10 Markers of a Quality Marijuana Seed
If you’re looking to start growing your own marijuana, the first place to start is with the seed. What should you look for? How can you tell a good cannabis seed from a dud? Chris Bond tells us.
So, you’ve decided to grow your own marijuana from seed. How do you know if those little, round nuggets in your hand will grow up lush and produce beautiful, productive buds? How do you know if they are duds? While ultimately the genetics will determine the destiny of those little weed seeds, and proper care will help them to realize their full potential, there are some markers you can assess to see if what you have is quality seed, indeed.
What to Look for in a Cannabis Seed
While all cannabis seed is not identical in color, there are some consistencies. Healthy, viable seed will be light to dark brown in color. Seed that is light green or even whitish in color is underdeveloped and should be tossed out. Healthy seed will also have a burled or turtle shell-like pattern on its seed coat.
A quality cannabis seed will have a waxy, protective coating. Seeds that appear dull are probably not as viable and should be avoided if given a choice.
Quality cannabis seed will look like a plump teardrop. Flat or misshapen seeds will not likely produce quality plants.
Quality seed will be firm. Cannabis seed should have a strong seed coat protecting the pre-emerged life inside. Any seed that is tender, pliable or squishy should not be planted; poor results will follow if attempted.
Size is relative, but if you are able to compare several seeds at once, the higher quality seeds are larger. When it comes to seeds, less is more. The fewer seeds that comprise any given amount, an ounce or a gram for example, is generally an indicator of higher quality seeds. The biggest seeds within a species generally have more energy stored within them and have a greater potential to mature into a productive plant. Note that indica strains tend to produce larger seeds than sativa strains so make sure the comparison is made among like seeds.
Weight often goes hand-in-hand with size, but heavier seeds are generally of higher quality than lighter ones. The older a seed gets, the more potential loss of moisture and nutrients, reducing its overall weight. Damaged seed, which has been cracked can potentially lose those same necessary qualities.
#7 Float test
Quality seeds will sink in water. In glass or vessel, place room temperature water deep enough to full cover the volume of seeds to be tested. Place your seed or seeds in the water. After a couple of hours, anything still floating, should not be considered a quality seed. Soaking seeds will allow moisture to cross over the protective membrane and signal the seed that it is time to grow. As such this test should not be performed if the intent is to store the seeds after testing as it may render otherwise quality seed unviable if not meant to be immediately germinated afterwards.
You may not have access to see or have verified information on the storage conditions of seeds, but if you can find this out, it is critical to maintaining quality seeds. While cannabis seeds can be viable for over 10 years in some instances, the best seed in terms of productivity is not more than 12 to 18 months old. It should have been stored in dark, cool and dry conditions to prevent mold or the onset of any fungal issues. Storing in a freezer can prolong seeds as well, essentially suspending time.
#9 Age at harvest
This is another aspect you, the buyer may not be privy to. Quality seed is harvest when fully mature. If seed was collected before the plant was able to load as much stored energy into it as possible, then that seed will be starting out life in a deficit. Color, as referenced above can be an indicator of whether or not a seed was harvested at the appropriate time.
You get what you pay for and a cannabis seed is not exempt from this maxim. Quality seeds are not cheap (at least when compared to other agricultural seeds). This isn’t to say that inferior seeds can’t be overpriced, but if you find cannabis seeds proclaiming excellent genetics for sale at a price that seems too good to be true, caveat emptor.
This is not meant to be a definitive list, as new varieties of cannabis emerge on the scene all the time that may have “normal” traits that would otherwise be viewed as deficiencies in other strains. As always, do your homework, ask other growers who know and buy your seeds from a reputable source.
10 Best Cannabis Seed Banks To Buy Cannabis Seeds Online in 2022 (Ships to US)
Cannabis has never been more popular in the United States, with an overwhelming number of Americans expressing support for legalization, according to the Pew Research Center. With some 37 states having legalized cannabis for medical use, and sixteen for recreational purposes, more Americans than ever are considering growing their own cannabis.
Buoying this surge further is the 2018 Farm Bill, which helped dramatically boost both cannabis and hemp production in the U.S. Now, demand is higher than ever among Americans looking to grow their own. So, where are they turning? Most likely, to the hundreds if not thousands of cannabis seed banks found online, just a Google search away.
