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10 Markers of a Quality Marijuana Seed

If you’re looking to start growing your own marijuana, the first place to start is with the seed. What should you look for? How can you tell a good cannabis seed from a dud? Chris Bond tells us.

So, you’ve decided to grow your own marijuana from seed. How do you know if those little, round nuggets in your hand will grow up lush and produce beautiful, productive buds? How do you know if they are duds? While ultimately the genetics will determine the destiny of those little weed seeds, and proper care will help them to realize their full potential, there are some markers you can assess to see if what you have is quality seed, indeed.

What to Look for in a Cannabis Seed

#1 Color

While all cannabis seed is not identical in color, there are some consistencies. Healthy, viable seed will be light to dark brown in color. Seed that is light green or even whitish in color is underdeveloped and should be tossed out. Healthy seed will also have a burled or turtle shell-like pattern on its seed coat.

#2 Sheen

A quality cannabis seed will have a waxy, protective coating. Seeds that appear dull are probably not as viable and should be avoided if given a choice.

#3 Shape

Quality cannabis seed will look like a plump teardrop. Flat or misshapen seeds will not likely produce quality plants.

#4 Texture

Quality seed will be firm. Cannabis seed should have a strong seed coat protecting the pre-emerged life inside. Any seed that is tender, pliable or squishy should not be planted; poor results will follow if attempted.

#5 Size

Size is relative, but if you are able to compare several seeds at once, the higher quality seeds are larger. When it comes to seeds, less is more. The fewer seeds that comprise any given amount, an ounce or a gram for example, is generally an indicator of higher quality seeds. The biggest seeds within a species generally have more energy stored within them and have a greater potential to mature into a productive plant. Note that indica strains tend to produce larger seeds than sativa strains so make sure the comparison is made among like seeds.

#6 Weight

Weight often goes hand-in-hand with size, but heavier seeds are generally of higher quality than lighter ones. The older a seed gets, the more potential loss of moisture and nutrients, reducing its overall weight. Damaged seed, which has been cracked can potentially lose those same necessary qualities.

#7 Float test

Quality seeds will sink in water. In glass or vessel, place room temperature water deep enough to full cover the volume of seeds to be tested. Place your seed or seeds in the water. After a couple of hours, anything still floating, should not be considered a quality seed. Soaking seeds will allow moisture to cross over the protective membrane and signal the seed that it is time to grow. As such this test should not be performed if the intent is to store the seeds after testing as it may render otherwise quality seed unviable if not meant to be immediately germinated afterwards.

#8 Storage

You may not have access to see or have verified information on the storage conditions of seeds, but if you can find this out, it is critical to maintaining quality seeds. While cannabis seeds can be viable for over 10 years in some instances, the best seed in terms of productivity is not more than 12 to 18 months old. It should have been stored in dark, cool and dry conditions to prevent mold or the onset of any fungal issues. Storing in a freezer can prolong seeds as well, essentially suspending time.

#9 Age at harvest

This is another aspect you, the buyer may not be privy to. Quality seed is harvest when fully mature. If seed was collected before the plant was able to load as much stored energy into it as possible, then that seed will be starting out life in a deficit. Color, as referenced above can be an indicator of whether or not a seed was harvested at the appropriate time.

#10 Cost

You get what you pay for and a cannabis seed is not exempt from this maxim. Quality seeds are not cheap (at least when compared to other agricultural seeds). This isn’t to say that inferior seeds can’t be overpriced, but if you find cannabis seeds proclaiming excellent genetics for sale at a price that seems too good to be true, caveat emptor.

This is not meant to be a definitive list, as new varieties of cannabis emerge on the scene all the time that may have “normal” traits that would otherwise be viewed as deficiencies in other strains. As always, do your homework, ask other growers who know and buy your seeds from a reputable source.

How Healthy are Your Cannabis Seeds?

With some newly-tilled soil and a handful of seeds, you may be ecstatic to know that you are finally going to start cultivating your own cannabis seeds. After figuring out how to actually plant and nurture them, you couldn’t wait to try them out for the first time! But wait, have you even checked to see if the cannabis seeds are healthy enough for planting? Yeah, I thought so.

