Regular cannabis seeds operate exactly as nature intended, offering a natural breeding experience for growers. They are a key part of cultivating cannabis, especially for those who like to make their own seed stock or take clones.
Regular cannabis seeds are produced by crossing a female plant with a male plant. The resulting seeds can contain either a male X or a female Y, giving rise to plants of the opposite sex that display different traits depending on their environment. These differences in phenotype are what make regular seed an exciting choice for breeders and growers.
The creation of stable cultivars is a lengthy process that requires time and large growing space. It begins with a chosen mother plant that possesses certain desired characteristics, such as flowering time and psychoactive properties. This mother plant is then crossed with a genetically stable male that shares these desired traits. The resulting offspring, also known as the F1 generation, typically exhibit a high degree of heterozygosis and will therefore display a wide range of growth and flowering patterns.
Stabilizing the genetics of a strain involves selective breeding over many generations to produce offspring that express less variation in the genes that determine how a plant behaves. This creates a cultivar with more uniform traits, which then produces seeds with the same qualities for subsequent grows.
Regular seeds are great for experienced growers looking to create their own strains or experiment with breeding. They give a theoretical ratio of male plants to female plants (with some luck and environmental conditions), but they are often cheaper than feminized seeds. When you grow regular seed, it is important to cull any male plants before they pollinate your desired female plant. Otherwise, all your water and nutrients could be going to waste!
Feminized seeds don’t produce any male plants, and that makes them ideal for commercial growers with a set number of desired phenotypes in each crop. However, they also come with the disadvantage that some growers find it difficult to identify and remove hermaphroditic plants.
Growing regular seeds requires a little more work than feminized seed. With a bit of practice, you can breed a strain that produces the high and flavor you’re looking for! You can also cross different strains to explore opposing terpene profiles and create unique cultivars.
A clone is simply a rootless branch cut from a mother plant. Clones can be very useful to growers who know exactly which phenotype they want to cultivate. However, clones require more energy to develop roots than plants grown from seeds. The rooting hormone required for clones is expensive and can be difficult to obtain.
Clones may also carry flaws in their DNA inherited from their mothers. These can manifest themselves months later during flowering and result in a loss of consistency, flavour and potency. Seed producers do a great job of improving the consistency of their products but seeds still produce some variation in colour, flavour and characteristics.
For anyone interested in developing new strains through natural plant reproduction, clones are not the way to go. To create seeds, a male and female plant must be crossed. To do this, a grower must take a cutting from a hermaphroditic plant which requires extensive maintenance and monitoring to prevent unwanted pollination.
Seeds from regular plants contain both male and female genetics, meaning that they require sexing to identify and remove the males. This process is time-consuming and requires knowledge, expertise, and resources. However, it is the only way to guarantee that your crops will produce only female plants.
Although the mating system is a major factor influencing the extent to which seed collections reflect standing populations’ genetic diversity, the exact effect of different sampling strategies on seed genetics is unclear. In particular, few empirical tests have been performed to determine how different collection methods influence the number and distribution of rare alleles (Funda et al., 2009).
The observed and expected heterozygosity and effective allele numbers of seed mothers were compared between H. sericea and H. teretifolia using COLONY genotyping (Peakall and Smouse 2012). The results showed that the estimates of Ho, He, and FIS fall within the range of population genomics analyses conducted with larger sample sizes in natural stands. The results also indicated that the amount of parental clones used influences the genetic diversity of a seed orchard. A high number of parent clones promotes genetic diversity by increasing allele numbers and decreasing selfing rates.