Many cannabis consumers like the idea of growing marijuana on their own — whether it's recreational weed or medical marijuana. People often find it incredibly rewarding to smoke buds from their own marijuana plants, and many enjoy being able to nurture plants all the way from cannabis seed to final harvest. Growing marijuana can be accomplished by either starting with cannabis clones or by sprouting and planting cannabis seeds.
Fortunately, cannabis seeds are now easier to find and purchase than ever before. With many top-notch seed banks making a wide variety of feminized and autoflower seeds available alongside regular seeds, it's very easy to buy cannabis seeds online or in brick-and-mortar stores. That being said, the way you go about buying marijuana seeds is still very dependent on the laws in your area. But before you plunk down your hard-earned dough for something to grow, there are several things you need to consider. From legal concerns to strain choices to indoor vs outdoor, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know to purchase cannabis seeds.
How marijuana laws affect buying cannabis seeds
The law is the first thing to take into consideration when planning to grow cannabis. Before doing anything else, double and triple check the laws in your area related to purchasing cannabis products and growing weed at home. This is important because the legal status of both cannabis products and home cultivation will dictate where and how you can buy cannabis seeds.
If you live in a state where it is legal to grow weed at home and there are not many restrictions on home cultivation, then you'll likely be able to buy cannabis seeds directly from your favorite licensed dispensary. In some cases, you may also have the option of buying from a brick-and-mortar or online retailer.
How to decide which cannabis seeds to buy
However you go about buying cannabis seeds, you need to plan ahead. In many ways, successful germination and eventual harvest depend on getting the right seeds upfront. Fortunately, the cannabis industry is now offering an incredibly broad selection of seeds to choose from. Here are some of the most important factors you need to think about to ensure that the marijuana seeds you buy will meet your needs and objectives.
Indica, sativa, or hybrid?
There is a seemingly endless variety of cannabis strains now in existence. Before buying cannabis seeds you need to know what kind of weed you want to grow. Start by figuring out if you want to grow an indica-dominant, sativa-dominant, or hybrid strain. Indica-dominant plants tend to be short and bushy with thick stems and broad, deep-green leaves. They also have short flowering cycles and grow well in cold climates with short growing seasons. Sativa plants have longer flowering cycles, fare better in warm climates with long seasons, and usually grow taller with light-green, narrow leaves.
For the last 50 years of cannabis cultivation, crossbreeding has been the name of the game. As a result, there's virtually no such thing as a pure indica or sativa anymore. Every seed you'll consider purchasing is probably a hybrid. Classifying a particular cultivar or strain as indica or sativa usually means that its genetic makeup tends more toward one side or the other of the indica-sativa spectrum.
Which marijuana strain?
In addition to deciding between indica, sativa, and hybrid, you should also figure out which specific strain you want to grow. If you are not sure which marijuana strain you want to grow, or you're curious to learn about other strains you might not be familiar with, browse through the digital catalogs of reputable seed banks online and read about the various strains currently available. The best seed banks will have plenty of helpful information.
When you've decided which strain to grow, do a bit of research to familiarize yourself with the unique cultivation needs of that strain. While there are general guidelines for growing any type of cannabis, each strain has its own specific needs. Some strains do better in specific parts of the world or climates. Growing a strain that is well-suited to your climate will make it easier on you and the plants while giving you better odds of a successful harvest. If you aren't certain what strain you want to grow, you can always give mixed packs of seeds a try, though it may be difficult to replicate any successes.
Indoor or outdoor cultivation?
Another question to ask yourself is whether you want to be an indoor grower or an outdoor grower.
Growing indoor seeds gives you the ability to control and fine-tune the growing climate for your plants. You may feel more confident trying new seeds or difficult cultivars because you can adjust the environment as needed.
Outdoor growing inherently carries a different set of concerns, including the length of the outdoor growing season and other big variables. If you plan to grow marijuana outside, you should probably spend a bit more time researching the specific cannabis seeds you want to purchase to make sure they will thrive in your unique climate and environment. On the other hand, some cultivars thrive better outside and deliver better yields. And there are those who swear that weed grown outside under the sun simply tastes, smells, and smokes better.
Regular marijuana seeds, feminized seeds, or autoflowering seeds?
