A guide to buying cannabis seeds
The first couple months of the year is a great time to start planning your cannabis garden to get a head start on the outdoor growing season, which roughly runs from March to November, depending on where you live.
Navigating the cannabis seed market can be challenging when states have different degrees of legality. This guide will answer your questions on buying seeds so you can be on your way to growing your own cannabis.
Is it legal to buy marijuana seeds?
Marijuana seeds are considered a cannabis product just like flower, edibles, and concentrates. Their legality depends on which state you live in. People living in states with adult-use legalization can buy, produce, and sell seeds within their own state, but seeds can’t cross state lines. People living in states with medical marijuana legalization can only buy seeds if they have a medical card.
Seed banks exist outside of the US and can sell them for “souvenir purposes,” but it is illegal to bring seeds into the US and Customs will seize any cannabis seeds they find in packages or on a person.
Where can I buy cannabis seeds?
Many world-renowned seed banks are overseas in the Netherlands, the UK, Spain, and other countries where cannabis laws are less restricted. Seed banks provide seeds from a variety of different breeders.
In states with adult-use legalization or a medical marijuana program, you can buy seeds within your own state, either at a dispensary or through a specific seed company’s website.
How to buy cannabis seeds online
Before you purchase seeds online, you’ll need to figure out what strain you want to grow and what breeder you want to buy from.
Because US federal law still prohibits cannabis, it can be hard to find information on seed banks and breeders. Breeders who have a long history and positive reputation are usually a good place to start. To get an idea of what well-established breeders look like, check out:
- Sensi Seeds
- DNA Genetics
- Green House Seeds
- Southern Humboldt Seed Collective
- Exotic Genetix
You can also do some research and find an online grow journal that details the whole growing process of a specific strain from a particular breeder. Through these, you’ll be able to look over another grower’s specific notes and see pictures of the final results.
If you grow some seeds and like the results, try growing another strain from that same breeder and see how it goes.
How to buy cannabis seeds at a dispensary
Although this option is only available to people living in states with medical and adult-use legalization, buying marijuana seeds at the dispensary is far more straightforward. However, your options are more limited.
Dispensary staff should be able to give you information on the seeds they’re selling, but keep in mind that a lot of dispensaries focus on selling flower and end-products. It’s a good idea to call ahead and talk to staff to see if they are knowledgeable about seeds and can give you specific information on growing.
How to look for quality genetics when buying marijuana seeds
Breeders talk about “unstable genetics,” meaning that a seed’s origin is unknown. Make sure that when you buy a packet of seeds that it or the breeder who produced them can list where the seeds came from and how they were crossed and/or backcrossed to get the seed that you hold in your hand. If you can’t get a seed’s history, it could be anything and the result of poor breeding practices.
An inexperienced breeder might cross a male and a female one time and sell the resulting seeds as a new hybrid strain, but professional breeders usually put their strains through several rounds of backcrossing to stabilize the genetics and ensure consistent plants that reflect those genetics.
Which strain should I grow?
Even one weed plant can produce a lot of buds come harvest time, so make sure you grow a strain you like. Note strains you enjoy when you pick something up at the dispensary or smoke with friends, and look for seeds of it when you want to start growing.
Some strains are easier to grow than others because they are more resistant to mold and pests, so if you’re new to growing, you may want to try an easier strain to start.
Some strains also take longer to grow than others. Depending on whether you’re growing indoors or outdoors, you may want to grow a quicker marijuana strain if you live in a climate that get cold and wet early in the season. For example, indicas are known for having a shorter flowering time than sativas.
All of this information should be available to you when buying quality seeds.
What’s the difference between regular, feminized, and autoflower seeds?
If you buy a packet of regular seeds, they’ll come with a mix of males and females. A lot of cultivators prefer to grow these because they haven’t been backcrossed—essentially inbred—as much as feminized or autoflower seeds. You’ll need to sex out the seeds once their reproductive organs show during the flowering phase and discard the males—because they don’t produce buds and will pollenate females, resulting in seeded flowers.
Seeds can come feminized, meaning you can just put them in soil and start growing for buds. These seeds are guaranteed to be bud-producing females and growing them cuts out the step of having to sex out plants and discard the males.
It also reduces the risk of having a stray male sneak into your crop—just one male can pollinate a huge crop, causing your females to focus their energies on producing seeds instead of buds.
Autoflower plants change from the vegetative to flowering state with age, not the changing of their light cycle. They have a short grow-to-harvest time and can be ready to harvest in as little as 2 ½ to 3 months from when you put the seeds in the ground. The downside is that, typically, they are less potent, but autoflower seeds are great for people who want to grow cannabis but don’t want to spend a lot of time doing it.
