Recognizing quality marijuana seeds

Marijuana is best known for its effects on people when they smoke it. So, where does this high effect come from?

How do you ensure that the quality of your marijuana is as good as it could be? It all starts by choosing the right seeds. The right seeds are mature cannabis seeds. 

Understand how to recognize quality marijuana seeds before you can grow the best marijuana. High-quality cannabis starts with good genetics.

Begin your grow with healthy, mature cannabis seeds from a reputable seed bank.

When you have a particularly good strain or good season of marijuana growth, you will most likely want to store seeds for that particular type of cannabis, its “parent plant,” so you can experience the same sort of success later on.

In this article, we will cover the basics of selecting the right seeds.

Keep reading.

How to grow the best weed

To grow the best weed, you need to know what determines the best seeds, why genetics make certain weed plants better than others, and how to choose the best seeds.

THC, a term that usually refers to Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, is the ingredient in marijuana that is the primary contributor to the high feeling smokers experience.

This is a bit misleading for two reasons.

First, some types of THC are not Delta-9, such as Delta-8. Second, THC is not the only chemical that is responsible for a high.

Other compounds contribute to the feeling – these chemicals are called cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids include every different variation of THC, and they make up the psychoactive ingredients that lead to the feeling of being high.

Growing marijuana outdoors
Growing cannabis outdoors

The tricky thing about marijuana is that no one can really define the right combination to achieve the best or greatest high.

Even scientists are unable to figure out what combination of cannabinoids makes the most potent combination.

This is partly because the feeling of “high” experienced from marijuana cannot be measured externally – it can only be described by the person experiencing it.

This makes any evidence about correlations between different combinations of chemicals and types or strength of highs very subjective.

Marijuana feminized seeds

Buy high quality feminized seeds

  • We ship daily to all U.S. states for FREE!
  • Our seeds are guaranteed to germinate
  • Guaranteed Delivery
  • Get 24/7 Grow Support

The experience is also different for each person, even if they take the same amount of the same plant as someone else.

Any mix of emotions (usually euphoria, elation, paranoia, sleepiness, or clarity of thought) can be felt by different people, even if they consume the same amount and type of weed.

The best weed comes from the best genes

While there is still a large amount of variation from seed to seed, even within the same strain, a lot depends on the environment in which it is grown and the care you have when raising your plants.

Growing your own weed is an extremely gratifying experience. It will take a bit of trial and error, and you will have to overcome some inevitable failures, but it will be even more rewarding when you finally succeed. 

Download our free marijuana Grow Bible and start growing high quality marijuana strains.

The source always matters

You can source your seeds from: 

  • A bag of weed
  • A seasoned grower
  • A seedbank 

The first step for most new growers is to extract seeds from large commercially purchased bags of cannabis.

This is likely the easiest way to get seeds but take caution— that cannabis has already been heavily processed and packaged.

Huge quantities of bud are dried and cured together en masse and then snipped and stuffed into big vacuum-sealed bags.

Marijuana seed package
Cannabis seeds

Unless you are already directly familiar with the mature plants your seeds or clones came from, growing marijuana is unavoidably unpredictable.

This is why it is especially important to seed or clone your best quality plant since that will make you able to guarantee the quality of the next crop.

Knowledge of the source is also why experienced growers have better outcomes with their harvest.

Also read “Best outdoor seeds for your climate

They often choose their best cannabis plants out of a single strain, and use those seeds for the following season’s harvest. Now, they have a better understanding of the plant their seeds came from and can also improve their care of the same type of plant. 

Aren’t seeds a bad thing?

All cannabis cultivation comes down to your goals as a grower. Want a bountiful harvest? You’ll want to grow the best weed by breeding perfection using seeds. Skip ahead to learn why. 

“Nope, I want to smoke,” then you need to grow plants that produce fewer seeds. You need feminized seeds. 

“Sinsemilla” is a Spanish word that translates to “without seed.”

It describes female cannabis plants that grow into maturity without fertilization from male pollen. Growing sinsemilla marijuana outside is almost impossible since your female plants could be pollinated from the male plants up to a mile away! 

