The world’s best cannabis seeds and clones to grow in ‘22
Good news, America: The nation’s army of weed growers in 2022 is going to fire up hundreds of metric tons of the most explosively tasty, time-stoppingly beautiful bud ever conceived on planet Earth.
Pot law liberalization has triggered a Golden Age of cannabis genetics—putting the loudest, most diverse ganja aromas and effects at the fingertips of gardeners big and small.
Major nurseries like Dark Heart Nursery in Oakland, CA, hold strain openings like fashion shows for the $18.3 billion legal industry. Los Angeles’ Seed Junky Genetics sold $1,000 clones of Super Runtz at The Emerald Cup on Dec. 11—200 of them. Champion breeders like Exotic Genetix have released $900 seed packs with NFT art direct to a rabid fanbase. It all sells out—powering more than 2,278 metric tons of legal US pot production annually.
Leafly’s annual “Best cannabis seeds to grow” synthesizes the quantitative with the qualitative: We pair strain search and menu trend data with breeder interviews, and event and store reporting; plus, we smoke hundreds of flavors, and grow a few pounds.
Go ahead and bury us. We’re seeds. (Courtesy Humboldt Seed Company)
Leafly News’ product picks are independent, and cannot be influenced by advertising. We’d love to fill our garden with these cultivars—the newest of the new and those re-mixed from the best of the present and past.
Get ready for all the Cakes, Mints, Cookies, Zkittlez, GMOs, and sativas you could spend a lifetime trimming. Whatever you smoke, now is the time to score some awesome seeds so you can pop them by spring, and have a pound laying around by Thanksgiving. This is Leafly’s Best cannabis seeds and clones to grow in ‘22.
Cake and Mints varietals for ‘22
Best-selling Wedding Cake and Kush Mints cannabis families combine in Humboldt Seed Company’s filthy new Poddy Mouth, which is Humboldt Pound Cake x Mtn Top Mint.
Emerald Cup-winning Ridgeline Farms named and endorsed this outdoor-optimized exotic. It can test beyond 30% THC while looking bonkers and smelling like soft, sweet, minty fuel. Sheesh!
For ’22, Humboldt Seed Co. has 85 regular, feminized, autoflower, or combo seed products, from 45 strains, in six states. They’re emblematic of how West Coast breeders own the strain game, thanks to decades of experience, plus baseball field-sized farms to test out thousands of new varieties at once.
There are so many tasty mint and cake strains out there this year.
See also: Mint a pound with Tiki Madman’s mints crosses like Apple Fritter Bx or Gelatti Mints, available online; in California, get clones of Purple City Genetics’ Gush Mints crosses, or Hendrx Nursery’s Candy Chrome No. 5 (Runtz x The Menthol).
Contemporary GSC and Gelato strains
Strawberry, fuel, and cookies terpenes with a new level of exotic bling make Cherry Cosmo an early star of 2022. Highly regarded breeder Exotic Genetix has folded Cookies upon Cookies in his Baker’s Dozen strain (Milk & Cookies x Rainbow Chip). His Jan. 25 release of Baker’s Dozen crosses includes Cherry Cosmo (Red Pop x Baker’s Dozen), which promises an explosive, cosmic, indica-hybrid space trip.
Exotic Genetix’s breeder Mike (aka “Mr. Stimmy”) has a massive series of indoor grow rooms to experiment—constantly ratcheting up the definition of “Zaza.”
- Stank House
- Gas Basket
- Purple Pineapple
“He throws away plants that other breeders would kill to have in their garden,” said seed seller Luscious Genetics, in a Leafly interview. “That level of discernment is superhuman. He just knows his shit.”
There’s so many phenomenal GSC genetics out there.
See also: Compound Genetics Exotic² (Red Pop x Apples & Bananas); Ethos Genetics’ End Game R2; Seed Junky Genetics’ Jealousy crosses, like Zealousy; or Cookies+Compound Genetics Lemonchello 28 x Jet Fuel Gelato seeds; Wyeast Farms’ line of creamy, sweet, spicy, cinnamon-tinged Horchata crosses; Capulator’s Booty Clapper; and Lovin In Her Eyes’ Spanish Moon S1.
