Find out how to tell if a weed seed is good by looking at visual characteristics. Learn ways to determine if a seed is viable and discover where to get them. If you're looking to start growing your own marijuana, the first place to start is with the seed. What should you look for? How can you tell a good cannabis seed from a dud? Chris Bond tells us. Some people think that the size, weight or appearance of a cannabis seed can tell you about the type of plant it will grow into. Read on to find out more.
How To Tell If A Weed Seed Is Good?
Every cultivator knows how critical seed quality can influence the growth outcome. If you get duds, they won’t sprout. Some bad seeds will germinate but won’t reach their potential yield. It’s essential to know how to tell if a weed seed is good if you want your cultivating efforts to pay off.
Join us as we explore the characteristics of seeds and how to differentiate the good ones from the bad. We’ll also show you how to select the right vendor and where to buy quality seeds, so you get value for money and a bountiful harvest.
Let’s start with answering the question, what do good weed seeds look like?
How to tell if a weed seed is good
If you buy your seeds from reputable seed banks, you can be sure of getting quality seeds almost all the time. You’re more likely to get poor seeds from your local dealer. However, if you know how to tell if a marijuana seed is good, you can rule out bad ones immediately.
One way to judge the quality of cannabis seeds is by looking at their appearance. Be aware, though, that seeds from the same plant can have unique characteristics, just as with human siblings. Quality seeds will differ visually.
What do cannabis seeds look like? Here’s a summary:
- Color – ranges from green to brown
- Shape – some are spherical while others are pointy
- Size – there are small and large seeds
Now, let’s find out how to tell if a marijuana seed is good. Here are a few signs you can look for:
The appearance of weed seeds can indicate their quality. Typically, the outer shells of superior cannabis seeds have dark colors, such as black, brown, or grey. Avoid seeds with lighter hues—white, pale green, and yellow are of poor quality.
High-quality cannabis seeds will not have damaged shells. There won’t be cracks that expose the inside of the seed. You’ll also notice a healthy waxy coating when you look at the seeds under bright light.
While appearance offers a guide, it’s not a reliable indicator of a seed’s quality.
Shape and size
Healthy marijuana seeds may differ in size but look alike in terms of shape—they’re round or symmetrically shaped like a teardrop. Poor quality seeds usually have deformed or flat shells.
Seed size varies between cultivars. Larger ones are easier to grow because they have more stored energy and can potentially develop into healthy plants.
The weight of the seeds also matters when evaluating quality marijuana seeds. If you have two seeds and the smaller one weighs more than the larger seed, the former is of better quality. The bigger seed is lighter because it loses moisture and nutrients as it ages.
Darker high-quality cannabis seeds are hard when you touch them. To feel how firm a seed’s shell is, without using excessive pressure, squeeze it with your thumb and index finger. If the seed doesn’t crack or bend, it’s viable.
Bad marijuana seeds are usually supple or soft. It’ll save you time and effort if you identify them and exclude them at the onset.
Your cannabis seeds will degrade over time, so it’s important to choose freshly harvested ones up to four months old. If you preserve them well, healthy marijuana seeds can remain viable for some time.
It’s impossible to know a seed’s age unless it’s from your own plant. When buying seeds, you probably won’t know the age unless you buy them from a seed bank known for quality genetics. Check the data they provide.
Having inspected the seeds by sight and touch, a quick way to separate viable seeds from bad marijuana seeds is to do a float test. Fill a glass with distilled water and drop in the seeds you intend to germinate.
Check after an hour. Germinate the seeds that sink. Most growers dispose of the floaters as they probably won’t sprout. Even if they do, it’s unlikely you’ll get a healthy plant.
If you want to know how to tell if seeds are viable quickly, use the float test.
Suppose you don’t have time to inspect every seed for viability, germinate all your seeds and watch what happens. You can put them in soil or use other germinating methods. The quality of the seedlings will tell you if you’ve used healthy marijuana seeds.
The challenge here is wasting precious time using this method because you only see results when the germination process is over.
What does a healthy marijuana seed look like?
