Healthy seeds are the foundation of any successful cannabis cultivation project. Learning about the different types of cannabis seeds and their characteristics can greatly improve the chances of a successful harvest. With the proliferation of cannabis growing as a business as well as a hobby, there are now many innovations in the cannabis seed industry. Aside from regular cannabis seeds that are similar to those found in the wild, cannabis breeders are now releasing cannabis seeds for sale with unique properties.
The global cannabis market is forecasted to achieve a revenue of US$51.27 billion in 2023, ultimately leading to a market size of approximately US$102.90 billion by 2028. This significant growth underscores the increasing demand for high-quality cannabis, making it imperative for cultivators to stay informed about the latest innovations in the cannabis seed industry. As the market expands, being knowledgeable about unique properties and advancements in cannabis seeds becomes even more crucial for cultivators aiming to contribute to the flourishing cannabis industry and ensure a prosperous harvest.
Four types of cannabis seeds
Regular seeds – Regular seeds produce both male and female plants and are the natural result of pollination between male and female plants. While male plants are typically removed to prevent pollination and maximize yield, some growers prefer regular seeds because they offer more genetic diversity and the potential for new strains through selective breeding. Regular seeds are easily available from online and offline cannabis seed banks.
Stabilized seeds – Stabilized seeds are bred to consistently produce predictable offspring with uniform traits like height, yield, potency, and flavor. This is achieved through multiple generations of selective breeding. This predictability is important for growers as it ensures that they know what to expect from their crop. Stabilized cannabis seeds are often labeled as “F1” or “F2” hybrids, with higher numbers indicating more generations of breeding and greater stability.
Feminized seeds – Feminized seeds are bred to produce only female plants, which are the ones that produce the resinous buds we love to consume. These seeds are produced by stressing female cannabis plants, causing them to produce male flowers with pollen that contains female genetics. This pollen is then used to fertilize another female plant, resulting in seeds that will produce female plants with a very high likelihood. Feminized seeds eliminate the need to identify and remove male plants and are popular among growers who want to maximize their yield.
Autoflowering seeds – Autoflowering seeds are a relatively new development in the cannabis world. These plants are bred to automatically switch from the vegetative phase to the flowering phase after a certain amount of time, regardless of light cycles. They are the result of selectively breeding different strains of cannabis that would naturally flower at different times. This eliminates the need for complex light schedules and makes these plants much easier to grow. However, they may not always produce the same yields or potency as traditional cannabis strains.
Where to get cannabis seeds
The easiest way to get cannabis seeds is to purchase them from seed banks or cannabis breeders that have cannabis seeds for sale. When buying cannabis seeds, be sure to research the strain that the seed belongs to and make sure that is well suited for your growing environment. Choose only seeds that were harvested in the last year as older seeds may be less viable and have lower germination rates.
Aside from buying cannabis seeds, you can also harvest them from your cannabis plants. Cannabis plants produce seeds near the end of their flowering cycle—which can last 8 to 12 weeks depending on the strain. Wait for the seeds to mature and turn brown or gray before attempting to collect them. Once the seeds have matured, gently remove them with tweezers or your fingers. Then, remove any debris from the seeds by rinsing them in a bowl of clean water. Allow them to completely dry before storage.
To ensure the highest quality and viability, it is best to collect seeds from healthy, unadulterated plants. It is also worth noting that collecting seeds collected from hermaphroditic plants may produce hermaphroditic offspring.
How to store cannabis seeds
If you store your cannabis seeds in a cool, dark place, you may be able to preserve them for several years. Exposure to light can cause them to degrade and lose their viability over time. This is because light can break down the delicate oils and proteins that makeup cannabis seeds. This can eventually lead to the seeds becoming weak and less likely to germinate.
Moisture is another enemy of seed storage, so make sure your seeds are completely dry before storing them. To help absorb excess moisture, silica gel packets can be added to the storage container. Humidity in the air can also be harmful, so use airtight containers like glass jars or plastic bags with zip locks to store your seeds. A refrigerator (not the freezer) is a good option for long-term storage, but keep the seeds in an airtight container to prevent them from getting too moist.
For easy reference, label your containers clearly with the strain, the date of the seed harvest, and any other information you may find useful. Storing cannabis seeds properly is crucial for maintaining their viability and ensuring that they can be successfully germinated when the time comes. You should check on your stored seeds periodically to ensure that they are still viable and to remove any that are damaged or moldy.
Whether growing for personal use or sale, growers must educate themselves about the different types of cannabis seeds and how to properly source and store them. From stabilized seeds to auto-flowering seeds, there are many varieties to choose from. As cannabis legalization continues to grow and spread, we may have many more seed choices in the future.