Buying cannabis products online is no longer the headache it used to be. Gone are the days when you would enter your card details into a website, cross your fingers, and pray that you hadn’t just flushed your money down the drain.
Cannabis is big business now. Legalization in Canada and the USA has opened the doors for legitimate, well branded, professional companies, catering to every need of marijuana smokers and growers. The cannabis industry has ballooned.
Medical cannabis cultivators are floated on stock exchanges, and dispensaries have opened all around North America. Breeders and genetic engineers are no longer confined to work in the shadows. Seed production is a legitimate business, and consumers are reaping the benefits of this newfound acceptance and legitimacy.
But that doesn’t mean that choosing your seed supplier is an easy job. There are still many factors to consider before parting with your hard-earned cash. With so many new cannabis businesses flooding the market, it can be hard to distinguish which brands are selling high-quality seeds and which are out to make a quick buck from this newfound cannabis popularity.
The choice of top quality strains and strong genetics isn’t the only thing to consider when choosing a seed supplier—finding a company that ships to your country, has high germination rate guarantees, and good customer services also play a part. All of this can add up to quite a headache when looking for a seed supplier to kick start your cannabis grow.
To help you on your way, we have compiled a comprehensive review of one of the top cannabis seed suppliers available, Sonoma Seeds. Stick around to find out if Sonoma is the brand for you.
What other seeds banks are out there?
Here’s a pretty comprehensive list of the other popular seeds banks across the globe.
|Best Overall||I Love Growing Marijuana (ILGM)|
*Buy 10, Get 10 Free Seeds
|New Seed Bank||WeedSeedsExpress|
*5+5 Free Seeds
|Best Seed Prices||Seedsman|
*Get up to 6 Free Seeds in freebies promo
|Best in Canada||Crop King Seeds (CKS)|
*10 Free Seeds on Order > $420
|Best in EU and UK||Herbies Seeds|
*Free seed on every $20 Spent
|Best Canada Distributor||Rocket Seeds|
*10 Free Seeds on Order > $420
-25% Off on Selected Seeds
|8th||Sonoma Seeds||Shop Seeds|
|9th||Beaver Seeds||Shop Seeds|
|11th||SunWest Genetics||Shop Seeds|
|12th||Mary Jane’s Garden||Shop Seeds|
|13th||MJ Seeds Canada||Shop Seeds|
|14th||True North Seed Bank||Shop Seeds|
|15th||Quebec Cannabis Seeds||Shop Seeds|
|Best in Spain||Ministry of Cannabis||Shop Seeds|
What makes Sonoma Seeds such a popular option?
Sonoma Seeds is a seed supplier based on the West Coast of Canada. The Sonoma Seeds motto is ‘grow organically.’ It’s not entirely clear from their website whether this is an instruction to their customers that the best way to grow their seeds is organically or if they produce their seeds using fully organic methods.
In fact, there is very little information about this brand to be found anywhere on their website or online. Where exactly on the West Coast they are based, who founded them, and how long they have been operating, is all information that would reassure potential customers, but these questions remain unanswered.
It is also unclear exactly how Sonoma Seeds operates. Do they breed and engineer all their own strains of cannabis, or do they buy seeds from a seed bank and simply package and brand them with the Sonoma branding? If Sonoma was doing the hard work of establishing a cannabis gene pool, crossbreeding, experimenting, and selecting the most potent strains to sell, the chances are they would be proud of this process and detail these efforts on their website.
As none of this information exists online, we can only assume that they are simply a seed retailer. While this is nothing to be ashamed of, it can be enough to put the more discerning cannabis growers. Breeders such as Blimburn and the legendary Sensi Seeds have dedicated years, even decades, to carefully cultivating unique strains of cannabis.
They handpicked the best strains based on their specific properties, such as CBD and THC content, indica and sativa, and the ease of growth depending on soil conditions, climate, and indoor/outdoor preferences. The result is unique strains that have been perfected over countless generations of plants and sturdy, robust genetics.
Without the years of research and experimentation behind the Sonoma Seed brand, there is not much to separate Sonoma from countless other seed retailers that exist in the online space.
Quality of Sonoma Seeds strains
Sonoma Seeds stock some of the most popular and sought after strains of cannabis in the world. From White Widow to AK-47, to Northern Lights and Gorilla Glue, you’ll find all of the best-known strains within Sonoma Seeds’ vast collection.
