Will cannabis seeds go bad in an air tight container

How Long Can You Keep Cannabis Seeds & Storage Tips

Alright, so you have purchased cannabis seeds (if you haven’t yet then here is our top 10 seed bank suggestions), but don’t want to use them right away.

On the other hand, maybe you purchased cannabis seeds, and they are already fairly old when they get to you. Therefore, you might be wondering how long can you keep cannabis seeds?

Well, it all does depend on how you store them, as well as the quality of the cannabis seeds and the strain, but generally speaking, 5 years is the maximum amount of time cannabis seeds can be kept without them going bad.

The more time goes on, from the very second the seeds are harvested from the parent plants, the chances of successful germination decreases. Let’s talk about how long you can keep cannabis seeds for, and how to best store them to preserve them for as long as possible.

How Long Do Cannabis Seeds Remain Viable?

This is a bit iffy, because there is some variation when it comes to different strains of weed seeds. However, under normal conditions, most cannabis seeds will remain viable for germination for up to 5 years.

Now, this really does depend on the quality of the seeds to begin with. High quality cannabis seeds may stay viable for up to 6 years if stored properly, whereas low quality cannabis seeds, ones coming from a strain that is not so hardy, may only last for about 3 years before they are no longer viable for germination and growth.

The Factors Involved

There are a lot of factors that go into determining how long marijuana seeds stay viable for, mainly light, temperature, oxygen, and humidity, as well as of course the quality of the weed seeds to begin with.

We have heard of weed seeds staying good for up to 7 years, but this is super rare, and even 5 years is pushing it. Under normal storage conditions, it’s not recommended to keep marijuana seeds for more than 3 years at most.

With every passing year, or even every passing month, the viability of the weed seeds will decrease.

Germination

What you do need to keep in mind that the fresher the seeds are, the higher the chances of germination will be. If you have high quality seeds, and they have been harvested from the male plants, up to 6 months usually comes with a near 100% germination rate.

After 1 year, you can count on the germination rate decreasing to around 85% – 90%, and this will continue to lower as time goes on. After 3 years, the germination rate will usually be around 50% to 75%, and it just keeps getting worse from there on out.

Let’s move on and talk about how exactly to store your cannabis seeds so they stay viable for as long as humanly possible.

How To Preserve Cannabis Seeds?

Alright, so you are wondering how long weed seeds stay viable for, and how you can store them to ensure that they are well preserved.

So, how do you preserve cannabis seeds for as long as possible so they will still germinate, even after years of storage? Let’s go over some crucial tips on how to store your weed properly to lengthen the period of viability.

First, let’s go over the 4 main factors which can cause cannabis seeds to germinate early, which for the most part are also the same factors which can cause them to take damage, to rot, and to become totally unviable for germination.

1. Temperature

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that temperature will cause seed germination, and super high temperatures may cause your seeds to rot from the inside out.

If you are storing your weed seeds, you want to ensure that the temperature is kept fairly low, about 5 degrees Celsius at the very most.
Storing them in a cool place will ensure that they do not germinate, because in nature, more heat signals the start of the growing season, which will cause the seeds to germinate.

Keeping them cool will also ensure that they are not exposed to too much heat which can damage them. Keep them in a cool place, and some people do use the fridge or freezer, something which we will touch on later today.

Did you know that the life of stored weed seeds doubles in time for every 5 degree Celsius reduction in temperature? Yeah, temperature is by far one of the most important factors here.

2. Light

The next important factor to keep in mind here is light. Once again, in the wild, bright light signals to plants that it’s time to wake up and grow.

So, if you expose your seeds to light, it will spur on the germination process. At the same time, excessive light, even without germination, can cause damage and cause your cannabis seeds to no longer be viable.

Therefore, when storing your cannabis seeds, put them in an opaque container which does not allow any light in, therefore keeping the seeds away from light. Make sure that this opaque container is stored in a cool place.

Ideally, you want your cannabis seeds to be stored somewhere totally dark and not exposed to any light at all.

3. Humidity

Another factor which can cause cannabis seeds to germinate prematurely is humidity. You see, weed seeds are fairly dry, and in order to split open, germinate, and start developing the root system, they need a good deal of moisture.

This is why every germination method out there involves exposing your cannabis seeds to a certain degree of moisture. So, if you don’t want your cannabis seeds to germinate too soon, you need to keep them as dry as possible.

On that same note, even if the seeds do not germinate, excessive humidity can cause the seeds to literally rot, which will make them totally unviable for germination. Therefore, you need to keep them somewhere very dry.

A humidity level of no more than 5% at most is recommended for both short term and long term marijuana seed storage. Yes, this can be hard to accomplish depending on where you live, but we will provide some tips for this later on today.

In terms of seed life, it is said that the shelf life of cannabis seeds is generally doubled in time for every 1% reduction in humidity, making moisture another super important factor to keep in mind here.

