When it comes to growing the best cannabis, the process always starts with sourcing quality genetics. Starting with quality seeds helps get your grow off to a solid start, and ensures you’re not limiting your potential from day one. There are tons of good seeds out there, but there’s lots of crappy seeds too! Learning to spot the difference can be tricky and shopping for seeds can be stressful and confusing, so today I’m sharing some of my top tips for buying quality seeds.
Let’s get started!
1. Consider your Goals
What are you trying to accomplish with your grow? Whatever your goals are, you should try to buy seeds that will help you achieve them.
Are you a new grower working on your first grow? Then you might want to look for seeds known for CONSISTENCY and RELIABILITY. Some breeders and vendors even offer seeds designed for new growers.
Are you growing bud as a business? Then you might want to look for COMMERCIAL STRAINS and seeds known for CONSISTENCY and HIGH YIELDS.
Are you a hobby grower or trendsetter looking to grow that hot new strain everyone is talking about? Then you might want to look for HYPE NEW RELEASES, LIMITED DROPS and OTHER TRENDY STUFF.
Are you looking for a unique high and are you willing to roll the dice growing some tricky plants that might not pay off? Are you interested in exploring the history of the cannabis genepool? Then you might want to check out LANDRACES or OLD CLASSICS.
Are you trying to grow outdoors in the off season or in a situation where you can’t control the lighting schedule? Then you might want to check out AUTOFLOWERS.
It’s also important to recognize the drawbacks of whatever seeds you are considering. For example:
Seeds that are really stable and consistent often aren’t great for pheno hunting since there is usually much less variety.
Exciting landraces and new releases can be really fun to explore, but they probably aren’t the best fit for production growing since they will be less consistent when it comes to yield and quality.
Whatever it is you are trying to accomplish in your grow, buy seeds that will support that mission. BUY THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE RIGHT JOB.
2. Learn About Strain Families
There are tons of different cannabis strains out there, and it can be super confusing trying to tell them all apart, especially if you are a newer grower or don’t know very much about cannabis genetics.
I find it helpful to think about strains in terms of “families”. Every strain is somewhat unique, but strains that are closely related to each other will have lots of similar traits. Learning about some of the more popular cannabis strain families can help you better understand what a strain might be like, even if you haven’t tried it. If you know a few general facts about a strain family, that can help give you a rough idea of what other strains in the same family might be like to grow and smoke.
It’s important to recognize that bad traits tend to be passed down in families too. If a parent plant has vulnerabilities to pests or other issues like a history of “herming”, there’s a good chance its offspring will carry that trait too. This doesn’t necessarily mean a strain or strain family is “bad”, it’s just something you should think about when weighing your options and considering the best seeds for your situation.
Strains related to Girl Scout Cookies typically have a pronounced cookie or pastry type of flavor. They usually are smaller yielding and tend to have smaller golf ball sized nugs. They are typically very frosty and have great potency and bag appeal. Girl Scout Cookies also comes from genetics with a tendency to show some intersex traits (aka herms).
Most Cookie related strains will tend to carry many of these traits, both the good and the bad. So speaking generally…
Cookie related strains have a pronounced cookie flavor, very high potency and great bag appeal. They often make for great head stash for personal grows, but due to smaller yields, and a some intersex tendencies, cookie strains might not be the best fit for production growers looking for big yields and consistency.
Obviously these sorts of generalizations aren’t true in every case, but these traits are common enough that you can use them as general guidelines. Having some basic knowledge of the GSC family of genetics can help you better understand what cookie related strains might be like to grow and smoke.
There are many other “strain families” out there. (Skunks, Hazes, Chems, etc…). It might take some time and effort, but trying lots of different strains and learning more about the different families can help you make better seed choices.
Learning about cannabis genetic families can help you better understand the cannabis gene pool and give you a better understanding of what to expect from different packs of seeds. This knowledge can help you make better buying decisions while shopping!
