Starting your next marijuana crop from seeds can be a wild ride, but a lot of growers, especially those with lots of time and money invested into their gardens, are looking for consistent results and reliable harvest dates in their cropping calendar.
Starting with feminized seeds is an option for keeping results consistent. It's always nice to start with fresh, clean seeds because they have no issues (like insects for example), which can be a big problem in commercial clones. Because of the time it takes seed to sprout, serious croppers often prefer inhouse clones for production purposes.
While it's possible to breathe new life into older genetics with amped-up cultivation practices, the key to heavier harvests and better bud is often through selecting a robust mother plant from which to clone successive crops.
There are literally thousands of strains that you can choose from in today's global cannabis seed market. What you choose should fit your growing needs as well as personal or patient requirements. Be realistic about your selections. For example, if you are growing in a closet where space is tight, selecting a long-flowering or very-tall sativa is not the best choice, no matter how great the potential quality of the smoke might be. If you grow outdoors, make sure that your selection stands a good chance of finishing before cold weather or heavy rains come along.
Strain selection is an article (or book) unto itself -- what you're going to learn today is how to select good mother plant. Most growers will agree that if you are growing for a mother selection, it's usually better to start from regular seeds versus feminized.
F1 hybrids will have more consistency from plant to plant and will often show you the best of both parent plants. This is a first generation cross. An F2 hybrid (for example, an F1 gets crossed back into itself) will have a greater range in the resulting plants. In F2 crosses, you can see big and small, fast and quick, all from the same seed pack. If you have the space and time, and you are really serious about having a “special” mother plant, variation is a good thing to select from to see what works best for your own particular growing situation and quality characteristics in the harvest.
The first generation of cuttings that result from a “special” mother plant can provide a rewarding growing experience. First, the plant material is still relatively “young” -- the healthy mother plant hasn't spent a lifetime fighting off infections, insects and plant viruses. Second, the selection you made is “perfect” for your growroom: you grew out several plants from seed, cloning all of them and maintaining those clones in a vegetative state. After the original plants were harvested, you determined what grew the best in your situation, yielded the most and provided the quality characteristics you were looking for.
Some professional growers swear by maintaining as few mothers as possible to provide clones for future crops: They have one “big mama” instead of several smaller ones.The cuttings will have similar health and vigor because they were from the same plant. If clones come from different plants -- albeit from the same strain -- you may see uneven growth rates that can increase exponentially throughout a cropping cycle.
The takeaway? When it comes to growing marijuana, choose and treat your mother plant like the future of your crop depends on it...because it does.