10 Best Cannabis Seed Banks To Buy Cannabis Seeds Online in 2022 (Ships to US)
Cannabis has never been more popular in the United States, with an overwhelming number of Americans expressing support for legalization, according to the Pew Research Center. With some 37 states having legalized cannabis for medical use, and sixteen for recreational purposes, more Americans than ever are considering growing their own cannabis.
Buoying this surge further is the 2018 Farm Bill, which helped dramatically boost both cannabis and hemp production in the U.S. Now, demand is higher than ever among Americans looking to grow their own. So, where are they turning? Most likely, to the hundreds if not thousands of cannabis seed banks found online, just a Google search away.
Seed banks, for the uninitiated, are repositories that store seeds to maintain and propagate genetic diversity. Cannabis seed banks online thus provide would-be growers with the seeds they need to get started growing cannabis. The problem, however, is that not all of these are reputable, and there is a wide range in overall quality among these vendors. So many options might leave beginning growers understandably scratching their heads.
Well, that’s where we come in! Today, we’re looking at ten of the very best seed banks from which U.S. citizens—at least in states that have legalized growing your own—can order seeds and start producing their very own cannabis.
Top 10 Cannabis Seed Banks To Buy Seeds Online
|1.||I Love Growing Marijuana (ILGM)||Best overall|
|2.||Crop King Seeds||Best for global shipping|
|3.||MSNL Seedbank||Best delivery|
|4.||Seedsman||Best seed variety|
|5.||Quebec Cannabis Seeds||Best for promotional offers|
|6.||Herbies||Best for convenience|
|7.||Ministry of Cannabis||Best for dependability|
|8.||Seed Supreme||Best for crypto|
|9.||Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds||Best for guaranteed delivery|
|10.||Weed Seed Express||Best “new kid on the block”|
To some extent, your choice of cannabis seed bank will depend on whether they have the strains that you want to grow. We obviously could not consider that in our rankings, as it varies from person to person. Instead, we focused on the following equally important factors.
Quality of Seeds
Perhaps the most important consideration in our rankings is the quality of the seeds. You need high-quality seeds if you want to maximize your chances of successful germination. High-quality seeds also optimize the quality of your plants, including the buds.
For a seed bank to be considered one of the top options, it needs to have a satisfaction guarantee. Even seed banks with a high quality of seeds will occasionally have lower-quality seeds. The best ones acknowledge that this can happen and take steps to remedy any issues customers have. Of course, a satisfaction guarantee also shows that the seed bank in question has a high level of trust in its products.
Even if cannabis is legal in your state, it may not be in the states your package passes through. And there are still some negative connotations and stigma associated with cannabis. Because of this, we prioritize seed banks that use discreet packaging. Many of the best seed banks not only use discreet packaging but also purposely package it to look like something else, like a DVD case or toy.
Why Trust Us
You should feel comfortable taking our advice when it comes to cannabis seed banks. We’ve helped cannabis growers find reputable seed banks online for years. Over this time, we have reviewed most of the largest and most popular stores, along with many of the smaller ones. We have taken the time to thoroughly compare and contrast each based on the above ranking criteria.
Simply put, our rankings are the result of years of knowledge, experience, and research, along with a careful point-by-point comparison.
There’s a reason that ILGM takes the top spot in not only our review but many others. In addition to fantastic customer service and a wide variety of seeds to choose from, they also provide tons of sales and discounts while educating customers through an extensive library of growing resources.
As far as their seeds, the quality is excellent and, importantly, backed by a germination guarantee. They have a variety of classic cannabis strains as well as some you may have never heard of before. As far as safety, ILGM has an extremely solid reputation and their customer service easily competes with the best out there. In fact, on TrustPilot they have more than 4,000 user reviews with an average rating of 4.8/5.
Considering how reputable ILGM is, coupled with an extensive collection of top-quality seeds, it was not at all difficult to select them for the top spot on our list. The only real downside—and it’s a minor one—with ILGM is that it will cost a pretty penny if you want tracked shipping, as it costs $25 (compared to their standard shipping, which is free).
- Monthly deals and promos
- Extremely reputable and highly rated
- Germination guarantee (money back)
- Discreet packaging
- Free standard shipping
- Features all the best-known strains
- Growing resources and 24/7 support
- Delivery with tracking will set you back $25
2.) Crop King Seeds — Best for International Customers
Crop King Seeds gets points for its easy-to-use site—some of its competitors still feature clunky sites, which can be unappealing to the modern cannabis grower, skewing younger every year. Crop King Seeds also wins points for being a beginner-friendly site, with germination guides to help you grow (literally!).
