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.
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.
Cannabis seeds have three main enemies:
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.
Humidity is easily one of the biggest threats to your seeds. Here is how different levels of humidity (% relative humidity) affect your cannabis seeds:
LEVELS OF HUMIDITY
80 - 100 % - Seeds drown and wilt after about 12 hours.
40 - 60 % - Seeds germinate.
20 - 30 % - Advisable to store your seeds.
18 - 20 % - Heating may occur, causing your seeds to sweat.
12 - 14 % - Over time, this amount of humidity creates a breeding ground for fungi both inside and outside your seeds.
8 - 9% - Over time, this humidity level attracts insects and pests.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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