lickofmyspoon
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Why Do Some Seeds Germinate Badly?

Hi, I recently tried to germinate a bunch of seeds in soil. My sprouts usually pop up after 3 to 7 days, these had not come up after two weeks. When I dug my seeds up to investigate I found one of three things happened. Either the seed did not germinate, the root would be twisting in tiny circles horizontally or the seed popped its cotyledons first and died.

I need to know what actually causes this, please don't submit guesses or tell me how to germinate seeds. Thanks in advance.

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applestar
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Re: Why Do Some Seeds Germinate Badly?

First, let us know what kind of seeds they were and how you started them. When you say "soil" do you mean outside ...or indoor in containers? Oh and what temperatures high and low you have been getting if outside, or the indoor seed starting area.

Briefly -- age of seeds (how old since harvested), storage conditions, and temperature and other seed starting conditions can affect germination. Each plant seed has specific ideal germination conditions, and how long it takes to germinate in those ideal conditions -- they are not all the same.
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imafan26
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Re: Why Do Some Seeds Germinate Badly?

There are a lot of thing that affect germination and survival
Applestar listed the more important ones
1 Seed viability. Seeds should be fresh and kept cool and dry. Seeds lose viability over time but some can sprout well even years later.
2. Soil. The soil should not be too rich in nitrogen or too wet. Too much nitrogen and seeds won't sprout well and too wet and the seeds will rot. Seeds should be kept evenly moist though as drying out will also cause them to die. I use a light soil mix that dries fairly fast but not so fast that I have to water more than once a day. I do have better results with peatlite than with MG in pots. MG is still too heavy for seeds. I do have osmocote and some vermicast in the mix if I have it, but otherwise I don't fertilize again until they get transplanted. I do not bottom water and my seeds are started outside. If you are starting seeds indoors you need to make sure the trays don't sit in water all of the time and know how often to water. I am amazed by the people who get anything to grow in peat pellets. I have tried them a few times and usually the seedlings if they sprout, are weak and shortly die off.
3. Light is important some seeds need light to germinate and some require total darkness
4 Temperature. Some seeds do not germinate well until they reach optimum temperatures.
5. Some seeds will stay dormant until it is time to grow. Nasturtiums come up for me every year, but the seeds will lie dormant all summer waiting for the right time to sprout.
6 Some seeds need to be stratified or conditioned to sprout. Things like garlic, many bulbs, roses, coneflowers need to be conditioned. Morning glory sprouts better if the seed is nicked. Spinach and cilantro sprout better if the seeds are soaked overnight in warm water. Some peppers need to be pretreated with potassium nitrate to get them to sprout reliably.
7. It also helps to plant by the moon. I get much better results when I plant greens, fruits and flowers in the waxing days of the moon and root crops when the moon is waning. I get very poor results planting on the barren days. Not everyone believes in it, but it is something that has been around since ancient times and it does work.

8. If you want to check if the problem is with the seed or your mix. Sprout 10 seeds on a paper towel. You should get 80% germination or better if the seeds are good.

I like to sprout seeds in community pots. I saves me room and I have fewer empty pots. I transplant the seedlings to individual containers when the true leaves appear. I germinate most seeds on the surface and sometimes I will put a paper towel over fine seed and keep it moist. The paper towel needs to be carefully removed when the seedlings emerge.

Applestar germinates her seed in paper towels and then transplants just when they start to sprout.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

lickofmyspoon
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Re: Why Do Some Seeds Germinate Badly?

Right, these are cannabis seeds, they are less than a year old, they come from a respected breeder. I soaked them overnight in spring water. I got some standard pH balanced indoor potting mix, usual blend of good things, ozmocote, etc. The seeds were placed in soil about 5mm down, no water was added as it was moist in the bag. Each was in a separate starter pot on a tray with a dome top. There was a seedling heat mat under the tray and a 36W T5 light overhead.

Once again, please don't submit guesses or tell me how to germinate seeds.

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applestar
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Re: Why Do Some Seeds Germinate Badly?

You sound like you are saying you made no mistakes and tried to start them in the same way you always have, but these purchased or traded seeds didn't germinate/sprout as you had expected.

I always doubt myself first because my seed starting procedures are not one set pattern and try varying techniques -- sometimes I can look back and pin-point where I went wrong. Sometimes, it's still environmental because even with the thermostat, the heating mat temperature can be erratic and influenced by the sudden heatwave or chill in weather.

Do you usually start them from your own harvested seeds? I like to experiment and with almost every kind of plants, my own collected/harvested seeds germinate faster and better % than even the purchased or traded seeds from solid commercial and non-commercial sources. This year, I have had surprising number of failures from traded seeds even though the gardeners who sent them are reporting good results with their own seed starting (and I have a fair confidence in the starting procedure used for these particular seeds). We have speculated that the postal system might be doing something -- irradiating mail, etc. I have heard that this can happen more if the particular envelope went through certain mail sorting hubs.... OK this is PURE SPECULATION or as You say GUESS.

...are you trying to decide whether to make a claim of seed failure to the person or company you obtained the seeds from? If you have some left, you may want to try the simple paper towel in a baggie/zip bag technique -- I prefer to use what I call "spoon seedzip" technique -- and observe what % the seeds will actually GERMINATE....

Hmmm looking back to your descriptions, you mentioned that some of them germinated but failed to sprout (tried to sprout but failed to make their way above-"ground") -- that part could be because the seeds were sown too deep (were the hypocotyl extraordinarily long?) or else they got dried out after germinating (hm. Did you say they had cotyledons but NO roots? I was going to ask about condition/appearance of their roots). I have no definitive ideas about the coiled roots, so I won't guess without more details (photo might help). :wink:
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

pepperhead212
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Re: Why Do Some Seeds Germinate Badly?

Let's face it, all we can do is guess, even with our own seeds, and what's happening with those.
Dave

lickofmyspoon
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Re: Why Do Some Seeds Germinate Badly?

I complained to the seed seller who insisted I kept at least 20% of the original seeds in the original packaging, of course there were no extras as the packs contain three seeds each. The seller recommended taking it up with the breeder's company. After a week I was told this wouldn't have happened if I had used paper towels instead of soil. All of this sounds like a steam pile of BS. I used seeds from other breeders at the same time using all the same materials and environmental conditions and had 100% germination rate. I repeat, the seeds were (at most) 5mm down. The seeds that popped leaves first looked like bunny heads. The ones that popped root first were like corkscrews, like an handwritten letter 'e' that repeats a few times or just wrapping the root around the seed shell. I'd used this breeder's seeds for years without any problems.

I was hoping someone had experience with this specifically. I figured this was due to hormones or chemicals used on parental plants or perhaps something added to the seeds to keep them fresh.

imafan26
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Re: Why Do Some Seeds Germinate Badly?

I haven't grown cannabis. Someone I know did have a plant and he said it came from bird droppings.
You did not say in your original post what kind of seeds you had. So we are just trying to give you advice from our experience with a variety of seeds.

If you want specific information on cannabis there are forums dedicated to the subject that would be better.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

lickofmyspoon
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Re: Why Do Some Seeds Germinate Badly?

I've tried several cannabis websites before coming here. Supposedly, not a single person has ever experienced this before me. I find the majority of members on Cannabis forums to be uneducated, whimsical and totally unhelpful. I did a bit of digging online and this site turned up as one with the potential to have the answers I'm looking for.



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