They operate exactly as nature intended. As a result, you will have a 50% chance of producing either a male or female plant at maturity.
Breeding is the sexual reproduction that produces offspring, whether it’s animals or plants. Cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning it has male and female flowers that produce pollen. The pollen is transferred by wind or insects from one flower to another, which can lead to cross-pollination and the creation of new seeds.
To prevent this from happening, growers will “rogue” their fields, removing any off-type plants before flowering. This ensures the seeds produced will have the desired genetic traits. It also helps keep their yields high.
Unlike feminized seeds, which only produce female plants, regular seeds have a 50% chance of producing either male or female flowers. This is a huge advantage for growers who are interested in breeding and creating new cultivars. This is because feminized seeds can have inconsistent results and are harder to work with. This is why some growers prefer to use regular seeds.
If you find a strain that you really love, it can be worth taking the time to clone the plant. Clones are exact genetic copies of their mother plants and will reproduce that strain’s potency, effects, and appearance.
However, clones are delicate and require a greenhouse with carefully regulated humidity and temperature. If they aren’t given the proper conditions, clones may die before they begin to root.
In addition, clones are only guaranteed to produce female plants. While this can be a positive, some growers prefer to work with seeds in order to ensure they are planting only feminized strains.
Seeds also take a little longer to reach harvest, as they need to go through all four of the growth stages: germination, seedling, vegetative, and flowering. This adds about three weeks to the overall grow time. If you are shopping for seeds, look for a seed bank that has germination reports, cultivar information, and Certificate of Analysis (COA) available for viewing.
As they can produce both male and female plants, regular seeds are a popular choice for growers looking to start breeding. By brushing pollen from a male plant against a female, fertilisation can be achieved and seeds will begin to form.
Growers can then select the best sex of their offspring and begin to ‘fuse’ strains together to create new and exciting varieties. This can lead to improved potency, flavour profile and colouring.
As a general rule of thumb, when choosing a variety for breeding, breeders should always check that the name has not already been used by another company. This is done by ensuring that the name of the variety is written in lower case and italicised, and not as a cultivar. If this is not possible, research can be conducted by finding old journals or catalogues that have recorded the original variety. This will prevent any potential confusion and avoid any legal issues arising.
Many growers prefer to use regular seed because they are unaltered by human hands and have the potential for genetic diversity. They can be purchased from a range of experienced breeders who will help not only novice but also expert growers with the best growing methods and conditions.
Regular seeds can be used for breeding because they will produce both male and female plants. A good breeder can then separate the male plants from the females and collect pollen from the ripe flowers. This can be applied to other male and female plants in order to cross them and produce new strains of cannabis.
Feminized seeds, on the other hand, have a higher chance of becoming hermaphrodites. This is due to techniques such as topping, fimming and lollypopping which create stress on the plant and cause it to develop hermaphrodite cells. This can result in a male plant being produced, which the grower will have to cull and remove from their crop.