With a massive variety of strains, Crop King has received thousands of positive reviews for its seeds, and its reviews are regulated, helping keep out biased or paid reviewers and showing you who are regular customers. Their reviews frequently indicate high germination rates, from 80 to even 100 percent.
To help narrow your choices, use the site’s filters to find what’s best for you. Crop King is also reasonable in terms of shipping, with $10 and $30 for regular and express, respectively, plus free shipping on orders over $300.
- Germination rate of 80 percent or more
- Special review system
- Germination guides
- Helpful infographics
- Free shipping for larger ($300+) orders
- Global shipping
- No free shipping
- One- to two-week shipping time is among the slowest
- Targeted to beginners, which might turn off more experienced growers
3.) MSNL Seedbank — Best For Quickest Delivery
MSNL has been in the game for a long time and is definitely among the most reliable seed banks out there. It also offers one of the fastest processing and shipping times, so if you need seeds right away, MSNL should be at the top of your list.
This reputable seed bank also runs frequent promos, enabling you to save some money (especially over the long haul). Although they have a great range of male and female seeds to order from, MSNL does lose some points due to its lack of a germination guarantee.
One thing that does keep it toward the top of our list is its lightning fast and discreet shipping, which has helped make it one of the most popular seed banks online. Another nice feather in MSNL’s cap is the fact that their seeds have won High Times and Cannabis Cups.
- Fast and discreet shipping
- Lot of promos/freebies
- Solid strain variety
- Subpar customer support
- No germination guarantees
4.) Seedsman — Best for Selection
Seedsman—true to its name—offers an amazing variety of seeds, many of which are top quality. Whether you’re after feminized seeds, auto-flowering seeds, or rare seed strains, Seedsman will almost certainly have you covered. OG Kush, White Widow, Purple Haze, Girl Scout Cookies—they’ve got all your favorites.
Another nice aspect of Seedsman is they tend to give out a lot of free seeds when buying in bulk. So if that’s you, you’ll reap some additional seeds by going through Seedsman. They also offer worldwide shipping, which makes them a solid option if you’re outside of the U.S.
Although Seedsman is one of our top picks overall, thanks in particular to its extensive seed variety, it does lose some points due to its questionable customer service and somewhat clunky website.
- Worldwide shipping
- Massive seed variety
- Free seeds with bulk purchases
- Subpar customer support
Quebec Cannabis Seeds is a great seed bank overall, but particularly if you live in the U.S., as its proximity makes for quick deliveries compared to some other seed banks.
Although Quebec Cannabis Seeds lacks the variety of many of the other seed banks on this list, it helps make up for it in a variety of ways—namely, fast delivery, awesome discounts, and high-quality seeds. They’re an especially good choice if you’re on a budget, as their weekly discounts offer big savings—sometimes up to 50 percent, although often in the still-great 10-25 percent range.
A few other things about this French-Canadian seed bank: It carries a germination guarantee but also has a no-return policy, which seem to kind of cancel each other out, and it also allows for payment in USD—so no need to do any conversions, but be mindful of their 3.8 percent credit card fee.
- Germination guarantees
- Weekly discounts
- Fast deliveries to the U.S.
- No return policy
6.) Herbies — Best for Convenience
Herbies also makes our list in large part thanks to its site’s convenient layout. It’s really easy to navigate and figuring out what’s discounted and what’s highly rated is a breeze, thanks to their intuitive, color-coded system.
In addition, Herbies also shares many similarities with the other seed banks listed here in that it has a wide range of top-quality seeds. They also have reliably quick processing and shipping, which can be really important when you’re trying to get a grow operation underway quickly.
Thanks to how easy the Herbies site is to navigate, as well as its solid value in terms of variety, quality, and shipping, it easily makes our list of the best overall online seed banks. Unfortunately, like a fair number of seed banks online, its customer support is sorely lacking.
- Easy-to-navigate website
- Reliable and fast shipping
- Top-quality seeds
- Weak customer support
7.) Ministry of Cannabis — Best for Reliability
Ministry of Cannabis is super reliable, which has helped it gain a lot of happy customers, even though it lacks the number of promos offered by many other seed banks. This seed bank tends to attract serious customers because they have a unique feature: rotating seed stocks.
This attention to the freshness of their seed supply helps make Ministry of Cannabis one of the most reliable seed banks out there. After all, the last thing anyone wants is to get bunk seeds. Another feature that helps them win “best dependability” is their above-average customer support.
