How To Store Weed Seeds

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How do you store cannabis seeds so you can use them for future use? Learn how to properly care for your seeds so you can grow the best plants. Seeds are where all begins, the care you give your seeds will influence not only in how your cannabis grows but in the final harvest. {caption:Sebast Storing cannabis seeds in the right conditions allows you to preserve your favourite cannabis genetics for many years. Store your seed collection safely!

How to store cannabis seeds

Want to know the best way to grow the best marijuana? Start with great seeds. But once you find the perfect strain, how do you store seeds so that you can use them for future plants? It’s not that hard; actually, you just need to keep them cold, dark, and dry. However, there are few other things that you could do to preserve your precious seeds – keep reading to learn more.

A guide to storing marijuana seeds

If you plan to grow marijuana for fun or profit, you’ll need to know how to store your seeds.

Why is storing cannabis seeds important?

Those seeds are directly related to the quality of your plants. If they are not stored correctly, when you do get around to planting them, they will not germinate. On the other hand, if you store them the right way, they are good to go indefinitely.

Some growers keep seeds for years. However, it’s common to leave a few seeds in storage for less than a year, especially when there are limits around how much you can grow at one time. There’s no reason why those extra seeds should go to waste, simply learn how to store them correctly.

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Use the right storage container

When storing cannabis seeds, the first thing to think about is your container. Do not use just any random container that you come across. The ideal container should be made of one material.

Avoid containers with a mixture of materials. An example of this would be a plastic container with a metal lid or a glass container with a plastic cover. Containers made from more than one material react differently to temperature and other changes, and this can create room for undesirable conditions to reach your stored cannabis seeds. For instance, the metal lid on a glass jar will expand at a different rate when the temperature rises, and this may allow some moisture to enter the container.

Many people suggest using plastic containers for long-term storage when asked how to store marijuana seeds, but that isn’t a great idea either. Plastic has tiny (microscopic) pores that can let air infiltrate the container and damage your seeds. If you want your seeds to last, don’t store them in a plastic container. Glass is a much better solution.

Label the containers

Chances are you are storing more than one strain of cannabis seeds. Even if you are storing just one variety of seeds, you must label the container. Otherwise, if you store the seeds for years, you may forget which strain they are and that they are even marijuana seeds!

Keep light out

This part is simple; germination needs light. If you do not want your seeds to sprout, keep the light out. That’s why the most immediate answer to “how to store cannabis seeds” is “keep the environment light free.”

Want an easy way to keep light out?

Try using an opaque container. If the glass jars you used aren’t opaque, then place your seeds in something opaque, such as a black plastic wrap, then put that in the glass jar. Again, keep in mind, plastic is not the best for long term (years), but if you are purchasing at the end of one grow season in preparation for the next, it should work just fine.

You can also place your cannabis seeds in a fridge that doesn’t get opened much or another dark location.

Keep the temperature constant

Another thing that you need to think about when storing cannabis seeds is to maintain a stable temperature. Try and keep the seeds around 40° Fahrenheit. You do not want them to freeze.

Many people do this by keeping their seeds in a fridge or freezer. (Again, do not allow the seeds to freeze.) The most critical thing is keeping that temperature constant. Your marijuana seeds can deteriorate when the temperature fluctuates.

Keep moisture out

Moisture is the other condition that is required for germination, so you’ll need to keep your seeds dry as well. Depending on how much moisture your marijuana seeds are exposed to, they could either germinate or even rot while in storage.

For the best results, keep moisture levels between 5% and 9%. An airtight, sealed container is a great way to do this. You could also add something to help absorb any moisture, such as silica packets or even uncooked rice.

If you decide to use one of these methods, make sure you use something food-grade. Remember, this material will be sitting in storage next to your seeds. It’s also a good idea to use some sort of barrier, such as some cotton wool, between your moisture-absorbing packs and the marijuana seeds. This will leave the seeds undisturbed while the moisture problems are addressed.

Keep the storage environment clean

How to store marijuana seeds properly also means keeping the storage environment clean. If you’re not careful, pests can quickly destroy your cannabis seeds if they access the storage container and its contents.

A clean environment also keeps other contaminants, such as microbes, from compromising the quality of your seeds. After all, you will eventually plant those seeds, and you don’t want to consume cannabis grown from contaminated seeds.

Nature-designed seeds to last until the ideal germination environment occurs. Therefore, if you follow these storage tips and prevent that environment from happening, you could store cannabis seeds indefinitely.

