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marijuana seeds not germinating

Why Won’t My Marijuana Seeds Germinate

So, you have tried germinating your marijuana seeds, unsuccessfully. You might have tried using water, soil, peat, paper towel, or one of several other methods out there, but your seeds still did germinate and grow into a huge kush plant as you hoped. What the heck is going on here? (we recommend ILGM for quality seeds)

Well, there are various reasons why your marijuana seed won’t germinate. Marijuana seeds need pretty specific care and conditions to germinate properly. There could be a problem with too little or too much moisture, the wrong temperature, the weed seed could just be a dud, or there might be another problem too.

Let’s take a closer look at this issue of your weed seeds not germinating. Why won’t my marijuana seeds germinate?

Why Seed Germination Is Essential

Remember guys, all seeds need to be germinated, not just weed seeds. Of course, in nature, this often happens on its own, but if you want to grow your own marijuana plants, you will to germinate them manually. Seed germination is the act of bringing the seed to life.

By supplying it with some moisture and the right conditions, you are causing the interior of the seed to eat through its food, use up that glucose, crack through the shell, and become a little plant sprout.

Just think of it like the sprout being the yolk of the egg, which will grow into a chick, when it eats the egg white or food, which in the case of a weed seed, is the glucose stored inside of it.

A weed seed is not all that much different from a chicken egg waiting to hatch.

Why Won’t My Weed Seeds Germinate? (Using Paper Towel, Peat, or Water As The Medium)

There are in fact several reasons why your weed seeds might not be germinating. Some of these issues are caused by the people doing the germinating, and some simply cannot be helped.

Why are my weed seeds not germinating when I am using paper towel, peat, or water as the germination medium?

1. The Seeds Are Dead Ducks

The first reason why your weed seeds may not be germinating is simply because they are bad seeds. When you get weed with seeds in it, or you purchase seeds, they should look a certain way.

Generally speaking, a healthy marijuana seed is going to be a moderate to dark green in color, and should be fairly round.

If you have a weed seed that is really flat and/or light green or super pale in color, it probably won’t ever germinate. Sometimes seeds are just no good. It happens and there is nothing you can do about this.

However, on the other hand, your seeds might have been good at one point, but were then improperly stored.

Weed seeds need to be kept in a cool and dark environment until it is time for germination. If the weed seeds are not properly stored, they will degrade, die, and they will not germinate

2. Not Enough or Too Much Moisture

Another reason why your marijuana seeds might not be germinating is due to issues with moisture. For one, a lot of people end up drowning their weed seeds outright.

Yes, some people germinate their weed seeds in nothing else but water, but this tends to not have the best success rate, and it is because the seeds end up drowning.

This can also happen if you use soil, paper towel, or peat for germination. It’s not too difficult to drown them, so spritz them with enough water to be moist, but there should not be any dripping going on. Too much water can actually rot your seed outright.

On the other hand, if the weed seeds are too dry, and your germination medium is too dry, the seeds just won’t get enough water to germinate.

Water is an essential part of marijuana seed germination, and without it, nothing is going to happen.

3. Too Much Light

Now, this is not always the case, but generally speaking, germination needs to happen in a dark environment.

If your weed seeds are getting way too much light, there is a chance that they will not germinate. Like we said, this is not always the case, but it can definitely be a contributing factor.

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However, what is interesting is that as soon as the seeds pop open, they can do fine with some light, but just not too much.

There is a really fine line here and it can be hard to gauge. It does somewhat depend on the quality of the seed in question.

4. Temperature & Humidity Issues

Your marijuana seeds need a specific level of temperature and humidity in order to germinate properly, or to germinate at all.

Whatever germination medium you are using, whether water, peat, or paper towel, the temperature needs to be a steady 26 to 28 degrees.

Any hotter or colder than that, and the seeds probably won’t germinate. On that same note, a 70% humidity level is what you are aiming for.

If you are off by too much with either of these factors, the seeds aren’t going to pop open and come to life.

Why Won’t My Pot Seeds Germinate? (Using Soil As A Germination Medium)

Now, although we do not recommend using soil as your germination medium, many people go this way.

Of course, using soil as the medium has the benefit that your seed pops and sprouts in the same place you want it to grow, therefore eliminating the need to transfer the seed from the germination medium into the soil.

