Choosing the seed type to grow is a personal choice that depends on your goals, experience level and resources. But there are a few things to consider when deciding between regular and feminized seed.
Regular seeds produce both male and female plants, and require sexing to remove the males early into flowering to avoid pollinating colas. This makes them better suited for experienced cultivators.
Regular cannabis seeds preserve genetic stability, which is critical for breeders who are looking to develop new strains or maintain consistency in existing ones. They also offer the potential for phenotype variation, which is a genetic expression of the parent strain that may impact appearance, aroma, taste and effect.
Regular seeds are often the preferred choice for growers who are interested in breeding their own strains because they produce both male and female plants. However, this requires sexing the plants to remove any males as they enter the pre-flowering stage. This is a process that requires cultivation experience and can be difficult for beginners.
Another reason to choose regular seeds is for growers who prefer to work with organic cultivation methods. Feminized seeds are hermie prone, so if you’re interested in keeping your garden completely natural, then regular seed may be the best option for you. However, if you’re growing feminized seeds, be sure to follow the instructions carefully to avoid producing hermies.
Cloning allows growers to duplicate an exact genetic copy of a plant. This is useful for those who like a particular morphology, colour or flavour profile of a specific specimen and wish to cultivate a similar plant in future grows.
Taking a clone is as simple as cutting off a stem from the mother plant, using a sharp blade (sterilised with rubbing alcohol) to cut at a 45 degree angle, about five to eight inches down from the top of the mother plant. Ideally, the cutting should have three to four additional nodes (brancheching stems) above the cut.
Place the clone in a propagator or greenhouse that is kept at high humidity with lots of fresh air. Once the clone roots, it can be transplanted to a flowerpot of soil, coco coir or rockwool, depending on your grow set up. Young clones should receive no nutrient solution until they have fully rooted, then use a mild solution with a low dosage recommended on the bottle.
For a regular seed to be of commercial value, it needs to remain stable through the growing process. Inbreeding plants over many generations allows desirable traits to become dominant and consistent, whereas unwanted characteristics may be eliminated from the line.
Regular seeds have a small chance of producing hermaphroditic plants, which contain both male and female reproductive organs, and require careful monitoring to remove them. Feminized seed, on the other hand, is guaranteed to produce only female plants.
Genetic stability can also be affected by storage conditions, as epigenetic changes have been reported in stored seeds and their derived seedlings. These changes can be caused by oxidative stress, which may be triggered by the activation of different repair pathways after imbibition.
Regular seeds offer the possibility of phenotype variation, allowing growers to highlight desirable traits in their offspring. The genetic expression of each seed is unique, and the resulting plants have their own distinctive differences that add to the enjoyment of cultivation.
Seed length and width and seed oil content were significantly differentiated by latitude, while saturated fatty acid (palmitic and stearic) concentrations showed no clear geographic trend. The broad sense heritability for these traits was low, suggesting that environmental factors contribute more to the variation than genotypic ones.
Regular seeds have the potential to produce male and female plants, which must be sexed and removed from the cultivation area to prevent cross-pollination. This requires more monitoring and effort than feminized seeds, but can work in the favor of growers who prioritize genetic stability and exploration of phenotypes. Moreover, regular seeds are more resilient than feminized varieties and less prone to hermaphroditism in the face of stress or unfavorable weather conditions.