Ultimately, choosing between regular and feminized seeds comes down to the grower’s personal needs. This includes flower production, breeding and genetic stability versus ease of cultivation.
Growers who enjoy breeding will choose regular seed so that they can enjoy the natural ratio of male to female plants and take clones to preserve specific traits (e.g. insect resistance, yield or terpene profile).
The genetics of a cannabis plant are made up of different versions of the same gene, known as alleles. The alleles express themselves in a variety of ways to create different phenotypes.
Regular seeds allow for more variation in a cultivar’s gene expression. Because of this, the plants can often produce hermaphroditic plants (males that will pollinate females). This requires careful monitoring to identify and remove males during flowering.
This process can reduce the yield of your crop. It also takes more time to grow, as the males must be carefully identified and removed. However, experienced growers know that this is a small price to pay for high-quality genetics that can produce great harvests with stable potency and THC levels. A good seed bank will stabilize their strains over generations with back crossing to ‘lock in’ their genetics. This will also result in stronger and more stress resistant plants. This is what sets top-tier seed banks apart from the rest.
Before feminized and autoflowering seeds stole the spotlight, regular marijuana seed was the only option for enthusiasts. Theoretically, regular seeds produce both male and female plants at an equal rate. However, cultivators must manually remove all male plants and prepare to breed the females if they choose to work with these seeds. This is a time-consuming process that can also waste growing medium and nutrients.
Fortunately, many hardy annuals are easy to grow from seed, and the vast majority germinate well with basic seed-starting techniques. These seeds can be sown directly into prepared planting beds in autumn (or indoors 8 to 10 weeks before your last frost date). It’s important to know your zone and first and last frost dates when choosing the best times to sow these cold-sensitive seeds. They can also be started in trays and transplanted once the weather warms up, but that can be risky because of possible shock to the outdoor environment.
Regular seeds grow into both male and female plants, but their ratio of male to female is much more unpredictable than feminized varieties. This can be a problem for commercial growers, who need to plant a specific percentage of hermaphrodites, but if you’re just growing at home, it doesn’t really matter.
As a result, you can expect to get a heavier yield from your plants, as all of the buds you harvest will be usable. This can make a significant difference to the quality of your final product.
It’s also worth noting that regular plants are often less expensive than feminized seeds, making them a cost-effective choice for aspiring cultivators. Plus, you’ll be able to practice your breeding skills, which will help you become more skilled at the art of cannabis cultivation. Who knows, one day you could be producing your own unique strains. The potential for this type of innovation is endless. It could even lead to the next big weed sensation.
Easier to Breed
If you’re looking to breed your own strain, regular seed is the way to go. This is because these seeds can grow to produce either male or female plants, and it’s the male plants that are required for pollination.
For many serious cannabis connoisseurs, breeding is a hugely enjoyable experience. Whether you’re after extreme potency, a specific flavour profile or unique colours, you can work from the ground up to develop a new strain that really resonates with your growing philosophy.
To create your own sativa or indica hybrid, you simply need to select a pair of female plants that have the desired characteristics and plant them together. With a healthy proportion of both male and female plants, you can then allow the males to pollinate the females to create new genetic offspring. This is known as crossing and is a vital part of the process that leads to countless different cannabis strains. It’s a truly exciting voyage that every serious grower should enjoy at some point.