How much do marijuana seeds cost?
Cannabis seeds usually come in a pack of 10 or 12 seeds and start at around $40 a pack and go up from there. Some high-end genetics can run between $200 to $500 a pack.
Feminized and autoflower seeds will cost more because more breeding work was put in to creating them and they take less time for the grower to get buds.
How many seeds should I buy? Are they all going to survive?
When you grow any amount of seeds, a percentage of them won’t germinate, even if you get them from a reputable breeder. Always count on a few not germinating or dying off, or roughly 1/4 of the total you put in the ground.
When growing regular seeds, some won’t germinate and some will have to be discarded because they’ll turn out to be males. With feminized seeds, some won’t germinate, but a higher percentage of them will turn into flowering plants because there won’t be any males.
If you want six total cannabis plants to harvest for buds and are growing from regular seeds, start with about 4 times as many, or 24 seeds. Some won’t germinate and some will turn out to be males, and then you’ll want to discard down to the six best phenotypes. If growing feminized seeds, you can probably start with about twice as many seeds in this case (about 12); a couple won’t germinate, and then discard down to the six best phenotypes.
Make sure to always stay within your state’s legal limit of growing plants.
How do I buy strain-specific cannabis seeds?
Strains like Blue Dream, Gelato, and Original Glue have gained in popularity in recent years. Check out these resources on how to buy these types of cannabis seeds:
Pat Goggins contributed to this article.
Navigating the cannabis seed market can be tricky from a legal perspective. Get the answer to your top questions about buying cannabis seeds today.
Mail order cannabis seeds
Marijuana seeds have a complicated relationship with the law. Finding reliable seed banks that ship to the USA can be daunting because of this murky legal area.
Illegal states (which criminalize marijuana) generally do allow the sale of seeds. Click Here to check your state’s stance on seeds. Though the general legality of purchasing cannabis seeds tends to differ from one state to another.
A mix of both US and international seed banks appear below. Bear in mind, however, that orders originating from any international sellers (Appearing in Section “International Seed Banks” could take longer to be delivered to you no matter what state you reside in.
We have verified that the following seed banks provide:
- Discreet and reliable delivery
- Top shelf seeds
- Notorious strains like gorilla glue, and purple haze
- And excellent customer service, essential for a responsible company in this business.
5 Best Seed Banks that Ship to the USA
Here are the top 5 seed banks that ship to America.
1. I Love Growing Marijuana (ILGM) – Top Seed Bank Overall
- A reputable company with a 9.4/10 Trustpilot rating
- No Dud Seeds, Money Back Guarantee
- Discreet stealth packaging
- Free shipping to Europe and the United States
- Major well-known name strains
- Options for beginner, autoflower, feminized, and much more
- 24/7 support and excellent growing guidebook
- Spams you a bit with offers if you give them your email
- Delivery tracking is pricey at $25
Sketchy Companies do not last 25 years, people who really love growing marijuana do. Clever name aside, this site catches the eye for its packaging, free shipping, and high Trustpilot rating.
Founder Robert Bergman, has been growing weed for more than 25 years, and has learned plenty of tips and tricks during that time. He started I Love Growing Marijuana in 2012 and turned it into one of the world’s most trusted sites for buying cannabis seeds for both Europeans and Americans. The website is also offering free shipping to everywhere in the US states and Europe and your order will usually arrive in ten days or less.
The thing about this site is the amazing number of available categories and options for all types of growers and specialization. On their main menu tabs, you get the option of choosing beginner seeds, feminized seeds, auto flowers, mixed packs, medical marijuana seeds, grow kits, seed-growing nutrients, and even some special deals. Every one of their seed choices is the authentic strain stated and comes with a germination guarantee, so there’s no chance of getting stuck with seeds that are duds.
They also offer seeds for cool climates or warm climates, indoor or outdoor growing, high yielding, high CBD or high THC, and so much more. Since everybody’s situation is different, it’s good to have so many available options. And, some of the top strains include choices like Bergman’s Gold Leaf, Blueberry Autoflower, Girl Scout Cookies Extreme, Gorilla Glue, and White Widow.
On the checkout page, there are multiple payment options, from bank transfers or deposits, credit/debit cards, and even Bitcoin, which can help with being as discreet as possible. And, standard shipping is free, or you also have the option of paying $25 if you prefer a tracked shipping method.
