Our regular seeds have different benefits than our feminized ones. Wondering which ones to pick? Allow our expert grower Nibameca to explain. The Strain There’s a handful of classic, extra-potent marijuana strains that have been around for a very long time, permanently fascinating both growers Autoflower, feminized, and photoperiod (regular) are all options you may be confronted with when it comes time to buy cannabis seeds. Autoflowering promises predictable growth, with no need to fuss with light schedules. Feminized seeds promise no wasted space or time sexing out males. Photoperiod (or normal cannabis se
Regular Seeds: Explaining The Benefits
Regular seeds or feminized strains: which are better? When picking the best cannabis seeds for a next grow, deciding on whether to grow feminized or regular (non-feminized) weed seeds is an important step. Feminized seeds have their advantages, but so do non-feminized ones. So how do you know what’s best for your situation? Our grow expert Nibameca shares his personal insights and experience to explain the benefits of regular cannabis seeds.
Looking for genuine first-hand grow expertise, sleeves rolled up and boots in the mud? You’ll find plenty in our Nibameca blogs & grow guides ! Ever since discovering our White Choco genetics, this cannaboss refuses to leave our AG grow program – and rightly so. This veteran grower is all about top quality, innovation and sustainability in indoor grow projects. Our personal Amsterdam Genetics Grow Guru shares his experience with you to make the most out of every weed seed you plant! More About Nibameca
Feminized Or Regular Seeds: An Important Distinction
Alright, regular seeds; let’s start with the basics. As goes for many species, cannabis is subject to the story of the flowers and the bees. Well, actually, we can skip the bees, because cannabis reproduces by direct pollination of a female plant by a male one without relying on pollinating insects. Males produce pollen; females use it to grow seeds to spawn the next generation. Cannabis is what we call a dioecious plant, involving two sexes making babies together. This is how it’s been done since forever, but if you’re just looking to grow weed, you’ll actually need only female plant to get there. That’s because the ladies are the only ones to sprout those lovely flower buds to which we humans love to help ourselves. You’d almost think males were no use at all. Well, my dear male growers, just ask your girlfriend or wife: she’ll probably tell you it’s true.
And yet, male cannabis plants are absolutely crucial. Without males, there’d be no pollen; and without pollen, there would be no new generation for next year’s season. However, cultivating five female plants in the presence of even a single male specimen can accidentally prompt all your girls to produce seeds. That means you can kiss your harvest goodbye, because the buds will not grow anywhere near as big, with less trichomes to boot. Bad news for you. Basically, growers (as well as smokers) want their female flower buds sinsemilla, which is Spanish for ‘without seeds’. Once you know that, you start to wonder why anyone would want to buy regular seeds. In contrast to feminized seeds, regular cannabis seeds will include on average some 50% male specimens. Nobody want that around in their garden or grow tent, right?
Why Grow Regular Seeds?
You probably felt this one coming: wrong. Male plants definitely have their uses; including for you as a grower. That goes well beyond their natural means of reproduction, too. Male plant give you the chance to cook up your own unique crossbreeds. Highly interesting for the experimentally inclined. But regular seeds don’t grow to become male plants by default. Naturally, about half of them become females, just like with human babies of course. You just don’t know in advance. Genetically, non-feminized regular seed are slightly different from their feminized counterparts. That can work to your advantage in the right circumstances. Regular seeds are less likely to become hermaphrodites when stressed, for one. I’ll tell you more about the pros below. First, though, we return to feminized cannabis seeds: what the big difference?
Feminized Weed Seeds: Pure Girl Power
Feminized cannabis seeds are easy to grow, and can be used at just about any scale of operation. After all, they are bound to produce lovely female plants, with minimal chances of one developing into a male specimen. Insiders claim that plants grown from regular seeds are stronger and more robust, but that is nearly impossible to prove. Nonetheless, there are reasons for growing regular seeds and picking out the male specimens.
After all, it was how everyone did it some twenty years back, and let’s face it: it’s not exactly rocket science.
Telling The Difference Between Feminized And Regular Seeds
Let me explain how to spot the differences. Believe me: it’s dead simple.
Female plants are identifiable by the teardrop-shaped calyxes growing from the plant’s axils, sprouting two white hairs each.
The female cannabis plant and her calyxes.
Male weed plants first show their gender at the nodes. Male cannabis will develop strings of tiny balls roughly the size of a cannabis seed from their nodes.
Male cannabis plant with emerging pollen sacs.
Timing: When Can You Tell Male From Female Cannabis Plants?
So there you have it: telling males from females is that simple. The one thing to keep in mind is timing. Just get rid of the males as soon as you see their sex characteristics emerge. It sounds harsh, and in fact it is; but you really want to act before giving pollination a chance. Once that happens, there’s no going back. Male and female sex characteristics become apparent as the vegetative stage of the cannabis life cycle ends, making way for the flowering stage. Exact timing varies between strains, but they usually start to show some four to six weeks into the growth stage. Have you switched your lighting to 12/12 yet? Better keep your eyes peeled!
