As they say, not all heroes wear capes, and absolutely zero of them toss old seeds.
Germinating old seeds can be difficult, if not impossible, if it’s not done exactly right. That being said, it is possible. So before you toss those marijuana seeds that you’ve been keeping at the bottom of an old baggie, be sure and give this a read. But, let’s just start with how to store seeds the right way, so you won’t have to bust out those superpowers next time.
You might find yourself asking “How long do marijuana seeds last?” This is a great question, and the answer almost solely depends on the methods of preservation. Depending on how you’ve stored your seeds, they can essentially last indefinitely.
In order to store seeds correctly, you’ll have to provide them with a cool, dry environment. The idea here is to prevent the seeds from trying to germinate before you’re ready to stick them in the ground. Light, water, and heat are all things that help seeds sprout, so it should come as no surprise that you’d need an almost total absence of these things in order to store seeds for long periods of time.
One of the best, and most readily available, places to store seeds long term is to stick them in a refrigerator. Ideally, you don;t want to freeze the seeds, as any moisture that may be contained inside can crystallize and harm the future seedling. So, keeping them at a cool 6-8 degrees Celsius (42-46º F) is far better than a deep freeze. That will pretty much obliterate the heat element.
To discourage any light from getting in, place the seeds in an opaque container. While it’s unlikely that the seeds will enjoy much sunlight in your crisper drawer, placing the seeds in a small container means that you can more readily control their immediate environment. On top of shutting out light and excess moisture, place small bags of silica gel in with the seeds. This will help prevent any excess moisture build up, effectively keeping your seeds viable for extended periods of time.
Okay, so maybe you didn’t have that information on hand when you scored your last round of seeds. Not to worry, there are quite a few clever, science backed tricks that you can employ to revive your little glory bombs. The problem with most old seeds, whether stored properly or not, is that as the seeds ages, it’s shell hardens. This makes it extremely difficult for water to get inside the seed to help your little seedlings grow and emerge. The best ways to reinvigorate old seeds is to find clever ways of penetrating their heavy duty shells.
Tried and true, Mother Nature seems to know what she’s doing. This method is pretty much how it’s done with just about any type of plant, not just marijuana seeds. Essentially- you plant the seed. Water. Wait. Pretty straightforward.
This is a pretty common practice used to germinate almost any seed. Take a few moist paper towels and place the seeds you’d like to germinate on top. Place a few more moist towels on top of the seeds and seal in a container. Keep the container somewhere it will be warm and get a bit of light. Seeds should germinate in about 72 hours.
For stubborn seeds, place them in a glass of water with a few drops of hydrogen peroxide for about 24 hours. The hydrogen peroxide will help break down the outer shell and get water into the sprout where it’s needed. Once the seeds are done soaking, take them out of the mixture and rinse, then follow up with the soil or paper towel method.
Another way to coax the shell to break down a bit is to add some fulvic acid to your original water source. A concentration of about 10ml/L is suggested. Fulvic acid is a natural component of healthy soil. It’s an organic polymer that is extracted from humus. It helps further facilitate the breakdown of the marijuana seeds outer shell and also encourages healthy plant growth.
When all else fails, you may need to score (scratch or cut) the outer surface of the seed by mechanical means. This can be achieved in two ways: With sandpaper, or a steady hand and a sharp knife. If you’re going the sandpaper route, line a small container, like a matchbox, with fine grain sandpaper. Pop your seeds, around 30-60 at a time, and shake the container for a good three minutes. For the knife method- use an extremely fine blade, such as found on Exacto knives or scalp to create a shallow cut in one side of the seed.
When you’ve finished scoring your seeds, follow up with the soil or paper towel method, and be the marijuana seed hero we’ve always needed.