All of the strains on the Sonoma Seeds website have a detailed description and space for user reviews. Some of the lesser-known and more obscure strains don’t have reviews yet, but the more popular strains’ comments sections are filled with positive feedback from happy customers. Judging from this feedback, it’s fair to say that Sonoma Seeds strains are high quality and consistent with the descriptions listed.
Sonoma Seeds product price range
Sonoma Seeds has a healthy range of seeds, from world-famous strains that we all know and love to much lesser-known and more obscure varieties. With this extensive range of strains, there is also a gap between the most expensive seeds and the cheapest. That being said, it appears that Sonoma Seeds only have two tiers of price. Let’s take a look at this in more detail.
The cheapest strains that Sonoma stock are priced at $40 for five seeds. They have 32 strains of cannabis at this price. This works out at $8 per seed. You can bring the price down slightly if you buy more seeds. If you purchase 25 seeds of these same strains, it will set you back $140, or $5.60 per seed.
Apart from these 32 cheaper strains, every single one of the remaining 400 or so varieties comes in at the same higher price point. They literally have 400 strains at exactly the same price, which is odd considering the potency, yields, and genetic makeup of these strains are all very different. The price for these strains is $65 for 5, or $240 for 25. This works out at $13 per seed and $9.60 per seed, respectively. Some strains also come in packs of
Sonoma Seed Strain variety
Sonoma seed boasts a wide variety of seeds. Searching through their entire catalog brings up 443 hits. Many of these are duplicates (eg, White Widow regular, White Widow feminized, White Widow auto-flowering), but that’s still a very healthy number of strains to pick from.
As we’ve mentioned above, they have all of the most loved strains, so you are sure to find what you need. As well as the household name strains, they have countless lesser-known varieties. If you’re looking to impress your friends with a smoke they’ve never heard of, or you’re the kind of grower who likes to experiment and diversify your grows, Sonoma Seeds has all bases covered.
Do their seeds germinate?
Germination is very often a pain point for growers. The story of buying top of the range seeds of world-famous strain, only for half of them failing to germinate, is one that is well worn within the cannabis cultivator community.
It is also a pain point for suppliers. Once the seeds arrive with the customer, germination is largely out of the retailer’s hands. Reports of germination failures are often followed up with questions about the methods and techniques used to encourage germination.
Luckily Sonoma Seeds are taking proactive steps to eliminate this pain point for both themselves and the customer. All seeds purchased from Sonoma come with an 80% germination rate guarantee. If less than 80% of your seeds germinate, contact customer services, and Sonoma will issue a full refund, or they will send more seeds out free of charge.
However, to qualify for this guarantee, you must follow the specific germination technique outlined in their website’s germination section. The method they suggest is the same tried and tested process described in numerous other places online. This is nothing new for experienced growers, but for first-time and less adept cultivators, it’s definitely worth checking out their website to ensure the best possible results.
Is it safe to order from Sonoma Seeds?
There is no doubt that Sonoma Seeds is a safe and reputable website. Sonoma has an excellent reputation on the cannabis forums and review sites, and they couldn’t build up that kind of following if they’re making a habit of taking people’s money and not showing up with the goods.
Sonoma Seeds have a score of 4.1/5 on the consumer review website Trustpilot.com. This is a solid score and above average for cannabis seed suppliers. By comparison, Dutch genetics veteran Sensi Seeds score 4.0, and fellow Canadian online seed retailer scores 3.9. The few negative reviews are mainly down shipping related. Hiccups of this nature are to be expected when shipping products worldwide.
What payment methods do Sonoma Seeds offer?
Sonoma Seeds offer various ways of paying for your product.
Of course, there is the traditional method of card payment. Sonoma accepts all major credit cards, including MasterCard, Visa, and American Express. In the interest of discretion, Sonoma ensures that the name that appears on your bank statement will not give any clue as to the nature of your purchase.
They also accept Money Transfer, and Canadian customers can pay using Interac e-Transfer.
Discretion is often top of the list when it comes to choosing a seed supplier. If you are living in a country or state that has strict laws on marijuana possession and cultivation, the trail of breadcrumbs left by paying with a card or money transfer has the potential to land you in some serious trouble.
Luckily, Sonoma Seeds has thought of every eventuality and allows cash payments. Cash payments are totally untraceable. However, they are slow. If you’re purchasing seeds from outside of North America, you have to wait for your money to make it to the Candian West Coast and wait again for your package to make the return journey. Cash is also insecure. If your money gets lost in the postal system, Sonoma will not take responsibility.
