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Cannabis Seeds Explained

Cannabis Seeds Explained

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!

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Feminized Seeds: a grower’s dream

Feminized Seeds: a grower’s dream

Feminized seeds are usually a guaranteed success for growers. But where did feminized seeds come from?

Popping 12 seeds because six of them will end up male can take a toll on a grower. It’s a waste of resources, energy and time taking care of what will become male plants that need to be thrown away. Luckily, a grower that was tired of dealing with males came up with an idea for eradicating them; feminized seeds.

Feminized seeds in the beginning

In the 90’s, as demand for cannabis started to grow more and more, so did the need for high quantities of flower-producing female plants. With grower’s popping hundreds of seeds at once, it was no longer an option to sift through the entire garden to pick out the males.

Through breeding hermaphroditic females with other pure females, over time, feminized seeds were produced. These seeds were bred to lose the male chromosome during their breeding process, thus creating seeds that were guaranteed female every time. So what did that mean for growers?

They could now pop 100 seeds and get 100 females, every time.

Definitely not perfect

While a¬†huge advancement for growers at the time, feminized seeds weren’t without their flaws. Being the offspring of a hermaphroditic parent, early seeds had a much higher possibility of developing hermaphroditism during their growth cycle. Over time, this problem has mostly been bred out, but seeds that are feminized will still be more likely to become hermaphroditic than their traditional counterparts.

Feminized seeds also lacked the same quality and overall genetic stability that traditional seeds had at the time. Throughout the years since and countless breeding initiatives, they have been bred to all but match traditional seed’s quality.

Worth a try?

Today, feminized seeds make up the majority of seeds bought by growers both professional and hobbyist. Traditional male and female seeds have become the main supply for breeders specifically who want to cross different plants, create hybrids, or produce more seeds.

Most feminized seeds you can buy today will come out just like they would had they been traditional seeds that turned out to be female. So now the only difference in your decision comes down to whether or not you even want to risk growing male plants. If you want to try out breeding and producing your own seeds, then you want male plants. Otherwise, try some feminized seeds and enjoy your guaranteed (with the chance of hermaphrodites) female harvest.

Learn about feminized seeds from one of the original breeders, Caleb of CSI Humboldt on the new episode of The Real Dirt with Chip Baker! Chip and Caleb talk seeds, breeding, strain naming and more in this awesome episode straight out of Humboldt.

Listen on The Real Dirt

Listen on iTunes

Listen on Spotify