How to Recognize High-Quality Cannabis Seeds

Choosing the best cannabis seeds
September 07, 2020

Genetics determine the type of plant that grows and all their characteristics. In almost a similar fashion, the quality of seeds is an indicator of the growth outcome. On the one hand, there are bad seeds. They do not sprout, and that is all good and fine. And then some do germinate, but no matter how much you take care of the plants, they cannot reach their full potential. So, where does that leave you? The high-quality cannabis seeds – that is what you strive to obtain and cultivate. But how do you recognize them, differentiate the desirable ones from garbage?

Identify and Tell If Seeds Are Good or Bad

There are things that you would like to know by merely looking at the seeds. One is gender, another is the strain. For sure, there are a billion things you want to know before even germinating. Sadly, that is not possible. What you can do, however, is determine their quality level.

Before continuing, know that there is no one way that is better than the others. Furthermore, these are mere probabilities. At any rate, you would make more hits than misses by checking for the following markers.

1. Appearance and Color

Looking at cannabis seeds, there are aesthetic qualities that let you know if they are high-quality or otherwise. Generally, the superior seeds would have dark outer shells. Shades of black, grey, brown, and sometimes tan indicate high viability. On the contrary, poor quality or immature seeds have light colors such as white, yellow, and pale green. Moreover, there should be no visible signs of damage such as cracks or splits exposing the inside.

Another indication of viable seeds is tiger stripes. Not all seeds would have this, but those that do will have a dramatic appearance. Others will more likely have a homogenous surface. You might also notice a healthy sheen under bright lighting, a shiny reflection as if it has a waxy coating. Keep in mind that appearance alone is not a reliable indicator.

2. Size and Shape

High-quality marijuana seeds have a round or teardrop-like symmetrical shape, a stark contrast to flattened or deformed shells.

Size, on the other hand, is relative. Between different strains, the sizes vary. A bunch of seeds from the same cultivar and batch is altogether another matter. By having them side by side, it is easy to spot the larger ones, and they are the easier ones to grow. A prevailing thought in this matter is that bigger seeds have more energy stored and have a higher potential to grow into a healthy plant.

Beyond size, you should also consider weight. One seed may be a bit larger, but if the smaller one weighs more, then it is the smaller one that has a higher quality level. Sometimes, this is due to age. As the seed gets older, the moisture and nutrients it stores lessen, resulting in reduced overall weight.

3. Hardness and Durability

The darker high-quality seeds feel firm to the touch. You could try squeezing one by placing it between your thumb and index finger. Be careful and avoid applying excessive force, but just enough to test its shell. If it does not bend or crack, then it should be viable.

Do not worry if you did encounter seeds that are pliable or squishy. At the very least, you have ruled them out, saving you time and effort.

4. Age

Marijuana seeds are not any different from other organic matters. In time, they also start to degrade. With that said, the most viable ones are seeds that were recently harvested up until they are four months old. How long they actually last or remain viable depends on the preservation method.

Ideally, you would germinate new or freshly harvested seeds. However, that is not possible unless you grow the mother plant yourself, and have it fertilized by a male. For most people, the seeds come from a seed bank – it is the most convenient method. Unfortunately, you have almost no way of knowing when the grower harvested those seeds.

Nonetheless, once the seeds you ordered arrived, you should store them in a cool, dark place. Make sure your seeds are not exposed to extreme temperatures. Some people, for example, would put them in a freezer. Although that helps in preservation, a counter-argument is that it might expose them to moisture. Furthermore, the cold temp might cause a rapture inside the shell.

5. Float Test

After visually inspecting the seeds and checking their colors, patterns, texture, hardiness, sizes, and weights, you can do one final test before germinating.

The float test is a quick and convenient way of separating viable seeds from duds. Do this only on seeds that you intend to grow. Drop them in a glass filled with distilled water. After an hour, those that sink are most likely to be viable. As for the seeds that float, that depends on you. Some people discard them, for example. If you want to, you could try to germinate them and see what happens. But they are more likely not to sprout. And even if they did, the chances are high that they might not grow to their potential.

So, now you know that your seeds are of good quality, this means it’s time to germinate – follow our germination guide to understand the next steps.

Is There a Guaranteed Way of Determining High-Quality Marijuana Seeds?

The short answer is no. Even so, you can use various ways to separate viable seeds from damaged goods. Sourcing seeds from reputable seed banks like Homegrown Cannabis Co. can never be overstated. Even so, make it a habit to inspect the seeds and contact customer service if you see poor-quality seeds to have them replaced. Most of the elite seed providers offer to replace seeds that do not germinate for free – but only once.

Although there is no guarantee, trying to identify the viable seeds is a practice that is meant to save you time and effort. If you want a bunch of seeds, wouldn’t it be better to grow the best ones?