Everything You Need To Know About Different Types Of Cannabis Seeds
Cannabis cultivation can be complicated, especially if you don’t already have commercial growing experience. There are light cycles, humidity, watering schedules, pesticides, and harvest dates all to consider. However, the arguably most important decision takes place before ever planting.
Growing marijuana plants starts with selecting the right seeds for your operation. Choosing the wrong seeds could have disastrous results depending on a cultivator’s overall goals. Here’s a brief overview of the common types of marijuana seeds and how to use them.
How Cannabis Reproduces
First, it’s essential to understand how cannabis reproduction takes place. Cannabis is a dioecious plant, which means both male and female versions of the plant exist. When growing male and female weed plants together, male cannabis plants pollinate females, causing them to produce seeds.
In the wild, this ensures the plant propagates. However, cultivators attempting to grow potent marijuana will want to avoid pollination. The high-quality buds available in modern dispensaries are known as sensimilla, which means without seeds. These are female plants that haven’t been pollinated. By avoiding the fertilization process, sensimilla plants grow to produce more resin and, therefore, more overall cannabinoids and terpenes. If you're growing dispensary-grade marijuana, it’s essential to remove any male plants from your crop before they have an opportunity to pollinate. One way to avoid male plants is to use feminized seeds.
What Are Feminized Cannabis Seeds?
Female plants will attempt to pollinate themselves by growing characteristically male pollen sacs if left in a flowering state for too long. Using the pollen from these hermaphroditic plants to flower other female plants is known as rodelization, and it can help eliminate the potential for male plants. A female plant pollinated from a hermaphroditic female will produce feminized seeds—seeds extremely unlikely to carry male genetics.
Another way cultivators create feminized seeds is by spraying their female plants with a chemical called colloidal silver or silver thiosulfate, which encourages the plant to develop pollen sacs.
Whether you create your own feminized seeds or purchase them from wherever you buy cannabis seeds, remember that feminization is not fool-proof. Feminized seeds may still occasionally produce male plants, so be on the lookout to ensure an overlooked male plant doesn’t pollinate your entire crop.
What Are Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds?
Most cannabis plants are photoperiod, meaning that they require specific light cycles to transition from their vegetative stage to their flowering stage. This is done either by seasonal outdoor planting (typically starting around April) or through artificial light manipulation indoors.
However, autoflowering seeds will move to their flowering stage upon maturity, regardless of the light cycle. Autoflowering seeds come from a rare strain of cannabis called cannabis ruderalis, which evolved in northern climates with long summer days. Ruderalis plants typically have lower cannabinoid percentages, so most autoflowering seeds are crossed with a conventional sativa or indica strain.
Autoflowering seeds generally produce smaller plants that have lower total yields, but for some cultivators, this is outweighed by the benefit of reliable harvest times and the ability to grow outdoors year-round.
How To Germinate Seeds
Regardless of whether a cultivator uses regular, feminized, or autoflowering seeds, cannabis seeds need to be germinated before planting.
Seed germination refers to the process by which a seed sprouts. For many plants, seeds will germinate after being planted. However, germinating cannabis seeds requires a special approach since the seeds are so fragile.
There are several ways to germinate weed seeds. The cheapest and easiest way to do this is by placing your seeds between two moist paper towels and letting them sit in a warm location for a few days. You’ll know the seed is ready once it sprouts a white tail.
What Are Cannabis Clones
Not all commercial cannabis plants come from seeds. Sometimes, cultivators can create a clone.
It starts by taking a clipping from an existing cannabis plant. Then, that plant is transplanted into new soil, where it can take root and create an entirely new plant. Plants that are grown in this method will be genetically identical to the original plant that it was clipped from. Not only does cloning plants help save money on seeds, but it also allows cultivators to replicate desirable genetic profiles more consistently.
Tips For How To Grow Marijuana
Once you’ve selected the seeds that will best fit your operation, following these four tips can help maximize yields and better your chances for a successful harvest.
- Use The Optimal Soil: Soil for cannabis plants should have a PH level around 5.8 - 6.2, be nutrient-rich, and have a light and airy texture that allows for roots to grow unobstructed.
- Maintain Proper Irrigation: Indoor cannabis plants will need to be watered every 2-3 days. With outdoor plants, the watering schedule will depend on rainfall in the area. If the soil feels dry to the touch or plant leaves begin to droop, it may be time to water.
- Watch Humidity Levels: Indoor plants give the cultivator control over more environmental factors, like humidity. When growing indoors, optimal humidity is between 40% and 50%.
- Companion Plants Can Keep Pests At Bay: outdoor grow operations often suffer from pest problems. One way to help avoid pests without resorting to potentially harmful chemical pesticides is to grow companion plants like basil, alfalfa, or dill.