Cookies+Compound Genetics serves piping hot seed packs in ’22. (Courtesy Cookies)
Zkittlez’s hottest progeny
Rainbow Belts 3.0
Grab some Cup-winning, hyper-giddy, candy-aisle terpenes for ‘22. Breeder Archive Seedbank has mastered the genetics of Rainbow Belts and Moonbow, and thus the future of Zkittlez flavors.
The smell? “Zkittlez plus limey, candied, petroleum-fumed dank,” Archive Seedbank stated in an email announcement.
The effect? Bright, neon flavor meets intense, face-melting, OG power.
“I’m always looking for that sweetness in the strains that I love to smoke,” said Ellen Holland, author of 2021 book “WEED: A Connoisseur’s Guide to Cannabis.” “I really like the zkittlez and that uplifting, bright, bergamot, fruity flavor that it brings to the crosses of zkittlez.”
Archive Seeds breeder Fletch knows the hash heads need resin, too. Rainbow Belts 3.0 seed packs contain “Dry, sandy resin phenotypes that are packed with Gobstopper, Blue Sour Patch, tropical Zkittlez overtones.”
Get your debit card ready. Rainbow Belts 3.0 (Rainbow Belts #20 x Moonbow 112 F2 #60) 12-packs of regular seeds go on sale Feb. 1 at Archive Seedbank and select sellers.
Tropical candy terps get even louder with Terphogz Geneticz cross of Z3 and Papaya—Zazaya. Lip-smacking, Hi-Chew flavor meets high-key glee in this next-level flower designed for hashmakers. Keep a close eye on these influential hash strain designers, as the broader market coasts on their wake, said Luscious Genetics co-owner David.
“Growers are looking at a plant and taking into consideration trichome head size and gland size because extraction is such a large portion of revenue,” he said. “The bigger the trichome, the thicker the stalks—they know it’s going to yield more extract.”
I mean, you stick with the Terphogz when you can. I do, anyways.
Ellen Holland, author, ‘WEED: A Connoisseur’s Guide’
“It’s going to be super-tasty—the smells going to be really intense on those ones—because they have so much more resin,” said Holland. “I mean, you stick with the Terphogz when you can. I do, anyways.”
The Terphogz team backcrossed the original Zkittlez with Hindu Kush to start their Z3 line—which includes Cakez (Z3 x Ice Cream Cake) and Grapefruit Zruntz (Zruntz x Grapefruitz). We’re hearing about feminized Terp Hogz seeds for spring ‘22.
See also: Masonic Seed Company’s Wilmint; Bloom Seeds’ Rainbow Guava; Clearwater Genetics + Tiki Madman project’s Devil Driver; and Swamp Boys Seeds’ Guava Now N Later (Now N Later x White91 x Guava Jelly).
Savory terps of today
Meat Breath crosses
Savory terps have gotten more acrid, funky, weird, and potent in 2022 to counterbalance all the sweet dessert strains. We’re here for it.
The modern savory terp movement has built a home base around GMO Cookies, OGKB, Mendo Breath, and their offspring.
“Anything GMO is going to get gigantic,” said Luscious Genetics.
Thug Pug Genetics breeder “Gromer” comes out of early retirement this winter with Meat Breath crosses, another successor to Peanut Butter Breath. Divisive and unforgettable, this is the modern analog to old-school Cheese or Cat Piss.
“There’s something intriguing about pungent odor, especially if it’s related to an existing bodily musk. We’re drawn to that,” said Luscious Genetics.
Humboldt Seed Co.’s Nat Pennington has come around to pungent garlic terps, he said. “It’s funny because I was resistant at first. Of course, you try GMO and you understand.”
“If you’re in that savory category, that’s gonna be probably stronger and more fuel forward and gassy,” said Holland.
Need more stank? See also: Humboldt Seed Company’s Garlic Budder (GMO x Fortune Cookies); Swamp Boy Seeds’ Maconga (White Uchem x GMO/TK Skunk); Archive Seedbank’s Show Time (NorCal Cat Piss x Dosidos); Rebel Grown’s Double OG Chem S1.
Super stellar sativas
Super Lemon Pupil
Enough with the dense, dark, sedative Cookies strains. Give us longer, lighter, brighter sativas, too, in ‘22.