4. Oxygen

Yes, cannabis seeds need oxygen in order to germinate, so, without oxygen present, they won’t germinate. Moreover, bacteria and all sorts of parasites all need oxygen too, so if you don’t want your seeds being infested by pests, keeping oxygen to a minimal level will be beneficial too.

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This can be hard to accomplish, but any kind of vacuum sealing or airtight container will do fine for this. As you can see, you need to keep your cannabis seeds cool, dry, in a dark spot, and exposed to as little oxygen as possible.

Cannabis Seed Storage Tips & Methods

Use An Airtight Container

If you are going for short term storage, say less than a year, you could use some kind of small airtight container. Lots of people use those little film canisters, or something similar.

Remember that you do want the canister to be airtight to keep oxygen and moisture out, and generally speaking, the smaller the better. You want there to be as little room for oxygen in that canister as possible.

Remember to store this canister in a cool, dry, and dark place. An opaque canister that does not let light in is needed. If you have a glass mason jar, cover it up with something that will make it opaque.

Use A Plastic Bag

What is definitely not recommended is to use a plastic bag, as these don’t do too well when it comes to keeping out light, moisture, and oxygen.

However, if you use a marker to blacken a small Ziploc bag, put the seeds in it, squeeze as much air out as possible, and store it in a cool and dry place, it should keep the cannabis seeds viable for a couple of months.

Vacuum Seal

If you are going for long term storage, say more than a year, the best method is to vacuum seal the seeds using a vacuum sealer. This will remove all possible air, oxygen, and moisture from the equation.

Once you have vacuum sealed the seeds, you can then wrap the plastic in something dark, or even wrap it with some duct tape, to keep light out, but you will still need to store it in a cool place. Generally for this, you can put them in the freezer or fridge.

Fridge or Freezer

Yes, to keep weed seeds cool, many people will put them in the fridge or freezer, which is fine in terms of cool, and even dark for the most part, as there is no light inside of a fridge or freezer.

The only thing you need to be careful of with this is that when you open the fridge or freezer, condensation will occur, especially near the front, so you do want to keep them at the rear. Even better is if you vacuum seal the seeds, then put them in the fridge or freezer.

As this will keep them away from oxygen, moisture, light, and it will keep them cool too. The freezer is better for long term storage than the fridge. If you do freeze your seeds, make sure to defrost them slowly at room temperature.

Now, the freezer is a bit iffy, because depending on the seeds, it may damage them, in which case you might want to stick with a vacuum seal and fridge combination.

How To Tell When Cannabis Seeds Are No Longer Viable?

Well, the easiest way to tell if your cannabis seeds are still viable or not, is by simply trying to germinate them. Now, healthy weed seeds are usually pretty dark, a nice dark shade of green, and they should be fairly round and smooth.

If your weed seeds are really pale in color, even white, or they look all shrivelled, chances are that they will not longer germinate.

However, you really never know until you try. So, choose your favorite method of weed seed germination, and give it a go. If you do it properly, it should take no longer than 3 days for them to sprout.

If you start the germination process, properly, and the seeds do not germinate in 7 days at the most, you know that they are no longer viable or worth your time.

Conclusion

When all is said and done, simply put, the fresher the weed seeds are the better. Fresh weed seeds that are harvested from the parent plant are best used within 2 or 3 months, but yes, storage, both short term and long term is an option.

If you store your weed seeds properly, they may stay viable for germination for up to 5 years, but there is really no guarantee of this. After about 1 year, you are taking a pretty big chance, so the sooner you use those cannabis seeds, the better.

Fabian

My passion for the sticky icky started nearly a decade ago, and it all began when I first laid my eyes on the beauty that is the marijuana plant.

I cover all aspects of growing from equipment recommendations to plant health/care tips to help both new and experienced growers.

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:

  • Light
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Storage
  • 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.

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What About Humidity?

Here is a quick overview of what will likely happen to cannabis seeds at different humidity levels:

Your cannabis seeds need a certain level of moisture for germination. If the humidity level gets too high, your seeds will rot in storage. An extremely low level of humidity of around 8-10% is suitable only for long-term storage. If it drops below 8%, you offer any insects present in the seeds the chance to become active and start reproducing.

The Right Storage Options for Your Cannabis Seeds

You now understand that you must store the seeds away from direct light. We have also outlined the need for relatively low humidity and a refrigerator-level temperature. Different options are available depending on how long you intend to store the seeds.

Short-Term

If you only require short-term storage, a dark drawer or cupboard is sufficient. The most important thing, regardless of the duration of storage, is to avoid temperature and humidity fluctuations. Rapid variations in temperature, in particular, can destroy your seeds. If you live in a location with warm daytime temperatures and cold nights, avoid outside storage.

