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Knowing how to properly store your cannabis seeds is essential for any grower, beginner or expert. Here are a few tips from Seedsman. Cannabis seeds are a product that we must keep in the best condition possible to prevent them from suffering the slightest damage. As a living organism, we must follow… 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 to Store Cannabis Seeds

Knowing how to properly store your cannabis seeds isn’t rocket science, but to a beginner grower especially, there’s a lot to be aware of. The key factors in maintaining seeds are storage methods, light, temperature, and humidity. If this looks like a minefield, don’t panic!

In this article, we’ll walk you through the main dos and don’ts of storage – not just the hows, but also the whys – and those precious seeds will be good to grow when you’re ready.

Table of contents

Understanding the Key Elements of Seed Storage

To store marijuana seeds, it’s essential to starve them of the conditions they need to develop. Failure to do this can lead to a drop in germination rate, and you could easily find yourself opening a container of useless seeds which are no longer viable.

Consider all the variables involved in plant growth, and if needs be, carry out further research to better understand how these can impact seed storage. Since most plants see winter as the time of dormancy and spring as the time of new growth, the way you store your seeds should try to emulate the critical conditions of winter, which should keep the seeds from germinating.

The Idea Conditions to Store Cannabis Seeds

Temperature

Storing seeds at the correct temperature is vital.

This is because warmer temperature changes tell the seed that winter is over, and along with other cues, begins germination. The temperature you store your seeds at must be kept stable throughout the storage period, so avoid storing in conditions where temperature can fluctuate. A cool place is best.

If you’re storing your seeds long-term in a fridge, be aware that the temperature will undergo a slight change every time you open the door. Store seeds towards the back of the fridge, and if possible, try to use a separate fridge purely for seed storage.

Put them in a suitable, light-proof container, and leave them there until you plan on using them. There are different opinions on the correct temperature but aim for somewhere in the region of 5-8°C, or 41-46°F, as this keeps the seeds cold enough to avoid cracking open. But it’s not cold enough to damage the seeds.

Humidity

Keep humidity levels in check to protect the seeds’ outer shell. If the humidity level begins to rise, the seed can interpret the moisture as a signal to burst into life and start growing. This doesn’t mean you want the storage environment to be as dry as possible. This further damages by dehydrating the seeds. A relative humidity level of 20-30% is best; any higher could effectively spark germination.

Be aware that refrigerator storage does carry some risk of variable humidity and that long-term storage calls for a lower level of humidity around the 10% range. A dry place is the best place.

Light

Outdoors, sunlight is a vital stimulant, and cultivators use artificial lighting inside to help plants grow. Meaning, light is another stimulus to be avoided when safely storing your seeds. Storing seeds in darkness at low temperatures with low humidity is vital for keeping them dormant.

Even the light bulb in your fridge could potentially pose a problem, which is why we recommend stashing them away and leaving them there. If you have a designated fridge for seeds, close that fridge door quickly, and keep it closed until you intend to take the seeds out to plant them. Avoiding too much light exposure is key.

What Should you Store your Seeds in?

The good news is that there are options, most of which are easy to get no matter where you live. There are some caveats to each of these options, which will be explained.

Envelopes

Suppose you’re storing a smaller quantity of seeds over a shorter period (weeks or a couple of months). In that case, an envelope makes an ideal storage solution, as the paper is suitably thick to protect the seeds from light and moisture, keeping them dormant over the short term. The beauty of an envelope is that you can grab a pen and write any relevant details on the pouch to remind you what you’ve stashed away and when. You may want to note the number of seeds, strain details, and date of storage on the outside. When you come to fetch them, you can see exactly what you’ve got in each envelope. If the original packaging meets this criteria, even better.

Toss a desiccant pack in the envelope with the seeds to keep the humidity level stable, or if you’re in a pinch – or if you’re just thrifty – a small handful of rice will do the same job. As long as you don’t use the kind of envelopes with an address window, you can confidently store seeds in an envelope or similar type of pouch in the back of a drawer or cupboard for a shorter time.

