If you have some cannabis seeds but are not ready to plant them yet, you need to know how to store them properly. Here's our complete guide. Storing cannabis seeds under the right conditions lets you keep your favourite strains for a long time. However, doing this incorrectly can lead to a There’s a lot of reasons to store cannabis seeds rather than just planting them in soil and letting them do their work. Whatever the reason, you need to be sure those cannabis seeds stay viable in the long term. Click here to learn how to properly store your seeds until your ready to plant!
How to Properly Store and Preserve Cannabis Seeds [Explained]
If you don’t begin with great seeds, you can forget about producing a harvest of high-quality marijuana. A lot of growers seem to forget one simple fact: Your seeds are alive! Although cannabis seeds are fairly durable, improper storage can ruin them. If you’re paying $10-$20 a seed, losing a full batch is an expensive mistake.
Before your marijuana seeds germinate, they are in a similar state to animals when they hibernate. Like all living organisms, your seeds can die if you don’t take care of them correctly. The good news is that cannabis seeds can last for five years after harvest with proper storage.
In this guide, we outline how to store and preserve your cannabis seeds. We focus on the following:
- Insects & Pests
- Germinating old seeds
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Keeping Light Away from Your Marijuana Seeds
You must keep your seeds in a location that is cool, dark, and dry. It is best if you keep the seeds in their original packaging. When they are exposed to temperature changes or light, cannabis seeds begin using their store of nutrients. This is a disaster because they ultimately won’t have the nutrients to germinate.
When they are exposed to temperature changes or light, cannabis seeds begin using their store of nutrients.
Make sure your seeds remain away from light, as it can directly trigger germination.
What’s the Right Storage Temperature?
The best temperature to store your cannabis seeds at is between 43- and 47-degrees Fahrenheit. The lower the temperature, the less likely your seed is to germinate unexpectedly. Experienced growers tend to have special refrigerators to store their seeds. Ideally, your fridge is a no-frost model. If you can place the seeds in the fruit and vegetable section, that is even better.
Another option is to freeze the cannabis seeds. If you go down this route, please ensure that you vacuum pack them first. Then put them in a dark container. Also, it would help if you germinated these seeds immediately once they come out of the freezer. Don’t allow them to thaw first.
What About Humidity?
Here is a quick overview of what will likely happen to cannabis seeds at different humidity levels:
Your cannabis seeds need a certain level of moisture for germination. If the humidity level gets too high, your seeds will rot in storage. An extremely low level of humidity of around 8-10% is suitable only for long-term storage. If it drops below 8%, you offer any insects present in the seeds the chance to become active and start reproducing.
The Right Storage Options for Your Cannabis Seeds
You now understand that you must store the seeds away from direct light. We have also outlined the need for relatively low humidity and a refrigerator-level temperature. Different options are available depending on how long you intend to store the seeds.
If you only require short-term storage, a dark drawer or cupboard is sufficient. The most important thing, regardless of the duration of storage, is to avoid temperature and humidity fluctuations. Rapid variations in temperature, in particular, can destroy your seeds. If you live in a location with warm daytime temperatures and cold nights, avoid outside storage.
For short-term storage, place the seeds in a container with desiccant. Seal it, and place it in a cool, dark place.
Once you enter medium-term storage (a few months), it is time to use an airtight container. Examples include a mason jar or Ziploc bag. Place this sealed container in the fridge. Remember that opening your fridge can cause significant temperature fluctuations. As a result, it is ideal if you have a second fridge that is seldom used.
Also, you should note that modern fridges have low humidity levels. If the humidity is too low, your seeds will begin using up nutrients.
If you want to store your seeds for at least six months, use a vacuum-sealed container. You can achieve this effect by removing all the air from a Ziploc bag. There are also special vacuum-sealed containers available online. Put the sealed bag in a dark container and put it in the fridge.
You also have the option of placing the seeds in the freezer. Remember, though; you need to germinate them immediately upon removal.
A Note on Insects & Pests
Imagine paying $100+ for seeds, going to the trouble of storing them, only to find that insects ruin them. Unfortunately, all you need is one insect in a container to destroy all of your seeds. The first consideration is to avoid exposure to ultra-low humidity. However, for long-term storage, this is precisely what you are supposed to do!
One option is to spread diatomaceous earth (D.E) where you store them. This is a type of sand that has a fossilized algae base. Crucially, for our purposes, it serves as an excellent natural insecticide. Unfortunately, you shouldn’t use D.E if you plan to store your seeds in a fridge with other food.
Imagine paying $100+ for seeds, going to the trouble of storing them, only to find that insects ruin them.
