Published : 07/22/2019 11:11:23
Categories : Marijuana and cannabis Blog
Start With The Right Stuff: The Basics Of Cannabis Seeds
The most magnificent cannabis flowers start with nothing more than a few humble seeds. Although cannabis seeds are pretty magical, you can’t pick up any ol’ seed and expect it to turn into a healthy plant. Cannabis growers need to pay careful attention to the quality and genetics of their seeds if they want a good result. Beginning with hearty seeds will significantly increase the odds of producing a healthy cannabis crop.
To help you better understand this complex field, we’ve put together a list of essential facts on cannabis seeds. In addition to explaining the basic features of cannabis seeds, we’ll also explore side issues like the pros & cons of using autoflowering seeds and the legality of cannabis seeds in the UK.
Before we get into cannabis seeds proper, let’s quickly clear up some terminology. “Cannabis” is a term reserved for the plant genus of which hemp and marijuana are members. There are a few significant differences between hemp and marijuana, but most scientists focus on their respective cannabinoid counts.
To be considered hemp under UK law, plants must have no more than 0.2 per cent of the high-inducing cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Marijuana, on the other hand, is usually bred to have the highest THC content possible.
Traditionally, cannabis breeders were only concerned with maximising the psychoactive effects of THC. Now that more people are getting interested in the non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD), however, some cannabis cultivators are creating CBD-heavy seeds to meet the increasing demand for the supposedly soothing cannabinoid.
Obviously, farmers need to know beforehand what strain of seed they are purchasing. It might be helpful to organise seeds up into three major groups: high-THC marijuana, high-CBD marijuana, and hemp.
Besides figuring a seed’s cannabinoid count, it’s crucial for growers to know how to determine the sex of their cannabis plant. Yes, cannabis plants could turn into male, female, or (get ready for it) hermaphrodite…but more on that third one later.
Sorry gents, but cannabis growers are only interested in lady plants. The reason? Un-pollinated female plants spend all of their reserve energy to produce high potency trichomes full of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and aromatic terpenes. Sometimes you might see these female plants referred to as sensimilla, which simply means they are without seed. The only reason breeders would let males anywhere close to female plants is if they wanted to make more seeds.
Unless a grower purchases pre-sexed seeds, there’s no way to know how a cannabis plant will turn out until it reaches its flowering stage. Thankfully, since female seeds are so highly prized in the cannabis industry, High Supplies produces high-quality feminised seeds.
If you must determine the sex of your cannabis plant manually, then look between the plant’s branches during the flowering stage. You should see one of two things: pollen sacs or strands of hair. Unsurprisingly, the pollen “balls” are only found on males, whereas the strands of hair indicate female plants. Be sure to remove males ASAP to avoid accidentally impregnating the female plants.
As we mentioned above, it’s not impossible to have a hermaphrodite cannabis plant on your hands. Plants that “herm out” have both pollen sacs and hair strands in between branches during the flowering stage. Because the pollen sacs will impregnate females, hermaphrodite plants need to be treated as males.
Even if growers purchase the best quality feminised seeds, there’s always a risk of hermaphroditism. The most common reasons female plants “herm out” all have to do with excessive stress. For this reason, it’s vital for cultivators to constantly monitor the temperature, nutrient count, water, and soil pH to ensure their plants are happy and healthy.
When people learn about cannabis species, typically they only care about indica and sativa. There is, however, a third species that’s gaining a lot of attention in the cannabis seed industry: cannabis ruderalis.
Unlike indica and sativa, ruderalis plants developed the unique ability to reach the flowering stage within a set time period rather than relying on favourable external conditions. This adaptation makes sense when you consider cannabis ruderalis evolved in harsh environments like Eastern Europe and Russia where sunlight and warmth are scarce.
Today, many cannabis researchers have begun taking advantage of ruderalis’ rapid flowering by crossbreeding the species with sativa or indica strains. The result is what’s now known as autoflowering seeds. Experts hoped these seeds would produce cannabis plants that automatically flowered and produced abundant trichomes…but did they succeed? Well, yes and no.
On the positive side, autoflowering seeds are really fast growers. Some autoflowering strains could produce a mature cannabis plant within about two months. By contrast, regular cannabis seeds could take anywhere between three to five months to reach maturity.
Another pro for autoflowering seeds is that they don’t require growers to change their plant’s light cycle throughout the growing process. This means you could plant many autoflowering seeds per year without worrying too much about weather conditions.
One feature about autoflowering plants that’s both a pro and a con is their size. These plants are extremely small, which, of course, means you’ll get less of a yield compared with a regular sativa or indica. On the flip side, this feature is a plus for growers who highly value stealth and portability.
The biggest drawback for autoflowering seeds, however, is that they produce weaker trichomes than regular seeds. Even if you give your plants 16 hours of light per day, it won’t result in a robust cannabinoid count. Additionally, you’re going spend a lot more on electricity if you’re giving these autoflowering seeds long hours of indoor light.
Bottom line: autoflowering seeds are usually recommended for novices who want to gain experience growing at home. Besides their rapid growth, these seeds are quite forgiving and don’t require an intricate knowledge of cannabis stages, light cycles, and nutrients.
Now that you know all about cannabis seeds, you’re probably wondering how to tell a strong seed from a dud. Well, the easiest way to inspect cannabis seeds is to give them a light squeeze. As you press the seed between your forefinger and thumb you should only feel a slight give. If the seed is too brittle or too squishy, then it will not yield a good crop.
After feeling the seeds, it’s time to take a look at the colour. Generally speaking, the darker a seed is, the better chance it has of succeeding. Grey streaks are also a good indication your seed is healthy and ready to plant. On the flipside, seeds that are white or green are far too young to be planted and won’t yield good results.
If you want to take things even further, then hold your seeds underneath a light bulb. Heartier seeds should have a transparent waxy outer coating all around.
Although cannabis was recently downgraded to Schedule II status, it’s still officially illegal for UK residents to grow, sell, or use cannabis. The only exception to this rule is if you have a doctor’s prescription for medicinal marijuana.
This doesn’t mean, however, you can’t purchase cannabis seeds in the UK. Interestingly, it’s legal for anyone to buy, sell, or store dormant cannabis seeds. Just because citizens can purchase these seeds, however, doesn’t mean it’s legal to grow them. Indeed, the only acceptable uses of cannabis seeds in the UK are for bird feed, fishing, or snacking.
There’s a whole lot more to cannabis seeds than most people realise. Anyone interested in producing great cannabis product must seriously investigate this topic beforehand to get the most out of their product. No matter how well you cultivate your cannabis, all your efforts will be vain if you start with weak seeds. Here at High Supplies, we take great pride in producing successful cannabis seeds for countless satisfied customers. To find out more info on our inventory, don’t hesitate to check out our huge selection of feminized and autoflowering seeds.