How to Tell if a Marijuana Seed is Good: Separating Good Seeds From Bad Seeds

Whether you’ve cached a number of cannabis seeds from your purchased baggies, or you have made an online order, you might wonder how to tell if the cannabis seed is good enough to grow.

Even the most reputable seed companies may ship a bad seed now and then, so it pays to know what you're looking for.

Thankfully, good seeds are easy to spot, so keep reading to master how to tell if a marijuana seed is good.

How to Tell if a Marijuana Seed is Good

Healthy seeds have the following characteristics:

  • A natural and waxy protective coating
  • Dark brown, grey, black or beige in color
  • No cracks, or visible damage
  • Some seeds may have spots of stripes, which is also normal.

If you bought seeds online, first inspect the package for moisture.

Moisture often involves mold and will be a tell-tale sign that the seeds have gone rotten on route to you.

The same goes for the seeds found in a nug.

Always store in a cool, dry place to avoid damaging the seeds before germination.

If you notice moisture in the container, you may have lost your stash.

What Are the Characteristics of a Rotten Seed?

If you notice your seeds don’t look exactly like the healthy seeds described above, what makes a rotten seed?

You may notice the color is much lighter than the others in the pack, white, light yellow, or bright green.

These seeds have either gone off or are immature.

Seeds with soft or cracked shells have had their tender insides exposed to microbes and may be rotten from the inside out.

The similarity between one seed and the rest is also a good indication.

If you notice one seed out of ten looks drastically different, it’s safe to say it may struggle to germinate.

How to Separate the Good Marijuana Seeds from the Bad?

On a clean white surface, lay out all the marijuana seeds in your collection.

Inspect each seed, based on the characteristics outlined above.

Any clearly rotten seeds, or those that stand out from the pack, can be tossed.

Place the healthy seeds aside, and any questionable seeds in a pile of their own.

Clearly label the seeds by strain, source, and date, as well as what pile they are from.

Again, no need to keep the clearly rotten, shriveled or unhealthy looking seeds, as these may infect your good ones.

Using the Water Technique to Separate Cannabis Seeds

When you are ready to germinate, you can double check both the healthy seeds and the questionable ones through a simple test known as the water test.

In a glass or jar of water, dump in both the healthy and the potentially good seeds for a soaking.

Wait a few hours.

Soon, the seeds will absorb water and gentle sink to the bottom.

These seeds are likely good to go.

Any floaters, feel free to toss.

How to Tell if a Marijuana Seed Will Germinate?

The only tried and true method of testing for germination is to attempt to germinate the seeds.

The good news is that for cannabis, the germination process is simple.

Adding more seeds, even questionable ones, doesn’t make the process any more arduous.

Using a damp paper towel, laid on top of a plate, place the previously soaked seeds inside.

Keep in a warm dark place, and continue to add a few drops of water over the paper towel each day to keep it damp.

You should see results in a few days.

Plant the good seeds in a growing medium of your choice, and continue the sprouting process.

If some seeds refuse to sprout within a week, there may be some problems.

Save yourself the trouble and toss the remaining unsprouted seeds.

Where to Find Healthy Cannabis Seeds?

Although you may find a seed or two in poorly processed nug of cannabis, the best place to source seeds is from a seed bank, either in person if you live in a legal region, or online.

Seed banks, especially reputable ones, will have vast collections of strains and build their brand off consistency and germination.

If you’ve never purchased seeds online, you’ll want to research the company and the process carefully.


So, how to tell is a marijuana seed is good or not comes down to:

  • They are the right color (Dark brown, grey, black or beige)
  • They don't have any cracks or massive deformations
  • They pass the water test (see above)

If they check all of those boxes, you can feel confident in planting them.

Do you have any tips to help newbies spot out a bad cannabis seed?

Help us out in the comments section below.

Tony Hand Jr

Tony Jr is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of If he’s not smoking, writing or watching anime, then you can usually find him on the couch yelling over terrible play calling.

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