The Best Ways To Store Cannabis Seeds
Most gardeners know that seed viability drops over time and that when the seeds are too old, they will no longer sprout. Then, how is it that a 2000-year-old Judean date palm seed found in an old Roman palace sprouted in 2005!? It is because it had experienced a very dry and sheltered environment for centuries. Cannabis seeds aren’t so different from other trees and plant seeds. Under certain specific conditions, they remain viable for a long, long, long time.
In this post, we will shed light on how to properly store your cannabis seeds for years and even decades without losing much viability.
The Ideal Environment To Store Cannabis Seeds
The inside of a viable seed is dry. For a seed to sprout, it needs moisture. Warm temperatures also increase the humidity levels and affect the growth rates. Finally, oxygen and light are needed to provide energy.
Therefore, in cannabis, a combination of moisture, warmth, light and oxygen will cause a chemical reaction within the seed and trigger growth.
Because these elements force cannabis seeds out of their dormant state, avoiding these will preserve the hormones present within the seeds thus preventing seed viability from dropping.
To properly store your seeds, prevent them from being exposed to:
Short Term Seed Storage
Some people like buying seeds and grow them out right away. If this is your case, good, as long as the seeds come from a reputable source, the majority of them should pop (Germinate).
For short term storage, simply keep your seeds in an airtight lightproof box such as a lunch box and place that box in a relatively dry room. Under such conditions, at room temperature, your seeds should remain viable for at least 2 years.
However, if your are a seed collector, a seed breeder, a seed hoarder or simply want to preserve the genetics for future generations, you may want to consider long term storage…
Long Term Seed Storage
Cool Dark an Dry
Cool temperatures (slightly above freezing) can help preserve seed viability for a long time provided your seeds are kept dry and sheltered from the light. If you store cannabis seeds in a cool, dark and dry place, their viability will decrease extremely slowly.
Perfect Storage Locations
For long term storage, place your precious seed packets in a airtight container such as an opaque glass jar. Then, put a couple of silica gel packets in the jar and leave it in a fridge.
If you plan on storing your beans for ages, favor glass jars over plastic boxes. Glass is better than plastic at keeping a container airtight because plastic is porous and will let some air through.
Avoid taking the jar out of the fridge too often as cannabis seeds do not like temperature variations.
If you do not have any available space in a fridge, the second best option is to leave the airtight jar in a cool basement or to bury it a couple of feet underground.
The Best Desiccants
Rice is a good desiccant for absorbing liquids. However, it does not absorb the air moisture very effectively. This is why it is preferable to use silica gel packets. Avoid placing the Silica packets directly with the seeds but leave them in the airtight container where the seed packets are.
Replace the silica gel packets every 6 months.
Be careful not to leave the desiccant packs open to the atmosphere as they would absorb the air moisture and quickly lose their water-absorbing ability. Instead, place them swiftly into the airtight container.
Although Silica is the best option, using rice is still much better than using no desiccant whatsoever. It is also cheap and available everywhere.
How Long Is Long Term?
With this method your seeds can remain viable for 10 to 20+ years.
Whenever you take your seed jar out of the fridge, wait for about 15 minutes before opening it.
If you open the jar right away, the temperature difference will cause the inside of the jar to draw in a lot of moisture. As we said before, humidity destroys seed viability so it is important to keep the seeds dry.