Is there such a thing as a “bad seed” when it comes to marijuana seeds? As they say, “the proof is in the pudding.” You can learn a little bit about the quality of a cannabis seed from its physical appearance, but it takes more than a passing glance to figure out if that little nugget of nutrients is going to develop into a hardy, bud-heavy pot plant.
Did you know…Growing cannabis from seed is one of the best ways to guarantee your garden is populated with top-quality marijuana, but in cases where you can’t get your hands on seeds, you’ll have to settle for a clone or clipping from a healthy adult.
Why Plant Marijuana Seeds?
Farming marijuana for personal use is a rewarding experience, whether you start with germinating a tiny seed or obtain a clipping/clone of your favorite strain. It might seem like starting with a plant cutting takes some of the work out of the process, but starting from the seed means you’re more likely to produce a plant that is healthy, strong, and reliable.
What is a clone? Clones in cannabis are the same as in movies, a genetic copy of the “mother” plant. Most growers opt for clones when they want repeats of their favorite strains or they want to guarantee they don’t get a male or a plant that has poor characteristics.
The Good vs. The Bad
If you’re new to cannabis gardening or even if you’ve been at it for a while, you should always take a few minutes to inspect your marijuana seeds before you plant them. Why? You wouldn’t want to waste time or finances on seeds that aren’t going to germinate, would you?
Genetics and cultivation practices both play large roles in the development of good cannabis seeds. Online retailers like Pacific Seed Bank stock seed strains from breeders who place a high priority on genetics and growing practices. There was a time when ordering seeds online was a crapshoot but with the advent of social media and the decriminalization/legalization of marijuana in many districts, brands need to be transparent and competitive in order to attract and keep customers. Shopping online is likely to net you good quality seeds that will germinate successfully.
Then, of course, there are always the seeds that you are gifted, or perhaps discover hidden in the deep recesses of some dresser drawer. These seeds will require a little more scrutiny to determine whether they’re viable. If your seeds display the following characteristics, chances are they are healthy”
- Dark color
- Waxy coating.
- Tough shell
- Free from cracks and holes
Seeds that are harvested before they are mature, stored improperly, or exposed to conditions that will cause mold and mildew to grow, are likely to spoil and not germinate. It seems like such an inconsequential step, but proper care of cannabis seeds guarantees their longevity and a good return on your investment.
Other Elements That Affect The Quality Of Marijuana Seeds
- Age: Although we can artificially extend the life of marijuana seeds, they won’t last forever. The chances for successful germination of a seed decrease over time. It also takes longer for older seeds to germinate than younger ones. Does this mean you shouldn’t try to grow them? It’s impossible to determine just how old a seed just by looking at it, so we always recommend attempting the germination process anyway, just to be sure!
- Color: We mentioned above that healthy seeds tend to be dark in color with stripes. Seeds that are pale or white may be too old to germinate or even dead. You can attempt the germination process, but odds are less likely it will be successful. Seeds that are green or white may be immature, meaning they were harvested too soon. Don’t pass these up! Let them sit for a while and once their colors deepen give germination a go!
- Strength: If a cannabis seed shell can easily be crushed between your fingers it is highly likely that the seed was weak and wouldn’t have sprouted.
Testing The Quality Of Your Seeds
If a cannabis gardener says to you they can determine the quality of a cannabis seed by looking at it, they are either a true savant or guilty of getting high on their own supply. For the rest of us, there are a few simple methods that will help determine whether your seeds are good to grow.
Float them in water: Drop the seeds in question in a cup full of warm or room temperature water and leave them for a few hours. If they sink to the bottom, go ahead and continue the germination process. You may have to give them a pole to break the surface. If they don’t sink, they are probably dead and won’t grow, but you can try to continue germinating them anyway.
Note: Only perform this test if you’re ready to start germinating your seeds, as you cannot dry and preserve them after the fact.
Germinate them: The only way to know if a cannabis seed is viable and will germinate is to… germinate it. Not sure how to do that? Our simple method involves nothing more than a paper towel, a plate, and some water.
The Only Way To Know Is To Grow
Good cannabis seed, bad cannabis seed, it’s plain to see that the only way to determine the viability of cannabis seed is to germinate it, a process that’s never a waste of time.
If you’ve purchased seeds with the intention of preserving all or some of them for use at a later date, give them a good once over, looking for the characteristics we mentioned above, before storing them in an air-tight container in a cool, dry, and dark place. These conditions ensure the seed remains dormant until you’re ready for germination. Though they may take a little longer to get going, properly stored seeds can be preserved for several years.
Found a “bad seed” in the bunch? Many companies – Pacific Seed Bank included – offer guarantees on orders, i.e., if fewer than 90% of your cannabis seed order germinate, we’ll offer replacements.
You should be able to rest assured, however, that when you purchase your seeds from a reliable retailer they’re going to be top-notch with superior genetics, and well worth the initial investment. Take a look at our selection of high-quality cannabis seeds and get your cannabis garden started the right way!