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.
GWE’s Best Cannabis Banks: Where To Buy Marijuana Seeds Online
We have maintained this list since 2010 with reviews of the marijuana seed sources that we use at GrowWeedEasy.com. These seed banks take online orders and ship cannabis seeds worldwide (including the USA). We only recommend companies with outstanding stealth, reliability, customer service, and seed quality. This certainly isn’t a list of all good seed banks, but these are the seed banks we know and use ourselves.
It’s scary ordering cannabis seeds online for the first time, and it’s really important to make sure you get your seeds from a trusted source! Not only will that help ensure your safety and security, but it also keeps you from getting scammed or ripped off with poor quality seeds or even no seeds!
Learn about cannabis seed banks that deliver to you!
(including all states in the U.S.)
GrowWeedEasy Cannabis Seed Bank List of 2021
This list contains trustworthy seed sources for buying cannabis seeds online
- Free seed promotions & huge selection of strains
- Choose their “Guaranteed Delivery” option when checking out for guaranteed stealth shipping. This ensures your seeds will get to you no matter what.
- They only carry strains by reputable breeders, and also breed and grow their own strains in-house. They make it easy to find a strain for your needs and grow space – use their seed selector to find a suitable strain
- Long-lasting & trustworthy company – Seedsman has been providing cannabis seeds since 2003 and they have made a name for themselves as a professional seed source.
- Accepts a wide variety of payment options (bank transfer, cash, credit cards, debit cards, checks, postal orders, money orders, Bitcoin – recommended for discounts and nobody but you and the seller can know what you are buying)
- Choosing to add “Guaranteed Delivery” to your order combined with the price of shipping can make ordering from this place a little pricey, especially if you’re buying just a few seeds at a time.
Located: Seeds Sourced in Holland / Netherlands & Shipped out of UK
- MSNL was founded by a geneticist and only carries hand-selected strains
- Prompt shipping, extra stealth options and guaranteed shipping available.
- In business since 1999, and selling cannabis seeds online via their current domain since 2003
- Accepts a wide variety of payment methods including Cash, Bank Wire Transfer, International Money Order and most major Debit/Credit cards
- They only carry their own strains, so they have a relatively small selection. That being said, we’ve typically gotten good feedback on their strains in the forum and email.
Located: Edinburgh, Scotland (UK) & Málaga, Spain
- Exceptional customer service
- Free seeds with every order
- Big selection but only carries select breeders that fulfill their quality standards. That means all strains are from trusted breeders
- In business since 2012
- Prompt shipping, great stealth, and guaranteed shipping that’s cheaper than most seed banks
- Accepts a wide variety of payment methods including Cash, Bank Transfer, Bitcoin, Check, Money/Postal Order, and most major Debit/Credit cards
- Their website can be a little annoying to navigate at times. For example, you can’t get to seed listings from your shopping cart so you need to use the Search bar and find the listing if you want to change the number of seeds per pack.
How Should I Pay for Seeds?
USA residents, please note that international orders will usually not go through if you try to use a standard pre-paid debit or credit card to order seeds unless it specifically says it will work internationally.
Debit or Credit Cards
What do we use to pay at GWE? I (Nebula) personally use a regular credit card every time I order cannabis seeds online. I’ve also used a debit card, too.
I like using a credit card when ordering seeds because in general credit card companies tend to offer better protection for online purchases than a bank. If there ever is a problem with a purchase of any kind, a credit card company will instantly give you a refund, while a bank tends to make you wait while they do an investigation.
Although this has never happened to me personally, when placing an order sometimes a card won’t go through because the overseas transaction has been flagged as suspicious because you don’t typically order things from overseas on that card. If that happens to you, you may need to call your bank to let them know you approve of the order. From what I’ve heard from growers in our growing forum, this seems to be a relatively quick and easy process. You could also always take your card and try somewhere else. It seems like this only happens with certain card and seed company combinations, and sometimes trying another company with the same card will work immediately without contacting your bank.
What About Paypal?
You will rarely see a seed company that offers Paypal as a listed payment option. This is because cannabis seed sales are prohibited by Paypal and a seed company’s account will get shut down instantly if Paypal finds out what they’re selling. However, just between you and me, sometimes if you email a seed company first and ask, they’ll be able to accommodate you with alternate payment options that aren’t offered on their website. But make sure to be cool and don’t ever message a seed company through Paypal so they don’t get in trouble. Always email seed companies through their personal email or website!
Is It Safe to Send Cash?