Before rushing into the whole cultivation process of weed, one of the very first things that you will have to do is determine the quality and health of your seeds! Are they soft or firm to touch? Do they display a darker or lighter shade of color? Where did you get your cannabis seeds from? All of these and more are telltale signs of fresh, healthy seeds for you to use! Don’t worry, it’s pretty ebay to tell if your cannabis seeds are safe for cultivation or not!

Why Should I Check My Cannabis Seeds’ Quality?

It isn’t exactly rocket science to understand that healthy marijuana plants and buds come from healthy cannabis seeds. While there is still a chance for these seeds to actually sprout and develop, they will be nowhere near as potent and fresh as the ones that you get from top-shelf cannabis seeds. In worst case scenarios, these unhealthy seeds may not even sprout during germination in the first place!

Can You Distinguish Male and Female Cannabis Seeds?

If you are using regular marijuana seeds, then you might be wondering whether or not you can differentiate the males from the females this early in the growing process! It would be a lot more convenient to just simply discard any male weed seeds before they start sprouting out of their shells!

Unfortunately, there really is no earlier stage in the cannabis plant’s life cycle to distinguish males from females rather than the pre-flower stage. You are just going to have to take the leap and see whether your plants turn out male or female by waiting until they produce pre-flowers!

How to Judge Your Cannabis Seeds’ Quality:

Now for the main bit: how can you tell if your cannabis seeds are healthy or not? Are they fresh? Will they break free from their shells during germination? The great thing about this is that you can practically judge the health and freshness of your weed seeds simply based on their appearance and textures. Here are the main qualities of healthy cannabis seeds:

SIZE DOESN’T MATTER:

Cannabis seeds are generally organic and pure, which means that they can come in different shapes and sizes due to being original and free from human/commercial interference. Just like how the cannabis plant’s structure can vary based on the genotype and phenotype, the seeds themselves can all look different!

As such, the sizes of your cannabis seeds should not be taken into consideration when judging the quality of your weed seeds. Some may come in small, grain sizes while others will be much more hefty and chunky.

COLOR OF THE CANNABIS SEEDS:

Dark and brown cannabis seeds are usually the first thing that you will notice with healthy seeds. Just by looking at them, you can pretty much differentiate the darker colored ones from the light-shaded ones. Oftentimes, even a tan, soil-like color means that your seeds are mature enough to be cultivated! Young and immature seeds tend to show hues of light green and white pigments. This indicates that they still haven’t reached the full maturity for planting.

PATTERNS: TIGER STRIPES AND DARK SPOTS

This one will be a little less obvious but if you look close enough, you might notice that the cannabis seeds display streaks of tiger stripes or dark spots all around the shell! This is a good indication of fresh seeds compared to ones that look blank and free from any distinct markings on them.

Also, make sure that you do not mistake any holes and cracks for markings! These will obviously indicate damaged seeds that will have much harder times to grow.

FIRM AND STURDY OUTER SHELL

Like any other organism out there, non-fresh and dried up cannabis seeds are no good for cultivation. Even the flimsy looking ones may indicate that the seeds have reached their expiration and are no longer viable for planting. On the other hand, seeds that are too young may not have sturdy shells. Applying even the smallest amount of pressure on them may lead to them breaking apart!

As such, look for cannabis seeds that have a tough outer exterior. These should be able to withstand a slight amount of pressure when they are pressed in between your fingers. The hard outer shell acts as a protective layer that can hold in all the important qualities and genetics inside the seeds. This shell should also feel/look quite waxy and shiny.

The Floating Test: Simple Yet Effective!

Aside from judging the appearance of your cannabis seeds, one fool-proof way of determining its quality is by the floating test. It is a simple and effective way of testing your seeds and discarding any ones that do not pass!

The concept of this test is really simple: healthy seeds sink whereas unhealthy seeds float! And since they will be moist enough due to being submerged, you can instantly start germinating the seeds after you do this!

Simply take a cup of water and pour all your marijuana seeds into it. The small openings in the seeds might take a while to absorb the water so you should wait for 1 to 2 hours before checking for any seeds that are left floating! Any seeds that haven’t sunk to the bottom after a period of time can easily be scraped up and discarded.