There are few things as disappointing as seeds that don’t sprout. It isn’t so easy to get quality cannabis seeds. You’ve invested your time and money to obtain the best seeds you can find, and you want every single one to grow into a beautiful plant.
But germination can be tricky, thanks to the tough outer shell on cannabis seeds. We’ll show you how to scarify your marijuana seeds to greatly improve germination rates.
Why Do Cannabis Seeds have such Tough Shells?
A seed has two basic parts:
- The Embryonic Plant – This is the part that grows into a big, productive cannabis plant.
- The Outer Shell – This protective coating keeps the embryo safe during a long winter.
The tough outer shell gives the seed an evolutionary advantage, allowing it to survive freezing weather, storms and, in some cases, even a trip through the digestive tract of an animal.
In order to germinate, water and gasses must penetrate that tough coating to stimulate the embryo. If the shell is especially tough, sometimes they simply don’t get through.
Did you know? Hybrid cannabis seeds tend to have extra-tough seed shells.
Scarifying Cannabis Seeds Helps Germination
Scarifying simply means scarring the shell of a tough seed to let in moisture and air. It can be done to any type of seed with a tough shell, from cannabis to nasturtium seeds. Scarifying can speed germination so much that your cannabis seeds will literally sprout overnight.
Your goal is to make a small nick in the seed shell. You never want to go too deep, as this can damage the embryo and make the seed unviable.
Damage the seed shell by:
- Sand the shell gently with fine grain sandpaper. Only sand until the shell is dull and scratches are visible OR
- Use a metal file to file the edge of the shell. Only file until the shell appears dull and you can see several small scratches in the surface OR
- Use the nail clippers to nip a tiny piece of shell off the end of the seed.
Scarify Seeds by Soaking in Hot Water
This is an alternate method for scarifying tough shelled cannabis seeds using hot water. With this technique you don’t actually cut, scratch or damage the outer shell in any way.
Follow these easy steps:
- Place seeds in hot, but not boiling, water.
- Allow the water to cool to room temperature.
- Soak seeds in the same water for another 12 hours.
- Germinate your Scarified Seeds
Now it is time to germinate the scarified seeds. If you have a preferred technique, feel free to use it. You could plant the seeds directly into moist soil, place them in rockwool cubes to germinate or follow these easy steps:
- Moisten a paper towel so it is damp but not dripping water.
- Lay the seeds on the paper towel.
- Place the seeds and towel inside a ZipLock bag and squeeze out all the air. Seal the bag.
- Place in a warm area (80-90°F)
- Watch scarified seeds sprout in 24-48 hours!
- Plant your seeds root down in soil or a hydroponic medium. Happy Growing!
Scarifying seeds is a simple technique that is highly effective. Use it to speed germination (you can literally sprout seeds overnight!) and to improve germination rates of stubborn seeds.
Remember that growing great cannabis is as much an art as a science, and there is a learning curve to everything. Be cautious when you begin scarifying. If you don’t do enough your seeds may be slow to germinate, but if you go to deeply with the file or clippers you could kill the seed entirely. Start out with gentle scarification. You can increase the depth of your nicks as you gain experience.
Some info from: howtogrowmarijuana.com
- Check out our seed store – It’s well worth checking!