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Cheap seeds are expensive.
You get what you pay for.
Cheap seeds are expensive.
What looks like a great deal can actually cost you more than spending that extra time and money to buy a better pack from the start.
Since I started growing in 2019, I've had countless friends ask for help getting started.
Most of them make the same mistake when it comes to their first seed purchase.
You see, I was lucky.
My first packs of seeds came from established breeders in a legal market.
The hardest part of planting my first seeds was picking one of the packs I already had.
But most new growers don't already have a collection of packs to pick from.
What they do have, however, is a favorite strain that they've either:
Loved since they had it one time long ago but haven't seen since, or
Seen in a High Times magazine (or similar) and always wanted to grow it.
Both of these paths lead them on a hunt for that "Blue Dream" or "White Widow" that they're looking for.
Almost immediately, they run into a problem:
There are 100s of companies selling generic, popular strains.
In addition to it being hard to figure out which seeds are the "real" strain you're looking for, there's often a wide range in price.
And, as is typically with beginners in any trade, these new growers assume that they should "just start with the cheapest pack, and see how it goes," planning to eventually spend more if they need to in the future.
But there's an inherent flaw to this thought process:
Cheap seeds are expensive.
Often more expensive than expensive seeds.
And, if you're new to buying genetics, you might be scratching your head.
How can a $10-20 pack of seeds cost more than a $50-100 pack?
7 Hidden Costs of Cheap Seeds (And Why Due Diligence Is Crucial Is You're Budget Shopping)
Hidden Cost #1. Herm Packs
Often referred to as "herms" (short for hermaphrodites), intersex traits can be expressed by strains that are not genetically stable.
Regardless of how many plants you're growing, herms can result in seeded harvests, lower yields, and unexpected pollen contamination, all of which can cost you yields (and entire crops).
Not all bargain bin seeds will herm, but, generally speaking, the lower the cost of the product, the less R&D was likely put into it, which means the chances of the unexpected increase.
Hidden Cost #2. White-Labeled/Repackaged/Renamed
Here's a hint:
If a brand is known for something other than cannabis seeds, and releases a line of cannabis seeds, chances are that they didn't make those seeds and bought them from someone else who did (politely referred to as "white-labeling").
When they did that, they may have also decided to rebrand or rename the strain.
Best case: the pack of renamed, white-labeled seeds includes the genetic lineage so you can at least sort of do your due diligence.
Worst case: You got a shiny package of unknown mysteries with a fancy name and logo.
Cheap seeds are often white-labeled, repackaged, and renamed seeds that have been bought in bulk to be sold to the unsuspecting consumer.
Hidden Cost #3. Expectation vs Reality
Going back to the topic of R&D as well as white-labeling, the cheaper the seeds, the less likely you will get what you've been promised.
Meaning, you might get a version of what you bought, but not the thing itself.
There's always exceptions to the rule, but the chances of you growing a gorgeous magazine-quality bud like the one that sold you on that discount pack of seeds is low.
Again, best case, you end up with something close.
Worst case, even the source of the seeds doesn't know what you're going to end up with.
Trust me, both are equally likely.
Hidden Cost #4. Low quality buds
Look, weed is called weed because it can grow like a weed anywhere.
The old joke among growers used to be that even the slightest wrong move and an indoor plant will look like you tortured it, while at the same time, a "volunteer" grown from a bag seed tossed on the side of the road will grow to be 6 ft tall.
But that doesn't mean they both will give you the same results.
Just like anything else, you get what you pay for.
If you're buying bargain bin seeds, you're not going to get top shelf buds.
Hidden Cost #5. Low yields
Yields are not everything.
But, when you're starting out and have just invested in a new grow and all the supplies to get going, yields matter.
And if you're growing low quality genetics, they're not going to be able to throw down weight like you've seen in the magazines.
Earlier this year, I helped a friend get started growing and, even before I could blink, he'd bought some no-name cheap seeds at a B2B trade show he was at.
He hit me up all excited, and, not wanting to crush his spirit, I softly suggested he run a different seed pack that I'd sent him first instead.
A few months later, after his first harvest, he decided to try out that cheap pack of "Cheese" autoflower seeds.
And, as expected, his yields (with even more training and guidance) came up short of the other pack from a reputable breeder.
Hidden Cost #6. Same Overhead, Worse Results
If you saw my breakdown on yields, you already know that low yields mean low savings (or higher costs) for the same process, supplies, and timeframe.
Regardless of what seeds you start with, the rest of your grow costs the same (light, tent, etc.).
You can grow $1,000 seeds with your setup or $10 seeds with your setup, and your overhead for the cycle will be the same all else considered.
Cheap seeds that give you low yields, lower quality buds, and a higher rate of the unexpected, but, hey, you saved money!
Seeds from a reputable breeder cost a bit more on the front end, but you're more likely to get better buds, better yields, with more confidence in knowing what the final product will look like.
The growing process costs the same.
One just gives you a bit more bang for your buck.
Hidden Cost #7. Discourages New Growers
This is the worst cost of all.
New growers that start with bargain seeds and have a poor experience get discouraged, and many of them stop growing altogether.
If you're new to growing and on the fence about whether it will be worth it, I assure you it is.
Unless you cut corners.
Which can lead to a shitty first grow.
Which can lead to you getting discouraged and giving up.
Don't do that.
Your first packs of seeds don't have to cost $1,000—there are great seeds available from reputable breeders for much less.
But I would strongly advise you start with something that isn't the cheapest option around, something other people are actually growing, and something from a breeder other people have heard of if you want the best chances of enjoying your first grow.