Cannabis seed breeders often refer to F1, F2, S1, IBL & BX marijuana seeds. Find out what the terms mean and how they evolved. The professional term ”F1 Hybrid Seeds” is incorrectly used today in the Cannabis seeds industry. The crossing of two different cannabis strains form a new F1 (“first generation”) hybrid plant. When it comes to weed terminology, nothing is more complicated than the codes used when breeding? F1 genetics are cited as best, but what does it mean?
What are F1, F2, S1 cannabis seeds?
To many people cannabis seeds are simply cannabis seeds. But breeders and connoisseur growers also use different terms for cannabis seeds, such as F1, F2, S1 etc. In this review, we will explain what is meant by these terms and precisely what they tell you about the cannabis seeds which they describe.
|●||The basics of cannabis genetics for breeders|
|●||Different types of F1 cannabis seeds|
|●||The difference between F1 and F2 cannabis seeds|
|●||How does selfing produce S1 cannabis seeds?|
|●||Cannabis genetics hybridisation process case studies|
|●||Cannabis seeds quality: what to know before growing?|
The basics of cannabis genetics for breeders
Most home growers tend not to worry too much about terms such as F1 cannabis seeds, F1 hybrid cannabis seeds etc. So long as the seeds contain reliably good quality genetics few people are too concerned about the terminology used. However, to many cannabis breeders it is vitally important to understand the sometimes subtle, but critical, differences.
What does f1 hybrid mean? Cannabis seeds are formed when pollen from the male pollinates a female plant. The male genetics cross with those from the female to create F1 cannabis seeds, meaning that the cross is a First generation cross. If the parents were from two different strains the result would be F1 hybrid cannabis seeds.
Note that male pollen spreads easily and will pollinate any nearby female plants. That’s why professional breeders have isolated, dedicated breeding rooms which prevent accidental pollen spread. Pollen may be applied with small brushes using e.g. paint brushes, allowing specific branches to be pollinated with pollen from different males if required. Or male and female plants may share the same room, pollen is spread simply using air circulation fans.
Anyone involved with breeding/pollen would normally shower and change clothes to prevent unintended cross contamination between different areas of their breeding facility. Once pollinated, the female plant focusses much of her energy into seed production (rather than bud production).
What are F1 hybrid cannabis seeds?
F1 cannabis seeds simply mean that they are a first generation of offspring from the parent strains. Hybrid vigour is a term often used when discussing cannabis seeds, along with the question ‘Can an F1 outbreed for hybrid vigor?’ Cannabis hybrid vigour is observed when different strains are hybridised in an F1 cross.
If the parent strains were quite different indica and sativa strains then the seeds would be called F1 hybrid cannabis seeds, these may show vigorous growth and display ‘hybrid vigour’ resulting in growth which is faster than usual. This extra growth vitality is seen when different cannabis genetics are hybridised to create an F1 cannabis cross.
Different types of F1 cannabis seeds
F1 cannabis seeds explained! You can buy F1 autoflowering cannabis seeds or photoperiod F1 feminised cannabis seeds. Autoflower seeds tend to have a reputation for being faster and perhaps a little easier/more convenient than feminised seeds, but much depends on the preferences of the grower. F1 regular cannabis seeds are also popular with some old school growers or those conducting their own breeding experiments.
F1 fast cannabis strains are also available, with strains such as Think Fast. These strains have recessive autoflower genetics which cause the f1 fast cannabis strains to grow from seed to harvest a couple of weeks faster than traditional strains. For some outdoor growers this could be the difference between a harvest which ripens before the bad weather arrives and one which doesn’t.
Many connoisseur growers prefer to buy genuine F1 cannabis seeds in order to get the highest chance of the consistent quality results which are most similar to the parent strains. F1 White Widow cannabis seeds from Dutch Passion are a good example. The large numbers of repeat White Widow growers know that their best chances of producing original Grade-A White Widow buds is to use F1 White Widow cannabis seeds.
