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.
The fact that cannabis seeds can vary in appearance has led some growers to think that the size, shape, or color of a seed dictates its quality.
Mature cannabis seeds usually have a hard outer shell that can vary in color from very dark (or almost black) to very light grey and may have tiger-like stripes. You should be able to firmly press these seeds between your fingers without damaging them.
Conducting The Float Test
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.
However, slight patience is required when conducting the float test, as results are not immediately apparent. You’ll have to wait for approximately 1–2 hours before confirming the results. Some good-quality seeds will need adequate time to absorb enough water for them to sink. Use this time to go water the garden and get some much needed pruning done. Upon your return, any seeds that remain on the surface are most likely not viable and won’t be worth further time and effort.
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.
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.
Now that I’ve gone over a basic guide for what to look for I’ll give you a couple of ways that you can test your seeds.
The short answer is yes, but if you store your seeds properly they can stay viable for years and years. Moisture, UV degradation, and extreme temperatures could all affect the quality of your seeds.
Ways To Test Cannabis Seeds
I know this seems obvious, but it really is the best information I really could give. If you really want to know if a cannabis seed is able to germinate then go ahead and try germinating it – what do you really have to lose? Not quite sure how to germinate a seed? No worries. Here’s a quick guide:
Unfortunately, there is no way to know if a cannabis seed is going to be male or female simply by looking at it or doing a simple test. This is a bummer since most people don’t want male cannabis plants in their garden.
The legality of growing cannabis varies depending on where you live in the world. Know your laws.