Overall, Ministry of Cannabis is a solid choice, even if we’d appreciate seeing more promos offered like many of its competitors. Their fresh supply of seeds is probably why they feel as if they can get away with not having a germination guarantee like many other seed banks.
- Solid variety
- Fresh seed supply
- Reliable customer support
- No germination guarantees
- Few promos
8.) Seed Supreme — Best for Digital Currencies
Seed Supreme is our “best for crypto” pick because not only do they accept cryptocurrency, like many of the other seed banks featured here, but they even have special discounts for Bitcoin. This makes it an appealing choice in particular for Bitcoin holders, as they can save quite a good bit of money.
In terms of the other usual suspects, Seed Supreme does well. They have a good strain variety and, although their customer support is subpar, they do offer loyalty rewards that pay off over time. You might be better off with a different option if you don’t care about paying in crypto (and specifically Bitcoin).
- Discounts (up to 30 percent!) for paying in Bitcoin
- Above-average strain variety
- Loyalty rewards program
- Lacking in customer service
9.) Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds — Best for Prompt Delivery
Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds insists on having top-notch quality. Although it may lack some of the seed variety of its competitors, you’re guaranteed to receive seeds of the highest quality, making it one of the more reliable suppliers for serious growers.
Another aspect that helps it win “best guaranteed delivery” is the fact that customers have claimed that their orders were guaranteed, even in the event that customs confiscated their packages. This helps make up for the fact that Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds has one of the slowest shipping speeds on this list. This stings a little less though if you’re on a tight budget, as shipping is free.
- Free shipping
- Highest quality seeds
- Guaranteed orders
- Slow shipping speeds
Every industry has its up and comers and, over time, some of them even manage to supplant the oldest, most well-established companies. Weed Seeds Express might just accomplish this tough feat.
Why? Because they are proving themselves to be one of the most reliable seed banks online, with fast, discreet shipping and a huge variety of high-quality seeds. They also ship worldwide and boast a lot of promos.
The only thing holding back Weed Seeds from claiming one of our top spots is the fact that it’s simply really new to the industry. As long as it continues to do what it’s doing, it will no doubt establish a great reputation and continue to grow (yes, pun intended).
- Frequent promos
- Stealthy worldwide shipping
- Top-quality seeds
- New on the block
Cannabis Seed Bank FAQ
Q: Is it illegal to buy cannabis seeds in the U.S.?
A: Yes and no. That just depends on where you are! Since each state has their own specific laws, and cannabis has not yet been fully decriminalized/legalized on a federal level (although it’s looking more likely than ever), it depends on your specific state. That said, seed banks usually use an antiquated law to help surmount legal hurdles and conduct their business. This works, in essence, by framing the seeds as either a souvenir or fish bait/bird food. You can see disclaimers about this on their websites.
Q: Which seed banks have the best genetics?
A: The award here goes to the seed banks that have built a great reputation for delivering high-quality seeds: Seedsman, Crop King Seeds, and Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds. These banks, it would seem, test their seeds to ensure that the strains are of the highest quality. Stick to these three if acquiring top-quality seeds is your main preference.
Q: Does it matter how I pay for my seeds?
A: Once again, it depends. Many seed banks actually offer discounts for crypto payments because of the discreet, decentralized nature of how cryptocurrency transactions function. While most accept credit cards, which does offer you some protection through your credit card company, many have a strong preference for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Two that offer discounts for Bitcoin payments are Seed Supreme and I Love Growing Marijuana. With these two, it can definitely add up to solid savings—assuming that Bitcoin doesn’t eventually skyrocket in price one day (clearly this is another factor in the acceptance of Bitcoin by many seed banks).
Q: What’s “stealth shipping” and why should I care?
A: The last thing anyone wants is to have issues with their order in terms of customs/government involvement. As such, it’s nice to order from a seed bank that guarantees discreet shipping. A common method is to include other, inexpensive items with the seeds, such as DVD cases. This helps the package seem less suspicious. Another way to keep a low profile is to resist the urge for expedited delivery or a delivery option that requires your signature.
Q: Which seed banks offer worldwide shipping?
A: Weed Seeds Express, Seedsman, and Crop King Seeds. These will need to be your first choices if you live outside of the U.S.
Tips for Using a Cannabis Seed Bank
Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your seed bank shopping experience:
- Browse a number of different sites so that you can take advantage of any special promos that might be going on.
- Check to make sure that the site has the payment option that you prefer to use (particularly if you are looking to pay via cryptocurrency).
