Cannabis Seeds Not Germinating: Top 10 Problems & How to Avoid Them

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Cannabis Seeds Not Germinating: Top 10 Problems & How to Avoid Them
Author avatar By Parker Curtis
December 29, 2022
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Did you know that cannabis seeds not germinating may be due to insufficient soaking time, improper temperature, or soil problems? Healthy root growth may only activate when the substrate conditions or humidity levels are correct.

Solve these issues using the appropriate procedures to produce healthy weed plants with potent buds. Are you a new weed farmer seeking the proper methods to fix cannabis seeds problems? Read on to learn how to overcome common germination hurdles.

Let’s begin.

Why are my cannabis seeds not germinating?

Low water quality, excess lighting, improper storage, and moisture are a few reasons cannabis seeds might not germinate. Let’s dig into the likely problems and discover their solutions.

Why are my cannabis seeds not germinating?

Expired seeds

Did you buy unknown weed seeds from a local store or online vendor with a promise of maximized yields?

The products may possess unknown genetics and might not germinate if they’re old or expired. In this case, your weed seeds aren’t sprouting because they have hard shells that water can’t penetrate.

If you don’t know how to tell if seeds are good or bad, it’s time to conduct a test.

Wrap five to ten cannabis seeds in a moist paper towel and put them in a plastic bag. Create holes for your seeds to breathe, keep them in a warm location or greenhouse at room temperature, and check them regularly.

Germination usually takes three to ten days. Check the package’s return policy if you encounter a cannabis seed not sprouting. If more than half don’t grow in this phase, discard them and invest in premium, high-quality genetics.

Improper storage

Germinating cannabis seeds may become challenging if you don’t store them correctly. They’re living organisms that require adequate care and maintenance for proper development.

Without appropriate care and nutrients, seeds lose quality and may not pop. Prevent marijuana seed problems by storing them in a dark, cool location with temperatures of 41–46°F. When you’re ready to start germinating them, you need a slightly warmer environment.

Keep relative humidity at 21–30%, as excess levels may generate internal moisture that can soften the shells. If you’re storing the seeds long-term, keep them in a sealed container in the fridge.

Avoid cannabis seeds not germinating by ensuring your paper bag packaging is breathable. Then, preserve them in small boxes, plastic tubs with lids, or screw-top jars. 

Another option is freezing, but vacuum-pack the seeds first and germinate them immediately after removing them from cold storage.

Handling seeds with bare hands

“Why are my cannabis seeds not germinating?” might be your most recent worry despite buying premium products and storing them properly. 

Lifting and laying your seeds with dirty or bare hands isn’t advisable. Your fingers contain essential oils that could rub off their shells and cause seed problems.

Oils create fungus and bacteria spores that can cause contamination. Wash your hands and wear medical-grade gloves before handling the seeds. This method lets you move your fingers individually to pick up multiple products.

Kitchen towels are highly absorbent and can protect the shell from the oil in your hands. Many novices and experts prefer using long disinfected tweezers because it helps them pick up and inspect individual seeds.

Too much or not enough moisture

Cannabis seeds not germinating in soil could be because of excess moisture. It hinders their access to oxygen, causing them to rot. The lack of respiration and poor substrate drainage encourages fungal growth that negatively affects germination.

Ensure the plants can get rid of excess moisture by creating holes under the planting containers. 

Excess watering hinders their development, and root growth might only happen if the moisture is sufficient. The seeds are usually vulnerable at this stage, so inadequate hydration may affect their development.

When adopting the paper towel approach, ensure the seeds are moist but not damp. For example, if potting in soil, mist the surface with clean water using a spray bottle.

Low quality of water

Cannabis seeds not germinating may be due to low water quality. The moisture used during this phase could be why your seeds didn’t sprout. 

Avoid tap water because it contains salt, fluoride, chlorine, and additives that can potentially stop them from popping. If there are no other options and you’re still scratching your head saying, “my cannabis seeds aren’t germinating,” try heating the water. 

Then, pour it into a bucket and keep it outdoors for 24 hours. This technique evaporates the chlorine content, making it safe for the seeds. Our germination guide recommends you use distilled or bottled water since it contains no additives.

Improper temperature

Your cannabis seeds may not sprout if the environment has an unbalanced temperature. The soil may dry out when it’s high, affecting their ability to pop.

Introduce thermo-hygrometers to monitor humidity and temperature levels if your weed seeds aren’t sprouting. Install air conditioners or oscillating fans to control the environment.

If temperature and humidity levels are low, your seeds are at risk of plant diseases and conditions that inhibit sprouting. Verify the local climate outdoors, but consider germinating them indoors where the environment is easy to control.