For short-term storage, place the seeds in a container with desiccant. Seal it, and place it in a cool, dark place.

Medium-Term

Once you enter medium-term storage (a few months), it is time to use an airtight container. Examples include a mason jar or Ziploc bag. Place this sealed container in the fridge. Remember that opening your fridge can cause significant temperature fluctuations. As a result, it is ideal if you have a second fridge that is seldom used.

Also, you should note that modern fridges have low humidity levels. If the humidity is too low, your seeds will begin using up nutrients.

Long-Term

If you want to store your seeds for at least six months, use a vacuum-sealed container. You can achieve this effect by removing all the air from a Ziploc bag. There are also special vacuum-sealed containers available online. Put the sealed bag in a dark container and put it in the fridge.

You also have the option of placing the seeds in the freezer. Remember, though; you need to germinate them immediately upon removal.

A Note on Insects & Pests

Imagine paying $100+ for seeds, going to the trouble of storing them, only to find that insects ruin them. Unfortunately, all you need is one insect in a container to destroy all of your seeds. The first consideration is to avoid exposure to ultra-low humidity. However, for long-term storage, this is precisely what you are supposed to do!

One option is to spread diatomaceous earth (D.E) where you store them. This is a type of sand that has a fossilized algae base. Crucially, for our purposes, it serves as an excellent natural insecticide. Unfortunately, you shouldn’t use D.E if you plan to store your seeds in a fridge with other food.

Imagine paying $100+ for seeds, going to the trouble of storing them, only to find that insects ruin them.

It would help if you also stored your seeds as high above the ground as possible. This reduces the possibility of a pest like a rodent coming in and feasting on the seeds.

Insects and pests also thrive in dirty storage areas. As a result, you must ensure the storage area remains clean. Otherwise, you won’t just attract pests to your seeds; microbes will form and damage the seeds. Do you want to consume marijuana from contaminated seeds?

Germination

You can ‘test’ your seeds once you have removed them from storage. Place them in water. If they sink, they should be fine. However, if they float, it is more likely that they are bad seeds. You can still try to germinate, but there is a greater risk of producing poor-quality cannabis, or else the seeds fail to sprout. You can keep floaters in water for approximately 72 hours to see if they sprout a tail.

If you have old seeds not stored in ideal conditions, there are still a few ways to germinate them.

  • Remove the hard ridge with a sharp knife.
  • Soak the seeds in carbonated water with germination booster, fulvic acid, or hydrogen peroxide. Use room temperature water, and perform this pre-soak for at least 12 hours in a dark area.
  • Scratch the tough outer shell with sandpaper. Believe it or not, this process could help warmth and moisture get inside. This process is called ‘scarring’ and should happen before you soak the seeds.
  • Make a small cut into the shell as a last-ditch attempt to get it to sprout.

Final Thoughts on Storing and Preserving Cannabis Seeds

If you purchase marijuana seeds and intend to use them almost immediately, you should have no issues. Even so, it is probably best to keep them away from direct light. In the short-term, a dark cupboard is sufficient as long as the temperature and humidity are reasonable.

Once the goal is to store cannabis seeds for months rather than days or weeks, everything changes. You need an airtight container, which you should store in a fridge. Include a vacuum-sealed container if you plan to store the seeds for several months or longer.

When storing cannabis seeds, you must ensure they are not exposed to germination conditions. This means keeping them away from direct light. Also, store in 20-30% humidity (8-10% for long-term storage) and a cool temperature. Keep the environment clean to avoid pests, and consider the tips above for germinating old seeds.

How to Store Marijuana Seeds Properly

T here’s a lot of reasons to store marijuana seeds rather than just planting them in soil and letting them do their work. Sometimes you have some seeds leftover from your new favorite weed strain and don’t have the space available where you live to plant it. Other times, you’re buying seeds for later use once you’ve got the time and energy for your weed growing project. Maybe you’d like to hold on to precious genetics until you can seek out another strain to cross it to. Sometimes you’re just stocking up for an uncertain future.

Whatever the reason, you need to be sure those marijuana seeds stay viable in the long term. Properly stored marijuana seeds can last for up to five years and still remain viable, and some strains have been reported sprouting at ten years or more.

However, proper storage is not as easy as it seems, since seeds are looking for any excuse to start sprouting and there are a number of factors that tell the seeds that the time is right to stretch out their roots and branches. Store your marijuana seeds in the wrong conditions and they might end up dead, rotting, or diseased by the time you’re ready to introduce them to the soil.

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Fundamentals of Marijuana Seed Storage

First, let’s go over the five main factors to consider when it comes to how to store marijuana seeds, especially for the long term.

Keep Your Marijuana Seeds Cool

When it comes to preserving your marijuana seeds for future planting, temperature is the main consideration. In nature, heat is what tells the seed that the winter’s over, which means that it’s time to break open and start sending roots down and shoots up.