Does it need to be perfect?

No. If you only need to store cannabis seeds for a few months, you don’t need to be that strict. However, if you’d like to keep your seeds for years, plan ahead and take the necessary precautions, and you’ll be delighted that you did.

Ready to start finding the best seeds for growing your own marijuana? Explore high-quality weed seeds in my shop.

How To Store Your Cannabis Seeds

Seeds are where all begins, the care you give your seeds will influence not only in how your cannabis grows but in the final harvest.

1. Cannabis Seeds

Before talking about how to store seeds we need to remember that your cannabis seeds are alive. Before they germinate they are kind of in a state of hibernation, and like all living things, they can die.

When storing seeds you want to provide optimal conditions to ensure they are still good until you’re ready to sprout them. As we’re dealing with nature, you need to keep certain conditions or this can have an impact. Even though seeds have a hard shell and are fairly robust, you should have the following points in mind to avoid any kind of problems in the future.

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2. Storing Seeds

When stored under perfect conditions, cannabis seeds can be viable for up to 10 years successfully. Seed storage is important for many reasons, either you’re a home grower waiting for the special occasion to grow that unique strain you just bought or seedbanks who need to stock seeds for the eventual sale. Whatever your reason may be for having seeds, remember that taking care of them is one of the most important things you can do for your harvest. A badly stored seed may not germinate, and if it does it may not grow properly. There are various parameters you’ll need to follow in order to store seeds long-term.

3. Ideal Conditions for Storing Seeds

There are three main factors that can affect seeds in a bad way:

Light

If you’ve ever germinated cannabis seeds before, then you know that light is an important factor when it comes to the probability of the seed germinating or not. If your seeds are exposed to light for too long they may end up germinating before you’re ready to plant them.

Humidity

Humidity is another incredibly important factor that can determine the success rate of your seeds as humidity is essentially what causes seeds to germinate. You don’t want them accidentally germinating, if they reach a certain humidity level they may start absorbing nutrients and end up too weak to grow normally, so you want to keep them in a relatively dry place. This obviously depends on your climate as there are places that have incredibly high humidity and others that are quite dry, which can directly impact how you have to store your seeds.

If there is as low as 8% humidity in the container it can cause fungi to appear inside and outside your seeds, at 40-60% your seeds will sprout and beyond that, they can drown in less than a day. Let’s quickly run through all the possible scenarios at different humidity levels:

  • 81 – 100% – Seeds will not survive more than 12 hours, and could drown in less than 4 hours.
  • 61 – 80% – Still a high risk of your seeds becoming inactive, with the possibility of them dying in less than 12 hours
  • 31 – 60% – This is the accepted germination range, although many cultivators prefer a 40 to 60% range
  • 21 – 30% – this is the ideal storage humidity range for cannabis seeds
  • 9 – 20% – If seeds are left for longer than a day or two at this humidity level, they are at risk of becoming a breeding greyhound for a range of non-beneficial fungi. This fungus can kill the seed in less than 12 hours once it takes a proper foothold
  • 0 – 8% – This is the perfect humidity range for pests and insects to wreak havoc on your seeds

Temperature

The temperature at which you store your seeds is quite important. You’ll need to store them at around 6-8 celsius. You can keep them in your home fridge or even your freezer (however it’s usually not necessary).

We recommend storing them in the vegetable drawer or far back in the refrigerator and using a small cooler or something similar so the temperature doesn’t oscillate when opening the fridge door or if the power goes out. A good general rule is that the lower the temperature that you store those precious little beads of expectant joy, the longer they will last, and the less chance you have of unexpected germination. Growers who like to play with strain genetics and produce their own cross breeds through seed creation will usually have a special, dedicated fridge or freezer that they only use for their seeds.

If you are using your normal fridge/freezer for seed storage there are a few key things to keep in mind. First up, seeds are super light sensitive, so however you choose to store them, make sure they are in a light sealed container. It’s also good to ensure that your fridge or freezer has no frosting issues (as many older models will frost over without regular maintenance). This can lead to moisture being released if the temperature dips, which is not what you want if your seeds are stored there. If you have access to a vacuum sealer, then we recommend using it to first seal the seed fully – if you don’t then a snap or zip lock bag will do fine. Then put the bag inside a light-proof container.

4. Storing Seeds For Weeks

If you’re storing seeds for a couple of weeks it’s okay if you leave them in the original package as long as they are in a dark, dry, and cool place.

