While feminized and autoflowering seeds may be all the rage, cultivating regular cannabis plants can still be highly rewarding. Properly understanding which plants belong to each sex and how to identify them early on, is key.
Often used by breeders, regular seeds are the preferred choice of experienced growers. This is because they offer many benefits compared to their counterparts.
Before feminized and autoflowering seeds stole the spotlight, regular seed strains were the only option for cannabis enthusiasts. These unmodified varieties develop both male and female plants, with males producing pollen sacs that fertilize the flowers of female marijuana plants. This can be a major pain for a self-sufficient grower, as mistakes in cultivation can lead to hermaphrodite plants.
With a little patience and careful selection, breeders can eliminate undesirable genes from a strain over multiple generations. The result is a genetically stable cultivar that retains the desired traits over time.
Experienced breeders rely on regular seeds to explore the full potential of their plant creations. These cultivars allow breeders to experiment with different combinations of traits that produce unique and diverse phenotypes. These seeds also give growers the opportunity to experiment with hybrids that may not be possible with feminized and autoflowering seeds.
When cultivating regular seeds, you will grow a mixture of male and female plants. This is normal and it gives the grower an opportunity to experience the full genetic lineage of the strain, observing how each specimen expresses common growth, organoleptic and psychoactive characteristics.
In contrast, feminized seeds produce crops that are 99% female. This makes them ideal for professional growers who want a uniform and predictable harvest.
Feminized crops are also easier to manage because there is no risk of hermaphrodite plants pollinating the buds. However, hermaphrodite plants will emerge in any crop that is stressed with techniques like topping, fimming or lollypopping. This is why many growers still choose to plant regular seeds. It is easier to deal with hermaphrodites by separating them from the rest of the crop early into flowering.
There are many breeders that sell feminized seeds, but only some of them can be trusted. The best breeders are those that offer high-quality strains and have a good reputation among growers. They also provide useful growing information. You should avoid the seed providers that have paid large amounts of money for advertising.
Regular seeds are unaltered and if you are looking to grow organically, they may be a better option for you. However, they can produce both male and female plants and this can be a problem for growers who want a specific ratio of female to male plants.
You can also use regular seeds to create your own unique cannabis strains. This will give you the ability to pick and choose specific specimens based on their terpenes, effects and colours.
Before feminized seeds were available growers had to deal with hermie cannabis plants that develop both male and female flowers. While hermies are less common now, some cannabis strains do go hermie toward the end of their bloom cycle. It is therefore advised that growers monitor their plants for hermaphrodite floral structures on a daily basis during the peak of their flowering.
If hermies are found, it is important to remove them as soon as possible because they will release pollen that can contaminate unpollinated female flowers (the whole goal of sensimilla cultivation). This process takes energy away from the plant that could have been used for making larger buds and more THC and other cannabinoids. Hermaphroditism in cannabis plants can be caused by a number of environmental stressors and genetic tendencies.
Environmental conditions affect a seed before it is dispersed and after it is deposited in the soil [1, 2]. After-ripening processes and the environment where seeds are placed determine their physiological, biochemical, and molecular characteristics, including dormancy requirements.
Seeds with innate dormancy require specific conditions of water, temperature, and gases for germination. As seeds lose dormancy, they become more likely to germinate under a wide range of environmental conditions.
The quality of the light also influences a seed’s ability to lose dormancy. Seeds that are exposed to low proportions of red and far-red wavelengths can have their germination rate reduced. Humidity is another factor that affects the germination of seeds. Humidity levels below 8% are susceptible to insect infestation and mold development. This is why the ideal humidity level for storage is between 8% and 10%.