- Make sure that they ship to your country/state.
- Check for a “germination guarantee” and, if they don’t have one, investigate their return policies and customer support. You want to make sure that you protect yourself the best you can.
We’ve put together this list carefully to ensure that you go about your cannabis seed shopping in a safe way and don’t get ripped off. So, any one of these should do the trick just fine. Ultimately, what it comes down to is your specific preferences—for example, shipping time, location, payment method, reliability, seed variety, etc. Factor these in so that you make the choice that’s best for you.
That said, you can’t really go wrong with one of the most well-established seed banks such as I Love Growing Marijuana or MSNL Seedbank.
A guide to buying cannabis seeds
The first couple months of the year is a great time to start planning your cannabis garden to get a head start on the outdoor growing season, which roughly runs from March to November, depending on where you live.
Navigating the cannabis seed market can be challenging when states have different degrees of legality. This guide will answer your questions on buying seeds so you can be on your way to growing your own cannabis.
Is it legal to buy marijuana seeds?
Marijuana seeds are considered a cannabis product just like flower, edibles, and concentrates. Their legality depends on which state you live in. People living in states with adult-use legalization can buy, produce, and sell seeds within their own state, but seeds can’t cross state lines. People living in states with medical marijuana legalization can only buy seeds if they have a medical card.
Seed banks exist outside of the US and can sell them for “souvenir purposes,” but it is illegal to bring seeds into the US and Customs will seize any cannabis seeds they find in packages or on a person.
Where can I buy cannabis seeds?
Many world-renowned seed banks are overseas in the Netherlands, the UK, Spain, and other countries where cannabis laws are less restricted. Seed banks provide seeds from a variety of different breeders.
In states with adult-use legalization or a medical marijuana program, you can buy seeds within your own state, either at a dispensary or through a specific seed company’s website.
Can you buy cannabis seeds online?
Before you purchase seeds online, you’ll need to figure out what strain you want to grow and what breeder you want to buy from.
Because US federal law still prohibits cannabis, it can be hard to find information on seed banks and breeders. Breeders who have a long history and positive reputation are usually a good place to start.
Check out our explainer and buying guide to cannabis seed banks for more info on buying seeds.
To get an idea of what well-established breeders look like, check out:
- Sensi Seeds
- DNA Genetics
- Green House Seeds
- Southern Humboldt Seed Collective
- Exotic Genetix
You can also do some research and find an online grow journal that details the whole growing process of a specific strain from a particular breeder. Through these, you’ll be able to look over another grower’s specific notes and see pictures of the final results.
If you grow some seeds and like the results, try growing another strain from that same breeder and see how it goes.
Do dispensaries sell cannabis seeds?
Some dispensaries in medical and adult-use states sell seeds, but not all. Be sure to check or call ahead to see if they sell seeds. Buying marijuana seeds at the dispensary is far more straightforward, however, your options will be more limited than shopping online.
Dispensary staff should be able to give you information on the seeds they’re selling, but keep in mind that a lot of dispensaries focus on selling flower and end-products. It’s a good idea to call ahead and talk to staff to see if they are knowledgeable about seeds and can give you specific information on growing.
How to look for quality genetics when buying marijuana seeds
Breeders talk about “unstable genetics,” meaning that a seed’s origin is unknown. Make sure that when you buy a packet of seeds that it or the breeder who produced them can list where the seeds came from and how they were crossed and/or backcrossed to get the seed that you hold in your hand. If you can’t get a seed’s history, it could be anything and the result of poor breeding practices.
An inexperienced breeder might cross a male and a female one time and sell the resulting seeds as a new hybrid strain, but professional breeders usually put their strains through several rounds of backcrossing to stabilize the genetics and ensure consistent plants that reflect those genetics.
Which strain should I grow?
Even one weed plant can produce a lot of buds come harvest time, so make sure you grow a strain you like. Note strains you enjoy when you pick something up at the dispensary or smoke with friends, and look for seeds of it when you want to start growing.
Some strains are easier to grow than others because they are more resistant to mold and pests, so if you’re new to growing, you may want to try an easier strain to start.
Some strains also take longer to grow than others. Depending on whether you’re growing indoors or outdoors, you may want to grow a quicker marijuana strain if you live in a climate that get cold and wet early in the season. For example, indicas are known for having a shorter flowering time than sativas.
All of this information should be available to you when buying quality seeds.
What’s the difference between regular, feminized, and autoflower seeds?
