Whether you are a newbie or an experienced grower, the process of starting your indoor garden begins with the marijuana seeds. Without them, you can’t do much even if you have set up the perfect grow area or gotten the best hydroponic systems.
Although you might think that getting seeds is easy, there are a lot of factors at play. Weed seeds come in many types and variations, and you need to pick the best ones if you want to have a successful growing experience. But why is picking seeds so important? In this article, we are going to learn about:
- Why getting the right marijuana seeds is important.
- What are the different types of marijuana seeds?
- The differences between indoor and outdoor growing.
Why Getting The Right Marijuana Seeds Is Important
When you are in the market for marijuana seeds, you will find that there are many variables at play and prices are different depending on the strain. And that’s normal; not all seeds are the same, and some are plain better than others. Seeds with good genetics are:
- Easier to grow
- More productive
It is essential to understand that even before germination, vegetation and blooming, cannabis seeds have a specific genetic potential. You can be the best grower in the world, but you can’t make a plant produce more THC than its DNA programmed it to deliver. On the other hand, if you are the worst grower in the world, you will destroy whatever potential your seeds have.
Here are a few factors you should take into account when picking new marijuana seeds:
- How many plants you will be growing.
- How patient you are.
- How much time you have to tend to your garden.
- Your experience level.
- Your growing environment.
Being realistic about these aspects will help you to make the best choice according to your needs. Below, we will analyze all significant categories of marijuana seeds, along with their pros and cons.
Types Of Marijuana Seeds
Let’s suppose for a moment that you are browsing an online seedbank with the intent of buying seeds for your garden. You will most likely be bombarded with all kinds of incoherent names, but you will soon notice the words “feminized,” “autoflowering,” and maybe “regular” next to the seeds’ name. Understanding what these terms mean is the key to understanding what you need regarding potency, size, and productivity.
Let’s take a look at them one by one.
What are Regular (Photoperiod) Seeds
Regular or photoperiod seeds is essentially cannabis in its natural state, as it was meant to grow (outdoors). While you can achieve respectable yields indoors, you can never beat nature at its own game. Cannabis plants are aligned to grow based on the sun movements (phos means literally “light” in Greek). But what does that mean, exactly?
A day has 24 hours. According to the season and the geographical latitude, sunlight times vary. For example, days are notably longer in the summer while in December it gets dark from as early as 2 pm in some places. Interestingly, cannabis plants have been evolved in sync with these variations and can sense the passage of seasons based on the light intake. For example, if a plant that grows outdoors notices that daylight is getting scarcer, it will automatically transition into flowering mode ahead of the oncoming winter.
Indoors, it is up to the grower to decide how much light their plants receive, but the underlying principle remains the same. Most growers prefer to have their plants on a 16/8 schedule (that means 16 hours of light, followed by 8 hours of darkness). When the plant is ready to harvest, most just increase the dark period to 12, 18 or even 24 hours.
Pros of regular marijuana seeds
- More control over how your plants grow.
- Vegetation time can be increased indefinitely for better yields.
- More resilient to beginner mistakes.
Cons of regular marijuana seeds
- Changing the photoperiod is something that must be done manually.
- The growing process might be slower (although the yields are better).
- Increased chances of a male plant.
What are Feminized Seeds
Growing cannabis has changed a lot over the years, but no matter how sophisticated indoor and outdoor gardens have become, producing male plants remains the bane of every grower. And that’s not surprising considering that only female plants can provide the cannabinoid-rich flowers that we smoke, vape and get high on.
By definition, regular cannabis seeds have a 50-50 chance of becoming male or female, and there is no way of knowing just by looking at the seed. The sex of a plant is only visible until very late, by which time you may realize that at least half of them will have to be thrown away (as they might pollinate the females and take up space).
Feminized marijuana seeds are created with the specific purpose of eliminating the chances of ending up with male plants in your garden. Back in the day, growers would cross-pollinate a hermaphrodite plant with a female plant. The resulting seed had a statistically better chance of becoming female -although some inherited the hermaphrodite trait.
The gender of a cannabis plant depends on genetics and environmental conditions. That means that a female plant can turn to a hermaphrodite and pollinate itself if it struggles for survival. The chances are that at some point you have smoked seedy flower and you know how bad it tastes. That’s why maintaining a stable environment (steady light cycle, pleasant temperature, natural levels of humidity) is equally important to choosing a great seed.
Pros of feminized marijuana seeds:
- Increase the likelihood of a “female only” garden.
- Best suited to beginners who are inexperienced in sexing marijuana (telling the gender apart).
- Less lost time and money on useless male plants.
Cons of feminized marijuana seeds
- Not suitable for breeding as there are no males to produce pollen. But then again, if you are a breeder, you know that already.
What are Autoflowering Seeds
We have already seen that regular and feminized seeds need a change in their light intake to start flowering. Specifically, as soon as the plant senses that darkness lasts more than the daytime, it will enter flowering. Autoflowering plants are genetically engineered to flower on autopilot, without any other input from the grower.
Most autoflowering plants will bloom in about 10-12 weeks from planting regardless of the light schedule. As you can imagine, this is best suited for people who want their growing experience to be as hands-off as possible. Also, due to their nature, autoflowering plants tend to grow shorter, making them perfect for confined spaces.
No one knows precisely what the first autoflowering plant was, but the honors probably go to the original Lowryder, which was a cross between a Mexican sativa and a ruderalis variety. Since the marijuana breeder scene is notoriously cryptic, not much is known regarding the exact genetics behind each strain, but we do know for a fact that the “ruderalis” gene has a lot to do with the faster flowering times.
Earliest iterations of autos used to be significantly less potent than regular seeds. However, this all changed in the recent years, and the THC levels of most strains are up to speed with other varieties.
Super Autos are not a separate type of marijuana seeds but rather a subcategory of autoflowering seeds. The term refers to a subset of seeds that take a month longer to autoflower, but when they do, they can reach up to 8 feet in height and produce much larger yields.
Pros of autoflowering seeds
- Lighting-fast flowering times with no input from the grower.
- Perfect for limited growing areas since they are compact.
- Great for growing under artificial lighting as they do all of the work themselves.
Cons of autoflowering seeds
- Not much room for experimentation and manipulation. Growing an auto will not make you a better grower.
- If you mess up something before flowering, there is no turning back. The plant will keep on growing and ruin your crop.
- Your yield will always be significantly less than regular seeds.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to different types of marijuana seeds, there is no right or wrong choice. At this point, it is worth to point out that the type of the seed is not the same with the strain. There are thousands of strains out there to suit your needs, whether you are after great taste, potency or ease of growth. Whether those strains will be feminized, regular or autos is a decision you’ll have to make based on what we said above.
The bottom line is that there is no right or wrong decision about which type you’ll choose, as long as you’re realistic about your expectations. Generally speaking, feminized seeds are a better overall choice due to the lower chances of producing male plants. Also, it is worth noting that plants that come from autoflowering marijuana seeds cannot be cloned, so you will have to buy new seeds before starting each crop.