Storing cannabis seeds in the right conditions allows you to preserve your favourite cannabis genetics for many years. Store your seed collection safely! 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… Do you know the best way to store weed seeds in the short term? Is long-term storage possible? Learn all you need to know about how to store cannabis seeds.
How to store cannabis seeds the right way
Storing cannabis seeds under the correct conditions allows you to preserve your favourite cannabis genetics for many years. With the right conditions you can keep the best part of your cannabis seed collection viable for a decade or more. But get the conditions wrong and the germination rates on your best-loved feminised seeds and autoflower seeds will suffer. If you are a cannabis seed connoisseur that spends time, cash and love building a collection of the best cannabis genetics then it makes sense to learn more about storing your cannabis seeds under ideal long term conditions.
Did you know cannabis seeds are living organisms?
When preserving cannabis seeds, it’s worth remembering that seeds are technically classified as living organisms. That’s because they have an embryo which is capable of being germinated and growing into a new plant. Just like any other seed, environmental conditions for storing cannabis seeds can be fine tuned to maximise seed germination rates. But provide the wrong conditions for storing cannabis seeds and your seed germination rates will decrease rapidly. Storing cannabis seeds till germination under ideal conditions is the best way to maximise germination rates.
Key factors to watch when storing cannabis seeds
When storing cannabis seeds there are three main issues which will reduce the germination rates (or the ‘viability’) of your cannabis seeds. These are light, heat and humidity. Each of these factors will reduce the germination rates of your autoflower seeds/feminised seeds. Conversely, if you can minimise and correctly control heat, light and humidity then you will extend the lifetime of your cannabis seed collection.
Inside your cannabis seeds are delicate embryonic tissues which store the genetic code. This, in turn, defines the type of cannabis you will eventually grow. When storing cannabis seeds long term, keeping the seeds away from bright light is important – don’t store them in your grow room! A sealable, light proof container is ideal.
The shell of the cannabis seed does help to protect the embryo from light. But remember, in nature, cannabis seeds were normally dropped from the plant onto the soil in autumn/fall. There they would remain under a light covering of soil until they germinated the following spring. Cannabis seeds were never designed to cope with intense light levels. Storing cannabis seeds in the fridge, in a dark humidity proof container is a good way to maintain maximum seed germination rates.
Dutch Passion cannabis seeds can be stored simply be re-sealing the seed packet with tape and placing it inside the seed tin or a container. Storing cannabis seeds in eppendorf tubes (black or amber) in the fridge is a popular technique. Eppendorf tubes are small plastic tubes normally used for storing liquids, but they are often used for cannabis seed storage too.
When storing cannabis seeds, humidity levels are an important factor. In order to germinate cannabis seeds, moist humid conditions are used. So it makes sense to use low humidity conditions for cannabis seed storage. You certainly don’t want to store your seeds anywhere where moisture droplets, which will soften the shell. Water/moisture is a very effective way to soften the hard, rigid shell of the cannabis seed. This allows the tap root to emerge.
When storing cannabis seeds for the long term, the actual water content inside the seed will be around 10%. Storing cannabis seeds in the refrigerator is an easy way to maintain the low humidity levels that suit long term seed viability. Just make sure that your seeds are stored in a dark, dry container without any condensation near the seeds and you should be able to store cannabis seeds in the fridge for perhaps 5 years or more and still have good germination rates.
It’s not necessary to measure humidity levels in your fridge. Just ensure your seeds are in a sealed dry and dark container inside your fridge and they should last many years.
If you have produced your own cannabis seeds you may be aware that when they are very fresh, straight off the plant, they may even be a little too fresh to germinate. That’s why some believe in storing and maturing cannabis seeds for a short period at room temperature. This allows moisture content of the seed to drop enough for the seeds to become more viable. How long to let seeds dry before storing? A couple of months at room temperature should be sufficient.
|Humidity levels||Effects on cannabis seeds|
|75% to 100%||Humidity is too high, causing seeds to have excessively high internal moisture content which decreases long term germination viability.|
|25% to 75%||Good for cannabis seed storage, especially at low temperatures in sealed/dark containers.|
|0% to 25%||Too dry, seeds may desiccate (dry out excessively) especially if they were not in a sealed humidity proof bag/container.|
Storing cannabis seeds at low humidity levels in a dark place is a great way to maintain good germination rates. But one of the best ways for preserving cannabis seeds is to use low temperatures. At low temperatures cannabis seed life is greatly extended. This is because the delicate living plant tissue inside the seed can survive for much longer periods at cool temperatures which slow down the cellular biochemistry. It’s the same reason that food lasts longer in the fridge than it would at room temperature.
