How Long Do Weed Seeds Stay Good

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First-time cannabis growers have a lot of things to learn at once, and one of them is proper seed storage. Many times you end up not using all of the seeds Want to know how long marijuana seeds last? Keep on reading! Including tips on how to store them! Weed seeds can survive in the soil for years before they germinate and grow.

How Long Do Marijuana Seeds Last?

First-time cannabis growers have a lot of things to learn at once, and one of them is proper seed storage. Many times you end up not using all of the seeds that you purchased, or you decided to keep some of the seeds your own cannabis plants have produced because you want to keep the genetics going, so you want to store them safely.

So, can cannabis seeds be stored without losing their viability to germinate? How long do marijuana seeds last if stored properly? We’ll cover these questions in today’s article as well as give you some tips on how to store your seeds the right way, so let’s get started.

Do Cannabis Seeds Ever Go Bad?

Cannabis seeds are much like any other plant seed – they have a waxy outer shell that protects the embryonic material on the inside, and as long as there is no damage to the shell, the seed will remain viable for germination.

However, if stored for too long without germinating or if it’s improperly stored, the weed seed can dry out to the point where it cracks, which exposes the genetic material inside, making it unfit for germination.

Another scenario would be for the outer shell to dry out and harden to the point where moisture or air won’t be able to get in, in which case the embryonic material won’t be able to survive.

The Three Main Factors That Influence the Shelf Life of Cannabis Seeds

The shelf life of cannabis seeds can be influenced by the genetics of the cannabis strain, but this is only minor compared to how they’re stored. Quality seeds may be more resilient, but if not stored properly, their lifespan will be impacted.

To preserve your weed seeds, the goal is to keep them from germinating prematurely, and to do that, you should pay close attention to the three factors that greatly influence their shelf life.

Light

Light is one of the propagators of germination because it signals them that it’s time to wake up and sprout. If your seeds are exposed to light, crucial chemical changes will happen within the seed, and even if it doesn’t germinate now, these changes will prevent it from germinating later because the natural process will be disrupted.

Temperature

Warm temperatures also signal that it’s time for germination. And not only that, but warm temperatures can increase the moisture, and excess moisture creates a breeding ground for mold and rot. Therefore, keeping the seeds at a temperature between 42°F and 46°F is recommended.

Humidity

Humidity is the third factor that influences the shelf life of weed seeds and it’s also closely related to temperature. The relative humidity is a crucial element in seed germination, but when storing seeds, you want to keep it at a minimum. Relative humidity between 20% to 30% would be best – you still want some moisture so that the seeds don’t dry out completely.

How Long Do Marijuana Seeds Last?

Most seed banks would recommend that you plant the seeds within a year, but the truth is, when stored correctly, cannabis seeds can remain viable for up to five years. In rare cases, some growers have managed to keep them for seven to ten years, but this is definitely not common. You should know that the longer they are stored, the longer it will take to germinate as they will gradually lose their viability. Old seeds definitely take longer to sprout than new ones, but they do sprout nonetheless.

How to Tell That Your Weed Seeds Are Still Viable

There are some signs you can look for to check if your weed seeds are still viable for germination.

  • If the seeds have a dark color, like dark brown or grey, or even black, it means that the outer shell is intact and that they’re still good to use;
  • The seeds should have a waxy coating that looks shiny because it means that it’s still able to retain moisture;
  • If you can lightly and carefully squeeze the seed without it cracking immediately, it’s probably still viable;
  • Healthy weed seeds don’t have any cracks or holes, so if the outer shell isn’t damaged, the seed is okay.

How to Properly Store Cannabis Seeds to Prolong Their Shelf Life

The key to storing cannabis seeds is to keep them in a stable environment without changes. Frequent changes stress the seeds and cause them to use up their nutrient reserve, which inevitably makes them useless in the end.

Store Them In a Tightly Sealed Container

Cannabis seeds need some degree of oxygen in their environment, but too much of it can also invite bacteria and parasites, and not to mention, it could dry out the seeds. Therefore, keeping them in an airtight container is the safest way to make sure they remain intact.