Keep temperatures at an optimal range of 68–77℉ for desirable results, whether cultivating hybrid, feminized, or autoflower seeds. Allow them to grow for a few weeks indoors before transplanting if you plan to develop them outside.

Too much light

A cannabis seed not sprouting might be due to the excess lighting it receives. It’s a common mistake among novices that decreases the seeds’ chances of germinating. 

Seeds require less energy and a dark environment to pop. They develop their first roots in the soil before seeking light to grow strong and healthy. Introduce your grow lamps at low intensity after the baby plants emerge from the ground.

After sprouting, young crops need up to 8 hours of darkness and 16 hours of light daily. Don’t provide these factors excessively at this stage, as it could lead to marijuana seed problems such as stunted growth.

Seeds planted too deep

Marijuana seeds require adequate nutrients and energy to develop roots. Sowing them deep in the soil is another reason they might fail to germinate.

They lack the necessary oxygen to thrive when they’re far into the ground. Excess soil moisture can also overpower their shells and cause rot. Potting the seeds close to the surface isn’t advisable since they require darkness to pop and shoot above ground.

Incorrect soil depth could be the cause of weed seeds not germinating. Keep it at 0.19–0.39 inches deep and cover the substrate lightly, establishing the foundation for a sizable harvest and dense, potent buds.

Insufficient soaking time

Your high yield seeds may not activate root growth if you don’t soak them for the appropriate time. Place them in a glass of clean water for 12–18 hours before planting them.

The duration varies between different types, so observe them closely to avoid cannabis seed problems.

If your seeds sink after 12 hours, they’re more likely to sprout, but germination can be challenging when they float. Soaking is where moisture softens their shell defenses to accelerate healthy growth.

Beginners prefer water for this method, while seasoned cultivators lean towards hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and commercial rooting solutions.

Soil problems

cannabis seeds in soil

There’s a high chance your weed seeds aren’t sprouting because the soil is too firm, loose, or hot. These conditions deprive them of adequate oxygen and nutrients to thrive.

Seeds can’t breathe when the substrate is too firm. Cover them with a light layer of soil and ensure it isn’t loose to prevent excess air from surrounding them. Too much oxygen affects their shells’ ability to absorb moisture properly.

Use your fingers to pat down the soil lightly. Increase oxygen levels by adding 10–20% of naturally occurring minerals known as perlite. It’s optional, but improves the substrate structure, aeration, and drainage to prevent marijuana seed problems.

The soil can become too hot for your seeds when it contains excess nutrients. They don’t need many vitamins or supplements to sprout, so don’t feed them during germination. Invest in unfertilized or light substrates during this period of growth.

What to do if your cannabis seeds are not sprouting

After trying to germinate your marijuana seeds without success, don’t give up hope. There are other ways to get them to pop. Below are a few:

What to do if your cannabis seeds are not sprouting

Soak with H2O2

It’s best to soak your cannabis seeds overnight in a glass of water at room temperature before germinating them. Then, introduce a few drops of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to soften their stubborn shells

The chemical helps if your weed seeds aren’t germinating. It provides better access to nutrients and oxygen that trigger hormones to make them sprout.

Introduce some microbes

If your weed seeds don’t germinate, try stimulating root growth with microbes. They’re microorganisms that can develop varieties of friendly bacteria to soften the shell when exposed to moisture. 

Add fulvic acid

Another ideal way to scarify seeds for easy germination is to use fulvic acid. It’s a chemical compound that can soften the shells. Add a ¼ teaspoon of this enhancer to improve the intake of minerals, helping your plants establish healthy roots.

Use carbonated water

Cannabis seeds not germinating in paper towels or soil may be due to the moisture content. Use water that contains carbon dioxide (CO2), which creates fizzy bubbles that promote healthy sprouting. It softens the shells and encourages them to pop faster.

Crack the shell

This option should be your last resort after trying different methods and still experiencing cannabis seeds not germinating. Gently use your fingernails to create small cracks on the seeds’ casings.

Consider soaking them for less than 16 hours before germinating if you adopt this approach. Excess water could cause infection or rot.

Solve & avoid cannabis seed problems

cannabis seedling

Sprout marijuana seeds successfully by learning solutions to potential germination problems. Then, grow healthy regular, autoflower, or feminized weed plants with medicinal and recreational benefits.

Visit our seed store to buy top-quality marijuana seeds and find more detailed information about cultivation on our blog.


About the author: Parker Curtis

Parker Curtis has around a decade of cannabis-growing experience, specialising in soil-less and hydro grows. He’s mastering outdoor, greenhouse, and indoor grows.