Let’s discuss what feminized cannabis seeds are, detail their benefits, and give you tips on how you can grow feminized cannabis indoors and outdoors. Feminized marijuana seeds can streamline the growing process and ensure that cannabis cultivators get the most out of their hard work. Read all about the process here. Feminized marijuana seeds are produced in a way to make sure all the resulting plants are female (since only female marijuana plants make buds).
Everything You Need To Know About Feminized Cannabis Seeds
If you are shopping for cannabis seeds, you may come across all sorts of odd phrases and expressions. You may read about feminized cannabis seeds, photoperiod plants, autoflowers, males, females, hybrids, hermaphrodites, and much more. If you’re just starting out with growing weed, there’s no doubt all this can seem quite confusing.
But don’t fret! These concepts may seem intimidating, but they’re perfectly understandable once you get an explanation. While we want to explain everything at once, we’ll go one at a time, focusing on feminized seeds for today.
WHAT ARE FEMINIZED SEEDS?
Until not too long ago, if one was growing cannabis from seed, there was always a 50% chance each plant would be male. However, only female plants grow buds rich in cannabinoids such as THC and CBD.
Male plants produce seed pods, and, if they stick around long enough, they’ll pollinate the female plants and dramatically reduce their yields. Because of that, those growing regular seeds had to identify the sex of their plants as soon as possible in order to cull the males.
Then, the creation of feminized cannabis seeds in the 1990s revolutionised cannabis cultivation. Feminized cannabis seeds are genetically engineered to only become female plants, and they almost always (99.9%) do so. Eliminating the game of chance, this advancement made growing cannabis much easier, as well as more economical.
Feminized seeds tend to be designed to produce photoperiod plants. Photoperiod cannabis blooms depending on the daylight/darkness hours. Out in nature, cannabis starts to flower at the end of summer when the days get shorter. Indoors, photoperiod cannabis is kept in the vegetative phase until the grower is ready to induce bloom by reducing light hours.
FEMINIZED CANNABIS SEEDS AT A GLANCE
• High amount of cannabinoids compared to male cannabis. Strains are often bred for maximum potency and aroma.
• Seeds are 99.9% feminized, so plants will almost always develop into females.
• No need to check sex of plants, and no need to discard male plants.
• Feminized strains are usually photoperiod strains, meaning they’re light cycle-dependent.
At Royal Queen Seeds, all feminized seeds are labelled and categorised as such, so you won’t get confused when making a purchase.
WHO USES FEMINIZED STRAINS AND WHY?
High-quality feminized seeds on the market today most often produce plants rich in THC. As the main psychotropic component in cannabis, all types of cannabis users enjoy the cannabinoid for the powerful high it initiates.
• Recreational users enjoy the stoning, relaxing, euphoric, or uplifting high induced by feminized strains. Given the vast variety of options out there, users can find some chill time in the evening or enjoy an energetic daytime buzz, depending on what they’re after. Also, since many strains feature different ratios of cannabinoids, terpenes, and sativa/indica genetics, you can experiment with different feminized strains to find a sweet spot in terms of effect.
• Those who use cannabis for holistic purposes also choose feminized strains for their pronounced effect. They may find that the THC lifts their mood and helps them wind down in tense situations, or simply takes the edge off whatever symptom they’re dealing with. Users also report that THC helps them achieve a good night’s sleep, along with other benefits.
SATIVA, INDICA, HYBRID, AND RUDERALIS STRAINS
There are a few distinct types, or subspecies, of cannabis. The two major categories are sativa and indica, but there are also hybrid and ruderalis strains to consider.
In the past, it was believed that cannabis’ effects were contingent on what family a strain belongs to—whether it is more indica or sativa. Indicas were thought to produce a heavy “stoned” feeling while sativas were said to produce an energising high better suited for the day. Recently, however, evidence is mounting that the effect of a given strain has more to do with the terpene profile of a strain—not the subspecies it belongs to.
Spoken differently, some indicas can have an uplifting effect and some sativas can be relaxing, meaning things are not as straightforward as once believed. To find out about the particular effects of a strain, it’s recommended to read strain descriptions before making a purchase.
Where there are more distinct differences between the subspecies, however, is in their growth and morphology:
• Indicas grow short and bushy, with wide leaves. They’re often quite robust, and grow in many environments.
• Sativas grow taller, slimmer, and with thin, elongated leaves. These sun-loving plants usually do best in a hot climate. The flowering time is usually longer compared to indicas.
Most cannabis strains these days aren’t pure indicas or sativas. Rather, they are hybrids combining indica and sativa characteristics, and thus their growing characteristics vary.
There is another, often unmentioned subspecies to consider called Cannabis ruderalis. Ruderalis strains are “weed-like” and grow wild in northern regions like Siberia. What’s interesting, though, is that ruderalis is naturally autoflowering. As a result, breeders can use ruderalis genetics to make autoflowering varieties of classic photoperiod strains.