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Keep Them Somewhere With a Low Room Temperature

As we previously said, warm temperatures will incite germination, so storing your seeds in a cool place is ideal. This could be the basement, the pantry, or a storage room – anything works as long as the place has a constant low room temperature. Pay close attention to this, especially if you live somewhere warm.

Watch the Humidity Levels

High humidity poses a danger to cannabis seeds, not only because it makes them sprout when they shouldn’t, but it can also invite mold. Therefore, storing them in a relatively dry place would be great. If you’re unable to store them somewhere dry, you can place cotton balls in the container to soak up excess moisture or even use a food-grade desiccant, like silica gel packs, or even Boveda packs, as they’re specifically designed for these purposes.

Put Them In a Dark Place

Finally, weed seeds need to be protected from light for obvious reasons. Even if you use an opaque container (which is recommended), you should still store them in a dark place. You can also use a mason jar or any kind of clear glass container, but you’ll have to make sure it’s hidden from the light.

Plastic containers and plastic bags are not recommended because they encourage excess moisture and they let air in. Use them only for short-term storage if you absolutely have to.

For Long-Term Storage, You Can Freeze the Marijuana Seeds

Cannabis seeds can stay good for a few years if you meet the conditions, but you can also freeze them for long-term storage. If you end up freezing them, it’s best that you store them in a vacuum seal and remember to keep them frozen until you decide to use them. Thawed and refrozen seeds will lose their viability, so you should avoid this.

The Takeaway – Store Them In a Dark, Cool, and Dry Place for Up to Five Years

Even though seed banks recommend that you plant weed seeds within a year after buying them, they can have a shelf life of up to five years when stored properly. If, that is, you store them in a stable environment without temperature changes, high humidity, and light. Or in other words, a cool, dark, and dry place. Storing them in an opaque airtight container is ideal, but you can also freeze them if you want to. Old seeds take longer to germinate, but as long as their shell is not damaged and they still look healthy, they should be good to use.

Disclaimer

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How long do marijuana seeds last?
And how to store them

If you’ve read our previous article on why you should grow your own marijuana, you learned that growing your own weed is fun, cheaper in the long run, and a sure way to never run out of something to smoke.

If you, like yours truly here are suffering from FOMO (for the non-hipsters among us: that’s short for “Fear Of Missing Out” 😉 and subscribed to a plethora of newsletters from various seedbanks to never miss out on a solid bargain, a certain luxury problem could occur: What do you do with all these newly acquired treasures when you don’t have an immediate use for them?

While nothing lasts forever, along the way I’ve learned that, if stored properly, marijuana seeds will remain viable for quite some while. With this article, I hope to finally answer that frequently asked question: how long do marijuana seeds last?

  • How long do marijuana seeds last after storing them?
  • How to store marijuana seeds
  • What is the best place to store your seeds?
  • Where do you keep your seeds in?
  • Are there disadvantages of old seeds?
  • How long do marijuana seeds last? let’s recap.

How Long do marijuana seeds last after storing them?

The short answer is several years or up to 5 years, depending on the circumstances.

The fact remains, that seeds exceeding that storage period are significantly harder to germinate.

So, you’ve scored big during the annual Black Friday sale and stocked up on all your favorites but then you remember, planting is months away.

Make sure your bargain isn’t going to cost you and ensure the viability of your seeds when planting time arrives with proper seed storage. It doesn’t take much, especially if you are storing seeds short term (less than two years).

See also  Buy Weed Seeds Denver

If you plan to store your seeds for longer, it requires a few more steps to protect the long-term viability of the seed. But for short-term storage, a cool, dark, and dry spot are all you need.

Mother Nature’s designed them to respond to their environment within particular heat and moisture to signal the seed when it’s time to germinate.

Which, in nature is key to the survival of the plant, but not so convenient if you don’t have the intention of using them right away.

