For most growers, feminized seeds are the ideal choice when buying a variety of cannabis: they produce excellent quality grass without the risk of running into some male plants. When a professional cannabis grower wants to produce his own seeds and create his own hybrids he needs to work with plants that show both male and female sex. This is necessary in order to pollinate female flowers with male pollen, thus obtaining new genetic crosses and new seeds. This is one of the main reasons why regular seeds continue to be grown.
However, over the years, the seeds and the methods used for their production have reached very high levels, becoming a real art. The quality of the feminized marijuana seeds that you find on the market today is extremely high and the chances of a hermaphrodite plant developing are almost zero. When feminized seeds were introduced to the European market in 1998, a real revolution began which inevitably led to a lack of interest in regular seeds. Today, over 95% of the European cannabis seed market is occupied by feminized seeds. In the United States, however, regular seeds continue to have an important market, still managing to cover a large part of the sector.
In the current cannabis seed market, it is possible to buy both regular and feminized seeds. But, what’s the difference? Beginners could purchase seeds without understanding the real difference. Further, we explain the main characteristics of each of them and how they can influence cultivation. This is done in order to evaluate which are the most suitable cannabis plants for your needs. Regular seeds are completely pure and natural and produce both female and male cannabis plants. Feminized seeds are seeds obtained from Cannabis plants treated with special agronomic techniques. In this case, the plants produced from these seeds will express only the female sex. The first seed company to introduce feminized seeds to the market was “Dutch Passion” in 1998.
Feminized seeds and the methods
This is what feminized seeds look like
Both of these seeds have their own qualities that make them unique.
Thus a real revolution in the cultivation of cannabis seeds began. Today, we find several seed companies on the market that offer a wide range of feminized seeds in their catalogs. And, in some cases, there are companies that sell exclusively this type of product. The reason for this commercial strategy is quite obvious: most cannabis growers are not interested in hybridization and their only goal is to produce large quantities of top quality marijuana. This means that the ultimate goal is to grow only female cannabis plants. Buying feminized cannabis seeds avoids wasting time and being overwhelmed by frustration (there is nothing worse than growing numerous cannabis plants for several weeks and then discovering that half of them are male when the target initial was to get only female plants). When introduced to the market, the feminized seeds initially showed a rather poor quality, receiving heavy criticism from the public (given the high percentage of hermaphrodite Cannabis plants that developed from these seeds).
In a sense, one could say that this growing market interest in feminized seeds could become very dangerous for cannabis communities, turning cannabis growers away from experimentation and dissuading newcomers to create new and interesting varieties. In fact, if we consider a seed company specializing exclusively in the sale of feminized seeds, a grower will never have the opportunity to exploit those particular genetics to create new hybrids. Fortunately, there are still some companies out there that are interested in maintaining this market, where normal growers are allowed to experiment with hybridizing cannabis through regular seeds. Most recommend the use of the seeds, especially for beginner growers.
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.
A bud of Diesel Glue grown from Kannabia’s feminized seeds. (Courtesy of Kannabia)
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.
How Are Cannabis Seeds Feminized?
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.
Using feminized seeds can make it easier for home growers to cultivate strains like Russian Doll. (Courtesy of 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.”
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.
Feminized cannabis seeds are important to cannabis cultivation because only female plants produce consumable flowers.
Before you plant the first seed, you’ll need to make some decisions:
More about feminized cannabis seeds
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, feminized seeds:
While feminized seeds generally grow only female plants, there is no 100% guarantee whether you buy feminized seeds or create them yourself. 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, remove the plant before it accidentally pollinates and ruins your female plants.
Feminized seeds are bred to produce only female plants, as opposed to regular seeds that have a 50% chance of producing male plants.