Plant Genetics: Are You Getting What You Paid For?

Plant Genetics: Are You Getting What You Paid For?

Have you ever gotten seeds or a clone that was supposed to one strain but turned out to be another? Or worse- turned out to be a sex you weren’t expecting? When you’re not sure of where your seeds and clones are coming from you might be in for a surprise when harvest time comes around. That’s why in this article we’ll be discussing plant genetics: what to look for before and after you get your next set of seeds or clones.

Understand the Peak Conditions of a Plant Before Buying Genetics

Photo: Slate

Before you start putting money down on plants and seeds, it’s a good idea to get an idea of the peak condition of a given plant. Do a little research into the species of plant you’re growing, and what it looks like at various stages.

It may sound like a no-brainer but trust us: if you’re not sure of what to look forward to, you won’t know what deficiencies look like until it’s too late.

Let’s say, for example, you’re taking care of your plants to perfection but halfway through vegging, you’re not seeing the leaves or branch growth that species is supposed to show. You could either be:

A) Working with a bad quality seed/clone to begin with

B) You didn’t receive the genetics you were supposed to

What to Know When You’re Looking for Seeds

Here are a few recommendations we found help when hunting down the best genetics:

1). Get as close to the source as you can: Don’t be afraid to ask whether or not the botanist is aware of where seeds/clones came from, which plants they came from, and the harvest date. Whether it’s from a nursery, a friend, or a gardening store, knowledge of a genetic’s parent plant and its harvest date are a good sign the botanist knows the genetics they’re offering. That means you should be getting what you’re looking for.

2). Try avoiding unknown, large distributors: Unless you’re growing grass or wheat, chances are you’ll want the richest colors, scents, and tastes out of your final yield. Mass produced seeds tend to either have bad or unknown quality. In some instances, you might get seeds that’ll fail to propagate because they’ve been kept in bad conditions. In other packages, you might find varying quality of genetics, where some will produce vibrant plants but other plants will come out weak or under-performing. Usually, packages with lots of genetics tend to overlook quality and focus more on quantity.

3). If it Looks Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is: How many times have you seen signs that read, “ALL FEMALE SEEDS” or “Guaranteed (XYZ) Colors!” only to start growing and you have a bunch of male plants or flowers with dull colors? Or packs of a certain seed selling at a cheaper price than you’re used to seeing, just to see that a bunch of them are junk? Too many.

It’s best to talk to fellow growers and see if you can get the genetics you want from trusted growers. Or at least from a trusted grower’s seed/clone source (if they’ll share that info). Remember: if your plant is hard to find, the genetics will be, too, so be cautious of anything that comes around too easily.

Clones are One Thing, Quality Clones are Another

While you might not invest as much time into clones as you would with seeds, it’s important to make sure the clones you get are the clones you need.

Sexing Clones– The biggest issue we’ve seen around gardens are miss-sexed plants. You won’t really know a plant is a male or female until just before the vegging cycle.

For growers breeding plants this is simply a surprise, but for growers who need a specific plant sex, this can be a huge letdown. Plants like the cannabis plant offer different properties with each sex, and if one sex is needed over the other you can imagine how heartbreaking it is when after 8 weeks of growing it was all for nothing.

Physical Traits– The other tricky thing about clones is that you may not see what you’ve got until far into the flowering stage.

Take rose clippings, for example: you won’t know their color until they bud, and even after they bloom their color may change depending on the quality of the cut. So if there’s a grower with lots of rose clones but is unsure of which colors are which, you could be paying for one color but get a totally different one.

We recommend getting to know the growers and nurseries your clones come from- even better if you can see the mother plant first-hand. Not only for the reasons we’ve described above but for one of the most fundamental reasons why clone genetics is so important:

If you have an idea of when the clone was taken and what it was taken from, you’ll be able to know whether or not it’s worth the investment.

“Why aren’t my clones and seeds giving me what I want?”

One last reason why the clones or seeds you bought may not be performing their best is based on the parents of those genetics.

Imagine you’ve got a plant that’s been growing from a seed or clone. You know the mother and father plants, and you’ve got all of your nutrients and lighting down pat. Heck, even the flowers are starting to look full, but for some reason, it’s just not up to the degree it should be with all that care. If major deficiencies aren’t an issue, you could be growing those plants in an environment that’s not suitable for them. What does that mean?

Environment’s Affect on Genetics– Everyone knows that if you can grow something outside, chances are you can grow that same plant inside with pretty much identical harvests- and vice versa. But if your plant is a naturally outdoor plant you have to take extra precautions to ensure its vitality. Same for indoor plants: if it’s a plant that’s been bred indoors chances are putting it outside might make it weaker.

This is because in order for plants to thrive they need to be in conditions identical to their native state.

If a tree, for example, naturally grows outdoors, then breeding a seed and growing that plant indoors may not give you the same results as it would if you tried to grow it in nature.

Same for indoor plants: if you take something that’s used to grow lights and artificial nutrition and put it in an all-natural environment it could suffer. The same can be said for outdoor plants: there are just some things that the sun and natural air that just can’t be recreated indoors, and because of that those plants may suffer from being in a non-native environment.

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