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 Does Feminized Seeds Mean?
When you wonder what does feminised seeds mean, the key is in the sex!
Feminized seeds are the “easiest” seeds to grow after the Auto-flowering varieties. Feminized seeds mean that they are treated to make them female (hence the name feminized) so that all the seeds can be used to get flowers. Breeders usually sell feminized seeds for their strains because they are easier to grow and are too unstable to reproduce, although some people use plants from feminized seeds to get cuttings, it is advisable that they use females from Regular seeds. It is recommendable to start growing with Feminized seeds, this will mean that the final plant won’t have any undesirable surprises like seeds reducing potency since there are no male plants.
You might find our FAQ Submission What Are Regular Cannabis Seeds? useful
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.