If you buy a packet of regular seeds, they’ll come with a mix of males and females. A lot of cultivators prefer to grow these because they haven’t been backcrossed—essentially inbred—as much as feminized or autoflower seeds. You’ll need to sex out the seeds once their reproductive organs show during the flowering phase and discard the males—because they don’t produce buds and will pollenate females, resulting in seeded flowers.
Seeds can come feminized, meaning you can just put them in soil and start growing for buds. These seeds are guaranteed to be bud-producing females and growing them cuts out the step of having to sex out plants and discard the males.
It also reduces the risk of having a stray male sneak into your crop—just one male can pollinate a huge crop, causing your females to focus their energies on producing seeds instead of buds.
Autoflower plants change from the vegetative to flowering state with age, not the changing of their light cycle. They have a short grow-to-harvest time and can be ready to harvest in as little as 2 ½ to 3 months from when you put the seeds in the ground. The downside is that, typically, they are less potent, but autoflower seeds are great for people who want to grow cannabis but don’t want to spend a lot of time doing it.
How much do marijuana seeds cost?
Cannabis seeds usually come in a pack of 10 or 12 seeds and start at around $40 a pack and go up from there. Some high-end genetics can run between $200 to $500 a pack.
Feminized and autoflower seeds will cost more because more breeding work was put in to creating them and they take less time for the grower to get buds.
How many seeds should I buy? Are they all going to survive?
When you grow any amount of seeds, a percentage of them won’t germinate, even if you get them from a reputable breeder. Always count on a few not germinating or dying off, or roughly 1/4 of the total you put in the ground.
When growing regular seeds, some won’t germinate and some will have to be discarded because they’ll turn out to be males. With feminized seeds, some won’t germinate, but a higher percentage of them will turn into flowering plants because there won’t be any males.
If you want six total cannabis plants to harvest for buds and are growing from regular seeds, start with about 4 times as many, or 24 seeds. Some won’t germinate and some will turn out to be males, and then you’ll want to discard down to the six best phenotypes. If growing feminized seeds, you can probably start with about twice as many seeds in this case (about 12); a couple won’t germinate, and then discard down to the six best phenotypes.
Make sure to always stay within your state’s legal limit of growing plants.
How do I buy strain-specific cannabis seeds?
Strains like Blue Dream, Gelato, and Original Glue have gained in popularity in recent years. Check out these resources on how to buy these types of cannabis seeds:
Cannabis seeds 101: How to grow marijuana from seed
Cannabis is grown from one of two sources: a seed or a clone. Seeds carry genetic information from two parent plants and can express many different combinations of traits: some from the mother, some from the father, and some traits from both.
In commercial cannabis production, generally, growers will plant many seeds of one strain and choose the best plant. They will then take clones from that individual plant, which allows for consistent genetics for mass production.
If cannabis is legal in your state, you can buy seeds or clones from a local dispensary, or online through various seed banks.
Cannabis seeds vs. clones
For the typical homegrower, it may be easier to obtain cannabis seeds rather than clones. Growing from seed can produce a stronger plant with more solid genetics.
Plants grown from seed can be more hearty as young plants when compared to clones, mainly because seeds have a strong taproot. You can plant seeds directly into an outdoor garden in early spring, even in cool, wet climates.
If growing outside, some growers prefer to germinate seeds inside because they are delicate in the beginning stages of growth. Indoors, you can give weed seedlings supplemental light to help them along, and then transplant them outside when big enough.
Most seeds that you will buy are regular seeds as described above, but here are a couple more types.
How weed seeds work
Cannabis can be either male or female—also called “dioecious”—but only females produce the buds we all know and love. For reproduction, males have pollen sacs and pollinate females, causing female flowers to produce seeds.
Once cannabis seeds are mature, the female plant begins to die, and seeds are either dropped to the ground where they grow into new cannabis plants next spring, or the seeds are harvested for processing into seed oil or food products, or stored so they can be sown in the ground later and become the next generation of plants.
To get the buds found in medical and recreational stores, female cannabis plants are grown in an environment without males—or the males are removed from the area before they release pollen—so the females don’t create seeds. Females can then focus their energies on producing buds and not seeds—this high-potency marijuana is traditionally known as “sinsemilla,” meaning “seedless.”
Some varieties of cannabis can produce male parts alongside female flowers on the same plant, especially if exposed to environmental stressors. These plants are known as hermaphrodites, and sometimes they can self-pollinate to create seeds.
Pros and cons of using cannabis seeds
Check out Johanna’s full video series on how to grow weed on Leafly’s YouTube .
