 7 tsp. of the liquid to 1 gallon of pure water. Check my arithmetic - the entry reads, per se, 35ml/gal (1-100 dilution rate)

    If you're using their Humic acid (Ful-Humix) then add 1/4 tsp. to 1 gallon of pure water and soak for 48 - 72 hours.

    These are their suggestions that I use on all seeds - flowers, vegetables, nutrient accumulator plants (Yarrow, Stinging Nettle, etc.) - it works.


  7. Thanks again LD and Thank you for the reading material.
  8. I use


    It's to promote vigorous growth/boost plant health and reduce shock/stress.

    It says on the bottle for seeds to use 3ml/liter and says to submerge them for 15 mins, then soak the medium with the rest of the ~100ppm water.

    It's derived from sea weed, and it works great in hydro.
  9. MGB, I'm germinating some 15 year old landrace sativa seeds right now. They're just a little shy of 72 hours in the dirt and are already popping. By tomorrow afternoon, most of them will have shed their shell and be wide open. Storage is the main factor that affects whether or not they will pop. After a week and with the method you described they should have already germinated. I'll keep my thumbs crossed .
  10. Heya Poppy

    Thanks for the reply. Yeah these are a land race indica that would be a great addition to my breeding program. As far as storage goes, unfortunately I have no idea how they were stored. They were gifted to a friend still in the original sealed DNA genetics package. He in turn gifted them to me for some clones in the spring. For some reason he can't clone to save his life. I am gonna do as LD said and see what happens. I really hope it works out because this strain would be my only pure indica strain. Thanks for keeping your thumbs crossed, I have my toes crossed. Any how thanks for the encouragement and have a great day old man.

  11. #12 lbezphil2005, May 31, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: May 31, 2013
    i know its old but did you get them to pop?  i found a killer write up on how to make them go dormant, and bring them back, even if they haven't been stored right, as long as their is viable seed matieral inside this sounds like it would work.  let me know, i am cutting and pasting it into a format usable here or that i can send to you if need be.  aww, hell - it was written by a guest at another forum so i don't even have to give the forum any credit, let alone the person who wrote it.  but I can't take credit for writing it only sharing and copy/pasting it.  later!!

    \t\t\t\tAfter reading this thread and doing a good deal of fact finding/checking on seed germination (especially dormant, old seeds) I think I've got something worth posting...I hope everyone will lean something, I know I did!

    Dormant Seed Germination 101
    Part 1: Intro​

    \t\t\t\tMy main reason for posting is to assist others (and myself!) in germinating old, dormant cannabis seeds. Not only do I hope to generate discussion, but I hope this can become a "germination reference manual" if you will. The info in this thread is relevant to all cannabis seeds and germinations.

    \t\t\t\tI am concentrating on the causes of seed dormancy, associated germination problems and their solutions. I use the same techniques to germinate old and young seeds alike...but for the sake of this thread's clarity and simplicity I'm concentrating on old, dormant seeds. You should be able to germinate viable older seeds (20+ years) with the information and guide herein.

    Main causes of germination problems:

    \t\t\t\ta.) Seed Viability: If the embryo is alive the seed is viable, if the embryo is dead the seed is not viable.

    \t\t\t\tA seeds viability is affected by a number of different conditions. Some plants do not produce seeds that have functional complete embryos or the seed may have no embryo at all, often called "empty seeds". Pathogens can damage or kill the seed while it is still in the flower or after it is harvested. Environmental conditions like improper long-term storage and the age of the seed affects its health and germination ability. Seeds containe a living embryo and over time cells die...they cannot be replaced...sometimes seeds are just to old.

    \t\t\t\tb.) Seed Dormancy: There are two main groups (internal and external) of seed dormancy which contain five possible causes of the dormancy. This section is very important because it helps us define the type of dormancy so we may then better understand how to break the dormancy and germinate the seed. Seeds may become dormant in a few weeks or even a few days under extreme conditions.

    \t\t\t\tTrue dormancy
    \t\t\t\t("innate dormancy" - internal)
    \t\t\t\tIs when a seed fails to germinate under optimal environmental conditions. This is caused by conditions within the seed that prevent germination under normally ideal conditions.

    \t\t\t\tPhysiological dormancy
    \t\t\t\t("endogenous dormancy" - internal)
    \t\t\t\tIs caused by conditions within the embryo itself. This can be caused when seeds have not gone through "stratification" (to simulate "after-ripening"). This can prevent seed germination until the chemical inhibitors are broken down or are no longer produced by the seed after stratification.

    \t\t\t\tCombinational dormancy
    \t\t\t\t("double dormancy" - internal/external)
    \t\t\t\tIs when a seed has more than one type of dormancy...this is fairly common.

    \t\t\t\tPhysical dormancy
    \t\t\t\t("exogenous dormancy" - external)
    \t\t\t\tIs caused by conditions outside of the embryo. For example, if the shell is too hard or thick it can be impermeable to water or the exchange of gases...the seed coat physically prevents water from reaching and activating the embryo.

