It’s never been easier to grow your own marijuana plant and all you need is a list of the best seed banks to get started.
You can buy weed seeds online and do so safely, easily, and for a bargain price. Half the battle though is compiling a list of the best-reviewed cannabis seed banks and then choosing which one seems right for your project.
In this discussion, we’re going to list 13 of the best seed bank options, along with the pros and cons of each company.
13 Best Seed Banks That Ship to the USA (and beyond)
1. I Love Growing Marijuana – Best Seed Bank Overall
- Location: California, USA
- Ships to: Only the USA (until further notice)
- Shipping time to the USA: 2 days shipping, 2-10 days arrival
- Free shipping to the US (regular seeds)
- Guaranteed delivery and germination
- Lots of free guides on growing
- Average price per seed a little steep
I Love Growing Marijuana immediately puts you at ease, offering a wealth of knowledge about growing cannabis for newcomers and veterans alike.
In addition to growing guides, forums, and journals, they have deals like Buy 10 Seeds, Get 10 Seeds Free, free shipping, guaranteed delivery, guaranteed germination, and multiple coupons.
Overall, ILGM offered the best deals and the best guiding hand to get started, and for first-timers (a large portion of those looking for cannabis strains by name) links to educational resources for the weed-growing are important.
2. Crop King Seeds – Best Marijuana Seeds Genetics
- Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
- Ships to: Any country worldwide
- Shipping time to the USA: 2-7 business days anywhere in North America
- Toll-free telephone support, 24/7
- Established 2005
- Accepts Bitcoin and traditional payment methods
- Guaranteed delivery and germination
- Higher-than-average price
- Coupons could be better
Crop King Seeds is well connected, with over 100 retail partners and a wide range of seeds, with better quality genetics and breeding selection.
They are a trusted brand with 200 stores in Canada as well as an online store that ships worldwide. Their value packs, like Mix Pack Feminized and Autoflower Feminized are ideal for new growers.
The company has a reputation for selling the highest quality male and female seeds, and for making innovative discoveries in breeding seeds organically.
They also accept Bitcoin for stealthy payments.
3. Seedsman – Best Variety of Cannabis Seeds
- Location: Barcelona, Spain
- Ships to: U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, Europe, New Zealand
- Shipping time to the USA: Within 3 days of receiving tracking number
- Established 2003
- 1500 types of seed strains
- Works with 63 different seed banks
- Many free seed promotions throughout the year
- Refund requires a somewhat complicated process
Seedsman offers plenty of discounts, averaging about 25 percent off of orders and approximately 40 promotions a year.
In addition to maintaining good word-of-mouth and social media reviews, the company also has a loyalty program for returning customers. Bitcoin buyers save money too, which is cool.
Still, with over 1,500 cannabis seed strains, variety is the company’s strong suit.
The company does hassle you for a refund, but it’s understandable that they have to protect against unscrupulous “samplers” with no intent to pay for quality marijuana seeds.
4. Herbie’s Seeds – Top Seed Bank That Ships To Any Country
- Location: San Vicente, Alicante, Spain
- Ships to: Any country worldwide
- Shipping time to the USA: 24 hours shipping, 3 weeks delivery
- Regular recommendations for new customers
- Deals as high as 35% off for selected strains
- Free seed with every order
- Online support team answers questions
- Very new company
- Free shipping deals don’t apply to U.S. buyers
Herbie’s Seeds offers good deals on selected strains, multiple forms of payment (including Bitcoin and wire transfer), and best of all, offers free Gorilla Glue Auto seeds with every purchase.
The shipping time to the US could definitely be better, but if you’re looking to support a new Spanish cannabis seed bank that’s making a name for itself in the scene, you should definitely give Herbie’s Seeds a try.
5. MJSeeds – Best Weed Seeds Stealth Shipping
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Ships to: Worldwide
Shipping time to the USA: Ships in 24 hours, 7-24 days for delivery
- Guaranteed germination rate (if you follow instructions)
- Customer telephone support
- Established 2009
- Accepts multiple payment options, even cash & money order
- Shipping is somewhat pricey
- Average discounts
MJ Seeds Canada is one of the most reliable companies and best stealth shipping options, because of discreet packaging and multiple payment options.
You could send Bitcoin, Paypal funds, or even a money order through the mail and get your seed within a couple of weeks. Shipping is same-day and faster-than-average, with a dedicated customer support line.
The company has a rotating stealth system, using different “disguises” for seeds, ensuring that your packs are rarely ever confiscated. How exciting!
6. Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds – Best Online Seed Banks Reputation
- Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Ships to: U.S., Canada, U.K., Most of Europe, Australia
- Shipping time to the USA: Estimated within 31 business days
- Free US stealth shipping
- Established 1996
- Free seeds with every order
- Multiple forms of payment, including cryptocurrency & wire transfer
- Longer than average wait time
Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds is one of the oldest companies and one of the first seed banks to gain popularity online. AMS is also one of the most generous companies, giving away free seeds with every order, or 3-10 extra seeds depending on how much you spend.