What is the ideal storage temperature for storing seeds? Most people use temperatures of around 4ºC (39ºF). But 4ºC isn’t a magic number. If you can ‘only’ store your cannabis seeds at e.g. 10ºC the seeds will last longer than they would stored at 20ºC. Storing cannabis seeds at 4ºC will allow longer seed storage than 10ºC.
Storing cannabis seeds in the freezer (-15 to -20ºC) is also possible and this allows even better seed storage. However this does come with some risks. When stored at freezer temperatures you can expect cannabis seeds to remain viable for decades. The very low temperatures effectively allow the seed embryo to survive for long periods.
Cannabis seed companies such as Dutch Passion store their archived seed collection (1970’s & 1980’s) in the freezer. This allows long term storage. However, it also comes with certain risks. In the freezer, the delicate frozen tissues in the seed embryo can shatter if the seeds are mishandled or shaken. That’s why the freezer is only recommended for those placing seeds into very long term storage. For most home growers, the fridge (4ºC) is a great place for storing cannabis seeds.
So what are the best ways to store your cannabis seeds?
What is the optimal temperature for storing seeds? For most people, temperatures around 4ºC (in the fridge) are perfect. If the autoflower seeds/feminised seeds are in a sealed lightproof container they are automatically at a low humidity and in a dark place.
Don’t worry too much about keeping your seeds in a fridge at all times. Remember that even without a fridge, a pack of seeds stored in a draw for a couple of years should still show good germination rates. Avoid storing your seeds in places with high temperatures or intense light, such as a window ledge or your grow room.
If storing cannabis seeds in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge remember that they are easy to accidentally crush if something is placed on top of them. A small box or plastic container can prevent that.
Should I date my seeds when storing them?
It’s probably not necessary for most people but it could be a useful guide for later germination.
How long can you preserve cannabis seeds?
In the freezer you can store cannabis seeds for decades. In the fridge, you should see good germination rates (50% or more) even after 5+ years. Without using the fridge, germination rates start to decrease earlier and faster.
If you usually germinate your cannabis seeds within a few weeks/months of purchase you may not need to worry too much about how to store them.
When cannabis seeds are supplied from the seed supplier, germination rates should be 90% or higher if you are buying from a proven supplier. Even after 5 years in the fridge you should still expect the majority of your cannabis seeds to germinate.
This is good news for those growers that have found the ideal cannabis seeds for their needs and want to ensure a viable seed collection of their favourite cannabis genetics for many years to come.
Drying, storing and maturing seeds from plants
Although not many growers can be bothered with the hassle of producing their own cannabis seeds, if you do attempt to produce seeds it’s important to know about maturing them.
When drying and storing and maturing cannabis seeds one of the main tips is to allow the fresh seeds time to rest before germinating. Fresh seeds haven’t had the natural time period required to allow them to reach maximum germination rates.
Typically seeds of various plants store better, and germinate faster when they have dried a little after the seeds have been collected. After a month or two in ambient conditions, the seeds have matured and should show higher germination rates.
What size mylar bags to use for storing marijuana seeds?
Size really doesn’t matter! Just ensure your seeds are sealed, safe from light/moisture and stored at low temperatures.
What if you found an old undated bag of seeds?
Whether you are preserving seeds of F1 landrace cannabis genetics or any other type of cannabis seeds your best chances of storing them is at low temperatures in dry and dark conditions. Many growers collect extensive (and expensive!) cannabis seed collections.
Dating each seed packet is a good idea, although it won’t improve germination rates it will give you an idea of the age of the seeds. Even after 10 years in a fridge at 4ºC you can still expect to see a some of your seeds germinate, assuming they original seed quality was high.
If your cannabis seeds are really old, some growers may suggest a few unusual tips to increases germination. Dutch Passion can’t really recommend these techniques, they simply carry too much chance of damaging the seed. These techniques include gently sandpapering the outer layer of the seed shell, perhaps including the ridge down the side. The logic here is that particularly old/hard seed shells need assistance to open.
Dutch Passion prefer to stick to proven, established seed germination techniques that should work well for most people. The best way to germinate cannabis seeds is to do so between a couple of lightly moistened cotton pads for a couple of days.
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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How To Store Cannabis Seeds
Even though they don’t seem to do much, seeds are alive. They need to be handled with care and kept safe until you’re ready to grow them. If you’re not sure how to store cannabis seeds correctly, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Seeds are pretty pricey, and there’s a lot more to storing weed safely than you might think. If you expose them to the elements and extreme temperatures, they’ll die.
Below we’ll discuss how long marijuana seeds last, the ideal storage methods, the role of environmental factors, and how to germinate cannabis seeds. Let’s get started!
How long do marijuana seeds last?
Seeds require proper protection from the elements to last. If carefully stored, you can extend their shelf-life.
How long do marijuana seeds last? Most last up to six months at room temperature, but this timeline extends for users who keep the seeds refrigerated.
