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Seedlings issues

Sancheh

Active Member
I would hazard a guess at overwatering mate in those big pots it's easy to do if ur inexperienced...my advice would be get those seedlings out and repot using fresh soil and reign in ur watering.. u might find they recover:thumb:
 

Grandma Weedstein

Well-Known Member
Embarrassing i kno but help ! Any advice will be greatly appreciated
You’ve hit upon a topic that I’ve given a lot of consideration — my condolences. I’m not claiming to be a master cannabis grower, but I have experience with many other types of seeds as well. If you bother wading through the multitude of thoughts below, I believe you will have better luck:

From what I’ve seen of your plants in the photos, the roots are drowning. Either you’re watering them too much or the soil medium isn’t draining properly or the containers are in an awkward position that’s forcing them to re-absorb water.

The fact they’re growing a second or third set of leaves without getting bigger is a classic sign of stunting. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to start over because those plants aren’t going to snap out of it.

Don’t feel bad, it’s really easy to overwater. Even someone who is highly aware of this pitfall can fall prey to it. I was very cautious about not overwatering with a batch of seedlings earlier this year and yet still managed to overwater — I used shitty soil that got water-logged, since I was reluctant to drive into town during covid to buy my usual brand.

I also didn’t notice that some of my tiny little sprouting containers were in a weird tilted position that caused them to sit in drained water. The soil just kept wicking water up, drowning the seedlings. I failed to notice because I was sprouting so many at once.

Arguably, avoiding overwatering is the most important thing you can do in the early days of germination and post-germination. The trick is you can’t under-water, either, LOL.

To dial in the right amount of irrigation, I use trays of super tiny containers meant for clones. Each one is like an inch cubed. Fill them with potting soil, not anything needlessly complicated like coco coir. Moisten the soil thoroughly before planting the seed, not after — that way, the rushing water won’t move it to an undesirable depth or position.

Once the plants have popped, I don’t water until the soil is visibly drying out. Even then, I use a dripper to add water directly to the seedling’s base. Transplant into bigger containers once you see roots emerging from the bottom.

Dropping your seeds into a cup of water before planting is a good idea but 24-48 hours seems way too long. That might be contributing to your problem with the lack of oxygen to plant roots, aka drowning. I haven’t run scientific studies on this, but it stands to reason that starting your plant’s life underwater with basically zero oxygen isn’t a recipe for success. Cannabis isn’t a water lily. It’s not meant to grow in aquatic conditions.

Instead, drop them in a cup of water before you go to bed. By the time you wake up, they should have sunk. If they haven’t, push them down with some sort if utensil until they do. I rapidly stab at them with a shish-kebab stick. Don’t use your finger because the seed can stick to it, then get flung off. After about 4-6 hours after they’ve sunk, plant the seeds into moist soil. This way, you’re ensuring the inner seed is hydrated enough to trigger growth without drowning it.

This piece of advice is going to be controversial, but it’s my experience: Don’t bother sprouting the seed in a paper towel. Just stick it in the soil. As part of my breeding project, I’ve sprouted A LOT of seeds, with most of the seedlings eventually getting tossed as I zero in on the ones I want to breed. I have tried both the towel method and straight to soil.

The towel method is useful to the extent that it allows you to see if the seed has germinated but it doesn’t seem to actually help the plant. By and large, the seeds I stick straight in the soil after soaking pop up faster than those from the paper towel.

At best, it’s an unnecessary detour. At worst, it’s an opportunity to screw up the delicate newly-sprouted seed or its tap root. I realize it’s reassuring to know the seed was viable, but you’re going to find out anyway, so just be patient.

If anyone can explain why interfering with a newly germinated seed during a super-delicate growth stage is beneficial to the plant, I’d love to hear it. Until then, I will just consider this an unnecessary detour that’s aimed at appeasing the human rather than assisting the plant.

The concept of planting a seed with a half-inch taproot seems bizarre to me. How is this necessary or helpful to the plant? I mean, didn’t cannabis evolve to just grow in the ground?

Why would the plant rather go through this limbo where its tap root is exposed and manipulated post-germination? If someone is going to bite my head off about this, I welcome it — a lot of people are devoted to planting seeds with a taproot, after all. I am genuinely curious why this is necessary.

Finally, I feel that a lot of folks are planting their seeds at an unnecessary depth. I realize that folks have recommended planting at a depth of the first knuckle of the index finger. I don’t want to start a fight or talk shit, but let’s discuss this. On my hand, that’s about an inch. An inch of soil the seed has to fight through with stored energy before it has any opportunity for photosynthesis.