So why do you want to avoid pollinating your female marijuana plants? Pollination means that the plants will use their precious energy to create seeds instead of flowers.

This is due to natural selection. Since a plant that produces more seeds is more likely to reproduce, a female marijuana plant will prioritize making seeds if fertilized.

Although this is an advantageous feature for marijuana’s survival, it is not exactly what smokers look for in a weed plant.

High quality weed seeds in a package
High quality cannabis seeds in a package

Sinsemilla marijuana, having never been pollinated, usually produces a more resinous bud since there are no seeds to take over the valuable flowering area.

Producing seeds isn’t all bad for the smoker, however. If one crop is particularly delicious or potent, it is vital to let those plants produce some seeds.

Store these seeds correctly and label them accurately to make informed decisions about which seeds produced the best crop and which ones are better to avoid.

You can then use seeds that produce tall plants or strong, sweet buds for a future growing season.

When you find a plant that you want to preserve seeds for,  make sure to treat those seeds with extra special care, as they are your best bet for harvesting the best product.

Why you should grow weed from seeds

Some people are intimidated by growing marijuana from seeds. At first, the results may not be as big as you had planned for – this is normal, and you will continue to get better with time and experience.

To reach the highest possible yield of cannabis, you must study and practice, especially if you haven’t done anything so much as growing potted house plants or flowers on your window sill.

Just keep at it, and within a few growing seasons, you will be an expert.

Although research and preparation make a big difference, they can only go so far without actual hands-on experience.

Growing marijuana from seeds
Growing weed from seeds

As you learn and develop your skills, trying clones may be tempting rather than learning by trial and error with seeds. Careful, though.

Different strains and plants will grow, mature, and flower at different rates. Growing one Sativa might be completely different than growing a different strain of Sativa. 

Plus, you never know what you may end up growing.  When growing from clones from another grower, your clone might inherit any issues they had while growing it.    

Buying marijuana seeds from a seed bank

Buying seeds from a seed bank gives you a better idea of what to expect in terms of the quality, yields, look, and time it will take to bloom.

Plus, you’re starting fresh with new seeds, which lowers the risk of diseases or pests in your plants. Learn more about why growing from seeds produces the best weed. 

When you grow from seeds you have certainty. Whenever you see your stash of weed in the freezer, you will feel proud.

Whenever you smoke your marijuana, you can feel safe and satisfied because you know exactly what you are putting into your body and where it came from. 

Best quality cannabis seeds
Best quality marijuana seeds

Where to find the best quality seeds

Quality marijuana seeds mean quality genes. Better genes better your chances of growing a healthy harvest. 

Online seed banks offer a wide selection of quality marijuana seeds, and reputable seed banks make it easier to purchase good seeds.

Your seeds should come from seedbanks because the ones that sneak into dried marijuana flowers are rarely usable – mostly because they never reach full maturity before being harvested. 

Autoflower marijuana seeds

Buy high quality autoflower seeds

  • We ship daily to all U.S. states for FREE!
  • Our seeds are guaranteed to germinate
  • Guaranteed delivery
  • Get 24/7 grow support

Besides, for many, marijuana cultivation is a business. If they were good seeds, wouldn’t the growers have kept them? 

The only reason you’ll be able to find marijuana seeds at all is the difficulty growers have in finding and removing all of the seeds.

Commercial growers have nothing to gain by offering free seeds to consumers.

Identifying quality marijuana seeds

Cannabis seeds grow underneath the buds themselves, sandwiched in between the plant matter and the parent stem.

They’re difficult to see and have a cushion of protection underneath their shell to guard against all of the drying, curing, processing, and packaging that they’ll go through before they get to you.

It’s somewhat amazing that bag seeds, found seeds in prepared marijuana, manage to survive the marijuana preparation process at all, but some do (with mixed results). 

You may also find seeds with damaged or scratched surfaces. If so, give them a chance; you might be surprised. You cannot judge a seed by its shell.

Mature seeds come in various colors, shapes, and sizes.

Don’t discount paler, smaller seeds- even seemingly green seeds might surprise you. Give them some time and see how they develop.

Some inconspicuous-looking seeds might produce the greatest plants!