High-quality options can survive up to 10 years, but the duration varies according to environmental factors and the chosen strain. Hardy cultivars can withstand the test of time, while weaker varieties only last for three years.
Even the most expensive cultivars can’t survive in unfavorable conditions. Learn all about the various methods available before you start storing marijuana seeds.
How to store cannabis seeds
Seeds are living organisms. If you don’t take proper care of them, they can die. Using the right techniques for storing cannabis seeds means that you can preserve them for extended periods until you’re ready to plant them.
Before you decide on a suitable method, you need to ensure that the environmental conditions are ideal. Important considerations are:
- Humidity levels
- Temperature fluctuations
When any of the above factors aren’t correct, it can cause your seeds to germinate early or wilt.
If you’re wondering how to store cannabis seeds, light exposure is the first consideration. Seeds are unlikely to germinate when you store them in dark places. Storing your seeds near a window exposed to the sun’s rays can cause roots to sprout.
Too much light can also force the seeds to use their nutrients to survive before germination. This exposure causes the seeds to weaken, and they won’t develop once you plant them.
When it comes to humidity and storing cannabis seeds, you need to balance them carefully. If you have RH levels below 8%, your seeds become vulnerable to pests. Humidity levels above 10% can result in fungi developing and levels above 60% cause wilting and death.
The ideal range is 21–30% for short-term storage. Preserving seeds for longer periods means you need to keep them as dry as possible at 8–10%. Various levels have different consequences for the seeds.
|Below 8%||At these levels, any pests or insects around the seeds become active, reproducing and damaging them.|
|8–10%||The risk of pests still exists, but it’s the optimal relative humidity (RH) for long term storing of cannabis seeds.|
|12–14%||Fungi flourish in these conditions, which harms the seeds and affects their ability to germinate later.|
|18–20%||The seeds may sweat, and heating can cause them to rot.|
|20–30%||These levels are ideal for storing cannabis seeds for short-term use.|
|40–60%||When you increase the RH to 40–60%, seeds start germinating. These are also the optimal levels for cultivating most strains of cannabis.|
|80–100%||These levels are too high for storing marijuana seeds. Within 12 hours, they’ll start drowning, wilting, and dying.|
The best way to store marijuana seeds is in cool conditions, with 43°–47°F temperatures. The cooler it is, the less likely your seed will be to germinate. Many growers use a “no frost” refrigerator. The best place to keep them is in the fruit and vegetable section.
They need to be vacuum sealed beforehand. It’s safe to say that when you store cannabis seeds, the ideal environment is cold and dark with low humidity. Aside from refrigeration, some growers use a freezer or a dark spot at room temperature.
Any fluctuations in these conditions put your seeds at risk. You must keep your containers sealed until you plan to plant them. Opening them exposes the seeds to bacteria and pests.
Choosing containers: the best way to store marijuana seeds
If you want to know how to store cannabis seeds with minimal risks, you must choose the appropriate container. Different options are available depending on the duration of storage. Growers typically select between:
- Ziplock bags
- Mason jars
- Plastic containers
- Mylar bags
- Vacuum sealable containers
How to store cannabis seeds in the long term
If you’re wondering how to store cannabis seeds for more than six months, the most efficient option is a vacuum seal container. Ensure that it’s dark-colored and restricts access to light.
Place it at the back of your fridge or freezer. Once again, you need to ensure the appropriate RH levels. Use a desiccant to maintain the moisture levels and absorb ethylene. Popular options are silica gel packs or uncooked rice.
How to store cannabis seeds in the short term
Storing marijuana seeds in the short term is probably the easiest. You can select a drawer or cupboard that’s cool and dark. Ensure that the spot has a consistent temperature. Containers that work well need to be airtight.
Many growers use foam canisters, plastic containers, and mylar bags. The main factor is that they need to keep oxygen and water molecules out.
The best way to store cannabis seeds in the medium term is in an airtight container like a mason jar, ziplock bag, or vacuum sealable container.
You can use a refrigerator to extend the lifespan of your seeds. Be sure to check the humidity levels, as some refrigerators have low humidity levels.
Method for storing cannabis seeds
If you’re collecting seeds from the buds, you first need to dry them. After harvesting, place the buds in a humidor box for roughly 14 hours, then transfer them to brown bags for 2-3 days.
After that, place them back in the humidor box for another week, whereafter mature seeds should start falling off. This drying and curing procedure helps with the long-term preservation of seed quality. If you’ve purchased your seeds from a credible seed bank, you may skip this process.
The steps for how to store cannabis seeds are:
Step 1: Label your containers for easy identification later. It also minimizes light exposure.
Step 2: Insert a desiccant and place a layer of cotton wool as a boundary to separate it from the seeds. This step ensures that the moisture will be absorbed, and the seeds won’t be disturbed.
Step 3: Put the cannabis seeds on the other side of the cotton barrier and seal the container. Place it in the desired location until you’re ready to plant.
