Feminised Cannabis Seeds
The creation and evolution of Feminized cannabis seeds have been one of the defining moments in the expansion of the cannabis market over the last few decades.
Before feminized seeds were introduced to the market, regular seeds were the norm. These were typically made up of 50% male and 50% female seeds. This was often a source of frustration for growers who were forced to double the number of seedlings in order to ensure a satisfactory number of female plants for future cultivation.
The creation of feminized cannabis seeds meant that the inconvenience of male plants, particularly their size, was no longer a concern.
Today. Feminized seeds are bred in a way that enables them to develop and flower as female plants only. Their breeding process eliminates virtually all male chromosomes; the probability of female plants growing is 99.9%.
Wild cannabis plants are typically hermaphrodites, meaning they carry the physical traits of both sexes. This is done as an emergency response to the lack of either sex in a certain crop and also allows for self-pollination. This dioecious trait has been bred-out of most contemporary, commercialized plants, in order to manipulate the cultivation process and save time by removing the need to sex plants. Good quality feminized strains on the commercial market are all but resistant to becoming hermaphrodites, particularly if grown in proper conditions.
Because male plants can fertilise many females, the popularity of feminized seeds continues to significantly aid the future preservation of cannabis strains for generations to come.
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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.
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.