Seed banks, for the uninitiated, are repositories that store seeds to maintain and propagate genetic diversity. Cannabis seed banks online thus provide would-be growers with the seeds they need to get started growing cannabis. The problem, however, is that not all of these are reputable, and there is a wide range in overall quality among these vendors. So many options might leave beginning growers understandably scratching their heads.
Well, that’s where we come in! Today, we’re looking at ten of the very best seed banks from which U.S. citizens—at least in states that have legalized growing your own—can order seeds and start producing their very own cannabis.
Top 10 Cannabis Seed Banks To Buy Seeds Online
|1.||I Love Growing Marijuana (ILGM)||Best overall|
|2.||Crop King Seeds||Best for global shipping|
|3.||MSNL Seedbank||Best delivery|
|4.||Seedsman||Best seed variety|
|5.||Quebec Cannabis Seeds||Best for promotional offers|
|6.||Herbies||Best for convenience|
|7.||Ministry of Cannabis||Best for dependability|
|8.||Seed Supreme||Best for crypto|
|9.||Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds||Best for guaranteed delivery|
|10.||Weed Seed Express||Best “new kid on the block”|
To some extent, your choice of cannabis seed bank will depend on whether they have the strains that you want to grow. We obviously could not consider that in our rankings, as it varies from person to person. Instead, we focused on the following equally important factors.
Quality of Seeds
Perhaps the most important consideration in our rankings is the quality of the seeds. You need high-quality seeds if you want to maximize your chances of successful germination. High-quality seeds also optimize the quality of your plants, including the buds.
For a seed bank to be considered one of the top options, it needs to have a satisfaction guarantee. Even seed banks with a high quality of seeds will occasionally have lower-quality seeds. The best ones acknowledge that this can happen and take steps to remedy any issues customers have. Of course, a satisfaction guarantee also shows that the seed bank in question has a high level of trust in its products.
Even if cannabis is legal in your state, it may not be in the states your package passes through. And there are still some negative connotations and stigma associated with cannabis. Because of this, we prioritize seed banks that use discreet packaging. Many of the best seed banks not only use discreet packaging but also purposely package it to look like something else, like a DVD case or toy.
Why Trust Us
You should feel comfortable taking our advice when it comes to cannabis seed banks. We’ve helped cannabis growers find reputable seed banks online for years. Over this time, we have reviewed most of the largest and most popular stores, along with many of the smaller ones. We have taken the time to thoroughly compare and contrast each based on the above ranking criteria.
Simply put, our rankings are the result of years of knowledge, experience, and research, along with a careful point-by-point comparison.
There’s a reason that ILGM takes the top spot in not only our review but many others. In addition to fantastic customer service and a wide variety of seeds to choose from, they also provide tons of sales and discounts while educating customers through an extensive library of growing resources.
As far as their seeds, the quality is excellent and, importantly, backed by a germination guarantee. They have a variety of classic cannabis strains as well as some you may have never heard of before. As far as safety, ILGM has an extremely solid reputation and their customer service easily competes with the best out there. In fact, on TrustPilot they have more than 4,000 user reviews with an average rating of 4.8/5.
Considering how reputable ILGM is, coupled with an extensive collection of top-quality seeds, it was not at all difficult to select them for the top spot on our list. The only real downside—and it’s a minor one—with ILGM is that it will cost a pretty penny if you want tracked shipping, as it costs $25 (compared to their standard shipping, which is free).
- Monthly deals and promos
- Extremely reputable and highly rated
- Germination guarantee (money back)
- Discreet packaging
- Free standard shipping
- Features all the best-known strains
- Growing resources and 24/7 support
- Delivery with tracking will set you back $25
2.) Crop King Seeds — Best for International Customers
Crop King Seeds gets points for its easy-to-use site—some of its competitors still feature clunky sites, which can be unappealing to the modern cannabis grower, skewing younger every year. Crop King Seeds also wins points for being a beginner-friendly site, with germination guides to help you grow (literally!).
With a massive variety of strains, Crop King has received thousands of positive reviews for its seeds, and its reviews are regulated, helping keep out biased or paid reviewers and showing you who are regular customers. Their reviews frequently indicate high germination rates, from 80 to even 100 percent.
To help narrow your choices, use the site’s filters to find what’s best for you. Crop King is also reasonable in terms of shipping, with $10 and $30 for regular and express, respectively, plus free shipping on orders over $300.
- Germination rate of 80 percent or more
- Special review system
- Germination guides
- Helpful infographics
- Free shipping for larger ($300+) orders
- Global shipping
- No free shipping
- One- to two-week shipping time is among the slowest
- Targeted to beginners, which might turn off more experienced growers
3.) MSNL Seedbank — Best For Quickest Delivery
MSNL has been in the game for a long time and is definitely among the most reliable seed banks out there. It also offers one of the fastest processing and shipping times, so if you need seeds right away, MSNL should be at the top of your list.
This reputable seed bank also runs frequent promos, enabling you to save some money (especially over the long haul). Although they have a great range of male and female seeds to order from, MSNL does lose some points due to its lack of a germination guarantee.
One thing that does keep it toward the top of our list is its lightning fast and discreet shipping, which has helped make it one of the most popular seed banks online. Another nice feather in MSNL’s cap is the fact that their seeds have won High Times and Cannabis Cups.
- Fast and discreet shipping
- Lot of promos/freebies
- Solid strain variety
- Subpar customer support
- No germination guarantees
4.) Seedsman — Best for Selection
Seedsman—true to its name—offers an amazing variety of seeds, many of which are top quality. Whether you’re after feminized seeds, auto-flowering seeds, or rare seed strains, Seedsman will almost certainly have you covered. OG Kush, White Widow, Purple Haze, Girl Scout Cookies—they’ve got all your favorites.
Another nice aspect of Seedsman is they tend to give out a lot of free seeds when buying in bulk. So if that’s you, you’ll reap some additional seeds by going through Seedsman. They also offer worldwide shipping, which makes them a solid option if you’re outside of the U.S.
Although Seedsman is one of our top picks overall, thanks in particular to its extensive seed variety, it does lose some points due to its questionable customer service and somewhat clunky website.
- Worldwide shipping
- Massive seed variety
- Free seeds with bulk purchases
- Subpar customer support
Quebec Cannabis Seeds is a great seed bank overall, but particularly if you live in the U.S., as its proximity makes for quick deliveries compared to some other seed banks.
Although Quebec Cannabis Seeds lacks the variety of many of the other seed banks on this list, it helps make up for it in a variety of ways—namely, fast delivery, awesome discounts, and high-quality seeds. They’re an especially good choice if you’re on a budget, as their weekly discounts offer big savings—sometimes up to 50 percent, although often in the still-great 10-25 percent range.
A few other things about this French-Canadian seed bank: It carries a germination guarantee but also has a no-return policy, which seem to kind of cancel each other out, and it also allows for payment in USD—so no need to do any conversions, but be mindful of their 3.8 percent credit card fee.
- Germination guarantees
- Weekly discounts
- Fast deliveries to the U.S.
- No return policy
6.) Herbies — Best for Convenience
Herbies also makes our list in large part thanks to its site’s convenient layout. It’s really easy to navigate and figuring out what’s discounted and what’s highly rated is a breeze, thanks to their intuitive, color-coded system.
In addition, Herbies also shares many similarities with the other seed banks listed here in that it has a wide range of top-quality seeds. They also have reliably quick processing and shipping, which can be really important when you’re trying to get a grow operation underway quickly.
Thanks to how easy the Herbies site is to navigate, as well as its solid value in terms of variety, quality, and shipping, it easily makes our list of the best overall online seed banks. Unfortunately, like a fair number of seed banks online, its customer support is sorely lacking.
- Easy-to-navigate website
- Reliable and fast shipping
- Top-quality seeds
- Weak customer support
7.) Ministry of Cannabis — Best for Reliability
Ministry of Cannabis is super reliable, which has helped it gain a lot of happy customers, even though it lacks the number of promos offered by many other seed banks. This seed bank tends to attract serious customers because they have a unique feature: rotating seed stocks.
This attention to the freshness of their seed supply helps make Ministry of Cannabis one of the most reliable seed banks out there. After all, the last thing anyone wants is to get bunk seeds. Another feature that helps them win “best dependability” is their above-average customer support.
Overall, Ministry of Cannabis is a solid choice, even if we’d appreciate seeing more promos offered like many of its competitors. Their fresh supply of seeds is probably why they feel as if they can get away with not having a germination guarantee like many other seed banks.
- Solid variety
- Fresh seed supply
- Reliable customer support
- No germination guarantees
- Few promos
8.) Seed Supreme — Best for Digital Currencies
Seed Supreme is our “best for crypto” pick because not only do they accept cryptocurrency, like many of the other seed banks featured here, but they even have special discounts for Bitcoin. This makes it an appealing choice in particular for Bitcoin holders, as they can save quite a good bit of money.