Glass Jars

These hold a clear advantage over envelopes in that they’re entirely airtight. We’d recommend using the kind that seal with rubber stoppers rather like a mason jar, than plastic lids, simply because most plastic lids can let in small amounts of moisture over time. Again, a desiccant pack is your friend here to absorb any additional moisture within the jar. Use a paper towel or some cotton balls to keep it separate from the seeds, then pop the stopper in the jar, and wrap or cover it in something opaque to protect the precious contents from light. This important factor will preserve your seeds for over a year and longer if refrigerated.

Desiccant Packs

Those little pouches that you find in the packaging for all manner of items, from electronics to sports shoes, make for an essential ingredient in the seed storage game. Typically containing silica gel, a substance that absorbs moisture, these sachets are your chief ally for limiting mold growth and reducing spoilage inside sealed containers. You can buy desiccant packs online and are cheap to buy in bulk. If your seeds are stored in plastic containers, mylar bags or a plastic bag – these may be essential.

Other Tools to Consider

For those really serious seed collectors, you may want to track and monitor your seeds’ climate. This can be achieved using something relatively cheap like the Govee range of sensors which can be linked to your phone via Bluetooth or your network via Wi-Fi to allow tracking of your seeds’ conditions without having to disrupt them.

Safely Store Cannabis Seeds

Ensure your storage method meets the necessary criteria beforehand, and as long as it’s clean and insect-free, it should stand you in good stead, especially for short-term storage. Resist any temptation to open your seeds to check on them or add more seeds – if you have more seeds to store, use a new container every time, or you run the risk of creating the kind of fluctuations that cause problems for your existing seeds.

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While research typically yields differing opinions over the optimal temperature and humidity levels for storing seeds, one thing is clear: consistency is key. Whatever you decide upon, your main objective is to keep that as consistent as possible in the most ideal conditions. It is change that the seed recognises the most. While it’s vital to keep light out of the storage environment and keep temperature and humidity levels low enough to avoid germination – but not so low as to damage the seeds – it’s crucial to avoid fluctuation of any of these variables.

How Long can you Store Cannabis Seeds?

Well, if you follow all of the above it could be a very long time indeed. Marijuana seeds, ideally though, should be germinated sooner rather than later. If kept at room temperature in an airtight container, the answer is around 16 months (although this is debated). However, if they’re vacuum-sealed, and kept in a dark place without fluctuations in temperature, it could be years. The lifespan of a seed depends on you.

Avoiding temperature fluctuations, excess moisture and keeping them in a storage container that meets that criteria means your seed germination should be easy.

Like all living organisms, source quality places a huge part. As a seed bank that prides itself on producing weed seeds that produce cannabis plants of excellent quality – we test each strain for its vigour and resistance, all the way from seed to harvest.

We’ve written a total guide on the length of seed storage here:

Consultation for this article by Dr. Gary Yates of Pharmaseeds

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

How to Keep Cannabis Seeds in Perfect Condition

They are where it all begins. The care you give your cannabis seeds will determine not only how your plants grow, but also the final results of your harvest. As we are dealing with a natural product that needs to develop, the conditions under which it is stored will have an impact on their subsequent yield. Thus, though marijuana seeds are quite robust and autonomous, if you want to avoid unwanted setbacks when you plant them, you should take steps immediately after obtaining them.

Storage temperature: 6° C / Germination temperature: 24° C

Note these two temperature limits to calibrate the range in which you operate. Keep in mind that the ideal temperature to store seeds is around 6 to 8° C. Hence, the most expert growers have a refrigerator just for this purpose, with low temperatures being constantly maintained. The same is true with regards to humidity: if you do not want your seeds to suffer any damage it is advisable to keep them in places with a relative humidity of around 20-30%.

To keep your seeds in a cool place you’ll only have to make some space for them in your refrigerator at home (if it is a no-frost model, and in the fruits and vegetables crisper, even better), though ensuring that it is dry enough for their proper preservation will be a bit more complicated.

Humidity control via micro conservation in Eppendorf tubes

To keep humidity low, it is ideal to have some sealable containers on hand. To do this, a highly recommended option is to use Eppendorf tubes, a standard piece of laboratory equipment used for the preservation of liquid samples, and the very ones in which we provide our customers with our seeds.

These are small cylindrical containers with conical bottoms, made of polypropylene, and with hermetic seals. With this method of micro conservation the containers full of seeds are protected individually, in such a way that, even if there are variations in the outside atmosphere, inside the container the humidity conditions are constant.

