Are your seeds light or dark in colour? Are they tough under pressure or do they turn to dust? These are some of the ways to tell if your seed is healthy and worth growing.
One of the keys to achieving healthy and vigorous cannabis plants is starting with high-quality seeds. Of course, prime nutrients, adequate watering, and good light quality all contribute to the final yield obtained. But starting a grow with tip-top genetics is equally, if not more important. Carefully sourcing high-quality cannabis seeds will ensure you are receiving the exact genetics you are looking for. Not only will they provide you with the desired cannabinoid and terpene profiles, they will help you to avoid dud seeds.
There are several factors to look for when purchasing seeds, and certain signs that signify the seed isn’t worth the time and effort.
APPEARANCE AND FEEL
One good way to gauge the quality and traits of a cannabis seed is to get used to how they look. Some details are glaringly obvious, whilst others take some time to identify quickly. Healthier and genetically superior seeds will exhibit darker colours on the outer shell. Shades of grey and black are signs of a good seed, sometimes displaying a tiger stripe aesthetic.
Healthy seeds will also look as though they have a coating of wax of their shell. This can be made obvious when exposing them to a bright light and witnessing a sheen effect.
Darker and better-quality seeds will feel firm to the touch. Place the seed between your thumb and index finger and give it a squeeze, not enough power to bend metal, but enough to tests its resilience. If the seed feels firm and does not bend or break under the applied pressure, then it’s more than likely worth planting.
Poor-quality or old seeds will crack and crumble under pressure. If they break into parts under slight pressure, they will be unusable. But they wouldn’t have been worth the time anyway. Seeds are simply pods of a plant genetics. With time, they will age and become unusable. Seeds that are obviously past their prime are not worth wasting time on.
Immature and young seeds will be green and white in appearance. It is unlikely that these seeds will germinate, and if they manage to, it will just take longer. It is worth obtaining fresh seeds that are of optimal age.
SEEDS FROM A BAG
Some smokers might be pleased to see some cannabis seeds in their bag, and might think themselves lucky. However, finding seeds in a bag is bad for various reasons. For one, this means the grower has messed up and allowed their female plants to be pollinated by an invading male. When flowers are pollinated, they stop producing THC-containing resin and divert their energy toward producing seeds. Secondly, the seeds will have added to the overall weight of the bag, which means less weed for your buck.
With this said, you may get lucky if the strain they were growing really is prime. In this case, it’s worth carrying out the following test to see if it’s worth germinating.
CONDUCT THE FLOAT TEST
If you are still unsure of the quality of your seeds after analysing their appearance and toughness, it’s time to put your lab coat and goggles on. Well, not quite. This test is extremely easy and only has 2 possible outcomes. Fill up a drinking glass or glass jar with water (preferably spring or distilled) and place your seeds on the surface.
This simple and cost-effective method is a great way to tell the good genetics from the bad; they will sink or swim, literally. Seeds that remain buoyant on the surface are more than likely of poor quality and are to be discarded. Seeds that sink to the bottom like a botanical cannonball are probably healthy and should be germinated.
GERMINATE THEM REGARDLESS
The one true method to test the genetic potential of a seed is to simply put it in the soil. It won’t take too long to see the results. This option is best for the hobby home grower who has time and space to spare for a risky project. Growers cultivating cannabis for commercial use likely don’t have the excess time to invest.
A solid way to obtain great seeds is to find a reputable seed bank. These companies pride themselves of their breeding skills and make sure that their customers receive exactly what has been advertised. They have reputations to cater to, so delivering anything less would only harm their image.
The alternative to this is to risk buying seeds from a hobbyist. This isn’t to say that hobby growers cannot produce fantastic genetics, but if you don’t know them or their skills, there’s no way to know whether your seeds will grow.