Get more bang for your buck with our seed deals!

Keep in mind, today’s seeds come in many shapes and sizes. An autoflowering seed might be a little smaller. Other strains might have a little variance in color.

Just like there are many marijuana strains to choose from, with different sizes and colors, there are also different types of seeds. 

With a moderately healthy stock, you’re likely to see about one in every three cannabis seeds sprout.

Although seeds are relatively robust, many factors can prevent sprouting, such as: 

quality cannabis seeds
Checking the quality of seeds

Seeds face a lot of damage in how they are stored. For example, the practice of freezing seeds can make them unviable.

This is a common problem, especially in northern latitudes where winter temperatures accidentally free poorly stored seeds. Of course, you won’t know if the seeds were frozen, but that may be the reason when they don’t sprout. 

You can store seeds indefinitely, but they might have more trouble germinating as they get older.

As long as you store the seeds in a dry and cool environment, you can keep them pretty much forever. Just don’t expect them to germinate as easily as fresh seeds.

How to store marijuana seeds

You got your seeds. Now store them. 

When storing your seeds, remember: 

  • Use the right storage container
  • Store in a cool, dry place in a closed container
  • Label your containers with name and date
  • Test your seeds before planting them 

As with most plant seeds of any kind, marijuana seeds last the longest when stored in a cool, dry place in a closed container.

Always remember to label your containers accurately.

Since cannabis seeds can last quite a long time when stored correctly – the length of multiple growing seasons – it is easy to forget which seeds are in which container after a couple of months. 

It’s also a good idea to include the date on your label.

As you gain years of experience, you may realize that seeds from a certain year perform better and produce better weeds than seeds from other years.

Storing marijuana seeds safely
Storing seeds

If you want to store seeds for even longer, you can freeze them for two years or even longer.

It’s important to note, however, that this will significantly lower your chances of success. In general, there is a risk when storing seeds over long periods.

Whether it’s from poor storage or another reason, marijuana seeds will occasionally not germinate or grow, so test the seeds before planting them.

Do this step several weeks before you plan on planting to make the most of your precious growing season.

Choosing the best seeds to plant

Picking out which seeds are not going to work is not rocket science. You want in-tact husks; if you can easily squash a seed with your fingers, it probably will not germinate successfully.

When in doubt, generally go for brown, plump, waxy seeds instead of particularly pale or dark ones. Keep in mind that random bag seeds rarely succeed at germinating and growing.

While Marijuana is called “weed” and fares quite well in the wild, naturally scattered seeds only grow a fourth to almost half of the time.

What to look for when buying cannabis seeds

Appearance & Color  Color can vary. Mature seeds have a waxy look 
Size & Shape Size can vary. Bigger might be better, but small can be good, too. 
Hardness & Durability Firm, don’t squish between your fingers
AgeLook for mature seeds; young seeds have a white-green cellulose sheath around them
Marijuana seeds in different packages
Top shelf cannabis seeds

For cannabis breeding, you need both male and female seeds. Feminized seeds ensure your plants are not pollinated and won’t yield many seeds, if any at all. 

Buying top shelf marijuana seeds 

It takes a lot of trust to buy anything online, let alone cannabis seeds. There’s no way to know what strain you’re getting by looking at the seeds themselves. You won’t know anything about the genetics, except for what the grower or breeder tells you.

This is one of the biggest reasons why you’d want to purchase your seeds from a reputable company or seed bank. Random dealers won’t necessarily know any better than you what strain they have.

When you buy seeds, try to choose a seed bank or company that offers some client support.

Cultivating cannabis isn’t too difficult, but because of the nature of the plant, you can’t just ask friends and family for help and support.

Usually, seed banks provide some troubleshooting for their customers. It’s in their best interest to help customers and maintain a positive reputation.

It takes a lot of experience and expertise to produce high-quality seeds.

The entire process of selecting, testing, and producing a batch of seeds can take up to a year or more.

Buying your seeds from a company you can trust ensures your harvest benefits from all of that effort. 

Know how to perfectly time your harvest so you can maximize your yield. Download our free mini harvesting guide

FAQs about quality cannabis seeds

Which seed bank has the best genetics?