Got a foggy garden? Sativas can be more mold-resistant and far more unique than the next version of Gelato, Holland said. “They don’t have as gigantic of buds and don’t get problems like mold on the inside you can’t even see, or a caterpillar crawling halfway through it.”
“If you’re going to grow it yourself it might be easier to start with something that has a more sativa-leaning profile,” Holland.
Mass Medical Strains is a proud, old-school sativa lover, and has proclaimed 2022 the #yearofthehaze. First in their string of releases: Super Lemon Pupil—a Franco Loja-selected cut of Super Lemon Haze crossed to Mass Medical’s Star Pupil.
Super Lemon Pupil buds get big but stay mold-resistant. (Courtesy Mass Medical Strains)
Lemon, lacquer, European haze, and citrus will perfume your grow room. It’s super zippy—with a very sharp and uplifting profile.
“The power of the Haze mixed with the vibe of the Pupil is simply perfection,” Mass Medical Strains wrote to Leafly. “Effects can border on psychedelic, inspiring new ways of thinking and enhanced perception and awareness.”
Ready for a spirit journey? Mass Medical also touts Thug Pug collaboration Anaphylaxis (PB Breath x Deadly Sativa). “If you are struggling with anxiety or depression this one might be best avoided, it could be tough to handle unless you feel ready for the intensity.”
Mass Medical Strains award-winning, powerful Anaphylaxis (PB Breath x Deadly Sativa) (Courtesy Mass Medical)
There’s way more landrace, or legacy, strain work out there. See also: Aww yeah, Hendrx Nursery’s Santa Cruz Blue Dream x Old Dave Skunk; Archive Seedbank’s Island Girl, combining Dosidos to a mix of Malawi, 95’ NL5, Haze F2, Sensi Star, and Molokai Frost; and Masonic Seeds’ Wilson the World landrace uses the hash-dumper strain Wilson to bulk up to Kishkak, Acapulco Gold, Panama Red, or Saipan.
Here’s a high-yield, farming-friendly, modern sativa for the hash heads. Raspberry Parfait is raspberry and vanilla yogurt-flavored yoga fuel. Humboldt Seed Co.’s unique sativa-dominant cross of Truffula Tree x Shiska Berry bursts with long sesquiterpenes, giving it extra-robust shelf life, and making for phenomenal extracts.
Humboldt Seed Co. did a Raspberry Parfait extract collaboration that they hope will take home an Emerald Cup in 2022. You can take home Raspberry Partfait seeds from California stores.
Our ‘22 motto is: “Smoke the weed you want to see in the world,” and man, we’ve missed Strawberry Cough.
Major clone seller Dark Heart Nursery agrees. This year they’re bringing out Starberry Cough—a Kyle Kushman-selected cross of the fruity euphoria of Strawberry Cough with the energizing rush of Stardawg.
The cross gives old school Cough some modern bling, terps, and yield, marrying the sweetness of strawberries with the gasoline of Chemdog. Dark Heart Nursery clones are available at licensed California retail stores.
OK—we’re leaving out some legendary breeders and essential new crosses, but we don’t want to overwhelm anyone. Look out for more 2022 Leafly seed guides focused on autoflowers and high-CBD strains, and heck, maybe even pure throwback nostalgia strains. (Anyone got some solid Blue Dream or Urkle cuts? Asking for a friend.)
The best new cannabis strains to grow in 2021
Americans smoke about 30 million pounds of cannabis each year, analysts estimate. All that dank ain’t gonna grow itself.
North America’s weed gardeners, big and small, have begun their annual run on marijuana seed stores. From California to Maine, ganja growers are racing to stock up for the spring thaw and planting season.
“We’re getting slammed,” said Nathaniel Pennington, founder of seed leader Humboldt Seed Company in California. They offer 57 strains in their 2021 catalog, available in California, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Maine. “We’ve never had this level of demand.”
California breeder and Equilibrium Genetics founder Jason Matthys works seven days a week right now. He drops seed packs at dispensaries from mountainous McKinleyville, CA, to postcard-perfect Pacific Beach, San Diego. “It’s really starting to pick up,” he said.
