For information on how to store seeds please continue reading down this page. To read more about why we believe seeds need to be stored and preserved please see the About Us page.
Basic Points in Seed Storage
- Seeds require a cool and dry location in which to be best stored. Temperature and humidity fluctuations are seeds’ worst enemies.
- The most vigorous seeds at harvest time will keep the longest in storage. (As a principal we only sell the brands that have the most vigorous seeds.)
- Improperly dried seeds can deteriorate drastically over time. (The seeds we sell have been dried properly before they are packaged and you only need to store them in a cool, low moisture environment for optimum preservation).
- Bags and jars should be clearly labelled at time of storage with strain name, date and other relevant information about the strain you are preserving.
Seeds carry on life processes, at a low rate, whilst dormant. Moisture they absorb from the air combines with stored nourishment within the seed to form a soluble food, which then combines with oxygen from the air to release water and heat. Too much moisture in the air will cause the seed to burn up its stored food too quickly producing excess heat which will further lower the seeds ability to germinate. The need is to keep these exchanges to a minimum during storage to prolong life in the seed.
6-9% moisture is ideal for long term storage of hemp seeds. A test for moisture levels shows that hard shelled seeds like hemp seeds shatter instead of mashing at around 8% moisture when placed on concrete and struck with a hammer.
Silica gel, often used in the drying of seeds, can also be used to help maintain stable moisture levels within a permanent storage container. Equal weights of silica gel to seed are used. In general hemp seeds weigh between 0.01 and 0.02 grams and our silica gel sachets contain 0.5g. We recommend seeds are kept in aluminium zip-lock bags and stored inside seed jars along with the correct amount of silica gel to maintain low moisture levels. Be aware that you can seriously damage seeds by reducing moisture levels too much, so do not use too much dessicant. Silica gel, aluminium zip-lock bags and seed jars are all available to buy from our Seed Storage section.
Seeds can survive temperatures that would kill the parent plant as long as they are thoroughly dried. Excess moisture in seeds that are then frozen can potentially freeze, damaging the seed.
Seeds need to be stored in a cool or cold place. Therefore, locations at floor level are preferable to those nearer the ceiling which can be significantly warmer. However, for long term storage, placing seeds in the fridge or freezer is ones best bet, as long as moisture content of the seed and storage container is low and the container is air-tight. The ideal temperature in a refrigerator is around 4 o C.
A freezer is best for long-term storage of seeds although you need to make sure:
- You do not take the seeds out too much or for long enough for the temperature change to affect the seeds.
- When you want to remove seeds from the freezer, you leave the container closed whilst the seeds warm to room temperature or otherwise condensation will form on the seeds.
Similar to moisture and temperature, light can help stimulate and support the germination process. And, just as many foods, pharmaceuticals and chemicals rapidly deteriorate when exposed to light, so also is seed viability and vigour affected by being exposed to light during storage.
Seed Storage Problems
Seeds which have not been dried to the correct moisture content before being sealed in containers, can and frequently do rot. A simple test: after “drying” and placing in closed glass jars, the appearance of condensation on the inside of the jar within a few hours indicates the need for further drying. Silica gel should help with this.
Insects that may have escaped notice can wreak havoc on stored seeds. A few pinches of diatomaceous earth (DE) is a safe, inexpensive and non-toxic way of protecting seeds against insect damage. It doesn’t take much; just be sure to lightly coat all seeds before final sealing and storage. DE is available at most garden centres.
Seeds which are not stored in glass or metal can provide a veritable banquet for mice and other small vermin. Make sure all seeds are kept in well labeled metal or glass containers.
Learn about how to properly store seeds. This page covers the basics points on how to store your seeds to ensure you get the best results. Find out more now.
What Is The Best Way To Store Cannabis Seeds?
If stored correctly, cannabis seeds can still germinate up to 5 years or more after being harvested. Growers should be careful to protect their seeds from light and oxygen, as well as fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Read on to find out how and where to store your seeds for optimal preservation.
After the hard work of germinating your seeds, it may be tempting to just toss your leftover beans in a bag for next time. However, you may be in for a rude awakening when it comes time to germinate your next batch. If stored improperly, cannabis seeds may no longer be suitable for planting.
Properly storing your seeds is crucial to ensuring the health and success of your next crop. Keep reading to find out how to properly store cannabis seeds so they last as long as possible.
Why Is Proper Cannabis Seed Storage Important?
Many growers eventually find themselves in situations where, for one reason or another, they are required to store cannabis seeds. In regions where cannabis is illegal, growers will inevitably find themselves stockpiling seeds. And even in regions where it is legal, large-scale growers typically buy seeds in bulk, making some storage necessary. By properly storing cannabis seeds, growers are looking out for the well-being of their future crops.
How Long Can Cannabis Seeds Actually Be Stored For?
Generally speaking, cannabis seeds can be safely stored for anywhere between 1–2 years, especially if they are properly stored in a cool, dark place. Depending on conditions, they can even last up to 5 years.
In theory, there is no hard limit or expiry date on cannabis seeds. When it comes to germination, the fresher the seeds, the greater your chances of success. Ideally, seeds should be planted within a few months of being harvested. However, even seeds that have been sitting around for years can still be successfully germinated. Just remember, the longer a seed has been stored, the lower its germination rate.