3. Research a Strain’s Family Tree
If you’ve been smoking for a while, you’ve probably found a few strains you really enjoy. Maybe you even have a “favorite strain”. Learning more about that strain and its relatives can help you find other strains you’d enjoy. As we discussed in the previous tip, strains usually have some similar traits as their relatives, so if you can find other genetics in the same family there is a good chance you’ll enjoy those too.
Researching a strain’s “family tree” can help you find other related strains worth exploring, but it can also help you guess what a strain might be like to grow and smoke.
Continuing our cookie example from above,
If you’ve grown or smoked a cookie related strain and a blueberry related strain, you can probably imagine what a (cookies x blueberry) type of strain would be like.
Thinking about genetics this way can help you find seeds you might like, but it can also help you avoid seeds that aren’t a good fit for you. If you grew a strain in the past and it didn’t work out well for you, make note of that experience and consider avoiding seeds in that same family in the future.
It’s also important to remember that your mental guesstimates of a strain might be totally wrong. Sometimes genetics combine in interesting ways and create something unexpected. Guesstimates can be helpful, but its important not to put too much stock in your own imaginations about genetics you haven’t actually tried. The only way to truly evaluate a pack of seeds is to grow them yourself!
One website I use to research strains is seedfinder.eu. You can use their search bar to search for a specific strain to get more info on it. From there it will show you the family tree background of your strain, as well as other related strains that might be worth checking out. You can also find more info about the breeder and a list of other strains they created. Seedfinder is a very useful tool and I’ve found it to be more accurate than a lot of the other cannabis genetics info websites out there.
Take the time to check out a strain’s family tree BEFORE you spend your hard earned cash on a pack of seeds. Learning a bit about the genetic mix and other strains in the same family can help you better anticipate what those seeds will be like to grow and what the bud will be like to smoke.
4. Avoid “Generic Strains”, Knockoffs, Imitations and The Places that Sell Them
One of the biggest issues I see in the seed market is the proliferation of knock offs and imitations. There are lots of seeds on the market that aren’t what they claim to be, or they aren’t the “real” version.
A good example of this is the strain “Blueberry”. You may have noticed a LOT of seed places sell a “blueberry”, but the REAL Blueberry was created by DJ Short. DJ Short put a lot of work into selecting the parents and creating something unique. He did a lot of testing and has put MANY YEARS worth of work into making Blueberry something special.
When you see someone selling “blueberry” seeds that aren’t from DJ Short, those are not the same blueberry! Those are NOT the same as the original Blueberry that DJ created, and they won’t have the same characteristics or be of the same quality. Will those fake blueberry seeds be any good? Maybe, but probably not. They might be offshoots from the original blueberry, or perhaps they are someone else’s’ interpretation of blueberry. The bottom line though, is they are not the ORIGINAL BLUEBERRY! These knock off blueberry seeds aren’t the same thing as the legendary Blueberry created by DJ Short through many years of hard work.
The same sort of thinking should be applied to “clone only” type strains like Girl Scout Cookies, Gorilla Glue #4 and Chemdog #4. These are strains that do not exist in pure seed form. These are special plants and the pure version only exists in CLONE FORM. If you see someone selling “Girl Scout Cookie” seeds, THEY AREN’T THE REAL THING. Odds are you’ve stumbled across someone trying to make a quick buck by cashing in on a strains’ popularity. They know there is demand for Cookie seeds, so they made something sorta similar and they are selling their fake seeds with the GSC name.
These sorts of practices aren’t just misleading, they have a detrimental effect on the cannabis genepool and make it harder for the REAL breeders that are creating cool new stuff to find success. As I said above, DJ Short put in TONS OF WORK over several YEARS to create his blueberry strain and improve those genetics. If we want breeders to keep creating top quality seeds, we should support that work!
When you see a seed vendor or website selling sketchy seeds or if their menu has a lot of generic/clone only type strains, STEER CLEAR! Odds are you’ve encountered someone who cares more about making money than they do about providing growers with high quality genetics. Seed companies willing to rip off another breeder’s work do not deserve your support or your money. Seed vendors that knowingly mislead growers by selling knockoffs and imitations should be avoided.
Don’t sell yourself short by growing imitations or knockoffs. You and your garden deserve better! Do your research and make sure you are getting real seeds from a legitimate source.
