10 Best Seed Banks that Ship to USA: Where to Buy Cannabis Seeds Online
Let’s face it, buying cannabis seeds online can be a total gamble. Once you buy the seeds, you never really know what you’re going to get until you’ve grown the plants.
However, quality marijuana seed banks maximize your chances of a fast and plentiful grow. Their weed seeds have been tested again and again… proven to grow and thrive.
Still, buying cannabis seeds can be daunting when you’re not familiar with the process, so we’ve broken it down in this article for you.
Here we offer marijuana growing tips and tricks, as well as our top 10 stores (“seed banks”) for buying cannabis seeds online in 2022.
Best Seed Banks to Buy Marijuana Seeds Online
If you just want to know good places to buy marijuana seeds online, here’s a quick look at our top 10 cannabis seed banks:
- Best seed bank overall – I Love Growing Marijuana
- High-quality germination – Crop King Seeds
- Free seeds with your order – Herbies Seeds
- Browse multiple seed banks – Seedsman
- 24-hour shipping – Quebec Seed Bank
- Very discreet shipping – MJ Seeds
- Seeds direct from the source – Mary Janes Garden
- Weekly Seed Deals – Seed City
- Easiest payment options – Beaver Seeds
- 500+ strains – SunWest Genetics
Now that we’ve gone over what to look for in a quality seed bank, let’s take a closer look at our top 10 picks.
1. I Love Growing Marijuana – Best Marijuana Seeds Overall
- Exceptional customer support
- VIP program
- Nutrients and fertilizer
- Detailed video guides & how-to-grow blogs
- Tracking costs extra
As a world-renowned seed bank that has been in business since 2012, ILGM has built a reputation for being a reliable and trustworthy source of marijuana seeds.
This marijuana seed bank offers a range of products from high THC to auto-flowering and feminized seeds. So no matter what your needs are, you’re likely to find something that suits your taste.
The Blue Dream Autoflowering cannabis seeds are a top seller with a THC content of up to 21%. This makes the strain an excellent choice for those looking for a potent high-yield strain.
In other words, you’ll get very high.
ILGM also offers nutrients and plant protectors to help you grow your plants successfully. The company even has a VIP program that gives you access to exclusive deals and discounts.
We love that they include free seeds with every order, and their germination guarantee ensures you’re getting quality products.
As our overall top pick, ILGM delivers precisely what you need in a seed bank.
2. Crop King Seeds – Highest Quality Germination Seed Bank
- 80%+ germination rate
- Wide strain variety
- Live chat & customer support
- Established in 2005
Crop King Seeds ‘ award-winning strains will not disappoint if you want to grow the dankest bud. They’ve been around since 2005, so you can be sure they know what they’re doing.
This seed bank has an impressive germination rate of 80%+, which is one of the highest in the industry.
What’s even more impressive is that they offer a wide variety of strains that you can’t find anywhere else. This includes fast flowering seeds that you can harvest weeks before other strains.
Crop King Seeds also features a live chat service in case you have any questions about their products or how to grow your plants.
Get ready to blaze up with some of the highest quality strains. Crop King Seeds is the real deal.
3. Herbies Seeds – Free Cannabis Seeds with Every Order
- Free seeds with every order
- Frequent sales & promotions
- Honest reviews
- 3,000+ strains to choose from
- Slow response time
Herbies Seeds is a 10-year veteran in the cannabis game. They offer over 3,000 different strains that are sure to satisfy even the pickiest of smokers.
This seed bank ships worldwide, and they offer free seeds or other gifts with every order you make. You can also find frequent sales and discounts on their website.
This company’s photoperiod cannabis seeds are some of the best in the business. They also have an extensive collection of feminized and autoflower seeds too.
In fact, their Grandmommy Purple feminized seeds pack a colossal 33% THC content. It’s a heavy-hitting high made for those couch-locked kinda days.
One thing we really appreciate about Herbies Seeds is its commitment to honesty and transparency. They offer genuine reviews of all their products, so you know exactly what you’re getting.
