Cannabis Seeds: How to Buy, Store and Plant Pot Seeds

By WeedWeek Aug 26, 2020

Growing a marijuana plant from cannabis seeds might seem intimidating. How can you to tell if your seeds are high quality? Should you getTo get feminized seeds, or not? Is any of this even legal? This article will give you the run-down on cannabis seeds and empower you with the knowledge to get your own garden going. 

What Are Cannabis Seeds?

Many plants begin life as a seed, and cannabis sativa is no different. Cannabis seeds are the very beginnings of the life cycle of the pot plant, and with a little tender loving care, can grow into a robust plant that will yield many a sticky bud. 

What Are Feminized Cannabis Seeds?

Feminized cannabis seeds, also called female cannabis seeds, are selectively bred in order to eradicate male chromosomes andin order to produce female plants that are female. Only female plants produce flowers and buds. Flowers are especially rich with cannabinoids like THC and CBD, which is the reason they’re the fruit primary target of any marjuana garden.

Male plants are useful primarily for breeding purposes, which is important in bigger, more commercial operations. However, if you’re growing a small personal garden with a handful of plants, you’ll want to make sure there are no males in sight. If males are allowed to grow, they will wind up pollinating the females, which reduces total yields. 

Are Cannabis Seeds Legal?

The legality of cannabis seeds varies state by state, so you need to brush up on the laws in your area to know what’s legal and what isn’t. States such as California, Colorado and Vermont have legalized cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes. However in other states, certain nuances apply. In Florida, it is legal to cultivate marijuana for medicinal purposes. However in New York, growing medical marijuana is a misdemeanor offense.

Keep in mind that marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. This means that you cannot cross state lines with cannabis seeds, regardless of whether you are coming and going into states that have legalized cannabis. 

How To Get Cannabis Seeds?

One of the best ways to get cannabis seeds is from your local dispensary. In some cities, farmers markets will sell cannabis seeds, and there may even be dedicated seed shops near you. It’s always useful to be able to speak to someone face-to-face in order to best determine what your needs are. 

Buying seeds online is possible, however you should always ensure that you are abiding by all relevant laws. Also be aware that your package may be confiscated, and there is a risk you may face criminal charges for violating federal law. 

How To Store Cannabis Seeds?

Storing cannabis seeds is relatively easy. Keep them in a sealed container in a dark, cool and dry place. A closet, drawer or cupboard will work well for shorter periods of storage, whereas a refrigerator is a good option for more longer-term storage. 

Cannabis seeds can be ruined if they are exposed to light, or changes in humidity and temperature. Too much humidity can promote conditions for mold, while light and changes in temperatures can trigger your seeds into using up their stored nutrients too early, depleting them before they ever hit the soil. 

How Long Do Cannabis Seeds Last?

There tends not to be a consensus on how long cannabis seeds can last in storage, but there are some general guidelines to give you a sense for how long you can keep your seeds hanging around. For those kept in perfectly consistent and proper conditions, they may last from six to twelve months. Some seeds have been known to last for around five years. 

How To Germinate Marijuana Seeds?

Germination is the process by which seeds are woken up, kick-starting their growth phase. Germination is the same thing as sprouting seeds, such as alfalfa or mung beans. 

There are a few different techniques for germinating marijuana seeds. One of the easiest involves no special equipment – all you’ll need are two paper towels and a dark are. To begin, wet a paper towel so that it is damp, but not dripping wet, and place onto a plate. Place your seeds onto the paper towel, spacing them about an inch apart. Then cover with another paper towel layer and place in a dark place for a few days. Keep an eye on the seeds and ensure the towel stays moist. Once you see white roots – called the taproots – begin to emerge, you can move onto the next step: planting. 

How To Plant Cannabis Seeds

To plant your germinated cannabis seeds, first prepare your pots. Use small pot, and plan on using one pot per seed. Fill the pots with soil, then make a small hole, using a pen or pencil, about a half-inch deep into the middle of the soil. 

Then comes the tricky part, since at this stage the cannabis seeds will be very delicate. It’s advisable to use tweezers, instead of finger tips, since it’s all-too-easy to break off the taproot. Carefully place the seeds into the hole, then cover with more soil. Spritz with a little bit of water. After about  a day or so, you will see little baby leaves start to sprout upwards from the soil. It might take longer for leaves to appear, so be patient. 

Difference Between Cannabis Seeds And Clones

For those new to growing weed, it might seem easier to start out with clones. The clones you can purchase from a dispensary are guaranteed to be female, eliminating the need to sex the plant and discard males. And the clone being already part-way grown gives a head-start and will decrease the time it takes to reach harvest. Right? 

In fact, this last assumption is an incorrect one. Clones can often take a long time to begin rooting into their new pot – so growing from seeds and clones tends to take roughly the same amount of time. Beyond this, there are many advantages to growing from seed. Clones don’t have taproots like germinated seeds do, meaning their root systems aren’t as robust. Clones can also be more prone to disease, more sensitive to light and other environmental factors, and can carry pests that may infect other plants in your garden. 

Although it may seem like the easy way out, going the clone route can invite more problems and complications. This is why it’s generally recommended that growers who are just getting the hang of cultivation stick to seeds.

 What Makes A Cannabis Seed High Quality?

Genetics are the biggest factor in what makes a cannabis seed high quality or not. Genetics will be influential throughout the grow and within the final product. Ensuring you purchase your seeds from a reputable source, and know what strain you are purchasing will help you achieve robust cannabinoid and terpene profiles in your marijuana. However there are other factors that will determine the quality of seeds, including age and storage method (improper storage can kill a seed). There are a few ways you can identify a higher-quality seed:

  • Darker color, with shades of black and grey
  • Firm to the touch and doesn’t break when pressed between your fingers
  • Seeds that pass the float test by sinking to the bottom of a glass of water. Leave the seeds in the water for a couple of hours, since some seeds will float initially but will sink after a period of time. Note that the seeds must be planted soon after you conduct the float test, since immersing seeds in water kicks off the germination process.  

How To Identify Female Cannabis Seeds

Unfortunately, the only reliable way to tell a female cannabis seed apart from a male or hermaphrodite seed is by planting it and waiting. There is no way to discern this information from the appearance or other qualities of the seeds themselves. And keep in mind that even with feminized seeds, there is no 100% guarantee that your plants will be female. So it’s best to learn how to determine the sex of the plant. 

When the plant reaches about four weeks of age, there are features you can look out for to determine the sex. In both sexes, growths known as pre-flowers will begin appearing in the joints where leaves and branches emerge from the main stalk. These joints are called nodes. In males, pre-flowers will be pollen sacs, whereas the female growths will include a stigma, which are hair-like growths. Pre-flowers are very small, so a magnifying glass will be a good investment. 

Where To Buy Marijuana Seeds

There are many ways to search out venues for purchasing marijuana seeds, but we recommend a service called WeedMaps, a one-stop shop that can point you to services wherever you are located in the world. This website serves as a database for a range of cannabis-related companies to help point you in the right direction. 


Cannabis seeds are the beginning of your marijuana garden. With mindful strain selection, proper storage and a little TLC, cannabis seeds can kick-start your journey into growing your own marijuana at home.