The company has also started shipping to Australia again, after a brief hiatus.
Try Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds for the free gifts and keep coming back for its reputable seed bank brand, and from the city that started the whole craze. As a wise stoner in a pulpy black suit once said, “You’ll dig it the most.”
7. Rocket Seeds – Fastest Delivery for Cannabis Seed Banks
- Location: The Bronx, NY, USA
- Ships to: Worldwide
- Shipping time to the USA: 5-7 business days
- Guaranteed delivery with Registered Tracking
- Germination guarantee
- Works with other seed banks to find rare items
- The fastest shipping
- Not a strong brand or unique savings
Rocket Seeds is a great place to find hard-to-find seeds, since the company works with multiple sources all over the world, including other seed banks. In fact, they often crossover with competitors like Crop King Seeds, Mary Jane’s Garden, and Sunwest Genetics.
The handshake agreement also means their prices are comparable to those companies and they won’t offer much in the way of unique discounts. Still, if you want a company based in the United States, and one that’s attentive to your unique requests, you can’t do better or do it faster.
They call it Rocket Seeds for a reason – they have fast US shipping.
8. Beaver Seeds – Best Seeds Bank Customer Support
- Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
- Ships to: Worldwide
- Shipping time to the USA: 7-25 days
- Free shipping
- Founded 2009
- Guaranteed delivery
- Accepts multiple forms of payment (inc. Bitcoin & cash)
- Not too many discounts
Beaver Seeds is a flexible seed bank all around, from their methods of payments, to free shipping, and guaranteed delivery, with paid tracking. The germination rate is guaranteed and all shipping is discreet.
Shipping time is 7-25 days which means it could be there quickly – as the company implies their delivery time is better than average, or there could be instances where the package is late.
Overall, what we liked about Beaver Seeds was the customer service telephone line, which is operated 24-7 and is even linked to a US location. When you’re nervously waiting for cannabis seeds to be shipped in the mail, having customer support to speak to is really helpful.
9. Quebec Cannabis Seeds – Most Popular Cannabis Seeds Packs
- Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
- Ships to: Worldwide
- Shipping time to the USA: Up to 2 weeks
- Guaranteed germination, 80% success rate
- Founded 2013
- Partners with Canada Grow Supplies for growing supplies
- Very potent THC and CBD strains
- No physical address provided
Quebec Cannabis Seeds stands by the quality of its seeds with a germination guarantee and assurance of expert packaging – the likes of which keeps the seeds fresh while hiding them in a DVD or card, for example.
Shipping time to the U.S. was also better than average, being about 14 days.
The company sold a number of bulk & mix packages and packs of 100, which are shipped discreetly and spread across a few packages. The most interesting aspect is the company’s Limited Edition line, which lets you buy rare marijuana seeds while they stay in supply.
Quebec Cannabis Seeds was founded in 2013, but still claims to have 15 years of experience in marijuana seed retail.
10. Marijuana Seeds NL – Best Free Seeds Deal
- Location: London, U.K. (surprisingly)
- Ships to: Worldwide
- Shipping time to the USA: 6-25 working days
- Started in 1999, the first online seed bank!
- Loyalty program that gives credits back for purchases
- Lower price than average
- Good deals on shipping
- Stealth shipping costs extra
While Marijuana Seeds NL isn’t the oldest seed bank brand, it is arguably the first successful marijuana seed bank, and with a name that is still trusted today.
Though the site is registered in The Netherlands, the company is actually based in the U.K. Customers can expect a rewards program, multiple payment options (with discounts for Bitcoin and wire transfers), and free seeds.
Buyers get 2 free feminized seeds with every order, 2 free auto-flowering seeds for orders over $75, and 4 feminized / 3 auto flower seeds for free when spending over $140.
You can also get free basic stealth shipping or discounted guaranteed delivery free shipping when ordering packs of seeds. Suffice it to say that you’ll have plenty of cannabis seeds to go around.
11. MaryJanesGarden – Easy Way to Order Cannabis Seeds Online
- Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
- Ships to: Worldwide
- Shipping time to the USA: Same day shipping, 1-3 weeks delivery
- Guaranteed delivery with tracking
- Established 2003
- Only the best seeds are sent
- Multiple payment options including Bitcoin and Paypal
- No wire transfers
Mary Jane’s Garden may seem new but they’ve been selling seeds online since 2003, with a higher than average 90% successful delivery rate.
The company also boasts about their highest quality seeds, using the best production process, and the strictest quality control procedures on the market.
