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HOW TO GROW REGULAR CANNABIS SEEDS

Got a few grows under your belt and feel like upping the stakes? Slightly intimidated by the prospect of regular cannabis seeds? Most people like to keep it simple and buy feminized strains. But growing regs has some unique benefits and is very rewarding. Find out how the OGs once grew and breeders still do. Learn about perfect flowers, monoecious and dioecious plants, and how to ID males and hermies so you’re left with seed-free female flowers.
By OG Team

IN THIS ARTICLE:

Introduction to Cannabis Reproduction
The Birds and the Bees of Regular Seeds
6 Steps to Grow Regular Marijuana Seeds

Introduction to Cannabis Reproduction

Botanically Perfect Flowers

You’ll be surprised to learn that cannabis, as a plant species, does not produce what botanists refer to as “perfect” flowers. You’re probably thinking, “Well they look pretty darn good to me”, and we at Overgrow certainly agree. But a perfect flower, in a botanical sense, means that both male and female reproductive elements are housed within the same floral structure, as found in common food crops like apples and beans. A single one of these hermaphroditic flowers could, in theory, pollinate itself, though cross pollination between plants is sometimes still needed, and beneficial in the long term.

Monoecious and Dioecious Plants

A plant without botanically perfect flowers is generally classified as either monoecious or dioecious. Monoecious (Greek for “one house”) plants have male and female flowers on the same plant, but not within the same blossom, as is the case with a hermaphrodite. Interestingly, the term “bisexual” is more apt to a plant that produces male flowers (stamen) and female flowers (pistils) at separate sites, according to strict botanical definitions. Corn, cucumbers, and squashes are monoecious plant examples. Dioecious (meaning “two houses”) plants are distinctly either male or female, with the associated flowers or sex organs – examples include asparagus and spinach.

Is Cannabis Monoecious or Dioecious?

If you’re a grower, especially one considering regular seeds, you need to know that your marijuana plants can develop either male or female flowers, or both – in other words, cannabis plants can be either dioecious (either male or female) or monoecious, widely called hermaphrodites or “hermies”. However, much like the accepted male, female, and LGBTQ+ genders in humans, nowadays, cannabis can have 4 genders: male, female, true hermaphrodite (M+F sex organs at separate sites), or mixed-gender (“banana” pollen sacs growing in “female” flowers).

What causes Hermaphroditism in Marijuana?

A few‌ ‌factors‌ ‌that‌ can cause‌ ‌hermaphroditic weed plants‌ ‌are‌‌ bad genetics,‌ ‌nutrient‌ ‌deficiencies,‌ very ‌high‌ ‌temperatures,‌ ‌root‌ ‌rot,‌ ‌light‌ ‌poisoning during‌ ‌dark‌ hours, and transplant and other stress factors.‌ Be sure to avoid these to increase your chances of growing pure female flowers from photoperiod seeds, regular or feminized.

The Birds and the Bees of Regular Seeds

Just As Nature Intended

The majority of growers only cultivate feminized seeds exclusively for their treasured female flowers (which can still be stressed into becoming hermies). Did you know that feminized seeds are derived from female plants that have been skilfully tricked into altering their genome, in order to germinate into only female marijuana plants? Though this selective breeding modification should not be mistaken for GMO lab engineering.

When we talk about “the birds and the bees” of cannabis, we need to talk about regular seeds. “Regular” in this case means unadulterated (non-feminized) photoperiod (non-autoflowering) genetics, just as nature intended.

Regular seeds have a 50/50 chance of germinating into male or female plants. Males are needed only for their pollen sacs (stamen), which release their contents into the air and pollinate the female flowers (pistils) as part of the natural reproductive cycle necessary for producing more seeds as offspring.

Who Should Grow Regular Seeds?

Regular seeds are therefore essential for breeders seeking to create superior strains or combine specific traits. However, they’re also valuable for experienced growers who either enjoy the challenge of hunting down males or are looking for the perfect phenotype from the genetic lottery, with specific qualities to meet their needs.

If you want to grow regular genetics but don’t want the pesky males to pollinate your coveted female buds to produce seeds, you have to ID the male plants and hermies, and carefully discard of them – as their pollen can travel for miles. The task of identifying sex organs during pre-flowering, is better suited to cultivators with a bit of experience under their belts.