If buying from a reputable breeder or seed bank, growing from seed is the best way to ensure your plants will have solid genetics and start clean, meaning they won’t come with diseases or pests.
Also, buying from a reputable breeder or seed bank will give you a sense of what a particular strain will look and smell like, how it will grow, and how much it will yield at harvest.
The main drawback to growing from seed is there is no guarantee as to what you’ll end up with—if you buy a regular pack of cannabis seeds, it will be a mix of males and females. You’ll need to sex them out (more below) to identify the males and get rid of them, because you don’t want your females producing seeds.
Sexing marijuana plants can be a time-consuming process, and if you don’t catch males, there is a risk that even one males can pollinate your entire crop, causing all of your female weed plants to produce seeds.
One way to avoid sexing plants is to buy feminized seeds (more below), which ensures every seed you plant will be a bud-producing female.
You can also minimize headaches and avoid the hassle of seed germination and sexing plants by starting with clones.
How weed clones work
Aside from producing cannabis through seeds, or sexual reproduction, you can also reproduce the plant through cloning, or asexual reproduction. A clone is a cutting that is genetically identical to the plant it was taken from—that plant is known as the “mother.”
Pros and cons of using cannabis clones
Through cloning, you can create a new harvest with exact replicas of your favorite plant. Because genetics are identical, a clone will give you a plant with the same characteristics as the mother, such as flavor, cannabinoid profile, yield, grow time, etc. So if you come across a specific strain or phenotype you really like, you might want to clone it to reproduce more buds that have the same effects and characteristics.
With cloning, you don’t have to get new seeds every time you want to grow another plant—you just take a cutting of the old plant—and you don’t have to germinate seeds or sex them out and get rid of the males.
One drawback of clones is they need to be taken during the vegetative stage of a plant—flower is too late—so if you have a small setup with only one light, it can be hard to keep clones alive while flowering other plants, because the two need different amounts of light.
Another drawback to clones is they can take on negative traits from the mother plant as well. If the mother has a disease, attracts pests, or grows weak branches, its clones will probably have the same issues.
Additionally, every long-time grower will tell you that clones degrade over time.
What are feminized cannabis seeds?
Feminized cannabis seeds will produce only female plants for getting buds, so there is no need to remove males or worry about female plants getting pollinated. Feminized seeds are produced by causing the monoecious condition in a female cannabis plant—the resulting seeds are nearly identical to the self-pollinated female parent, as only one set of genes is present.
This is sometimes referred to as “cloning by seed” and will not produce any male plants. This is achieved through several methods:
- By spraying the plant with a solution of colloidal silver, a liquid containing tiny particles of silver
- Through a method known as rodelization, in which a female plant pushed past maturity can pollinate another female
- Spraying seeds with gibberellic acid, a hormone that triggers germination (this is much less common)
Most experienced or commercial growers will not use feminized seeds because they only contain one set of genes, and these should never be used for breeding purposes. However, a lot of beginning growers start with feminized seeds because they eliminate the worry of having to deal with male plants.
Top feminized cannabis strain families
A lot of classic weed strains that have been around for a while come in feminized form. Some popular fem seeds are:
- OG Kush
- GSC (Cookies)
What are autoflowering cannabis seeds?
Autoflowering seeds are also popular with beginning growers. They are easy to grow because you don’t have to worry about light cycles and how much light a plant receives.
Most cannabis plants begin flowering when the amount of light they receive on a daily basis reduces. Outdoors, this happens when the sun starts setting earlier in the day as the season turns from summer to autumn. Indoor growers can control when a plant flowers by reducing the daily amount of light plants receive from 18 hours to 12 hours.
However, a type of cannabis called Cannabis ruderalis, which developed in extreme northern conditions without much sunlight, will begin flowering once the plant reaches a certain age—they automatically start flowering regardless of the amount of light they receive, hence the name “autoflower.”
Pros and cons of growing autoflower
Because they grow and flower quicker, growers can fit in multiple autoflower cannabis harvests into the span of one regular harvest.
Autoflowers can be started in early spring and will flower during the longest days of summer, taking advantage of high quality light to get bigger yields. Or, if you get a late start in the growing season, you can start autoflowers in May or June and harvest in the fall.
Also, autoflower plants are small—perfect for closet grows or any small grow, or growing outdoors where you don’t want your neighbors to see what you’re up to.
A couple big drawbacks, though: Autoflower strains are known for being less potent. Also, because they are small in stature, they usually don’t produce big yields.
