All About Cannabis Seeds: Everything You Need To Know About Them

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Added 13 March 2023

Planning to start growing cannabis? 

If you’ve ever grown any kind of plant, you already know that the most important factor to obtain good yields lies in the seeds. 

That’s right — the fate of your plant depends on the type of seeds you choose because it’s all about genetics. 

So, while you’re conducting research to get started with growing cannabis, don’t overlook the importance of high-quality seeds. These little nuggets are the foundation of your cannabis garden.

Choose the wrong seed and you will end up growing a plant that struggles to grow, doesn’t grow so well, or doesn’t develop enough buds. In worse cases, the seeds may not germinate at all. That is not only a waste of energy and money but also time-consuming. 

On the other hand, choose high-quality seeds and you’ll be well on your way to success. You can have the most expensive LED lights, a high-tech hydroponic system, and every other peripheral but your plant will not grow well without high-quality seeds. Period. 

There’s a lot more to cannabis seeds than just this. But, don’t worry, we'll help!

In this article, you’ll learn everything there is to know about cannabis seeds, the best germination and storage methods, identifying high-quality seeds, and a lot more. 

About Cannabis Seeds

About Cannabis Seeds

Cannabis seeds look like any other plant seeds — they are tiny and oval-shaped, 3 to 4 mm in height and 1.5 to 2 mm in width. These little dried fruits are coated in a subtle membrane, under which lies a much harder membrane that produces the embryo. 

Apart from the embryo, the seed also contains albumen, which is the nutritional reserve that is responsible for keeping the embryo well-fed until the seed is germinated. The albumen also serves as the first source of nutrition for a seedling. 

The center of the seed also houses the genetic code for the plant. Additionally, it also contains the following:

  • Radicle, which is the embryonic root — the roots grow from this part
  • Cotyledons that are responsible for growing the first few leaves post germination
  • Hypocotyl, or the embryonic stage

Generally, the seeds take around 3 to 18 days to germinate and turn into a seedling, depending on your location, weather, genetics, and nutrients. More on this is below. 

Since every part of the cannabis plant can be used in one way or another for both medicinal and recreational purposes, some may wonder if they can smoke seeds. Nope, you can’t. It is harsh and produces a pungent flavor when burnt.

Instead, if you want to get some benefits from cannabis seeds, you should consider eating them. They are rich in proteins like Omega 3, 6, and 9. Roasted hemp seeds are particularly tasty and you can purchase them online. But, when it comes to cannabis seeds, it’s better to germinate them so they grow into bushy plants. 

But like most people, seeds are much better at another thing — growing bushy cannabis plants.

Growing cannabis isn’t as straightforward, though, and if you want to grow a healthy plant with a terrific yield, it all starts from the seeds you pick. Choose the wrong one and you’re inviting disappointment. Choose the right one and you will be rewarded. Learn more on this below.

Why is it Important to Purchase High-quality Cannabis Seeds?

Why is it Important to Purchase High-quality Cannabis Seeds?

The quality of your cannabis plant will ultimately depend on the quality of the seeds you use to grow it — as simple as that. Therefore, using good cannabis seeds is of utmost importance if you want to grow high-quality buds. Here are some reasons why:

1. Amazing Genetics 

Breeders put in a lot of time and effort to breed high-quality cannabis seeds. If it were that easy to produce seeds with incredible genetics, everyone would have done it. Also, this is one of the reasons cannabis seeds are expensive — it takes time, effort, and space to grow innumerable plants, pick desirable traits and cross them to obtain seeds. 

Breeders select high-quality seeds carefully after choosing among various plants for their positive traits such as high THC, disease resistance, resistance to pests, and bountiful yields. If you pick seeds with bad genetics, you can be certain that the plant won’t grow to its maximum potential. Good genetics are essential for producing top-quality buds, as they determine the plant's potential for growth and development.

2. Stability

High-quality seeds will produce plants that are stable and consistent. So, if you grow a bunch of plants of the same strain, they will resemble each other closely. In other words, you can expect good seeds to produce plants that are consistent and stable with respect to the growth rate, quality of the buds, and flowering time. This may not be a big deal for home growers that grow just a few plants at a time; however, it does matter a lot for commercial operations where their livelihood depends on stable plants with consistent results. 

3. Big yields

Cannabis plants that are grown from good-quality seeds tend to produce higher yields compared to those grown from low-quality seeds. This is due to the fact that high-quality seeds produce healthy plants with robust root systems that can absorb nutrients more efficiently and support the growth of bigger and denser buds.

