Ask Ed: Questions and Answers – Varietal Differences

I started two plants from the same seeds; they sprouted within one day of each other but they are growing differently. One has an umbrella-like canopy and the other has leaves that grow upward like a palm tree. They are both very healthy. Why are the plants so different?

– Cali, Colombia, Pedro-Newbie Farmer

You didn’t mention where you obtained the seeds, but I suspect it was from a seed company. Most marijuana seed companies sell hybrids that vary quite a bit in their characteristics. Even though a certain package might claim the seeds are a variety, they are often really hybrid complexes with a spectrum of characteristics. The reasons for this are both genetic and logistical.

Logistically, classical breeding requires large numbers of plants and careful record keeping. Because of laws and other legal/security reasons the amount of space and number of plants is limited. As a result, available varieties are not inbred for five or six generations to make the plants more homogeneous.

F1 hybrids, made from a cross of two true breeding varieties, are uniform genetically but have a heterogeneous gene package: half their chromosomes come from each parent. When they are crossed, the second generation (the F2s) receives random assortments of genes resulting in plants that vary widely in their characteristics.

Sometimes seed companies say that there are two phenotypes and one is found 25% of the time and the other, 75%. The reason for this is that one of the versions of the alleles (gene) is dominant over the other. Thus, only the 25% of the plants that have the recessive version of the allele will exhibit that characteristic. The plants that have one of each allele will look almost the same as the plants that have two copies of the dominant version.

Seed companies expect that people are going to grow out as many seeds as they get and choose the best plant(s) as clone mothers. So, they figure, when the customer gets an assortment of versions of the “variety” s/he can choose the best for her/his situation. This, they say, gives customers the best chance of getting the right version of the “variety” for their needs.

Send your grow questions to Ed Rosenthal at [email protected]



  1. Anonymous on

    3 and out for the mamma. cut a baby off of her and start all over with the baby and grow her to be mamma.

  2. Abigrob420 on

    Go get some eagle 20 bro shit works miracles if you really never want to see it powerdy mildew ever agin. I had a huge problem and haven’t seen a sign since. Cut new clones and dip them in mod amount of soulution after rooted. Clean your rooms with bleach and get rid of all other plants and now ur good to go!

  3. Anonymous on

    Is there any way to GET RID OF this? I have the source figured out and taken care of, what can I do too keep it GONE? Or is this a NEVER ending battle??


  4. Gorg on

    The older the plant, the more potent, also becomes more biologically mature or “ready” to flower.
    So going to 12/12 after 7 months veg., your plant will show pistils quickly. It will be very happy to go into flower (it’s been wanting to flower for 7 months) and reward you with lots of potent flowers!

  5. Anonymous on

    just got small tent came with 240v-50hz light is that big enough for 3 plants ?

  6. Anonymous on

    Tomatoes yeah why the fuck would you post on cannabis culture about tomatoes you douche, everyone and their beother knows the truth. What an idiot.

  7. Anonymous on

    Question…. I have a super strong branched 6′ female mama…. Not sure exactly what strain. The branches are like little trees… anyways… it has been on an 18/6 cycle for 7 months. just got it back inside now on 12/12.. although there is sprouts all over the branches, is it too late?? this is the longest ive ever held out with a tomato i wasting my time or should it just remain a mama???

  8. Prime on

    Hello, I have a large licensed medical marijuana production facility near vancouver bc and we are having a consistent problem with chlorotic foliage. We’ve been adding Calmag to treat possible deficiencies in cal, mag and iron with little success. It then donned on us that our gardens could be experiencing a build up of alkalinity in the soil. Wondering about how to treat this long term and also if it is easier to control this issue in a hydroponic system. Any advice would be warmly welcomed.



  9. Anonymous on

    This is simply a Fungus that has a symbiotic relatioship with the plant. the plant benifits in that mycoriihiza chemicaly breakes down cetain minerals so that the plant can “uptake” the meneral into the plant itself. Ph is important because a plant cannot uptake a mineral unless the Ph is above 6 and lower than 7. The fungus is the facillitator. There are litteraly 100’s of fungi, you must find a fungus that is specific to the region. In other words, mycorrhiza from Main, won’t work as well as local. Good luck!

  10. kevin on

    I have been using great white premium mycorrhizae beneficial bacteria & trichoderma, I have been growing og kush cutting from california. I was wondering if you have any information on which mycorrhiza spores are most beneficial to this strain or marijuana in general, I see that differen’t company’s have higher or lower spores per cc.
    thanks for all your information over the years I smoke my herbs now and can’t believe I grew it sometimes.