Usually, the package they come in is light-proof and water-proof, as long as you leave them in a relatively cool place like a drawer or something similar they will be good.

5. Storing Seeds For Months

If you’re storing your seeds for a couple of months it’s better if you store them in the refrigerator. This will guarantee the seeds don’t suffer from temperature swings. By keeping them in their original package or in a light-proof container you ensure they will be good for as long as you need.

6. Storing Seeds For Years

This usually applies to seed banks or breeders. If you need to store seeds for a really long time you can store them in a freezer. Even though it’s not necessary, it prevents your seeds from feeling the oscillation of temperatures even more. You can still store them in a fridge, it depends on what you prefer and what options you have available. Ideally, you want to store your seeds in a cool, dark, and dry place. When storing seeds in the fridge or freezer you can add silica gel sachets to ensure they’re completely dry. High humidity can trigger fungi to grow on your seeds. If your seeds get exposed to light or rapid changes in temperature it will trigger them to use up their nutrient stores before they ever see soil, meaning they won’t have the nutrients they need to germinate.

7. Germinating Your Cannabis Seeds

There is a handy, simple test to check if your seeds are bad. Just drop them in a cup of water (only once you are ready to actually germinate them). If they sink to the bottom and stay there then they are healthy and ready to be used. If the seeds float then there is a pretty high chance that they are not going to germinate. Don’t throw them out just yet though, give them 3 days or so to see if they do sprout a tap root. There are a couple of common methods used to germinate cannabis seeds. Let’s quickly run through them, starting with our favorite germination method to our least favorite.

The Wet Paper Towel Method

This method is simple, straightforward, and is the method of choice for most home growers. All you need is:

  • A few paper towels (unperfumed and uncolored)
  • Water that has a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 and at a temp of 22C or so
  • A spray bottle
  • Your cannabis seeds
  • A tupperware container

Wet one of the paper towels and give it a light squeeze to remove any excess water. Lay it down flat and place 2 to 3 seeds onto it, with a spacing of about 2 centimeters between each seed. Then all you have to do is wet another paper towel, ring it out slightly, and place it on top of the seeds. Once this is all done place the envelope into the Tupperware container, and store the seeds in a dark, warm area.

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This method should allow the seed to germinate in 2 to 3 days. Check the seeds every day, and if the paper towel is starting to dry out then give it a light spray with your pH water.

The Rockwool Block Method

This method is just as easy and straightforward as the paper towel method. The only reason it’s not number one on the list is that it requires the use of Rockwool, which is not as easily available for everyone as paper towels. The list of needed items is:

  • Water that has a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 and at a temp of 22C or so
  • Rockwool cubes
  • A spray bottle
  • Cannabis seeds
  • A tupperware container

So, why is Rockwool a better germinating medium than paper towels? First up, paper towels are sometimes fragranced or colored. This is not good for cannabis seeds, and with Rockwool, you don’t need to worry about this at all. Rockwool also has great water retention properties, meaning you will not need to re-wet it as often as you do with a paper towel. It also provides a great home for your baby plant for the first 2 weeks or so, which gives you more time to get your growing medium set up. First up, soak the Rockwool cube overnight in your pH-adjusted water. Then just drop your seed into the opening on the top of the cube, and place the whole thing in a sealed container. You should see the tap root after 24 -72 hours.

Glass of Water Method

Look, there are a bunch of cannabis cultivators out there that love this method of germination, and yes it will work in most instances. But, in our experience, the rate of germination is not as high as the previous 2 ways laid out. It is the most simple method though. All you need to do is drop your seed (or seeds) into a glass of pH-adjusted water and let nature take its course. Be very careful when transplanting the seed to its growing medium. Of course, you can just plant the seed directly into your soil or coco-coir – but this makes it much harder to check on the progress of the germination. There are also a bunch of targeted products for seed germination on the market. These work well but are usually pretty high priced. Why drop a bunch of cash on a piece of equipment when a paper towel, a Tupperware container, and some oH adjusted water will do the exact same thing. You can also do a few key things to help your seed germinate quickly, especially if they are old seeds that haven’t been left in ideal conditions.

  • Using finer-grade sandpaper, softly and gently score the outer shell of the seed. This helps the germinating moisture to penetrate the shell, which becomes tougher the older the seed is.
  • If the outer shell is really thick and tough you can use a super sharp knife or even a scalpel to make a small incision in the shell.
  • Carbonate water can help with germination, as can adding fulvic acid, or hydrogen peroxide to the water before soaking or spraying the seed and that’s it!

