How To Store Cannabis Seeds To Retain Viability
For growers, buying seeds can be one of the most expensive recurring costs in their growing journey. This is especially true for those involved in hunting their own cuts that they can add to their mother library. While cannabis seeds can be bought extremely cheaply, the quality of the genetics is often unknown or misrepresented. Premium genetics is a term often used to describe more exotic seeds where world-renowned cuts are used to create new hybrids. These premium seeds can cost anywhere from R1000 to R10 000 for a pack of 10 or 12 seeds.
The Importance of Proper Storage
When investing this kind of money into genetics, it becomes essential to follow good storage practices when storing the seeds for extended periods. The exact length of time a seed is viable varies greatly between seeds, and some seeds start to suffer germination issues sooner than others. We advise germinating seeds within 24 months of purchase and sooner if the seed bank has held the packs for a while.
Seeds stored in optimal conditions can last for five years or more, but this requires a very specific environment to achieve. In this article, we’ll run you through the best storage methods, particularly for South Africans, who don’t have full control over their power and are more limited in their approach.
The Perfect Environment
Cannabis seeds have the best preservation rate when kept in low humidity, dark areas, and cool temperatures. Ideally, you want to aim for temperatures around 5-10’C and an extremely low humidity of around 5 to 10%. Additionally, you want an area that doesn’t have light – and is completely dark. More important than the temperature at which you keep cannabis seeds is the stability of that temperature. Large fluctuations in humidity and temperature aren’t good for seeds, and it can be preferable to store your seeds in slightly warmer/more humid conditions that are more stable than in an area that sees extreme swings in these conditions.
Storing Cannabis Seeds In The Fridge
Fridges are one of the best storage methods for cannabis seeds. They have low humidity and cool temperatures, which are fairly close to the ideal storage conditions. Home fridges tend to range in temperature from around 2’C to 5’C and have fairly low humidity, at around 30-40%. When storing in a fridge, you should take extra precautions around humidity, as there are concerns about humidity levels during power outages.
Load shedding can be detrimental to cannabis storage, depending on how well you have sealed your beans. Humidity in the fridge can skyrocket when the power dies, and regularly having these swings in humidity is not good for your seed collection. One way to negate this is to vacuum seal your seed packs or store them in airtight containers. Uncooked rice is commonly used to absorb excess humidity. Placing rice inside a sealed container with your seeds can also help prevent humidity swings.
The best approach, however, is to use a fridge in conjunction with some form of backup power, such as an inverter or generator. This is an expensive addition and hard to justify for most growers, but if you have the money to spend or have an extremely large genetics collection, this method will give you the best lifespan on your beans.
Storing Cannabis Seeds in A Cupboard
If you’re storing your seeds in a cupboard, you will be prone to more regular fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Still, you can use some basic tactics to minimize these risks and increase the length of time your seeds stay viable. One method you can use is to vacuum seal your seed packs for an extra layer of environmental protection. This will help retain a more regulated humidity inside the package.
In addition, you should store your seeds inside an air-tight container that light cannot enter. If you’re using zip locks or vacuum sealing your packs, you can even use something like a tacklebox to store your seeds.
If you’re looking to maximize your seed life, consider vacuum sealing each pack (or small bundles), placing those inside a zip lock bag with rice, and then placing those zip locks inside a dark container.
Because these methods only really protect from humidity changes and not temperature changes, you should also store them in an area that is as cool as possible. If you have a garage that tends to stay cool or a bathroom cabinet, these places will be your best option.
Assuming you are able to retain fairly low temperatures (under 28’C), you will be able to store your seeds for 3-5 years without losing much viability.
Other Storage Methods
You can always use easier, less intense storage methods for short-term storage. But if you’re looking to hold onto your beans for years to come, these two methods are the most sound. You don’t need to overcomplicate the process, and as long as you keep the concepts of no light, low temperatures, and a steady low humidity – you should be good.