The difference between F1 and F2 cannabis seeds
F1 cannabis seeds are produced when two parents are crossed. When you see F1 cannabis seeds for sale you would normally expect them to show the closest qualities to the original strains. When the F1 cannabis seeds are grown and subsequently crossed the resulting seeds are known as F2 cannabis seeds.
The subject of F1 and F2 cannabis genetics can be a complicated subject, with questions such as ‘is F1 better than F2 cannabis?’ Whether you get better results with F1 vs F2 cannabis seeds will depend on the individual phenotypes being grown, as well your definition of the word ‘better’. It is perhaps safest to say that F1 cannabis seeds are more likely to show results closer to the original parents compared to F2 seeds.
Note. Growing and crossing F2 cannabis seeds would produce F3 cannabis seeds.
What are inbred line cannabis seeds (IBL)?
Inbred line cannabis seeds, often known simply as IBL seeds, are the result of inbreeding the descendants of the F1 cannabis seeds. It is usual to breed for 5 or more generations (F5) in order to be regarded as inbred line cannabis seeds. At this point the IBL may often be considered as a distinct strain in its own right.
Remember that the cannabis seeds have been produced from plants with genetics which are practically identical over several generations. Although this type of breeding is arduous and may take several years, the resulting cannabis seeds are typically very consistent with highly predictable results for the grower.
The Skunk family of cannabis seeds is an example of in-breeding which has allowed the successful preservation of the distinctive skunk aroma and taste.
What are poly-hybrid cannabis seeds?
The most reputable cannabis seed suppliers work hard to identify the best genetics and then stabilise them, a process which sometimes takes several years. Stable consistent cannabis seeds give the grower the best chance of replicating premium quality genetics in their own grow room. However, if two (F1) hybrid strains are crossed the result is poly hybrid cannabis seeds.
When growing such seeds you can reasonably expect any of the genetics from the diverse parentage to be expressed. For some growers, variety is a good thing. For other growers seeking a tent full of consistent/uniform plants, poly-hybrid cannabis seeds are unwelcome guests.
Many of the less experienced seed suppliers intent on making a ‘fast buck’ simply cross male and female plants to create rapid seed production with absolutely no thought given to stabilisation or optimisation of the genetics. Be sure to do your research carefully before buying cannabis seeds and choose seed banks with a good track record of customer service, plenty of repeat customers and perhaps a few cannabis cups. Cannabis cups are usually a sure sign that your seed bank takes their profession seriously and is there for the long haul.
|Dutch Passion cannabis cup winning strains|
How does selfing produce S1 cannabis seeds?
What does F1 and S1 mean? Female cannabis plants can produce S1 cannabis seeds through a process known as ‘selfing’. Usually this involves taking a cutting/clone from the female mother plant and turning it into a male by a process known as ‘reversion’.
This can be done by spraying the female with a chemical such as Silver Thiosulphate. The stress of this causes the female to become a male plant. Pollen is then collected from this plant and used to pollinate the original mother plant. This allows the original female to effectively be ‘self-pollinated’ or ‘selfed’. The cannabis seeds are known as S1 seeds and have the added stability benefit of using the ‘same’ genetics from the male and female.
Cannabis genetics backcrossing explained
When two parent strains are crossed the result is an F1 cannabis seed. If this seed is grown and crossed with one of the original parents, it is known as backcrossing. Backcrossing is a way of stabilising a cannabis strain since it allows parent genetics to be backcrossed with genetically similar offspring. As a result, greater genetic stability is conferred on the resulting cannabis seeds. This produces more consistent seeds with more predictably uniform results in your grow room.
Cannabis genetics hybridisation process case studies
Often cannabis breeders will aim to combine two great qualities from different strains into a new hybrid. Often this will involve e.g. taking the cannabinoid content from one strains and augmenting it with XXL yields from another.
Orange Hill Special
Orange Hill Special is a Dutch Passion photoperiod feminised seed variety. She was in-bred over 6 generations after the initial crossing with genetics from Orange Bud and Californian Orange.
