How to spot bad cannabis seeds

How to Spot Bad Cannabis Seeds

If you’re just starting out planting your own cannabis garden, then you might have some concerns regarding your seeds. The stone cold truth is that no matter where you get your seeds, there will always be a ‘bad’ one in the mix.

Bad seeds are those seeds that never sprout, which is a waste of your time and resources. They won’t damage your garden, but it is annoying to plant something that just won’t grow. In other cases, you may just have a male seed, which naturally just won’t sprout anything. Most reputable shops sell feminised seeds, but it will be difficult to tell if you’re an amateur grower.

So how can you tell it’s not going to last before even planting? Here are some ways that can help you know.

How to Spot Bad or Impotent Cannabis Seeds

The Appearance

There are some physical qualities of cannabis seeds that can often tell you if a seed is good or not just by looking at it.

The first thing to look at is the colour of the seed. Healthy seeds have black or grey patches. Those that are green or white have not matured enough to be considered plant ready. Pale seeds are duds.

The next thing to look at is its texture. Healthy seeds also have a waxy, shiny coating with no cracks. They are round and stout.

Watch out for any powdery consistencies when you look at the seeds up close with a magnifying glass. It could be a sign of mildew buildup, which will affect a plant’s growth.

The Feeling

Feeling the seeds will also help to tell if they’re good or bad. Hold the seed in between your point finger and thumb and gently squeeze it. Seeds that crack under slight pressure are unusable. If it passes that test, it is more likely to grow healthy.

The Water Test

This method has been used for other plants as well. All you need to do is take a glass or bowl of warm water and put the seeds in gently. Wait for one to two hours before checking them again. Floaters are the bad seeds, while the healthy ones sink to the bottom.

Do not perform this test if you’re not going to get started on planting right away. You should take the healthy seeds and germinate them right away before they dry out.

This test is popular because it is easy to do and is cost-effective. If you’re a beginner with planting cannabis, you may want to do this test before planting the seeds you bought. Eventually, you’ll be able to tell the differences by the look and feel alone, but this will work best for now.


Knowing 100 per cent if a cannabis seed is good or bad is not possible until you start planting them. However, these methods do offer some insight before growing the plant. Growing plants, especially marijuana, takes time, patience, and a bit of trial and error testing before you finally get a hang of it. Cultivating knowledge and growing from the experience will lead you to success.

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