Why not give the seedling a chance to see the light earlier? I plant my seeds slightly deeper than they are thick. Probably a quarter-inch, maybe even slightly less sometimes.

At this shallower depth, I probably get more seeds that sprout with the husk still on. So what? I haven’t actually had any plants die from having the seed husk attached to a cotyledon. Can you be sure that some “ungerminated” seeds didn’t actually just run out of steam fighting through an inch of soil?

Realistically, I’ve found the expansion of the seedling’s cotyledon leaves is primarily responsible for cracking and shedding the seed husk. Of course, the soil friction probably helps. But if the seed has enough energy to fight through an inch of soil, do you really think it lacks the energy to shed the seed husk?

In most cases, the seedling will get the job done itself and then immediately access light for photosynthesis. In a few cases, you can help it along by putting a bit of spit on the seed husk, so the enzymes help dissolve it. If worse comes to worse, it’s usually apparent where a flick of a razor blade will sever the husk fiber needed to free the cotyledons.

But this is all pretty rare — usually the worst thing that happens is the seed husk sticks to one of the cotyledons, which totally doesn’t hinder the plant. Meanwhile, giving the seedling access to sunlight ASAP outweighs these risks, in my view.
 
Last edited:

Sancheh

Active Member
You’ve hit upon a topic that I’ve given a lot of consideration — my condolences. I’m not claiming to be a master cannabis grower, but I have experience with many other types of seeds as well. If you bother wading through the multitude of thoughts below, I believe you will have better luck:

From what I’ve seen of your plants in the photos, the roots are drowning. Either you’re watering them too much or the soil medium isn’t draining properly or the containers are in an awkward position that’s forcing them to re-absorb water.

The fact they’re growing a second or third set of leaves without getting bigger is a classic sign of stunting. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to start over because those plants aren’t going to snap out of it.

Don’t feel bad, it’s really easy to overwater. Even someone who is highly aware of this pitfall can fall prey to it. I was very cautious about not overwatering with a batch of seedlings earlier this year and yet still managed to overwater — I used shitty soil that got water-logged, since I was reluctant to drive into town during covid to buy my usual brand.

I also didn’t notice that some of my tiny little sprouting containers were in a weird tilted position that caused them to sit in drained water. The soil just kept wicking water up, drowning the seedlings. I failed to notice because I was sprouting so many at once.

Arguably, avoiding overwatering is the most important thing you can do in the early days of germination and post-germination. The trick is you can’t under-water, either, LOL.

To dial in the right amount of irrigation, I use trays of super tiny containers meant for clones. Each one is like an inch cubed. Fill them with potting soil, not anything needlessly complicated like coco coir. Moisten the soil thoroughly before planting the seed, not after — that way, the rushing water won’t move it to an undesirable depth or position.

Once the plants have popped, I don’t water until the soil is visibly drying out. Even then, I use a dripper to add water directly to the seedling’s base. Transplant into bigger containers once you see roots emerging from the bottom.

Dropping your plants into a cup of water before planting is a good idea but 24-48 hours seems way too long. That might be contributing to your problem with the lack of oxygen to plant roots, aka drowning. I haven’t run scientific studies on this, but it stands to reason that starting your plant’s life underwater with basically zero oxygen isn’t a recipe for success. Cannabis isn’t a water lily. It’s not meant to grow in aquatic conditions.

Instead, drop them in a cup of water before you go to bed. By the time you wake up, they should have sunk. If they haven’t, push them down with some sort if utensil until they do. I rapidly stab at them with a shish-kebab stick. Don’t use your finger because the seed can stick to it, then get flung off. After about 4-6 hours after they’ve sunk, plant the seeds into moist soil. This way, you’re ensuring the inner seed is hydrated enough to trigger growth without drowning it.

This piece of advice is going to be controversial, but it’s my experience: Don’t bother sprouting the seed in a paper towel. Just stick it in the soil. As part of my breeding project, I’ve sprouted A LOT of seeds, with most of the seedlings eventually getting tossed as I zero in on the ones I want to breed. I have tried both the towel method and straight to soil.

The towel method is useful to the extent that it allows you to see if the seed has germinated but it doesn’t seem to actually help the plant. By and large, the seeds I stick straight in the soil after soaking pop up faster than those from the paper towel.

At best, it’s an unnecessary detour. At worst, it’s an opportunity to screw up the delicate newly-sprouted seed or its tap root. I realize it’s reassuring to know the seed was viable, but you’re going to find out anyway, so just be patient.

