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Different Varieties of Hemp Plant - Be In The Know

Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant species that is grown specifically for industrial use. Dating back around 50,000 years ago, it became one of the first plants spun into a usable fiber and is today in growing demand for its benefits. It’s one of the fastest growing plants, making it a multifaceted plant with thousands of uses and applications in numerous industries ranging from food, nutrition and health applications to construction, paints, printer ink, paper and the list goes on. The possibilities in which this plant can be used are continuously growing each and every day. The three main types of hemp seed for production are: Grain/seed, fiber and CBD. Each seed variety requires different equipment, planting techniques, different amounts of land, labor and weed/pest control.

General Information About Hemp (CBD Plants)

Hemp is a dicotyledonous plant meaning it has two cotyledon leaves,it can have both male and female flowers on the same plants as well as separate plants. It is a cross-pollinated and wind-pollinated plant and produces more pollen than all other cultured plants. Although there are both male and female hemp plants, only the males can produce pollen. Pollination of these plants typically lasts 2-3 weeks but can be affected by weather conditions and growth rates. 

A solid distinguishing factor between male and female plants is that while female flowers have a white stigma, male flowers will not. Male plants are the first to show signs of flowering. This process generally begins 4-6 weeks after the initial planting. To further differentiate the male to the female, the female plants can typically be identified 5-14 days after the males bloom.

Hemp is what is known as photo-period-dependent and referred to as a “short-day plant” because of its strict schedule allowing it to remain in sunlight. It can move from the vegetative state to the reproductive state when the exposure to sunlight does not exceed the maximum exposure duration.

Stalk height and thickness is drastically affected by the soil type, fertility and physical/chemical traits of the soil. An example of soil affecting stalk height is heavier soil because it allows for little drainage and is more compacted therefore stunting its growth. The stalk length is influenced by nitrogen because it promotes growth by changing the physical traits of the stalk itself. Whereas, the stalk thickness is heavily attributed to how much space is allowed between each plant and how dense each one gets.

Grain/Seed Hemp (CBD Plants)

Grain hemp is not as slender as the fiber variety and grows to around 5-7 feet tall. Prime planting time for this seed would range anywhere from mid-May to about mid-June. To be able to properly harvest, it would take around 100-120 days after planting which would land in the time frame of mid-September to mid-October. This variety of hemp is mainly used in the food and nutritional industry due to their high oil and protein content. Because these seeds are fragile, it is the more expensive variety to transport, store and process as well as handling the seeds with extra care.

Fiber Hemp (Plant Base)

This variety is the most slender which is beneficial to its use in textiles, building materials, biofuel and other manufacturing options. Prime planting time starts in early May and lasts until early June and can be planted either by grain drill or broadcast seeder. Because of their long fibers, this hemp grows to the largest height of all three, standing at anywhere from 10-18 feet tall. Although this hemp is mainly used for manufacturing, seeds can be harvested for seed, but additional, special equipment would be required.

CBD Hemp (Where CBD Extract Derives From)

This plant is physically identified by its bushy appearance and can reach an impressive height of 6-12 feet. It can be planted through two methods. The first is through starters which mean the plant is first grown in a greenhouse then later transferred outdoors, which in this case would have to occur by mid-June. On the other hand, if the grower is only using greenhouse systems then year-round planting is an option. This variety of hemp is specifically grown for cannabidiol (CBD) which has been shown to have various health benefits. Its usage ranges from nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and dietary supplement industries.