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What do Cannabis Seeds Look Like? – How to Tell If Seeds Are Good or Bad

what do cannabis seeds look like

What does a good cannabis seed look like? Seeds that are light or dark in color, tough, or crumble when pressed between your fingers are just a few indicators that they are healthy and worth cultivating. Healthy cannabis seeds are essential for your plants and abundant harvests. While correct feeding, watering, and better light quality have an impact on the health and yield of your plants, starting a plant with top-shelf genetics is just as important, if not more so.

How to identify quality cannabis seeds

What do cannabis seeds look like? Cannabis seeds are available in various shapes, colors, and sizes. You can’t just look at a seed and tell if it’ll grow. Germinating a cannabis seed is the best way how to tell if seeds are good or bad. Bad cannabis seeds will struggle to germinate and will almost certainly struggle to grow. Let’s look more at cannabis seed identification.

how to tell if cannabis seeds are good or bad
Different qualities of cannabis seeds
  1. Color and appearance – Color may vary. Mature seeds have a waxy appearance. An autoflowering seed is likely to be smaller. Other strains’ colors may differ slightly.
  2. Size and shape – sizes may vary. Larger may be preferable, but small can also be beneficial.
  3. Hardness and durability – if the seeds are firm, don’t squeeze between your fingers.
  4. Age – look for mature seeds; a white-green cellulose sheath surrounds young seeds.

Remember that cannabis seeds, like other living organisms, are biologically different from one another and will thus exhibit different physical characteristics. What do cannabis seeds look like? Well, don’t be fooled by these natural variations into thinking that a larger, rounder, and darker seed (for instance) is of higher quality than a lighter, smaller, and more oval-shaped one.

How to tell if cannabis seeds are good

To break it down into more simple, visual terms, here is a great graphic to show how to simply spot good seeds.

How to spot good cannabis seeds

These 4 signs are a surefire way to check that your cannabis seeds are good.

How to tell if your cannabis seeds are bad

You do not want bad cannabis seeds, however, if you bought your seeds from a low-quality seed bank or an untrustworthy store then chances are your seeds might look like this:

How to spot bad cannabis seeds

Avoid buying seeds with attributes like the seeds above by buying from a premium seed bank

How test cannabis seeds

Germinating your cannabis seeds

The only authentic way how to tell if a cannabis seed is good is to plant it in soil. This is the best choice for a hobby residential farmer who has the time and space to devote to a risky project. Growers who cultivate cannabis for commercial use are unlikely to have extra time to invest. There are several ways of germinating cannabis seeds, such as planting it directly in the soil and watching it sprout. This is an ‘old-school’ method, but it does occasionally work. Growers more commonly use the paper towel method. Dampen a paper towel but don’t soak it in water. Put this on a plate and place the seeds on top, then put another plate upside-down on top. The seeds can sprout in a moist, dark, and warm environment. Inspect the seeds once a day. A white taproot appearing is how to know when seeds are mature after germinating.

Water test

Can you know how to tell good cannabis seeds? You can always perform a floating test to determine their health. This method, by the way, works for a variety of plant seeds, not just cannabis. You will need a cup, glass, or bowl of warm water for this test. It should be warm but not scorching. It’s also best with spring or distilled water. Wait 1-2 hours after adding your seeds to the water. Those that float on the surface are likely to be bad seeds that will not grow, whereas those that sink are likely to be healthy. Because it requires little effort, this method is ideal for testing your seeds. You can also test multiple seeds simultaneously, which is inexpensive and simple.

Choosing good planting seeds

It’s not difficult to figure out which seeds aren’t going to work. You want the husks to be intact; it is unlikely to germinate successfully if you can easily squash the seed with your fingers. What do good cannabis seeds look like? When in doubt, opt for brown, plump, waxy seeds rather than particularly pale or dark ones. Remember that random bag seeds rarely germinate and grow.

How to store cannabis seeds

Cannabis seeds, like most plant seeds, last the longest when kept in a cool, dry place in a sealed jar. Always remember to label your containers properly. You should also include the date on your label. If you want to keep seeds for an extended period, you can freeze them for up to two years. However, you should remember that doing so will significantly reduce your chances of success. Generally, there is a risk when storing cannabis seeds for an extended time. Cannabis seeds will occasionally not germinate or grow due to poor storage or other factors, so test the seeds before planting them.

Every cannabis cultivator must know how to tell if seeds are good or bad, as the value of your seeds directly influences the quality of your harvest. Keep this in mind to use the tips above to test the quality of any seeds you purchase. Remember that each cannabis plant is unique and, as a result, will generate varying seeds.


Can you tell the gender of cannabis seeds based on appearance?

You cannot determine a seed’s sex simply by looking at it – cannabis sexing can be done later in the growth cycle. A simple web search will reveal numerous myths regarding determining whether cannabis seed male or female. Cannabis seeds are naturally different in appearance, and no single physical characteristic of seed can tell you whether it contains the genetics of a male or female plant. When a female cannabis plant starts to sex, the only way to determine it apart from a male is to look at its blossoms. You can guarantee that all our feminized seeds will grow into female plants.

What are the benefits of starting with healthy cannabis seeds?

Healthy cannabis seeds produce good plants. When a seed is destroyed, the plant may take longer to develop, necessitate more nutrients, generate lower yields, or be less potent. Skilled gardeners can sometimes nurse plants with poor genetics back to health, but it is much easier to start with healthy seeds.

Where can I obtain the best cannabis seeds?

When determining how to tell if a cannabis seed is growable, you should consider where it came from. Online seed banks have a large selection of high-quality cannabis seeds, and dealing with a reputable cannabis seed bank makes it easier to obtain good seeds. Cannabis seeds from seedbanks are preferable to those found in dried cannabis flowers because they are rarely usable – primarily because they never achieve full maturity before being harvested. We hope this has answered the question of ‘what do cannabis seeds look like?’

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Taylor Christianson

Taylor is an indoor expert. Through their writing, they offer a masterclass on growing cannabis indoors, maintaining a productive growing environment, and guiding growers through all the stages of growth both indoors and outdoors. Combining multiple fields of expertise allows for Taylor to give in-depth insights into overall cannabis growing. About this Author

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