However, potency in autoflowering varieties has increased significantly since their initial introduction, with some breeders crossbreeding the low-THC ruderalis with other more potent varieties.
Tips for growing autoflower marijuana seeds
Autoflowering strains require some preparation, as they will grow quickly and start to flower whether or not you’re ready for them.
Many marijuana growers start autoflowers early in the season, and at a different time than a regular crop, so keep the season and climate in mind when growing and harvesting—your plants still need warmth to grow, and rain can give them bud rot. Consider growing in a greenhouse to protect them.
Because training happens during vegetative growth, for autoflowering plants, this period could be as short as a few weeks, which means time is limited. Try topping your autoflowers after they have three nodes, and stop once they begin to flower. You will want to prune them lightly.
Go easy on nutrients
Autoflowers don’t need lots of nutrients because they’re small and don’t spend much time in the vegetative cycle. They won’t need as much veg nutrients—such as nitrogen—but will need more bloom nutrients.
What are high-CBD cannabis seeds?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the chemical components—known collectively as cannabinoids—found in the cannabis plant. Over the years, humans have selected plants for high-THC content, making cannabis with high levels of CBD rare. The genetic pathways through which THC is synthesized by the plant are different than those for CBD production.
Cannabis used for hemp production has been selected for other traits, including a low THC content, so as to comply with the 2018 Farm Bill. Consequently, many varieties of hemp produce significant quantities of CBD.
As interest in CBD as a medicine has grown, many breeders have crossed high-CBD hemp with cannabis. These strains have little or no THC, 1:1 ratios of THC and CBD, or some have a high-THC content along with significant amounts of CBD (3% or more).
Seeds for these varieties are now widely available online and through dispensaries. It should be noted, however, that any plant grown from these seeds is not guaranteed to produce high levels of CBD, as it takes many years to create a seed line that produces consistent results. A grower looking to produce cannabis with a certain THC to CBD ratio will need to grow from a tested and proven clone or seed.
How to germinate marijuana seeds
Germination is the process in which a seed sprouts and begins to grow into a new plant. Also referred to as “popping,” germination is the very first step in starting your weed grow.
Marijuana seeds can be acquired from an array of sources and can vary in quality. For more info on how to buy marijuana seeds, check out our Guide to buying cannabis seeds.
Cannabis seeds require three things to germinate: water, heat, and air. There are many methods to germinate seeds, but for the most common and simplest method, you will need:
- Two clean plates
- Four paper towels
- Distilled water
Take four sheets of paper towels and soak them with distilled water. The towels should be soaked but shouldn’t have excess water running off.
Take two of the paper towels and place them on a plate. Then, place the marijuana seeds at least an inch apart from each other and cover them with the remaining two water-soaked paper towels.
To create a dark, protected space, take another plate and flip it over to cover the seeds, like a dome.
Make sure the area the seeds are in is warm, somewhere between 70-85°F.
After completing these steps, it’s time to wait. Check the paper towels once a day to make sure they’re still saturated, and if they are losing moisture, apply more water to keep the seeds happy.
Some seeds germinate very rapidly while others can take a while, but generally, seeds should germinate in 3-10 days. If it’s been two weeks and a seed hasn’t sprouted, it’s probably a dud and won’t sprout.
A seed has germinated once the seed splits and a single sprout appears. The sprout is the taproot, which will become the main stem of the plant, and seeing it is a sign of successful germination.
It’s important to keep the delicate seed sterile, so don’t touch the seed or taproot as it begins to split.
Transplanting germinated cannabis seeds
Once you see the taproot, it’s time to transfer your germinated seed into its growing medium, such as soil.
- Fill a 4-inch or one-gallon pot with loose, airy potting soil
- Water the soil before you put the seed in; it should be wet but not drenched
- Poke a hole in the soil with a pen or pencil—the rule of thumb is: make the hole twice as deep as the seed is wide
- Using a pair of tweezers, gently place the seed in the hole with the taproot facing down
- Lightly cover it with soil
Keep a close eye on the temperature and moisture level of the soil to keep the seed happy. It’s very delicate at this stage. Use a spray bottle to water it—over-watering can suffocate and kill the delicate sprout.
Within a week or so you should see a seedling begin to grow from the soil.
Germinating cannabis seeds doesn’t always go as planned. Some seeds will be duds. Others will be slow and take longer to sprout. But some will pop quickly and grow rapidly.
This is the beauty of seeds—often, you can tell which plants or genetics will thrive right from the get-go. This will help you determine which plants you want to take cuttings from for clones or for breeding if you want to create a seed bank of your own.