How long can you store cannabis seeds?
You can store cannabis seeds for anything from a few days to a few years. You need to control environmental factors carefully, and the better you are at providing optimal conditions, the longer they’ll last.
The containers you choose, temperature, and humidity levels all play a role in the total duration of safe marijuana seed storage.
How to germinate stored cannabis seeds
After storing cannabis seeds, you first need to establish they’re still healthy and viable. Ideally, they should be dark, round, and smooth. If they’re pale, white, and shriveled, you might not be able to get them to sprout.
A great way of testing them is by popping them into a glass of water. Seeds that sink are more likely to germinate. Ones that float might still grow a root, but the cannabis quality it produces will be poor.
You can try a few techniques for stubborn stored seeds that seem like they aren’t viable.
From the fridge
When you’re ready to cultivate your weed crops, remove the seeds from the fridge. This process is similar to the changes in nature when winter turns to spring. Place them in a glass with room temperature water for 12 hours.
To give them an extra boost, you can add one of the following solutions to the water:
- Fulvic acid
- Germination booster
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Gibberellic acid
Some seeds may germinate during this time. If not, you can still try one of the other germination methods.
If you’ve been storing your marijuana seeds for a long time, the outer shell may be quite hard—scarify the seed may be a good option to break the tough outside layer. Using sandpaper, gently scratch the seeds’ surface to allow moisture and warmth to enter it. You can do this before soaking.
Over time the ridge of each seed gets extremely tough. You can enhance the chances of germination by removing the ridge with a sharp knife or blade.
When you store cannabis seeds for a long time, there’s a chance they might not sprout roots. If all the other methods don’t work, you can use a blade to make a small cut in the shell. Ensure that you don’t damage the inside of the seed.
Short term storage germination
If you’ve only kept your weed seeds in storage for a couple of weeks, you can use the same methods as with newly purchased seeds. Common methods include:
- The paper towel method
- Ziplock bag technique
- Cotton wool germination
The paper towel method
This germination method is popular with marijuana cultivators. It’s affordable, easy, and uses mainly household items. It’s great for when you’re no longer storing cannabis seeds, as you can check for progress daily.
To use this method, you’ll require:
- Two paper towels
- Two dinner plates
- A bowl of water
- Cannabis seeds
The two dinner plates serve as a makeshift germination station.
1: Set out one of the plates as the base of the setup.
2: Wet the paper towels in the bowl of water and squeeze out any excess liquid so that they’re damp, not soaking.
3: Place one paper towel on the plate and space the seeds an inch apart on it.
4: Gently cover the seeds with the second paper towel.
5: Cover it with the plate.
Similar to the environment where you store cannabis seeds, you need to place your setup in a cool, dry place. Check on them daily, and add moisture if they seem to be drying out.
If the seeds don’t germinate within a week, they’re not viable. Check our germination guide for more info on this method.
The Ziplock bag technique
The Ziplock bag technique is quite similar to the previous method. The main difference is that instead of placing the paper towels between dinner plates, you slide them into a ziplock bag.
You store marijuana seeds at a lower humidity level than when you germinate them, and the increase encourages roots to sprout. Placing them in a Ziploc bag traps the moisture and provides the ideal environment for the seeds to flourish.
Germinating using this technique takes between 5-7 days. If there’s no sign of roots developing, discard the seeds.
Cotton wool germination
Growers have used cotton wool as a germination tool for many years. Some use it to start bean plants and other vegetables, but it works just as well for helping weed seeds get started.
This method works best if you’ve been storing the cannabis seeds for a few weeks and it requires:
- Two cotton pads
- A bowl of water
- Cannabis seeds
- A container with a lid
1: Soak the cotton pads in the bowl of water and squeeze out the extra liquid.
2: Smooth the cotton pad flat at the base of the container.
3: Place the seeds an inch apart on the cotton you’ve just inserted.
4: Cover with the second damp cotton pad and close the lid.
Place the setup in a cool, dry place and check on it every 24 hours. If the cotton appears dry, add moisture with a spray bottle. Seeds should germinate within seven days.
Locking up seed storage
Storing marijuana seeds is not as simple as it sounds. If you place them in a cupboard and forget about them for a few months, they’ll likely die.
You need to ensure that the temperature and humidity levels are correct and the space you choose needs to be dark. You also need to consider which container you’ll use carefully. Airtight options provide the best results.
Now that you know how to store cannabis seeds head over to the Homegrown Cannabis Co. store and browse through the wide range of options.
To keep learning about the importance of storing your cannabis seeds correctly, check our Potcast on the subject:
About the author: Parker Curtis
Parker Curtis has around a decade of cannabis-growing experience, specialising in soil-less and hydro grows. He’s mastering outdoor, greenhouse, and indoor grows.