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how to identify viable marijuana seeds

We hear this question all the time from clients and beginner growers, and the answer is a resounding no. There is simply no way to tell the sex of a cannabis seed just by looking at it.

Mature cannabis seeds usually have a hard outer shell that can vary in color from very dark (or almost black) to very light grey and may have tiger-like stripes. You should be able to firmly press these seeds between your fingers without damaging them.

Growing Seeds From A Bag (Bagseed)

Are your seeds light or dark in colour? Are they tough or do they turn to dust when you press them between your fingers? These are just some of the ways to tell if a seed is healthy and worth growing. Keep reading to learn more.

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.

Unlike other agricultural crops (like vegetables, fruit, or grain), cannabis hasn’t undergone the vigorous breeding techniques that ensure a stable crop. This means that you’ll sometimes sow a pack of seeds technically labeled as the same “strain,” but may end up with very different looking plants. It also means that the individual seeds you buy from a seed bank can vary in appearance.

One way around this is to purchase feminized marijuana seeds. In theory, all seeds in a feminized bunch will be female – unless you buy from a disreputable grower. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell whether a plant is male or female simply based on the seeds.

There are multiple ways to germinate, including planting the seed directly in soil and seeing if it sprouts. This is a pretty ‘old-school’ method, but sometimes, it works.

How to Test Cannabis Seeds

The feel of cannabis seeds is another good indicator. Hold the seed between your thumb and forefinger and give it a light squeeze. Don’t apply too much pressure – just enough to test its integrity.

More commonly, growers use the paper towel method. Dampen a paper towel, ensuring it isn’t soaking wet. Place this on a kitchen plate and put the seeds on top, then put another plate upside-down on top. A moist, dark, warm environment allows the seeds to sprout. Check on the seeds once a day; after germinating, you should see a white taproot emerge.

Disclaimer: Don’t perform this test unless you’re ready to germinate the plants right away. The water could damage the seed and ruin a perfectly healthy plant if you dry it out afterward.