It would help if you also stored your seeds as high above the ground as possible. This reduces the possibility of a pest like a rodent coming in and feasting on the seeds.
Insects and pests also thrive in dirty storage areas. As a result, you must ensure the storage area remains clean. Otherwise, you won’t just attract pests to your seeds; microbes will form and damage the seeds. Do you want to consume marijuana from contaminated seeds?
You can ‘test’ your seeds once you have removed them from storage. Place them in water. If they sink, they should be fine. However, if they float, it is more likely that they are bad seeds. You can still try to germinate, but there is a greater risk of producing poor-quality cannabis, or else the seeds fail to sprout. You can keep floaters in water for approximately 72 hours to see if they sprout a tail.
If you have old seeds not stored in ideal conditions, there are still a few ways to germinate them.
- Remove the hard ridge with a sharp knife.
- Soak the seeds in carbonated water with germination booster, fulvic acid, or hydrogen peroxide. Use room temperature water, and perform this pre-soak for at least 12 hours in a dark area.
- Scratch the tough outer shell with sandpaper. Believe it or not, this process could help warmth and moisture get inside. This process is called ‘scarring’ and should happen before you soak the seeds.
- Make a small cut into the shell as a last-ditch attempt to get it to sprout.
Final Thoughts on Storing and Preserving Cannabis Seeds
If you purchase marijuana seeds and intend to use them almost immediately, you should have no issues. Even so, it is probably best to keep them away from direct light. In the short-term, a dark cupboard is sufficient as long as the temperature and humidity are reasonable.
Once the goal is to store cannabis seeds for months rather than days or weeks, everything changes. You need an airtight container, which you should store in a fridge. Include a vacuum-sealed container if you plan to store the seeds for several months or longer.
When storing cannabis seeds, you must ensure they are not exposed to germination conditions. This means keeping them away from direct light. Also, store in 20-30% humidity (8-10% for long-term storage) and a cool temperature. Keep the environment clean to avoid pests, and consider the tips above for germinating old seeds.
How to store marijuana seeds
Storing cannabis seeds under the right conditions lets you keep your favourite strains for a long time. However, doing this incorrectly can lead to a series of issues that end in the same result: the seeds won’t germinate. Here we analyse exactly what you need to do to keep your marijuana seeds in good condition, thereby making sure that they germinate successfully even several years later.
In order to store your marijuana seeds for a long time, it’s important to remember that they are technically classified as living organisms, because they have an embryo that is capable of germinating and becoming a new plant. And, like every living organism, your seeds can die if you don’t look after them properly.
Even though they’re quite hardy, if you don’t provide them with the suitable conditions for their correct conservation, their viability will rapidly decrease. Whilst its typical for them to germinate within 48 to 72 hours, they can take as long as 6 to 7 days if they’re stored badly. Or at worst they might not even germinate at all.
There are several factors to take into consideration that can reduce the germination rate of marijuana seeds: light, heat, humidity, and oxygen levels. As a general rule though, the most important factor to keep your seeds viable for as long as possible is to avoid fluctuations in the environmental conditions.
How to store marijuana seeds?
These are the key parameters to correctly store your cannabis seeds for the maximum time possible:
1- Exposure to light
The shell plays a part in protecting the seed’s embryonic tissue from the light, which in turn helps the seed remain dormant. In nature, cannabis seeds normally fall from the plant in autumn and remain under a light layer of soil until they germinate the following spring. Therefore, they haven’t evolved to face bright light, which may trigger the chemical processes needed for germination. Storing your cannabis seeds in a dark, opaque container is a great way of keeping top germination rates for the future.
2- Humidity level
High relative humidity levels are required for the germination of cannabis seeds. Therefore, it makes sense to keep them under low humidity conditions when they’re being stored. If you’re only storing the seeds for a short time (no more than a few months), a relative humidity level between 20% and 30% will be fine. If, however, you’re going to store them for longer, then keep the humidity level between 8-10%.
A good way of making sure that the seeds remain dry is to include a desiccant in the container where they’re being stored (i.e. one of those little silica gel packs that are often included with different products). These packs also absorb any excess of ethylene that may have been generated as the seeds get older and that could also stimulate germination if not removed. You can even use a few grains of rice if you don’t have any silica packs available.
3- Temperature fluctuations
When it comes to storing cannabis seeds, the cooler the better. But only to a certain point. At low temperatures, the life of cannabis seeds is significantly prolonged because the cold temperature slows down cellular biochemistry and so the plant’s delicate living tissue can survive for much longer periods. Another option is to freeze the seeds to keep them for the long term; but if this process is not carried out properly, they can eventually get damaged.