8. In Conclusion

It doesn’t matter if you’re a breeder, a grower, or a seed bank, always keep your seeds following the tips above. This way you ensure your so precious genetics will still germinate when you are ready to grow them.

How to store cannabis seeds the right way

Storing cannabis seeds under the correct conditions allows you to preserve your favourite cannabis genetics for many years. With the right conditions you can keep the best part of your cannabis seed collection viable for a decade or more. But get the conditions wrong and the germination rates on your best-loved feminised seeds and autoflower seeds will suffer. If you are a cannabis seed connoisseur that spends time, cash and love building a collection of the best cannabis genetics then it makes sense to learn more about storing your cannabis seeds under ideal long term conditions.

Did you know cannabis seeds are living organisms?

When preserving cannabis seeds, it’s worth remembering that seeds are technically classified as living organisms. That’s because they have an embryo which is capable of being germinated and growing into a new plant. Just like any other seed, environmental conditions for storing cannabis seeds can be fine tuned to maximise seed germination rates. But provide the wrong conditions for storing cannabis seeds and your seed germination rates will decrease rapidly. Storing cannabis seeds till germination under ideal conditions is the best way to maximise germination rates.

Key factors to watch when storing cannabis seeds

When storing cannabis seeds there are three main issues which will reduce the germination rates (or the ‘viability’) of your cannabis seeds. These are light, heat and humidity. Each of these factors will reduce the germination rates of your autoflower seeds/feminised seeds. Conversely, if you can minimise and correctly control heat, light and humidity then you will extend the lifetime of your cannabis seed collection.

Light Exposure

Inside your cannabis seeds are delicate embryonic tissues which store the genetic code. This, in turn, defines the type of cannabis you will eventually grow. When storing cannabis seeds long term, keeping the seeds away from bright light is important – don’t store them in your grow room! A sealable, light proof container is ideal.

The shell of the cannabis seed does help to protect the embryo from light. But remember, in nature, cannabis seeds were normally dropped from the plant onto the soil in autumn/fall. There they would remain under a light covering of soil until they germinated the following spring. Cannabis seeds were never designed to cope with intense light levels. Storing cannabis seeds in the fridge, in a dark humidity proof container is a good way to maintain maximum seed germination rates.

Dutch Passion cannabis seeds can be stored simply be re-sealing the seed packet with tape and placing it inside the seed tin or a container. Storing cannabis seeds in eppendorf tubes (black or amber) in the fridge is a popular technique. Eppendorf tubes are small plastic tubes normally used for storing liquids, but they are often used for cannabis seed storage too.

Humidity level

When storing cannabis seeds, humidity levels are an important factor. In order to germinate cannabis seeds, moist humid conditions are used. So it makes sense to use low humidity conditions for cannabis seed storage. You certainly don’t want to store your seeds anywhere where moisture droplets, which will soften the shell. Water/moisture is a very effective way to soften the hard, rigid shell of the cannabis seed. This allows the tap root to emerge.

When storing cannabis seeds for the long term, the actual water content inside the seed will be around 10%. Storing cannabis seeds in the refrigerator is an easy way to maintain the low humidity levels that suit long term seed viability. Just make sure that your seeds are stored in a dark, dry container without any condensation near the seeds and you should be able to store cannabis seeds in the fridge for perhaps 5 years or more and still have good germination rates.

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It’s not necessary to measure humidity levels in your fridge. Just ensure your seeds are in a sealed dry and dark container inside your fridge and they should last many years.

If you have produced your own cannabis seeds you may be aware that when they are very fresh, straight off the plant, they may even be a little too fresh to germinate. That’s why some believe in storing and maturing cannabis seeds for a short period at room temperature. This allows moisture content of the seed to drop enough for the seeds to become more viable. How long to let seeds dry before storing? A couple of months at room temperature should be sufficient.

Humidity levels Effects on cannabis seeds
75% to 100% Humidity is too high, causing seeds to have excessively high internal moisture content which decreases long term germination viability.
25% to 75% Good for cannabis seed storage, especially at low temperatures in sealed/dark containers.
0% to 25% Too dry, seeds may desiccate (dry out excessively) especially if they were not in a sealed humidity proof bag/container.