When you’re ready to stock up on your favorite strains or try something new, you can check out Herbies Seeds and start growing your own stash.
4. Seedsman – Buy Pot Seeds from Many Seed Banks
- Rewards program
- Medicinal marijuana strains
- Trustworthy seedbank
- Established in 2002
- No germination guarantee
Seedsman contributed heavily to the legalization of cannabis in Canada. Since 2002, they have been a reliable and trustworthy source of cannabis seeds.
This cannabis seed bank offers one of the best varieties of seeds that we’ve seen. From amateur breeders to connoisseurs, there’s something for everyone.
Their Fuel D.OG Feminized seeds are a customer favorite, and it’s easy to see why. This 70% Sativa plant produces an intense, long-lasting stone that will have you flying high for hours on end.
Seedsman also has a rewards program called the Greenclub, where you can earn points for purchases, reviews, shares, and more. Greenclub points unlock discounts and freebies, so it’s definitely worth signing up.
If you’re ready for heavy highs, intense flavors, and unforgettable experiences, Seedsman is the marijuana seed bank for you. Trust us.
5. Quebec Cannabis Seeds Bank – Fastest Weed Seed Shipping
- 80% germination guarantee
- Limited edition seeds
- Stealth shipping
- Ships within 24 hours of purchase
- Longer shipping to the US
Quebec Cannabis Seeds Bank is the ultimate in Canadian cannabis cultivation. Based in Vancouver, this is one of the best seed banks dedicated to providing the best quality strains and seeds to its customers.
What makes Quebec Cannabis Seeds Bank unique is its commitment to shipping orders within just 24 hours. This is the fastest turnaround time we’ve seen.
They also offer a germination guarantee of 80%. With an impressive collection of rare and unique strains, you’re likely to find something special for your next grow.
Their limited-edition Pink Berry Feminized seeds are a 19% THC Indica-dominant hybrid. This sweet and sour strain is perfect for unwinding after a long day.
If you need your cannabis seeds ASAP, Quebec Cannabis Seeds Bank is the place to go.
6. MJ Seeds – Most Discreet Seedbank Shipping
- Bulk order deals
- Guaranteed germination
- Growing resources
- Discreet stealth shipping
- $30 for tracking
If you’re a marijuana enthusiast, MJ Seeds is the cannabis seed bank for you. This supplier of cannabis seeds has been in the business since 2009, and they know their stuff.
MJ Seeds offers various strains, including auto flowering seeds, feminized, and fast strains. They also have a great selection of bulk deals to help you save some cash.
Their White Widow Feminized strain is a cross between two pure landrace strains, which results in an Indica leaning hybrid. It will give you the best of both worlds… boosting your energy while making you feel very relaxed.
We love that MJ Seeds offers a germination guarantee. So if your seeds don’t germinate, they’ll send you replacements free of charge. They also have a ton of helpful resources on their website to help you grow the perfect crop.
When stealth shipping and discretion matter above all else, we highly recommend you go to MJ Seeds.
7. Mary Jane’s Garden – Pot Seeds For Sale Directly From the Source
- Growing guides
- Grow their own cannabis seeds
- Worldwide shipping
- Accessories and more
- Few promotions & deals
Mary Jane’s Garden is the go-to spot for your “straight from the source” marijuana seeds. This cannabis seed bank is based in Canada, and they supply seeds to customers all over the world.
They offer indoor and outdoor seeds, medicinal strains, auto flowering cannabis seeds, and female seeds. Their bestseller, Blueberry Diesel, has a sweet blueberry flavor mixed with hints of citrus and pepper. It’s an uplifting high that will get your brain buzzing.
It’s a unique high for sure.
What we love most about Mary Jane’s Garden is that they offer a vast range of growing guides to help you get the most out of your seeds. They have everything from beginner guides to tutorials for more advanced growers.
Whether you smoke or vape, they also have the accessories you need to enjoy your cannabis.
Mary Jane’s Garden is a true one-stop shop, and we love them for it.