If anyone can explain why interfering with a newly germinated seed during a super-delicate growth stage is beneficial to the plant, I’d love to hear it. Until then, I will just consider this an unnecessary detour that’s aimed at appeasing the human rather than assisting the plant.

The concept of planting a seed with a half-inch taproot seems bizarre to me. How is this necessary or helpful to the plant? I mean, didn’t cannabis evolve to just grow in the ground?

Why would the plant rather go through this limbo where its tap root is exposed and manipulated post-germination? If someone is going to bite my head off about this, I welcome it — a lot of people are devoted to planting seeds with a taproot, after all. I am genuinely curious why this is necessary.

Finally, I feel that a lot of folks are planting their seeds at an unnecessary depth. I realize that folks have recommended planting at a depth of the first knuckle of the index finger. I don’t want to start a fight or talk shit, but let’s discuss this. On my hand, that’s about an inch. An inch of soil the seed has to fight through with stored energy before it has any opportunity for photosynthesis.

Why not give the seedling a chance to see the light earlier? I plant my seeds slightly deeper than they are thick. Probably a quarter-inch, maybe even slightly less sometimes.

At this shallower depth, I probably get more seeds that sprout with the husk still on. So what? I haven’t actually had any plants die from having the seed husk attached to a cotyledon. Can you be sure that some “ungerminated” seeds didn’t actually just run out of steam fighting through an inch of soil?

Realistically, I’ve found the expansion of the seedling’s cotyledon leaves is primarily responsible for cracking and shedding the seed husk. Of course, the soil friction probably helps. But if the seed has enough energy to fight through an inch of soil, do you really think it lacks the energy to shed the seed husk?

In most cases, the seedling will get the job done itself and then immediately access light for photosynthesis. In a few cases, you can help it along by putting a bit of spit on the seed husk, so the enzymes help dissolve it. If worse comes to worse, it’s usually apparent where a flick of a razor blade will sever the husk fiber needed to free the cotyledons.

But this is all pretty rare — usually the worst thing that happens is the seed husk sticks to one of the cotyledons, which totally doesn’t hinder the plant. Meanwhile, giving the seedling access to sunlight ASAP outweighs these risks, in my view.
Brilliant :high-five:
 

BubblinBuds

Well-Known Member
@Mellomale you’ve gotten some very good information so far in this thread. If I missed your answer to this question I apologize, but what soil are you using and what are the nutrient values? I don’t grow cannabis in soil, but a variety of other herbs and perennials get my attention in soil. If your using Fox Farms soil be careful, as it’s known to be “hot” or high in its nutrient values, sometimes too much for seedlings. It’s early and my eyes are still a bit fuzzy but a couple of those pics look toxic, the others look deficient.. possible lockout after early toxicity? (Again just speculation) Are you PH’ing the water you put into them? (This is very important) Not overwatering is also very important, because they do look a little over saturated in the pictures. If your unsure about your watering methods there are some great threads to help guide you. I will find one and link it for you if your interested. But I’m if you can answer those questions we’ll be getting ourselves a little closer to the culprit.

Other things I noticed worth mentioning, I think you said your using two 315 watt lights on those seedlings? 630 watts is a lot for seedlings, dial it down until their bigger. The high temp and low humidity isn’t helping this either, try to get the heat down and humidity up. Definitely get that heat in check ASAP, that’s a very hot environment for seedling stage. There’s so many variables at play here, and I’m not well enough informed about your grow (or grow room habits) to put my cross hairs on one variable that’s causing the seedling death yet but we got a list of suspects now. Also, do not be embarrassed to post pics or ask any questions ever, the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask. I (as well as the rest of this community) want to see you succeed and we will help you in every way we can to see that happen. This is just a bump in the road my man, once we get you straightened out you’ll be good to go. :thumb: There are a lot of bright minds on this forum, you should consider creating a journal so we can all follow along and give guidance along the way.




If anyone can explain why interfering with a newly germinated seed during a super-delicate growth stage is beneficial to the plant, I’d love to hear it. Until then, I will just consider this an unnecessary detour that’s aimed at appeasing the human rather than assisting the plant.
I’m not going to try and guess why other people do it, or take a stab at the science behind it because I don’t know. All I can do is explain to you how and why I do it... first of all no soaking my seeds, I go straight to paper towel folded over in a dampened napkin and seal it up in a Tupperware container. Put the Tupperware in a suitcase and place that suitcase next to the vent for heat, within 48-72 hours I have nice long cork screw style tap root that is about 3/4” to an inch long. I do this because I grow hydroponically and do not use any starter plugs or wool.. I Go straight into a 5 gallon bucket with the net pot filled with hydroton, right out of the Tupperware. It works great for me, the plant goes straight into direct sunlight and I usually have a root or two poking out of the net pot within 3-5 days. Sometimes they open up themselves but often I have to manually remove the shell and embryo to open them up. It’s very simple to do and I’ve never damaged a seedling removing its shell. Again this wasn’t a grand explanation to your question, your going to need a collective of answers from soil growers who do indeed plant their seeds that way and gauge their responses to draw your own conclusion. I just wanted to answer your question, as to why I do it the way I do, hopefully I did. This is just one hydro growers method of germination and planting. :)
 