4. Resistance to diseases and pests

Typically, seeds of good quality are resistant to pests and diseases. No, this doesn’t mean that they will thrive even if there are spider mites or other pests lurking in a plant nearby; however, they are more resistant to threats compared to plants produced from low-quality seeds. In addition, they fare better than other plants even in conditions that are less than ideal. But, if you provide everything it needs, the plant will grow to its true potential and reward you with amazing buds. 

5. Seeds according to climatic conditions

Imagine you live in a location that gets very cold or gets too hot. Ideally, cannabis plants love temperatures ranging from 65°F to 86°F or 18°C to 30°C. Most cannabis plants struggle a lot to survive if the temps go far above or below this; however, if you purchase seeds from reputable breeders selling seeds that can grow even in low and high temps, you’ll still be able to generate some yields. This is one of the major differences between good breeders and others who simply sell seeds. 

6. Cost-effective

This may sound counterintuitive as we just mentioned how expensive good-quality seeds are. Yes, it gets a bit costly initially when you place an order for, say, 10 to 20 seeds, but you can rest assured that a majority of them will germinate. On the other hand, you can’t be sure about low-quality seeds and will end up spending more than you initially planned because you won’t have a good germination rate. In addition, good-quality seeds will prove to be cost-effective or inexpensive in the long run as they are likely to produce higher yields, thereby offsetting your initial investment and providing a better return on investment over time.

As you can understand by now, it’s imperative to invest in high-quality seeds even if it’s slightly expensive initially because you’ll get consistent, disease and pest-resistant plants that produce higher yields. 

How to Buy Cannabis Seeds?

How to Buy Cannabis Seeds?

This brings us to an important aspect of growing cannabis — buying the right seeds for it. So, here are some tips on purchasing cannabis seeds. 

1. Choose the Right Strain

One of the first steps in buying good cannabis seeds is choosing the right strain, depending on your preferences and climatic conditions. Choosing a strain based on your taste is easy — pick a strain you like and grow it well so it produces desired results. 

On the other hand, choosing a strain based on your climate is a little tricky. This is because some strains that grow well in an arid climate may not flourish in a tropical region. So, depending on your location, you need to pick a strain that suits your climate. 

Additionally, you need to consider your grow setup — indoor or outdoor, the nutrients you plan to use, the growing medium, etc. Once you take all these factors into account, you'll be able to figure out the right strain.  

2. Look for High-Quality Genetics 

You may have heard many other growers, especially breeders, mentioning unstable genetics. What is that? Essentially, a seed with unstable genetics is one whose origin is not known — it may be a stable line or an unstable one. You need to pick the former. 

Ensure that when you purchase cannabis seeds, the breeder provides you with information on the plant’s ancestry and how they were crossed/backcrossed. And avoid seeds with unknown breeding history as they may not grow healthy or flourishing plants. 

Again, remember that professional breeding is a long, arduous process where the breeder grows hundreds of plants of the same line until the line is stabilized. Breeders that don’t stabilize their strains usually produce seeds that may not grow healthy plants at all! 

Also, unless you want to experiment just once to see if you can grow cannabis or not, do not go for bag seeds. Sure, it may sound amazing when you have a few "landrace" strains from your friend, but you're at risk of losing money and time if you continue that way in the long run as you'll end up spending more on your setup and electricity costs. 

3. Pick the Right Type of Seeds

There are three types of seeds you need to pick from: regular, feminized, and autoflowering seeds. Let’s take a look at these types in more detail.

  • Regular Cannabis Seeds

Regular seeds are the cheapest seeds you can buy, and a pack of them will contain both male and female seeds. Many growers prefer these seeds because they are not as inbred or backcrossed as feminized or autoflowering seeds. 

The only downside with regular seeds is that you can’t identify the sex of the plant until its reproductive organs start growing at the nodes. If you only want to grow female plants, you have to grow multiple plants and, when they show their sex, you have to discard the male ones. 

  • Feminized Cannabis Seeds

For growers who want a big plant but don’t want to risk their plants getting pollinated or want to avoid male plants entirely, they can choose feminized cannabis seeds. These seeds are genetically designed to only grow female plants that grow buds, not male plants. 

While these seeds are a little expensive to purchase, they can save you a lot of money down the line that would otherwise have been spent on undesired male plants. 

  • Autoflowering Seeds

The third type of cannabis seeds you can buy is autoflowering seeds, which do not rely on the light cycle for growth. Regular and feminized seeds grow photoperiod plants that rely on a light cycle.

Due to this, autoflowering plants grow a lot faster and smaller, but you don’t have to spend a lot of energy on maintaining the light cycle throughout the growth. This makes autoflowering cannabis the ideal choice for new growers or growers who want their plants to be discreet and fast. 

