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.
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.
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- What are feminized seeds?
- How to get feminized seeds
- How are marijuana seeds feminized?
- What is the difference between autoflowering and feminized seeds?
- Are feminized seeds guaranteed to be female?
- Do feminized seeds produce seeds?
- Are regular seeds better than feminized?
Feminized seeds are bred to produce only female plants once they are planted, as opposed to regular seeds that have a 50% chance of producing male plants.
Feminized seeds can produce resinous buds after the flowering stage.
Feminized cannabis seeds are bred to contain no male chromosome.
What are feminized seeds?
Chances are good that you’ve heard someone mention the term feminized seeds, meaning a cannabis seed designed to produce only female plants. Feminized cannabis seeds are important in the world of cannabis cultivation because only female plants produce consumable flowers.
Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Beyond the fact that male cannabis plants produce pollen sacs instead of flowers, having males plants around female plants can ruin an entire harvest. That’s because male plants pollinate the buds of young female plants. When that happens, the flowers will be full of seeds, making them of a much lower consumption quality.
Breeders and growers developed feminized cannabis seeds to address these potential challenges. By increasing the likelihood that all your seeds will produce only female plants you eliminate the possibility of getting a male plant that won’t produce flowers and of having a male plant accidentally pollinate flower-bearing female plants.
How to get feminized seeds
Feminized cannabis seeds are very mainstream. It is easy to purchase them anywhere you can buy marijuana seeds. In general, you can buy feminized seeds online from seed banks around the world. And if you live in a place where home growing is legal, you should be able to purchase feminized seeds at most dispensaries. You can also feminize seeds on your own but to get the best feminized seeds, it’s a good idea to buy them from a reputable breeder or seed bank.
How are marijuana seeds feminized?
Feminized cannabis seeds are created through a process of genetic manipulation. Essentially, the idea is to induce female plants to make pollen. Normally, only male plants produce pollen, but if you can somehow make a female plant produce pollen, then what you’ve got is pollen containing only female chromosomes. There are a few ways to make this happen:
- Spray a female plant with colloidal silver while it grows and transitions into the flowering phase. This chemical promotes the growth of pollen sacs, and because this pollen comes from a female plant it carries female chromosomes. After the plant starts producing pollen, use it to pollinate the flowers on a regular female cannabis plant. These pollinated flowers will produce feminized seeds.
- In a process very similar to the colloidal silver method, spray a young female cannabis plant with silver thiosulfate. This chemical suppresses the production of ethylene, which is necessary to the flowering process. By feeding your female plant silver thiosulfate, you encourage the plant to produce pollen, which can be used to pollinate other female plants and produce feminized cannabis seeds.
- The third main method is known as “rodelization.” This is an all-natural technique, although it does not produce as consistent outcomes as the colloidal silver or silver thiosulfate methods. Rodelization takes advantage of a natural process in which an unpollinated female plant will sometimes organically sprout its own pollen sacs. Think of it as the plant’s last-ditch effort to reproduce. In this method, you force a female plant to remain in the flowering phase for so long that the plant’s self-pollination mechanism kicks in. When this happens, you can use the pollen created by the female plant to pollinate the flowers on a regular female plant, which will then produce feminized seeds.
What is the difference between autoflowering and feminized seeds?
Autoflowering seeds have been bred to move into the flowering phase without needing changes in light to activate the production of flowers. Feminized seeds don’t have anything to do with triggering the flowering phase. Instead, feminized cannabis seeds have been bred to grow only female plants.
Are feminized seeds guaranteed to be female?
While feminized seeds generally grow only female plants, there is no 100%guarantee. Every once in a while, a feminized seed will still grow up to become a male plant. For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your plants as they mature. If you ever see pollen sacs starting to form, you’ve got a male plant and you should eliminate it before it accidentally pollinates and ruins your female plants.
Do feminized seeds produce seeds?
Theoretically, plants sprouted from feminized seeds should not produce seeds. They should grow into female plants only, and female plants produce buds instead of seeds. Cannabis plants make seeds when the flowers of a female plant are pollinated with the pollen from a male plant. In the absence of male plants, there should be no pollen and therefore no seed production.
Are regular seeds better than feminized?
Growing cannabis is all about your goals and preferences. There is no inherent reason why regular female marijuana seeds would be considered “better” than feminized seeds. With that said, there are a number of potential benefits to using feminized seeds:
- Maximize yields by reducing the chance of producing an unusable male plant.
- Decrease the risk that a male plant will accidentally pollinate your female plants.
- Simplify the growing process by making it much less likely that you’ll have to deal with an unexpected male plant.
In many ways, feminized seeds can be a good option for new growers, as it eliminates some guesswork and reduces the pressure to quickly and accurately identify and eradicate unwanted male plants. However, there are no guarantees and new growers should still do their homework and know how to spot a male cannabis plant.
Seeds that are bred to produce only female plants once they are planted, as opposed to regular seeds that have a 50% chance of producing male plants.