how to tell if marijuana seeds are good

The term ‘bad seeds’ usually refers to any type of seed that has a significantly higher likelihood of causing problems in a grow. I’ll cover the most common reasons for bad seeds in this tutorial!

One of the best ways to ensure all your plants end up being female is to start with feminized cannabis seeds from a trustworthy breeder.

These cannabis seeds were germinated between two wet pieces of paper towel!

Bag seeds are a wildcard! You never know what you’ll end up with!

Growing with bad marijuana seeds is particularly harsh on growers of all levels.

Did you know that the “stripes” on cannabis seeds are actually part of a protective coating? The “pale” seeds in this photo are actually just regular seeds with the coating rubbed off!

That being said, sometimes bagseed is all you have, and lots of growers get lucky!

Bag seeds you randomly find in your buds aren’t supposed to be there, so that means that the genetics are a toss-up. Even if the seeds started with good parents, there’s no telling how high or low the quality will be. Unfortunately, the only way to find out is to grow it… Some growers win the genetic lottery, but many others lose out.

This is mostly because it’s tough to pinpoint when the seed itself is the actual problem. Most growers will blame themselves for a problem that shows up in their grow long before they assume it’s the seeds.

Even if you’re starting with the best, most fresh seed stock, occasionally you’ll get an individual seed or plant that just doesn’t grow as well or quickly as the others, or maybe you’ll get a super awesome seedlings that just starts kicking butts and taking names from its first moment.

However, that’s not how genetics works most of the time. Without intensive breeding and backcrossing, when you mix two random plants you often end up with only a fraction of the seedlings capturing the best of both parents.

So I’m a big believer in the fact that if you put the seed in the ground and a fast-growing healthy seedling comes out of it, it was a viable seed! Don’t toss a seed you are really interested in just because it’s a little pale; give it a chance (I’m talking more about tan seeds, it’s very unlikely a yellow seed will sprout)!

Over the years, some of my very best plants came from flimsy, light brown seeds that very likely would have been easy to crush between my fingers.

If growing with seeds that were produced without a male plant around, the seeds sometimes end up being hermaphrodites, which means they grow both male pollen sacs and female flowers (again, something you don’t want).

Note: Although the hardiness of the seed was likely important in the wild, cannabis growers have been breeding plants for generations to make good buds , not seeds! We growers strive to provide an ideal germination environment that lets almost any seed germinate successfully. As a result, we haven’t been breeding for seed hardness. Just like a teacup poodle hasn’t been bred to be strong, cannabis seeds haven’t been bred to be strong. They have other qualities we love 🙂

Check out the picture below. We sprouted all the plants at the same time. The tub on the right has seeds that were planted within a week of receiving them in the mail. The tub on the left has a very popular strain with award-winning genetics… but the seeds were more than 6 years old from when we first bought them. Even though they were all put into the tank at the same time and the new seeds grew like crazy, the seeds on the left got outpaced by algae – only one sprouted and though its roots keep growing and growing the actual never got any bigger than two round leaves even after a month!

These are pot seeds you might get from a friend, or maybe you have them stashed somewhere and forgot how you got them. In either case, if the shell of the seed looks beat-up, it may not germinate as well or quickly as seeds that were stored in good conditions.

So depending on how the seed was originally made, bagseed often has a lot of variety. Even if the buds you got were an incredible quality, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the seeds will produce buds like that. If you’ve ever gotten involved with breeding or growing other types of specialized plants like roses, hops or even apples, you’ll know that seeds rarely breed “true” to the parents, and cannabis isn’t any different.

Cannabis seeds require three things to germinate: water, heat, and air. There are many methods to germinate seeds, but for the most common and simplest method, you will need:

To get the buds found in medical and recreational stores, female cannabis plants are grown in an environment without males—or the males are removed from the area before they release pollen—so the females don’t create seeds. Females can then focus their energies on producing buds and not seeds—this high-potency marijuana is traditionally known as “sinsemilla,” meaning “seedless.”

