Grow Diaries

About seeds: Feminized, regular and autoflowering

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About seeds:  Feminized, regular and autoflowering

Cannabis seed varieties come in regular, feminized (which most seeds are now), and autoflower.  Regular seeds come from one male and one female parent and can produce either male or female plants. It is impossible to tell if a regular seed will turn out to be a male or a female later. Of course, after you get to the flowering stage, it is much simpler to identify males and females. Males will produce oval pods while females will produce a protective calyx shaped like a teardrop.

Feminized seeds are bred to contain no male chromosomes, thus ensuring that every plant grown from them will flower as a female and be able to produce the crop of resinous buds that most growers are looking for—not seeds.  Feminized seeds are the easiest way to get bud without risking cross pollination (or unintended seedy weed).The ratio for male-to-female growth with regular seeds is around 1-to-1 (approximately 66% female but best to just assume that 50% of the seeds in a regular pack will end up female, which is why most regular packs have more seeds). It is recommended to germinate extra seeds to make up for all the males that would be discarded later during the early flowering period. 

Autoflowering cannabis varieties automatically switch from vegetative growth to the flowering stage with age, as opposed to the ratio of light to dark hours required with full photoperiod* strains. It speeds through a full season in just a few weeks.  Many autoflowers will be ready to harvest in less than 10 weeks from seed.  Cloning* isn’t possible for autoflowering varieties and almost all autoflowers are feminized.

Autoflowering varieties have recently surged in popularity because they are small and fast, which allows for multiple crop cycles in the year in tight spaces.  They are so small, in fact, that they just look like small shrubs when planted outside and can even be suitable for apartment balconies.  They are so fast that some people harvest multiple crops in a year, and well-bred varieties are as strong in effect and flavour as their full photoperiod counterparts.

Globally there are thousands of strains available, but in Canada, the only legal source for seeds are licensed sellers.  It is illegal to import seeds without proper documentation from the federal government, and only licensed producers are allowed to apply for this special license on every shipment.  While new producers are coming online and have plans to produce seeds and clones for resale, there are currently only 2 strains legally available in Ontario.  We hope by the time we are licensed there will be more seeds and clone options available for our customers--it really is our area of expertise.

Glossary

Photoperiod:  the period of time each day during which an organism receives illumination.  Full photoperiod would mean that the plant thinks it is going to go through a full season of light hours (summer days are longer). 

Cloning:  A technique for vegetatively (asexually) propagating plants.  A desirable plant that has all the traits the grower wants is the “mother”.  The mother is kept in a vegetative state and little clippings are taken from the plant.  The clippings are genetically the same as mothers—they are “clones”.  The clones grow their own roots and continue the life cycle.  

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