2. Crop King Seeds – A Reliable Canadian Seed Bank that Ships to the US
- Free delivery on $300+ orders
- 80 percent germination rate
- “Five crown” ranking system
- Germination guide for new growers
- Simple e-commerce layout
- Useful infographics regarding genetics and THC-CBD ratios.
- $10 regular delivery fee on orders under $300
- Regular shipping is slow (7 to 14 business days)
- Website seems aimed at beginners
This US seller’s site offers a nice simple layout with many large sections featuring choices like auto flower, feminized, and high-CBD, as well as regular weed seed types, which gives you a fair amount of choices. One thing that’s especially helpful is their “Germination” section. It provides step-by-step directions on how you can guarantee that 80 percent of the seeds from them will end up reaching germination. That seems a bit low when you compare it to some other seed banks, but perhaps Crop King is just being realistic.
One of the best things about this company is the “five-crown” rating system. It’s quite similar to a “five-star” rating system and is controlled by a variety of user reviews that are unbiased, making it an excellent way for trying new strains with recommendations from other Crop King customers.
The Crop King website offers a rather generic e-commerce layout but you have the ability of filtering through all of their seeds by genetics and type, as well as CBD and THC percentages. Shipping’s also free when you order $300 worth of seeds or more. Regular shipping runs $10 and arrival takes 7 to 14 business days. Express shipping runs $30, which is a bit expensive but let’s move on to the pros and cons of Crop King Seeds:
3. Marijuana Seeds NL (MSNL) – Best for Discreet Shipping
- Offers Stealth Shipping – a very discreet shipping method where the weed seeds are hidden within some other objects, like DVD cases, prior to shipping.
- 15 percent off bitcoin orders
- Long Standing since 1999
- Fun quiz for helping you pick the best seeds
- Award winners of High Times Cup and Cannabis Cup
- Variety of shipping options (includes stealth shipping)
- FREE seeds with all orders for trying new strains
- Wide range of seeds
- International shipping may take weeks
- No free delivery unless buying in bulk
- US delivery costs more
- Confusing charts for describing seed strains
This is a cannabis seed bank that is based in the Netherlands and has been in business since 1999. With more than 20 years of experience in the sale of high-quality seeds, they have numerous options for auto flowering, feminized, indoor and outdoor, regular, high-CBD seeds, and much more.
One fun thing about their website is the quiz that asks “What marijuana strain are you?”. It helps customers to discover the MSNL seeds based upon specific growing conditions, weed preference, and what you’re expecting from the finished buds. At the end, you’ll have four weed seed options chosen for fitting with your climate, growing skills, and personality. This feature is nice for newbie growers.
MSNL states that their seeds have a 90 percent germination rate, which is more refreshing and honest than promising a 100 percent germination rate like some other seed banks may do. And, all of the seeds are hand-checked by their expert staff with plenty of experience in marijuana seeds from Amsterdam, therefore you’re assured a top product. And, they stock some major named strains, including some High Times Cup and Cannabis Cup and award-winners, like Buddha, Grandaddy Purps, Northern Lights, and White Widow. You also get FREE seeds with each order, which is a great way for you to try some new seeds while also helping the new seed strains with acquiring the much-needed attention in an extremely busy market.
Standard delivery is currently around $6.25 but if you buy in bulk, you get free delivery. Their deliveries generally arrive in the US in approximately 6 to 12 days, but sometimes end up taking a few weeks. Multiple payment methods are available, including cash, credit/debit cards, checks, bank wires, or bitcoin. Buying with bitcoin gets you a 15 percent discount. Here are the basic pros and cons:
4. Seedsman – Best Breeders’ Seed Bank
- 15 percent bitcoin discount
- A regular customers’ loyalty points system
- A-Z breeders’ list
- Free seeds included in every order
- Plenty of seed types in-stock
- Tons of accessories from hemp bags and informational books to storage jars
- User reviews for helping you decide
- Cheesy-feeling ads on their website’s front page
- Steep insurance and delivery charges
- User reviews that feel a bit biased
This is one of the most widely trusted cannabis seed banks shipping to the US. It’s also seriously geared toward growers with considerable experience. In fact, the company hosts an annual “Photo Cup” competition aimed at encouraging growers to submit photos of their own weed crops, preferably complete with a creative, fun, or just plain impressive twist of some kind.
The best thing about this cannabis seed seller is its massive variety of licensed breeders. In fact, they even provide a very long alphabetical list of all the seeds they stock and their breeders. If you’re searching for a specific big-name or even a niche breeder, you’re likely to find them and their weed seeds stocked by Seedsman.