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the chemical components—known collectively as cannabinoids—found in the cannabis plant. Over the years, humans have selected plants for high-THC content, making cannabis with high levels of CBD rare. The genetic pathways through which THC is synthesized by the plant are different than those for CBD production.

You might also find a mature seed that has been physically damaged through poor handling, like rough trimming. In those cases, it probably isn’t worth the effort to try and germinate the seed.

Plants grown from seed can be more hearty as young plants when compared to clones, mainly because seeds have a strong taproot. You can plant seeds directly into an outdoor garden in early spring, even in cool, wet climates.

What are high-CBD cannabis seeds?

Germination is the process in which a seed sprouts and begins to grow into a new plant. Also referred to as “popping,” germination is the very first step in starting your weed grow.

Some seeds germinate very rapidly while others can take a while, but generally, seeds should germinate in 3-10 days. If it’s been two weeks and a seed hasn’t sprouted, it’s probably a dud and won’t sprout.

Cultivating males is important for breeders trying to cross new strains and genetics, but most people growing for buds will want to remove the males.

Check out Johanna’s full video series on how to grow weed on Leafly’s YouTube .

Ask yourself a few questions to decide if it’s worth the time and energy to grow the seed.

Also, autoflower plants are small—perfect for closet grows or any small grow, or growing outdoors where you don’t want your neighbors to see what you’re up to.

In some cases, even if a seed isn’t completely mature, there’s still a chance it could be viable. But often these are extremely weak, take long to develop, and express other unfavorable characteristics. Growers usually discard weak plants to free up space.

If growing outside, some growers prefer to germinate seeds inside because they are delicate in the beginning stages of growth. Indoors, you can give weed seedlings supplemental light to help them along, and then transplant them outside when big enough.

You can also minimize headaches and avoid the hassle of seed germination and sexing plants by starting with clones.

Pros and cons of using cannabis seeds.

For a seed to be viable, it must be mature enough to have a completely formed genetic blueprint, and it must be strong enough to germinate and pop through its hard casing and sprout its crucial taproot.

Cannabis can be either male or female—also called “dioecious”—but only females produce the buds we all know and love. For reproduction, males have pollen sacs and pollinate females, causing female flowers to produce seeds.

Sexing marijuana plants can be a time-consuming process, and if you don’t catch males, there is a risk that even one males can pollinate your entire crop, causing all of your female weed plants to produce seeds.

Aside from producing cannabis through seeds, or sexual reproduction, you can also reproduce the plant through cloning, or asexual reproduction. A clone is a cutting that is genetically identical to the plant it was taken from—that plant is known as the “mother.”

If cannabis is legal in your state, you can buy seeds or clones from a local dispensary, or online through various seed banks.

In commercial cannabis production, generally, growers will plant many seeds of one strain and choose the best plant. They will then take clones from that individual plant, which allows for consistent genetics for mass production.

Go easy on nutrients.

Take two of the paper towels and place them on a plate. Then, place the marijuana seeds at least an inch apart from each other and cover them with the remaining two water-soaked paper towels.

If you’re ready for a more serious approach, make sure you have the space for a proper garden and pop the seeds to see what fruit they bear.

Growing marijuana takes a certain level of commitment: time, energy, and financial resources, so be sure you can commit to the whole process.

Males will have round balls—these will develop into pollen sacs, which will release pollen into the air when mature.

Marijuana seeds can be acquired from an array of sources and can vary in quality. For more info on how to buy marijuana seeds, check out our Guide to buying cannabis seeds.

Additionally, every long-time grower will tell you that clones degrade over time.

It’s important to keep the delicate seed sterile, so don’t touch the seed or taproot as it begins to split.

It’s vital to buy from a reputable seller that you trust. If this is your first time, read reviews on the seed banks to find out what other customers thought. If lots of buyers were disappointed by low-quality seeds, avoid that company!

