How long can seeds be stored?

Some people put the seeds in a jar in their refrigerator or freezer to keep them cool (ideally, below 50 degrees). Seeds in good condition and carefully stored will last at least a year and, depending on the plant, up to five years. Read on For detailed step by step guide.

How long do seeds last?

There appears to be no agreement, especially when considering the environment in which the seeds were stored, the quality of the original crop from which the seeds were harvested,

and even the condition of the seeds themselves, as treated seeds have a different lifespan than seeds in their natural state.

Seeds, like all living things, have a shelf life, and the viability of your seeds might vary by a year or two depending on where your shelf is.

What are ideal storage conditions for seeds?

In an ideal world, we’d all have second freezers with precisely regulated humidity levels where we could keep our seeds.

Our seeds would thrive in this cool, dark, and dry environment, and those very first tomato seeds we’d ever purchased would still be viable ten years later.

What temperature should you store seeds at?

With all the uncertainties regarding how and where to keep seeds, consider this:

Seeds are best stored in a storage container below 40°F with less than 10% humidity in sealed containers in a dark setting.

Every time a seed is exposed to less-than-ideal circumstances, its quality declines. It may not die immediately, but it may take longer to germinate. It will eventually fail to germinate.

To assess seed germination, use the baggie method using coffee filters (or paper towels).

By pre-sprouting a sample of 10 to 20 seeds in baggies, you may determine how viable those seeds are before committing to beginning more of those seeds or transplanting the seedlings.

Can you freeze seeds to make them last longer?

Yes. Seed banks all freeze seeds for long-term storage, and you can do the same at home.

To limit the chance of seeds collecting moisture, start with well dried seeds (if you saved them from your own plants) and store them in airtight,

freeze-proof containers. Keep the seeds in a dependable freezer that keeps regular temperatures and isn’t opened frequently.

When it’s time to plant, defrost the frozen seeds at room temperature overnight before planting.

What temperature will kill seeds?

Around temperatures exceeding 108°F, seeds begin to perish and are entirely sterilized at 140°F (which usually happens in hot compost piles).

However, sustained high temperatures above 90°F are all that is required to harm the embryo inside a seed and reduce the odds of germination.

Avoid keeping your seeds in an attic or an uninsulated garage, as well as inside a heated automobile on a bright day. If optimal storage conditions of less than 40°F and less than 10% humidity are not available,

store your seeds in the coolest (and driest) section of the home, such as a closet in a north-facing room or a dehumidified basement.

Do seeds expire?

Seeds do not necessarily “expire” or “go bad” until they are exposed to circumstances that promote mold or rot. They do, however, lose quality and energy with time.

Consider the dates stated on seed packages to be similar to “Best by” dates on food; they aren’t fixed in stone, but rather serve as a guideline for how long the seeds will be viable.

If you put seeds after certain dates, you may get a few to germinate, but your overall yield will be smaller.


Seeds last considerably longer when stored in a cold, dry, dark area. It is critical to reduce humidity.