Regular seeds or feminized strains: which are better? When picking the best cannabis seeds for a next grow, deciding on whether to grow feminized or regular (non-feminized) weed seeds is an important step. Feminized seeds have their advantages, but so do non-feminized ones. So how do you know what’s best for your situation? Our grow expert Nibameca shares his personal insights and experience to explain the benefits of regular cannabis seeds.
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Feminized Or Regular Seeds: An Important Distinction
Alright, regular seeds; let’s start with the basics. As goes for many species, cannabis is subject to the story of the flowers and the bees. Well, actually, we can skip the bees, because cannabis reproduces by direct pollination of a female plant by a male one without relying on pollinating insects. Males produce pollen; females use it to grow seeds to spawn the next generation. Cannabis is what we call a dioecious plant, involving two sexes making babies together. This is how it’s been done since forever, but if you’re just looking to grow weed, you’ll actually need only female plant to get there. That’s because the ladies are the only ones to sprout those lovely flower buds to which we humans love to help ourselves. You’d almost think males were no use at all. Well, my dear male growers, just ask your girlfriend or wife: she’ll probably tell you it’s true.
And yet, male cannabis plants are absolutely crucial. Without males, there’d be no pollen; and without pollen, there would be no new generation for next year’s season. However, cultivating five female plants in the presence of even a single male specimen can accidentally prompt all your girls to produce seeds. That means you can kiss your harvest goodbye, because the buds will not grow anywhere near as big, with less trichomes to boot. Bad news for you. Basically, growers (as well as smokers) want their female flower buds sinsemilla, which is Spanish for ‘without seeds’. Once you know that, you start to wonder why anyone would want to buy regular seeds. In contrast to feminized seeds, regular cannabis seeds will include on average some 50% male specimens. Nobody want that around in their garden or grow tent, right?
Why Grow Regular Seeds?
You probably felt this one coming: wrong. Male plants definitely have their uses; including for you as a grower. That goes well beyond their natural means of reproduction, too. Male plant give you the chance to cook up your own unique crossbreeds. Highly interesting for the experimentally inclined. But regular seeds don’t grow to become male plants by default. Naturally, about half of them become females, just like with human babies of course. You just don’t know in advance. Genetically, non-feminized regular seed are slightly different from their feminized counterparts. That can work to your advantage in the right circumstances. Regular seeds are less likely to become hermaphrodites when stressed, for one. I’ll tell you more about the pros below. First, though, we return to feminized cannabis seeds: what the big difference?
Feminized Weed Seeds: Pure Girl Power
Feminized cannabis seeds are easy to grow, and can be used at just about any scale of operation. After all, they are bound to produce lovely female plants, with minimal chances of one developing into a male specimen. Insiders claim that plants grown from regular seeds are stronger and more robust, but that is nearly impossible to prove. Nonetheless, there are reasons for growing regular seeds and picking out the male specimens.
After all, it was how everyone did it some twenty years back, and let’s face it: it’s not exactly rocket science.
Telling The Difference Between Feminized And Regular Seeds
Let me explain how to spot the differences. Believe me: it’s dead simple.
Female plants are identifiable by the teardrop-shaped calyxes growing from the plant’s axils, sprouting two white hairs each.
Male weed plants first show their gender at the nodes. Male cannabis will develop strings of tiny balls roughly the size of a cannabis seed from their nodes.
Timing: When Can You Tell Male From Female Cannabis Plants?
So there you have it: telling males from females is that simple. The one thing to keep in mind is timing. Just get rid of the males as soon as you see their sex characteristics emerge. It sounds harsh, and in fact it is; but you really want to act before giving pollination a chance. Once that happens, there’s no going back. Male and female sex characteristics become apparent as the vegetative stage of the cannabis life cycle ends, making way for the flowering stage. Exact timing varies between strains, but they usually start to show some four to six weeks into the growth stage. Have you switched your lighting to 12/12 yet? Better keep your eyes peeled!
Emancipation? The Rise Of Feminized Seeds
Feminized seeds caused quite a stir when they first hit the market. In fact, they became a real craze. That was because feminized seeds make a grower’s job a lot easier. After all, feminized seeds remove the need to select only female plants to fill your grow room. Moreover, feminized genetics abolish the need to grow extra plants since all seeds produce female specimens, and that means ganja.
Soon after their introduction, nearly all seedbanks switched to feminized seeds. These days, the majority of all seeds sold are feminized. That’s fabulous for growers like you and me, but it’s great for breeders too. That’s because feminized weed seeds are harder to clone than regular ones, protecting against copycats running off with their carefully developed strains.
The Advantages Of Regular Seeds
Okay, so as promised, I’ll now list the main advantages regular seeds give you as a grower.
Never Grow Hermaphrodites Again
Provided you take enough samples, regular seeds produce 50% male plants and 50% females. The female plants are genuinely 100% female, without containing any male DNA. Regular seeds will rarely , if ever, produce hermaphrodite plants, that’s a fact. Since feminized seeds are made using at least one hermaphrodite plant as a parent, they run a much bigger chance of going ‘herma’ than regular seeds do. You’ll notice that when you stress your plants by pruning them. Techniques like topping, fimming, lollypopping, or defoliation are all sources of stress for plants. In response to such stress, weed plants grown from feminized seeds may grow into hermaphrodites, producing male flowers eventually. That chance is reduced dramatically if you grow weed from regular seeds: that’s a big fat plus, then!
Your Own Creation From Regular Seeds
Creating your very own strain also requires regular seeds. That’s because regular seeds give us the male plants we need to make the process work. Crossbreeding two individual strains of cannabis allows you to combine the desired properties of each individual strain. That way, you can develop your very own strain and improve on what you already had. And for the thrifty growers among us: if you want, you can grow your own free plant to produce new seeds. It’ll have to be pollinated to make that work, though: be sure to do it in an isolated room, sealed off from any of your harvestable plants.
So, Feminized Or Regular ?
So there you have it. You probably get it by now. If you know what distinguishes feminized plants from regular ones, you expand your options for future grow projects. Both varieties have their own distinct pros and cons, but ultimately, the choice is yours.
Personally, I have become a big fan of regular seeds over my years spent growing weed. I frequently use regular seeds to grow strong, healthy mother plants. I take new cuttings, or spruces, from those mother plants to fill my grow room with 100% female plants that yield staggering results.
If you’ve grown curious about the regular seeds in the Amsterdam Genetics range, then go right ahead: check our sensational Critical Mass Regular and Amnesia Haze Regular seeds and start growing yours today!
Disclaimer: Local laws and legislation on cannabis cultivation and germination of seeds vary between countries and states. Amsterdam Genetics products and information are exclusively intended for use in areas where such use is fully legal. Check your local rules; do not act in conflict with the law!