Orange Bud and Californian Orange are both members of the multi-cannabis cup winning Orange Family of cannabis seeds. These strains stand for premium quality harvests of beautifully citrus scented buds. Orange Bud and Californian Orange have slightly different but complementary terpene profiles. The aim of the hybridisation was to combine the best features of each variety into a new stable strain which would embody the best taste, THC levels and yields.
Orange Hill Special is a member of the most potent cannabis seed selection available, the High THC cannabis seed collection. This is where you can expect consistent 20-25% THC levels across all plants when grown in good conditions. Such stability and consistency don’t arrive by accident, it’s the result of several years of careful selection, lab analysis, stabilisation and careful breeding. If you’re looking to grow heavy harvests of extremely THC rich citrus scented skunk buds then Orange Hill Special is a perfect choice. For best results, LED grow lights are recommended.
The professional term ”F1 Hybrid Seeds” is incorrectly used today in the Cannabis seeds industry.
The crossing of two different cannabis strains form a new F1 (“first generation”) hybrid plant. However, all the Cannabis strains that exist in the market today are greatly heterozygous, meaning that any pollination (crossings) between such two different Cannabis strains will produce seeds with increased genetic instability.
Thus, today each individual seed produced in a pollinated plant, even though it’s essentially an F1 hybrid seed, is in principal different than all the other seeds in that same plant.
The fact that all seeds are different from each other in one particular plant means that the propagation of plants from such seeds, even though they originated from the same plant, produces plants with different DNA profiles.
That is why the only method accessible to Cannabis growers today, to maintain identical (“true to type”) offspring of one unique plant (termed a ‘mother plant’), is through cloning (either vegetative propagation or tissue culture).
In contrast, the conventional seeds industry terms an F1 Hybrid seed as a seed developed from the crossing of two distinct 100% homozygous strains – also referred to as “Parental Lines” (a ‘female plant’ and a ‘male plant’). The crossing of these two stable parental lines always produce the same F1 hybrid seeds, which are not only identical to each other, but are always 100% uniform in their DNA profile.
The propagation of seedlings from 100% uniform F1 hybrid seeds will always result in identical plants (“true to type”), thus making redundant the need for cloning of Cannabis and Hemp
F1, F2, S1 – What do They Mean for Your Weed?
Once someone has become a master grower, they can then work towards being a master breeder. While growers are simply taking seeds and growing them into beautiful plants, they are growing something that nature, or someone else, has actually created. However, when one becomes a breeder, they get to truly play god by breeding different strains together, making seeds, and even making their very own strain. In order to do so, one has to first have a good grasp on things science, genetics, and how cannabis plants work to make seeds, to make bud, and how different plants work together.
What are F1 and F2 cannabis seeds?
The terms “F1” “F2” and “S1” are some of the first that beginner breeders will come across. They refer to outbreeding, or producing hybrid seeds, which is the practice of cross-breeding two plants that originally have completely different genetics. In order to do so, two stable parents must be chosen so the pollen from the male can be used to fertilize the female.
This will result in the hybrid seeds the breeders are after, and they’re known as “F1” seeds, or first generation seeds. F1 seeds will be the most stable of any seeds that follow it in future generations, and those generations will be known as “F2” seeds, “F3” seeds, and so forth as more seeds are made. However, F1 seeds are the most sought after by breeders because they grow about 25 percent faster, and they grow larger and with more vigor that subsequent generations.
What are S1 seeds?
In addition to F1 and F2 seeds, there are also S1 seeds. The “S” in this case refers to “self” or “selfed”, meaning that these seeds will be selfed-generation. They do not need a male plant for pollen but rather, the female plant is reversed so that pollen can be collected. The pollen will then be used to pollinate the mother plant or a clone of the mother to get S1 seeds. Males can be selfed as well, but in both cases it’s a complex process that requires great focus from even the most experienced breeders.
Breeding can be even more exciting than growing because it’s a chance to really make your own strain and create something that will highlight your preferences. Breeding can be a complicated matter, however. Start by understanding some of the basic terminology, and what’s needed to create a stable strain, and you’ll be well on your way to your own.