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Selecting the Right Genetics

Lining Up Optimum Morphology & Morphogenesis with Environment
By Colin Gordon & Ben Owens

When selecting genetics for your grow, it is important to select plants whose morphology and morphogenesis line up with your environment.

Morphology vs Morphogenesis

A plant’s morphology is the form and structure of the plant. Example: plant vigor, stem thickness, internode length and size and shape of fan leaves.

A plant’s morphogenesis is the expressions and quality of the flower. Example: density, trichome coverage and pathogen resistance. 

What’s best for outdoors and sun grown? What’s best for outdoors with an early season? What’s best for indoors? If you’re running outdoors, you have different options than if you are working in a grow tent with a fixed ceiling. 

As you make your selection, it’s typically best to take specific traits into consideration, rather than varieties (and names), as they can express differently from seed to seed and grow to grow.

For example, some outdoor grows in northern regions need to account for early harvest due to wet, cold, windy, and/or snowy conditions. In these cases, you’d typically want a fast flowering plant. Additionally, plants with a high bract to leaf ratio and a strong mold resistance would further mitigate problems from seasonal weather changes.  

Similarly, if you’re growing commercially, your needs will be different than if you’re growing in a smaller space. Below are a few ballpark guidelines and suggestions that you can use to evaluate the different needs of different environments. There are multiple philosophies and approaches to growing—and identifying desirable traits for your space and needs can help you raise the efficacy within your space.

Selecting For Outdoors

In the majority of the United States, a typical harvest is mid-late October. Grows in regions of the U.S. that require an early harvest due to wet or harsh conditions have to chop mid-late September. 

When selecting for outdoor, I recommend keeping the following traits in mind:

  • High bract-to-leaf ratio: This will offer more dense and “indoor-looking” flowers.
  • Fast flower trigger: The faster a plant starts flowering, the faster it can develop. As the days shorten and plants begin to flower, plants with a fast trigger will develop their structure before the other varieties, and in most cases, ripen earlier. Most fast-flowering varieties have fast triggers, but not all of them.
  • Fast ripening: With outdoor, you don’t want to be sitting there waiting longer than you need to.
  • Mold resistance (Botrytis, aka bud rot): Botrytis is always a possibility when growing outdoors. Humidity, rain and temperature fluctuations can all contribute to the advancement of molds and mildew.
  • Height: Wind, weather and growing methods will help determine whether you want a more vigorous tall plant or a stronger, more squat plant.
  • Strong branching & wind resilience: Plants that are strong and flexible will help with resilience against mother nature. 
  • Early season harvest (bonus): It's nice to harvest early, especially when it’s a necessity because of your environment, but a full season will typically yield more if everything stays healthy. 
  • Low fertility (not necessary, but a bonus): Because of the risk of cross pollination, low fertility plants like Chem 4 or MAC1 will yield fewer seeds, but fertility is not typically a deciding factor.

In general, most genetics will perform well outdoors, though northern, colder and wetter climates will necessitate a narrower selection. Autoflowers are a great option for early harvest (three months from germination).

Varieties that might work well outdoors:

  • XXX (Endgame 3 x Lemon Berry)
  • Grandpa’s Stash
  • Purple Sunset
  • Punchline
  • Purple Majik
  • The Krux
  • Skunk Hero
  • LBC OG
  • Booberry Cookies
  • Grandpa’s Cookies
  • Hashplant Bx1 (m/f), 

Selecting For Greenhouses

Typically, varieties that would work well outdoors are also varieties that work well in greenhouse grows. Greenhouses allow for an earlier start to the season. 

Additionally, plants grown in greenhouses don’t have to withstand the same elements (wind, rain, snow) of those grown outdoors. With that said, humidity will often be an issue in greenhouses later in flower, so anything with strong Botrytis resistance would be good for these grow conditions.

Light Dep (Light Deprivation) Greenhouse:

Light deprivation is used to reduce the length of the day to induce or maintain flowering.

When working with light dep and supplemental lighting, there is more flexibility due to that increase in control. All of the same expressions are desirable in a light dep greenhouse, but the speed of the trigger isn’t as relevant, and the bract to leaf ratio is more controllable. 

Varieties that might work well in greenhouses:

  • Grandpa’s Stash
  • End Game
  • Ethos Cookies
  • Cherry Gar-See-Ya
  • Purple Majik
  • Purple Sunset 

Selecting For Indoors

When growing indoors, you have the flexibility of controlling your own environment, but you’re also subject to certain limitations due to the nature of having a fixed space. Plants that grow exceedingly tall may not be ideal for your facility or tent due to height concerns. Variety selection should be directly correlated to the dimensions of your space. 

If you are battling low ceiling height, smaller-medium sized plants that are stocky and more lateral will be better suited to this environment. Your decisions will depend on the style and methods of growing will also play a factor in your decisions.

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