4. Buy Enough Seeds

When you want to grow cannabis, you should ensure you purchase enough seeds depending on how many plants you want to grow. In a pack, some seeds may not germinate at all — except roughly a quarter of the seeds will not grow. And if you pick regular seeds, a lot of them will also grow into male plants. 

So, you need to buy enough seeds. For instance, if you want to grow five plants for buds, you should ideally germinate at least ten seeds. A couple of these won’t germinate at all and a few will grow male plants. You can choose fewer seeds if you are purchasing feminized seeds though.

There are also a few other factors including where you should purchase the seeds, which we will discuss further in the article.

How to Identify Bad Cannabis Seeds?

How to Identify Bad Cannabis Seeds?

There are many reasons why your cannabis seeds may turn out to be bad — perhaps you picked the wrong supplier, the seeds were not stored properly, or have just gone bad due to other reasons. It is not ideal to grow such seeds. 

Starting off, you need to look for the basic signs of a bad seed, which are:

  • The seeds are brittle or mushy
  • They may also smell sour or rancid
  • You can see mold growing on them

If you spot these symptoms on your seeds, they have gone bad and you shouldn’t use them. There are a few other symptoms you should look out for, too, which are as follows.

1. Color of the Seeds

The color is a good indicator of the seeds’ health. A healthy cannabis seed is usually brown, black, or gray. However, if your seeds are completely white, it is likely dead and will not sprout. On the other hand, if the seeds are green, they may not be fully mature. 

2. Size of the Seeds

Another good indicator of a high-quality seed is its size. A healthy cannabis seed would be evenly shaped, but if it is smaller than the rest or has a weird shape, it may not sprout at all. So, you need to germinate seeds that look evenly shaped and are of average height.

3. Coating and Shell

When you hold the seed, you can check the outer membrane, which is generally thin, but it shouldn’t be too thin. If it is thinner than usual, flaking off, or easy to break, the seed is likely old and not viable enough. Instead, pick seeds that have a waxy sheen over them. 

Apart from the coating, you should also look at the shell. Ideally, you should only pick seeds that are firm and plump to the touch, if they feel hollow or wrinkled, they have either gone bad or didn’t form properly.

Do note that there are some strains that naturally have a thin coating or smaller size due to genetics. Additionally, strain genetics also dictate the color of the seeds sometimes. 

For example, Somango seeds are white, and Thai seeds tend to be smaller than usual. These seeds will be viable, but you need to know the strain characteristics of the seeds you are buying. Avoid anomalies and you're good to grow your cannabis plant. 

You should also look for any signs of damage on the leaves. Cracks or holes in the seeds can significantly affect their viability since moisture and pathogens can enter the seeds and damage the tissues within. 

How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds?

How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds?

Once you have purchased your seeds, you need to germinate them, which will usually take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. The process depends on various factors like temperature, light, germination method, and strain genetics. 

Here, if the seed takes a lot longer than you expect, it may probably never germinate. The longer the seed takes to sprout, the less viable it gets with time. But there’s a trick — if your seed takes too long to germinate, gently squeeze the seed. This will break the outer shell and help the seed germinate. Note that this doesn’t work all the time.

When the seed is germinating, it will go through various stages, but you need to ensure that it gets the right conditions for healthy growth. There are a few methods you can use to germinate your seeds properly, which are as follows.

1. Paper Towels

Perhaps the easiest and most popular method of germinating seeds is with the paper towel method, where you place your cannabis seed between two sheets of paper towel and moisten them. 

Then, place the paper towels on a plate and cover the plate with a towel or something else that will keep the seed dark. Once you see the white taproot sprouting out, transplant the seed. 

2. Direct Planting Method

The next common method is also the most natural one — you simply sow your seeds into the soil and let them grow out naturally. For this, you need to place your seed half an inch in the soil (or another medium of your choice), moisten it with some water, and wait for it to sprout. 

The primary benefit of this method is that you won’t have to transplant your plant, which is always good. Transplanting can cause shock to some cannabis plants and hamper their growth. 

3. Jiffy Pots

You can purchase jiffy pots at your local gardening stores, which are basically small round disks. Water the disks when you want to germinate the seeds, and the disks expand into little soil pots, which you can use as the medium for the seeds. Once the seed starts growing, you can transplant it to the final container or the ground. 

4. Germination Station

Lastly, you can use a germination station, which are mini greenhouses that act as seed starter. They feature a small soil base that is heated to keep the soil at a cozy temperature. You can even make one of these at home.

The benefit of using germination stations is that it allows you to start seeds in regions where the temperatures are not favorable for cannabis plants. 

There are many other methods that growers around the world use to germinate seeds, but these are the most common ones. Choose a method that works for you and use it. 

How to Store Cannabis Seeds?

How to Store Cannabis Seeds?

