How To Store Marijuana Seeds?
So you’ve bought your marijuana seeds. Are you ready to use them yet? If not, then you’ll want to know how to store marijuana seeds. More accurately, you’ll want to know the best way to store marijuana seeds. After all, you could just store your cannabis seeds in a tub in the fridge. That, however, would be a really bad idea.
Why is proper storage necessary?
Every cannabis grower starts as a beginner but once you have your own stock of plants, storing your own seeds is a logical next step. Like many aspects of cannabis growth, it can take a bit of practice to get it right, but there are some established guidelines which can help. Basically if you use the right method to store marijuana seeds, there will be a much better chance that they will sprout when you sow them.
How long can you store marijuana seeds for?
That is an interesting question. There is no official “use by time” on marijuana seeds. There are stories of seeds lasting up to five years. In fact, there’s even the odd story of seeds lasting longer than that. These stories may well be true. Marijuana seeds are known to be pretty hardy. In practice, however, you probably want to use your marijuana seeds within two years. In fact, ideally, you want to use them as quickly as possible.
If you’re collecting your own seeds, you want to wait as long as possible. Basically, keep your marijuana seeds on the plant while they’re still getting darker. Harvest when they are as dark as they are going to be.
What environment is best for storing marijuana seeds?
Outdoors, cannabis plants sleep over the winter and wake up in spring or summer. You therefore want to convince your marijuana seeds that it’s still winter.
Keep your marijuana seeds in the dark
Winters are when nights are longest. The longer days arrive in spring. That’s a signal for germination. Germination is what you want to avoid (right now). That means you need to keep your marijuana seeds in the dark.
Keep your marijuana seeds cool
Again, you want to convince your marijuana seeds that it is winter. That means keeping them cool. Excess cold shouldn’t really be an issue. Some people even keep marijuana seeds in the freezer. Excess heat, however, may start the process of germination.
Starve your marijuana seeds of oxygen
Seeds can survive for extended periods without oxygen. They do, however, need oxygen to germinate. You don’t want your marijuana seeds to germinate right now. Therefore, you need to stop oxygen from getting to them.
Keep your marijuana seeds dry
There are all kinds of reasons why you need your marijuana seeds to stay dry. First of all, moisture encourages germination. Basically it triggers the production of ethylene. Ethylene is a plant hormone. Secondly it encourages the seeds to start breathing. Thirdly it encourages the growth of mould and fungi. Fourthly, it can encourage insect attacks.
Having said that, you don’t want your marijuana seeds to be totally dry. That can kill them. You want them to have 2-3% humidity.
The easiest way to do this is to put some silica gel in with your marijuana seeds. If you bought the seeds, they may well have come with a package of silica gel. If not, silica gel is widely available. In fact, if you buy anything online, you’ll probably get some. If you must buy it, try anywhere which sells floristry supplies.
Alternatively, for short-term storage, you could use rice. This only works for short periods because rice becomes soggy. Then you need to change it while keeping your seeds dark.
Put some cotton wool between your seeds and the silica gel (or rice). This will help to keep your seeds dry. It will also reduce the disturbance if you need to change out the drying agent.
What are the best methods for storing marijuana seeds?
Before you can store your marijuana seeds, you need to find a good container. You want this container to be made out of a single material. This is because different materials expand and contract at different temperatures. This makes it very difficult for them to stay completely airtight.
Glass is your best bet. Mason jars are a great choice for keeping the air out. You would, however, have to add an inner container to block the light. Film cannisters were the traditional choice. You can actually still buy these. You can also still buy film to get the cannisters. Alternatively, you could buy something like a light-proof container for medicine.
You may be able to find an airtight container made of light-proof glass. This would be an all-in-one solution. These containers may, however, be expensive to purchase.
It’s generally best to avoid containers made of plastic or metal. This can be very hard to keep cool. Plastic, especially, may cause your seeds to “sweat”, even with a drying agent.
Whatever type of container you use, it’s a really good idea to label it. If, for some reason, you can only use a small label, just put a number on it. Then keep a note of what the number means. This is particularly useful if you’re storing separate batches of marijuana seeds. It is, however, a good idea even if you only have one batch. That way if you add future batches, you’ll know which is which. It also stops you forgetting what you stored and why.
For short-term storage, your main choices are a cupboard or your fridge. A cold, dark cupboard is actually ideal. Basically, it it’s good for root vegetables, it’s probably going to be good for marijuana seeds.
A fridge is a good second choice. If, however, you’re using a fridge, then you really need to make sure your container is light-proof. You might also want to put it in a cool-bag for extra protection. You want to put your container at the back of the fridge. This is where there is usually the least moisture. It’s also where the temperature is generally most stable. The veg shelf/box is often the best place of all.
This is where opinion varies. Some people believe that home freezing is a bad idea. Other people say that it’s OK as long as you do it sensibly. If you’re going to try freezing, then you’ll need an airtight plastic container. Glass containers will shatter. Regular ziplock bags may not be good enough. You’ll need proper, airtight freezer bags. You’ll also need a food-grade drying agent. Both of these can be bought online.
Once you’ve frozen your marijuana seeds, leave them frozen. Only defrost them once. In other words, only defrost them when you’re ready to use them. Also, defrost your marijuana seeds slowly. Ideally, leave them in a dark place at room temperature to thaw out gradually. Keep a drying agent in the container during the process. You want your marijuana seeds to stay dry until you’re ready to sprout them.
Alternatively, just use a cold, dark cupboard or a fridge. Marijuana seeds often do just fine there for a good two years.
It’s important to store your marijuana seeds in the right environment. You want to protect them from heat, light, oxygen and moisture. Any of these factors can trigger germination. Marijuana seeds can generally be kept safely for up to two years. They may still sprout after that. It’s certainly worth a try. You will, however, have to cross your fingers for germination.
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
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.