We don’t recommend regular cannabis seeds for beginner growers, specifically because your very first (and sometimes second) grow can be very overwhelming. Unless you have an OG to guide you (like we attempt to do), it can be hard to know what to expect. Even then, surprises will likely pop up – all of which are part of the learning curve.

6 Steps to Grow Regular Marijuana Seeds

As we don’t promote regs for complete rookies, let’s focus on the UGPs (that’s “unique growing points”) of regular seeds.

Step 1: Germinate Your Seeds

We recommend, nay, we insist on following our Seed Germination 101 article to maximize your success rate. It provides standard seed-popping practise in simple practical terms.

Step 2: Veg As Usual

A bit of basic marijuana growing hygiene, as per usual, is all that’s necessary during the vegetative stage. Basic feeding, watering, pruning, and disease prevention – standard for anyone with a couple of grows under their belt.

Step 3: Know Your Environment

Remember, regular marijuana seeds have a roughly 50/50 chance of germinating into males or females – they are generally “dioecious”. It’s impossible to tell which are which, until their M/F flowers (reproductive organs) start to show. Indoors, it’s a little easier as you know when to expect them, within 1-3 weeks after flipping to a 12/12 light/dark light cycle. Outdoors can be a bit trickier, especially if you don’t have prior experience (in general or in a new climate) or don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. So, it’s important to have a keen eye and be able to ID a plant’s sex organs.

Step 4: Identify Each Plant’s Gender

The most essential reason to ID your plants’ genders is to separate males from females, in order to prevent the lads from pollinating the ladies. Cross-pollination will result in your ladies producing seedy buds, as part of the natural reproductive cycle of cannabis. The precious female flowers we all know and love are termed “sinsemilla,” meaning “without seed.”

Female, male, and true hermaphrodite or mixed-gender cannabis plants.

As each plant matures, when the environment is just right (reduced outdoor daylight hours or flipping the light cycle to 12/12 indoors), your beautiful marijuana babies will flip a genetic switch and start “pre-flowering”. It’s at this stage that males will start to develop pollen sacs (appropriate, from a human perspective) also called “stamen”, and females will develop “pistils” (hairs, a bit less ladylike).

Male preflowers (stamen) usually appear first in the shape of ‌little‌ ‌balls‌ ‌or “bananas”, later going on to form bell-shaped clusters (male flowers). Female‌ ‌preflowers‌ (pistils) appear ‌like‌ ‌a‌ ‌pair‌ ‌of‌ ‌white‌ ‌hairs in a V shape (stigma) emerging from a green calyx, which later cluster together to form buds (female flowers). While rare, some plants can develop into mixed-gender plants (male bananas appearing in female flowers) or, less commonly, true hermaphrodites (M+F sex organs at separate plant sites) – displaying both genders’ sex organs, often due to unstable genetics or as a survival mechanism in response to stress like high temps or light poisoning.

Keep your eyes peeled as early as 3 weeks post-germination. Look out for these preflowers at the nodes (right where the branches meet the stems), often in the upper reaches nearest to the light source (see the above image for a visual). You’ll want to separate out both herms and males, leaving the ladies to do their thing and deliver clean, coveted, smokable flowers.

Step 5: Separate Males From Females

Listen up. You must be very vigilant in your male and female separation and culling (or isolation for breeding). A single male can pollinate your entire batch of females, even from a distance of kilometres away (pollen spreads through the air).

Hunt the males down, weed them out, and carefully isolate (for breeding) or dispose of them completely because all it takes is a little bit of pollen sneaking through to ruin your whole harvest.

This way you’ll be left with only ladies to produce marijuana buds high in THC, other cannabinoids like CBD, as well as terpenes and other beneficial compounds.

Step 6: Breeding

“I’m a breeder and I didn’t know it”. This might sound like something to be proud of – maybe you get lucky and even produce some respectable genetics. But we’ve got news for you – stable breeding is a meticulous process and very hard work! It takes considerable investment of time, knowledge, and trial and error, over many years, to know what you’re doing.

Cheap, unstable “bag seeds” are nothing but trouble. Fortunately for you, we stock cannabis seeds from the world’s best breeders, who have spent several years to decades of their time identifying, experimenting, and stabilizing the most elite genetics from around the globe. Let’s leave breeding to the pros and just enjoy our grows.

Visit our breeders page or jump straight to our regular seeds catalogue to find the strain that most tickles your fancy. You won’t regret it.







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