How to Feminize Seeds
It’s important to learn how to feminize seeds so you can save time on your grow. When the traditional fertilization methods are used to grow your marijuana plants, you have less control over the gender of future marijuana plants.
That is why many marijuana growers take extra steps so you receive female marijuana plants at the time of harvesting. To do it yourself, feminize seeds prior to your harvest.
What are Feminized Cannabis Seeds?
Feminized cannabis seeds produce only cannabinoid- and trichome-rich flower buds on female cannabis plants. Cannabinoids and terpenes are responsible for the potency, aroma, and flavor of cannabis.
A crop that uses high-quality feminized seeds will produce a female-only crop without the presence of male plants, which can pollinate your crop and potentially reduce your yield.
Another type of seed, a regular seed, is a result of natural pollination and breeding male and female seeds together. Cannabis growers working with regular seeds have a 50% chance of either yielding a female or male marijuana plant. Growing from regular seeds isn’t the best option if you’re looking to strictly grow cannabis buds. While male plants serve their specific purpose to pollinate females, they don’t produce the trichome covered flowers that female plants do.
How Are Feminized Seeds Made?
Feminized cannabis seeds serve a major purpose for commercial and home growers. Feminized seeds can be made by inducing a regular female cannabis plant to grow male sex organs that contain pollen. The hermaphroditic pollen will contain only the female X chromosome and no male Y chromosomes.
When used to pollinate a female cannabis plant, the seeds produced between the two plants will inherit two X chromosomes meaning that all subsequent seeds will be feminized.
The Benefits of Growing Feminized Seeds
Growing feminized cannabis seeds has many benefits over regular seeds. For one, growers don’t have to hedge their bets hoping that the regular seeds will produce female plants. Instead of planting more regular strains than needed to get lucky and get enough females for your specific purpose, you can stick with a sure bet using feminized strains. Using feminized seeds can speed up the growing process by eliminating the need to watch out for male plants, saving you time and space.
Male plants run the risk of pollinating female plants causing them to develop hermaphroditic structures and, ultimately, lower your plants’ yield compared to a grow without male plants. Weeding out the male plants, however, takes time and energy. Male plants display their sexual organs when the photoperiod changes naturally or when indoor lighting environments change.
Growers that don’t want to spend the time monitoring the plant every day can use feminized seeds to ensure that their garden will grow flower buds. Otherwise, growers will have to keep their eyes peeled for male plants and remove them from the grow immediately.
Male vs Female Marijuana Plants
Generally speaking, there is no way that you can determine the difference between male and female marijuana seeds in the initial stages of planting. In addition, you are also not able to change the gender of your marijuana deeds. The concept of having feminized marijuana seeds is to maximize the female seeds that will be part of your marijuana crop. Why would you want female marijuana plants? Well, these are known to have a higher level of THC content. Male plants have reduced THC content and for that reason, female plants take precedence over male plants. With cannabis seed feminization, there are several pollination techniques that the marijuana grower can use for a favorable outcome.
Buying the Right Cannabis Seeds
Female marijuana seeds are sold by various companies. So, you don’t have to wait to get your own. You can use the ones available to you and by doing so, you will be sure that your outcome is a female marijuana plant with more THC content. Be careful when buying marijuana seeds from companies online. Make sure this is a reputable company known for selling and delivering the right female marijuana seeds.
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Some “feminized” seeds may produce hermaphrodite plants if the seeds are of low quality. High-quality feminized cannabis seeds from reputable seed banks have been bred to not display hermaphroditic characteristics under optimal growing conditions. If you’re looking for a sure thing, carefully consider your cannabis seed source.
Alternative Methods to Feminizing Weed Plants
If you are going to do the feminization of marijuana seeds yourself, then there are methods that you can use namely:
- Colloidal Silver
- Silver Thiosulfate Solution
Each of these methods should be successful, if used in the right way to produce female marijuana plants. Let’s quickly look at each method briefly.
Pollinating Cannabis Plants
One of the simplest ways to produce feminized cannabis seed is to pollinate your plants yourself. Some cannabis strains can produce male flowers when the colas have reached late ripeness. Side note: Ed Rosenthal, master grower and proud member of the CTU faculty, prefers to harvest plants around this time. Harvest the pollen by using a clean and small painting brush to transfer the pollen into a metal or glass container or in small amounts directly on the flowers.
Some outdoor-friendly cannabis strains may become stressed when grown in indoor environments, which can increase the chance of producing hermaphrodite flowers. Indoor growing environments can stress plants with fluctuating light cycles and heat. Stress training techniques are difficult to pull off, even for experienced cannabis growers. If you do happen to spot a hermaphrodite with pollen, collect the pollen and save it for later use when you feel comfortable using it.
Using Chemicals To Feminize Seeds
Large-scale and home growers have harnessed the power of certain chemicals that can induce male flowers in female marijuana plants. These chemicals are used to hinder ethylene production. Ethylene is a plant hormone that helps cannabis plants ripen and produce female flowers. When ethylene production is stalled, female flowers aren’t produced. Keep in mind, these chemicals must be directly applied to each branch that you want male flowers to grow.
The Silver Thiosulfate Method
The Silver Thiosulfate Solution, also known as STS, is one of the most common methods of generating female marijuana seeds. It is very effective in allowing female marijuana seeds to be available to marijuana growers. Using this method will feminize the seeds in the best way possible, making more available on the market for growers. The solution is made of a combined silver nitrate and sodium thiosulfate. The solution result is a hormonal response to stress found in the marijuana plant. Because of this, gender change is triggered.