Male plants with pollen: if you see this, you’re too late…
Emancipation? The Rise Of Feminized Seeds
Feminized seeds caused quite a stir when they first hit the market. In fact, they became a real craze. That was because feminized seeds make a grower’s job a lot easier. After all, feminized seeds remove the need to select only female plants to fill your grow room. Moreover, feminized genetics abolish the need to grow extra plants since all seeds produce female specimens, and that means ganja.
Soon after their introduction, nearly all seedbanks switched to feminized seeds. These days, the majority of all seeds sold are feminized. That’s fabulous for growers like you and me, but it’s great for breeders too. That’s because feminized weed seeds are harder to clone than regular ones, protecting against copycats running off with their carefully developed strains.
The Advantages Of Regular Seeds
Okay, so as promised, I’ll now list the main advantages regular seeds give you as a grower.
Never Grow Hermaphrodites Again
Provided you take enough samples, regular seeds produce 50% male plants and 50% females. The female plants are genuinely 100% female, without containing any male DNA. Regular seeds will rarely , if ever, produce hermaphrodite plants, that’s a fact. Since feminized seeds are made using at least one hermaphrodite plant as a parent, they run a much bigger chance of going ‘herma’ than regular seeds do. You’ll notice that when you stress your plants by pruning them. Techniques like topping, fimming, lollypopping, or defoliation are all sources of stress for plants. In response to such stress, weed plants grown from feminized seeds may grow into hermaphrodites, producing male flowers eventually. That chance is reduced dramatically if you grow weed from regular seeds: that’s a big fat plus, then!
Your Own Creation From Regular Seeds
Creating your very own strain also requires regular seeds. That’s because regular seeds give us the male plants we need to make the process work. Crossbreeding two individual strains of cannabis allows you to combine the desired properties of each individual strain. That way, you can develop your very own strain and improve on what you already had. And for the thrifty growers among us: if you want, you can grow your own free plant to produce new seeds. It’ll have to be pollinated to make that work, though: be sure to do it in an isolated room, sealed off from any of your harvestable plants.
Regular Critical Mass Regular Amnesia Haze
So, Feminized Or Regular ?
So there you have it. You probably get it by now. If you know what distinguishes feminized plants from regular ones, you expand your options for future grow projects. Both varieties have their own distinct pros and cons, but ultimately, the choice is yours.
Personally, I have become a big fan of regular seeds over my years spent growing weed. I frequently use regular seeds to grow strong, healthy mother plants. I take new cuttings, or spruces, from those mother plants to fill my grow room with 100% female plants that yield staggering results.
If you’ve grown curious about the regular seeds in the Amsterdam Genetics range, then go right ahead: check our sensational Critical Mass Regular and Amnesia Haze Regular seeds and start growing yours today!
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Seed Showdown: Regular vs. Feminized
There’s a handful of classic, extra-potent marijuana strains that have been around for a very long time, permanently fascinating both growers and smokers with their superb qualities and eventually attaining the status of legends. Serious Seeds’ AK-47 is one of these outstanding evergreens. For Simon, the owner and breeder of Serious Seeds, finding that unique AK-47 genetic profile was the rare case of the “lucky punch” that every cannabis seed breeder dreams of. Back in 1992, after having already tested thousands of plants from different experimental breeding lines, he finally achieved his goal of creating a high-quality sativa/ indica hybrid with excellent overall properties and its own unique stamp. Thus the legendary AK-47 was born.
Although Simon keeps the exact pedigree of AK-47 a secret (much like the formula for Coca-Cola), he reveals that it was bred from Colombian, Mexican, Thai and Afghan seed stock, resulting in a 65:35 sativa/indica hybrid with predominantly sativa traits.
Over the years, AK-47 has racked up an impressive number of prizes—16!— at harvest competitions worldwide, including in the High Times Cannabis Cup’s hybrid category in 2011. It was also chosen as Strain of the Year in 2003 (HT Dec. ’03). In the form of hashish, AK has yielded major success for Serious Seeds as well—for example, when it took first prize at the 2005 High Life Cup in Barcelona in the hash category.
Simon describes AK-47 as follows: “This easy-to-grow plant is a living legend and our most popular strain. Medium height and produces good yields quite quickly. It has an extremely strong odor (growers, take extra care!) and a long-lasting high. AK-47 plants have a short flowering period for a sativa, producing compact, not-too-leafy buds gleaming with a coat of resin crystals. The name was given not out of any idea of violence, but more in association with its ‘one-hit wonder’ effect. An independent lab test showed 21.5% THC in the samples at the Cannabis Cup in 1999, the highest of all entries that year.”