So the ideal storage temperature ranges between 4° and 8°C. You can still store seeds at higher temperatures, but their lifespan will be reduced. Many growers stick to temperatures around 4°C. However, this still isn’t a magical number.
4- Oxygen level
Although this isn’t such a determining factor, a constant supply of fresh oxygen can lead to premature germination. To prevent this, keep your seeds in a bag or airtight container, ideally vacuum sealed, although as long as the container is tightly closed that should be enough.
What’s the best way to store cannabis seeds?
There are different options depending on how long you’re intending to keep the seeds. According to the requirements mentioned above, it’s best to keep them in a dark, cool, and dry place. These are the basic conditions you can find in a standard cooler or fridge (ideally ‘no frost’ so they’re protected from the damage that frost may cause). A piece of warning here: you can’t be opening and closing the fridge door non-stop.
This is why it’s best to have a fridge specifically dedicated to seed storage. Or at least a small cooler that you rarely open; because every time you do this, the inside experiences rather significant fluctuations in temperature and humidity levels.
If you don’t have another choice, at least place the seeds towards the back of the fridge, or, even better, in one of the fruit and veg drawers, where they’re more protected from these changes. If you place some desiccant in the container with the seeds, you’ll also be protecting them from any changes in humidity.
In case you don’t have a cooler at hand, you can always store your seeds in a cool basement. Even a normal room can work well: a seed pack stored in an airtight container in a drawer or cupboard in a dark area of the house should also offer good germination rates. But do avoid storing your seeds in bright light or in hot areas (such as a windowsill or your grow room).
If you normally germinate your cannabis seeds a few weeks or months after purchasing them, you don’t need to be so strict with how you store them. You’ll be fine as long as you keep them in a cool place, away from the light, and in their original packaging (which is already optimised for their protection); and, of course, follow your common sense regarding these storage rules. If you open a packet of seeds but you don’t sow all of them, keep the remaining seeds in an airtight container.
How long can you keep marijuana seeds?
Generally speaking, always look for proven quality seeds like the ones we offer you in our Kannabia catalogue: if you provide them with all the ideal conditions that have been described, you can keep your seeds for as long as 5 years after they’ve been produced. In addition, if you maintain decent storage conditions over time (i.e. without significant fluctuations in the environmental parameters), you can expect your seeds to still be good after one or two years.
Naturally, the longer you keep your marijuana seeds, the lower the chances of a successful germination. Storing them incorrectly also reduces the possibilities of success. So store them properly, as we have described in this article, and use them as quickly as you can, to ensure the highest possible germination rate.
Kannabia Seeds Company sells to its customers a product collection, a souvenir. We cannot and we shall not give growing advice since our product is not intended for this purpose.
Kannabia accept no responsibility for any illegal use made by third parties of information published. The cultivation of cannabis for personal consumption is an activity subject to legal restrictions that vary from state to state. We recommend consultation of the legislation in force in your country of residence to avoid participation in any illegal activity.
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How to Store Marijuana Seeds Properly
T here’s a lot of reasons to store marijuana seeds rather than just planting them in soil and letting them do their work. Sometimes you have some seeds leftover from your new favorite weed strain and don’t have the space available where you live to plant it. Other times, you’re buying seeds for later use once you’ve got the time and energy for your weed growing project. Maybe you’d like to hold on to precious genetics until you can seek out another strain to cross it to. Sometimes you’re just stocking up for an uncertain future.
Whatever the reason, you need to be sure those marijuana seeds stay viable in the long term. Properly stored marijuana seeds can last for up to five years and still remain viable, and some strains have been reported sprouting at ten years or more.
However, proper storage is not as easy as it seems, since seeds are looking for any excuse to start sprouting and there are a number of factors that tell the seeds that the time is right to stretch out their roots and branches. Store your marijuana seeds in the wrong conditions and they might end up dead, rotting, or diseased by the time you’re ready to introduce them to the soil.
Fundamentals of Marijuana Seed Storage
First, let’s go over the five main factors to consider when it comes to how to store marijuana seeds, especially for the long term.
Keep Your Marijuana Seeds Cool
When it comes to preserving your marijuana seeds for future planting, temperature is the main consideration. In nature, heat is what tells the seed that the winter’s over, which means that it’s time to break open and start sending roots down and shoots up.
If your marijuana seed is not in the soil, this means that the plant matter inside the seed will begin to germinate. The shell will crack open, letting the plant matter out and moisture, bacteria, and pests in. Without soil to thrive in, the marijuana seed will begin to rot.
