Cannabis Seed Storage and Germination - The Facts
Have you ever bought cannabis seeds? Or do you have old cannabis seeds at your home, but you don’t know if they’re viable?
If you are a farmer or someone who must grow or sell cannabis seeds, you must know how long cannabis seeds last.
The viability of cannabis seeds depends on how you’ve stored them, their quality, and the strain.
The chances of successful seed germination becomes lower when the time increases after harvesting the seed from the parent plant.
In this article, we’ll discuss how long you can keep cannabis seeds and how you can store them for a long time.
What's the Viability of Cannabis Seeds?
It’s quite dubious as various strains of weed seeds come with different timings.
But you can have viable seeds for germination under ideal conditions.
Firstly, it depends on the seeds’ quality – high-quality seeds can stay viable for around six years when stored appropriately.
However, low-quality seeds coming from soft strains may stay viable only for three years. After that, they won’t be viable for growth and germination.
5 Factors Involved in Seed Viability
These factors that determine how long marijuana seeds last:
- Quality of Seeds
It has been on record that seeds can last for 7 years, but it’s very rare.
It’s usually not suggested to preserve them for over 3 years at max.
How to Increase the Viability of Cannabis Seeds?
Storing conditions matter a lot when we talk about seed viability, and these conditions can increase or decrease seed quality.
So, let’s go through key tips about marijuana seed storage and how to enhance its viability.
Firstly, we’ll see the 4 main factors that cause early seed germination, but they also play a major role in damaging them and decreasing their viability.
1. Temperature Changes
Temperature is the most important factor that causes seed germination. But super-high temperatures can make your seeds rot inside out.
The low temperature protects them from the excessive heat that can harm them.
Keeping seeds in the refrigerator or at some cool place is a great way of storing cannabis.
Most people store seeds at 4ºC (39ºF). However, it’s not a hard rule. For example, when you store them at 10ºC, they’ll last longer than if they’re stored at 20ºC.
You can use a freezer (at -15 to -20ºC) for better storage.
You can suppose cannabis seeds last for decades if stored in the freezer. But it comes with some risks.
The fragile tissues of the embryo can smash when shaken or mishandled.
Thus, it’s recommended only for long-term storage. The fridge (4ºC) is a good place for cannabis seed storage as it offers a constant temperature.
Therefore, keeping seeds away from bright light while storing them is essential. You must place seeds in a dark place.
Be sure to use a sealable and light-resistant or dark container.
The outer shell of the seed shields the embryo from light. Cannabis seeds can’t cope with intense light levels.
Too much light can decrease the seeds viability.
A good way to store cannabis seeds is to place them in a dark and humidity-proof container to uphold their maximum germination rates.
3. Humidity Level
The humidity level is also an essential factor for seed storage.
Moist and humid conditions are required for the germination process, which refers to low humidity conditions good for seed storage.
Water is efficient in softening the rigid and hard shells of the seeds to allow the emergence of taproots, but excess water can cause damage to the seeds.
The water content of the seed should be 10% when you want to keep them for long-term storage.
The easy way to store seeds is to keep them in the refrigerator as it doesn’t have high humidity levels.
You don’t need to measure the humidity levels of the fridge, just ensure that the seeds are placed in an airtight container and the dark environment.
Thereby, cannabis seeds last longer and remain viable for five years. The recommended humidity level is 5% for short-term and long-term storage.
You’ll be aware that the fresh seeds straight off the plant aren’t mature enough to germinate if you produce your own cannabis seeds.
Therefore, some people believe in maturing seeds by short-term storage at room temperature.
It makes seeds lose some moisture content to a level where they become more viable.
You must be thinking about how much time you should store seeds to dry.
You should store them for a couple of months to let them dry.
Oxygen is required for seed germination.
However, bacteria and other parasites also require oxygen, so you should keep a minimum oxygen level if you want to keep your seeds free of parasites.
They can be harder to get hold of, but you can use a vacuum sealing container when it comes to storage.
4 Things to Consider When Buying Cannabis Seeds
One of the key aspects when we look at how long do cannabis seeds last, is the quality of the seeds.
All of the storage hacks, temperature guidance etc will count for very little, if you are purchasing a poor quality seed from the outset.
So let’s look at what you should be thinking about when buying your cannabis seeds.
1. Plant Gender
Though it seems trivial, it’s critical.
The female plants are a good choice if you are a new grower and want to grow smoked seeds because they develop small buds that can be smoked.
However, male plants are good for consumption.
2. Seed Appearance
Good seeds have gray or dark outer shells.
Healthy seeds have a wax coating and feel firm when you touch them. A seed is good for planting if it doesn’t break or bend if you squeeze them between your fingers.
Poor quality seeds have a green and white appearance. They won’t germinate or may require a longer time to mature.
You should get fresh and young seeds for better yields.
3. Floating Capability
You can perform a floating test if you can’t identify seeds from their appearance.
For this, put your seeds in a glass of water.
Low-quality seeds won’t sink, while good ones will sink to the bottom.
4. Flowering Time
Flowering time isn’t mentioned on their packaging, but you can ask the vendor.
You should choose autoflower seeds that have a small flowering period.
The less flowering period reduces the time to protect seeds from pests, mold, and plant diseases.
4 Storage Tips to Make Cannabis Seeds Last Longer
1. Reliable Seed bank
The first step is to investigate the shop’s address if it’s an offline retailer to ensure it’s genuine.
Secondly, you should look at the reviews of the online seed banks. Sites with positive ratings should be selected.
Then, look for their shipping details, particularly the arrival time and discreet packaging.
The trustworthy sellers provide a delivery guarantee that the products will be replaced if damaged or detained.
The best seed banks have prodigious reviews, replacements, free shipping, and good customer service.
2. Choose Good Seed Strains
You should select good-quality seed strains.
Each strain has unique properties that make it good or bad. In addition, the seed strain differs due to hybridization.
Strains also differ from area to area. Thus, you need to select a strain with good characteristics for the environmental conditions you plan to grow them in.
3. Airtight Container
You can use an airtight container for seed storage.
For instance, if you want to store seeds for a short period, e.g. 5-6 months, you can use a ziplock bag or any plastic bag.
You can also use vacuum-sealed bags for long term storage. But make sure it doesn’t have much air before sealing and keep it in a warm place.
The best methods include storing seeds in a cool, dark, and dry place.
The opaque container is a must to avoid light penetration.
You can use either fridge or freezer to store seeds.
The only thing you must consider is to be cautious while opening the refrigerator as condensation occurs from the front. So, keep them at the back.
Using a vacuum-sealed bag is the best option to put seeds in the refrigerator.
The major thing that you should be mindful of is that the potential of seeds is higher for fresh seeds.
If you have harvested high-quality seeds from male plants, they have a high germination rate of almost 100% up to 6 months.
After that, the germination rate lowers to 85 – 90% after 1 year and decreases with time.
And after that, it will usually be 50 – 75% after 3 years and worsens continuously.
Let’s look at the best ways to store your cannabis seeds.
How Long Do Cannabis Seeds Last - The Bottom Line
You can see there are many factors at play when discussing how long do cannabis seeds last, however, you can normally keep them for a maximum of 5 years without damaging them.
We have discussed numerous things, but let’s sum them up.
Fresh cannabis seeds are the best bet for germination when used between 2 – 3 months. However, you also have an option of long and short-term storage.
You can only get viable seeds after 5 years if you store them appropriately, but you can’t guarantee their viability.
So, it’s better to use them sooner as you are taking a big chance after one year of storage.
Cannabis seeds last longer only if you provide optimal storage conditions, including temperature, light, oxygen, and humidity.
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