What Do Marijuana Seeds Look Like

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The marijuana seed can be both inspiring and intimidating. Check out our guide to cannabis seeds before you start your first grow. How do cannabis seeds work? Learn how to store your seeds, how long you can store them for, how to germinate them and their internal biology. cannabis seeds viability storage how long last methods containers temperature humidity expiry preservation

Cannabis Seeds 101: Your Intro Guide To The Marijuana Seed

If you’re thinking about diving into the world of growing, why not start from the ground up? Here’s an introduction course to cannabis seeds.

If you’re a wannabe pot grower, you need to be an expert on all things cannabis seeds. This knowledge needs to be gained before you even purchase your first marijuana seed in order to ensure a successful grow. While we’ve given guides on how to begin the plant process and how to see it through to a bountiful harvest, you may be seeking more information about the seed itself. And so, without further ado, here’s our intro course to cannabis seeds.

Basic Plant Biology

To put it in the most basic terms, a seed is a plant that is in its embryonic stage. Like animals, plants reproduce by, well, reproduction. The process actually isn’t totally dissimilar from that of animals. In order to produce a seed, a plant’s ovule (like an ovum, or egg) needs to be fertilized by pollen (similar to sperm).

Once the ovule is fertilized by the pollen, a seed is formed. Like an embryo, a seed contains a wealth of genetic material. Inside that one tiny object is the future of the organism. And like animals, the fate and final outcome of the seed is almost entirely dependent on how you treat it in its early stages of development. Here’s how to set up your baby, er, cannabis plant, for health and success.

How To Germinate Cannabis Seeds

Before you plant your seeds, you’re going to want to germinate them. What is germination? It’s basically a process by which seeds become hydrated. When they are hydrated, the enzymes in them become activated and ready to grow. When a seed is properly and completely germinated, the beginning of a root emerges from the seed’s shell.

So how do you germinate your cannabis seeds? First, you have to determine whether or not your seed is even viable. According to the experts, an ideal marijuana seed should be dark in color with black stripes. If you have seeds that look like that, great! Germination should be successful. There are a few methods of germination, but the easiest one is the paper towel method. Simply put your seeds between two damp paper towels on top of a flat surface, like a tray, and keep that on top of a warm surface. A root should break through the seed in just a few days.

If a root isn’t showing up in the expected time, you may need to stick it in some water for a day or so. This will help soften up the exterior of the shell and make it easier for the root to emerge.

What is a Feminized Marijuana Seed?

You may have heard the term “feminized marijuana seed”. But do you know what it means? According to our very own cannabis strain expert, Danny Danko, “feminized seeds are the result of using “male” pollen from a hermaphroditic plant to fertilize a female flower, resulting in plants that can be female or hermaphrodites but never males.”

Are Cannabis Seeds Legal?

Okay, so now you know the basics of what seeds are and how to begin the planting process. Feeling inspired and planning your grow operation already? Great! But first thing’s first. You have to buy some. But where? Since cannabis is federally illegal, surely the embryonic form of cannabis is prohibited as well, right? Not necessarily. If you reside in a state with either legal recreational weed or a medical marijuana program, chances are, you will be able to purchase seeds without any issue. However, some medical marijuana programs do not allow the purchase or possession of cannabis seeds for home growing. So make sure you do your research regarding your state’s medical marijuana program or recreational cannabis laws.

Buying A Marijuana Seed Supply

Once you’ve done your research and you have determined that yes, buying cannabis seeds is totally legal, the next step is to actually make your purchase. So where do you buy them? More to the point, where do you buy quality seeds? Your best bet is making the purchase at your dispensary. You’ll have the peace of mind knowing that your seeds will be high quality. And if you need guidance on what kind of seeds to buy (ie what strain would work well in whatever environment or climate you live in), the people working in the dispensary should be able to help you out.

It might be tempting to buy your seeds online. You’ve probably seen ads for websites claiming to sell superior seeds at an attractively low price. We strongly recommend that you do not fall into this trap. As with many things, keep the motto “buyer beware” in mind. Purchasing anything online has its risks. But cannabis seeds are particularly tricky because of the federal prohibition. Where you buy your seeds is ultimately up to you. But we recommend that you make your purchase at a dispensary or a trusted friend or colleague.

Storing Your Seed

Once you determine the legality of cannabis seeds in your state, have figured out what kind of cannabis you want to grow and have purchased your marijuana seed of choice, what’s next? You’re going to have to store your seed. But what is the optimal way to do this?

