Some growers deliberately crack the shell of their cannabis seeds in order to improve germination rates. This can be done by biting the cannabis seeds, or with pliers. Needless to say it is a method which is frowned upon by serious growers. If you’re using quality seed stock freshly supplied by your preferred seed supplier, then you should be seeing 90%+ germination rates without the need for high-risk methods.
Key reasons why you should NOT squeeze or crack your cannabis seeds!
Pinching, squeezing or scarifying cannabis seeds
As well as seed cracking there are various similar cannabis seed ‘treatments’. Often these are enthusiastically promoted online. All these methods are based on the noble logic that good quality cannabis seeds are too precious to risk losing during germination.
These methods include roughing-up or ‘scarifying’ the exterior of the seed shell with an abrasive material such as sandpaper to weaken the shell and improve germination chances. Others like to squeeze or pinch the seeds prior to germination in the belief that a weakened marijuana seed shell will be more likely to open.
Some growers also believe in germinating their cannabis seeds using water with added Hydrogen Peroxide or even a drop of bleach. The problem with all these methods is that some growers using them will undoubtably damage otherwise-healthy and viable seeds. This is true whether using feminised, autoflower or regular seeds.
Why all of these alternative germination methods are bad
All Dutch Passion strains undergo regular germination tests to ensure germination rates around 95%. This is achieved by only selling fresh cannabis seeds from the latest batch using stable, proven genetics. While seeds await sale, they are kept in a carefully controlled cold-store.
This way growers get the freshest cannabis seeds which have been professionally produced, stored and shipped. For these reasons, and the obvious risks associated with dubious germination methods, Dutch Passion do not recommend any of these cannabis seed pre-germination methods which involve deliberately weakening the seed shell.
None of these cannabis seed pre-germination treatments are recommended since all carry their own risks, some of these risks are quite substantial. Many people that attempt to gently crush the exterior of their cannabis seed shell often apply a little too much pressure and damage the delicate cell tissue inside the seed. Some will soak the seed for a day (to soften the shell a little) and then try biting/squeezing the seed – but the same risks remain. Squeeze too hard and you risk irreversible damage.
Using peroxide or bleach in the germination liquid simply isn’t required and can damage the tap-root. Likewise, scarifying the cannabis seed shell a little too vigorously can rupture the outer membranes of the seed, rendering it unviable.
The top-tier cannabis seed banks and breeders have their demand and seed production synchronised so that (most of the time) there is always fresh seed stock available. One of the main reasons people buy their cannabis seeds directly from the breeder/seedbank is that they get fresh stock which has been correctly cold stored at low humidity. If the seeds you are buying have variable germination rates, then it is quite possible that the seeds are old and may not have been cold-stored.
What if my seedling has the cannabis seed shell attached and it won’t come off?
One frequent question put to our customer service team is how to handle a seedling with the seed shell stuck to it. The best advice is simply to leave the seedling for a few days.
Usually, the leaves will swell forcing the shell off naturally. Even if the seed shell seems permanently stuck to one of the initial cotyledon-leaves it won’t damage the plant. Photosynthesis will still occur from elsewhere and the seed shell can remain stuck to a cotyledon leaf for the entire grow without issues.
Removing seed shell stuck to seedling
Avoid the obvious temptation to manually remove a seed shell which has become stuck to the cotyledon (baby) leaves. The seed shell is attached with living membranes to the cotyledon leaves. Pulling the seed shell off prematurely will tear these membrane and leaf tissue of the seedling. This often kills the cannabis seedling.
Can you still grow a cannabis seed if it is cracked?
Yes, you can but there are no guarantees. Hopefully your cannabis seed supplier isn’t in the habit of regularly shipping cracked seeds, but one-off accidents can happen.
If the seed was recently cracked, permanent damage may have not had time to occur. It’s always worth planting the seed and seeing if it will germinate. If the seed wasn’t cold-stored and the crack had been there for some months/years, then the chances of success decrease rapidly.
Do you have any questions about Dutch Passion seeds?
Dutch Passion takes it to heart to constantly meet the highest seed-quality standards and we therefore value our customers feedback. Should you have any concerns or questions about your recently purchased Dutch Passion seeds, please get in touch with our dedicated customer service at your earliest convenience.
How to tell if your cannabis seed is bad?
Many growers are misled by the theory that a seed that splits open after being pinched is not viable. This is obviously false since the most seeds will break under strong enough pressure.
You can never be certain of the germination viability of a seed, or the quality of result it will produce, simply by visual inspection. The genetic magic is locked inside the DNA created during the breeding process. Different cannabis strains often have seeds with radically different size, shade and colour.
Some cannabis seeds can be near-white in appearance, others quite dark. When Dutch Passion did a recent germination test, a set of white vs dark cannabis seeds were compared for germination.
Both sets of autoflower seeds showed excellent germination rates. Curiously the lighter coloured seeds had slightly better germination rates than those from the dark cannabis seeds. One theory about this was that the light-coloured seeds have softer, less ‘woody’ shells than the dark seeds.
Use proven techniques to ensure the highest germination rates
If you buy cannabis seeds from one of the better-quality vendors, the chances are that you are buying fresh stock which will germinate quickly. If you are growing in soil, you may wish to germinate your seeds directly in the soil.
The other popular germination method is to germinate the cannabis seeds and then place them in the grow medium/grow system. The best germination method found for these growers is to germinate cannabis seeds between two moist (but never soaked) cotton pads.
Even with professional cold storage, germination rates are now starting to dwindle for some of the original cannabis seed archives held by the early few seed banks. That’s understandable. Some of the seeds are decades old. But for normal growing, your chances of success are maximised by buying fresh, quality cannabis seeds from a proven supplier and germinating those seeds directly in your grow medium or between damp cotton pads.
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