Cultivation typically follows a few stages of plant development, from germination to flowering. As marijuana grows, the types of seed contribute to the needed conditions for certain stages. To harvest a healthy bud, one must understand the types of seeds, the needed conditions, and the stages of growth.
The seeds you select determine a lot about your yields. Marijuana, like any other plant, needs proper maintenance and the selection of the ideal seeds to get the high-level bud every stoner desires. There are those that feel autoflower weed seeds will get them the yield they want. Others argue that feminized seeds are what is actually better.
Which of the two is correct? To answer the question, we have to go back to the basics and look at the two varieties’ distinctive characteristics. Other aspects are worth looking into; for instance, what are the conditions necessary for growing autoflower seeds? Do they have normal stages of growth like the feminized seeds? All these and more will get you ready to start your home grow.
Conditions Necessary for Growing Cannabis
Anna Miller in The Sacramento Bee writes of autoflower seeds covering the best types and even the banks selling the same in the California region. Within the article, she also mentions the conditions necessary for growing weed. These are some of the basics ones that are necessary;
Water is at the heart of all living things, which applies to marijuana plants. The species of the plant determines the amount of water needed. For instance, with indicas, there is a need for frequent watering, while sativas can survive longer with limited watering. It is always best to water the plant when the soil or medium is almost drying up. Frequent watering can also be bad for the plant, so caution is advised.
Lighting is crucial to the health of plants. This is one of the conditions controlled by the type of seeds. Autoflowering seeds do not need as much light as feminized ones. Regardless of the same, both types will require some light to develop during the vegetative stages and the ones that follow.
Light gets broken down into chlorophyll, a key nutrient in plant growth. Indoor plants will require LED lights to provide the plant with UV lighting. On the other hand, outdoor grows only need spacious environments without any shade restricting the light from reaching the weed plants.
The discrepancy between autoflowering and feminized seeds comes in with the lighting schedules and the flowering stages. Feminized seeds need a certain amount of light exposure during flowering to produce buds. Autoflowering seeds do not need any light requirements as their bud development is solely based on the maturity of the plant.
Plant nutrients come in the form of fertilizers. Before planting seeds in soil mediums, agronomists advise people to conduct soil tests. The tests inform the individual which nutrients are missing from the soil and which are available. Armed with such knowledge, it becomes easier to calibrate which fertilizer to use and in which quantity. Before buying the fertilizer, it may be better to consult an expert to know which fertilizer to add at which of the plants’ stages.
Stages of Weed Growth
Despite the types of seeds you land on, the stages of marijuana growth are the same. They comprise four distinctive ones that require specialized conditions in each. Here is a review of each of the stages;
The first stage involves the shoot developing from the seed. For germination to occur, the seed requires warmth and moisture. The warmth is derived from lighting, while the moisture is from water. Germination takes place between 3 to 10 days after planting. If, after the 10th day, the seed is yet to germinate, then it is likely that it was spoiled to begin with. Picking the right seed will help give you a healthy plant and increase germination likelihood.
After germination, the next stage is seedling development. 2-3 weeks after germination, the shoot develops into a stem with one or two leaves. The seedling stage is ideal for transplanting as it has developed a sturdy root system and can survive in a different medium. Also, lighting is key at this point. The plant needs 18 hours of light during the day and 6 hours of darkness during the night. Not meeting these light requirements can lead to malformed plants with unhealthy leaves.
The vegetative process begins after the seedling has formed. It lasts from week 3 to week 8 or 10, depending on the maturity period of the plant. During the vegetative period, the plant develops a more advanced leaf system. It is common to note the serrated five-blade leaves characteristic of the marijuana plant. In some cases, these blades can go up to 7 in number, which does not mean they are abnormal. Like the seedling, stage light is needed 18 hours during the day and 6 hours at night.
Lastly, the flowering stage comes in from week 8 to week 10 or 11, depending on the type of weed. Here, the plant does not require too much light during the day bringing in the 12/12 hours schedule for day and night. The first week of flowering leads to the development of the bud, and soon enough, the rest of the plant stagnates. Growth is then directed to the bud, where it matures and grows trichomes within the following weeks. The maturity depends on the type of seeds.
Comparisons Between Feminized and Autoflowering Marijuana Seeds
It is crucial to consider their characteristics to determine which is best between feminized and autoflowering seeds. Here, lighting becomes one of the major disparities. Growing autoflower indoors is easier mainly because the seeds do not have as many lighting needs as their counterparts. Autoflowers mature as per the maturity period and not the lighting exposure.
With feminized seeds, the 18/6 hours and 12/12 hours lighting schedules are needed for growth and flowering, respectively. Growing feminized weed indoors will require the grower to invest in lighting systems. Growing the same outdoors will depend on the region’s weather, as lack of light could tremendously delay the flowering stage.
Another major difference is the resistance to pests, diseases, and other environmental conditions. Autoflowering varieties excel in harsh conditions as well as favorable ones. They quickly adapt to any challenges, and this includes pests and diseases.
On the other hand, feminized seeds do not do so well in harsh environmental conditions. They are susceptible to pests and diseases and require high-level maintenance to prevent the same. When planting this variety, it is advisable to be on top of spraying programs, watering programs, lighting changes, and topping whenever necessary.
Due to these differences, most beginners prefer autoflowering varieties because they do not need round-the-clock maintenance. Though feminized varieties require all the maintenance highlighted above, it should be noted that they give higher yields. The yields of autoflowering seeds may be lower, but they mature way faster. Ultimately, it all comes down to choice and personal preference.
Anyone interested in cultivating their own marijuana has most probably come across the feminized versus autoflowering debate. Both types of weed seeds offer unique features that make them favorable for one reason or the other. These unique features go as far as determining aspects such as the plant yield, how the plant fares, and its susceptibility to pests and diseases. To determine which is best, one has to consider their expertise paired with the resources they have to support each stage of the cannabis growing process.