There are several ways to determine the viability of your seeds. One is by looking at the color of the seeds—healthy marijuana seeds are usually brown with varying shades from light to dark. You may also come across seeds with tiger stripes or turtle-shell patterns.
Seed colors may change due to genetics or environmental conditions, but they’re healthy if they remain in the range. It’s when they display a greenish shade that you have a reason for concern.
They’re not bad marijuana seeds per se, but green hues are a sign that the seeds did not have time to develop properly. There’s a high risk that these seeds will not germinate.
Another way to identify healthy marijuana seeds is to look at their size and weight. If they meet the color criterion, bigger seeds are usually healthier because they’re packed with nutrients and energy. However, you may have smaller seeds that are more viable if they weigh more than their larger counterparts.
Healthy marijuana seeds typically have a body shaped like a teardrop. If you notice seeds that are flat or distorted, they may have a genetic flaw. You’ll have issues germinating them, and if they do sprout, they’ll produce plants that are below par.
Another clue that’ll show that you have healthy marijuana seeds is the appearance of their shell. Good seeds will have shiny-looking shells as though there’s a layer of wax on them. Avoid seeds that look dull and have a matte finish.
How long are cannabis seeds viable?
Now that you know how to tell if marijuana seeds are healthy, the next question is how long are cannabis seeds viable?
The short answer is, it depends on how well you preserve them. Weed seeds get the signal to sprout when there’s heat and moisture. According to some cultivators, if you store your cannabis seeds in a dark and dry space, they can stay viable for as long as 5–10 years.
Pro tip: place a cotton ball with your seeds to absorb excess moisture.
Fresh, healthy marijuana seeds will germinate quicker than older seeds. While you can keep seeds viable for years, some of them may not sprout. The longer you preserve them, the fewer seeds will be productive.
Choose healthy marijuana seeds that are less than a year old. Some established seed banks may indicate the age of the seeds.
If they don’t, you can use the touch test that we mentioned earlier. Squeeze the seeds lightly with your thumb and index finger. If they’re firm, you’ve got young and healthy marijuana seeds. Older seeds may feel soft crack under pressure.
Where is the best place to order cannabis seeds?
Where’s the best place to order marijuana seeds? If marijuana is legal in your state, you can get your seeds from dispensaries or buy them online from seed banks. The latter may be your only option if state laws prohibit the sale of cannabis.
When buying seeds from dispensaries, be sure to check that their staff knows how to tell if a marijuana seed is good. If you’re not happy with the answers you get, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
You should do the same when shopping online. To get high-quality cannabis seeds, we recommend that you only buy them from reputable seed banks such as Homegrown Cannabis Co.
Stay away from small dealers that offer cheap seeds. There’s a high chance that you might end up with duds or low-grade seeds. It’s better to pay a bit more for quality marijuana seeds than endure the heartache of seeds that don’t sprout.
Most recognized online cannabis seed providers offer seeds at competitive prices. We have regular promotions such as Buy-One-Get-One (BOGO), which are money-savers. You get two packets of seeds for one price.
Established seed banks like ours offer a seed replacement guarantee because we stand by the quality of our marijuana seeds. If you have seeds that don’t germinate, we’ll replace them once at no cost.
Another reason to buy from reliable vendors is that they usually have an extensive collection of high-quality cannabis seeds. You’re likely to find the strain you want without searching many websites. Your order and private details are also safe because they have secure payment systems.
3 tips on how to get high-quality cannabis seeds
If you want healthy marijuana plants, you need to grow high-quality cannabis seeds. Sub-par seeds will only cause you to waste time and money because most won’t germinate. When they do, you end up with crops that don’t live up to their potential.
Getting high-quality cannabis seeds may not be as tricky as you think. Here are some tips to improve your odds of having seeds that’ll give you the crops and yield you want.
Choose the right supplier
Buying your seeds from an established seed bank is a reliable way to ensure you get only quality marijuana seeds. Most of these vendors pride themselves on providing customers with the best seeds. Homegrown offers replacement seeds if they don’t germinate.
You have a wide range of cannabis seeds to choose from. If you want sativa or indica cultivars, these seed banks will likely have the strain you want. Some may even have hard-to-find ones.
