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If you want to grow good cannabis, you need good seeds! If you start your crops with bad seeds, not only will you miss out on a good quality crop, but you will also have wasted a lot of valuable time and energy. Given the importance of distinguishing between high and low-quality seeds, it is vital to be able to tell the difference between good and bad seeds. So, how can you recognize a high-quality seed?

How to find High-Quality seeds

No matter where you get your seeds, once you have them in your hands, how can you determine their quality? Here are the points to watch out for:

  • Color

Just by observing your seeds, you can already get a fairly accurate idea of their quality. Colour is probably the first thing you will notice: healthy seeds usually have a darker colored shell. Quality seeds will also have natural ‘tiger stripes’ or spots and their color can range from dark brown and grey to almost completely black.

Immature seeds, on the other hand, appear pale in comparison, with a green or light grey hull. Some appear almost ivory white. If your seeds look like this, they probably won’t germinate. Even if you manage to germinate immature seeds, they will take much longer to germinate and your cannabis plants will probably not perform as well.

  • Shiny layer

Good seeds normally have a shiny layer on the surface. To check this, place your seeds under a light source. You should see a shiny, sparkling effect on the shell, which gives the seeds the appearance of small pearls or beads. If your seeds have a dull or matt appearance, they are normally of lower quality.

  • Hard and smooth surface

Good seeds should be fairly tough and firm to the touch. You can test your seeds by taking them between two fingers and pressing lightly. Under normal pressure, the seed shell should not crumble, break or bend. If the shell does not feel strong, but breaks easily or feels soft to the touch, it is old and probably won’t germinate. Similarly, if the seed is not smooth and shiny, but has holes and cracks instead, the seed is also likely of poor quality.

How to test the quality and germination rate of your seed

If you still don’t know if your seeds are champions, or if you are about to start your crop, you can always go ahead and germinate them! Checking their appearance is one thing, but these tests will tell you if your seeds will germinate or not:

  • The floatation test in a glass of water

A classic! The flotation test is not very complicated, but it gives consistent results. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Fill a glass or pitcher with bottled or distilled water. Clean tap water also works.
  2. Place your seeds in the glass with the water. There are only two possible results for your test: sink or float. Seeds that sink to the bottom of the glass are probably of good quality. While those that float are probably not going to germinate or perform like a champion.
  3. Now you have to wait: give your seeds at least two hours before you come back to conclude on their quality. The reason for this is that good quality seeds with a stronger hull may take a while to absorb water, causing them to float for a little while at first. So be very patient when carrying out the test – don’t act too fast and throw otherwise good seeds away!

Important tip: only carry out the floatation test when you are ready to plant your seeds. Once they’ve been soaked in water, you can’t store them for storage. You have to make them germinate. So if you have a lot of seeds, only test the ones you are ready to germinate and grow.

The ultimate test: just plant your seeds

Maybe you don’t feel the need to do all these tests and would rather skip the cautionary step and hope your seeds germinate. In this case, you can plant your seeds directly into the ground and wait for a small green stem to appear.

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