For those of you who are new to growing cannabis seeds, this article will help answer many of your questions.
If you are about to start a new crop of cannabis, growing from seed is a great way to go. Although we recently discussed the differences between growing from seed versus clones, we regularly plant seeds in our facility.
We always pheno hunt any batch of seeds for the best phenotype. Once we have the pheno of our choice, we create a Mother Plant so we can continue taking clones for that strain. But in the beginning, when introducing a new strain, we always start with seeds.
Can you tell a strain from the seed?
Although all seeds are unique in their own way, the strain is not readily apparent. Seeds are kind of like fingerprints; they are all different, but they all look the same to the naked eye.
For this reason, you must be very careful in where you purchase your seeds from. You cannot tell what strain you have just from looking at the seed. Therefore, you must trust the seller that is providing you with the seeds.
You should only purchase seeds that come in authentic packaging, from the breeder – the grower that created the strain. The good seeds banks will carry strains from popular breeders, and will only sell those strains in packaging from the breeder.
Some seed banks may try to re-create the strain themselves, by attempting to breed the parent strains to create the popular strain in demand. This is not a legitimate way of selling seeds. This new creation is not the same as the one created by the original breeder. And further, it is a type of plagiarism, if you want to consider it so. Be weary of these types of seedbanks and websites.
In addition, you must be very careful in storing your seeds, so that you do not mix them up. You will want to keep a good system for labeling, and separating varieties of seeds. Especially if you start to collect a lot, or if you are engaging in breeding projects.
Types of cannabis seeds: Feminized versus regular
When you are shopping for seeds, you may notice that some are sold as Feminized (F) and some are sold as Regular (R). In case you were wondering what this meant, these are two varieties of seeds that can be purchased.
Regular seeds are the normal, regular seeds that are produced by a female plant. Regular seeds produce both female and male plants. However, you don’t actually know what sex the plant will be until you grow it.
Feminized seeds are seeds that were bred to be female only. Meaning, when you plant a feminized seed, you do not have to worry about spotting males early and throwing them out. You can rest assured that each seed will grow to be a female plant.
The downside to feminized is they produce hermaphrodite, or herm, plants rather frequently, which are just as bad as having an unexpected male in the room.
What does a female weed seed look like?
You can’t tell if a seed is a male or a female. There are no characteristics that give it away. All seeds look alike in that regard.
This is another reason why you must be able to trust the source of your seeds.
After planting, sort through the Male and Female plants to avoid getting seeds in your bud
When you plant Regular seeds, you can expect a combination of male and female plants. If you are growing for the purpose of harvesting some dank, smokable herb, you will want only female plants in your batch, and therefore you will need to identify the males early and remove them from your batch.
If you leave males in your batch of female plants, once you switch to the 12/12 light cycle, the male pollen will fertilize the nearby female plants, causing them to produce seeds. This is great if your goal is breeding. Otherwise, now you have seeds in your bud! And this is not good when you are growing to smoke!
Do female cannabis plants produce male seeds?
Yes, female plants produce both male and female seeds. Male cannabis plants do not produce any seeds, but instead only produce pollen.
Male pollen can fertilize or impregnate a female plant, but only the female can produce the seeds.
How do Breeders create Feminized cannabis seeds?
If you pollenate a female cannabis plant with a male plant, it will produce regular seeds, i.e. mixed sex seeds.
But if you fertilize a female plant with the pollen from a hermaphrodite plant, the impregnated female will produce only females. That is how you produce feminized seeds.
Additionally, there are other methods of producing feminized seeds that involve spraying hormones on the female plant.
Feminized seeds are great in that they do produce only female plants. However, they also produce more hermaphrodite plants, as well as plants extremely vulnerable to becoming hermaphrodite from external sources, whether stress or environmental.