    \t\t\t\tInduced dormancy
    \t\t\t\t("seed quiescence" - external)
    \t\t\t\tNaturally occurs when the seed dries after being harvested (aka "seed hibernation"). We are not concerned with seed quiescence because this is not a problematic dormancy as the seed will germinate when the environmental conditions are optimal.​

    \t\t\t\tc.) Seed Hibernation: Is when seeds fail to germinate due to a lack of environmental factor(s) essential to life (water, sunlight, nutrients, etc.). Hibernation is generally a short lived experience as it morphs into innate dormancy after a few months to a year or more. We are not concerned with hibernation because the seed will germinate if given the proper environment.

    up next...solutions for different types of dormancy...then the step-by-step guide!
    \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t
    \t\t\t\t<a>[​IMG]</a> 01-10-2008, 08:45 PM\t\t\t\t\t\t\t  #2\t\t\t\t\t\t<div>guest​
    <div>Posts: n/a
    Dormant Seed Germination 101
    Part 2: "Breaking dormancy"​

    \t\t\t\tIn this section I will detail the methods used to "break" (bring out of dormancy by germinating) seeds.

    Types of dormancy and ways to Break the Dormancy:

    \t\t\t\tThe methods I will describe are horticultural standards but I have trailered them for cannabis seeds and their natural "after-ripening" process (e.g. rough handling [animal stomach, etc], winter of 2-6 months [depending on genotype], etc).

    problem: True dormancy ("innate dormancy" - internal)

    solution: Cold Stratification ("moist-chilling")

    \t\t\t\tThis method is meant to simulate the winter a seed would naturally encounter in the wild. Seeds in the temperate zones of the world often remain covered with humus for weeks or months and are subjected to chilling temperatures which help break the rest period.

    \t\t\t\tSeeds are placed in a lightly moistened bunch of organic matter (coco-coir) and placed into refrigerator.

    \t\t\t\tOne thing to consider is the seeds genotype; is it mainly stative, indica, a landrace? This question is important and should be used to customize cold stratification to mimic the seeds natural after-ripening environment. A haze should be kept at warmer temps (40-45F) for a shorter time period (1-2 months)...where an Afghani should be kept at cooler temps (35-40F) for a longer time period (2-3) months. What about moisture content? Is the organic matter (hummus, dung, etc) that the seeds naturally after-ripen in moist or dry?

    Benefits of cold stratification:
    \t\t\t\t-softens shell to facilitate h20 absorption during "seed priming"
    \t\t\t\t-seeds imbibe water and in the moist chill they after-ripen


    problem: Physiological dormancy ("endogenous dormancy" - internal)

    solution: Cold stratification


    problem: Physical dormancy ("exogenous dormancy" - external)

    solution: Scarification

    \t\t\t\tThe seed will not germinate until the seed coat is altered physically because the seed shell is hard and moisture cannot penetrate to the embryo. Any process of breaking, scratching, or mechanically altering the seed coat to make it more permeable to water and gases is known as scarification.

    \t\t\t\tIn nature, scarification often occurs by falling seeds, freezing temperatures or microbial activities. These modify the seed coat during the winter. Scarification can also occur as seeds pass through the digestive tract of various animals.

    Benefits of scarification:
    \t\t\t\t-scratching shell allows greater h2o penetration from outside the shell
    \t\t\t\t-trimming off very tip of seeds allows h2o to enter, activate embryo and begin softening shell from inside


    problem: Induced dormancy ("seed quiescence" - external)

    solution: Proper germinating environment

    \t\t\t\tIMO this is the same as "seed hibernation", both can be solved by giving seeds the proper environment...see my next post for that!


    problem: Combinational dormancy ("double dormancy" - internal/external)

    solution: See all 'solutions' above...


    \t\t\t\tup next...the guide...then the final chapter...why I'm using what I'm using in the seed soak[​IMG]
    \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t
    \t\t\t\t<a>[​IMG]</a> 01-10-2008, 09:08 PM\t\t\t\t\t\t\t  #3\t\t\t\t\t\t<div>guest​
    <div>Posts: n/a
    Dormant Seed Germination 101
    Part 3: The guide​

    \t\t\t\t1. wash hands in good medical grade soap and sterilize all tools. I want to wear gloves but it's damn hard to hold the seeds [​IMG]

    \t\t\t\t2. throughly scarify seeds w/mild sandpaper. You can put seeds into a film canister with sandpaper glue to it; then just shake the canister to scarify the seeds.

    \t\t\t\t3. boil a quart of distilled h2o for 10 minutes

    \t\t\t\t4. put pre-expanded and leeched hand full of coco coir into boiling water and let boil for 5-10 min. Take coir out of h2o can let cool and dry out until very lightly moist (shake and squeeze).