It is ideal to store them before germination. To do this, you’ll need an airtight container that is either opaque or dark colored. Keep your marijuana seed in this container and then store the container in a cool, dry and dark area. To ensure absolute dryness, some cannabis growers like to stick one or two packets of food-grade desiccants in the container as well. If those kinds of chemicals scare you, however, some dry rice to soak up any potential moisture can work too.

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Final Hit: What Do You Do With Your Cannabis Seeds?

So what do you once your seed supply is successfully germinated? It may just be time to plant it and begin the next phase of your cannabis grow process! This next phase involves choosing the right growing medium for your needs, the right environment (like a grow box or greenhouse) and the best grow lights (if you’re growing indoors) to ensure healthy plants.

How do Cannabis Seeds Work

How do cannabis seeds work? You might not think that this is important, but knowing how seeds work can give you important insight on how to store them and what the germination profess involved. Cannabis seeds are technically small, oval-shaped dried fruit, around 3-4mm long and 1.5-2mm wide. They’re covered in a very subtle membrane, and underneath that layer there’s a much harder layer which is the largest system of the embryo, covering it and protecting it.

On the inside of the seeds you can find a substance called albumen, which is a nutritional reserve that keeps the embryo healthy until germination; it’s also the seeds initial source of energy once it begins germinating.

Now, for the center of the seed, home to the precious embryo from which your new plant will grow from. It contains the plant’s genetic code alongside four other parts; the radicle, the hypocotyl, cotyledons and gemmules. The radicle is the embryonic root; this is the part of the seed where roots come from. The hypocotyl is known as the embryonic stage, and the cotyledons are in charge of those first few leaves that you can see once the seed germinates.

Cannabis seeds, just like many other plant seeds, grow in pollinated flowers on female plants; seeds only contain the plant’s genetic code, so they don’t have any of the active principals in the plant, meaning that if you were to smoke it you wouldn’t get any sort of psychoactive or medicinal effect. They can be eaten however, as they provide an enormous amount of beneficial proteins, including Omega 3, 6 and 9. The aroma that comes from the seeds when burning isn’t pleasant at all, and if you’ve ever been smoking a joint that had a random seed in it then you know exactly what I’m talking about; they taste like some sort of burnt barbecue that ruins the taste of even the best, strongest tasting weed out there.

Germinating seeds correctly depends on different factors; the main one being how mature the seed is. Seeds that look too white, green or the skin seems to be coming off or not there at all tend to be too young still, although there are seeds of this stature that will germinate perfectly, depending on the strain. Strains like Somango, or hybrids that come from it, and Haze seeds are some of the whitest seeds you can find on the market; sativa seeds tend to be much smaller than indica seeds, like Thai seeds are generally much smaller than afghan seeds. In this case, size doesn’t matter at all; if a seed is smaller than others that doesn’t mean that it’s going to have issues germinating or that it will grow smaller plants. Smaller seeds generally have less protection, but they’re much easier to germinate. Seeds can take between 3-18 days to germinate depending on the conditions such as temperature, humidity, substrate composition etc. The longer the seeds take to germinate, the less likely that they are going to germinate. Sometimes if after a while it still hasn’t germinated, you can gently squeeze the seed to break the outer shell and if done right, you can help the root to leave the shell; if done wrong, you’ll end up completely squishing the seed and any chances of germination that it had.

During the time the seed is maturing various factors need to occur for the seed to be able to germinate in the best conditions. Seeds have a germination period of three years, which is the average time estimated that seeds can be kept in good conditions; it’s not the same to keep your seed in a fresh, dry area than in a hot and humid one. Humid areas will damage seeds, stimulating their metabolism with the humidity without stimulating germination which could even kill the seed off entirely. Water absorption is due to the water potential difference between the seed and its surroundings. Water reaches the embryo through all of the layers of the seed, which then activates the development of the radicle; once this process begins, seeds need more oxygen than water, so giving your seeds too much water might in fact “drown” them. This is why we highly recommend not germinating your seeds in glasses of water, as the oxygen-water ratio is nowhere near optimal for germination.

By lowering oxygen levels as well as temperature storage levels you can increase the life-span of your seed for up to 20 years. Another storage technique is to dehydrate the seeds around 2-5%; no more is recommended as it might affect the internal constitution of the seed. Temperature is extremely important as it regulates the activity of the enzymes during germination; during storage, temperature regulates the embryos metabolism.