The company also has one of the fastest delivery dates for U.S. residents, within 3 weeks, but oftentimes within 1 week because of the close proximity.
The company even has an added customer support line, so you can always chat with a team member if something happens to go wrong.
12. Sonoma Seeds – Most Promising New Seeds Bank
- Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
- Ships to: Worldwide
- Shipping time to the USA: 7-14 days
- Guaranteed germination
- Telephone support line
- 500+ strains, a high variety
- Multiple payment options inc. Bitcoin & cash
- Pricey shipping
- Average seeds price
- New company, founded 2019
Sonoma Seeds is admirable, simply because they ship anywhere, even though they can’t support every payment method. Still, Bitcoin is accepted and even cash through the mail, which means after payment is received, you get your seeds within 2 weeks.
That’s about as discreet as you can get.
Shipping is quick because of the proximity to the US and many different strains have been collected from all over the world. But Sonoma Seeds’ fast shipping to the U.S. is what impressed us the most… a promising company to watch.
FAQs About Buying Cannabis Seeds
If you’re curious about the logistics of buying cannabis seeds online, we have answers!
Are there any weed banks in the United States?
While many companies do seem to be a Canadian seed bank store, I Love Growing Marijuana and Rocket Seeds are both based in the United States and have a reputation for high-quality seeds.
As a result, their shipping to the US tends to be pretty fast (1-2 weeks or less).
Is it legal to buy cannabis seeds in any state?
Being in possession of cannabis seeds is not illegal, since they could be bought for collectible or research purposes. However, there are some complicated federal and state laws that might result in seed confiscation, or very rarely, some legal trouble.
Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level but legal in a number of U.S. states. No wonder all seed banks use stealth shipping to avoid legal hassles and confiscation.
What’s the safest way to pay for weed seeds?
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are the safest way to pay, since there would be no official record of you buying it, besides records maintained by the cryptocurrency wallet provider.
However, paying by cash or money order is also safe, generally speaking.
Are online seed banks legit?
Practically all the seed banks we reviewed are legitimate, have great to good customer reviews, and have been established for a few years – or in some cases, over 20 years.
Some online seed banks might not be legitimate, but the ones in this article are.
Do all reputable seed banks offer international shipping?
No, some seed banks have temporarily halted international shipping because of COVID, while others choose to only ship to the U.K., Europe, U.S. Australia, and New Zealand in order to avoid legal problems with countries with stricter cannabis laws.
Always check that your cannabis seed bank ships to your country before you buy weed seeds online.
Do all marijuana seed banks have multiple payment methods?
No, most companies stick to credit cards, Paypal, bank wire transfers, and other electronic funds transfer methods. Cryptocurrency usage is rising, however, as well as cash and money orders which are harder to trace.
Discretion is key when ordering marijuana seeds.
Is it safe to order seeds?
Generally yes, it is safe to order seeds online from reputable seed banks.
Stealth shipping involves sending seeds inside various “fake items”, like DVDs or Birthday Cards you didn’t order. Some companies constantly rotate their choice of gifts, in order not to alert delivery persons. The online seed bank also lists an alias name when charging your card or cryptocurrency account.
Sometimes seeds are confiscated, but that’s why most companies offer a delivery guarantee, with a paid tracking charge. Larger packs may also be separated into multiple packages arriving, since a large pack of pot seeds would be difficult to hide in one small gift item.
Remember you can also check online reviews of the best cannabis seed bank brands and which companies excelled at safety, shipping time, guaranteed products, and best of all, the quality of the seeds themselves.
Where to Buy Marijuana Seeds Online: The Takeaway
Our research found that I Love Growing Marijuana and Crop King Seeds were the best of the best weed seed bank stores, because of their germination and delivery guarantees, not to mention a wide variety of available strains.
ILGM also offered some cost-saving deals and gave away tons of help guides to help newcomers break into DIY marijuana plant growing.
Crop King Seeds and Seedsman both had an impressive number of strains and hard-to-find names for the experienced marijuana seeds connoisseur, with Seedsman boasting 1500+ marijuana strains.
The best weed seed sites should stand by their production processes. Anyone might be able to grow marijuana nowadays, thanks to autoflowers and feminized seeds, but not everyone can do it right.
We hope you find the perfect seed bank for your needs!
The news and editorial staffs of The Denver Post had no role in this post’s preparation.
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.
What Are Feminized Cannabis Seeds?
This article is sponsored by Kannabia Seed Company, an award-winning cannabis seed company headquartered in Spain. Using only the highest quality genetics on the market, their grower-oriented approach has made cannabis cultivation simple and satisfying for growers of all skill levels for years.
Anyone who’s ever savored a joint owes their enjoyment to the fruits of the cannabis plant, but moreover, to the female of the species. That’s because only female cannabis plants produce the cannabinoid-rich flowers that deliver the flavors and effects consumers look for.