Additionally, seeds that have been improperly stored will require longer to germinate. While healthy seeds normally take between 48–72 hours, improperly stored ones may require as long as 5–7 days.
Factors To Consider When Storing Cannabis Seeds
Growers are usually advised to store their leftover seeds in a cool, dark, dry place. But if we’re getting down to specifics, there are actually several environmental factors that can impact the quality of your seeds.
The humidity and temperature of your storage environment are perhaps the most important factors. Cannabis seeds will absorb moisture from particularly humid environments and will dry out in particularly dry ones.
To avoid any potential damage, a relative humidity level of between 20–30% is advised. A humidity level higher than 40% may actually trigger germination, whereas levels below 8% may give any insects present the opportunity to become active and reproduce. For long-term storage, lower humidity levels of roughly 8–10% are believed to be more appropriate.
The ideal temperature for storing cannabis seeds is between 6–8℃. It is believed that the lower the temperature, the slower their vitality and ability to germinate decreases. For this reason, many large-scale growers choose to keep their seeds in a refrigerator specifically set to this temperature range. If the humidity level is appropriate, you may even be able to store them in a cool, dark corner of the fridge in your own kitchen.
Light should be avoided because it directly triggers germination. If exposed to light, seeds can lose much of their germination power later on. Many seedbanks elect to protect their seeds by placing them in opaque metal boxes.
While not as important as the other factors, restricting your seed’s access to oxygen is also a good idea. Doing so can reduce or prevent seed respiration, which, in turn, can prevent premature germination.
Not only must you provide ideal environmental conditions for your seeds, you must also maintain them. As such, it is never advisable to open your seed container for any reason other than to plant your seeds. Apart from potentially exposing them to threats such as pests and bacteria, fluctuations in temperature or humidity can also be detrimental to the health and longevity of your seeds in general.
Storage Containers And Humidity Control
Sealing your seed bags and containers is crucial to protecting your seeds from the elements. If your seeds came from a seedbank that vacuum-seals their seeds with silica packs, it may be OK to just store your leftover seeds like that (just make sure to protect them from light). However, if your seeds are scattered, and if you insist on storing them in bags, it may be a good idea to invest in a vacuum-sealer.
If you choose to store them in containers, make sure that they are truly airtight and heat-proof. Most plastic containers are not suitable as their lids are not airtight. Moreover, plastic containers provide questionable protection against water molecules and UV rays. As such, plastic should only be relied upon for short-term storage.
Ideally, you should stick to glass containers whenever possible. Glass containers are excellent for both short-term and long-term seed and bud storage. Just don’t forget to cover them up so as to protect your seeds from light.
Additionally, don’t forget to include a desiccant in your seed container. A desiccant will work to maintain ideal humidity levels for your seeds. It will also absorb any excess ethylene that is naturally produced during the ageing process, thus extending the life of your seeds. Silica gel packs are recommended because they are reusable. However, natural desiccants like rice can also work really well, even if they have to be regularly replaced.
Methods For Storing Cannabis Seeds
For short-term storage, any airtight, light-proof container should do the job. If you are planning on using the seeds sooner rather than later, then storing them at room temperature is likely good enough. Simply load your container up with seeds and desiccant, seal it, and tuck it away in a dark, cool place where it will be protected from light and fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Some examples of common storage spots include the bottom of your closet or the back of a kitchen cupboard. This should be good enough to maintain the integrity of your seeds for a few months.
If you are planning on storing your seeds for longer than this, you should consider a refrigerator. Refrigerators are great for keeping your seeds at the low temperatures they require. Moreover, most of the time, fridges are also pretty dark and dry.
However, humidity tends to fluctuate inside a fridge, so it’s recommended that you include desiccant in your container. It is also recommended that you store your seed container toward the back of the fridge, where the least moisture is present.
Additionally, you should make sure to only store your seeds in “no-frost” fridges that can protect them from frost damage. Storing them inside of your vegetable crisper can be a good way to achieve this. Ideally, you should store your seeds in a vacuum-sealed, heat-proof container for maximum protection from the elements.
Freezing your seeds for long-term storage is also a possibility. However, it is believed that doing so may actually damage your seeds rather than protect them. Some growers even believe that freezing damages the living cells inside of cannabis seeds. Special laboratory equipment can be used to carefully lower the temperature of the seeds in order to prepare them for long-term freezing; however, most growers lack the necessary equipment to execute this process correctly. As such, while freezing may be an option for some growers, it really isn’t for most.
Other Tips And Considerations
When handling several different kinds of seeds, it’s important to label everything properly for future use. It may seem obvious, but it can be easier than you think to get your seeds mixed up, especially if you are handling a variety of strains.
Furthermore, before sealing and labelling your seed containers, you should carefully check them for pests of any kind. Just one insect could potentially damage an entire batch of seeds. Make sure to tightly seal seed containers to make them impenetrable to any wandering bugs or pests.
Sealing them tightly will also prevent them from accidentally opening should they fall over. And remember, it is never advisable to open a sealed seed container until it is time to plant them.
Properly storing your cannabis seeds is key to growing healthy plants. Find out how and where to store your cannabis seeds so they last as long as possible.