If you browse through seeds being sold at a dispensary or an online store, you will immediately see feminized seeds, regular seeds, and autoflower seeds. A vital part of understanding how to buy cannabis seeds is understanding the differences between these categories that refer to the sex or maturation process of the seeds.
When you buy regular seeds, some will grow up to produce male plants and others will grow into female plants. Therefore, growing regular cannabis seeds requires you to pay close attention to the sex of each plant so you can get rid of any males that sprout. Male marijuana plants produce fewer, smaller, less-potent flowers, and therefore will not give you much to smoke. Even worse, males will pollinate your female plants and cause them to produce low-quality buds that are full of seeds. If you plant regular seeds, plan to buy more than you might actually need, as a higher percentage of these weed seeds will produce male plants.
On the other hand, feminized seeds have been bred to produce only female cannabis plants. For many growers, these are the best cannabis seeds to use. One reason is that using feminized seeds means you won't need to buy quite as many because a higher percentage will grow into female plants. However, feminized seeds are not fool-proof, and there is no fully reliable germination guarantee, so you should still pay attention to the sex of your plants as they mature so you can spot and eliminate any males that might pop up. In general, feminized seeds are easier and more straightforward to grow.
The difference between male and female seeds is important for growers. To get big harvests of smokable buds, you want only female plants. Male plants, on the other hand, can cause a lot of problems as they will pollinate the female flowers, which makes the buds produce seeds. While some people argue for the usefulness of male cannabis plants, most growers are primarily interested in big, seed-free flowers from female plants.
Finally, autoflowering seeds have more to do with the growth cycle of the marijuana plant than the sex of plants. Many growers consider autoflowers to be the best seed choice because they require less work and flower more quickly. When growing regular, or photoperiod, seeds indoors, you will have to manipulate the light your plant receives in order to trigger the flowering process. But autoflowering seeds have been genetically designed to produce plants that automatically flower based on their age rather than changes in the light, meaning less work for you.
How many plants to grow?
Once you've figured out which seeds are right for you, you need to decide how many seeds to purchase. Regardless of the strain or type of seed, you should have an idea of how many plants you want to grow. It's also a good idea to circle back to your area's laws and check the number of plants you're legally allowed to grow.
Remember, seeds must be germinated before planting and there is no such thing as an iron-clad germination guarantee. Always plan on a certain percentage of seeds failing to germinate or growing into weak, unviable plants. So plan on purchasing more seeds than you think you will need. As a general guideline, assume that at least 25% of the seeds you plant will, for one reason or another, not make it to harvest. For best results, buy and plant 25% more seeds than the number of mature plants you want to produce.
How to buy weed seeds online
Buying online may be the simplest way to purchase cannabis seeds. Online retailers often have a larger selection and may provide more detailed information than smaller brick-and-mortar stores.
At the same time, there are some potential drawbacks to buying seeds online. For one, some weed-legal locations, including the US, still outlaw buying and shipping seeds across state or national borders. There are also issues of reliability. If you want to do business with an online cannabis seed bank, take some time researching the company. Make sure it's reputable and has good customer reviews.
How to buy cannabis seeds in a brick-and-mortar store
Buying seeds directly from a brick-and-mortar shop gives you the benefit of being able to talk to an expert before making your purchase. Make sure the dispensary you're buying from has employees who are experienced with the growing process.
Here are a few questions you should ask before making a purchase:
- What are the main cannabinoids in the strain? If you are looking to buy seeds that produce a certain cannabinoid profile in the mature plant, ask if they tend to produce plants that match your requirements.
- What kind of yields do the plants produce?
- Do the plants require any special care like trellising, certain nutrients, or a particular environment to prevent pests and disease?
In many ways, buying high-quality seeds is very much like buying other items related to cannabis. Even in places where weed is legal, seeds are generally considered cannabis products the same as flower, edibles, oils, and anything else coming from the cannabis plant. For that reason, always pay very close attention to the legal status of marijuana seeds in your area.
With the ability to buy marijuana seeds online or from brick and mortar sellers, and so many vendors now able to sell seeds directly to consumers, it is easier than ever to grow your own cannabis plants. Having all those options available makes it more important than ever to research all the options before you make that final purchase.