“Seeds are selling really well,” said Brian Smith, inventory manager at Satori Wellness, Humboldt County, CA’s leading genetics retailer. “It’s the peak of the [seed] season pretty much from January 1 through April. Come on down, because, yes, they are moving.”
“‘Corona year two’ is a superb year to grow,” said Matthys. “More people are checking out their backyard space, or setting up a little tent in their room to try something. They’re working from home, and remotely. It’s easy to check in on your tent when you don’t have to sit in traffic.”
Below, Leafly assembles its definitive, annual guide to the hottest pot popping off in America’s gardens. We mention 60+ strains, organized into six broad collections below.
Time to get growing, America.
Easy-peasy autos and fems
Growing can sound intimidating. So-called “autos” and “fem” seeds take the stress out of the learning curve. These two seed types are on track to upend regular seeds’ primacy.
Autoflowering seeds make your cannabis plant work like a clock. Put an auto in a 3-gallon pot, add water and sun, and in two and half months you’ll have finished bud, no matter the time of year.
Humboldt Seed Company’s boss says go for their Sour Apple auto this year.
“The Sour Apple is, I would say, our most beautiful autoflower that will really do well in any circumstance,” said Pennington.
Sour Apple in the fields. (Courtesy Humboldt Seed Company)
Exotic Oakland, CA. clone and seedmaker Purple City Genetics touts its Saltwater OG Auto, which hits 26% THC.
“That’s extraordinarily high for an auto,” said Eric Rosen, Purple City Genetics sales director.
See also: Ethos Genetics’ Lilac AutoDiesel; Barney’s Farm Runtz auto, and Do-Si-Dos auto; and I Love Growing Marijuana’s Auto 2.0 mixpack
Ethos Genetics’ Lilac AutoDiesel runs auto-magically. (Courtesy Ethos Genetics)
Fems in season
“Fems” are short for “feminized seeds.”
If you’re growing weed to smoke, it’s a females-only party, and dudes ruin it. Only females produce buds. Statistically, five males will lurk in your standard 10-pack of regular seeds. That gives new growers anxiety, said Matthys.
“It’s a lot of newer growers that are afraid of males and they want to get something that won’t have male seeds,” he said. “People don’t like the experience of having to throw away plants that they don’t want.”
For 2021 fems, try to beat Humboldt Seed Company’s Jelly Rancher. This cross of Very Cherry to Notorious THC and Jelly Rancher Bx3 sparkles with resin and smells like blue cotton candy, strawberries, and grapes. Jelly Rancher grows to a medium size and ripens quickly.
Make ’em jelly: Jelly Rancher fem seeds are sweet, berry, grape hybrid-sativa fun for ’21. (Courtesy Humboldt Seed Company)
They’re going to do great any place in California this year, said Pennington.
Exotic breeders Compound Genetics offer feminized seeds as well. Snap up Gummiez, Blueberry Octane, and Pink Certz fems from Compound at stores like Buds and Roses in the San Fernando Valley.
Friendly Tangie strains
If Autos and Fems are easy to grow, Tangie family strains are easy for beginners to smoke. They have bubbly, friendly effects that can go all day.
Found in fine Oregon dispensaries, Massive Seeds sells Yuzu Tangie, which is Tangie crossed to Lemon Pineapple, mixed to Orangeade. Breeders list lineage like a math equation: ((Tangie x Lemon Pineapple) x Orangeade).
Humboldt Seed Company enters year two of selling Squirt, which crosses an elite Blueberry Muffin to a superior Tangie.
“If you want to have a good time, smoke Blueberry Muffin, and smoke Squirt.”
Nat Pennington, Humboldt Seed Company founder
“If you want to have a good time, smoke Blueberry Muffin, and smoke Squirt,” said Pennington. “I pretty much only smoke Blueberry Muffin and Squirt when I’m going to be working with a group of people. It makes it fun.”
A pure Tangie resurgence continues as well, said original breeder Crockett, founder of Crockett Family Farms. The California team sells through DNA Genetics and beyond. Plant a field of Crockett’s new:
- Strawberry Fields (Strawberry Banana X Tangie)
- Sour Juice (Juice X Sour Chem),
- Tangieland (Candyland X Tangie)
- or BT7 (Banana Tangie #7 X OG#18)
Cookies and Cakes, MAC and nuts
It’s a Cookies and Cakes world. You just live in it.
