All plants start from a seed and when it comes to Cannabis, the spectrum of diversity available is incredible. We are lucky to have access to photoperiod, autoflowering, CBD dominant, regular and feminized Cannabis seeds. As a beginner, knowing which plant is best for you to kick-start your gardening career can be overwhelming, so in this article we break down the differences between regular and feminized Cannabis seeds, explaining the benefits of each, clones, and our top tips.
The different types of Cannabis seeds
Before the year 2000, the only Cannabis seeds that could be bought from a seed shop, or a weekend in Amsterdam, would be regular seeds. This does not refer to the quality of the plants produced, and simply refers to the fact they will be either male or female once flowering. Traditionally a grower would plant for example 20 seeds and once the plants entered the third week of 12/12, they could identify which had male or female pre-flowers.
The goal being to keep only the female plants, unless working on a breeding project, and would often result in the final plant count from 20 plants reducing down to 9–12 females. It was around 2001 when the feminized scene really took off, and revolutionized the way a home grower or commercial scale grower could work. For the first time, home growers could plant 20 feminized Cannabis seeds and once flowering started, no males were present and the entire room was full of female flowers and buds.
The benefits of regular Cannabis seeds
Regular Cannabis seeds are still a preferable way of growing, especially amongst the old school growers. Compared to the feminized version, regular sexed Cannabis seeds will be grown out by those who are prepared to pheno hunt through the females and disregard the male plants, or to use the male for breeding projects when making your own Cannabis seeds at home.
● Usually, there is a 40/60 ratio of males to females when using regular seeds.
● For breeding projects, regular seeds will offer the most diversity and stability.
● Regular seeds represent a lineage, which is typically the first and fifth generation.
● Plants from regular seeds can often endure more stress than feminized.
The benefits of feminized Cannabis seeds
The best part about growing with feminized Cannabis seeds, was the fact that there was no need to throw out large sized male plants, lose plant count and space, waste soil or nutrients and the return on yield would reach maximum potential. Feminized Cannabis seeds are the best place for a beginner grower to start, and can grow multiple strains at once knowing they will all flower and produce buds.
● Feminized Cannabis seeds means no need to remove any plants at all.
● Hydroponic systems can be filled without losing space and plants.
● A commercial scale grower focused on yields can maximize their operation.
● There is a massive variety of feminized seeds available to buy.
● Using feminized Cannabis seeds eliminates the concerns of cross pollination.
Which Cannabis seeds are best for a beginner?
Now, before you go online and spend all your money on the most expensive seeds you can find, there are a few variables to consider. As a beginner, there are few factors such as knowledge and experience that should be your main priority when considering purchasing your first ever strain.
Not all Cannabis seeds will grow the same and thanks to the diversity of the Cannabis plant, we are able to grow indica, sativa, or hybrid photoperiod crosses all with their own unique structure, shape, size, flowering time, terpene and resin production.
As a beginner grower, you will want to choose a strain that is described by the breeders as an easy to grow plant which requires little maintenance. Cannabis seeds with a fast flowering time of 7–8 weeks will be the best option and also reduce the risk of pathogens such as mold affecting the crop late into the flowering stage.
Avoid long flowering sativa varieties, until you are much more experienced, as these can often be difficult to grow, far more demanding and even a challenge for the expert grower. Indica dominant hybrids are oftentimes the ideal entry level point for the first time.
Can I grow autoflowering Cannabis seeds indoors?
Autoflowering Cannabis seeds have also made waves in the industry and allow a grower to plant indoors or outdoors, without depending on a darkness period of 12 hours or less to induce flower production. From seed to harvest, autos will take between 70–100 days depending on the lineage, and those who experience a hot climate all year long can testify that growing autos outdoors all year around is easily done.
When growing autoflowering Cannabis seeds indoors, it is best to keep them under 18–20 hours of lighting, and to keep the humidity around 40-50% and a consistent flow of air produced by oscillating fans. Autos will stay short and are easy to maintain and if you have a separate room for vegetating seeds, clones or mother plants, then autos can be an excellent way to keep your curing jars full between harvests.
What about clones from Cannabis seeds?
Cloning Cannabis plants is the way to produce a genetic replica of a plant, which has usually been tried and tested. Clones are small sized plants with a root ball formed, and can be planted directly into the growing medium and grow quickly, or even immediately flower in some cases. It is important to remember that it is not possible to take clones from autoflowering Cannabis plants, and only with photoperiod plants.
5 top tips to consider when buying Cannabis seeds
Top Tip #1 - Make sure you read as much information about the strains before you buy them. The more you can research, then the easier it is to match a strain based on your skill level and experience.
Top Tip #2 - Try and grow out many different varieties at once using feminized Cannabis seeds, as this will allow you to see many plants growing and expressing their different genetic traits.
Top Tip #3 - If you are using regular seeds, then be extra vigilant to identify male plants early on, to avoid the risk of male pollen inside the grow room, if your intention is to have a female crop.
Top Tip #4 - Long flowering sativa strains will be the most demanding in terms of nutrients, electricity, maintenance, training and time invested. As a beginner, short flowering, medium-sized plants are the best candidates.
Top Tip #5 - If you decide to outsource clones instead of starting with Cannabis seeds, then be prepared for contaminated clones that can contain spider mites or powdery mildew.
If you are a beginner, novice or expert, then Cannabis seeds offer something different for everyone. There is no right or wrong way to grow, and with so many options available in the seed world, deciding which strain to grow should be an exciting and thought out process!