Do Cannabis Seeds Expire?

Growing cannabis plants means purchasing and making use of seeds to grow the type of marijuana one wants. Seeds can be purchased from dispensaries, purchased from other growers who may have the strain one seeks of could be harvested from one’s own pollinated plants. The growing of good marijuana begins with making the right choice as far as seeds are concerned.


Marijuana is the best firing from fresh seeds that have been recently harvested from pollinated plants but have been given time to mature. These seeds are ripe, fresh and ready to give a grower the crop and yield they desire. Ripe and mature seeds are dark in color and their surface has a bit of a sheen when held against the light, among other qualities.


These mature seeds may need to be kept for long periods of time for a variety of reasons. A grower may need to keep the seeds of a particular strain for years so that they can have another crop from the same strain them in the future. Some seeds are hard to find and keeping seeds may be one of the only ways one can ensure that they can grow the same strain in the future.


If marijuana seeds are stored correctly, they could survive for a decade or more and give a grower a germination rate of above 60%. This is entirely dependent on ensuring that the seeds are stored in the right conditions that allow them to be preserved for such a long time. 


Preventing the Expiry of Cannabis Seeds


There are certain steps that one can take and conditions that have to be observed for the safe and effective preservation of marijuana seeds. 



  • Correct Storage Equipment


Where the marijuana seeds will be stored for the period of time until they are to be used is very important in preventing the expiry of the seeds. The seeds need to be stored in sealable containers that protect the seeds from the elements of the outside environment. 


Plastic containers, jars and specialized envelopes which can be purchased in dispensaries are some of the mediums which can be used to store the seeds. Once the container is sealed, it shouldn’t be opened until the seeds are to be used as this needlessly exposes them to the elements and could induce germination or damage them. If one is storing multiple containers with seeds, it’s best to label them so they can easily know which container they need to open when they need to rather than open the containers themselves to check the seeds physically.



  • Humidity, Temperature, and Light


Humidity, temperature, and light are the most important factors to consider when storing cannabis seeds for long periods of time. This is because these are the conditions that are responsible for the germination, or lack thereof, of cannabis seeds. Their maintenance of these at certain levels also protects the cannabis seeds from any damage that could occur from exposure to the elements.


In their sealed containers, it is best to store the cannabis seeds in a refrigerator with temperatures ranging between 5 – 8 degrees Celsius. The seeds need to maintain this temperature to ensure their longevity. The overall environment needs to be cool and dry so that the original humidity levels in the container the seeds are stored in are maintained. 


There also needs to be limited to no direct light on the seeds. If the seeds are exposed to moisture and light, they will most likely germinate as these are the conditions that are optimum for their germination to begin. If the environment where they are stored becomes too hot, the seeds are at risk if drying out and losing their viability. It is if great importance that the correct environment is maintained to preserve the seeds. 



  • Space


The seeds themselves need enough space individually to prevent their expiry. The container must be large enough to keep the seeds while allowing them individual space. One must also ensure that nothing crushes the container itself. If the seeds are squished, they might crack and once the shells of the seeds are cracked before germination, the seeds are no longer viable.


Use of Seeds Preserved For Long Periods of Time


Cannabis seeds that have been stored for long periods of time and have not expired behave differently from freshly harvested seeds. This is because over time, the shells of the seeds harden and this makes them require a bit more to germinate than freshly harvested and matured seeds. 


To induce the germination of old seeds that have been in storage for a long time, there are two methods that can be applied:


  • The seeds can be placed in an open glass of water mixed with hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide will weaken the shells of the seeds and allow water to penetrate and bring back the seeds to their germination state. The temperature of the contents in the glass needs to be maintained around 22 degrees Celsius and the seeds have to be constantly monitored to ensure that they do not take in too much water and “drown.” 


  • The second method involves placing a wet paper towel on a tray or board and placing the seeds on the paper towel. Another went paper towel is placed on top of the seeds and they are left until they start to germinate. This method protects the seeds from drowning in too much water. However, some growers do not favor this method as the chemicals in a paper towel could seep into the seeds and cause contamination. 


If stored under the right conditions, cannabis seeds can be protected from expiry. A cool, dry and dark environment is perfect for the storage of marijuana seeds as it takes away all the factors that induce germination in marijuana seeds. The seeds also need to be stored in a sealable container or specialized envelope, carriers which protect the seeds from the elements of the environment. 


Although the germination rate of the seeds may be lowered over time, properly stored seeds will give a grower a germination rate of over 60%. They most likely will take longer to germinate in comparison to freshly matured seeds but they will give a grower a viable crop if the right conditions are met to trigger the seeds’ germination. 


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