The journey to flowering starts at the seed. When you are planning on starting to grow your own weed, it is important that you are buying the right kinds of seeds. People often tend to underestimate the importance of a healthy seed and the kind of impact that it can have on the growth of your plant. This is more because of the lack of clarity and knowledge that people have about seeds which gives rise to such ignorance.
Over the course of this article, we shall be taking a closer look at why it is important to start really well – and more importantly, how to choose the perfect seeds for your marijuana plant.
Marijuana Seeds: Male vs Female Seeds
The first and the most basic of things that you need to know before we head any further into this article is the difference between male and female marijuana seeds. The bud that you smoke comes from female marijuana plants. This is because the male marijuana plants carry a pollen sac which bursts open and pollinates the female plants – and if that happens, the buds don’t grow. This is why it is important to not keep any male plants around female plants while growing weed.
When it comes to seeds, however, how do you differentiate between male vs female marijuana seeds? The fact is, you cannot tell by just looking at the seeds. There is absolutely no way in which they can be identified visually and you have to either buy feminized seeds (more on that in the upcoming section), or you have to grow all your seeds at once and then wait for them to grow old enough to develop sex organs.
The moment you see marijuana plants with pollen sacs, start separating them from the growth that you have else they might end up pollinating your female plants and you will not be able to grow your weed then.
How Do You ‘Feminize’ Marijuana Seeds?
Almost all seed banks today sell you something called ‘feminized’ seeds. These are seeds that go through a special process that ensure that upon germinating, they turn out to be female plants.
When marijuana plants produce seeds naturally, you do not know if they are male or female seeds. Mathematically speaking, there’s 50% chance the seed that you have is going to be a male. This means that if you do not have an idea about the gender of your plants, there’s a chance you have to remove 50% of your harvest midway as and when the gender becomes apparent. This is too big a risk to take, especially if you are growing at a large scale. Hence, people prefer using feminized marijuana seeds.
With plants, and particularly with the cannabis plant, there is actually a method via which you can actually change the gender of the seeds. Spraying your female plants with silver thiosulphate solution can result in the plant producing only female seeds. While nothing guarantees a 100% reliability that the seeds produced are going to be female, the chances shoot up drastically.
Silver thiosulphate solution is essentially a mix of water along with silver particles, and the presence of silver basically triggers the production of certain hormones in the plants (primarily ethylene) which ensures that only female seeds are produced. This will lead to the generation of pollen sacs on plants that have female genetics, leading to the production of only female genetic traits. When you pollinate other (non-sprayed) female plants with the pollen from this one, the seeds generated as a result of this are almost always female.
Feminized seeds are very common and there’s nothing unnatural or out of the ordinary about them. Pretty much every seed bank today offers only feminized seeds as no one wants to risk their reputation by providing seeds that may result in male plants.
What are Autoflowering Seeds?
Now that you have understood what feminized seeds are, let us also delve a little deeper and understand what autoflowering seeds are. In order to understand the concept of autoflowering plants, you need to understand the concept of photoperiod first.
Under natural sunlight, marijuana plants tend to bloom best at the time when the sunlit hours reduce. This is basically the early winter period where the hours of natural lighting begin to lessem and nights start getting longer. Under artificial conditions, you can actually recreate this setup by turning off your light for a longer number of hours. However, in case you’re not sure about how to go about this, or if someone wants their weed to grow faster – you should check out autoflowering seeds.
Autoflowering seeds belong to the Cannabis Ruderalis strain – and it is neither indica nor sativa to be accurate. These are low-THC strains but ones which don’t really rely on photoperiod-based growth, and flower earlier compared to regular indica or sativa plants. These are season-agnostic and light-agnostic and can be grown anywhere. However, these plants have an extremely short vegetative phase. Autoflowering seeds are also ideal for people who live in places where summers are short or where it rains rather frequently.
These autoflowering seeds can be easily found at your local seed stores or even at seed banks that deliver online. There’s absolutely no risk in using these seeds and they are often recommended if you are a first-time grower or someone who isn’t really sure about how to set up the lights and how to change them based on the phase of growth your plant is in.
How to Choose the Best Marijuana Seeds?
Knowing everything about marijuana seeds that we do now, let us take a closer look at some factors that need to be kept in mind before such a seed is bought. You can use this list as a checklist of sorts while buying your seeds –
A good seed generally has a somewhat harder covering and a rough texture. The best way to identify a good seed from a bad is to take it between your thumb and the index finger and give it a twist and a pinch. A good seed will generally be a little hard and you won’t be able to press it easily. A seed that isn’t mature yet would be a little pulpy and softer. Even in terms of the texture, a seed that isn’t really ready yet would be much smoother.
Color is a good visual identifier of whether your seed is ready. A good and healthy marijuana seed is generally brown/golden brown in color, as opposed to a ripe seed which hasn’t matured yet, which is generally very light in color. If you see seeds that are light green, yellow or white, you might just want to ignore them altogether as they aren’t ready to be grown yet. Light brown, dark brown, golden yellow or even black in some cases are the kind you should be going for.
Before you buy a seed, try and check its genetics. Which are the parent plants that it comes from, and what is the composition of the parent plants. Most good seed banks will have the entire lineage of the seed presented to you either on their website, or via their customer support team. It is best advised to go through the lineage to know if this is the kind of seed that you want, because in case you don’t prefer the parent plants, or the parent plants of the seed’s parent plants, you might want to avoid it as it will carry some properties from those plants along.