However, there are some problems that can arise when using soil for weed seed germination. Keep in mind that some people do plant their seeds directly in the dirt without first germinating them, but this is not a great idea and often results in failure.

Germinating a marijuana seed right in the soil is actually pretty hard and is not recommended. Why won’t my weed seeds germinate when using soil as the medium?

1. You Planted Them Too Deep

One reason why your weed seed might not have germinated in soil is because you planted it way too deep. What is interesting about planting your seed directly in soil for germination, is that it will need a bit of sunlight.

This is because when germinating directly in soil, the seed needs to both germinate and then be able to sprout and grow up past the dirt.

The issue here is that yes, a weed seed needs to have relative dark to germinate, but then needs light in order to grow through the dirt and sprout of the top.

If you bury the seed too deep, once it does open up, the sunlight won’t be able to reach it, and the sprout will therefore quickly die.

So, without just a bit of light, even if the seed does germinate in soil, it still won’t grow up past the dirt.

2. The Soil Has Mold, Fungus, or Insects

Ok, so mold, fungus, and insects of all sorts can easily kill a weed plant in just a couple of weeks. This is a big problem which many growers face, especially indoor growers.

Simply put, if the soil you are using for seed germination has any trace of mold, fungus, or burrowing insects, your seed will most likely die.

It probably won’t ever open up and sprout. However, on the off chance that it does still somehow germinate, it probably won’t live long enough to grow and sprout up past the surface of the soil.

3. The Soil Loaded With Too Much Fertilizer

Perhaps the biggest and most common issue that arises when attempting to germinate your weed seeds in soil is that the soil has too much fertilizer.

Yes, your weed plants will need some fertilizer and nutrients as they grow, but the young sprouts and seeds are extremely delicate.

Generally speaking, even small amounts of fertilizer can burn, destroy, and kill both the seed and the sprout.

4. Other Issues

  1. Moisture & Temperature – Once again, you might have drowned the weed seed in too much water. On the other hand, if you have not supplied enough moisture, just add some into the soil, and the seed may still germinate.
  2. Seed Quality – Whether you are using soil or any other medium, the seed may still just be defective on its own.
  3. Packing Down Too Hard – Now, packing the soil down on top of the seed should be done very lightly. Once the seed goes to germinate, if the soil is packed too tightly, it can prevent the seed from opening up, and if it does open up, the sprout might not be able to force its way up through the tightly packed soil.
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Weed Seed Germination – A Quick Guide & Tips

Let’s just very quickly give you a couple marijuana seed germination tips for a fast step by step process.

    you want to grow and get some seeds, ensuring that they are fairly round and a good, dark green in color.
  • Choose your germination medium, which can be paper towel, water, soil, peat pellets, or similar things to peat pellets.
  • Insert the soil into the medium, ensuring that the temperate is steadily around 27 degrees, with a humidity level of 70%, and place this in the dark. for the seed to germinate. Do not wait for longer than a day after the seed has cracked and the first sprout has started to come out to plant it.(if you have not used soil as the germination medium). Waiting too long to plant a germinated seed in soil can cause it to die.


As you can see, there are a number of factors which can affect weed seed germination, with there being a good few issues that can cause them to not germinate. It should be a fairly easy process, but there are some things that can get in the way. We would recommend using peat pellets or the paper towel method for this, as both soil and water as germination mediums usually don’t work too well.


My passion for the sticky icky started nearly a decade ago, and it all began when I first laid my eyes on the beauty that is the marijuana plant.

I cover all aspects of growing from equipment recommendations to plant health/care tips to help both new and experienced growers.

Successful germinating cannabis seeds

If you are an experienced marijuana grower you’ve already established all necessary information which is often derived from personal experience and stories of fellow growers who wish to transfer their knowledge. As a beginner it can be quite overwhelming because of the diverse amount of technical information available.

In this guide we try to set aside the overdose of technical information so both the experienced grower as well as the less experienced grower can use this information to start successfully.Cannabis cultivation and the associated knowledge must finally be accessible and understandable to everyone.

Germinating your cannabis seeds.