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Oxygen is found in nature in a concentration of about 21%; seeds tend to germinate in conditions with around 20-21% oxygen, and hardly any seeds can germinate with a lower concentration than that; the only plants that can really do that are marine plants and algae, which need 8% oxygen.

Now that you know how cannabis seeds work, you can store your babies for up to 20 years if you want to, and give them the perfect conditions in which to open up their shells and let the radicle take over growing the roots. Happy growing!

How Long Do Cannabis Seeds Last?

Knowing how to properly store your cannabis seeds isn’t rocket science, but to a beginner grower especially, there’s a lot to be aware of. The key factors in maintaining seeds are storage methods, light, temperature, and humidity. If this looks like a minefield, don’t panic!

In this article, we’ll walk you through the main dos and don’ts of storage – not just the hows, but also the whys – and those precious seeds will be good to grow when you’re ready.

Understanding the Key Elements of Seeds Storage

To store marijuana seeds, it’s essential to starve them of the conditions they need to develop. Failure to do this can lead to a drop in germination rate, and you could easily find yourself opening a container of useless seeds which are no longer viable.

Consider all the variables involved in plant growth, and if needs be, carry out further research to better understand how these can impact seed storage. Since most plants see winter as the time of dormancy and spring as the time of new growth, the way you store your seeds should try to emulate the critical conditions of winter, which should keep the seeds from germinating.

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Understanding Cannabis Seeds

Cannabis seeds are similar to any other type of seed used to produce plants. They’re hardy-looking things, but they have a shelf life. They’re also susceptible to environmental changes – too much fluctuation in any direction can cause them to spoil. An undesirable extreme change in temperature or humidity at the wrong time (during storage) will put paid to your seeds. Light is the other main naturally-occurring variable you should protect your marijuana seeds from.

It’s important to remember that your seeds are dormant before germination but very much alive. For this reason, it’s best to treat your cannabis seeds with a degree of care and common sense. Unless you’re about to germinate, make sure your seeds ‘sleep’ in ideal conditions.

How the Main Variables Affect your Cannabis Seeds

It’s one of the classic storage instructions on packages for all manner of products – store in a cool, dry, dark place. As mentioned above, high temperatures and moisture levels tend to cause things to spoil, especially if they contain natural ingredients.

Light, heat and moisture all signal to your seeds that it’s time to sprout, and each of these variables affects your seeds differently. Exposure to any of these elements will cause your seeds to expire unless they’re well protected.

Light

When you store cannabis seeds, it’s essential to keep them away from light. For example, don’t be tempted to throw a handful in a baggie and keep them in your grow room. Keep your seeds in their original packaging, or transfer them to an opaque, airtight container. Something such as an envelope or a blacked-out mason jar is perfect for room-temperature storage. Keeping seeds well-shielded will prevent them from absorbing any light before your planned germination time.

The shells – those hard, waxy coatings on seeds – offer a degree of protection against light. But while cannabis plants love light, cannabis seeds do not. In nature, cannabis seeds fall from the plant towards the end of the year when daylight levels are reduced. They then sit beneath a light covering of soil until the following spring when they could naturally germinate and bloom. It helps to think about the natural cycle when storing cannabis seeds. Keep them dormant until you decide you want them to germinate.

Humidity

If you want to store your cannabis seeds long-term and retain their viability, it’s imperative to keep humidity levels under control. Moist, humid conditions are key ingredients in the seed germination process. If you expose the seeds to high humidity levels too soon, they may begin to germinate on their own. You don’t want to store your seeds at too low a humidity either – that can bring a different set of problems entirely. Here’s how humidity levels can affect seed viability:

These figures are a rough guideline, as risks vary slightly depending on storage method and container type. Still, they serve as an excellent approximate rule of thumb for humidity levels. Excess moisture will soften the seed’s outer shell and cause the taproot to emerge. If you’re not actively germinating that seed, it’s spoiled.

Monitoring Humidity Levels for Cannabis Seeds

Keeping tabs on relative humidity levels is reasonably straightforward. You can pick up a humidity meter on Amazon.com, and while they can vary in terms of features and cost, there are budget humidity meters which are inexpensive and still do the job.

How to Control Humidity Levels for Cannabis Seeds

Start by choosing the storage container wisely and then the environment. Use an opaque tin, plastic container or the original packaging, so long as it’s a container that seals tightly. After that, it’s a question of choosing the right environment to ensure humidity is right for safe storage. Toss in a desiccant like a silica gel pack for extra help.