How to Store Marijuana Seeds

Marijuana seeds are living organisms which, when correctly stored, remain dormant. All seeds need to germinate is humidity and temperatures that are favorable.

Make sure your seeds don’t prematurely sprout by storing them in a spot that doesn’t have the right humidity levels and ensure the seeds are dry before sealing them in a container

Key factors for your storage conditions environment

Humidity

Moisture is an especially important factor if you are freezing or refrigerating your seeds. If seeds are too wet, they can rot in the refrigerator or crystallize and suffer frost damage in the freezer. If you store seeds in the refrigerator or freezer, place the packets in an air-tight container and ensure you’ve properly dried the seeds, to begin with. As Cannabis expert Ryan Riley explains in Ryan Riley’s Growing Elite Marijuana

Temperature

Consistency is key when it comes to temperature. So, you should avoid storing seeds in a spot that isn’t climate-controlled, like a garage or shed, where temperature can fluctuate wildly, especially during summer. 6 °C or lower would be ideal in terms of temperature. Unwanted fungi and bacteria in and on the seed may otherwise build up rapidly in a moist environment. High moisture levels and high temperatures will kill cannabis seeds as quickly as an invasion of microorganisms and insects, so be careful. How long marijuana seeds last, mainly depends on each 41°F / 5°C) temperature reduction in the storage environment. The recommended temperature is at least 41°F /5°C) (yes, this is slightly warmer than regular fridges). The cooler the temperature the more slowly seed vitality declines. This rule apparently continues to apply even at temperatures below freezing. At 41 °F (5 °C)

Light

Light is necessary for germination; over-exposure may bring seeds to come out of their dormant state and encourage them to mutate. By keeping them in the darkness you ensure that they will remain dormant (provided that you’ve also taken the other requirements into account of course).

When you meet the above-storing conditions, storing cannabis for five years while maintaining high germination rates is entirely do-able.

Riley also advises making sure to label the container/package with the strain name, quantity, and date of storage to make storing easier.

In our article How to germinate weed seeds, we will teach you various germination methods that can make even the Methuselah’s among seeds sprout.

What is the best place to store your seeds?

Basement

Cool ✔ Dark ✔ That’s two out of three requirements down. As for moisture control: Experts swear by placing the seed in a closed container along with some uncooked rice to absorb any moisture (don’t forget to replace the rice regularly). A food-grade silica bag will also do the trick nicely.

Fridge

Fridge is the best option, I think is to store them in refrigerators at a temperature between 6 and 8 degrees Celsius, and with relative humidity levels between 20% and 30%. And sheltered from light, of course. This spot checks all the boxes. In regard to the best place in your refrigerator, the crisper is a good choice, as it is a little warmer than the rest of the fridge.

Freezer

One of the most popular places to keep your stash. The average freezer is about -15 °F dark and has a minimum of temperature fluctuations. A word of caution though! Some seedbanks keep a large stock, so you are at risk that the seeds you purchased were frozen and have now thawed. When the seeds thaw, they attract moisture. Re-freezing them causes crystallization and causes the seeds to perish!

Where do you keep your seeds in?

The freezer resolves the temperature fluctuations issue since you open it a lot less than the fridge door. Freezing seeds does not hurt them and can greatly extend their lifespan if done properly. . If you are saving seeds from a seed packet where you didn’t use all the seeds, keep the packet and put it into a Ziploc baggie.

We’ve now determined that keeping them away from moisture in a climate-controlled environment and limit the exposure to light to a minimum will significantly prolong their shelf life. Keeping them in the Ziplock bag they came in seems like the obvious thing to do. Or is there a better way?

If you plan on only storing them for a few months, cannabis seeds should do fine in a grip seal bag, placed in a mason jar, or some other type of airtight container. For more long-term storage, a vacuum-sealed package is a much more popular option. Many seasoned growers like to add a food-grade desiccant or some uncooked rice to their package as well.

See also  Dead Weed Seed

What about a metal box or vault? That’s a big no. The metal will kill the seeds.

Are there disadvantages to old seeds?