5. Buy Direct From the Breeder or a Trusted Seed Broker
As we discussed in the previous tip, theres lots of sketchy places out there selling knock offs and imitations. How can you make sure you are getting legit seeds? Either order directly from the breeder or find a trusted seed broker to purchase from.
If you know what seeds you want, contact the breeder who created them and ask them the best way to buy from them and support their work. Some breeders have their own websites where you can buy seeds directly, others have a list of seedbanks they have partnered with and trust to distribute their seeds. Buying from the breeder or their trusted distributors helps support their work and helps ensure you’re getting the “real deal”.
Breeders are artists, and if we want them to keep creating their art, we need to encourage and support them. Connecting with the breeder and asking about their work also gives you a chance to ask questions and learn more about the seeds. Chances are the breeder knows those genetics better than anyone, and they can often give you some great tips about how to grow their genetics or which strains might be a good fit for you. You can also ask the breeder “What’s the best way for me to buy your seeds and support your work?” Usually they can point you towards vendors they’ve partnered with or place you can order seeds direct.
Buying direct from a breeder or trusted seed bank will help ensure you are getting “real deal” high quality genetics and that you are supporting the breeders who are doing the real work!
One breeder I personally recommend that offers direct ordering is JinxProof Genetics. Jinx is the creator of 9lb Hammer and many other awesome strains, and he has a website where you can order seeds. I’ve grown several of his strains and I have always had great luck with them. I’ve also ordered from him directly and received great service and speedy shipping.
You can also check out the seeds section here at GrowersLove.com!
What makes a Trustworthy Vendor? and How do I Find one?
A seed vendors’ job is to act as a distributor. They acquire seeds from the breeder, and distribute them to customers. A trustworthy seed broker will work directly with breeders to source their genetics, and will have a reliable system to take payments and ship seeds to customers. A trustworthy seed broker will be mindful of “chain of custody” and make sure their customers are getting the seeds they ordered and not something else. A trusted seed vendor will respect both the art of the breeders, and the trust of their customers.
We’ve always recommended SEEDS HERE NOW. Seeds Here Now is run by our buddy James Bean. He partners with many of the top breeders in the biz, and works to build great relationships with them. James works to thoroughly evaluate breeders before he decides to work with them, and he’s always working to build better partnerships. He puts tons of care into sourcing his seeds, buys directly from the breeder and takes extra steps to maintain the “chain of custody” so you can always be confident you are getting the REAL DEAL.
SEEDS HERE NOW also offers a customer satisfaction guarantee. If you aren’t happy with your seeds or if you have an issue, you can contact customer service and rest assured that James and his crew will take good care of you.
Seeds Here Now is a trustworthy seed bank with a well known reputation for providing great seeds and great customer service! There are lots of other good seed banks out there too! Look for reviews and feedback from other growers to help you figure out the best places to shop.
When shopping for seeds…
Consider your goals- Whatever it is you are trying to accomplish in your grow, buy seeds that will support that mission. BUY THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE RIGHT JOB.
Learn about strain families- Learning about genetic families can help you better understand the cannabis gene pool and give you a better understanding of what to expect from different genetics. This knowledge can help you make better buying decisions while shopping for seeds!
Research a strain’s family tree- Check out a strain’s family tree BEFORE you spend your hard earned cash on a pack of seeds. Learning a bit about the genetic mix and other strains in the same family can help you better anticipate what those seeds will be like to grow and what the bud will be like to smoke.
Avoid “Generic Strains”, Knockoffs, Imitations and Places that Sell Them- Don’t sell yourself short by growing imitations or knockoffs. You and your garden deserve better! Do your research and make sure you are getting real seeds from a legitimate source.
Buy direct from the breeder or from a trusted seed vendor- Breeders are artists, and if we want them to keep creating their art, we need to encourage and support them. Buying direct from a breeder or a trusted seed bank will help ensure you are getting “real deal” high quality genetics and that you are supporting the breeders who are doing the real work!
Thats all I’ve got for ya today! Thanks for reading!