Jackalope

Well-Known Member
I would look into your water. Other then what Grandma W. said about germination everything you are doing sounds ok. I start all mine in F.F. soil so that is not the problem. a plant or 2 don't like the having nuits right off but they pull through.

The fact that your seeds are popping then die afterwords says a lot. Do you let your water breath for 24 hours before using? City water has all kinds of stuff in it plants may not like. Chlorine being one of them. Letting your water breath for 24 hrs lets the chlorine evaporate out. My guess it is either Chlorine or bad PH in your tap water.
 

Grandma Weedstein

Well-Known Member
@Mellomale you’ve gotten some very good information so far in this thread. If I missed your answer to this question I apologize, but what soil are you using and what are the nutrient values? I don’t grow cannabis in soil, but a variety of other herbs and perennials get my attention in soil. If your using Fox Farms soil be careful, as it’s known to be “hot” or high in its nutrient values, sometimes too much for seedlings. It’s early and my eyes are still a bit fuzzy but a couple of those pics look toxic, the others look deficient.. possible lockout after early toxicity? (Again just speculation) Are you PH’ing the water you put into them? (This is very important) Not overwatering is also very important, because they do look a little over saturated in the pictures. If your unsure about your watering methods there are some great threads to help guide you. I will find one and link it for you if your interested. But I’m if you can answer those questions we’ll be getting ourselves a little closer to the culprit.

Other things I noticed worth mentioning, I think you said your using two 315 watt lights on those seedlings? 630 watts is a lot for seedlings, dial it down until their bigger. The high temp and low humidity isn’t helping this either, try to get the heat down and humidity up. Definitely get that heat in check ASAP, that’s a very hot environment for seedling stage. There’s so many variables at play here, and I’m not well enough informed about your grow (or grow room habits) to put my cross hairs on one variable that’s causing the seedling death yet but we got a list of suspects now. Also, do not be embarrassed to post pics or ask any questions ever, the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask. I (as well as the rest of this community) want to see you succeed and we will help you in every way we can to see that happen. This is just a bump in the road my man, once we get you straightened out you’ll be good to go. :thumb: There are a lot of bright minds on this forum, you should consider creating a journal so we can all follow along and give guidance along the way.






I’m not going to try and guess why other people do it, or take a stab at the science behind it because I don’t know. All I can do is explain to you how and why I do it... first of all no soaking my seeds, I go straight to paper towel folded over in a dampened napkin and seal it up in a Tupperware container. Put the Tupperware in a suitcase and place that suitcase next to the vent for heat, within 48-72 hours I have nice long cork screw style tap root that is about 3/4” to an inch long. I do this because I grow hydroponically and do not use any starter plugs or wool.. I Go straight into a 5 gallon bucket with the net pot filled with hydroton, right out of the Tupperware. It works great for me, the plant goes straight into direct sunlight and I usually have a root or two poking out of the net pot within 3-5 days. Sometimes they open up themselves but often I have to manually remove the shell and embryo to open them up. It’s very simple to do and I’ve never damaged a seedling removing its shell. Again this wasn’t a grand explanation to your question, your going to need a collective of answers from soil growers who do indeed plant their seeds that way and gauge their responses to draw your own conclusion. I just wanted to answer your question, as to why I do it the way I do, hopefully I did. This is just one hydro growers method of germination and planting. :)
Yeah, I could see that making sense for hydro growers. I always just worry the tap root might get broken or stunted if the seed is inadvertently handled roughly during planting.
 

BubblinBuds

Well-Known Member
Yeah, I could see that making sense for hydro growers. I always just worry the tap root might get broken or stunted if the seed is inadvertently handled roughly during planting.
Yeah and I definitely have to give it a delicate touch, you can’t be rough with it by any means. Takes a little practice getting them placed right but once you get the hang of it, it’s no problem. I know your question was geared towards soil growers but I thought I’d add some info that might be useful.
 

Jackalope

Well-Known Member
Tweezers work great for transferring seeds from the paper towel to the soil. Since I tried it the first time I have never went back.
 
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