Cannabis Seed Facts VS Urban Legends

Many growers say that it is possible to determine the quality of a cannabis seed based on its color, pattern, texture or size.
Unfortunately, the cannabis world is rife with myths and urban legends. While certain characteristics can really help you assess the quality of your beans, many of these quality criteria used by growers are actually hearsays.
The goal of this guide will be to go over the main points growers should take into account when trying to pick the best cannabis seeds to work with.

Cannabis Seed Myths:

Good Seeds Should Have Tiger Stripes

The dark patterns on the seeds which often look like tiger stripes are part of the outer protective coating. It easily comes off when rubbing the seed surface. Therefore, it is not a indication of the quality of a seed. Some strains can produce an outer coat that comes off very easily and others can be totally stripeless. It simply comes down to the variety and isn’t a determinant of quality.

Quality Beans Should Be Dark

While it is true that white seeds rarely germinate, some beige seeds can be more viable than dark brown ones. White seeds are generally empty shells. However, whether a seed is gray, beige or brown doesn’t make any difference. Just like humans are of many different colors, so are cannabis seeds!

Cannabis Seeds Tiger Stripes.

Landrace seeds from Rasol, India displaying tiger stripes.

The Bigger The Seed, The Better

Though it isn’t totally true, there is some truth to this statement. The size of the seeds depends on different factors. The variety, the overall health of the plants and how heavily pollinated the plants are. Indicas and Asian Hemp strains usually produce huge seeds while Sativas and Ruderalis varieties tend to produce much smaller seeds. That would suggest that the size of the seeds cannot help you assess their quality. However, for a given strain, pollinating early and keeping the plants healthy leads to bigger and healthier seeds. Some seed companies heavily pollinate their plants in order to increase their profits. This lowers the quality of the seeds and should be avoided. That being said, the size of the seeds is mostly strain dependant and isn’t an indicator of quality.

Determining The Sex Of A Seed?

Being able to tell the sex of a cannabis seed would be very handy! Unfortunately, this is the biggest myth. There is no way to tell until you grow out the seeds and flip the plants to flower. If it were possible, professional growers/breeders wouldn’t be spending so much money on plant sex tests.

Play Video

Indicators Of Quality

Now that we have dispelled the main myths surrounding weed seeds, let us look at all the signs that can help growers pick the most viable seeds.

Firm To The Touch

The easiest way to tell weather a seed will be a dud seed is to place it between you thumb and index fingers and apply a moderate pressure. Bad seeds will easily break while good beans will be very firm and hard to squash.

An Even Look

Uneven or deformed seeds can be very challenging to sprout or lead to stunted plants. It is best to pick even-looking seeds to optimize your germination rates.

Immature and Empty Seeds

Green seeds are immature and white cannabis seeds are aborted seeds. Both have very low germination rates. However, some seeds that are partially green can still sprout. Often, beginner breeders harvest their beans too soon and the tip of the seeds is still greenish. Although these have a lower germination rate than fully mature seeds, most of them should still germinate.

Old Seeds

There is no way to know how old a seed is just by looking at it. Old seeds tend to take more time to sprout and sometimes do not sprout at all. Under optimal storage conditions, seeds can remain highly viable for up to 10 years! However, seeds that have been exposed to heat and humidity can become much less viable in under a couple of years.
Fortunately, reputable breeders often refresh their seed stocks every year or so.

Provenance of The Seeds

Provenance of The Seeds
Although most growers buy hybrid seeds, some prefer to grow old landraces. Landraces can either have an excellent germination rate or a low one according to where these strains originate from. Hash plant cultivars seeds from Morocco, Lebanon, Afghanistan or Pakistan sprout easily and quickly. That is because these come from a hot and dry environment. On the other hand, seeds coming from places where the winter is harsh such as Russia, Kazakhstan or the Himalayas may be trickier to sprout. That is because these seeds have a much thicker coat that prevents them from sprouting before the winter is over.


After reading this seed guide, you hopefully have a better idea about which Cannabis seeds to pick for maximum viability. Although seed viability is important, it is not nearly as important as the quality of the genetics. Some seeds can have a 100% germination rate and give very disappointing results at the same time. The opposite is also true. Therefore, it is always a good idea to source seeds from the most reputable breeders.