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.
Remember, just like animals and other living things, cannabis seeds are biologically different from one another (even if they are technically the same strain) and therefore will exhibit different physical characteristics. Don’t let these natural differences fool you into thinking that a larger, rounder, and darker seed (for example) is of better quality than a lighter, smaller, and more oval-shaped one.
Conducting The Float Test
If you are still unsure about 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 two possible outcomes. Fill up a drinking glass or glass jar with water (preferably spring or distilled) and place your seeds on the surface.
The color and feel of a seed, on the other hand, can tell you a little more about its maturity and, potential to germinate or grow into a healthy seedling.
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.
Immature cannabis seeds, on the other hand, tend to be green and have a soft outer shell that breaks when any kind of pressure is applied to it.
To test the viability of a seed you can place the seed in a glass with distilled water. Seeds that sink within 2 hours have sufficient mass. These seeds generally have a better chance of sprouting than seeds that still float.
The quality of a seed can be partially assessed by looking at the appearance. However, you have to know what a healthy cannabis seed looks like and that can be difficult. Even for the experienced grower. In this blog we therefore answer various questions such as: what do weed seeds look like and how can you see if a cannabis seed is healthy and viable?
Fertile cannabis seeds are black, dark brown, red-brown or gray with a shiny glow as if there is a bit of wax on the peel. Cannabis seeds with a different color such as white, yellow or light green will probably also germinate, but indicate lesser quality. Such seeds have been harvested too early and haven’t had enough time to ripen.
Note: the moisture from your fingers can damage the seed. Please use linen gloves to prevent this.
Some people believe you can see the gender of the strain based on the appearance of the seeds. Well, we can tell you that ain’t possible. Both female and male seeds look exactly the same.
Healthy cannabis seeds are sufficiently matured and therefore have a different appearance than unripened cannabis seeds. For example, viable cannabis seeds meet a number of criteria. Think of the size and shape, hardness of the outside and color.
Although it isn’t always visible with the blind eye, on a quality cannabis seed you can see a pattern of “tiger stripes” or dark spots.
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