Get professional advice
When buying high-quality cannabis seeds, you want to know as much about them as possible. Reputable sellers have weed experts who prepare detailed information about the seeds and answer your questions.
These professionals will also advise you on the type of seeds that are suitable for your cultivation goals. You don’t need to figure out for yourself if you should grow regular, autoflower, or feminized seeds.
Create your own seeds
You can create high-quality cannabis seeds if you want to, but it’ll take some knowledge of the subject. You need to pollinate the flowers of your cannabis crop. To do so, you need the male part of your plant to send pollen to the female, which has flowers.
Except for plants grown from feminized seeds, most have both male and female parts. If you want to produce your own quality marijuana seeds, you should choose regular seeds.
Before you act on this knowledge, make sure you understand your state’s weed laws. Some states still prohibit the home cultivation of cannabis. If yours is one of them, don’t despair. Not being able to grow pot doesn’t mean that you can’t buy quality marijuana seeds.
U.S. Federal law allows citizens to purchase seeds as souvenirs. You can preserve them until it’s legal to cultivate in your location, as long as you don’t germinate them.
Get your high-quality cannabis seeds today
Once you know how to identify quality marijuana seeds by sight and feel, you’re able to rule out the bad ones before you germinate them. There’s no experimenting involved, which is a waste of precious time.
If you’re unsure of how to inspect the seeds properly, use the float test. It’s simple to do and separates the seeds that’ll germinate from those that won’t.
The no-brainer way of getting high-quality cannabis seeds is by buying them from reputable seed banks like us. You’re assured of premium-grade seeds 99% of the time. If not, we’ll replace the ones that don’t work.
About the Author: Kyle Kushman
Kyle Kushman is a legend in the cannabis community. He is the modern-day polymath of pot: cultivator, breeder, activist, writer, and educator. After winning no less than 13 Cannabis Cups, there’s nothing this guy doesn’t know about indoor growing – he’s been there, done it, and is still doing it to this day!
10 Markers of a Quality Marijuana Seed
If you’re looking to start growing your own marijuana, the first place to start is with the seed. What should you look for? How can you tell a good cannabis seed from a dud? Chris Bond tells us.
So, you’ve decided to grow your own marijuana from seed. How do you know if those little, round nuggets in your hand will grow up lush and produce beautiful, productive buds? How do you know if they are duds? While ultimately the genetics will determine the destiny of those little weed seeds, and proper care will help them to realize their full potential, there are some markers you can assess to see if what you have is quality seed, indeed.
What to Look for in a Cannabis Seed
While all cannabis seed is not identical in color, there are some consistencies. Healthy, viable seed will be light to dark brown in color. Seed that is light green or even whitish in color is underdeveloped and should be tossed out. Healthy seed will also have a burled or turtle shell-like pattern on its seed coat.
A quality cannabis seed will have a waxy, protective coating. Seeds that appear dull are probably not as viable and should be avoided if given a choice.
Quality cannabis seed will look like a plump teardrop. Flat or misshapen seeds will not likely produce quality plants.
Quality seed will be firm. Cannabis seed should have a strong seed coat protecting the pre-emerged life inside. Any seed that is tender, pliable or squishy should not be planted; poor results will follow if attempted.
Size is relative, but if you are able to compare several seeds at once, the higher quality seeds are larger. When it comes to seeds, less is more. The fewer seeds that comprise any given amount, an ounce or a gram for example, is generally an indicator of higher quality seeds. The biggest seeds within a species generally have more energy stored within them and have a greater potential to mature into a productive plant. Note that indica strains tend to produce larger seeds than sativa strains so make sure the comparison is made among like seeds.
Weight often goes hand-in-hand with size, but heavier seeds are generally of higher quality than lighter ones. The older a seed gets, the more potential loss of moisture and nutrients, reducing its overall weight. Damaged seed, which has been cracked can potentially lose those same necessary qualities.