    \t\t\t\t5. put seeds in small bunch of very lightly moist coir, very lightly packed into a cup. Put the cup into fridge for 2-3 months at 40F to simulate the soil in the winter. Make sure to check seeds often (daily) to make sure they are not germinating in the coir and it's not too cold. (remember to think about your seeds genotype!)

    \t\t\t\t6. use sterilized razor to cut off the very tip of the pointy side of the seed (the side that opens, not the hinge!)...careful not to crush/damage shell or seedling inside! (thanks c-ray, good one!)

    \t\t\t\t7. soak seeds (aka "on-farm seed priming") in with the following ingredients and keep in a dark place. Use aquarium heater to heat water to 80F and soak for about 20 hours. (I used cc not ml as it's way easier to measure small amounts of liquids with a syringe)

    \t\t\t\t1 liter distilled h2o kept at 80F degrees
    \t\t\t\t.5cc homemade AEM (1:10,000=.5cc or .5ml per liter) <--not necessary but good to have
    \t\t\t\t1cc blk strap molasses
    \t\t\t\t1cc earthworm castings tea
    \t\t\t\t2cc seaweed/kelp liquid extract
    \t\t\t\t2cc fulvic acid
    \t\t\t\t1 drop superthrive
    \t\t\t\tair stone
    \t\t\t\tph of 6.5​

    \t\t\t\t8. put humidity dome over seeding mat and set the mat to 80 degrees. To build up humidity and sanitize the dome lightly spray inside of dome with mix of 1 liter h2o and 2cc 3% h2o2

    \t\t\t\t9. put seeds on new, clean paper towel and fill spray bottle with seed soaking solution (e.castings, superthirve, etc...not AEM). Spray the seeds and the paper towel to moisten both of them. Then lightly fold the p.towel over seeds to keep seeds moist.

    \t\t\t\t10. put p.towel and seeds into humidity dome.

    \t\t\t\t11. check and open p.towel a few times a day to ensure fresh air and proper moister content. seeds can take 2+ weeks to crack the shell.

    \t\t\t\t12. if seeds begin sprout then use tweezers, razor blade, etc to split shell to allow seedling to easily sprout. Put back into p.towel and allow seeds to germinate further...until sprouts root is half the length of your pinky fingernail.

    \t\t\t\t13. transplant germinated seedlings into medium of choice.


    up next...why I'm using what I'm using in the seed soak
    \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t
    \t\t\t\t\t</div></div></div></div>\t\t\t\t<a>[​IMG]</a> 01-10-2008, 11:57 PM\t\t\t\t\t\t\t  #4\t\t\t\t\t\tguest
    Posts: n/a
    Dormant Seed Germination 101
    Part 4: Seed priming mix explained​

    \t\t\t\tWanna know why I suggested each ingredient for the seed soak? well here ya' go...

    \t\t\t\tSteam distilled h2o
    \t\t\t\tThis is the purest water you can buy it's pretty inexpensive too.

    \t\t\t\tEarthworm castings tea
    \t\t\t\tContains a good deal of beneficial microbes (if fresh), along with macro nutrients, humics and they should have a positive symbiotic interaction with the seeds.

    \t\t\t\tLiquid seaweed/kelp
    \t\t\t\tThis contains a good deal of natural hormones, minerals, auxins, cytokinins and gibberellins along with P and K which is good for seed germination.

    \t\t\t\tActivated Effective Microorganisms (not necessary but good to have)
    \t\t\t\tI'm using AEM as a form of stratification, they should weaken shell and have a positive symbiotic interaction with the seeds.

    \t\t\t\tBlack strap molasses (organic)
    \t\t\t\tUsed as a food source for the AEM and it adds natural sugars to h20 which has been found to reduce transplant shock.

    \t\t\t\tFulvic acid
    \t\t\t\tIf seeds are soaked with fulvic then they produce stronger and more vigorous roots, earlier too.

    \t\t\t\tThis contains B vitamins which reduces shock and contains triacontanol which promotes root growth.


    OK, well that's it...for now! any thoughts, questions, corrections?
    \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t \t\t
  12. #13 Anatman, Aug 4, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
    edit: Am about to pop a couple more seeds and was researching the dilution rate of fulpower to water for seed soaking.
    1:100 Fulpower to Water?
  13. Dang! An 'ol MGB thread! Miss that dude. @[member="MGB"] come back!
  14. This is extremely helpful information. Im going to link it from my thread and Ive bookmarked it.

    LD was always straight to the point and provided facts in well structured sentences. What more could one ask for?
    Yep - ol' LD was a real liter among quarts - he was no half-pint!
    A lovable lug with a kissable mug he was! Thin but fun!
  16. Meh... LD is aight... now Kushman or Rev... THOSE guys know howta grow da dank.... You know how many HT cups that Kushman mofo has won??

  17. Veganically speaking, of course...

  18. I always speak veganically even when I'm gnawing on a pork rib bone...

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