So you’re finally ready to grow your own flower. Herb’s guide on how to buy marijuana seeds will arm you with all the information to get started.
Photography by Georgia Love for Herb
Ever fantasize about growing your own weed? It’s definitely a rewarding experience that every enthusiast should attempt at least once. The first step? Securing the best cannabis seeds to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. Lucky for you, we’ve created the ultimate guide on where to buy marijuana seeds so you’re set up for success.
Cannabis seeds are obviously the seeds of our favorite herb, but can you grow any old seed into a flowering weed plant? The important thing for successfully growing cannabis is to only cultivate female plants. Female plants will provide you with the highest quality flowers for smoking. However, those same female plants should be seedless, so where do cannabis seeds come from?
Cannabis seeds are produced when a male plant fertilizes a female plant. You don’t want this to happen if you’re growing females for smokable flower because then the buds are cluttered with seeds. That’s why cultivators isolate their female plants as soon as they identify the sex, and you should too.
Of course, if seeds are desirable for reproduction or hemp seed oil, then this process is allowed to happen. However, when it comes to creating cannabis seeds to produce a new generation of plants, there are some other techniques experienced cultivators will use.
You can order cannabis seeds online from seed banks, but it can get confusing with all the different types of seeds available. The first thing you want to do is decide which strain you want to grow. Most seed bank sites will have a selection, sometimes organized by indica, sativa, hybrid, high-CBD, or by their medical or recreational uses.
The first category of cannabis seeds you’ll likely come across is “feminized seeds.” As you probably guessed, this is referring to the gender of the plant. While female plants are desired for growing smokable flower, there are pros and cons to feminized seeds.
The most obvious pro to growing weed from feminized seeds is getting a female plant. In fact, many breeders advertise having a “100 percent” success rate with their feminized cannabis seeds. This saves growers the time of identifying and separating male and female plants.
However, as experienced breeders are well aware, feminized seeds run the risk of developing into hermaphrodites. Female cannabis plants can form a hermaphrodite condition, where male flowers grow on the same plant, alongside female flowers, for a variety of reasons. But the biggest danger here is the male flowers self-pollinating the female flowers. All the resulting buds will be littered with seeds and not ideal for smoking.
At the same time, feminized seeds are an easy option for newbie growers and medical cannabis patients. Just be sure to keep an eye on those plants.
The next term you’ll come across when shopping for weed seeds is “auto-flowering.” If you’re familiar with some cannabis cultivation basics, you know that the plant has a vegetative growth period and then switches into a “flowering” period where it grows the buds we know and love. What activates that switch is the change in light, from long days to shorter ones as would happen naturally when the seasons change from summer to fall.
In the spring, blue light wavelengths are more predominant. Plants rely on this blue light to prosper during vegetative growth. During the late summer and early autumn, red wavelengths of light from the sun become more abundant. This red light is packed with the energy the plant needs to develop complex flowers.
To flower photoperiod plants early, most indoor growers put the plants on a strict 12/12 light schedule. Meaning 12 hours under the lights followed by 12 hours of complete darkness.
Auto-flowering seeds, however, are different. Auto-flowering cannabis seeds don’t require a change in light to enter the flowering stage in their life cycle. They naturally begin flowering after a certain amount of time instead.
As a result, most auto-flowering plants are ready to harvest in under 10 weeks. Flowering often begins at a mere two to four weeks.
Cultivators developed these seeds by breeding regular high-THC Cannabis sativa with its very close relative Cannabis ruderalis. Cannabis ruderalis is a type of cannabis that grows in the wild. It’s typically smaller than Cannabis sativa and has a much lower THC count. However, when crossed with high-THC strains, breeders have developed auto-flowering plants with high THC counts that are low maintenance.
Though there is variation from strain to strain, auto-flowering strains tend to be much smaller than their standard counterparts. As a result, yields from auto-flowering plants tend to be slightly less. On the high end, some auto-flowering cannabis seeds can yield up to 150 grams per plant, though the average is somewhere in the double digits.
Auto-flowering seeds are particularly useful in northern climates, which have extremely long summer days. Once the nights become long enough to trigger flowering, the rain and frost soon follow.
This means that many plants fail to develop full flowers before the cold arrives.
Auto-flowering cannabis seeds also have some advantage indoors, especially for those who love sativas. Auto-flowering plants are generally small, compact, and can handle a wider range of grow environments.
Sativas, on the contrary, are tall plants with a long flowering period. Starting with auto-flowering, sativa seeds makes it easier to grow these wily plants indoors.
Most indica plants, however, are also short and perform well indoors regardless of whether or not you start with auto-flowering seeds.
Critics of auto-flowering seeds often find fault with the low yields of the plant. A photoperiod sensitive indica will produce short, manageable plants with a much higher yield than many auto-flowering varieties.
However, auto-flowering strains provide growers with the ability to produce extremely fast, easy to grow crops with excellent adaptations to the cold.
Choosing the right cannabis seeds will depend on your goals, experience level, and grow space. If you’re growing outdoors, you won’t need auto-flowering seeds. But if you’re growing indoors for the first time, opting for auto-flowering, feminized seeds is definitely an easy place to start.
If you want to try growing some weed seeds you found in your bud, it’s important to check if the seed is mature. If the coloring is a dark brown color with an almost tiger-strip-like pattern, then you’re good to go. But if the seed is a light, off-white color, it’s not ready to be germinated.
Buying marijuana seeds online is relatively safe if you are buying from a legit seed bank. Before website security became more advanced, it used to be risky to give your personal information for something in such a legal grey area. But now, with a combination of more secure online stores and more relaxed cannabis laws, you likely won’t encounter any problems ordering seeds online.