Simon recommends a five- to 10-day vegetative clone-growth period. AK-47 delivers yields of 350 to 500 g/m2, has a flowering time of 56 to 63 days, and reaches maturity around October 15 under natural light. It has the high calyx-to-leaf ratio typical of sativas, which means lots of flowers and only a few leaves. The single calyx size tends to be unusually large, resulting in fat clusters grouped together very decoratively and densely, contributing to its trademark appearance. These compact nugs ooze copious amounts of glistening trichomes and break up nicely, leaving plenty of resinous crystals on your fingers and unleashing a strong, sweet and fruity aroma. AK-47 is also famous for its outstanding results in hydroponic mediums, as reported by many international growers, and has been very successfully grown outdoors in Spain.
Since last year, AK-47 has been available in the form of feminized seeds. That made the grower known as Mr. Power Planter curious, so he decided to run a test: a head-to-head comparison of both regular and feminized AK-47 seeds. Never before has such a comparison been reported in any magazine, so here it is. Would the feminized AK-47 seeds prove to be as much a contender as their long-established traditional counterparts?
Mr. Power Planter sowed a full package of 11 regular AK-47 seeds and five feminized ones. Germination proceeded very well, and after four days, all of the seeds had sprouted and reached the soil’s surface. From the start, they were grown under three 600-watt Green Bud metal halide (MH) lamps equipped with adjust-a-wing reflectors (without spreaders), so the plants had abundant light to thrive and prosper. One week after germination, they were transplanted into 11-liter containers filled with Plagron Standard soil mix. All 16 plants did well, growing very compactly and with a quick onset of side-branch development and dark green leaves. They were also very homogeneous, both within their group and when the feminized and regular plants were compared to one another.
Three and a half weeks after germination, Mr. Power Planter induced flowering by reducing the light cycle from 18/6 to 12/12, at the same time replacing the MH lights with three 600-watt Osram high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps. Within 10 days, all of the plants had revealed their sex, with five of the 11 regular AK-47 plants turning out to be males that were then removed. As expected, the five feminized plants presented only female pre-flowers. In the first weeks of flowering, though, it was observed that the feminized plants reacted a bit more slowly to the onset of the flowering period, with the regular plants progressing more quickly into flower production. Other than that, in terms of the overall growth pattern, both the regular and feminized plants still had the same appearance.
Soon, all 11 plants were building very fat main colas and many impressive side tops in addition. The feminized plants were about one week behind in their bud development, but still flowering in a most promising way. A very strong, sweet odor took possession of the growroom, arising from the richness of the massive resin layers on both the feminized and regular plants. All 11 plants were literally oozing with resin as they approached maturity, appearing whiter and whiter with each subsequent week of flowering. The buds consisted of many thick, dense, round flower clusters, rock-hard and chubby—in short, the trademark AK-47 look.
The six regular AK plants were harvested on day 63, just within the 56-to-63-day window promised by Serious Seeds. They produced tremendously fat main and side colas from the bottom to the top, with some of the huge main colas measuring more than 30 cm in length— really big, impressive chunks! The flower structure of these six plants was almost identical, and the same was true for their rich resin amounts.
As for the five feminized AK plants, they did require about one extra flowering week and were harvested after 69 days. They had grown lower than their regular counterparts, measuring from 65 to 85 cm in height only (with three plants about 75 cm), apart from one plant that was subject to a much stronger sativa influence and grew accordingly taller. But the feminized plants’ side branches were longer, for the most part, than those of the regular plants, while their fabulous, fat flower structure and copious resin amounts were equal to them, though with one difference: The side buds—including the lowest ones— were even bigger! Both the regular and feminized plants had the same powerful aroma, sweet but quite mild.
The delicious-smelling, very silver dried buds were of the highest order, a sheer pleasure to look at and smoke. No difference was found between the regular and feminized buds by Mr. Power Planter in terms of odor, aroma and high. While AK is a strain that doesn’t have the most intense taste—it’s a bit mild and slightly sweet, with a hint of a sandalwood undertone, but not especially charismatic—its high proved to be quite a sensation. It was very complex and extremely strong, with clearly pronounced elements from both ends of the cannabis spectrum asserting themselves … at the same time! Under the influence of the AK’s potent indica side, Mr. Power Planter felt like taking a seat, but he simultaneously felt clear and euphoric in the head and didn’t get “hypnotized” or totally blasted away by the indica stone.
Altogether, Mr. Power Planter was stunned by the superb outcome of both the regular and feminized plants. Like many tried and true strains, AK-47 has been often adopted by other seed banks and either used as a component in creating a “new” strain or just flat-out copied. But one thing’s for sure about Serious Seeds’ AK-47: You can’t beat the real thing!
