What Are Heirlooms & Hybrids

These old-fashioned types of tobacco, commonly referred to as Heirloom, have been around for many decades and carry with them some interesting names we know little about. Heirloom types are the main varieties found on this site. They are pure in a sense that their genetic characteristics have not been modified over time through cross pollination with other types. As a true breed, if you were to grow one hundred plants, there would be little difference between one and another. Also, were you to collect the seeds from one of these and grew them the following year, you’d get very similar results.

By contrast, there are also a mind boggling number of hybrids, which often have coded names. These are varieties which have been produced by cross breeding one type of tobacco with another to produce a new variety. It’s what modern day tobacco farmers grow. Hybrids pertain to contain the most favorable characteristics of tobacco, whilst keeping out unwanted features.

If you were to grow one hundred hybrid tobacco plants, there would, as with Heirlooms, be little difference between one and another. However, were you to collect the seeds from one of these and grew them the following year, there would be little similarity between them. The seeds will produce plants resembling one or the other parent or both, but there will be considerable variations between them.

So with heirloom seeds, you buy these once and can grow them forever after. Hybrids are grown once, and each year you need to buy fresh seeds to avoid them turning back into their more primitive state.

There are benefits and drawbacks associated with each type.

In the end it boils down to personal taste and ones’ point of view. Heirloom types are more traditional, and can be re-sown as many times as you please, whereas hybrids are the result of applied science, and some prefer the more interesting flavors, but seeds must be bought again every year, You’ll find many Heirloom varieties on this site, and many Hybrids on our parent site The Tobacco Seed Company.