A seed bank with good genetics will not hesitate to guarantee the quality of its seeds. ILGM guarantees its seeds and its shipping. Choose from a variety of feminized and autoflower seeds as well as marijuana-growing supplies without worrying about dealing with bad genetics. Purchase your seeds in our cannabis seed bank

Why should you start with healthy cannabis seeds?

Healthy cannabis seeds produce healthy cannabis plants. When a seed is damaged, the plant may take longer to grow, require more nutrients, produce lower yields, or have less potency. Expert growers can sometimes nurse plants with poor genetics to health, however, it is easiest to start with healthy seeds. 

What do good cannabis seeds look like?

Cannabis seeds come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. You can’t simply look at a seed and know it will do well. The best way to check the quality of a cannabis seed is to germinate it. A poor quality cannabis seed will struggle with germination and likely struggle with growing, as well.

Choosing what to grow next?

What’s your experience in identifying high-quality marijuana seeds? Please share with us or ask questions in the comments!

Happy growing,


Avatar for Robert Bergman

Robert Bergman


Robert Bergman is an Amsterdam-based marijuana grow expert who has years of experience from small grows to massive operations ... See profile

60 comments on “Recognizing quality marijuana seeds”

  1. The seeds I got are way small and white… sprouts are stringy with no real foliage .
    And my order was 10 short

  2. I bought some seeds in march this year… But i don’t know who from, is there some way u can check to c if it was with u guys,

  3. What causes plants to be going so well then after they start flower they have pods not really seedsbroke one op an it look like a little banna

  4. You are awesome because so nicely you have described that how to find the best seeds, buying details of top-shelf seed, what are quality marijuana seeds etc. All these info are very necessary to all before pick Marijuana seed. I have already bought Marijuana weed from Green Cannabis World Wide for nausea & migraine which was so helpful for me rather I would like to say that I got the best quality seed for the best price.

  5. Hi. Ordered seeds from Brisbane, Australia. Arrived on the 10 th working day. First crop of seeds all popped within 48 hours. Very impressed. Had previously ordered seeds from AMS, first shipment never arrived, order was resent and took another 40 days. Not one of the seeds popped so lost a whole grow. I resorted to some seeds some hippy’s from nimbin (Australia’s marijuana capital….) as a test grow. Three plants in my grow tent, 2 were male so ended up with 1. Nice buds, learnt from a few mistakes. When my seeds didn’t germinate and I thought it would take a month or more to get some more, I cloned from the lower branches of a flowering plant, reverting it back to growth phase. Pretty chuffed with my first effort. Looking forward to the autoflowers and not having to worry about light cycles etc etc

  6. I’m thankful that I’ve ordered from this company. As I wait for my seeds I have a couple of questions.
    Is it a good time to plant inside during the hot summer months? Is there a particular temp to use in order to grow big beautiful plants. I live in the southeast and I am excited for my grow to be perfect.
    I am not going to grow outside or in my house. The grow room is being set up in another building here in the country.
    I’m looking for replies.

  7. It would have been nice if in the photos there was a size reference object like a coin or stamp so we could have an idea about the size of the seeds.

  8. Looking at these replies a lot of people are unhappy with the quality of seeds they recieved from you guys. I am still waiting on my package to arrive I ordered 4-21-17 and it’s may 6th and still nothing. I’m from southern USA. But hearing these comments are making me second guess my purchase here

    • Hey Ty, from what I can see is 9/10 coments are from happy customers. Every business has its up and downs but we always try to resolve any issues that occur. I trust your order will come through and you will have some great plants as a result 😀 – I❤️GM

  9. I purchased the Big Bud kit. When it arrived I was somewhat surprised the seeds looked a pale green (unlike the healthy seeds pictured in Roberts grow bible).
    I proceeded to germinate six seeds in a wet paper towel. Three days latter two of the seeds sprouted. The sprouts were very Wimpy. I was not surprised because of how the seeds looked. Two weeks latter only one continues to grow. I germinated 6 seeds in a potting soil mix because of the poor performance of the first batches outcome. Nine days latter none have sprouted. I tried to tell the ILGM staff about the immaturity of the seeds but got the cold shoulder. Look at what healthy seeds look like before you ship out seed orders.
    Even if more seeds pulled through,It would have been a real challenge to grow healthy plants.