Even if you’re organized, methodical, and careful about storing seeds, older seeds could be more difficult to germinate, resulting in more fragile plants, a thinner stem, and require more care and attention as seedlings.

There are a few tips and tricks to apply in order to increase your chances of successful germination.

  • Sandpaper method: Some breeders use sandpaper (see video below) for older seeds. Lightly and gently scrape off the outer layer of the seed, creating micro-abrasions that help them absorb moisture more easily and then soak for 12 hours.
  • Hydrogen peroxide: Soak the seeds in a glass of water with a few drops of hydrogen peroxide, for 24 hours at a temperature of 28 °C. The hydrogen peroxide softens the shell and facilitates the water’s absorption.

How long do marijuana seeds last? Let’s recap.

Saving cannabis seeds is a widely used method for preserving unique genetic varieties that one has particularly enjoyed or that worked very well when planted.

The most important factors when storing your seeds are keeping them cool, dark, and dry. Maintaining a constant environment with little or no fluctuation is vital to ensure the stability of your stored seeds.

You should bear in mind that humidity and temperature are the two most significant agents to have a quality storage system of marijuana seeds. Indeed, marijuana seeds are susceptible to their surroundings, since they dry out easily in a dry atmosphere and absorb moisture in a humid area. In every 1% reduction in the confined moisture, the life of the cannabis seeds inside the container in also prolonged.

So, there you finally have your answer as to how long do marijuana seeds last. Properly storing your seeds takes a little more effort than one would think but I ensure you, that extra care will pay off.

What’s your preferred way of storing your seeds? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts!

Caroline

Educated by one of the best breeders in the Netherlands, I chose to combine my passion for writing with the fascinating world of cannabis cultivation. What are the best strains for which occasion, what are the effects, and how to use responsibly? Let me take you on a journey.

How long do weed seeds survive in the soil?

CORVALLIS – Weed seeds can survive in the soil for years before they germinate and grow, according to Jed Colquhoun, weed specialist with the Oregon State University Extension Service.

Why should home gardeners care?

“If you combine the longevity of seeds in the soil with the fact that weeds such as common lambsquarters can produce over 500,000 seeds per plant, the incentive to hand weed your garden becomes much greater,” said Colquhoun.

“Prevention is the most effective form of weed control,” he said.

Here are some basics on weed seed biology:

Undisturbed weed seeds tend to persist longer than seeds subjected to periodic tillage. Weed seeds in deeply worked soil tend to last longer than seeds in shallowly worked soil. Seeds deep in the soil are “stored” below the germination zone.

Grass seeds tend to be less persistent than broadleaf weed seeds.

The number of surviving seeds of most weed species declines rapidly the first year. But thereafter the rate of weed seed decline slows. Some seeds can persist for decades.

As many as 130 million seeds per plow acre were found in a Minnesota study.

Different species of weeds have seeds that last varying numbers of years in the soil. The scientific literature provides some information about seed longevity, including:

  • Brome grass seed seldom lasts more than two years.
  • Annual ryegrass – up to nine years.
  • Perennial ryegrass – up to three years.
  • Annual bluegrass – up to about five years.
  • Wild oats – three to six years, but longer in deep soil.
  • Jointed goatgrass – three to five-and-a-half years.
  • Barnyardgrass – up to 13 years.
  • Quackgrass – up to four years.
  • Common velvetgrass – 10 years or more.
  • Mustards – are long lived. Seeds excavated from a monastery in Denmark were dated to be 600 years old and 11 of them germinated. More commonly, mustard seeds last for decades.
  • Lambsquarters – may last up to four decades.
  • Russian thistle (tumbleweed) – short lived, most live only a year.
  • Wild carrot – several years.
  • Curly dock – more than a decade.
  • Canada thistle – more than two decades.
  • Field bindweed – more than 50 years.
  • Leafy spurge – at least a few years.
  • Common groundsel – most die within a year.

Scientists found lotus seeds in Manchuria that germinated after over 1,000 years, said Colquhoun.

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