To ensure this we place small pearls of silica gel inside the tubes so that, even if the outdoor humidity rises, or the temperature varies, we can be confident that the air is completely dry inside. The cap of the Eppendorf guarantees that no humidity gets in, but the silica gel also ensures that, if any were to penetrate it by accident, it would be immediately absorbed by this material.

If you do not have any of these containers, you can always use some opaque and airtight plastic bottles, which will also do the trick. Inside, along with seeds, it is a good idea to place some dry rice or silica crystals, separated from them by means of a cotton ball or paper. These elements will absorb moisture from the atmosphere, which, depending on one’s location, can be around 25% or higher.

Run from the light

You must not forget that light is another of the factors that directly impact seed germination. Therefore, you must be sure that you prevent light from shining on the seeds that you will later be planting. If exposed to light, they can lose much of their germinative power. This is why at Dinafem we place our Eppendorf tubes in opaque metal boxes, which protect the seeds from light and any possible crushing or breakage during their transportation or handling.

If you follow these guidelines you can preserve your seeds for several years. In fact, there are experts who contend that, if storage conditions are ideal, there are seeds that will last for up to a decade.

Labelling the different strains, essential to differentiate between them

It may seem obvious, without a doubt, but don’t forget to label the different strains you have. Once you store the seeds in their containers you should only open them to plant them. It is not advisable to open and close the container you are using, as the protection your seeds are provided is immediately lost once it is opened, and fluctuations in temperature and humidity can be highly detrimental.

Labelling the strains you have is even more vital if you cannot see the seeds. This can be the case if, for example, you follow the advice of some growers, who instruct more inexperienced growers to store their seeds in analogue film tubes. In cases like this you can simply stick a small label on it and jot down with a pencil the name of the strain in each tube, which should be placed, in turn, inside a piece of Tupperware to prevent its contents from deteriorating.

Other tips for storage

If you do not plan to store your seeds for a long time, but rather intend to plant them and harvest them as soon as possible, perhaps it will not be necessary to steal space from your fruits and vegetables in your refrigerator. Some recommended storing seeds in a closet located in a dark part of the house, where the natural light of day does not affect them too much, and so that they are kept dry and, more or less, cool. This location can be a good choice as long as you are going to plant your seeds soon.

Whether you choose to store your seeds in a refrigerator designed exclusively for their maintenance, or in a dark corner of your house, you will have to pay attention to other risks that can end up damaging them. Many experienced growers stress that seeds must be dried correctly and left under proper humidity conditions to prevent mould from appearing inside the receptacles. To keep this from occurring, in addition to drying the seeds properly, it is a good idea to always use silica gel when storing them.

See also  Can You Smoke Cannabis Seeds

Some potential hazards

Another threat that can ruin all your efforts are insects. Just one in your container is enough to render all the seeds inside useless. To prevent this it is advisable to spread diatomaceous earth where you store them. D.E. is a kind of sand with a fossilised algae base. It is inert and non-toxic, and functions as an invaluable natural insecticide. If you keep your seeds in your fridge with other foods, this will not be a good place to use this type of substrate. However, if you have a refrigerator just for this purpose, or a simple closet, you will be able to use this trick.

If a container you are using is left open, and a rodent somehow gets into your house, the consequences can be dramatic, both for you and your harvest, of course, because the animal will enjoy a great feast at your expense. This is why, among other things, something as simple as placing your containers up high can be a good way to prevent such disasters.

There are many factors to keep in mind when it comes to storing cannabis seeds. Keeping an eye on the temperature, light and humidity is vital, as they can affect your seeds’ germination capacity; if they normally germinate within 48 to 72 hours, when stored under poor conditions it can take up to 6 to 7 days. Or never. But this is not enough. You must also protect them from other external agents that, without your knowledge, can end up ruining your next harvest, or one you had planned for a later date.

Author

D. Civantos Professional journalist and blogger, I’ve, for more than a decade, been the head of Nexo Contenidos, a company specialized in the cannabis world and in wide-ranging digital media. You can find me not only on Dinafem, but also on Strambotic, Cooking Ideas and many other blogs floating in the uncharted waters of the net. However, when I feel most at ease is working with cannabis, one of my biggest passions from a very young age that has now become the main focus of my work.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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