Understanding the Different Varieties of Cannabis Seeds Cannabis seeds are to marijuana what grapes are to wine. Each seed gives birth to a marijuana plant, but there are countless varieties with This article compares the pros and cons of the three types of marijuana seeds: regular seeds, feminized seeds, and autoflower seeds.
Understanding the Different Varieties of Cannabis Seeds
Cannabis seeds are to marijuana what grapes are to wine. Each seed gives birth to a marijuana plant, but there are countless varieties with their own distinct differences. There are hundreds, if not thousands of different marijuana strains today with more popping up on a constant basis.
Exploring the Different Types of Cannabis Seeds
Each different cannabis seed will produce a uniquely different plant. Each strain has its own flavor profile, aroma, resin content, cannabinoid and terpene balance. Where the plants are grown, how they are harvested, processed and a variety of other factors decide how the bud will turn out.
Comparing marijuana strains to wine is a great way to better understand the small yet important differences.
Indica and sativa are two major differentiating factors among cannabis plants; these parallel the red and white wine varieties.
The specific genome of grape decides the type of wine produced; Merlot, Shiraz and Pinot noir are a few different types. But these types differ from vineyard to vineyard, year to year and even bottle to bottle. Marijuana is very similar in this respect, each strain, each grower, and each grow will yield a slightly different result.
We aren’t going to list all the different cannabis strains, but we will explain a few of the different types of cannabis seeds. From the regular old marijuana seeds that your parents grew, to the newer feminized and autoflower varieties that have become massively popular.
Autoflower Cannabis Seeds
Cannabis ruderalis , commonly known as autoflower, is one of the most popular types of cannabis used by home growers. Autoflower plants do not require a different light cycle in order to flower, meaning you can plant them virtually anywhere and harvest 7-10 weeks later.
Autoflower cannabis strains generally yield less than regular marijuana seeds, THC content is usually lower as well. However, the CBD content in autoflower strains is quite high, making them a perfect option for medical users.
Originating in Russia, cannabis ruderalis was first discovered in 1942 in southern Siberia. Breeders often mix cannabis ruderalis genetics with more potent indica and sativa strains, resulting in an easy to grow plant with a higher than usual THC and CBD level.
We recently had a chat with the folks over at Crop King Seeds and they told us their autoflower strains have quickly become one of their most popular sellers. With more and more baby boomers looking for alternative remedies for arthritis, chronic pain and depression, these easy to grow varieties are a perfect match for inexperienced and well-seasoned gardeners alike.
Feminized Cannabis Seeds
Marijuana plants can be either male, female or hermaphroditic. If you are growing cannabis to consume, and you aren’t a breeder, then you will want to make sure all of your plants are female. Male and hermaphrodite plants will pollinate the budding female plants and cause them to grow seeds instead of pouring their energy into growing lush, resinous buds.
It only takes 1 male to pollinate an entire crop of female plants, essentially ruining your yield. If you notice a male or hermaphrodite plant in your crop, it is important to remove it and isolate it from the rest immediately.
Feminized seeds will result in a female cannabis plant about 90% of the time, the outliers will be hermaphrodites. Regular seeds will have a 50/50 ratio male to female, making feminized seeds much more desirable to most growers.
Feminized cannabis seeds are created by breeding two female plants. Both the ‘eggs’ and pollen come from genetically female plants. This can be done a couple of different ways.
How Feminized Seeds Are Made
The natural way to create feminized seeds is to allow one female cannabis plant to stay in the flowering stage a couple of weeks beyond normal. The plant will begin to create pollen in a last ditch effort to produce at least a few seeds and reproduce.
Another way to make feminized seeds is to spray a colloidal silver solution on a female cannabis plant everyday for about 2 weeks right when it enters the flowering stage. This forces the plant to develop male pollen sacs.
There are also methods that intentionally stress out a female plant until it begins developing pollen sacs. These tactics are best left to the experts though as they are less reliable and harder to do.
Regular Marijuana Seeds
These are the seeds that most people know and love. Regular seeds require a bit more attention during their growth cycle, ensuring the light cycle changes to enter the flowering stage. They are also unpredictable when it comes to sex, expect a split between male and female plants, depending on how lucky you are.
High Times did a comparison between AK-47 seeds, testing the regular seeds vs the feminized seeds. Regular seeds resulted in a slightly taller plant, 34” to 40”, where the feminized plants were slightly shorter, 25”-34”. Despite the size difference the feminized seeds actually yielded more bud, about 12 grams more per plant on average.
There is still much debate as to whether or not regular seeds provide a more consistent genetic make-up. Some growers prefer to use regular seeds and cull the males, while other growers prefer the feminized seeds.
This is the first, and arguably the most important part of growing a cannabis plant. It is so important because it is easy to mess up and you will end up with useless seeds that won’t grow.
Using this ‘two-plate germinating process’ you can optimize your chances of a successful cannabis seed germination.
How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
- Take one large dinner plate and lay down a layer of moist (but not soaking) paper towel.
- Place your cannabis seeds on the paper towel, giving them plenty of space between one and other.
- Lay a couple more layers of damp (still not soaking) paper towel on top of the seeds.
- Place another dinner plate (upside down) on top. This will create a clam-shell, shielding the seeds from light. Be sure there is plenty of space between the plates so the seeds can get plenty of oxygen.
