Before you grow: Understanding seeds and genetics
The cannabis plant has been around for thousands of years, and while many aspects of growing have changed over the centuries, some things remain timeless. One is the importance of understanding seeds and genetics. This blog post will explain what marijuana seeds are and how to use that information to grow healthy, high-yielding plants.
Seeds are what you plant in your pot or container, while the grow medium provides nutrients and water to the roots of your plants. Different types of seeds produce different strains of marijuana, so it’s important to know which one you’re buying before you make a purchase!
Seeds provide a sense of security because they can be stored indefinitely as long as they are dry and cool enough to prevent spoilage. There are many different types of seeds available for purchase in Canada, some of the most popular being the following:
Autoflowering – The most common seed on the market currently. Autoflowering seeds produce plants that automatically flower regardless of light cycles, meaning commercial growers can harvest their crops in a timely fashion.
Autoflowers are ideal for beginners because they are easy to grow and take less time from germination to harvest than traditional marijuana strains. They are also small and compact, making them excellent for growing in a space-constrained setting.
Feminized – Feminized seeds or female seeds are seeds that have been specifically bred to produce only female plants. This allows a grower to eliminate the risk of growing male plants, which don’t contain smokable bud. Although feminized seeds cost more than regular ones, there are benefits to using them, like the fact that you can be sure every seed produces a high-quality female plant.
Regular – Regular seeds produce a ratio of roughly 50/50 male and female plants. For growers who want to grow their own bud, they have a higher chance of cultivating marijuana high in THC, but they also run the risk of growing male plants.
Buried within the seed is a genetic code that contains all of the information for the plant to develop into its adult stage. This means that each seed has its own unique genetic makeup, which is why each plant is different!
From seed to flower, genetics determine every aspect of the plant’s characteristics, including its color and how much THC it contains. That’s why some seeds cost so much more than others!
Like human genetics, cannabis has a sort of family tree that it’s easiest to imagine as a branching tree structure. At the very top branch is an umbrella species, and below that are sub-species, or ‘varieties’. The most ancient species are thought to be the Hindu Kush, Afghani, and Thai.
In the sub-species family tree, strains are determined mainly by the country of origin. For example, many strains in Colorado and California have been developed using two popular parent plants: Mexican Landrace and Jamaican or Colombian Sativa.
Each plant has a set of traits, called ‘phenotypes,’ that determine how it looks. If you have a plant with a Mexican phenotype, the leaves are generally wider and shorter than those of an Afghani or Thai variety.
While the plant’s genotype is responsible for taste, smell, color, and THC content, its phenotype determines how those things are expressed.
A phenotype is a visual representation of the genes that determine a plant’s characteristics. This means that two plants with the same genetic makeup can still end up looking and smelling very different from each other because their traits are influenced by environmental factors like the time of day, humidity levels, etc.
For example, let’s say you have two plants, one with a Mexican and another with an Afghani phenotype. They both have the genes for dark green leaves, but because of the different environmental factors they were subjected to, one plant ended up with darker coloration than the other.
The genotype predicted green leaves, but with environmental factors in place, the phenotype produced a darker plant.
Genetic testing can be used to verify whether or not a particular plant has the genes you’re looking for.
This is useful for breeders who want to mix and match different strains to create new, unique genetics. Some say that there are over 500 different combinations of genes that can produce something desirable!
It’s important to note that a phenotype can be affected by the environment, but its genetic makeup can never be changed. This is why it’s important to use genetic testing before you grow marijuana.
The most common testing types are DNA sequencing and RAPD (random amplification polymorphic DNA) analysis. These tests look for specific genes in order to verify a particular strain of marijuana.
DNA sequencing can be used to look at an organism’s entire genetic code, while RAPD is used to look for specific traits associated with specific traits.
Whether you’re trying to grow a strain with THC levels over 20% for the medicinal market or growing high-CBD plants that produce no psychoactive effects, knowing your genetics is essential. When deciding on which seeds to purchase, make sure experienced growers have bred them because not all strains are suitable for indoor growth.
That being said, if you’re looking to produce top-shelf bud consistently, check out our selection of high-quality seeds. Happy Growing!