This is why many North American growers are turning to feminized seeds—cannabis seeds that carry only female genetics, and can be relied on to produce only female plants. By creatively applying technologies to seed feminization, modern breeders like Kannabia can ensure female genetics in seeds with a nearly 100% success rate.
Male vs. Female Cannabis Plants
A bud of Diesel Glue grown from Kannabia’s feminized seeds. (Courtesy of Kannabia)
Cannabis plants that are pollinated naturally or with traditional breeding techniques can produce both male or female seeds. These are known as regular seeds and, as in most species, they occur with about an even split between the two sexes. That means cannabis cultivators starting with standard seeds have about a 50% chance of yielding a female plant from each one.
As a result, growing cannabis from regular seeds isn’t very efficient—it’s akin to running a bakery that has to throw out every second loaf of bread. Growers working from regular seeds have to account for the fact that roughly half of their plants could be males. While those plants are of some value to breeders, folks growing for flower won’t find much to like in them, and too many male plants can spoil a grow.
Traditionally, the solution to this has been an inelegant one, with many cultivators planting at least twice as many seeds as they hope to harvest with the assumption that about half of them will be useless. However big a harvest you’re looking for, using regular seeds means you’ll have to plant twice that many seeds.
Why Grow From Feminized Cannabis Seeds?
Cultivators depend on feminized seeds for efficient growing cycles. (Courtesy of Mr. Sticky Farm)
There are numerous advantages for growers who start their garden using feminized seeds. By removing the guesswork of germinating regular seeds, feminized seeds streamline the growing process, saving space and time.
That efficiency is key for medical cannabis patients and hobby growers. Since most cannabis regulations limit plant counts, growers cultivating a small crop of cannabis for personal use want to ensure they’re getting the most out of their grow.
Male plants don’t just take up space in a garden, either. They can also sap time and resources from growers. When male and female plants are both present, growers need to cultivate both until their sexes are clear. While some strains will show early signs of their sex before flowering begins, most cannabis plants don’t begin to express their sex until they start to mature past the vegetative stage.
This change occurs when the photoperiod, or amount of light and dark that the plant receives, changes to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark. In outdoor gardens this change can happen naturally with the seasons or, in more controlled environments like indoor gardens, by human intervention using light timers.
Once those plants are old enough, growers have to go to the trouble of actually determining their sex, monitoring each individual plant to ensure any males are removed before they can pollinate their female counterparts.
Growers can avoid spending weeks nurturing plants with only a 50% chance of expressing as female and maximize the space and plant count in their gardens by using feminized seeds from suppliers like Kannabia. These specially-treated seeds increase the probability of producing a female plant to 99%.
How Are Cannabis Seeds Feminized?
Treating cannabis seeds with a silver thiosulphate solution can ensure the resulting plants are females. (Courtesy of Kannabia)
There are a few techniques that can produce reliably feminized seeds. One classic method is stressing out a healthy female plant by interrupting its light cycle during flowering. While that works to an extent, the more common and controlled method is to spray down female plants with a collodial silver or silver thiosulphate solution. This method makes it possible to control the sex of a plant without any genetic tinkering or modification.
Both substances are a blend of water and fine silver particles, and they work in largely the same fashion. The silver solution impedes the production of ethylene, a hormone involved in flowering. The result is a female plant, but one that produces male flowers with pollen sacs. Since those pollen sacs develop on a plant with only female genetics, female genetics are all they carry. When those flowers pollinate another female plant (one untreated by silver solutions), the resulting seeds are nearly certain to be female.
Treating plants with a silver thiosulphate solution results in seeds that will produce feminized plants nearly 100% of the time, and Kannabia’s breeders have found this method to be the most effective way to maintain the stability of the seeds and future feminized plants.
Feminized Varieties to Try in Your Garden
Using feminized seeds can make it easier for home growers to cultivate strains like Russian Doll. (Courtesy of Kannabia)
Growing cannabis in your home is legal in an increasing number of states and provinces throughout the United States and Canada. To make starting a home garden easy, growers can start with feminized seeds for many popular strains from providers like Kannabia.
“In our search to find new genetics, Kannabia paired us with their feminized Russian Doll seeds,” say growers at Canada’s BlueSky Organics. “Every seed germinated, and now that we are in the late vegetative stage, these plants have an extremely hardy trunk preparing themselves for some massive buds.”
If you have more questions about strains or seeds, keep digging through Leafly’s resources. And to learn more about the variety of feminized seeds available to you, visit Kannabia’s website to see its full line of feminized genetics, including strains like Diesel Glue and the award-winning Mataro Blue.
Promotions are offered solely by Kannabia Seed Company. Terms and conditions may apply—contact Kannabia for full details.