8. Seed City – Best Weekly Seed Deals
- Frequent sales & seed deals
- 5,000+ strains
- Giveaways & promotions
- Win free seeds
- Bad exchange rate
Seed City is a cannabis lover’s dream. This online seed bank has over 5000 strains of marijuana seeds from the top breeders in the world.
Since 2010, Seed City has been providing high-quality seeds at some of the best prices we’ve seen.
They also have the sickest seed selector online. You can filter by flowering time, height, THC content, and more.
Their Super Scoop strain is an indica-dominant hybrid with a soaring THC content of 26%. Bred to please, this strain has a delicious chocolatey citrus flavor. It will leave you feeling euphoric and relaxed.
We love that Seed City has a giveaways section on its website. You can enter to win free seeds simply by signing up. It’s the perfect way to try out new strains without spending a penny.
Seed City is a top choice for anyone serious about their grow.
9. Beaver Seeds – Best Payment Options for Buying Marijuana Seeds
- Many payment types
- Affordable prices
- Stealth packaging
- Bitcoin accepted
- Somewhat small selection
Founded in 2009, this Canadian seed bank is all about providing its customers with the best possible experience when buying quality cannabis seeds online.
Offering everything from high CBD seeds to regular seeds and everything in between, Beaver Seeds curates a collection of the world’s finest cannabis strains.
The highly popular Gorilla Glue Feminized is a hybrid marijuana strain that packs quite the punch. With an average THC level from 24% to 28%, this potent pot isn’t something you play with… it’ll have you glued to your seat!
You know, in a good way.
We love that Beaver Seeds offers a variety of payment types, making it easy to take advantage of their low prices. You can pay with Bitcoin, credit card, or even cash.
They also offer a wide range of stealth packaging options, so your cannabis seeds definitely make it to their final destination.
10. SunWest Genetics – 500+ Marijuana Seed Strains To Choose From
- Decent strain variety
- Guaranteed germination
- Excellent genetics
Sunwest Genetics is on a mission to supply the world with the best possible cannabis genes. Quality control is their utmost priority, so you can be sure that each and every seed is up to par.
This seed bank is home to over 500 strains, making it one of the most diverse we’ve come across. Even more impressive is that their selection of feminized and auto-flowering seeds boasts some of the industry’s best genes.
Our favorite strain is the Girl Scout Cookies Feminized seeds. This Indica-dominant hybrid is known for its delicious cookie flavor. Perfect for relieving stress and anxiety, these seeds are sure to please.
While Sunwest Genetics doesn’t offer any discounts, they do offer guaranteed germination. If your seeds don’t germinate, they’ll send you replacements–now that’s customer service!
6 Things to Know Before You Order Weed Seed Online
1. Look for high germination rates & guarantees
High germination rates mean most of the seeds will grow into healthy plants. Many reputable seed banks also offer germination guarantees to refund your purchase if a certain percentage of your pot seeds don’t germinate.
This is an essential factor because a high germination rate means you’re more likely to get a good yield from your grow. The best seed banks offer guarantees because they’re confident that you’ll see strong cannabis plants from their seeds.
It’s always nice to have a guarantee!
2. Check for accurate strain information
Do they know their Gelato from their White Widow?
It’s vital to find cannabis seed banks that provide accurate strain information. The best seed banks will include information on the THC and CBD content and the indica/sativa ratio.
This information is crucial in helping you choose the right strain for your needs.
3. Positive customer reviews are always a good thing
When you’re looking for a quality seed bank, positive customer reviews should be one of your primary indicators. Look for banks that have been vetted by other growers and have a good reputation.
Third-party forums like Reddit, ResellerRatings, and TrustPilot are great – don’t trust the company’s own testimonials… they’re obviously biased.
Reputable seed banks will also have a customer service team that is responsive and helpful. Reviews should indicate that the team is knowledgeable and willing to go above and beyond to help their customers.
4. Check for seed banks that ship discreetly (“stealth shipping”)
Shipping is a huge factor when you buy marijuana seeds online. The most reputable seed banks will offer fast and discreet shipping to ensure your seeds arrive safely and on time.