In terms of the other usual suspects, Seed Supreme does well. They have a good strain variety and, although their customer support is subpar, they do offer loyalty rewards that pay off over time. You might be better off with a different option if you don’t care about paying in crypto (and specifically Bitcoin).
- Discounts (up to 30 percent!) for paying in Bitcoin
- Above-average strain variety
- Loyalty rewards program
- Lacking in customer service
9.) Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds — Best for Prompt Delivery
Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds insists on having top-notch quality. Although it may lack some of the seed variety of its competitors, you’re guaranteed to receive seeds of the highest quality, making it one of the more reliable suppliers for serious growers.
Another aspect that helps it win “best guaranteed delivery” is the fact that customers have claimed that their orders were guaranteed, even in the event that customs confiscated their packages. This helps make up for the fact that Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds has one of the slowest shipping speeds on this list. This stings a little less though if you’re on a tight budget, as shipping is free.
- Free shipping
- Highest quality seeds
- Guaranteed orders
- Slow shipping speeds
Every industry has its up and comers and, over time, some of them even manage to supplant the oldest, most well-established companies. Weed Seeds Express might just accomplish this tough feat.
Why? Because they are proving themselves to be one of the most reliable seed banks online, with fast, discreet shipping and a huge variety of high-quality seeds. They also ship worldwide and boast a lot of promos.
The only thing holding back Weed Seeds from claiming one of our top spots is the fact that it’s simply really new to the industry. As long as it continues to do what it’s doing, it will no doubt establish a great reputation and continue to grow (yes, pun intended).
- Frequent promos
- Stealthy worldwide shipping
- Top-quality seeds
- New on the block
Cannabis Seed Bank FAQ
Q: Is it illegal to buy cannabis seeds in the U.S.?
A: Yes and no. That just depends on where you are! Since each state has their own specific laws, and cannabis has not yet been fully decriminalized/legalized on a federal level (although it’s looking more likely than ever), it depends on your specific state. That said, seed banks usually use an antiquated law to help surmount legal hurdles and conduct their business. This works, in essence, by framing the seeds as either a souvenir or fish bait/bird food. You can see disclaimers about this on their websites.
Q: Which seed banks have the best genetics?
A: The award here goes to the seed banks that have built a great reputation for delivering high-quality seeds: Seedsman, Crop King Seeds, and Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds. These banks, it would seem, test their seeds to ensure that the strains are of the highest quality. Stick to these three if acquiring top-quality seeds is your main preference.
Q: Does it matter how I pay for my seeds?
A: Once again, it depends. Many seed banks actually offer discounts for crypto payments because of the discreet, decentralized nature of how cryptocurrency transactions function. While most accept credit cards, which does offer you some protection through your credit card company, many have a strong preference for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Two that offer discounts for Bitcoin payments are Seed Supreme and I Love Growing Marijuana. With these two, it can definitely add up to solid savings—assuming that Bitcoin doesn’t eventually skyrocket in price one day (clearly this is another factor in the acceptance of Bitcoin by many seed banks).
Q: What’s “stealth shipping” and why should I care?
A: The last thing anyone wants is to have issues with their order in terms of customs/government involvement. As such, it’s nice to order from a seed bank that guarantees discreet shipping. A common method is to include other, inexpensive items with the seeds, such as DVD cases. This helps the package seem less suspicious. Another way to keep a low profile is to resist the urge for expedited delivery or a delivery option that requires your signature.
Q: Which seed banks offer worldwide shipping?
A: Weed Seeds Express, Seedsman, and Crop King Seeds. These will need to be your first choices if you live outside of the U.S.
Tips for Using a Cannabis Seed Bank
Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your seed bank shopping experience:
- Browse a number of different sites so that you can take advantage of any special promos that might be going on.
- Check to make sure that the site has the payment option that you prefer to use (particularly if you are looking to pay via cryptocurrency).
- Make sure that they ship to your country/state.
- Check for a “germination guarantee” and, if they don’t have one, investigate their return policies and customer support. You want to make sure that you protect yourself the best you can.
We’ve put together this list carefully to ensure that you go about your cannabis seed shopping in a safe way and don’t get ripped off. So, any one of these should do the trick just fine. Ultimately, what it comes down to is your specific preferences—for example, shipping time, location, payment method, reliability, seed variety, etc. Factor these in so that you make the choice that’s best for you.
That said, you can’t really go wrong with one of the most well-established seed banks such as I Love Growing Marijuana or MSNL Seedbank.