Regular seeds offer endless possibilities for aspiring growers. At first, in the infancy of Sensi Seeds and the European cannabis scene, a regular seed was simply a regular seed. Today, use the word regular to differentiate the original seeds from feminized (concentrated) cannabis seeds, which are concentrated forms of marijuana.
Feminized or “regular seeds,” as they are sometimes called, contain only females – meaning that all marijuana plants, male or female, contain only female reproductive organs. And because females can reproduce quickly after being sown, breeding will be rapid. However, because females have their own chromosomes, the plants can sometimes end up with a mismatched set of chromosomes, causing a plant with one set of chromosomes and one set of females. This often occurs when marijuana farmers cross pollen from different species.
Because females can produce quick offspring, it is common for hybrid strains seeds to contain exactly the same set of chromosomes from both parents. To encourage the quick reproduction of desired plants, many breeders will isolate a single plant from the crowd of bud and breed it to create a fast-growing, highly prolific hybrid strain. Such “hybrid strains” are often used to create new marijuana strains with new, desirable characteristics. An example of this type of hybrid strains is the Blue Mountains’ Blue River strain, which was created by cross-pollination of Blue Mountain and Sour Orange strains found in Colorado. Or, for an even more drastic change, you might take a cue from California’s hippie culture and grow a hybrid variety known as Grasshopper, which is believed to be the ancestor of the legendary marijuana plant.
One of the most well-known examples of a hybrid strain is the Sativa strain. This particular breed of cannabis plant was developed by crossing an African Sativa with a North American indica. This has led to a massive increase in the size and height of many California and Colorado marijuana crops. Even though there are currently many proposed explanations as to the cause of this increase in height, including less need for water during growing periods, genetics still seem to play a role.
Aside from cross-pollination, some cannabis cultivars are developed through other means. The cultivation of certain types of hybrid bushes, for instance, can be a direct result of a shortage or abundance of a specific herb in a specific region. Because certain herbaceous plants grow best when other herbs are growing nearby, cultivators will collect seeds from nearby farms or grow providers of that herb, and then use those seeds to reproduce the desired trait in their plants. Some of these growers go so far as to use “hybrid seed banks,” collecting seeds from various producers and allowing them to be mixed together over time until the exact qualities are achieved in a desired hybrid strain.
Other methods used for cross-pollination include the application of mixtures of male and female plants on each other, as well as the introduction of male and female sexual characteristics into crops through different methods. This practice is sometimes combined with the use of heat, which encourages the development of stronger seeds due to increased temperature levels. It may also involve the introduction of foreign pollen through either a male or female butterfly. Some companies combine aspects of all three practices to ensure that the resulting strains have a greater chance of thriving and maturing into highly-productive, highly-taxing crops. Not all of these techniques work, however, because some plants just do not respond favorably to the changes.
There are several different ways that growers can increase the likelihood that their feminized cannabis seeds will succeed. Some of the most-common methods include the use of heat, planting in groups of one hundred or more plants at a time, inducing inter-brood establishment, and the introduction of inter-plant transfer. All of these techniques increase the likelihood that one of the plants will succeed, especially if the gender of the plant is similar to the target crop. In most cases, plants that grow well together tend to do so well, regardless of whether they are cross-bred feminized or not.
While hybridization has provided growers with greater control over the outcome of their crop, it has also presented certain challenges. Cross-pollination can cause problems when cross-bred plants have different characteristics; for example, plants that grow well together tend to do so well, regardless of whether they are cross-bred feminized or not. As growers continue to work to improve their methods and increase their control, hybridization will undoubtedly continue to increase in popularity, but for now, regular seeds remain the clear market leader.