How to sex a pot plant
Check out Johanna’s full video series on how to grow weed on Leafly’s YouTube .
As we’ve mentioned, cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning male and female reproductive organs appear on different plants.
Because only female cannabis plants produce buds and you want them to focus all their energy on producing buds and not seeds, it’s important to identify and get rid of male weed plants so they don’t pollinate females. If females are pollinated, it will give you buds filled with seeds, making your weed harsh and unpleasant.
Cultivating males is important for breeders trying to cross new strains and genetics, but most people growing for buds will want to remove the males.
As mentioned above, you can skip the processing of sexing weed plants by growing with feminized seeds or clones.
If growing male and female cannabis seeds, they’ll start to show their sex organs, or “pre-flowers,” after 8-10 weeks from germination.
Cannabis plant sex organs appear on nodes, the points where branches grow off from the main stalk.
Males will have round balls—these will develop into pollen sacs, which will release pollen into the air when mature.
Females will have a round structure with long hairs—these hairs will develop into pistils, which will catch pollen in the air.
Pre-flowers can initially be extremely small and hard to identify with the naked eye, but you can use a magnifying glass to get a better look.
Can I grow a seed I found in a bag of weed?
Finding a cannabis seed in your stash is not ideal, but we’ve all been there before. Although much less common than it once was, it still happens. Sometimes you’ll notice one when grinding down some flower, or you’ll see one pop, spark, and crackle from the heat of a lit bowl.
These are referred to as “bagseeds” and whether or not you can grow one will depend on where it came from.
Is a bagseed good or bad?
Seeds found in finished cannabis buds can develop for a number of reasons. For example, a male plant may have accidentally pollinated a flowering female during the growing process. But more commonly, they’re a sign of stress and can be attributed to high temperatures during the final stages of flowering or an exaggerated spike in climate or environment.
Seeds can also form in plants with genetic disorders or instability, like hermaphrodites—plants that develop both male and female reproductive parts. Generally, stress and genetic disorders are viewed as bad, so temper expectations with any plant you start from a bagseed.
But sometimes you get lucky and find a mature seed in some really nice herb. Strains like the legendary Chemdog wouldn’t be possible without adventurous smokers planting and proliferating the seeds they found in a bag of kind bud.
So don’t discount bud because it has a seed or two in it. While not ideal, it could be the origins of the next great weed strain.
Ask yourself a few questions to decide if it’s worth the time and energy to grow the seed.
Was the seed found in good weed?
If you don’t like the flavor, effects, or even the look of the bud, then it’s probably not worth growing.
Are you ready to grow?
Growing marijuana takes a certain level of commitment: time, energy, and financial resources, so be sure you can commit to the whole process.
Is the seed viable?
For a seed to be viable, it must be mature enough to have a completely formed genetic blueprint, and it must be strong enough to germinate and pop through its hard casing and sprout its crucial taproot.
There are a few indicators that will give you a sense of whether the seed is worth germinating.
- Tiger stripes—dark stripes on the seed which resemble veins on a leaf are generally good
- Solid shell—a seed should be able to withstand a little pressure when pinched between your fingers; if it crumbles or cracks, it’s no good
Immature seeds tend to be light in color and have a soft outer shell.
In some cases, even if a seed isn’t completely mature, there’s still a chance it could be viable. But often these are extremely weak, take long to develop, and express other unfavorable characteristics. Growers usually discard weak plants to free up space.
You might also find a mature seed that has been physically damaged through poor handling, like rough trimming. In those cases, it probably isn’t worth the effort to try and germinate the seed.
But if the seed you found looks decent, you might as well germinate it and see what sprouts.
Time to germinate
Viable or not, there’s only one sure way to find out if a bagseed will grow. If you’re simply curious to learn and not as concerned with the overall outcome, you can plant a couple of bagseeds outside and see what happens.
If you’re ready for a more serious approach, make sure you have the space for a proper garden and pop the seeds to see what fruit they bear.
Even if your seed sprouts fast and grows vigorously, it still has roughly a 50/50 chance of being female and producing buds, instead of turning out to be a male.
Remember, once a seed germinates, the real work begins. Sexing, selecting, vegetative growth, flowering, and the eventual harvest all lie ahead.
How to buy cannabis seeds
Cannabis seeds can be found on numerous online seed banks, but note that it is illegal to bring seeds into the US and Customs will seize any cannabis seeds that they find in packages or on a person. In legal and medical states, you may purchase seeds at a dispensary.