There’s never been a better time to grow the weed you want to see in the world.
Historic levels of cannabis liberation continue to democratize not only growing, but breeding. Strain creation has gone critical: Leafly’s 6,000-strain database could easily grow by 1,000 more this year. Breeders can’t invent names fast enough.
Leafly’s annual ‘World’s best cannabis seeds and clones to grow’ returns with a fresh mix of best-sellers, hype, playfulness, and diversity. Since more players have entered the game, we aim to highlight reputable breeders with high-performance beans.
We spent two days reporting at the world’s biggest seed scene—The Emerald Cup Harvest Ball in December. Afterward, we queried more than 30 esteemed breeders, growers, and experts for picks. And yup, we smoked hundreds of varieties in 2022 in pursuit of perfection, power, and pizzazz.
Here’s our searing core sample from the magma chamber of modern marijuana.
Runtz, Gelato, Sherbert, and Cookies cultivars
We lead off with the GSC strain family, including Sunset Sherbert and Gelato, the dominant weed dynasty into 2023.
Over the Christmas break, leading international cannabis brand Cookies cannon-balled into the seed pool with the Cookies Seed Bank. We expect ‘sold out’ tags on Cookies’ Hollywood (Lemon Cherry Gelato x Runtz), White Sherb (White Runtz x Sherb), or Tie Die (Jealousy x Sherb). Tap in today.
Sunset Sherbert creator Mario ‘Mr. Sherbinski’ Guzman says the creamy, berry, gassy strain has a baked-in complexity that keeps kicking out new facets. “It will continue to give for years to come,” he said.
Next up—prep your debit card for Washington breeder Exotic Genetix and his Falcon 9 crosses on sale Jan. 27. Mike crossed the icy, black, kerosine-smelling Falcon 9 (Sherb x Tina) to all the 2023 exotics: RS-11, Zkittlez, Gary Payton, Lemon Cherry Gelato, Oreoz, and Red Pop. All scorching hot right from the light off.
You can’t talk about Sherbert and Gelato without checking in with Seed Junky Genetics in LA, which sells in the adult-use market. In December, Seed Junky Genetics released clones of advanced Gelato work with Permanent Marker.
Sherbert and Headbanger go so well together that Atlas Seeds sells Sherbanger #22 clones at $1,000 each.
Lastly, on the Gelato front, leave room in the garden for Compound Genetics x Mr. Sherbinski. Gelato #41 x Apples and Bananas packs sold fast at The Emerald Cup and will ignite even the most bored, experienced palates.
“Smoking it is amazing, and all the growers that get their hands on it love it,” said Sherbinski.
Receipts don’t lie: Runtz growers stay paid in 2023. The best out there has to include Humboldt Seed Co’sJelly Donutz. Humboldt Seed Co. works over multiple generations of plants to create stable, consistent, and vigorous seeds that help guarantee results. For more Runtz in 2023, check out Clearwater’sCreamsizzle (Runtz x Creamsicle #4). You can also take a fun chance on Wizard Trees x Runtz new Rainbow Runtz, or White Rainbows.
Purple gas seeds
2022 saw pot with a purple color and gasoline/fuel aromas take over even more shelf space. “It’s gotta be purple and gas or it’s not selling,” one California shop buyer said. The next 12 months will see waves of Compound Genetics’ GastroPop crosses as well as waves for each parent—Grape Gas, and Apples and Bananas.
Growers and breeders want to replicate Compound’s success. Cannarado Genetics and Compound collaborated on Grape Gas (Grape Pie x Jet Fuel Gelato). It’s on track to become bedrock genes of the 2020s.
“They were highly recommended,” said Paulson. “People want flavor with their gas. I am looking so forward to tasting the terps.”
Compound sells its latest seeds, clones, and flower buds Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Jan. 26-28 in San Francisco, Santa Rosa, and Los Angeles.
Wedding Cake seeds
Next up, America’s favorites—Wedding Cake and Ice Cream Cake. Everyone’s got a tasty Cake or hybrid of it.
Vince Merchant, Symbiotic Genetics co-founder and strain hitmaker, recommends their Orange Malt (Ice Cream Cake x Mimosa V6).
Mint strain seeds and clones
The mint wave created by Seed Junky Genetics Kush Mints enters a new era as both newcomers and legacy mint flavors sell through. This year’s Pave crosses, which come from The Menthol strain, look like jewelry and smell like mint and vanilla. Clones of rebooted Thin Mint cookies sold out in hours at Purple City Genetics’ Emerald Cup booth.
Zkittlez seeds and clones
Competition keeps improving the Zkittlez line in 2023.
Compound Genetics’ former breeder Chris Lynch launched his new Cipher Genetics line on Cookies Seed Bank, starting with flavors based onZkittlez x Gelato #41. Gas Burzt should raise the bar for super-trendy candy-gas weed.
Nine-year-old Dying Breed Seeds’OZ Kush stays a best-seller. Their 10-packs run $500 each. Based on OZ Kush and hot in 2023—Wizard Trees clones of RS#11 and RS#54, also go for $500 per cutting in California.
“Zawtz is a great smoke and needs to be released in seed. I’ll be working her into further backcrosses this year,” the breeder explained.
Even newer, Cannarado wants you to try Rainbow Crushers. The mix ofZqueezit (Zkittlez x Gushers) and Zawtz (Gelatti x Louie13 x Zkittlez) offers “candy gas terps on a great frame.” Sign us up.
Also look out for Phinest to carry Cannarado’s newest, Rainbow Drizzle (Snowman x Rainbow Crushers), which has “unreal bag appeal and a great terp profile. Great for flower or hash.”