Stealth is key when it comes to shipping cannabis seeds, so look for banks that use discreet packaging or “stealth shipping”.
You don’t want your seeds confiscated by customs!
Discreet shipping is when your marijuana seeds are hidden inside everyday objects such as DVD cases, birthday cards, and cheap children’s toys.
Some companies may also offer “guaranteed delivery” where they will refund you or send our free seeds if your previous order is confiscated in the mail.
5. Does this company offer advice and help?
The best cannabis seed banks like I Love Growing Marijuana will offer helpful guides and resources to help you grow your plants successfully.
Look for banks that provide step-by-step guides, how-to videos, and troubleshooting tips. It’s good to feel that they care about your success in growing cannabis plants.
6. How can you pay? Do they accept bitcoin and major credit cards?
Many seed banks offer the most accessible payment options when paying for your seeds. Look for places that accept major credit cards, PayPal, and cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.
Many growers like to pay in Bitcoin or Cash because it’s hard to trace it back to you.
You should also consider places that offer discounts for bulk seed orders. This can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Autoflowering, Regular, or Feminized? How to Choose Which Pot Seeds to Grow
1. Decide on your desired effects
Before buying marijuana seeds, you need to decide what effects you want from your own plant.
Do you want a strain that will help you relax and de-stress? Or do you want a strain that will give you an energetic creative boost?
Are you into sweet, earthy flavors? Or do you prefer strains that taste like citrus or pine? It’s essential to buy a strain that you will enjoy.
There are thousands of different cannabis strains on the market, and each one provides its own unique effects. Do some research and figure out which strain is right for you.
2. Consider your level of weed-growing experience
If you’re a first-time grower, it’s crucial to buy easy-to-grow cannabis seeds. Autoflowering seeds are a great option for beginners, as they don’t require a lot of experience or knowledge to grow.
On the other hand, if you’re an experienced grower, you may want to buy feminized seeds or regular seeds that are more challenging to grow. These strains often have higher THC levels and can be more challenging to cultivate.
Most online seed banks will stock your strain of choice in multiple seed types.
3. Think about your grow space
Before buying cannabis seeds, you need to think about your grow space. Indoor growers will have different needs than outdoor growers. So make sure you purchase well-suited seeds for your particular grow space.
For example, if you’re growing indoors, you’ll want to buy seeds that don’t get too big. If you’re growing outdoors, buy seeds resistant to pests and diseases.
Don’t forget to take your climate into account too!
4. Check the THC and CBD levels
Not all cannabis strains are created equal. For example, some strains have high THC levels, while others have high CBD levels.
If you’re looking for a strain with potent psychoactive effects, buy seeds with high THC levels. If you’re looking for a strain with medicinal properties, buy seeds with high CBD levels.
5. Consider a strain’s unique growing needs
Some cannabis strains have unique growing needs. This could mean that the plant needs a lot of light or that the plant is more difficult to grow.
Do your research and make sure you buy a strain that you’re able to grow easily.
Buying Weed Seeds Online FAQs
How Can I Start Growing Marijuana Plants?
You can start growing marijuana plants by buying a strain that is well-suited for your grow space and growing skill level. Always buy from a reputable seed bank like I Love Growing Marijuana . ILGM offers a wide variety of strains and resources to help you get started.
What Are the Highest Yielding Strains?
The highest yielding strains are typically Indica strains. These plants grow large and produce a lot of buds.
Popular Indica strains include:
- Northern Lights
- Grandaddy Purple
- Hindu Kush
- Afghan Kush
- Blue Gelato
- Blue Cheese
Check your seed bank and look for strains that are heavily Indica-dominant.
How Many Seeds Can I Grow at a Time to Ensure High Germination Rates?
It’s best to stick to one seed per pot to ensure high germination rates. However, if you decide to plant multiple seeds in one pot, make sure to remove the weaker plants once they germinate.
This will help ensure that the more robust plants survive.