    • Hi Lloyd, sorry to hear the seeds did not seem to function properly but I can see you’re already talking to Stacy on the matter. The two sprouts can still turn into hefty plants. Seeds that did not sprout can be returned for investigation. But please continue to handle this with our support staff, they are there to help you out 🙂

  10. Robert V.G,

    Yes. Your seeds will be fine. Place the package in the door of your refrigerator, where they can stay dry but cool. IN the Spring, they should sprout with no issues.


    • As long as you keep them cold, dark and dry the seeds will be viable indefinitely. We’ve heard of seeds laying in a corner for years that still popped up! We suggest keeping the seeds in a dark container with silica packets or rice to keep them dry and storing them in the fridge for as long as you are not using them. Green house growing gives you a bit more control of the environment 😀

  12. I have purchased seeds from ILGM for a couple od years now and all the seeds have germinated at 90% or better.I have tried other seed banks and they suck. ILGM is great and back up their promises to stand by their seeds. I have purchased most of their different strains and so far all have been great. Waiting for the newest strains to veg.

  13. Is ilgm Seeds worth while buying? Or is it another dodgy seed store. The reason I ask is that I ordered Seeds from ams 6 weeks ago and still no Seeds. I just don’t want to get ripped off again. Any help would be great. Also how long does it take for delivery to Australia. Any one ordered to Australia. Need advice before I can order. Lost trust in the seed banks at the moment. Can ilgm be trusted and are their Seeds of good quality.

    • Hi Stefan, sorry to hear your previous experience with seedbanks wasn’t great. I can’t speak for others but we at ILGM want to uphold our name and hence give guarantee seeds arrive ánd germinate. If procedures were followed we replace any seeds that don’t. For shipments to Australia it can take up to 5-6 weeks for them to arrive and shipping is free. Hope this helps, you could also browse our support forum for experience. Happy growing!

  14. You’re right. Buying marijuana seeds online requires you to fully trust a company so you need to perform a thorough research buying one.

  15. Johnny cushing,

    I can promise you that Robert’s genetics are vibrant, germinate in 2-3 days and at a very high %. We have a very strong grow support forum,. Perhaps you would like to study up on growing information before you get started. 🙂

    We hope to see you

    • i ran seeds from this company and they were not that good, imo. Ethos, Crocket Farms, or DVG genetics are far superior. I was sold b-line seeds. Never again.

  16. Kentucky is in its final stages of either legalizing or saying no to medical marijuana. I have never tried to grow my own, I always go to my dealer. 2 years ago I was injured at work so now I am disabled and fighting with our government for my disability check. Long story short if Kentucky legalizes mm I am going to grow my own. I have been without for months now. Life’s hard but I am a survivor. From your books I will grow my own. And I will buy my seeds from you when I can afford it.

  17. Freddie Cooks,

    Thanks for sharing. Perhaps you would be interested in joining out grow support forum;; We have many experienced and experts growers there always willing to help you grow bigger and better yields. See you there and Happy growing 🙂

  18. I started my grow tent first yield was weak in size a friend told me to add C02 to the plants i tried this Master Grow C02 generator bags Bayou Blend on ebay only $18.00 much better crop good color and taller.

  19. No it is not too late. Use auto flower or Indica dominanat strains. Sativa may not finish before it gets too cold. Plan on some sort of plant protection in case you run into an early cold snap.

  20. Jessica. NO it is not. Better get to it! Auto flowers and Indica strains is what I would limit myself to. Staiva can take 5-6 months to finish. Plan ahead for some sort of protection for your crop if you get into an early cold snap.

    Happy growing, lw

      • Carlton G Watkins,

        You can get Northern Lights and many other premium genetics in our seed shop. Link is located in the top right corner of this blog page.

        Happy Growing!