Temperature fluctuations

Storing cannabis seeds at low humidity levels in a dark place is a great way to maintain good germination rates. But one of the best ways for preserving cannabis seeds is to use low temperatures. At low temperatures cannabis seed life is greatly extended. This is because the delicate living plant tissue inside the seed can survive for much longer periods at cool temperatures which slow down the cellular biochemistry. It’s the same reason that food lasts longer in the fridge than it would at room temperature.

What is the ideal storage temperature for storing seeds? Most people use temperatures of around 4ºC (39ºF). But 4ºC isn’t a magic number. If you can ‘only’ store your cannabis seeds at e.g. 10ºC the seeds will last longer than they would stored at 20ºC. Storing cannabis seeds at 4ºC will allow longer seed storage than 10ºC.

Storing cannabis seeds in the freezer (-15 to -20ºC) is also possible and this allows even better seed storage. However this does come with some risks. When stored at freezer temperatures you can expect cannabis seeds to remain viable for decades. The very low temperatures effectively allow the seed embryo to survive for long periods.

Cannabis seed companies such as Dutch Passion store their archived seed collection (1970’s & 1980’s) in the freezer. This allows long term storage. However, it also comes with certain risks. In the freezer, the delicate frozen tissues in the seed embryo can shatter if the seeds are mishandled or shaken. That’s why the freezer is only recommended for those placing seeds into very long term storage. For most home growers, the fridge (4ºC) is a great place for storing cannabis seeds.

So what are the best ways to store your cannabis seeds?

What is the optimal temperature for storing seeds? For most people, temperatures around 4ºC (in the fridge) are perfect. If the autoflower seeds/feminised seeds are in a sealed lightproof container they are automatically at a low humidity and in a dark place.

Don’t worry too much about keeping your seeds in a fridge at all times. Remember that even without a fridge, a pack of seeds stored in a draw for a couple of years should still show good germination rates. Avoid storing your seeds in places with high temperatures or intense light, such as a window ledge or your grow room.

If storing cannabis seeds in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge remember that they are easy to accidentally crush if something is placed on top of them. A small box or plastic container can prevent that.

Should I date my seeds when storing them?
It’s probably not necessary for most people but it could be a useful guide for later germination.

How long can you preserve cannabis seeds?

In the freezer you can store cannabis seeds for decades. In the fridge, you should see good germination rates (50% or more) even after 5+ years. Without using the fridge, germination rates start to decrease earlier and faster.

If you usually germinate your cannabis seeds within a few weeks/months of purchase you may not need to worry too much about how to store them.

When cannabis seeds are supplied from the seed supplier, germination rates should be 90% or higher if you are buying from a proven supplier. Even after 5 years in the fridge you should still expect the majority of your cannabis seeds to germinate.

This is good news for those growers that have found the ideal cannabis seeds for their needs and want to ensure a viable seed collection of their favourite cannabis genetics for many years to come.

Drying, storing and maturing seeds from plants

Although not many growers can be bothered with the hassle of producing their own cannabis seeds, if you do attempt to produce seeds it’s important to know about maturing them.

When drying and storing and maturing cannabis seeds one of the main tips is to allow the fresh seeds time to rest before germinating. Fresh seeds haven’t had the natural time period required to allow them to reach maximum germination rates.

Typically seeds of various plants store better, and germinate faster when they have dried a little after the seeds have been collected. After a month or two in ambient conditions, the seeds have matured and should show higher germination rates.

What size mylar bags to use for storing marijuana seeds?
Size really doesn’t matter! Just ensure your seeds are sealed, safe from light/moisture and stored at low temperatures.

What if you found an old undated bag of seeds?

Whether you are preserving seeds of F1 landrace cannabis genetics or any other type of cannabis seeds your best chances of storing them is at low temperatures in dry and dark conditions. Many growers collect extensive (and expensive!) cannabis seed collections.

Dating each seed packet is a good idea, although it won’t improve germination rates it will give you an idea of the age of the seeds. Even after 10 years in a fridge at 4ºC you can still expect to see a some of your seeds germinate, assuming they original seed quality was high.

If your cannabis seeds are really old, some growers may suggest a few unusual tips to increases germination. Dutch Passion can’t really recommend these techniques, they simply carry too much chance of damaging the seed. These techniques include gently sandpapering the outer layer of the seed shell, perhaps including the ridge down the side. The logic here is that particularly old/hard seed shells need assistance to open.

Dutch Passion prefer to stick to proven, established seed germination techniques that should work well for most people. The best way to germinate cannabis seeds is to do so between a couple of lightly moistened cotton pads for a couple of days.

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