How Do Autoflowering Seeds Compare to Feminized Seeds?
Autoflowering seeds are an excellent option for beginners, as they don’t require a lot of experience or knowledge to grow. However, feminized seeds are better suited for experienced growers.
Choose seeds based on your experience level.
What’s the Difference Between Regular and Medical Cannabis Seeds?
Medical marijuana seeds are designed to produce plants with high CBD levels. This makes them ideal for medicinal use.
Regular marijuana seeds are designed to produce plants with high THC levels. This makes them suitable for recreational use.
Is It Safe To Order Weed Seeds Online?
It is generally safe to order weed seeds online if you’re buying from a trusted seller that uses discreet “stealth shipping” procedures to hide your seeds in the mail. Paying with cash or Bitcoin also makes it hard to trace the weed order back to you, so look for sellers with these payment options.
You don’t want to be nervous after ordering your seeds!
Is It Legal to Buy Marijuana Seeds Online in the US?
The legality of purchasing marijuana seeds will depend upon the state in which you live. In some states, it is legal to buy seeds for personal use. In other states, it is only legal to buy seeds for medical or industrial purposes.
Check the local laws in your state.
The Takeaway – Where Should I Buy Cannabis Seeds Online?
When it comes to buying cannabis seeds, there are many things to consider. First, make sure you buy from reputable seed banks and choose the right strain for your needs. Our top picks are all reliable and trustworthy sources for quality marijuana seeds.
For example, I Love Growing Marijuana has been a trusted source of quality marijuana seeds for over 20 years. They offer a wide variety of strains and helpful growing guides to help you get started.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for high-quality seeds that are guaranteed to germinate, then Crop King Seeds is the MVP.
Whether you’re a newb grower or an OG, there’s a seed bank out there that’s got everything you need to get growing. Do your research, check our top picks, and find the ultimate source for your own marijuana plant.
Preserving Cannabis Genetics: How to Collect and Store Seeds and Pollen
Sometimes a grower has to move on from a certain strain. Maybe you’ve been growing the same strain for a long time and it no longer makes as much money as it used to, or maybe you just want to mix it up and start growing something else and don’t have the space for it.
It can be bittersweet saying goodbye to old genetics, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. You can take clones or keep a mother plant, but those aren’t ideal because they require a lot of care and maintenance, especially if they aren’t producing flower.
Fortunately, preserving genetics for long-term storage is easy and will save time, money, and space in the long run. Through seed and pollen collection, you can hang onto those genetics that you can’t fully get rid of and safely store them for future use.
The Benefits of Long-Term Storage
Cannabis genetics are often sourced from external companies and organizations such as nurseries and seed banks. For the individual grower, saving seeds and pollen removes this reliance on external companies. This is especially true with pollen, as very few (if any) companies offer pollen to the public.
Saving space is a big reason to consider long-term storage of seeds and pollen. Mother plants lay dormant in a vegetative state and take up lots of space. Maintaining this extra space is time-consuming and takes extra resources like water, soil, nutrients, light, and other costly elements, all for something that doesn’t produce flower. Even keeping clones of an old strain around will take up space and resources.
A grower or breeder can also freeze the progress of a breeding project for months or years without losing any of the long, hard work. Endeavors such as phenotype hunting and maintaining desired mothers for breeding and cloning can all be saved for later through genetic preservation. This process is like backing up work on a hard drive.
How to Collect Seeds
Cannabis is for the most part dioecious, meaning that the male and female reproductive organs exist on two separate plants (although hermaphroditic plants do occur). It is also a wind-pollinated plant, so pollen must be transferred from a male stamen to a female pistil via the air in order for pollination to occur and seeds to form.
A female cannabis plant that has received pollen from a male will produce many seeds over the course of its maturation cycle. Upon senescence, when the female plant is fully mature and ready for harvest, its seeds will be ready for stratification and collection.
To collect seeds, it’s important to wait until they are fully mature and ready for harvest. Cannabis with seeds takes longer to mature than cannabis that only produces flower.