41℉ (5 ℃) is the absolute warmest you want your long-term storage spot to be, with the sweet spot being somewhere around 38 ℉.
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It’s very important that this temperature remains stable for the long term. If you are refrigerating your marijuana seeds, your best bet is to place them in a separate unit or a spot near the back. Every time that you open your fridge the temperature fluctuates, which can harm the marijuana seeds over time.
While it’s up for debate whether freezing marijuana seeds is an effective method for long term storage, we don’t recommend it unless you know exactly how to cure and prepare your seeds. Otherwise, the frozen water in the seed’s cells can expand, destroying the cell wall and killing the seed.
Watch out for Humidity
Humidity is another enemy in your battle for storing cannabis seeds long-term because any hint of moisture is another clue to the seed that it’s time to stretch its leafy arms and legs. If the marijuana seed shell breaches before it’s in the soil, rot can set in.
However, you don’t want your marijuana seed too dry either. A humidity level of about 5% is the maximum that you want to allow in order to keep the waxy, protective layer surrounding the seed intact without triggering the seed to split open.
Store Your Marijuana Seeds in an Airtight Container
Besides being dark, you want to expose your marijuana seeds to as little oxygen and carbon dioxide as possible. These gasses are what growing plants breathe, as well as the pests that consume them.
If you’re storing cannabis seeds by refrigerating them, make your container as airtight as possible. If you have some vacuum-sealed plastic on hand, even better.
Keep Your Marijuana Seeds in The Dark
Much like heat and humidity, light tells that marijuana seed to wake up because it’s time to spring forth. Even if it’s a halogen bulb inside your refrigerator and not the sun itself, the seed’s natural optimism can still start the flowering process.
Light exposure over time can also damage the surface of the seed, which in turn will damage what’s stored underneath. The solution, much like storing cannabis flower and other products, is to keep your marijuana seeds in a dark or opaque container. Without exposure to light, they’ll keep dozing long term.
Your Marijuana Seed’s Genetics
Some weed strains (and some specific batches of those strains) naturally produce seeds that are hardier and longer-lasting than others. This plays a role in how long you can expect your marijuana seeds to remain viable, so be sure to do some research beforehand.
Storage Methods for Marijuana Seeds
Now that we’ve covered how temperature, humidity, light, air, and genetics work against you when it comes to seed storage, let’s cover the best marijuana seed storage methods.
If you’re storing your marijuana seeds for the short term (a couple of weeks or months), a standard mailing envelope or a tan coin envelope will do in a pinch. If the envelope paper is thick enough, it will protect the seeds from the most harmful ambient light. If the envelope is stored in a cool, dry, dark, and temperature-stable spot like the back of a closet or a drawer, the marijuana seeds should also stay dormant in the short term.
Plus, an envelope makes it easy to write the name of the weed strain, the date of storage, and any other important notes you have. If you want to be extra safe about it, throw some grains of rice or a desiccant pack in there to regulate the humidity.
Of course, this method is only as good at the stability of your home’s climate. If you live in a humid area prone to frequent storms or weather fluctuations like Florida, envelopes will only get you so far without ruining your marijuana seeds.
Unlike a mailing envelope, glass jars are airtight, which makes them much more suitable for storing cannabis seeds long-term. Because many types of plastic can let small amounts of water in overtime, it’s highly recommended that you use glass with rubber stoppers. When storing cannabis seeds long term, you should also throw in a desiccant pack to keep the humidity stable.
Be sure to separate the pack from the marijuana seeds with a couple cotton balls or a paper towel. This will help absorb excess moisture at the start as well. If you have a method to vacuum seal the jar even better. Wrap the jar in something opaque and you’re all set. Marijuana seeds stored at a stable room temperature can last for over a year. Refrigerated they can last a couple years.
If you’re looking to store your cannabis seeds long term, vacuum sealing your seeds in thick Mylar bags can keep your seeds viable for up to half a decade. Because the bags are designed for long-term storage, they’ll work well for your marijuana seeds as long as you make sure they were stored at the right humidity (again, a desiccant pack helps with this) and away from the light. This is one of the best options if you’re refrigerating marijuana seeds.
Seeds of Wisdom
In conclusion, storing cannabis seeds for the long haul is relatively simple. They will stay viable as long as they’re kept away from heat, light, moisture, and air. The more care you put into your storage method, the longer your marijuana seeds will last. However, when it comes to planting marijuana seeds with the most chance of success, sooner is always better.
What are your best methods for storing seeds? Share in the comments below!