Considering the price of some of the top-end strains, this seems kind of risky. Personally, I wouldn’t feel comfortable sending $420 in an envelope to Canada from my home here in South Africa. Of course, there are ways to protect your mail if you are sending large amounts of money in the mail, but they come with a price.
For the tech-savvy, security and anonymity are both covered by BitCoin payments. BitCoin’s built-in digital encryption is so strong it’s right up there with cash when it comes to discretion, and it’s infinitely more secure than throwing your hard-earned money in a piece of paper and hoping for the best. It’s also instantaneous, much quicker than cash, and even beats processing times of bank transfers and card payments.
Shipping rates and delivery times
Sonoma Seeds ship globally. For people living in countries that prohibit the sale of cannabis seeds, this is a godsend. For customers in Canada, Sonoma will send out the seeds in their original, branded packaging. Any order coming from outside of Canada will be shipped in discreet, unbranded packaging.
Exactly how discrete these packages will be is unclear. Many of Sonoma Seeds’ competitors will disguise the seeds in other items such as DVD cases, birthday cards, or flash drives, but Sonoma does not make this promise.
Sonoma only has one option when it comes to shipping. But luckily it’s a good option. All items are delivered with express tracking. For customers in the US and Canada, the price is $20. Shipping times are 3-5 days within Canada and 7-14 days for the US. Customers outside of North America will be charged $30 with an estimated delivery time of 7-25 days.
One thing we noticed while ordering seeds is that there is a minimum spend for all customers outside of the US and Canada. To order to the UK, for example, you must purchase at least 20 seeds. This may be a little frustrating for growers with a lower budget or those new to Sonoma Seeds who want to start with small purchases while building trust with the company.
The lowest price for 20 seeds that Sonoma offers is $140 for 25 seeds, so customers outside of North America will have to spend at least $170 ($140 for the seeds and $30 for shipping) to fulfill their order. For many customers, this may be enough to push them towards ordering from a more local seed supplier.
One silver lining to the minimum spend problem is that you get free shipping if you breach the $200 mark. If you’ve spent $170 to reach their minimum spend, it makes sense to spend the extra $30 on seeds. This way, you’re spending your money on seeds rather than shipping fees.
It’s unclear whether or not the tracked delivery option that Sonoma offers includes shipment insurance protection.
Promotions and discounts
As far as we could tell from our time browsing the Sonoma Seeds website, they are not prone to putting on any discounts, sales, or special offers. At the time we were looking, there was no single strain offered at a discounted rate or any kind of bulk buy incentive.
Their prices are generally quite competitive, but if you’re looking for a bargain or an offer on a larger batch of seeds for a bumper crop, you’re better off looking elsewhere. With a little bit of effort, you can definitely find better deals out there.
Their checkout page does have a box for entering in promo codes, but after searching online, we found that these codes seem few and far between. The best we could find was a code that offers a 10% discount on all purchases from yourweedcoupons.com. It’s not a world-changing deal, but it’s better than nothing.
Sonoma Seeds customer service
Sonoma seeds have a few ways that you can get hold of a customer services representative if you’re having problems with their website or any questions about your order. They can be reached by telephone seven days a week between 9 am and 8 pm.
If calling a Candian number is not possible for you, they have an email address and a chatbox on their website that connects you directly to their customer services team.
From what we’ve seen on Trustpilot.com, Sonoma put a lot of effort into resolving customer service issues as fast as possible. Nearly all of the negative reviews on that site have a follow up from the Sonoma team trying to find a way to solve the stated issues.
How is the website usability?
The Sonoma Seed website is perfectly fine and usable, but it isn’t much more than that. There’s not much to it – you can browse Indica, Sativa, hybrid, and CBD strain categories. There is no search bar, so if you are looking for a particular strain, you will have to crawl through screen after screen until you find what you’re looking for. And considering they have over 400 different seeds, this can take some time.
There is also no way to search by THC or CBD content, yield, or the climate in which the plant can grow. Maybe I’m expecting too much, but with a seed bank so large, it would be nice to have a tool that differentiates each individual plant’s qualities. Unless you have the specific name of a strain in your mind, scrolling through the endless list of strains, there’s not much that makes you want to pick one over the other.
Other than the slight difficulties when browsing the vast stock they have to offer, the Sonoma Seeds website is very simple to you. It’s quick and easy to navigate and is generally clean looking and not too busy. It’s not plastered with banner ads and annoying pop-ups, so they’ve done well here. As we’ve mentioned earlier, a little more information about the company’s background and their “grow organic” motto wouldn’t go amiss.