That means scooping up leading California nursery Dark Heart’s fast-selling clones of Gelato (Ice Cream) Cake, Sweeties, or White Runtz.
“The Cookies and Cakes are very much in demand this year, for good reason,” said Dark Heart Nursery CEO Dan Grace.
Denver-based Ethos Genetics also gorges on cookie crosses with its End Game line, now in three varieties.
Thanos is a daddy: Ethos punches up Cookies with their “End Game” crosses. (Courtesy Ethos Genetics)
Also, try to get in on Purple City Genetics’ new, clone-only Gush Mints.
Gush Mints electrifies and colorizes the minty strain craze. It takes Kush Mints and crosses it with the fabled F1 Durban and Gushers. The result is, “creamy gas and kushy candy terps,” said Rosen.
Six types of Gush Mints crosses are coming in seed form in ‘21.
“Purple City Genetics is the very front tip of the spear. That’s us,” Rosen said.
Also in the exotic Cookies world, don’t miss Archive Seeds of Portland’s:
- Animal Biscuits (Animal Cookies x Dosidos)
- Cake Face (Animal Face x Faceoff OG)
- Doughlato (Dolato #41 x Moonbow #75)
- and Melon Fizz (Melonade x Moonbow #75)
And in the world of MAC crosses, breeder Capulator should have seeds for adult-use stores this year. Until then, Ethos touts their new MAC and Jack.
“It’s a very complimentary cross that checks all the boxes for almost every grower!” said Ethos.
Ethos Genetics’ MAC and Jack amps up the sweet sativa jack terps. (Courtesy Ethos Genetics)
Going a bit nuts
Quick note: a bona fide nutty strain craze is a-brewin’ in cannabis.
Demand for Peanut Butter Breath has gone crazy, according to major clone and seed provider Wave Rider Nursery in Salinas, CA.
Over at Humboldt Seed Company, their new Pistachio (Fortune Cookies x PistachioBx2 x P-61) “Smells just like burnt nuts to us; a roasted cracked-open pistachio,” said Pennington. “People will agree that it has a nutty flavor no matter what.”
Pistachio comes from intense hybridization, and luck. (Courtesy Humboldt Seed Company)
OGs for the OGs
The biting OG Kush strain family lives in the shadow of Cookies, but it’ll never fade.
Keep your gas station topped up this year by growing some Knight’s Templar OG from Dark Heart Nursery. Dark Heart calls their newest OG their heaviest yet.
“People love the gas profile and the supreme relaxation that OGs bring,” said Grace.
Mission accomplished: Knight’s Templar OG from Dark Heart Nursery. (Courtesy Dark Heart Nursery)
OG Kush cousin Triangle Kush never goes out of style. Just look at Wave Rider Nursery’s Black Triangle (Triangle Kush x 88G13) via Bodhi Seeds.
Or even better—mix nuts and gas with PB Triangles from Equilibrium Genetics. That’s PB Breath to Triangle Kush.
Need more new OGs? Go with legit, original gangsta’ Bodhi Seeds’ Ancient OG:
“A heavy duty, true OG-dominant hybrid that takes things to the next level,” stated Bodhi. “Deep, earthy, forest OG aromas, with creamy, citrus kush undertones, like Goji OG without the berry and added lemon pledge.”
Hashmakers will want Dying Breed Seeds, who crosses everything to their OG Eddy Lep, including:
- Lemon Zest (Lemonade x OG Eddy);
- Ice Cream Bean (Blue Sherbert x OG Eddy).
Purples, Zkittlez, and Runtz
Certain heavily stoned folks only smoke purple weed: GDPs, Purple Punch crosses, Zkittlez, and Runtz. This section’s for them.
Dark Heart Nursery claims to bring back the legendary Ken’s Granddaddy Purple from 2003 for sale this year.
“Anyone who remembers the old school, deep, and musky taste of purples should try this strain,” said Grace.
Dark Heart Nursery offers a 2003 Ken’s Granddaddy Purple this year. (Courtesy Dar Heart Nursery)
We’re huge fans of Do-Si-Dos to Purple Punch, called Slurricane—so we’re growing In-House Genetics’ Slurricane ix (Slurricane #44 x Slurricane #7) in our garden.