#7 Float test
Quality seeds will sink in water. In glass or vessel, place room temperature water deep enough to full cover the volume of seeds to be tested. Place your seed or seeds in the water. After a couple of hours, anything still floating, should not be considered a quality seed. Soaking seeds will allow moisture to cross over the protective membrane and signal the seed that it is time to grow. As such this test should not be performed if the intent is to store the seeds after testing as it may render otherwise quality seed unviable if not meant to be immediately germinated afterwards.
You may not have access to see or have verified information on the storage conditions of seeds, but if you can find this out, it is critical to maintaining quality seeds. While cannabis seeds can be viable for over 10 years in some instances, the best seed in terms of productivity is not more than 12 to 18 months old. It should have been stored in dark, cool and dry conditions to prevent mold or the onset of any fungal issues. Storing in a freezer can prolong seeds as well, essentially suspending time.
#9 Age at harvest
This is another aspect you, the buyer may not be privy to. Quality seed is harvest when fully mature. If seed was collected before the plant was able to load as much stored energy into it as possible, then that seed will be starting out life in a deficit. Color, as referenced above can be an indicator of whether or not a seed was harvested at the appropriate time.
You get what you pay for and a cannabis seed is not exempt from this maxim. Quality seeds are not cheap (at least when compared to other agricultural seeds). This isn’t to say that inferior seeds can’t be overpriced, but if you find cannabis seeds proclaiming excellent genetics for sale at a price that seems too good to be true, caveat emptor.
This is not meant to be a definitive list, as new varieties of cannabis emerge on the scene all the time that may have “normal” traits that would otherwise be viewed as deficiencies in other strains. As always, do your homework, ask other growers who know and buy your seeds from a reputable source.
What does the appearance of a cannabis seed indicate?
Can the visual appearance of a cannabis seed indicate anything useful about the future plant which it will produce? It’s a question which has been asked by many cannabis growers. And over the years there have been many different theories about this.
Cannabis seed weight. What does the weight of a cannabis seed indicate?
Dutch Passion created feminized seeds in the 1990’s. It was a revolution for cannabis growers. But in the days before feminized seeds, some people felt that ‘male’ and ‘female’ seeds could be separated according to their weight, appearance, size, shape etc. The idea behind this unproven theory was that cannabis seeds all had different sizes and shapes for a reason. One of the first difficulties with the theory is that different marijuana seed varieties often produce different size seeds. White Widow seeds, for example, can often look smaller than other varieties. And yet they produce excellent quality harvests. Seed size has no relationship to potency. The future sex of a cannabis plant simply can’t be determined by the weight or size of the cannabis seed. If it were that easy the seed companies wouldn’t spend as much time and effort to create feminized seeds.
Feminized seeds vs autoflowering seeds. Do they look different?
Every so often a home grower will accidentally mix up their seeds. Often this is done after a smoke/vape, perhaps when you are getting the cannabis seeds ready for germination. If you have ever mixed up your seeds it can feel impossible to be confident about their true identity. There is no certain way to distinguish between feminized seeds and autoflower seeds just by looking at them. The plants real future identity lies in the DNA inside the cells within the seed.
Stripes on cannabis seeds. What do they indicate?
Cannabis seeds have an undeniable beauty and appeal. The various shades of brown are delicate. Under powerful magnification you can see how a cannabis seed is a wonderful piece of natural beauty and design. When you examine a cannabis seed near a bright light you can see a shiny reflection, as if the seed has a coating of wax. Not every cannabis seed has a similar appearance to the next. Some seeds will have dramatic tiger stripes. Others will have a more homogenous surface coloration. The appearance of the seed isn’t a reliable indicator of any particular plant quality. Everything is coded in the genetics inside the plant tissue safely encased inside the shell. From the sex of the plant to the cannabinoid and terpene profile, plant DNA and genetics determine the future. That’s where you rely on the seed company doing their job properly. The highest quality cannabis seeds are not always the cheapest. But if you buy from a company with a reputation for quality you know that a great deal of skill and effort, and many years work, has gone into your cannabis seeds.
Are heavier cannabis seeds more difficult to germinate?