There’s more to the Z wave. Terphogz co-founder Fields recommends his Emerald Cup Harvest Ball best-seller Gelonoidz (Gelonade x Z). That should crush it this season. Symbiotic Genetics also recommends Candied Oranges (Z x MimosaV6).
Chem, Sour, Glue, and OG seeds and clones
Chemdog, OG Kushes, Sour Diesels, and Glues own the hearts of the veteran consumers and growers who have a high tolerance. Few varietals can match their bite and power.
This week, buy legal clones from the Massachusetts grower/breeder Chemdog himself. The 2023 winter releases include authentic Chem 4, Lemon OG Haze, and Biscotti Mintz. The next big release of clones and some rare Chem genetics from Chemdog will be in April/Springtime for the planting season. Chemdog’s brand Smash Hits sells through Canna Provisions stores. Chemdog has kept his authentic genetics close for decades, but fans have opened his heart and vault.
“I love knowing now that if someone has a clone from Smash Hits and Canna Provisions, they got the best available on the market anywhere,” he tells Leafly.
Rebel Grown Genetics’ Cup-sweeping Double OG Chem feels like a no-brainer to grow outdoors for guaranteed blockbusting taste and effect.
Another Massachusetts brand Mass Medical Seeds recommends buying and growing its new Chem, Vx1000.
“Vx1000 is an absolute must for the lovers of old-school, powerful Chemdog and classic green weed like Sours and OG’s,” Mass Medical tells Leafly. “This one brings the best of the best back, with spiritually intense herb that will make you feel the nostalgia of the ’90s again.”
Need more gas? See also: Humboldt Seed Co’s top-selling All Gas OG, Wizard Trees’ new Heel Hook (Chem3 x RS11); Oni Seed Co’s Yama (Hellfire OG x Sour Diesel backcrossed twice); or Phinest’s Chem D clones from tissue culture.
Tangie and orange-flavored weed seeds
The masses continue to love the versatile, approachable aroma and the effects brought by the Tangie Family.
Go directly to Tangie’s creator Crockett Family Farms to get the new Orange Triangle (Triangle Kush x Tangie) for an epic outdoor run.
Hash plant seeds and clones
An explosion of hash plant cultivars radiates outward in 2023 as superb new cultivars yield tasty full-melt and rosin.
Two known hash dumpers—Papaya and THC Bomb—fuse in Purple City Genetics’ 2023 best-seller Papaya Bomb. Stocks sold out hours after their debut. Take the Cup-winning terps further with PCG and Atlas Seeds’ new GMO Bomb (GMO x Papaya Bomb) collaboration—an 80% indica, tropical, papaya fuel, hash dumper that finishes by early September.
Weed expert Shannon McInerney at Seed 2 Soul Distribution in California said 2023 means more GMO and Papaya for heady, heavy dankness, and funk.
“I’m craving more of the potent, full-body diesel, gassy terpene profiles and structures,” she said.
The Masonic Seed Co strain Banana God just won the invite-only Ego Clash. Get the Banana God 2.0 Fems and try Masonic’s Papaya Moonbow for tropical, interstellar flavor and potency.
Also, scoop up Humboldt Seed Co’sBlueberry Pancakes—named for its sickeningly sweet syrup-smelling and tasting full-melt and hash rosin. This Slurricane x Purple Panty Dropper hybrid boasts some of the highest terpene results the company has ever seen, 5.6%.
As the White Truffle wave builds in US stores, paddle further out. Fresh Coast Genetics’Truffle Icing takes Gorilla Butter F2 (White Truffle cut) to Garlic Icing. It sounds rancid, and we mean that as a compliment.
Cannarado also recommends Euroz (Zkittlez x London Pound Cake #75) which finishes in just 45 days, “and is a hash-makers dream,” he said.
Help keep cannabis weird: Make your own unique gardening choices this year. Spend the time, energy, and space commercial growers can’t. Grow strange sativas.
Mass Medical Seeds wants you to trippin’ on psychedelic sativa Laos, collected by the highly regarded Bodhi Seeds near the Yunnan Border. Laos is “woody, spicy, and meaty—with wild, foxtailing buds, and a surprising amount of frost for a pure landrace.”
Equilibrium Genetics’ fresh menu of landrace sativa crosses helps shatter the Gelato genetic bottleneck. Equilibrium’s Jason Matthys suggests running Banana Mist—a cross of Banana OG x Kali Mist x Heirloom Malawi. Why? “Tropical sativa terps for 2023,” he said.
Ethos Genetics’ Zweet Insanity RBX doubles up on Glue, Skunk, and Durban genes for sugar, citrus, and gas smells coming from a lot of terpinolene, myrcene, and ocimene.
Legacy and old-school seeds
Bring an old-school strain back to life like your own little Jurassic Park.
Todd McCormick’s Ag Seed CoPurest Indica gives you a chance to boot up an original indica with fat leaves, nostalgic smells, and body stone.
“It has a sour, dank, skunk-like smell that is not easy to cover up and permeates any room it’s in,” said the legend McCormick. “It certainly tastes like cannabis and not candy.”
Need to sleep or fight pain? Purest Indica has a “heavy body effect, more relaxing and mellowing than energetic.”
For more: Mr. Nice Guy Seedbank said they’re moving a lot of vintage Black Widow, Nordle, and Super Silver Haze.
And we’re taking it back to our first grow using Equilibrium Genetics’ new Blue Dream Bx. That’s Blue Dream backcrossed with Freeborn Selections Rootbeer. Blue Dream’s back, baby!
OK—that’s the road map to fantastic cannabis genetics for 2023. North America starts germinating indoors for the full-term outdoor season as early as March 15. Let’s get growing.