While feminized seeds can yield more than 95% female plants, autoflowering seeds spring into blooming action at the 10-week mark. Both types are boons to growers.
n the U.S. and U.K., the sale of cannabis seeds is a huge part of the legal marijuana industry and, due to the commitment and skill of breeders across the decades, there is a large range of strains to collect (germination is not permitted by law).
While seeds may look similar – light colored pellets – their genes and internal make-up can vary greatly. Regular cannabis seeds have been utilized by humans for thousands of years as herbal remedies; they’re naturally stable and can now be thought of as “traditional.”
With the ability to change genealogy by sculpting seeds to specific tastes and qualities thanks to selective breeding, feminized and autoflowering seeds have become extremely popular. We spoke to Dan Currey, owner of ICE Cannabis Seeds, the international seed bank, to learn about the differences and what’s readily available.
About seeds and definitions: “The truth is,” Currey says, “the main three types of seeds are all easy to come by as their sale is legal and business is booming. With so many breeders experimenting there’s no shortage of supply. This is as good a reason as any to be informed and make your choice based on your preferences.
“Feminized seeds have become the most convenient and efficient. When grown they create a yield that’s more than 95% female. Regular seeds are hermaphrodites (50% male, 50% female) and produce both male and female plants. Typically the males need to be cut down and replaced by females to grow more bud and save space. If you’re thinking that you may as well start off all female and avoid the hassle, you’d be right.
“These females are also known to grow faster and, due to their hybrid status, don’t require specific environments to thrive. Feminized plants also produce more active cannabinoids (such as THC and CBD) on average.
“The other genetically modified strains that add to quality and collectable status are autoflowering seeds. They’ve been developed to automatically flower in a roughly 10-week period and simply shift from a vegetative to a flowering state. In essence, such genetics allow for the seeds to more successfully produce marijuana. For any breeders with limited ceiling space, they also grow shorter than regular seeds and are a good choice for new breeders.”
Read more about autoflowering seeds here.
“If a collector wants seeds with more history than feminized versions, autoflowering options are the middle ground between them and regular varieties. Autoflowering seeds have been around for thousands of years as well; it’s only recently that they’ve been produced to be higher in active agents as they were naturally low. Now that they’re just as potent as regular seeds, it opens the options for further stable breeding in 2016.”
About the progressing market: “Genetically modified, stable and hybrid seeds are ultimately the way forward and have extra appeal due to their ease of growth and potency. Regular seeds are a fantastic way to experiment and learn more about these plants as you earn every bud with traditional planting skills, but might not grab the attention of first timers. It’s likely their popularity will wane in the next couple of decades as buyers become used to the ease of other seeds,” concludes Currey.