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How Long Do Cannabis Seeds Last

Cannabis cultivation begins with one fundamental element: the seed. Understanding the longevity of cannabis seeds and the factors that influence their viability is crucial for growers seeking successful harvests. In this article, we delve into the lifespan of cannabis seeds and explore five critical factors that impact their viability. By comprehending these factors and adopting proper storage practices, growers can optimize the lifespan of their cannabis seeds, ensuring optimal germination rates and robust plant growth.


5 Factors That Affect Seeds’ Lifespan

By being aware of these factors and taking appropriate measures to store cannabis seeds properly, growers can help maintain their viability and ensure successful germination when they’re ready to start growing.

Poor Extraction

If seeds are not properly extracted from cannabis plants and stored promptly, they can deteriorate quickly, affecting their viability for cultivation. Choosing a reputable seller or seed bank with proper storage practices can help ensure the freshness of the seeds.


Exposure to light, especially sunlight and hot bulbs, can reduce the shelf life of cannabis seeds by drying out their nutrient reserves and weakening them, making them harder to sprout.

High Humidity

High humidity levels can lead to seeds rotting from the inside or prematurely triggering the sprouting process, resulting in a loss of viability.

Extreme Temperatures

Both excessive heat and cold can negatively impact seed viability. High temperatures can promote premature germination, while temperatures below freezing can kill the embryo. Moderate temperatures are ideal for preserving seed viability.

Air Exposure

Fresh air can trigger processes related to sprouting, reducing seed quality. Vacuum-sealed or airtight storage spaces help maintain the seeds’ hibernation period and preserve their viability for longer periods.


How Long Do Cannabis Seeds Last

Marijuana seeds, like many other seeds, can last for varying lengths of time depending on how they’re stored. Properly stored marijuana seeds can remain viable for quite a while, but their longevity can be affected by factors such as temperature, humidity, and exposure to light.

In optimal conditions, such as being stored in a cool, dark, and dry environment, marijuana seeds can remain viable for several years. However, if they’re exposed to light, heat, or fluctuations in temperature, their viability can decrease more rapidly.

For example, seeds stored in a warm and humid environment may start to degrade after just six months. On the other hand, if they’re stored in an opaque container at room temperature, they might last for about a year. If you want to extend their shelf life further, you could store them in a refrigerator in an opaque jar where temperatures are consistently below 30°F. In such conditions, they could potentially last for 5-10 years.

It’s important to note that while seeds may still be viable after their shelf life has technically expired, the germination rate may decrease over time. So, even if you have seeds that are several years old, it’s still worth trying to germinate them, but keep in mind that the success rate might not be as high as with fresher seeds.

Overall, proper storage is key to maximizing the lifespan of marijuana seeds. By keeping them in a cool, dark, and dry environment, you can ensure that they remain viable for as long as possible.

Read More: How to Store Cannabis Seeds


How Do I Know If My Seeds Have Gone Bad

By using these methods, you can better assess the viability of your cannabis seeds before investing time and effort into germination and cultivation.

Germination Test

The most reliable method involves attempting to germinate the seeds. Place them between moist paper towels in a warm, dark location for 1-5 days. Healthy seeds will produce thin white taproots.


Healthy seeds typically have a faintly woody or earthy scent. If they smell moldy, it’s likely due to excessive humidity and indicates the seeds have gone bad.


Submerge the seeds in a transparent glass of water for 15 minutes. Viable seeds will sink to the bottom, while those that float may have lost their nutritional reserves or embryos.


Healthy seeds should feel relatively soft between your fingers. If the shell feels excessively hard or splinters under slight pressure, it may indicate deterioration.

Color changes

Dark brown, black, and gray seeds are typically healthy and mature. White and green seeds are likely too young, while pale brown seeds may be too old. Look for a striped or spotted pattern on the shell.

Sheen loss

Healthy seeds often have a waxy coating that glistens under light. Dull or lifeless appearances indicate a loss of moisture-retaining capability.


Healthy seeds are round and plump, while old or deteriorated seeds may appear small and deflated.

Cracks and holes

Check for cracks or holes in the outer shell, as these can allow pathogens to enter and may lead to seed deterioration.


Are Old Cannabis Seeds Still Good

Even though marijuana seeds can potentially last for more than 10 years if stored properly, their germination rates may decline over time. As seeds age, their viability decreases, meaning that fewer of them will successfully sprout into healthy plants compared to fresher seeds.

While some older cannabis seeds may still be viable and capable of germination, the likelihood of success decreases with age. Factors such as storage conditions, genetics, and the age of the seed itself can all influence its viability.


How Long Do Cannabis Seeds Last in the Fridge

Storing cannabis seeds in the fridge can significantly prolong their viability compared to storing them at room temperature. When properly stored in a refrigerator, cannabis seeds can indeed remain viable for an extended period.

Typically, if cannabis seeds are stored in a cool, dark, and dry environment such as a refrigerator, they can last for several years, with some sources suggesting they can remain viable for up to a decade or more. The cold temperature of the fridge helps slow down the aging process and prevents the seeds from deteriorating as quickly as they might at room temperature.

However, it’s important to ensure that the seeds are stored in airtight containers or sealed bags to protect them from moisture and humidity, which can still affect their viability even in the fridge.

Overall, refrigeration can be an effective method for extending the lifespan of cannabis seeds and maintaining their viability for a longer period, potentially up to several years or even a decade, as long as proper storage conditions are maintained.


Are Darker Cannabis Seeds Better

The color of cannabis seeds doesn’t necessarily indicate their quality or viability. While some may believe that darker seeds are better, this is not necessarily true.

The color of cannabis seeds can vary for a variety of reasons, including genetics, environmental factors, and the seed’s maturity level. Generally, mature seeds tend to be darker in color, ranging from brown to almost black. However, the color alone does not determine the quality of the seed.

Instead, factors such as the seed’s firmness, size, and overall appearance are better indicators of quality and viability. Healthy cannabis seeds are typically firm and plump, with a smooth and intact outer shell. They should also have a mottled or tiger-striped pattern, which indicates that they are mature.

Ultimately, whether a cannabis seed is darker or lighter in color should not be a primary concern when selecting seeds for cultivation. Instead, focus on choosing seeds that appear healthy and well-developed, regardless of their color.



In the world of cannabis cultivation, the quality and viability of seeds play a pivotal role in the success of each harvest. Through meticulous attention to storage conditions and awareness of environmental factors, growers can prolong the lifespan of cannabis seeds and maximize their potential for germination.


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