Some growers feel that the largest seeds can be more difficult to germinate due to the extra shell material. However, the shell material is designed to be weakened by water, it shouldn’t really be an obstacle to germination rates. As the fibres in the shell are penetrated by water, the shell structure swells and weakens allowing the tap root to emerge. Poor germination rates of cannabis seeds is often a sign of old seeds. It could also be the result of poor quality seed production practices. This is one area where established seed companies have the benefit of many decades of know-how and experience. Cannabis seed production is just like any other intricate and highly skilled process. The most experienced seed companies have people who are at the top of their profession with several decades of practical knowledge producing the best quality cannabis seeds. Dutch Passion do not recommend the use of sand paper to reduce the thickness of the cannabis shell. It’s too easy to accidentally damage the inner seed. Simply leave the seed to soak in a damp paper towel for a day or so. But never try to force open the seed, or use artificial abrasion techniques to try to weaken the shell.
Old cannabis seeds
Very old cannabis seeds feel weaker when gently squeezed. In the worst cases the shells crack easily and the powdery crushed contents are released. The best way to store cannabis seeds is in a dry, dark container in a cool place such as a fridge. Cannabis seeds will still have good germination rates after several years of cold (and dry) storage.
Immature cannabis seeds
Cannabis seeds which were harvested too early will have a green/whitish appearance. Often these will be small in size, and will struggle to germinate. Seeds that are clearly immature are not recommended for growing. Some seeds, such as Dutch Passion Frisian Duck, can have their own coloration. In the case of Frisian Duck the seeds have a slightly unusual grey appearance
Buy the best cannabis seeds online
The best way to achieve a good quality harvest of home grown cannabis is to invest in some high quality seeds. Buying cannabis seeds online from a high quality seed company guarantees fresh seeds with good germination viability. You also benefit from the security of knowing that your cannabis seeds contain the best genetics to deliver top quality cannabis at harvest.
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Jay – Dutch Passion
Hello @ Esox Fables 2022-02-27 02:28:25, You can read some tips here on how to germinate your seeds: https://dutch-passion.blog/the-best-ways-to-germinate-cannabis-seeds/ If your seeds have not sprouted you can reach out to us at [email protected] and we can help you from there! Greetings, Jay Dutch Passion
Hello, I recently purchased some WW auto CBD seeds from you and I’ve been waiting for a week for them to sprout. Prior to use they were kept in my fridge as advised. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong but they are in a room at 21° and 40% humidity. Is it normal for them to take so long to sprout? Any advice would be much appreciated Thank you, Mick
Jay – Dutch Passion
Hello @Trichy Dicky – 2021-04-03 13:19:57 If a plant hermies it does not mean that all offspring will be hermaphrodite as well. But the plant will definitely be more sensitive to become a hermaphrodite. Many famous varieties have come from a bag seed, so for breeding it can definitely still be used! Greetings, Jay – Dutch Passion
I am finding seeds in cannabis grown indoors and away from males, so a plant decided to hermaphrodite I guess. I THINK all seeds from a hermie will also be hermaphrodite? I wonder! Great company @Dutchpassion
I revently bought a 5 pack of feminized Skunk #11 and the seeds are tiny and white and look very immature. Im trying to germinate one right now but Im not confident it will sprout, should I worry?
Through the years I myself have grown just about every any seeds I have run across and In my experiences a. Male is a male and a female is a female.until you are ready to start budding you just won’t know.also have planted some texmex dirt seeds and produced some of the best Bud I’ve ever smoked
I tried pots and many mediums but the best and quickest way I find is in a glass of tepid water, this will also show if your seed is fertile and will sprout. first get a small dark glass I use a brown pill bottle or tub. First fill 3/4 of your water vessel with tepid water. Get a seed or seeds and pop in. Now don’t panic if they float. After 2 hour if seed is floating just lightly push seed under water a few times if needed. If still floating leave for another 2 hours or overnight. You can put lid on pill jar or clingfilm to ensure you vessel is air tight. Place in a dark warm place for 24hours. Your seed should be sprouted. Thank out seed sandwich between Wet paper towel on a plate and leave back to same warm spot and ensure to keep moist..Your sprouts should be good to go in a total of 3-4 days. Best of luck Aido
2″ container filled with potting soil,1″deep where seed won’t corkscrew out,water,3 days sprouted. No muss no fuss.