Wanna get crunk? Seek out Purple City Genetics’ clone-only Slurty3 ((Slurricane Cowboys cut) x Gelato 33). Crosses of it go into seed production later in the year.
Slurty3 smells like “grape, gas, and cream terps that have ‘new-new’ written all over it,” said Eric Rosen.
Caution, though. “This is heavy, dude. Not for the unsuspecting smoker,” he said.
Zkittlez and Runtz run amok
New Zkittlez crosses rain down upon us mortals. We’ve settled on growing Exotic Genetix’s Cookies cross Gazzungas (Zkittlez x Rainbow Chip). Up in Portland, OR, Archive Seeds hits gold with Rainbow Beltz 2.0 (Zkittlez x Moonbow).
Similarly, Runtz crosses are everywhere, but only Equilibrium Genetics crossed Runtz to their mold and mildew-resistant African Orange to create Orange Runtz. Great idea.
Another blingy Compound flavor: Rose Gold Runtz, a cross of Apples and Bananas to White Runtz.
Compound Genetics’ ultra-potent, tasty Apples and Bananas in your own backyard. (David Downs/Leafly)
“These guys who made this particular strain should be the gods of weed.”
—Leafly reviewer ‘a……..r”
One Leafly reviewer of Apples and Bananas said: “These guys who made this particular strain should be the gods of weed.”
Lastly, Compound Genetics recommends its latest collaboration with Colorado seed gods Cannarado. Look for Gastro Pop—that’s Apples and Bananas to Grape Gasoline.
See also: Savage Genetics’ Cheetoz (Cheetah Piss x Runtz); I Love Growing Marijuana’s Purple mixpack; Wave Rider’s cross of Wedding Cake Zkittlez x Modified Grapes.
Landraces, sativas, and throwbacks
The critics always tell me, ‘Play those old school jams, David. Where’s my landraces at? Those sativas? Where are my throwbacks?’
Equilibrium Genetics cannot be denied in the throwback, landrace, and sativa game. Look at their nearly sold-out Maui Pineapple, as well as their new Saturn Citrus and Pineapple Sonja.
Old-school Maui has billions of dollars of goodwill baked into the brand name, said Matthys.
“It’s crazy. Everyone wants that one. It’s such a wonderful strain to grow—very sativa with a sweet bit of cherry musk and funk, like a gassy funk,” he said.
Pineapple Sonja will reset the bar for thick pineapple flavor in California. It’s Pineapple Thai to another pineapple-smelling sativa from Maine, called Red Sonja.
Then strap in for a psychedelic rocket launch—Saturn Citrus is Super Lemon Haze crossed to Equilibrium’s African Orange.
Need more altitude? Wave Rider Nursery offers a unique Swazi Red Burmese that’ll get the heart racing.
And for a spotless mind, this year Bodhi Seeds has:
- Soar (Columbian Red x OMG)
- and Eternal Sunshine (Hawaiian Sativa x OMG)
Old school indica fans, we got you. Hash Plant lovers want to be sedated with Bodhi Seeds’:
Grandmas Hashplant (Irene x 88G13/HP)
- and Lemon Hashplant (Lemon G x 88G13/HP)
And speaking of sedation: set your phasers on stun—old school Romulan has landed.
“Our Romulan seeds are selling very, very well,” said Megan L., Romulan Genetics sales manager. “Nostalgia has been a pop-culture phenomenon lately, so anything that brings people back to their youth or high school years is a big hit with the Baby Boomer generation.”
This classic, high-THC indica can manage anxiety and PTSD, patients report.
“[The strain] leaves you feeling completely saturated but somehow still in control of your thoughts and actions,” said Megan.
Grow a bowl of Romulan this season. (Courtesy Romulan Genetics)
And that, folks, represents a fat slice of what’s going on out there in the cannabis seed world in 2021. It’s truly mind-boggling.
“There are so many amazing new strains coming out all the time it’s exhausting to keep up with,” said Conner Pollock, Wave Rider Nursery sales manager.
This epochal explosion in cannabis diversity only promises to accelerate, said Rosen. “It’s the most exciting time to be in cannabis. Even more so a day from now, and a week from now—it just gets more and more exciting,” he said.