I personally have never sent cash through the mail. However, I know dozens of our readers and forum members have bought seeds online with cash, and (a little surprisingly to me) they don’t seem to have many problems. If you do send cash, make sure to only use a trusted seed source like the ones listed above, and always wrap your cash in paper so no one can see there’s cash inside through the envelope! It’s probably a good idea to start with a relatively small order, so you can test the system and the company before sending a large amount of cash through the mail! Remember, once it’s lost, it’s lost!
Which strain should I buy for my first grow?
There’s lots of great information about strains online, and via the Seed Finder link above.
My best suggestion is to do a little research on the strain and breeder, and grow a strain that seems interesting or exciting to you. If you’re still not sure, a great option for first time growers is Northern Light, since this strain is potent, stays short, is easy to grow, quick to harvest, and has a relatively low smell compared to most other strains.
But there are lots of strains that are suitable for first-time growers! What’s most important is to choose a strain that intrigues you, that way you’ll be unbelievably excited when you receive your seeds!
What’s the Best Marijuana Seed Bank?
Although there is no “best cannabis seed bank” there are many companies that have been used by hundreds of real cannabis growers like you and proven to be great and consistent sources of marijuana seeds.
The two creators of this site (Sirius and Nebula) live in the US and we rely exclusively on ordering seeds overseas for our own grows. We aren’t commercial farmers. We put together this list of popular seed sources including the ones we order from the most and why. Each of these marijuana seedbanks, seed vendors, and breeders have been put on this list based on their reliability, stealth, strain choice and how long they’ve been in the business. However, there are many other seedbanks and many of them are great! We just don’t personally have experience with them and only want to recommend what we know.
Get the best results by starting with seeds from a trustworthy seed source!
Safety Precautions For Buying Marijuana Seeds Online
If you’ve never done anything like this before, I bet your heart is racing at the idea of ordering something like cannabis seeds online. Federal law prohibits people from growing cannabis and you are worried. That’s good! It’s good to be careful, especially when it comes to growing weed! But…
Due to current customs laws in America, if your seed package from overseas gets caught in the mail, you don’t get put on a list.
First of all, I’m talking from not just my own experience (I’ve been ordering cannabis seeds online regularly since 2008) but also the experience of the thousands of growers from the USA who write in to GrowWeedEasy.com or talk about growing in the forum. For myself and for other growers, on the occasions where my seeds have been caught by customs in the mail, the U.S. customs agents simply toss the seeds and send you the rest of your package with an official looking letter explaining that your seeds were confiscated.
If that happens you, the next step is to contact the seed bank so they’ll send you a replacement package. Unless otherwise stated, all reputable seed banks will replace your seeds if they somehow get lost in the mail, and no one gives it a second thought. That’s how routine it is!
Many, many growers order seeds online every day, and to this day there has never been a report of someone in the USA getting in legal trouble for simply ordering cannabis seeds online. You can check me on that! In fact, American citizens have been ordering seeds overseas via mail order from Amsterdam since at least the 1970s, and even though it’s been over 40 years there hasn’t been a case of an American getting in legal trouble simply for ordering cannabis seeds online through the mail!
An American citizen won’t get in legal trouble for ordering cannabis seeds online from outside the country
However, because of the (backwards) way U.S. federal laws work surrounding cannabis, you can get in a lot of legal trouble for selling or sending seeds from one place to another within the USA, even between legal states! That’s why you never see long-term cannabis seed banks located in the U.S.
When marijuana seeds get caught by customs agents during shipping, the seeds get tossed and that’s it. It doesn’t matter what state you’re in, or your local laws. That is simply the way our laws about customs work. On the flip side, a U.S. sender can get in a lot of trouble by sending seeds from one place to the other within the U.S. (though this is still very, very rare).
Sometimes it’s better to hear it from other people, so I encourage you to join our grow forum and ask questions and hear answers from real people. This is a very personal decision, and you need to listen to your instincts, but I believe the evidence speaks for itself!
Cannabis seeds are often dark brown with stripes. However, the stripes are actually the result of a coating. If you rub the coating off, you will have a more pale, tan-colored seed underneath. Some seeds never really grow a good coating. It’s a good sign if a coating is there just because it means the seeds weren’t handled too much, but some of my best plants have come from tan seeds. These are all viable cannabis seeds, displaying the variation of colors you might run into.
A big tip for ordering cannabis seeds online…
Be Patient! In my experience ordering cannabis seeds from overseas, they generally arrive at my house in the US about 1-4 weeks after my initial order. It’s normally pretty quick, but it can take longer. I had a package go missing once, and they sent another. I got the replacement, and then a week later the original one showed up, a full 6 weeks after it was shipped!