Let’s say you have purchased cannabis seeds but you have more than you need. Can you store them safely for the next season? Yes, you can, but it depends on many factors. 

Cannabis seeds can last a long time, but some strains last longer than others, especially the ones with a thicker coating or shell. The shell makes them resistant to moisture and pathogens, allowing them to last longer. 

Plus, seeds that are mature when harvested also last longer than seeds that were harvested too soon or too late. And how you store the seed plays a major role, due to factors like temperature, humidity, and light. 

Here are some tips on storing your cannabis seeds:

  • Use air-tight containers to store your cannabis seeds safely, and place them in a cool, dark place. 
  • Also, ensure that the seeds are not exposed to a lot of humidity as it can signal the seed to start sprouting or even lead to mold growth; maintain RH of 20% to 30% during storage. 
  • Keep the temperatures stable between 41°F to 77 or 5°C to 25°C. 
  • Keep your seeds away from light, especially sunlight, as it can dry out the seeds and make them less viable.

If you want to store your cannabis seeds for longer than a month, you can even place them in the fridge. These seeds can last up to a year, and if you do it right, even more. 

Where to Buy Cannabis Seeds From?

Where to Buy Cannabis Seeds From?

In countries where cannabis is legalized, many seed banks have sprouted — pun intended — where you can purchase your seeds from. However, the process is not always straightforward. 

You have two options to buy cannabis seeds from — online and brick-and-mortar seedbanks and dispensaries. 

If you have a seed bank near you, you can visit them and check out its offerings. Offline seed banks are the easiest way to purchase seeds as they are legal and the representatives will guide you through the process and even help you pick the right seeds as per your grow setup. 

On the other hand, if cannabis is restricted in your region or you don't have a seed bank nearby, you can order from online seed banks. Most reputable banks provide all the information on the product page itself, helping you make an informed decision easily.

We have a range of breeders on our site, and you can ask questions to make the right choice. Whichever seed bank you choose, whether online or offline, you do need to keep a few things in mind, such as the following:

  • Always purchase seeds from reputable seed banks with high ratings — they have strict processes and abide by industry regulations, so you tend to get higher-quality products
  • Read the reviews for the seeds you plan to purchase, which will give you an insight into other growers’ experiences and how the seeds fare in different scenarios
  • Only purchase seeds from banks that give crucial information like the strain, line stability, THC/CBD content, and other data 
  • Cheap seeds may not always be the best, but, sometimes, expensive seeds aren’t always the best; so, do your due diligence when choosing a seed bank to order from

What is the Cost of Cannabis Seeds?

What is the Cost of Cannabis Seeds?

In most seed banks, you will find packs of seeds that contain 10 to 12 seeds, and these packs usually cost around $40. This is the average rate of regular cannabis seeds, but some seeds, depending on their genetics, strain, or type may be more expensive. High-end cannabis seeds can even cost up to $500 for a single pack!

Are Cannabis Seeds Legal?

Like cannabis buds, concentrates, or edibles, even the seeds are classified as cannabis products. So, their legality depends on your region and local laws. For example, in countries where cannabis is legal to buy, produce, and sell, you can purchase seeds legally. 

On the other hand, in countries where medical cannabis is legalized, you may have to get a medical card to purchase cannabis seeds. 

To know if cannabis seeds are legal in your region, you need to look up your local laws. But don’t worry if they are not legalized yet. Many seed banks offer discreet shipping, so no one will know you are purchasing cannabis seeds. 

Summary: All About Cannabis Seeds: Everything You Need To Know About Them

You reap what you sow and this statement is literally true for cannabis seeds. Sow the right seeds and you'll be looking forward to a successful harvest after a few months. Use this guide as a stepping stone to becoming a better cannabis grower even before you grow a single plant. 

To summarize, pick the right seeds. Choose a strain that suits your grow setup and local climate, choose between regular, feminized, and autoflowering seeds, and place an order from reputable seed banks.

Once you get the seeds, identify the good ones. Look at the color — it should be green or brown; the size should be average, depending on the strain, and the coating and shell should be thick and undamaged. 

Then, start germinating at least twice as many seeds as you plan to grow. You can use the paper towel or direct planting methods, but don’t hesitate to experiment with other methods like jiffy pots or germination stations. 

Lastly, know your local laws. You don’t want to get in trouble even before you have enjoyed a joint from your plant, do you? So, choose the most legal approach available and grow your cannabis plant accordingly. 

But purchasing the right seeds is only the start. There’s a lot more to growing cannabis, including training them, so stay tuned to know all about growing the best cannabis plants at home! 

How many times have you bought bad seeds? And what did you do about them? Did you throw them away or switch to another breeder? Let us know in the comments below!



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