Like with any crop, a successful cannabis harvest starts with high-quality seeds but knowing how to identify the best ones can be tricky even for growers with years of experience. To help give you an idea of what to look for when preparing for your marijuana garden, here we talk about how to identify quality cannabis seeds on sight.

1. Appearance & Color

High-quality seeds have certain aesthetic qualities that set them apart from seeds that aren't as healthy. The most viable seeds are brown, tan, or even black, as immature seeds are lighter colors like white, yellow, and pale green. Some people even claim that the best seeds feature dark spots or stripe patterns and that there should be a healthy sheen on the surface when held under light, like a fresh coat of wax.

2. Size & Shape

You can identify quality cannabis seeds by their size and shape, especially when you can compare several seeds side-by-side. The largest seeds with the most symmetrical round or teardrop-shape are the best quality, while immature seeds are small and often have an irregular shape.

3. Hardness & Durability

The best seeds have a hard outer shell with a smooth, uncracked surface, while undesirable seeds have soft surfaces that crinkle, crack, or crumble completely quite easily.

4. Age

If you know how old the (fully mature) seeds are you'll be able to have a better idea of viable they are. Like all genetic material, seeds degrade over time, so freshly harvested seeds are often more viable than ones that are months or years old. You should store seeds in a cool, dark place (even a freezer) so they don't rot or get mold.

5. Float Test

The “float test” is an easy way to check if a seed is viable or not. It's as simple as dropping a seed into just enough distilled water to see if it has enough mass to sink within an hour or two, and if it does, then it generally has a better chance of germinating than seeds that float. You should do this right before you plant the seed because the water saturation can cause it to mold or decay.