If your marijuana seed is not in the soil, this means that the plant matter inside the seed will begin to germinate. The shell will crack open, letting the plant matter out and moisture, bacteria, and pests in. Without soil to thrive in, the marijuana seed will begin to rot.

41℉ (5 ℃) is the absolute warmest you want your long-term storage spot to be, with the sweet spot being somewhere around 38 ℉.

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It’s very important that this temperature remains stable for the long term. If you are refrigerating your marijuana seeds, your best bet is to place them in a separate unit or a spot near the back. Every time that you open your fridge the temperature fluctuates, which can harm the marijuana seeds over time.

While it’s up for debate whether freezing marijuana seeds is an effective method for long term storage, we don’t recommend it unless you know exactly how to cure and prepare your seeds. Otherwise, the frozen water in the seed’s cells can expand, destroying the cell wall and killing the seed.

Watch out for Humidity

Humidity is another enemy in your battle for storing cannabis seeds long-term because any hint of moisture is another clue to the seed that it’s time to stretch its leafy arms and legs. If the marijuana seed shell breaches before it’s in the soil, rot can set in.

However, you don’t want your marijuana seed too dry either. A humidity level of about 5% is the maximum that you want to allow in order to keep the waxy, protective layer surrounding the seed intact without triggering the seed to split open.

Store Your Marijuana Seeds in an Airtight Container

Besides being dark, you want to expose your marijuana seeds to as little oxygen and carbon dioxide as possible. These gasses are what growing plants breathe, as well as the pests that consume them.

If you’re storing cannabis seeds by refrigerating them, make your container as airtight as possible. If you have some vacuum-sealed plastic on hand, even better.

Keep Your Marijuana Seeds in The Dark

Much like heat and humidity, light tells that marijuana seed to wake up because it’s time to spring forth. Even if it’s a halogen bulb inside your refrigerator and not the sun itself, the seed’s natural optimism can still start the flowering process.

Light exposure over time can also damage the surface of the seed, which in turn will damage what’s stored underneath. The solution, much like storing cannabis flower and other products, is to keep your marijuana seeds in a dark or opaque container. Without exposure to light, they’ll keep dozing long term.

Your Marijuana Seed’s Genetics

Some weed strains (and some specific batches of those strains) naturally produce seeds that are hardier and longer-lasting than others. This plays a role in how long you can expect your marijuana seeds to remain viable, so be sure to do some research beforehand.

Storage Methods for Marijuana Seeds

Now that we’ve covered how temperature, humidity, light, air, and genetics work against you when it comes to seed storage, let’s cover the best marijuana seed storage methods.

Envelopes

If you’re storing your marijuana seeds for the short term (a couple of weeks or months), a standard mailing envelope or a tan coin envelope will do in a pinch. If the envelope paper is thick enough, it will protect the seeds from the most harmful ambient light. If the envelope is stored in a cool, dry, dark, and temperature-stable spot like the back of a closet or a drawer, the marijuana seeds should also stay dormant in the short term.

Plus, an envelope makes it easy to write the name of the weed strain, the date of storage, and any other important notes you have. If you want to be extra safe about it, throw some grains of rice or a desiccant pack in there to regulate the humidity.

Of course, this method is only as good at the stability of your home’s climate. If you live in a humid area prone to frequent storms or weather fluctuations like Florida, envelopes will only get you so far without ruining your marijuana seeds.

Glass Jars

Unlike a mailing envelope, glass jars are airtight, which makes them much more suitable for storing cannabis seeds long-term. Because many types of plastic can let small amounts of water in overtime, it’s highly recommended that you use glass with rubber stoppers. When storing cannabis seeds long term, you should also throw in a desiccant pack to keep the humidity stable.

Be sure to separate the pack from the marijuana seeds with a couple cotton balls or a paper towel. This will help absorb excess moisture at the start as well. If you have a method to vacuum seal the jar even better. Wrap the jar in something opaque and you’re all set. Marijuana seeds stored at a stable room temperature can last for over a year. Refrigerated they can last a couple years.

Mylar Bags

If you’re looking to store your cannabis seeds long term, vacuum sealing your seeds in thick Mylar bags can keep your seeds viable for up to half a decade. Because the bags are designed for long-term storage, they’ll work well for your marijuana seeds as long as you make sure they were stored at the right humidity (again, a desiccant pack helps with this) and away from the light. This is one of the best options if you’re refrigerating marijuana seeds.

Seeds of Wisdom

In conclusion, storing cannabis seeds for the long haul is relatively simple. They will stay viable as long as they’re kept away from heat, light, moisture, and air. The more care you put into your storage method, the longer your marijuana seeds will last. However, when it comes to planting marijuana seeds with the most chance of success, sooner is always better.

What are your best methods for storing seeds? Share in the comments below!