Many cannabis strains require at least 60–70 days to mature their buds, with some taking even longer. For growers in regions with short summers and rainy autumns, this can be problematic. If plants need to be kept outside late into October, the buds are bound to get wet and mouldy.
Fast-flowering strains have been bred to help with this issue. They can be ready to harvest after a short 6–7 weeks of bloom, meaning cultivators can bring them in during mid/late-September with little risk of rain destroying their harvest.
Most of the time, fast-flowering strains are bred by crossing a photoperiod strain with a ruderalis/autoflowering one. However, fast-flowering strains are different from autoflowering strains, the latter of which blooms based on age instead of light cycle.
THE IMPORTANCE OF TERPENES IN CANNABIS
As mentioned, recent research suggests that the specific effects of cannabis are not just due to cannabinoids, but are likely also influenced by aromatic compounds known as terpenes. More research in this area is needed, but it would explain why some strains, despite having identical THC:CBD ratios, have different effects.
What is known, though, is that terpenes (limonene, myrcene, pinene, etc.) give cannabis strains their distinct taste and aroma. They’re why one cannabis strain will smell fruity when another smells citrusy, floral, sour, or woody.
HOW TO GROW FEMINIZED SEEDS
We’ve already mentioned how feminized seeds are easier to grow than regular seeds. That might be enough for you to let your guard down, but don’t be so care-free. As with male photoperiod plants, growing feminized cannabis comes with specific challenges, too.
INDOORS VS OUTDOORS
When growing indoors, manually adjusting your light/dark schedule is necessary. Growers will usually do this when plants have reached an appropriate height (about ½ of the desired final height). Simply enough, this is because plants will often stretch early on in their flowering phase, so they need room to grow appropriately.
To initiate flowering of feminized cannabis indoors, the grower will switch the lights to a 12/12 schedule. The longer dark period will simulate autumn conditions and trigger the plants to start flowering.
Outdoors, planting your feminized cannabis in an optimal climate and during the right season is pivotal. Why? Because sunlight hours change depending on the season, and your plants need a specific schedule to thrive. To satisfy this need, you will usually want to plant them in spring (when there’s no frost) and harvest in fall.
HOW MUCH TIME DO I NEED TO GROW FEMINIZED CANNABIS?
Whether you’re growing indoors or outdoors, the timing, as always, depends on the strain. Some varieties, like indicas, grow relatively fast, with short flowering periods of 6–7 weeks. Other strains, such as Hazes, take double the time to flower.
If you want to harvest in the quickest time possible, plant fast-flowering varieties or feminized autoflowers. Some of these are ready only 60 days after germination.
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.
What Are “Feminized” Cannabis Seeds?
Feminized cannabis seeds are produced in a way to make sure that all the resulting plants are female (since only female cannabis plants make buds).
“Regular” (or non-feminized) seeds will produce about half male, and half female plants.
Having male plants can be an asset to a breeding program, but having to watch over and throw away half the plants can be a waste of time and space for growers who just want to grow their own supply of bud!
By starting your grow with feminized cannabis seeds from a reputable breeder, you can stop worrying about plant gender altogether, and know that every single one of your plants is going to be female and make buds!
Seed Supreme is a trustworthy source of feminized cannabis seeds (it’s the company I use for seeds)
Pros of Feminized Seeds
- All plants end up producing buds
- Less wasted space on plants that need to be thrown away
- Don’t need to watch plants closely to make sure you remove males
- No chance of pollination without pollen sacs, so no seedy buds
Cons of Feminized Seeds
- In order to build a robust breeding program and create new strains, you should start with regular seeds so you have both male and female plants
- It’s possible to buy feminized seeds from bad breeders which turn into problematic hermies (mixed sex plants) or even just end up being half male plants like regular seeds. That’s why it’s important to order seeds from a trustworthy breeder!
Since I started growing cannabis nearly a decade ago, I’ve only grown with feminized seeds! I’ve never had a single plant that didn’t grow buds!
Non-Feminized Seeds Produce Half Male, Half Female Plants
(learn more more about cannabis plant sex)
Feminized Seeds Only Produce Female Plants
How Do Breeders Make Feminized Seeds?
The way breeders create feminized seeds is they breed two female cannabis plants together, which means that all the resulting offspring will be female. This is done by spraying developing flowers with a substance that changes flower development (often colloidal silver or gibberellic acid). This process is used to force one of the female plants to start producing pollen sacs just like a male plant.
By harvesting the pollen sacs and using the “female” pollen to pollinate buds of a different female plant, you are giving the resulting seeds only female genes (there is no “father”), so none of the seedlings end up being male.