In the last decade or so, the explosion of marijuana genetics in the medicinal cannabis scene has been staggering. The multitude of choices has created such a diverse gene pool that pure genetic lines were in danger of going extinct. Fortunately, some old school, dyed-in the-hemp breeders have preserved lineages of important land race strains from various parts of the world.
So what you see is not always what you get as far a claims about marijuana genetics go. For every story told about the latest, greatest thing, there is one of heartbreak about a strain that simply did not live up to its hype.
If the breeder has done his or her homework and you have a stabilized strain, picking the right mother (or father if breeding is your fancy) should be a no-brainier. But no matter how fantastical the claims about the genetics, the smartest thing to do is preserve the line by taking cuttings from the mothers and growing them out to see precisely what you actually have there as representative characteristics.
Though genetics come in many combinations, let’s take a closer look at the simplest form today — F1 hybrids .
If the breeder claims that the seeds are an F1 hybrid, the question then becomes whether or not the desirable traits of the mother and father are sufficiently expressed anywhere in the sampling you have acquired. Hybrid vigor is always a nice trait straight off the hop—which happens when you combine two unrelated plants and get that robust explosion of “vigor”—but hybrid vigour does not guarantee the plant will have the actual traits you are looking for. There is always the great chance of getting plants with undesirable traits in the bunch when dealing with F1 hybrids. You could also of course get lucky and get a freak in the bunch with the traits you bought in for.
So unless you want to spin the genetics roulette wheel, never take on face value the claims made about a strain by just sprouting, sexing, and taking the nicest looking plant in the vegetative state. A plant that looks robust, healthy, and grows fast does not mean it will necessarily be an early flowerer or grow gigantic, tasty buds. You must document the full life cycle of each and every female seed. I have seen puny, scrawny seedlings come on strong and completely outperform everything in the bunch.
Mother plants can live in a vegetative state for an indefinite period of time. I have seem mother plants going for 20 years or more, (though there is a school of thought that posits a strain loses some resistance to pathogens and overall vigor over time, but this has not been my experience).
So do your homework. It may take you a few tries to get the mother you want, assuming the breeders are reputable, but at least you have a choice on this one.
Good luck and grow aware.
Check out Brown Dirt Warriors cult film on growing here.