I guess what I’m trying to say is, if it’s only been a few weeks, try to be patient and not worry because packages can get caught up. But if it’s been more than 2 or 3 weeks definitely contact the seed bank with any questions! They have experience with this and will be able to help you!
So what should you be worried about when it comes to security? Telling People!
When it comes to ordering seeds online, you have a lot of wiggle room as far as law enforcement is concerned if you live in the US or the UK. In these countries ordering seeds online is really a non-priority and the government is going to leave you alone about it. While they will go after growers they will not go after people just for ordering seeds.
So that’s a really important distinction you need to remember. When it comes to growing security, seeds by themselves may be technically illegal but you will never get in trouble for merely possessing seeds. It’s not worth anyone’s time to go after you for that.
What you need to be worried about is making sure no one knows you’re actually growing cannabis, that you currently have live cannabis plants in your house. That is what the government and law enforcement (as well as thieves) actually care about. They don’t want to knock down the door of anyone who may have ordered seeds, and instead put their resources into people who have been reported to be growing live plants.
Telling someone about your plants is hands-down the number one reason growers get caught – they told someone, whether it was a friend, a stranger, or even a family member, and that person (often meaning the best) told someone else, who told the wrong person…
How to Really Not Get Caught…
Don’t tell your friends that you’re growing! This may seem like it’s common sense, but this is the number one most common reason cannabis growers get caught, because they told a friend who told a friend who told the wrong person. Hundreds of seeds get confiscated every day, but no one gets in legal trouble.
Don’t worry about seeds getting caught in the mail; worry about a friend or family member finding out! No matter how much you trust someone, you can never trust someone else as closely as yourself. Never ever tell anyone you grow your own weed, for any reason. It’s tempting to brag about your awesome growing skills and top-shelf bud, but you never want to even hint that you know how to grow to anyone! If other people are talking about growing marijuana, bite your lip and act dumb!
Remember: If you can’t trust yourself not to tell anyone, how can you trust them not to tell anyone else?
Although it’s important to keep your marijuana grow hidden, keeping it a secret is even more important!
If you have done your research and are now considering purchasing cannabis seeds online, then you may be surprised to learn that it is actually very reliable and safe to buy your marijuana seeds online from a reputable seed bank. Some seed banks will even take payments from Paypal if you contact them first!
Have you decided you want to see a marijuana leaf growing in real life? Have you dreamed of seeing a real live marijuana plant growing in your home?
Ordering weed seeds online from a seed bank will allow you to purchase feminized seeds (all-female marijuana seeds) and will also let you pick the exact strain to match your size and time requirements.
Having only female weed seeds is a huge advantage for the small grower who won’t be breeding new strains and may have limited space and doesn’t want to have to waste time and energy on throwing away half their cannabis plants at the flowering stage because they ended up being male cannabis plants.
Easy access to buy incredibly potent cannabis strains is another great reason many growers choose to buy weed seeds online.
Common Question: Where do I buy marijuana seeds in the USA?
You have only a few real options:
- Use random bagseed that you find
- Know someone who will sell, trade or give you seeds/clones
- Buy seeds of specific marijuana strains online
It’s surprisingly easy to buy marijuana seeds online at a cannabis seed bank, marijuana breeder, or other vendor
Before anyone can start growing marijuana they have to first get their hands on marijuana seeds or clones.
Marijuana seeds are often the easiest for new growers to start with because, unlike marijuana clones, they don’t require access to someone who is already growing marijuana plants. When you see your first tiny little weed leaf you will know it was all worth it!
USA Residents Please Note:
For USA residents, international orders will not go through if you try to use a pre-paid debit or credit card. This used to be a way to add security to your order (purchase a pre-paid card in cash, then use that to make your online order) but these cards no longer work with any international order due to a change in laws that occured in 2012. However, there are lots of safe options to get marijuana seeds in the USA.
If you’re trying to figure out which cannabis seed banks deliver to the USA or another specific part of the world, you can find those answers in the list on this page!
The tips and advice in this article about buying marijuana seeds online are only meant to be used by those who can legally buy marijuana seeds and grow marijuana according to all applicable laws. We are not lawyers and are not able to provide any sort of legal advice. We do not in any way recommend that you use this information to buy pot seeds if it is not legal for you to do so. Please do not proceed to use any of this seed sales information if you will commit a crime by following the steps outlined in this article, even if you are growing for pain relief, medical research, or another reasonable purpose.
GWE's regularly updated list shares the best and most reliable marijuana seed banks that ship worldwide. Plus USA residents: learn how to safely order cannabis seeds online!