You may be under the impression that a seed is a seed, however the topic of breeding and seed quality goes much deeper than many may think. As with most things in life, it’s typically a case of getting what you’re paying for. Now, not every affordable seed is bad and you can still have great results with budget seeds, however there are certainly benefits you receive when splashing out the extra cash for some premium breeder’s seeds.
What Makes a Good Breeder
Not all breeders are created equally, typically what defines a good breeder is experience, an understanding of the plants and enough budget to perform good pheno hunts (a few good connections help too). Anyone can grow a female and a male plant, and let it pollinate, however you’re not going to get consistently good results popping seeds from two random phenotypes.
What you’re looking for is a breeder who has run dozens (sometimes hundreds) of plants, and selectively chosen a couple which carried the best / desired genetic traits. Think about it this way, if you’re trying to create the most attractive person possible, you’re not going to blindly grab two people and then see what you get when they breed. You’re going to look for characteristics that promote good dominant genes. The same is true for cannabis, you only want to pick the most beautiful, resistant and potent plants when looking to breed a quality seed (assuming that is what you are hunting for).
Good plant qualities are objective in some ways while subjective in others, a plant with high resistance to powdery mildew or stress is always a good thing. However, things like colouration, flavours, effects are largely up to personal preference.
When you breed a male and a female plant, you create what is called an F1 (the first child from those strains). F1 seeds are extremely variable in their genes, they may have qualities of the mother, they might have of the father or they may have about half of each. F1 seeds have their place, especially for those looking to do some hunting of their own, but they come with drawbacks. If you pop 5 F1 seeds, they are almost always going to have very different traits to them. If you continue to then cross an F1 with another F1, you will create an F2 – repeating the process will create an F3 – all the while narrowing the genetic variability of the seeds. There is also the process of reversing and selfing plants – but we’ll keep that for a future article on breeding itself.
Stabilization of genetics is something many see as important when picking a breeder, while others have no problems hunting for some undiscovered fire in some F1 crosses (as long as both the parents were selectively pheno hunted and display desired qualities).
What About Costs?
I know, I know – you’ve been eyeing out a breeder’s photos on instagram and suddenly you see their brand available locally at a cost you didn’t even know existed for seeds. You’re now asking yourself, ”why are they so expensive and are they worth it?”
With cannabis seeds, it’s often a case of getting what you pay for. If you buy an affordable 6 pack of fem seeds for R400, your odds of finding a ‘keeper’ that truly wows you, is far less likely than if you were to buy a R2000 pack of imported premium genetics. Now this isn’t always true, and Humboldt Seed Organization, Barney’s Farm and Dutch Passion are all companies where some crazy cuts have been found. But with that said, it is usually not nearly as prominent as with the more expensive breeders.
European genetics ruled for much of the 90s and early 2000s, but with legalization in the United States, we’ve seen a massive surge in quality of US genetics. Companies like Oni Seeds, Archive Seed Bank, In House Genetics, Thug Pug and many more have come to the table with some of the most popular cuts of recent years.
Picking up some In House Genetics for example, wouldn’t be cheap – but you’re almost certain to find 3 or 4 plants that will blow you away. Where you could go through multiple packs of cheaper genetics and still not find one that’s going to give you 30% returns in a rosin press.
The reason why these premium genetics are worth it, is because they invest a lot of money into finding the best cuts, and then also ensuring the product is stable and that the consumer is likely to find something special. If you’re skeptical, simply do an instagram search on the strains you see from the more expensive breeders vs the budget breeders and you’ll see the difference in quality people are finding in their packs.
Whether or Not to Bite the Bullet
If you’re still not sure about whether you want affordable genetics or premium genetics – it’s entirely up to what you’re looking for in your grow. If you are a new grower and just learning the ropes, going with cheaper beans definitely make sense. Losing a R300 seed to inexperience isn’t fun. However, if you’re looking for quality flower that will get you the best appearance, returns for extraction and THC content, you should consider biting the bullet and spending the money.
Our stock caters both towards entry level budget growers, and those looking for the best possible quality. We source genetics from both Europe and America, including some of the leading US breeders, like In House Genetics, Seed Junky, Archive, Thug Pug and more.