As the cannabis industry continues to boom, demand is at an all-time high (pun intended). So, now is the perfect time to start a growing operation, which means that you need to invest in high-quality seeds. However, not all marijuana seeds are created equal. There are three distinct categories: auto-flowering, feminized, and regular. This article will break down each type and why it might work for your needs. Here’s everything you need to know about weed seeds.
Types of Marijuana Seeds
Autoflowering Marijuana Seeds
If you know anything about plants, you should know that they need sunlight and water to thrive. The same is true of cannabis, but the region in which the plant grows makes a huge difference. Typically, strains require lots of sun and a distinct light change to trigger the plants’ germination and flowering. Autoflowering plants, however, do not need the same light cycle.
Instead, these plants can grow much faster since they were bred in the colder climates of Russia and Europe. Because the plants can flower with less time and attention, they’re dubbed “autoflowering.” Another result of a shorter growth period is that the plants are much smaller than other strains. The technical term for this seed type is weed Ruderalis.
As you can imagine, the ability to grow flower quickly and with less light can be a huge advantage if you have a small operation. For example, if you’re growing a few plants at home for personal use, auto-flowering can help you cultivate your crops that much faster.
On the other hand, smaller flowers mean less THC. So, these strains are not as potent as others, and it takes more flowers to get the same high. Even if you’re growing plants for your own use, you’ll have to plan accordingly. That said, while the THC levels are lower, these plants do produce more CBD. As a result, you can make more CBD-infused products if necessary for your business.
Feminized Marijuana Seeds
As with other plant types, cannabis often grows once a male (pollen-producing) strain breeds with a female. However, this process means that, as a grower, you need both male and female plants to continue your growing operation past one generation. So, to streamline the process, some individuals prefer to use “feminized” seeds. In this case, the seeds are self-pollinating, eliminating the need for male plants.
But, how does this work? The answer is actually stress. When female plants get stressed, they start to produce pollen as an extreme measure to ensure the propagation of the species. For weed, stress can be a lack of water, intense sunlight, too many competing plants, or a lack of male counterparts. Fortunately, you don’t have to jump through hoops to stress your marijuana. Instead, you can utilize special chemicals to achieve the same effect. The results are feminized seeds.
The primary disadvantage is that these seeds are harder to cultivate, so they’re more expensive to buy. Also, if you don’t create the right conditions, you might have trouble feminizing the next batch of seeds for future generations. But, if you do everything correctly, you can have a much more efficient growing and cultivation process.
Regular Cannabis Seeds
If you’re new to the world of growing, you should start with regular seeds. These seeds are the product of male and female reproduction, and they’re abundant and relatively cheap. Since there’s a bit of a learning curve with cultivation, you don’t want to use expensive seeds until you’ve mastered your technique.
Another advantage of regular seeds is that it’s easier to breed new strains. So, you can choose to grow Sativa-dominant or Indica-dominant strains as you see fit. Plus, if you want to create your own strains, you’ll need to use regular seeds for experimentation.
The primary downside of these seeds is that you can produce males and females. As a rule, male plants are only necessary for fertilizing female ones. So, if you grow too many males, you can’t harvest and process most of your crop. Since there’s a 50/50 chance of growing males, there’s a bit higher risk.
That said, as you get better at growing and cultivating your weed, you can spot the difference between the plants sooner. Doing this allows you to remove males and plant new seeds before they get too big.
Why Do the Seeds Matter?
As with any crop, your yield depends on the seeds you use. However, weed is a unique plant because it’s been illegal to grow and cultivate in the United States for decades. Because of this ban, marijuana seeds haven’t undergone the same breeding and selection process as other plants, including fruits and vegetables.
One of the biggest challenges of picking the right seeds is that they all look different. Some crops use cloned seeds, meaning there’s consistency between each generation. However, growers like to breed new strains, so each batch can look different from the rest. Even seeds from the same plant can create unique results.
Overall, picking the best seeds for your growing operation can impact everything from the size of your crop yield to the potency of your plants. Whether you’re growing CBD or THC-heavy flower, you have to know how to anticipate and react to these changes. Plus, if you’re selling strains to customers directly, you must understand how to create consistency among generations.
Fortunately, high-quality seed banks can take some of the guesswork out for you. Since they’re committed to growing and cultivating the best seeds, they can handle much of the trial and error that comes with cannabis farming. As we mentioned, it’s good to start with regular seeds, then switch to either feminized or auto-flowering if you want more control over your crops.