Another important thing that you need to know beforehand is – which strain of cannabis is your seed going to result in? Is it a sativa-dominant seed or is it an indica-dominant seed? There are some cases in which seeds can actually have an even 50/50 split between sativa and indica and will end up giving you the best of both worlds. Others which are dominant on either strains will carry more characteristics of the dominant strain – this is why you need to check that before you buy your seeds.
- Indoor vs Outdoor
You also need to know if you are planning on growing your weed indoors or outdoors. Seeds of different strains and lineages respond differently to their growth environments. Some seeds are better suited to grow outdoors, while others thrive in an indoors setup too. Hence, it is important for you to first know where you are going to be growing your cannabis plants and then choose the seeds based on that so that you can get the maximum yield per square foot, as well as your plants can thrive.
- Autoflowering vs Regular
Based on your preferences and your level of experience, you might want to go for autoflowering seeds vs regular seeds. The benefits that you get with autoflowering seeds are that here you don’t really have to monitor too much or too closely as the plants that emerge from these seeds are rather low maintenance and don’t require you to change the lighting conditions, etc. Furthermore, they tend to grow faster compared to regular seeds.
However, the biggest benefit that regular seeds have, which is a big advantage over autoflowering plants – is that they generally tend to contain a higher THC%. Hence, if you want a stronger high, you need to go for regular seeds, but if you want an easy and fast growth, go with autoflowering seeds.
- Male vs Female Marijuana Seeds
This is what we’ve discussed in quite some detail in this article. You need to ensure that you are buying feminized seeds as the male plants are anyway going to be of no special use to you and you will have to separate them from the other plants in order to ensure they don’t end up pollinating your female plants. However, even if you accidentally end up growing some male plants, don’t worry too much about it and don’t throw them away. Check our last section where we talk about what you can do using these plants.
- Seed Bank
The seed bank where you decide to buy your seeds from also matters a lot. As much as possible try and purchase your seeds from a reputed seed bank like ILGM or Crop Kings Seeds or any other major such name. This is because getting them from a good seed bank gives you a peace of mind that in case something goes wrong and in case your seeds don’t germinate, you can always get a refund or a replacement. Moreover, these seed banks also have a much larger number of seeds that you can choose from.
Where to Buy the Best Marijuana Seeds From?
Seed Banks are absolutely the best places to buy marijuana seeds. In many parts of the world where it is legal to grow weed and to grow marijuana plants in your home, you can actually find physical seed banks where you can walk in and choose the seeds of your choice based on the strain that you want to grow. These seed banks also deliver seeds online to most other countries, often discreetly in case the laws of the land are a little too tight. We strongly insist that if your country doesn’t allow growing or possessing weed, you do not buy it.
However, in case someone still wants to order it, the seed banks ship seeds very discreetly, often hiding them inside a pen or a t-shirt or something similar. Most seed banks also promise a certain germination success rate. In case the promised percentage of seeds don’t germinate, or produce male plants, they also offer refunds and replacements.
When you buy seeds from seed banks – you have some distinct advantages. You know the complete lineage of the seed and you know what kind of a result you are going to get when you grow it. This means you know the THC/CBD composition of the resulting buds, the smell, and flavour that the buds will have, how tall your plants are going to grow, and a few other similar factors before you actually grow the plant.
Seed Banks have one more unique advantage – some seed banks (especially the top 10 ones) tend to hire their own specialized ‘breeders’ who cross-pollinate different types of marijuana plants and keep crossing the offspring plants until they get to a very distinct kind of a strain that becomes their proprietary strain and is available only with them. This gives you a very unique taste and a high that you can only experience when you buy from these seed banks.
What to Do with Male Cannabis Plants?
We know that the female cannabis plant is the one that is of primary importance given it bears flowers and buds that we smoke. However, what about the male cannabis plants? Are they totally useless? In case you’ve grown male plants and then later separated them before they pollinate the female plants, you don’t really have to toss them away. There’s so much more that you can do with these male plants as well.
One of the best things that you can do using the male cannabis plant is to make use of it to create hemp. Given that the stem has matured by the time you can differentiate between the male and female plants, you can use them to create high-quality hemp. Many fabric makers actually prefer the male plant hemp and they use it to make tablecloths and other different fabric products.
Given how much nutrition and minerals go into growing a marijuana plant, you might just want to return it back to the soil. You can make use of the male cannabis plants as mulch, by either simply chopping it and spreading it over the ground waiting for it to get assimilated on its own, or by putting it in a composting pit and then preparing finer compost using it. In any case, it adds to the quality of your soil.
While male plants carry very little THC compared to female plants, they still carry some THC – which means they are not completely rid of psychoactive elements. Cannabinoids in male plants are located in their leaves and stems. In fact, some sources claim that leaves of the male plant tend to have a higher THC concentration than female plants. Basically, you can use these leaves and trace THC content by extracting the resin out of them and putting it to use for different consumable products such as hashish, butane oil, or dabs, etc.
We hope that this article helped you understand cannabis seeds in a better way, including the difference between male and female marijuana seeds. The journey of a marijuana plant begins at the seed level and this is why it is critical for all growers to know and understand different aspects of a seed. If you still have any more questions or want us to cover something even more specific, feel free to leave a comment or drop us a mail and we shall get back to you as soon as we can!