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:
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 To Properly Preserve Cannabis Seeds
Cannabis seeds, with their tough outer shell, seem pretty hardy. And while nature has definitely designed them to hold up to a wide variety of conditions, cannabis seeds aren’t invincible. Rapid changes in temperature and high humidity, for example, can quickly ruin a batch of seeds. Luckily, caring for your seeds is simple. Keep reading to learn how.
YOUR SEEDS ARE ALIVE
Many people forget this, but it’s true—your cannabis seeds are living organisms. Before they germinate, however, they are in a state of rest (much like some animals when they hibernate). And like all living things, seeds can die. When storing your seeds, you’ll want to give them the optimal conditions to ensure they hold through until you’re ready to germinate and plant them.
IDEAL CONDITIONS FOR CANNABIS SEEDS
Cannabis seeds have three main enemies:
- Temperature changes
Ideally, you want to store your seeds in a cool, dark, and dry place. Whenever possible, keep your seeds in their original packaging. At Royal Queen Seeds, we’ve specially designed our packaging to protect our seeds until you’re ready to plant them.
If your seeds get exposed to light or rapid changes in temperature, these conditions 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. High humidity, on the other hand, can trigger fungi to grow on your seeds.
EFFECTS OF HUMIDITY ON CANNABIS SEEDS
Humidity is easily one of the biggest threats to your seeds. Here is how different levels of humidity (% relative humidity) affect your cannabis seeds:
EFFECTS OF HUMIDITY ON CANNABIS SEEDS
EFFECTS OF HUMIDITY ON CANNABIS SEEDS
WHERE AND HOW TO STORE YOUR CANNABIS SEEDS
For short-term storage, a dark cupboard or drawer with stable temperatures is usually fine. Try to keep your seeds out of areas of your house that are susceptible to the natural temperature changes of your local environment.
If, for example, you live in an area with very warm daytime temperatures and cool nights, try to protect your seeds from these changes and don’t store them outside in a shed or garage.
For long-term storage, it’s best to keep your seeds in a sealed container inside the fridge. Remember that opening the door of your fridge can actually cause some pretty dramatic temperature shifts. If you happen to have a second fridge that gets used less often than the one in your kitchen, use that one to store your seeds.
Again, whenever possible, keep your seeds in their original packaging. If you do open a pack of seeds and have leftovers, transfer the extra seeds directly into a sealed airtight container.
Ziplock bags, for example, are great because you can remove all the air from them to create an almost vacuum-sealed container for your seeds. Once vacuum-sealed, put your bag inside a dark plastic bag or dark container to protect your seeds from your fridge light.
Remember, modern fridges are very dry. It’s super important your seeds aren’t directly exposed to these conditions, as the lack of humidity can cause them to use up their nutrient stores just to stay alive.
CAN YOU STORE SEEDS IN THE FREEZER?
Yes, cannabis seeds can be stored in the freezer. The lower the temperature, the slower they decline. However, it’s usually not necessary to freeze your seeds. Meet the conditions we outlined above, and you should be able to preserve your seeds for up to five years and still get a high germination rate.
KNOWING WHICH SEEDS TO PLANT AND WHICH TO STORE
When you’re ready to germinate your seeds, inspect them and germinate any seeds with damage to the outer shell first. The outer shell of your seeds is designed to protect the volatile genetics inside. Seeds with cracks in the outer shell are a lot more vulnerable and shouldn’t be stored.
At Royal Queen Seeds, we take pride in our work and want to ensure every grower only has the best genetics in their garden. That means we inspect all of our seeds before packaging. If you notice any damage to your RQS seeds, get in touch with our customer service team immediately.
TIPS FOR GERMINATING OLD CANNABIS SEEDS
We’ve all found an odd seed somewhere at the bottom of an old drawer or cupboard. Here are a few tips on how to germinate old cannabis seeds:
- Pre-soakingwith enriched carbonated water
Before germinating your old seeds, try soaking them in carbonated water enriched with fulvic acid, germination booster, hydrogen peroxide, or gibberellic acid. For best results, use room temperature water and soak your seeds for 12 hours in a dark place.
- Scaryour seeds
Older seeds often have an extra tough outer shell. Gently scratching this shell with some sandpaper can help moisture and warmth enter your seed at the time of germination. Try gently scarring your old cannabis seeds just before soaking to help them sprout.
- Remove a seed’s ridge
The ridge is the slightly elevated side of your seed. Like other parts of the shell, this ridge can become extra tough over time. Removing it gently with a sharp Stanley blade can help your seed sprout.
- Slice openyour seed
In a last attempt to germinate your seeds, creating a small cut in the seed’s shell may help. However, this is no miracle cure, and you’ll need to be careful to avoid damaging the inside of your seed.
Remember, some old seeds just won’t germinate no matter how much you try. Whenever possible, avoid buying more seeds than you plan to plant so as to avoid having any issues at the time of germination.
When stored properly, your cannabis seeds can easily hold up for numerous years. Click here to learn how best to preserve your weed seeds.