A rule of thumb for gardeners is that a seed should be 1-2 times as deep as it is big. a pea at 2cm, a ganja seed at >1cm.
Hi Alf ! After 35 years of starting my seeds using fine, sieved soil in small plastic pots, last year I tried small Rockwool cubes (40 x 40 x 40 millimetres) for germinating my babies. This was extremely easy and I achieved 100% germination. It will now be the method I use for the rest of my days, so pleased was I with the results and how simple it is ! I plant my seeds pointy end down, one seed per cube. There is no need to pre-treat the seeds in any way or do any other various types of physical manipulation; the plants have been doing it themselves, unaided, for Millennia ! Start by soaking the cubes in a bucket of room temperature, aged / chlorine free, clean water for a few minutes, then remove the cubes and give them a couple of quick flicks in a downward direction to remove the excess water. I then make a small hole in the cube, about the same width of the seed and roughly twice as deep as its’ size, with a small pointed stick. After inserting the seed (a small bamboo skewer can be very helpful), I use a small “fluffy” piece of Rockwool, about 2-3 times the size of the hole and about 2-3 millimetres (1/8 of an inch) thick, taken from either the edge of the cube or another cube especially sacrificed for this purpose and cover the seed in its’ hole lightly, with this small tuft / fluffy piece, so it forms sort of a “hat” and very gently give the “hat” a pat so that it is in contact with the rest of the cube. There is no need to push the “hat” down hard. After this I use a water spray bottle (atomiser), with the nozzle adjusted to a misting setting, to lightly moisten the “hat”. Again, using clean, room temperature and chlorine free water. After all this, I place the cubes onto a saucer that has some very fine aquarium gravel or a similar substrate, covering the bottom (of the saucer). This is to provide air circulation and drainage, in case you are too generous with watering. You need to keep the cubes moist, but NOT wet. If you can feel moisture when lightly touching the cube with the back of a finger, this is moist enough. Resist the urge to water every day (unless necessary) and under no circumstances, do not use any fertilisers. The embryonic seed has / contains all the nutrition and energy it needs for the first 2-3 days of growth (think bean sprouts!). The best way to maintain the correct moisture level is to use the water sprayer bottle and mist the cubes gently. You will, after some experience, be able to judge the moisture content by the weight of the cube when / if you pick them up. Do not let the cubes dry out, but this is highly unlikely if you check the cubes at least once a day. Keep the moist cubes in a warm shady area and away from any direct winds / breezes that may dry the cubes out prematurely. Only once the seeds have sprouted should they be placed in / under any light, but the sooner they are, the better. There is no need to cover the saucer with the cubes on it with anything, such as cling film or a plastic bag and do not place them in a mini greenhouse or any other type of enclosed container, as this can cause the seeds to rot due to the extremely high humidity. I have found that the cubes will remain moist long enough for the seeds to germinate with little to no extra watering, with the sprouts taking between 1 and 6 days to emerge; so do not give up too soon! Plant the whole cube into your growing system once the seed has sprouted and the plants’ root(s) are coming through the bottom of the cube. By starting the seeds in the cubes you avoid handling the fragile baby plants and prevent any possible risks of damaging the emerging embryonic leaves and roots. I hope this helps and most of all, happy growing!!
I like the damp folded paper towel in an unsealed plastic bag (in a dark room) method — however have discovered one important trick/fact. Roots always try to grow down, so put the seed inside a folded damp paper towel, but ensure only one layer is below the seed and the other damp layers are on top. The root will try to work its way down. If there are many layers below it, the root can get entangled and be hard to extricate without damage.
I germinated frisian duck seeds straight on top of a soil plug with halfvthe seed showing. I put three into a plastic box and then into a drawer in my garage. It took 6 days until they had sprouted to about 30mm high and shed the seed cap.
Alf, 4th June 2019. There are several equally good germination methods. Many customers prefer the idea of germinating seeds between sheets of wet kitchen paper, inside a sealable plastic bag. Good luck!