- If you are germinating the seeds in a dark room, you can omit the second plate.
- Place the seeds in a warm room (around 21° C), be sure they are far away from any direct sunlight.
- Check the seeds everyday to ensure the paper towel doesn’t dry out. If it gets dry, simply mist it with water from a spray bottle. Again, be sure not to over-water the seeds because they will drown.
- The cannabis seeds should crack and start showing a root within about 3-days, but it could take as long as 2-weeks.
- Once the roots are a few millimeters long, it’s time to transfer them to a pot filled with soil.
- Make a small hole for the seedling to sit, you want the seed to sit a few millimeters under the soil. Place the seed down root first.
- Expect the seedling to pop through the soil after one to three days.
Once you decide which type of seed fits your preferred growing style, you can browse the massive catalogue of strains offered by the world’s top cannabis seed providers.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each style of seed, but for beginners we suggest opting for a feminized autoflower variety. This eliminates the need to be a pro in identifying the male plants that can ruin an entire crop and simplifies the growing process. Once you feel confident with your ability to grow and identify cannabis plants, branch out and experiment with different seeds and / or cloning techniques.
Dissecting the 3 Types of Cannabis Seeds: Regular, Feminized, and Autoflowering
When deciding to grow cannabis, the first place to start is with the seeds. Most seed banks will give you the option to choose the type of seed you want for each strain. Cannabis seeds are divided into three distinct categories: regular, feminized, and auto-flowering. The kind of seed you choose ultimately depends on your experience growing cannabis, and how well you understand the process. Each seed-type comes with its own benefits and drawbacks.
Let’s break down the three types of cannabis seeds to help you get to know the pros and cons of each.
Regular seeds are the result of sexual reproduction between a male (pollen-producing) plant and a female (ovule bearing) plant. In Cannabis cultivation, these seeds are usually the product of hand-pollination. A breeder hand-pollinates a female plant using pollen collected from a male plant. The seeds produced by these hand-pollinations are similar to the seeds produced by wild populations of cannabis.
Advantages of regular seeds
They are relatively inexpensive and easy to find. Many expert growers suggest that beginners use regular seeds for their first few cultivation attempts. Beginners are more likely to make mistakes, and regular seeds are inexpensive and easy to replace. Regular seeds are also popular among plant breeders, who need both male and female plants to experiment with selective breeding. Regular seeds are also available in a variety of strain combinations, such as indica-dominant or sativa-dominant.
Disadvantages of regular seeds
There is a 50% chance the seed produces a male plant. It can be hard to differentiate male plants from female plants until they are at least 3-4 week old seedlings. You could end up with male plants in a greenhouse full of females. Male plants are usually undesirable unless you are trying to breed new strains or collect pollen for future use (“pollen banking”).
When female Cannabis plants are “stressed” they sometimes begin to produce pollen. Stressful conditions for a female Cannabis plant include inadequate water, intense heat/UV light, intense herbivory, or insufficient access to male plants. Growers have learned to take advantage of this natural phenomenon to produce “feminized seeds.” If a female Cannabis plant is subjected to stressful conditions (or chemicals are applied to the plant to mimic stressful conditions), the female plant may produce pollen-bearing flowers. Pollen is harvested from those flowers and used to pollinate the female flowers of the same plant (self-pollination). Once the female plant has pollinated itself, it is almost guaranteed to produce seeds that will only grow up to be females (due to the lack of Y chromosomes involved in reproduction).
Advantages of feminized seeds
While reliable empirical evidence is lacking, some growers report that >98% of feminized seeds produce female plants. If your primary goal is to produce seedless female buds and you do not want to worry about accidentally growing male plants, this may be the best option for you.
Disadvantages of feminized seeds
Feminized seeds are more expensive than regular seeds. They would not be suitable for anyone hoping to collect pollen or breed new strains.
The most popular varieties of Cannabis are Cannabis ssp. sativa and Cannabis ssp. indica. However, there is a third subspecies of Cannabis, C. ruderalis. Ruderalis evolved to survive and reproduce in the long-winter climates of Europe and Russia. Spring and summer are very short in these regions, so ruderalis developed fewer light requirements to trigger seed germination and flowering. Seeds that contain ruderalis genetics do not require a change in light cycle to germinate or begin flowering, so they are described as “auto-flowering”.
Advantages of autoflowering seeds
These seeds produce small plants that flower very quickly, which may be an advantage if you do not have a lot of time or growing space. The short stature of these plants may also be an advantage if you are trying to grow plants under a legal height limit. You also do not need an elaborate cultivation plan or lighting system. Plants grown from auto-flowering seeds often produce flowers that are high in CBD but low in THC, making them a good option for medicinal cannabis users.
Disadvantages of autoflowering seeds
The plants produced by autoflowering seeds are often characterized by flowers with very low THC content. These seeds produce small plants, so they may not be a good option if you are trying to produce large quantities of buds.
Whichever type of seeds you choose, you can still grow high-quality cannabis plants. Some seeds involve more hands-on care than others, but depending on how much work you want to invest in the process, all of the cannabis seeds we mentioned can get you bountiful yields. When choosing a seed type, keep in mind things like your grow space, your budget, and how much time you’re willing to invest in the grow.