Autoflower vs. Feminized vs Regular (Photoperiod): A Easy to Understand Guide
Autoflower, feminized, and photoperiod (regular) are all options you may be confronted with when it comes time to buy cannabis seeds. Autoflowering promises predictable growth, with no need to fuss with light schedules. Feminized seeds promise no wasted space or time sexing out males. Photoperiod (or normal cannabis seeds) are needed for breeding, experimenting and guaranteed rigorous growth.
But is this too much technical cultivation lingo too soon? Every grower has an opinion about what type of seed is best, but it always comes down to growth expectations, space restrictions, and personal opinion.
Here are the basic details on autoflower versus feminized versus old-fashioned, unadulterated normal cannabis seeds. By the end, you’ll have the information you need to make an informed decision.
Autoflowering Strains 101
Autoflowering strains of cannabis have genetics that guarantees flowering on a predictable schedule. Regular photoperiod plants need changes in the day/night light schedule to trigger a transition from vegetative into flower. Autoflower, as the name suggests, will launch into flower at the appointed time, no matter what.
A typical auto-flowering strain will be ready to harvest between 60 to 90 days after germination. Conventional photoperiod varieties take a minimum of 90 days but can run upwards of six or seven months, depending on the environment and cultivator preference.
Why are auto-flowering varieties different? They contain ruderalis genetics. This is a third landrace strain, like indica and a sativa. Thanks to comprehensive cannabis breeding programs, most established and popular strains are available in regular and auto-flowering varieties.
Autoflowering is useful for pumping out several harvests in the same time it would take to grow a single conventional variety. They also grow smaller (perfect for small indoor spaces) and are more predictable in growth rate and pattern. As a bonus, you will be able to sex your plants within roughly 21 days and maintain the same light schedule (18:6) for the entire operation.
According to experienced cultivators, it can be nice to grow a few auto-flowering varieties while you veg out the main regular strains. The small size also works well for Sea of Green cultivation.
The problem with autoflower strains? Compared with their regular counterparts, their harvests are smaller, including bud size and quantity. Many people also feel that even the cannabinoid and terpene profiles are not as good as the normal varieties.
Feminized Seeds 101
Feminized seeds are preselected female seeds. They are photoperiod, not autoflowering, which means you’ll use changes in light to trigger the flowering.
The benefit of spending the extra money on feminized seeds is that there is little to no risk of wasting time on sexing males. According to some reports, regular seeds run the risk of producing a male approximately a third of the time.
For small-scale indoor operations, or those legally capped at a strict number of plants, feminized seeds make a lot of sense. Why waste time and resources raising a male when you can start with already-feminized seeds?
Feminized seeds are a human-made creation. Breeders and seed sellers use colloidal silver or other chemicals to inhibit ethylene production in a female plant before it goes to seed. Ethylene is a hormone produced during flower by cannabis plants. The treated plants result in almost 100 percent female seeds.
Feminized seeds are specialized and are therefore more expensive to produce and, for the consumer, more expensive to buy. But, many growers prefer feminized seeds because they make growing that much smoother.
Still, even feminized seeds come with a risk. The chemical retardation of ethylene production also increases the risk of developing a hermaphrodite plant, which can appear far later than a male. As per one forum post, “The way I look at feminized seeds, simply put they are hermaphrodites in disguise. Yes, you are more likely to produce females yet they still carry the herm gene.”
Regular (Photoperiod) Seeds 101
Regular seeds produced the way nature intended them are photoperiod. They will need transitions in light schedule and will grow both male and female plants. Female cannabis plants produce seeds when exposed to pollen produced by male plants. It’s the birds and the bees, cannabis edition.
There is a long-standing tradition among growers to value the vigour, variety, and purity offered by regular seeds. There are notable differences in the quantity between auto-flowering strains and their regular counterparts, but what about regular and feminized differences?
These differences may be more lore than reality. To be sure, using synthetic chemicals or colloidal silver to produce feminized seeds can pose risks to both the plant and the people, but there are methods of executing this safely these days.
To date, there is no real evidence (scientific or cultivator case study) that indicates feminized seeds show any less vigour, yield or resin production than the regular seeds.
Regular seeds are much cheaper than feminized. Many growers, who have space, may want to take the birds and the bees into their own hands to maintain genetics or breed new experiments. Having male plants around, when done correctly, is a valuable endeavour.
What is Best for Cultivators: Autoflower, Feminized or Regular?
What convinces a cultivator to grow auto-flower versus regular, or feminized versus regular? Often it comes down to cultivation experience, the primary goal for the harvest, and time or space constraints.
Small indoor spaces, growing one round at a time, may want to stick with autoflower strains. Larger operations looking to sell their harvests but need to stick to a specific plant count may choose feminized. Finally, those who love a traditional approach and are blessed with lots of space will likely stick with regular photoperiod seeds.
As always, there are as many opinions on the matter as there are people growing weed.