Cannabis seeds grow the same way as any other seed, place it in soil and if all goes well the seed will grow out to become a beautiful decoration in addition to your garden, balcony or window. The inside of cannabis seeds consist of a mix of nutrients and moisture that causes the seed to survive a period of time in your refrigerator or in some circumstances underneath the soil, the hard shell is to protect the inside of the seeds.

However it seems logical to plant your cannabis seed directly in soil but there are two other methods you can apply for a successful germination, with these methods it is easier to monitor the germination process because they’re not hidden. The first method is to place the seed directly in soil, when you place the seed in garden soil make sure it no longer freezes at night because this can cause the seed to die or rot due to fluctuation of temperature and moist.

Place the cannabis seed at least 1 centimeter in the ground, carefully fill it up with soil and water it.

Not too much water because that could start up a rotting process.

After about 3 to 7 days (in some cases even longer) you can see something growing, it raises its head just above the soil, keep it moist.

This method requires patience because it seems to last longer compared to other methods, many beginners get frustrated because there are no quick results visible and are convinced there’s something wrong with the seed while in fact there isn’t. When you decide to use this method placing the seeds in pots make sure the pots at least content 20 liters, this avoids re-potting the plant risking to damage the roots, the root system is very important as the foundation of the whole plant.

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The second method is to place the seed in a glass of water, avoid strong fluctuation of temperature, a constant 20 degrees is ideal. As long as the seeds do not germinate, it is advisable to refresh the water every other day, when you refresh handle the seed with extra care because soap or acid on your hands can influence the cannabis seed in a negative way.

After about 2 to 5 days, the little white root will show and when it is about 3 millimeters long they can be put into the ground, the little root downwards and the head of the seed just above soil. The third method is often the most effective one, place the seed between two damp to wet tissues leaving it on a plate or whatever you have.

Just take a paper towel and fold it, then drizzle it with clean water, place the seeds on one side and fold together. Make sure air reaches the seed, the combination of moist and fresh air has a positive effect on the germination process.

So whatever you do, don’t strain the plate with plastic to make it air tight, this will only cause the seed to rot, it needs air, avoid the paper towel to dry out because when tissues dry out the root could get damaged when you try to remove the seed from it, especially when its longer than 4 millimeters. When the root is damaged a healthy plant can not be guaranteed !

Opinions about where to place the dish are often divided but in fact it does not matter, whether you place the dish in a dark or light spot, both spots work fine as long as the temperature doesn’t fluctuate too much. When the root appears place it in soil and again, root down and head just above the soil is the best way.

Of course things can go wrong, even when you’ve practiced the best germination method with the best soil and equipment, cannabis seeds are a product of nature and unfortunately it is still not possible to check the inside of the seed. You can only tell for sure if a cannabis seed is successful when it has germinated. Just as well as poor looking seeds can grow out to be a big healthy plant.

After germination the seedling can be placed in the spot of your choice, don’t wait too long providing the most optimal environment because when she is in need of light or water a successful process is being slowed down.

Make sure when you grow her indoors the lights are at the right distance to avoid stretching, stretching means the seedling is not developing but only getting taller in order to receive enough light. You’ll see that the stem will get longer but she stays thin without growing any side leaves and can cause the plant to break and die.

Pre growing

Pre-growing gives your little seedling the change of a healthy indoor development without having to deal with bad weather or strong fluctuating weather conditions appearing at the end of winter. In a lot of countries spring still has freezing nights and lack of sun and specially for these situations pre-growing is almost a must ! By the time the weather improves the cannabis plant has strong roots, has developed a good set of leaves and is ready to be placed outdoors.

There are semi-professional set ups available in many grow stores but to be honest an energy saving light bulb of 20 watts (equals 100 watt light bulb) or TL-Lights with blue spectrum (white light) will do just fine for pre-growing and it prevents you from having to buy expensive equipment, the choice is yours !

Whatever you do make sure to hang the lamp at the right distance, compared to professional lights temperatures from saving bulbs and TL lights don’t get as hot and won’t burn the leaves easily so professional lights should be placed further away than TL or saving bulb. Pre-growing autoflowers won’t demand special white light, they are fast growers who benefit from warm yellow lights immediately and have the tendency to grow into a compact little plant with a head stem of at least half a centimeter but again, lights and distance is very important.