After germination, you’re good to go. Remember to check back as the plants mature to make sure you haven’t got any male cannabis plants.

This method is a great way to check your seeds because it’s low effort. You can also test multiple seeds at once, and it’s really cheap and easy to do.

Cannabis seeds are surprisingly beautiful. They have a mottled brown appearance with patches of light and dark, and sometimes gorgeous tiger stripes. The seeds are also quite shiny if you view them close enough.

The complete guide…

How to Buy Good Cannabis Seeds Every Time.

Strong seeds, however, have a better chance of germinating and growing into a healthy plant.

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.

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.

After you’ve done this test, you need to germinate the healthy seeds. At this point, they will have absorbed water, which can damage the seed if you don’t germinate it at this point. Incidentally, germination is the final test for your seeds.

At this point, you can transplant the seed into its pot. Use a pair of tweezers and handle each seed carefully, being careful not to touch the taproot. The taproot is fragile and may break if you’re not delicate; furthermore, touching it with your hands may contaminate it.

Another type of bad seeds is male cannabis plants. There’s a 50/50 chance with regular seeds as to whether any given seed is male or female. The problem is that male plants will pollinate the females once they reach maturity, destroying the valuable THC content of female plants.

In some instances, you can crack the seed open and see inside if you can’t tell anything from the outer shell. An oily inside with a musty smell means that the seed has gone bad. Similarly, black inside the seed means that it’s fermenting. Again, it won’t germinate in this instance.

Sometimes, you can end up with ‘bad’ cannabis seeds that will cause problems later down the line. In some cases, these seeds just won’t germinate. Although this won’t ruin your entire crop, it is a waste of time and money, which can be frustrating.

Are you still unsure about your cannabis seeds? You can always do a floating test to see if they’re healthy. By the way, this method works for numerous plant seeds and not just cannabis.

A ‘bad seed’ is any cannabis seed that will cause problems. In some instances, this means a dud seed that never sprouts, wasting your valuable time and a few resources. While dud seeds aren’t damaging, they are irritating.

Method #3: The Water Test.

Today, we will help you work out whether your cannabis seeds are good or bad. Hopefully, this guide will help you to determine which seeds are worthy of your time and which ones are duds.

The sign of a bad seller is that their seeds are consistently old, dead, and covered in powdery mildew. That said, don’t be too harsh on a seed bank if a couple of their seeds don’t work from time to time when they’re generally reliable.

Having male cannabis plants in your garden is basically a recipe for disaster, so you want to avoid it at all costs. By the way, here’s how to figure out if your plants are male or female.

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.

There are several easy methods for testing cannabis seeds. Most of them can be performed before germination, saving you some time and resources. Let’s find out how to check your seeds.

If all else fails, it’s time to germinate. You might have no idea whether your seeds are healthy but attempting to grow them is an easy final test that will separate good seeds from duds.

Telling good and bad cannabis seeds apart is not an exact science. Sadly, you don’t know what’s inside the seed beyond its appearance, so you won’t know what the plant is truly like until you start growing it.

Method #2: The Touch Test.

Add your seeds to the water, and then wait for 1-2 hours. Those that float on the surface are bad seeds that are unlikely to grow, whereas the seeds that sink are probably healthy.

Sometimes, you can tell if a seed is good or bad just by looking at it. Here’s how to spot a healthy seed:

You may not realize it, but the quality of your cannabis crop is, in part, determined before you have even begun. Seed quality is an enormous part of growing, so it’s vital to source marijuana seeds from a reputable company.

For this test, you will need a cup, glass, or bowl of warm water. It should be quite warm, but not hot. It also works best with spring water or distilled water.

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.

If the seed cracks under slight pressure, then it’s unusable. It’s likely to be past its sell-by date.

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.

This guide will only cover how to tell the difference between a potent seed and a dud seed.