  21. Hi Robert, I was reading Ur Cannabis Grow Bible, in the ‘about quality marijuana seeds’, and seen that U asked to leave a comment. ~ I personally prefer Sativa strains over Indica. I like the awake feeling with creative and motivational properties, not to mention the attitude adjustment. I know at some point all cannabis will help me go to sleep, or keep me going, depends on what is needed at the time. At 55, I have smoked a number of years, on and off. I don’t want to get into the whole thing, but my childhood and my first marriage SUCKED! (can U still have PTSD, even at 55 if counseling was never part of the adult life:?) A side from this, cannabis helps with all the older age stuff I’m dealing with pain & rejection.

  22. Hi Janice, Our customer service contact you 5 days ago via email, but you haven’t responded yet. Our emails might have ended up in your spam folder, can you check if this is the case.

    • I got a friend that smokes a vaperizor and he smokes his weed on a low temperature during the day which gives him a energetic sativa high then he takes this part toasted weed and vapes it on a high temp for sleeping-weird taste at high temp but low temp is like fruity sunshine wow!

  23. Hi. I read about the section on Quality seeds. I have received 3 different batches of seeds from you . I see that the seeds you sent me were no where near as good as the seeds shown on your web site. I got sort of light, small, seeds, no colour pattern at all. I germinated about 14 seeds since September 2014 and did not get a result , just really slow growth and then only grew to vege state. Can I send you back the seeds to show you what I mean. my first order was 1231 bought 20/06/2014 order 7383 was of very small seeds and yet to try them. Do different strains have different seeds of different sizes? Thank you Nik

  24. I’m in the eastern USA . It is hard as he’ll to find good seeds. I love to grow it. I’ve had two back surgerys doctors don’t want to help. Is this site realible to get my seeds or am I gonna get my money took again

  25. Hello, folks. I’m a 66 year old retired US Navy vet who takes Prozac for depression. I also ,in the past, have discreetly grown a few different strains of marijuana to supplement the Prozac. Each strain of marijuana I use has been approved for use in treating depression and/or anxiety in users. I live in northern Kentucky where medicinal marijuana use is still against the law. As it happened, around six weeks ago, the police were called by my wife to our residence because of a verbal argument we were having. Upon arriving at my house, one of the officers noticed the smell of marijuana. The officers searched my house and found that I was growing several plants on my back porch. I was arrested and put in jail. All of my seeds, one four foot florescent grow light, one magic-flight Power Adapter vape, and a couple of ounces of bud were confiscated by the officers.
    Before this time, I have never been arrested for anything. None of my neighbors were aware of what I was doing. None of my closest friends were even aware that I smoked marijuana to help treat the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that caused me to suffer from anxiety and stress.
    Does anyone have any ideas about how I can handle my situation? Your advise and help with this matter will be greatly appreciated.

    • Unfortunately mark, I also live in northern KY and suffer from red actal epilepsy, have been told that medical marijuana is probably my only option for seizure free life but the only option I have for obtaining this is illegal and if I get caught I’m just screwed the same way you are cuz this state will be the last one to legalize medical marijuana your friend bert

      • I’d he to argue with ya on that one….I def think SC will be…good luck to all & thnx for all the valuable info.!!!!

    • Hi Mark, i read your post for the first time this morning (07/04/17), and a few years have passed since.
      How are you? And what did you end up doing in the end?

  26. I have a single sensi kush plant . I cut it down to harvest and found it FULL of seeds. obviously its a hermaphrodite and I did something wrong. anyway, can I use the seeds.

    • I hope you kept the seeds and grew it. You never know, Ive had that happen before, especially outside. If someone else within a 10-mile radius( a little more for windy conditions) will pollinate anyone’s crop. so you could have some new strain. In my opinion, no matter what, always grow them. I’ve had a few Hermaphrodite Female Dominants that are still some of my best ever. I don’t know how it worked, but now I get 7 out of 10 as females from those seeds, and its very nice. a crazy grandaddy/jack/bluedream,lemon og green crack mix. I seeded on purpose 1 harvest. The best choice ever, I just left all plants(male/female/hermies and all) from all those strains from a buddies previous mix. A skunky grape, a flowery grape, a sativa dominant purple, and many more.