You can do all of this yourself, but the marijuana plants have to be wisely chosen. You should only take female plants from a single cannabis strain that is almost mature. Then you would separate the plant from the bunch and spray the plant with STS. Allow it to dry and then replace it, making sure it sits alongside the other plants in the bunch.
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What Are Feminized Cannabis Seeds?
This article is sponsored by Kannabia Seed Company, an award-winning cannabis seed company headquartered in Spain. Using only the highest quality genetics on the market, their grower-oriented approach has made cannabis cultivation simple and satisfying for growers of all skill levels for years.
Anyone who’s ever savored a joint owes their enjoyment to the fruits of the cannabis plant, but moreover, to the female of the species. That’s because only female cannabis plants produce the cannabinoid-rich flowers that deliver the flavors and effects consumers look for.
This is why many North American growers are turning to feminized seeds—cannabis seeds that carry only female genetics, and can be relied on to produce only female plants. By creatively applying technologies to seed feminization, modern breeders like Kannabia can ensure female genetics in seeds with a nearly 100% success rate.
Male vs. Female Cannabis Plants
A bud of Diesel Glue grown from Kannabia’s feminized seeds. (Courtesy of Kannabia)
Cannabis plants that are pollinated naturally or with traditional breeding techniques can produce both male or female seeds. These are known as regular seeds and, as in most species, they occur with about an even split between the two sexes. That means cannabis cultivators starting with standard seeds have about a 50% chance of yielding a female plant from each one.
As a result, growing cannabis from regular seeds isn’t very efficient—it’s akin to running a bakery that has to throw out every second loaf of bread. Growers working from regular seeds have to account for the fact that roughly half of their plants could be males. While those plants are of some value to breeders, folks growing for flower won’t find much to like in them, and too many male plants can spoil a grow.
Traditionally, the solution to this has been an inelegant one, with many cultivators planting at least twice as many seeds as they hope to harvest with the assumption that about half of them will be useless. However big a harvest you’re looking for, using regular seeds means you’ll have to plant twice that many seeds.
Why Grow From Feminized Cannabis Seeds?
Cultivators depend on feminized seeds for efficient growing cycles. (Courtesy of Mr. Sticky Farm)
There are numerous advantages for growers who start their garden using feminized seeds. By removing the guesswork of germinating regular seeds, feminized seeds streamline the growing process, saving space and time.
That efficiency is key for medical cannabis patients and hobby growers. Since most cannabis regulations limit plant counts, growers cultivating a small crop of cannabis for personal use want to ensure they’re getting the most out of their grow.
Male plants don’t just take up space in a garden, either. They can also sap time and resources from growers. When male and female plants are both present, growers need to cultivate both until their sexes are clear. While some strains will show early signs of their sex before flowering begins, most cannabis plants don’t begin to express their sex until they start to mature past the vegetative stage.
This change occurs when the photoperiod, or amount of light and dark that the plant receives, changes to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark. In outdoor gardens this change can happen naturally with the seasons or, in more controlled environments like indoor gardens, by human intervention using light timers.
Once those plants are old enough, growers have to go to the trouble of actually determining their sex, monitoring each individual plant to ensure any males are removed before they can pollinate their female counterparts.
Growers can avoid spending weeks nurturing plants with only a 50% chance of expressing as female and maximize the space and plant count in their gardens by using feminized seeds from suppliers like Kannabia. These specially-treated seeds increase the probability of producing a female plant to 99%.
How Are Cannabis Seeds Feminized?
Treating cannabis seeds with a silver thiosulphate solution can ensure the resulting plants are females. (Courtesy of Kannabia)
There are a few techniques that can produce reliably feminized seeds. One classic method is stressing out a healthy female plant by interrupting its light cycle during flowering. While that works to an extent, the more common and controlled method is to spray down female plants with a collodial silver or silver thiosulphate solution. This method makes it possible to control the sex of a plant without any genetic tinkering or modification.
Both substances are a blend of water and fine silver particles, and they work in largely the same fashion. The silver solution impedes the production of ethylene, a hormone involved in flowering. The result is a female plant, but one that produces male flowers with pollen sacs. Since those pollen sacs develop on a plant with only female genetics, female genetics are all they carry. When those flowers pollinate another female plant (one untreated by silver solutions), the resulting seeds are nearly certain to be female.
Treating plants with a silver thiosulphate solution results in seeds that will produce feminized plants nearly 100% of the time, and Kannabia’s breeders have found this method to be the most effective way to maintain the stability of the seeds and future feminized plants.
Feminized Varieties to Try in Your Garden
Using feminized seeds can make it easier for home growers to cultivate strains like Russian Doll. (Courtesy of Kannabia)
Growing cannabis in your home is legal in an increasing number of states and provinces throughout the United States and Canada. To make starting a home garden easy, growers can start with feminized seeds for many popular strains from providers like Kannabia.
“In our search to find new genetics, Kannabia paired us with their feminized Russian Doll seeds,” say growers at Canada’s BlueSky Organics. “Every seed germinated, and now that we are in the late vegetative stage, these plants have an extremely hardy trunk preparing themselves for some massive buds.”
If you have more questions about strains or seeds, keep digging through Leafly’s resources. And to learn more about the variety of feminized seeds available to you, visit Kannabia’s website to see its full line of feminized genetics, including strains like Diesel Glue and the award-winning Mataro Blue.
Promotions are offered solely by Kannabia Seed Company. Terms and conditions may apply—contact Kannabia for full details.