In addition, you can also find all of the usual selections of feminized/autoflowering/ seeds along with entire sections containing popular strain variations, including Northern Lights, Sour Diesel, Skunk, Cheese, and the ever-popular White Widow.
Seedsman proudly stocks plenty of award-winning seeds plus some very specific categories tailored to specific growing locations. For example, you can purchase fast-flowering strains, mold-resistant strains, and even seeds suitable for growing at high altitudes, like in Colorado.
Every product listing contains a review at the bottom of the page and, with each purchase, you’ll be receiving some free seeds along with loyalty points for buying. And, when you’re buying and paying with bitcoin, you’ll also be getting 15 percent off. If that isn’t enough, you’ll also receive 25 percent more off for your first time paying with bitcoin! There’s only one downside and that is rather pricey delivery add-on charges, like the delivery insurance fee ($9.04) and the delivery charge ($8.98). At this point, let me give you the basic pros and cons of Seedsman:
5. Quebec Cannabis Seeds (QCS) – Fastest Shipping
- Credit card charges are under a non-obvious company name
- 20 percent Bitcoin payment discount
- More than 15 years of seed bank experience,-Stealth shipping
- A variety of autoflower, regular, CBD, feminized, and mixed seeds
- US customers can pay in USD
- 3.8 percent credit card payment fee
- Minimum $70 order amount
- Only one $10 standard shipping option
- Website is a bit less sophisticated than some others
QCS has a website that was specially designed for people with prior experience in cannabis seed growing, (at least that’s the impression you get). Their website has been up-and-running for 15 years or more now, however, the fact is that QCS has been supplying all of Canada (and even the rest of the world) with some pretty high-quality seeds for almost 20 years. There are a number of different types and strains available, including high-CBD, autoflowers, mixed packs, and feminized, as well as outdoor, regular, and even some limited edition seeds. You can also submit a request for in-depth info about any other strains that you’re interested in. You’ll receive it in a format much like eBay product descriptions complete with bullet points. This may not be the world’s most sophisticated online cannabis seed bank but it’ll do the job if you know what you’re actually looking for. And, for all deliveries, they use very discreet stealth shipping. The only problem is that but they only offer a vague delivery window for the ETA of the product shipment.
US customers are charged in USD, so you don’t have to deal with Canadian dollar conversion. You can also pay in a number of ways, however, it’s important to know that any credit card payment accrues a 3.8 percent fee. And, if you pay with Bitcoin, you’ll get a 20 percent discount on your entire order. So, let’s move on to the pros and cons to give you a quick picture of this seller:
Is buying marijuana seeds online and having them shipped to the US safe?
Although you might think that it’s risky to order cannabis seeds online and receive them in the mail, the truth is that there’s minimal risk involved even when placing an order with a seed bank overseas. Don’t worry about customs laws either. Some people think that, if their seeds are intercepted, they’ll end up on a list and somebody will come knocking on their door (kind of like in the movies).
The more likely scenario would be that your seeds wouldn’t even be found. If they were, customs would probably just throw them out and then proceed by sending you a very official-looking letter that simply says that they were confiscated. And, that would be that.
However, if you’re having seeds shipped from a foreign country to the US and worry about the possibility of interception, many of the best seed banks online are offering what is called “stealth shipping”. This is basically just a very discreet shipping method where the weed seeds are hidden within some other objects, like DVD cases, prior to shipping. This can help keep your package from being flagged as suspicious.
While we’re on the subject of shipping, don’t request expedited delivery or any delivery requiring a signature. Why? Well, you don’t want to intentionally draw attention to the package or have to sign for a cannabis seeds delivery. That’s a bit of a no-brainer. Also, when ordering in large amounts, multiple smaller orders from a variety of vendors will spread your risk along the lines of that old saying “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”.
Seed Bank Payment Options
Another consideration is the payment option you choose and how it’ll be charged. If your goal is to stay way under the radar, you might find that bitcoin is the most encrypted currency form plus it’s virtually untraceable. Numerous top cannabis seed banks are actually offering a discount if you’re paying in bitcoin. Alternatively, you can pay via credit card since credit card purchases are insured and better protected in case something goes awry.
If you want the best seed bank possible I’d definitely recommend ILGM. However all sites on this list have been thoroughly vetted and will deliver a good seed shopping experience.
I’m hoping that this buying guide gives you a little guidance and helps you with finding the seed seller that’s just right for you and your needs. And, last but not least, happy growing!
Mail order cannabis seeds Marijuana seeds have a complicated relationship with the law. Finding reliable seed banks that ship to the USA can be daunting because of this murky legal area.