To tell if a seed is mature, take a look at its shape and color. Premature seeds will be small and light in color, taking on a beige hue. Fully mature cannabis seeds are more full in shape and size and have a much darker brown hue, sometimes accented by black tiger stripes.
Deseeding cannabis can be done by hand or machine. This process typically takes place after the plant has been dried for one to two weeks after harvest. This way, seeds will have reached their maximum maturity and plant material will be brittle enough to break apart with minimal effort.
When collecting seed by hand, use a fine screen to help catch trichomes that will break off during the process. This material is valuable and it would be a shame to waste.
To release the seeds, simply break up the dried buds over a screen and they will fall out. You can release the seeds en masse by rubbing the flower between your fingers and lightly breaking it apart.
Separate or sift seeds over the screen to remove any unwanted plant matter from the seeds themselves. Brush off the seeds—they should be completely free of any remaining plant material such as leaves, stem, or trichomes, as these elements put seeds at a higher risk for contamination and spoilage during long-term storage.
Male cannabis plants will produce pollen several weeks into their flowering cycle. Once their pollen sacs have opened up and released, the plant will begin to senesce and eventually die. It is important to collect pollen right as the sacs are beginning to open up, as this is the time pollen is most viable.
The best way to harvest pollen for storage is to remove an entire male flower cluster and place it in a sealed storage container for several days. After the cluster has dried, place it over a micron screen with parchment or wax paper underneath, and give it a light shake. This will allow the pollen to separate from any remaining plant matter and fall through the screen and onto the wax paper.
Moisture is a death sentence for pollen viability. Because of this, many breeders opt to mix flour into their pollen at a ratio of 4:1 (flour to pollen) when storing it long-term. This additional step will help keep pollen dry for a longer period of time.
Seed and Pollen Storage
Long-term storage requirements for seeds and pollen are similar. Both require cool, dark, dry, and oxygen-deprived environments for optimal preservation.
When storing seeds, place them in an air-sealed container that doesn’t have any light leaks. Film canisters, medicine bottles (non-translucent), and any sealable storage jar will work fine. The idea is to reduce the amount of oxygen present in the storage space as much as possible. You can also add uncooked rice to the storage container, which acts as an absorbent, to reduce moisture content.
For a cool environment, store seeds in either the refrigerator or freezer. Seeds need a consistent temperature without fluctuation to remain dormant long-term.
As mentioned above, the best way to reduce moisture in pollen is to mix it with flour. For long-term storage, it can be kept in a sealed vial or freezer bag. You can keep it in the refrigerator or freezer, though for optimal long-term storage, the colder the better.
The Shelf Life of Seeds and Pollen
You can expect cannabis seeds that have been sealed and properly stored to last for several years, and in many cases, longer. Seeds may be dormant, but they are still alive. Over enough time, they will lose their viability.
It’s important to continually practice germination testing to be sure your stored seeds haven’t lost all viability. To test this, periodically plant a seed and document its ability to germinate.
Fresh seeds should have a germination rate close to a 100%, whereas older seeds will see a significant drop off over time in their ability to germinate.
Out in the open, pollen may be viable for one or two weeks under normal conditions. However, when frozen and sealed, it can last up to a year and even longer. Pollen is more unstable than seed and even under the most optimal conditions, it isn’t expected to have as long of a shelf life.
For both seeds and pollen that have been frozen long-term, it’s important to avoid defrosting until they are ready to be used. Fluctuations in temperature and moisture content will quickly destroy their viability, so maintain a steady temperature for as long as possible. Warming and freezing multiple times isn’t good.
When it comes time to use frozen seeds, remove them from their container and let them sit out on a dry surface for several hours. Letting the seeds reach room temperature will help ensure a successful germination.
Pollen should also be placed at room temperature before using. Since pollen can be much messier to handle, it’s best to carefully transfer a sample from its long-term storage container to a fresh container before using it to pollinate a plant. This way, you don’t have to use all of the pollen and saved pollen can go back in the freezer with minimal exposure to warm air.
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.