Storing Seeds Shorter-Term in a Room

If your planned storage spot is in a room that’s prone to condensation on the windows, pick another location. Condensation is a good indicator that room humidity is too high, and this will harm your seeds quickly. Choose wisely – laundry rooms or bathrooms naturally make bad spots to stash seeds due to high heat and humidity levels. A living room drawer or a dark cupboard in an area that doesn’t see too many extreme temperature fluctuations is ideal.

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Opening windows and vents will help keep humidity levels nearer the sweet spot. If your storage space is prone to humidity, it may be worth investing in a dehumidifier. It’s impressive how much moisture these can pull out of the air after a few hours, so it’s good to know that some devices can decrease room humidity fast.

Storing Cannabis Seeds in the Refrigerator

This is a fairly common strategy for storing cannabis seeds. Seeds are placed in a suitable container and kept safely in the refrigerator for years, retaining great viability rates. The lower temperature of the fridge makes an ideal environment for preserving seeds, working in a similar way to storing food in your refrigerator. At low temperatures, the cellular biochemistry of the seed slows down, and the seed remains viable for years. This is why a cool place is always best for storing seeds.

Storing Cannabis Seeds in the Freezer

It’s certainly doable, but it’s arguably not necessary. Storing your cannabis seeds in the correct container in a freezer will undoubtedly extend the viability of those seeds. But is it a gamble worth taking? Sure, if you have many big projects planned and many seeds to store. In most cases, though, storing your seeds in a refrigerator is just as helpful and probably less risky. Some collectors store vintage seeds in a freezer for long-term safety, but this isn’t a necessity for most of us.

The Ideal Temperature Range for Safe Seed Storage

If storing your seeds in a cool, dry place, pop them in a drawer well away from heat sources. This quick and easy way to keep seeds stashed will ensure a good degree of viability in most cultivars. The main thing is to keep the temperature low and away from the risk of temperature changes. The lower the temperature, the longer you should effectively be able to store your seeds safely.

If storing cannabis seeds in the fridge, make sure your fridge can maintain a steady temperature of between 4°C and 6°C. This will ensure safe long-term storage. In both cases, it’s best to store seeds in a suitable container, especially if you’re storing them in a fridge. The lower temperature of the fridge demands a little more protection for your seeds. An opaque tin or container with a seal that is air and watertight is your best friend in this instance.

Cultivars

Not all seeds are created equal. If you’ve grown different cannabis strains from seed, you’ve probably noticed that some seeds are larger or more resilient than others. Some batches will occasionally contain failures, but most seeds should store long term without any hassle. Not every seed in a batch will necessarily respond the same way, though. In a bag of ten seeds, you might find a couple don’t germinate, and while this is annoying and unfortunate, it’s sometimes just the nature of the genetics.

Hypothetical Case Studies

Customer 1 is a hobbyist cannabis grower. He buys a couple of bags of seeds from Seedsman during a promotion, intending to plant some now and store others for later. Customer 1 can safely store his surplus seeds in the original package or transfer them to a suitable container. He can seal it and place it in a dark, dry cupboard or drawer, away from any heat source. Using this method for short-term storage, Customer 1’s cannabis seeds should easily remain viable for between three and five years.

Customer 2 is a commercial cannabis grower. She buys her cannabis seeds in bulk, but only ever has a dozen plants growing at any given time. In this situation, she can safely store her surplus seeds in an appropriate container inside a refrigerator. She sets her refrigerator to maintain a steady temperature between 4°C and 6°C. Using this storage method, Customer 2’s cannabis seeds should easily remain viable for five years or more.

Customer 3 is a well-known seed bank. They are looking to preserve certain genetics long into the future, and store those particular older seeds in a freezer. They ensure to keep seeds in the correct containers and handle them with care at every stage. Aware that the frozen tissue inside the seeds becomes delicate and at risk of shattering, they treat seeds with the utmost caution. These steps should see their seeds retain a high rate of viability for decades.

Having Quality Genetics Helps

The answer to the question, then, is seed viability is largely dependent on how you store your seeds. By knowing how long you want to keep your seeds, and storing them accordingly, you can take the proper steps to ensure they will remain viable for as long as you need them to. Remember that seeds contain living matter, and there’s always a percentage risk of failure. This is true regardless of how well you handle and store them. By buying cannabis seeds from a top-quality seed bank like Seedsman, you ensure greater quality of genetics and stack the odds of a high germination rate in your favour.

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

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