Heirlooms vs. Hybrids Seeds (A Beginner’s Guide)

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Let's talk about Heirlooms vs Hybrids seeds and what you need to know and understand.

Shall we?

Whether you’re new to gardening or have been gardening for years, you may still be uncertain as to the difference between heirlooms and hybrids.

As you shop for seeds or plants, you may scratch your head and wonder if one is better than the other.

Honestly, it depends on what you want from the seeds or plants.

What is the difference between heirloom and hybrid?

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between heirlooms and hybrids.

Heirloom, Hybrid and Pollination

If you think back to your biology class, you will remember that some plants are cross-pollinating, and some are self-pollinating.

Cross-pollinating refers to pollination that occurs when the wind, birds, or some other natural factor causes a plant to be pollinated by another species of that plant.

Self-pollinating, on the other hand, is when a plant has male and female parts that allow the plant to create another plant. These plants cannot be cross pollinated.

Both heirloom and hybrid plants are cross pollinated. The only difference is that heirloom varieties were cross-pollinated by nature and over time, many years, they have created a plant that is genetically sound and will produce the same characteristics time after time.

Hybrid plants are monitored to ensure they are exposed the right pollen through cross-pollination to ensure the same characteristics become ingrained in the plant’s DNA.

Are hybrids and GMOs the same?

Hybrid Plants Are Not GMOs!

People often worry that due to the careful monitored of the plants it makes the plants genetically modified.

That isn’t true.

GMOs are plants that are modified at a cellular level. This process is done to get the best plants and remove any negatives of the plant.

For example, a plant may be genetically modified to grow larger. You can learn more about GMOs on the Purdue University website.

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The Big Difference Between Heirlooms vs. Hybrids

The biggest difference between heirloom and hybrid varieties is that heirloom seeds grow true to the plant.

This means that you can take the seeds from an heirloom tomato and expect the same results from the plant that grows.

Hybrids do not offer that. A hybrid seed will more than likely create different results.

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Are Heirloom Seeds better?

Who's the winner?

There really is no winner. Some people swear by heirloom varieties and have grown plants for generations from their great-great-great grandmother’s seeds, and they get the same results she did.

There’s something special about that. There are also flavors from heirloom varieties that can’t be found in today’s varieties.

On the other hand, hybrids offer a higher yield and hardier plants.

The question of heirlooms versus hybrids is tough to answer. The easiest way to think about is that heirloom varieties occur naturally, whereas hybrids require monitoring to get the same results time after time.

You might like:

  • Heirloom Seed Kit – Heirloom seed variety pack, 35 varieties, and over 10,000 seeds

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