If you’re looking to start breeding, or just want to grow cannabis the traditional way, it’s important to know how cannabis seeds work.
The most important thing to know about traditional cannabis seeds is that they are dioecious, meaning that cannabis produces male and female seeds. Typically, this results in about a 1:1 ratio of male and female seeds that will be produced through breeding. In other words, when you buy a back of 10 seeds, there’s a good chance that half of them will be male. The biggest issue with traditional cannabis seeds is that you can’t actually tell the sex of the seed until it’s already planted. Not only that, cannabis plants typically won’t reveal their sex until the flower cycle starts, meaning you can be caring for male plants for months before you find out they’re male.
Preparing cannabis seeds
Due to the unpredictable nature of cannabis seeds, it’s important to be prepared. Since it’s likely half your seeds will be male, a lot of growers will buy double the amount of seeds they need, so when they inevitably have to throw out the males, they will still have the amount of females they originally wanted.
Remember, if you don’t buy extra seeds, after a couple of months, a once promising yield can be slashed in half by getting rid of the males. This is why you need to decide whether or not you want to produce your own seeds. If you decide to leave the males with the females, they will pollinate and produce more seeds.
Not for everybody
With the risk of growing male plants and reducing yields, growing from traditional cannabis seeds is not for everybody. Newer growers may try out feminized seeds or auto-flowering seeds. These kinds of seeds both guarantee that your plants will be female, and auto-flowering seeds will even grow on their own, regardless of their light cycle.
However, a new grower can also greatly benefit from the lessons learned by growing traditionally. If you’re just growing for personal use and have a few plants, you won’t lose all that much if you plan ahead, get 6 seeds, and expect 3 of them to be male. Plus, should you end up growing a strain you really like, you can keep the male plants separate until you’re ready, then pollinate the females to create more seeds.
It’s comes down to preference
Growing cannabis from traditional male/female seeds may be more difficult, but it can be just as rewarding. The ability to breed your plants, and pick out the ones you eventually don’t want gives the grower a certain amount of control over their plants. However for some, the risk may outweigh the cost, as having to buy double the seeds to get the desired amount of females can add up.
Hear what Caleb from CSI Humboldt has to say about growing from traditional seeds on the new episode of The Real Dirt with Chip Baker. Listen to the episode on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts!