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. 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. 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…
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
EDITOR’S CHOICE – Homegrown CannabisCo
Homegrown CannabisCo are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options including feminized seeds, it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.
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 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.
Download my free Grow Bible to learn more about storing your seeds.
- Grow with my Quick Start Guide
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- Avoid common grow mistakes
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 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.
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.
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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