As you cultivate marijuana, you’d definitely find some plant variety or even a specific plant that has the traits you really liked such as resilience and yield. These are the plants that you’d wish to have its genes passed on to later generations and these are called mother plants.
Marijuana cultivators have favored feminized marijuana seeds to ensure yields and harvest, but what about for mother plants? Will the feminized mother be better or the regular non-feminized strain that has been used for thousands of years of marijuana cultivation?
Cannabis or marijuana seeds, just like any other seeds propagate by a biological process called pollination. A male marijuana plant produces pollen that pollinates a female plants flower. This occurs in nature naturally by pollens being blown by the wind until they stumble upon a flower o by sticking onto insects’ bodies especially butterflies and bees. If pollen happens to fall on a receptive stigma of a female flower, pollination occurs where the flowers begin the process of becoming marijuana seeds. Pollination may even be done artificially by a breeder by hand or by being strategically scattered inside an environmentally controlled greenhouse for growing cannabis.
Briefly, here are some of the traits that are looked for in mother plants in order for them to be selected:
VIGOR: Cuttings are continually being taken from mother plants that may last for some years. Because of this, health is a huge factor in selecting your mother plant.
APPEARANCE: Some marijuana plants are small which is ideal for small space cultivation. Some have bigger internodal spacing for the purpose of spraying. Some are tall and big for a more light reception.
YIELD: Some growers really go for fast, big, and easy harvest and whether they harvest buds or seeds.
AROMA: Scent is one of the biggest traits of marijuana. Some people prefer the strong scent of other strains while others look for the subtler odor in order to avoid too much attention.
FEMINIZED VS REGULAR STRAINS
Now let’s head on to our comparison between the regular and feminized strains of marijuana plants to be used as mother plants.
Cannabis seeds naturally develop randomly as either male or female and sometimes in a given batch, there might even be more male than female or the other way around. There is no telling whether a seed is male or female until they grew into mature plants. Only feminized seeds could be identified as truly female because of having been clearly labeled as female.
It is because they are produced using feminizing methods of marijuana cultivation due to their lack of male chromosome. Feminization of plants is done by chemical application of silver thiosulfate or colloidal silver or the natural method of rodelization that results in 100 percent female seeds. This is the main advantage of growing a mother plant from feminized seed, it is guaranteed to be female. However, hermaphroditism, or having both male and female traits can still occur in plants from feminized seeds.
For breeding, regular marijuana strains are superior because they contain the whole genetic material for the production of offsprings which offers the best chance of breeding success, especially from mother plants, unlike the feminized seeds that do not have male chromosomes.
During the early days of plant cultivation, including marijuana, plants are bred in order to give a maximum yield of whatever the plant is needed to produce. Marijuana plants are cultivated either for their seeds of for their buds. Only female plants produce buds that contain higher concentrations of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical found in marijuana that has lots of medical applications
For cultivating easy crops, feminized seeds have the advantage of being assured that they are female if you are into harvesting seed or buds. Female plants produce flowers that are pollinated by male marijuana plants. Ideally, in any cannabis growing environment, a single male marijuana plant could pollinate dozens of female plants from pollens that are produced in its pollen sac. So in practice, it is important to have more female plants than male plants at any given time.
Mother plants that have desirable characteristics are used to grow plants that have similar characteristics over the years. One method of producing uniform desired crops from a mother plant without any male among them is called cloning. Cloning results in plants that are similar in everything, so having a plant that has the full chromosome and genes will allow it to be more resilient to diseases, environmental changes and other unforeseen events that will affect your plants.
Mother plants may receive much love and care from the breeders but its progeny must have the full genetic material in order to be able to survive the realities of growing into fully mature plants in different growing conditions. Even in the most environmentally-controlled environments, some changes may occur without warning due to power failure, accidents, and natural phenomena and others.
The natural genetics found on regular strain has been the key to the survival of cannabis plants for thousands of years. Whenever they are put in a condition that challenges their survival, they adapt or they die. Those that adapt are the strains that diversify and even breed with other strains that resulted in many different types of marijuana strains we have today. Some breeders have even been successful in producing hybrid strains that have good qualities for cultivating.
Considering this, natural strains have more resilience since they have been bred for thousands of generations already and have survived many different adverse conditions and have survived.
Sale of feminized seeds have grown unprecedented nowadays but many seed growers appear to favor regular strains as a guarantee of quality. Aside from the benefit of the full genetic material found in regular strain seeds, these seeds are guaranteed to be totally the same in taste and all the other desirable qualities. This is more like a purist or old school stand on the issue but many marijuana cultivators testify to this.
The genetic differences between the regular strain and feminized seeds appear to make us decide in favor of choosing the regular strain for our mother plants that naturally ensures its survival first of all as a mother plant is expected to live for years of being cloned and therefore must survive cultivation and breeding conditions.