What are cannabis seed banks? How to choose one and how to know its products are safe to order? We thought you’d never ask.
When searching for an online cannabis seed bank, it’s important to understand their differences and figure out if a particular seed bank has what you need.
We’ll cover the most important features of common seed banks, and give you some advice on how to refine your search.
Types of Cannabis Seed Banks
Different seed banks will have a different range of cannabis seeds available. Three main categories of seed banks are:
Cannabis Seed Breeders
There are hundreds of seed breeders. Some are better known and others not so much, with a smaller selection of seeds. They are all focused on cultivating their own strains and usually operate on a B2B model supplying seed resellers and seed brands. However, it is possible for an individual consumer to make orders in bulk.
If you decide to purchase from a seed breeder, expect little customer service, limited payment options, and not many promotions as they are simply not a B2C shop front, but focused on breeding their own seeds. The advantages of such a purchasing decision are in lower seed costs and the knowledge that you’re buying directly from the source, so to speak.
Cannabis Seed Brands
These are the most popular storefronts and personal favourites. They have a big selection of seeds, guarantees on germination and delivery, usually global shipping (some are limited), promotions, and excellent customer service. They are B2C focused and the type of store you typically expect when purchasing seeds online.
Cannabis Seed Resellers
Resellers have the largest selection of strains and stock thousands of varieties sourced from brands and breeders. However, prices can be higher than going directly to a breeder, because they add a mark. They are not as quality-focused because the seeds are not their own, and may not provide a guarantee on germination.
Quality Seeds, Selection & Genetics
Seed banks usually have a good range of seeds, from 10s to 100s of variations. Typically, they include:
These are the most popular types of seeds but you want to trust your feminized seed bank – you don’t want to end up with a male plant ruining your crop. Feminized seeds are 99.9% likely to produce female plants and will produce a lot of buds and provide bigger harvests.
Autoflowering Feminized Seeds
Autoflowers are increasing in popularity. There are multiple varieties with high CBD, high THC, or something in between. These plants are reliable and tough. This is because, as their name says, auto-flowering feminized seeds are cannabis plants that automatically flower, regardless of light or period — they flower after a certain amount of time has passed.
They evolved from rugged environments of Central Asia, Russia and areas with shorter growing seasons due to diminished light and colder temperatures. They are great for beginner growers because of their resilience, but tend to produce smaller yields on smaller plants.
Regular seeds can be both male and female, and they can be a mix of both sativa and indica plants. Growers have the option to choose which plants they want to keep once grown and then they take cuttings to make clones. Growers tend to keep mother plants to be able to get the same seeds in the future.
Some people argue this way of growing allows for stronger cannabis plants, and it is mostly for more experienced growers.
It’s a good idea to compare seed banks based on their shipping abilities. Their delivery times can vary quite a bit. For example, some companies offer shipping internationally within 6 business days, while others have a minimum shipping time of 12 business days. All domestic shipping should only take up to 5 business days.
Be aware that EU-based seed banks may limit the amount of seeds within an order. Also, some seed banks will not ship to states or countries where cannabis isn’t fully legal.
Different seed banks use different packaging. Some ship seeds in their original packaging, while other seed banks – those that do ship to states and countries where weed is illegal – will use stealth or discreet shipping. Most companies will allow you to choose your packaging.
Stealth shipping is when seeds are removed from the original packaging and placed in random objects, not only for legal reasons but also to stop theft. But if you’re buying seeds from a reseller, you want to make sure they use the original packaging. Otherwise, you have no evidence that the product you received is the actual strain of seed you purchased.
Stealth shipping may charge an additional cost on smaller orders but it’s usually free with larger orders. Make sure it comes with tracking.
You can compare seed banks based on their guarantees. The best seed banks will usually have a pretty impressive coverage of two types of guarantees: germination and delivery.
It is always recommended to go with a seed bank that offers a delivery guarantee. Things can get complicated during shipping – some seeds may be held by customs when shipped internationally, others may be subject to theft, etc.
So, check the guarantee and make sure you are happy with it. Top seed banks usually offer free replacements if anything goes wrong and they provide tracking (although it may cost extra).
Germination guarantees vary. Some sellers offer 80%-100% germination guarantees, while others might not offer any guarantees at all. It can have an influence on the price of the seeds as well.
When a seed bank doesn’t offer a germination guarantee, it doesn’t have to ring any alarm bells. But if you want to be on the safe side and are willing to pay extra, it might be worth going with a seed bank that offers this protection.
Some seed banks may not offer a guarantee, but free seeds instead, as their goal is to ensure customers end up with the number of plants they paid for.
With so many options of seed banks to choose from, it is not always the best idea to pick whoever you find at the top of Google search results. Anyone can make a nice website and invest in marketing, so you want to make sure you buy from a reputable company.
There are loads of seed banks because the barrier to enter the market is low; some are legit and some you may never have heard of before.
It’s important to know the seed bank that you make an order from is legitimate. But how do you find that out? If there’s a name you recognize among seed sellers, that may be a good bet. If not, you have some serious information digging ahead of you.
Unfortunately, there have been cases of scammer websites and orders not being received after payment is taken. With the option of buying fake reviews, you should treat reviews with some caution.
Word of mouth and using a well-known site will help reduce the risk. Look for official, registered companies in business directories, legitimate reviews, even negative reviews. If there are negative reviews as well as positive, that’s probably a sign of a genuine business, especially if a company is replying to those comments.
You should see how responsive and active their social media accounts are as well. It’s important to see if there is a customer service system in place.
Check if a seed bank has a physical store. This is a great way to know if they are credible. You may also want to see if they have an events page on their website, whether they exhibit their products at cannabis events, or host their own events. And of course, secure payment facilities so that your payments are protected.
Payment & Promotions
Not all seed banks offer promotions, but if you find one that does – excellent! Offers can range from no promotions at all to up to 50% discount on certain strains and select varieties.
You may want to try out the strategy of shopping around different seed banks to ensure you have checked out the best promotions and picked up good deals on certain strains that you have been searching for. Free seeds with an order is among the best deals, as well as loyalty discounts, if you shop with the same seed back again and again.
When it comes to paying, check what payment methods are accepted. You should see your usual methods such as credit/debit cards, cash and bank transfers, but also more and more seed banks are accepting cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and even provide a discount.
One of the reasons that seed banks accept cryptocurrencies is because there have been issues with credit card processors and cannabis companies, due to the plant’s complicated legal status. However, the companies always find ways to resolve these issues – after all, it’s in everyone’s interest to ensure the payment can be made.
This article was originally published on CNBS