How Long Do Cannabis Seeds Last

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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 How long do marijuana seeds last? Can you freeze seeds for next year? Here you can find everything you wanted to know about storing cannabis seeds.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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

Growing weed from seed is one of the most satisfying ventures any grower will attest to. How long do marijuana seeds last, though? Say you recently purchased a pack of 10 seeds from your favorite seed bank but don’t plan on growing 10 plants. Is storing cannabis seeds a thing? If so, is preserving seeds long term even possible?

The simple answer is yes. Storing cannabis seeds isn’t only possible, but if seeds are preserved correctly, there’s no reason why you can’t use the same seeds a decade down the road. If you want your cannabis seeds to last well into next year’s harvest and beyond, we invite you to read on to learn how.

3 Things To Keep In Mind When Storing Cannabis Seeds

Seeds were designed by nature to be resilient and withstand a variety of diverse conditions, but cannabis seeds are still vulnerable to certain factors that can ultimately ruin them.

If you’re interested in preserving seeds long term, there are specific precautions you can take that offer the perfect conditions for both short and long-term storage. To properly store cannabis seeds, the following should always be kept in mind.

Light

Seeds love to be stored in a dark space. We highly recommend keeping them in their original packaging until they’re ready to be planted. Once a seed is exposed to light, they are naturally prompted to begin using up stored nutrients. If they’ve been exposed to too much light, when it comes time to plant them, they won’t have the nutrients they need to germinate. Your best bet is to keep them in a dark, safe spot until you’re ready to use them.

Humidity

Humidity is something else to watch out for and is one of the biggest risks to your cannabis seeds. Why? There are actually a few reasons. Extremely high humidity (80-100%) will cause cannabis seeds to wither and die after only 12 hours. Medium levels of humidity (40-60%) will eventually cause seeds to germinate. Even when kept at low levels of humidity (12-14%) over time, seeds are subject to bacteria growth on both the exterior and interior of the seed. Ideally, you’ll want to store seeds at levels of 9% humidity or less.

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Temperature

If you’re storing cannabis seeds, keep in mind they’ll do best in cold temperatures ranging from 4 to 8 ºC (39-46 ºF). Kept cold in an airtight container your seeds can patiently wait for years until being finally planted. Don’t get us wrong, they can also be stored in a cabinet or drawer and typically be okay. However, warmer temperatures will negatively affect your precious seeds’ shelf life. This fact shouldn’t be overlooked especially if you live in an extremely hot climate with daily temperatures close to 25-30ºC (77-86ºF) – if that’s your case, you might think about storing your seeds in the freezer or refrigerator. As you can see, the rule of thumb is to keep them cold, because heat will all but destroy their carefully selected genetic profile.

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Finding The Perfect Place To Store Your Cannabis Seeds

Now that you have a better idea of the ideal conditions for storing your seeds, you’re likely interested in knowing the best place to store them. When deciding on where to best store your cannabis seeds, first ask yourself how long you plan on storing them.

Only planning to hang onto them for a few months before planting them? They’ll do great in any airtight container. Mason jars are awesome for storing seeds. If you don’t have access to mason jars, they’ll also do fine in a zip-sealed bag. However, if you want to hold onto them longer, you might want to consider vacuum sealing your cannabis seeds to ensure they aren’t exposed to any air or temperature changes.

Remember, cannabis seeds should be stored in a dark area. A cupboard or drawer will do fine, so long as it’s not one that’s being constantly opened and closed. Storing cannabis seeds in the refrigerator or freezer is another option, but make sure they’re stored as far back as possible to avoid changes in temperature when the doors are opened.

If you’re wondering if you can freeze seeds for next year, the answer is yes. However, if you do decide to keep your cannabis seeds in the freezer, be aware that their quality will diminish each time they’re thawed and frozen again. If you decide on freezing your cannabis seeds, make sure they stay frozen until you’re ready to thaw them out and use them. When you decide to finally use the seeds after storing them in the freezer, don’t open the container right away. Instead, let it gradually warm up to the room temperature with the seeds still sealed inside.

Tips For Successfully Storing Cannabis Seeds

There are a few tips that can greatly help preserve the quality and lifetime of your cannabis seeds.

Whether preserving seeds long term or simply storing them for a few months until the right growing conditions present themselves, seeds should be dried before storage. To be stored properly, cannabis seeds should retain a moisture content of 2-3% (you don’t want to dry them out completely, as this can cause them to die). Drying out cannabis seeds helps prepare them for a dormant state where physiological processes are slowed down or stopped completely.

To achieve the perfectly dry conditions that will help preserve your seeds for storage, consider the usage of a desiccant. Desiccants are a substance that helps maintain a state of dryness in certain products. A type of desiccant you’re likely familiar with are the silica gel packs that are commonly found added to the packaging of certain foods and other items. Rice can also be used as a desiccant, although this should be occasionally changed out to retain freshness.

Another tip for successfully storing your cannabis seeds is to label each seed type you have. The last thing you want when you’re ready to start your garden is to have no idea what strain you’re planting. Labeling your seeds will help you keep track of what strains you grow.

FAQs About How To Store Marijuana Seeds

Can I freeze marijuana seeds?

Yes, but if you do decide to freeze your marijuana seeds, make sure they’re stored in an airtight container and toward the back of the freezer, this to avoid any changes in light and temperature when the freezer door is opened.

How long can I store marijuana seeds?

If stored properly, you can store your cannabis seeds for up to 10 years or even longer.

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