Everything You Need to Know About Feminized Cannabis Seeds
When it comes to cannabis plants, females are the only sex that can produce buds. Feminized cannabis seeds grow plants that are exclusively female and can almost guarantee that every plant that sprouts from their shells will flower. Normally, a male cannabis plant will pollinate a female plant, and that is how seeds are produced. The resulting harvest of regular cannabis seeds will contain about half male and half female seeds. For the flower producer , this is a costly inefficiency. Roughly half of an entire grow can be tossed at harvest time if the seeds are not feminized.
Why Should You Feminize Your Seeds?
Imagine putting in the work to nurture a small 6 plant garden to find that only 3 of the plants you’ve cultivated produce buds because they’re male. If this sounds like a disappointing waste of time to you, you should feminize your seeds. Unless you are hanging on to male plants in order to develop a robust breeding program, male cannabis plants waste space and resources. Using feminized cannabis seeds removes the risk of unwanted pollination causing seedy buds or the possibility of growing flowerless male plants.
A common fear about feminized cannabis seeds is that they will produce hermaphrodites. If you purchase your seeds from a reputable seller, this fear is misplaced. Early feminizers would purposefully use female plants that were genetically likely to become intersexual. Of course, this meant that those genes were passed down to the seeds. Today, chemicals are applied to the plant without compromising the genetics of the seeds.
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How to Feminize Cannabis Seeds
There are two ways to feminize seeds: naturally or by applying chemical substances that force a female plant to pollinate.
In nature, a severely distressed female cannabis plant will naturally become a hermaphrodite and produce pollen sacs in order to self-pollinate. This is a survival mechanism built into all female plants, but it is only triggered when the future of the plant’s lineage is compromised. Consequently, many of the resulting seeds will be naturally selected to be intersexual, and that can make for a disastrous breeding situation. A hermaphrodite can pollinate with female plants that are meant to be harvested, causing the buds to stop developing and to produce seeds.
The other reason to avoid feminizing plants the natural way is that it increases the likelihood of producing weak strains. When a female plant has been so compromised that it resorts to a sex change in order to survive, it is an indication that the plant’s genes are not strong enough to withstand the threats posed to it by its environment.
Applying colloidal silver to a female plant is the preferred method of feminizing cannabis plants. These chemicals cause the plant to develop pollen sacs without compromising the lineages’ genes.
Here’s how you can do it at home:
- Choose two female plants. Make sure that each plant has strong genes. One plant will be chemically treated to grow male sex organs while the other will be pollinated.
- Buy colloidal silver solution that has a minimum of 30 parts per million (PPM) of silver. You should be able to purchase colloidal silver anywhere that dietary supplements are sold.
- Spray the colloidal silver solution. On each day of the first 3 to 4 weeks of the plant’s flowering stage, directly apply the colloidal silver onto the plant’s bud sites until they are drenched. You can stop once you see that the pollen sacs have appeared and are beginning to open. Do not smoke the buds that form on this plant because they may have been coated with the colloidal silver.
- Collect the pollen. You will know that the pollen sacs are ready to be harvested when they are swollen and begin to split open. Simply remove the pollen sacs from the plant and let them air dry for about a week. Once they are dry, you can shake the sacs in a bag to gather the feminized pollen.
- Pollinate the second plant. Use the pollen you gathered to pollinate the other female plant (that plant should be about 2 to 3 weeks into its flowering stage).
- Harvest seeds in about six weeks. Once the calyxes on the pollinated plant are swollen and showing seeds, it is time to collect them. This takes about 6 weeks.
Cons to Feminizing
As mentioned before, old school feminizers used intersex-prone females to produce feminized seeds. Although there are better methods today, some growers continue to use this one. If you’re purchasing feminized cannabis seeds, be cautious about who you get them from. Find out how the breeder feminizes their seeds to avoid purchasing seeds that are likely to grow hermaphrodites. Even if they don’t become intersexual, there is a risk that a significant portion of the seeds will be male. You can avoid this risk altogether by feminizing the seeds yourself. We’ll explain how to do that below.
The second con to feminizing seeds only applies if you are working toward developing a breeding program. In order to grow a variety of strains, you need both male and female plants. Since male plants do not produce buds themselves, it is impossible to know what kind of genetics they can pass on without breeding them with other female plants. If you are interested in developing a specific trait profile, you should breed with several male plants until you find the desired results.
Everything You Need to Know About Feminized Cannabis Seeds was last modified: May 25th, 2021 by Dianna Benjamin
Feminized seeds, what are they, and how are they made?
What’s the deal with feminized seeds? Why are they so expensive and what exactly does feminized mean? Feminized cannabis seeds are genetically modified seeds and will produce only female plants. There is quite a bit of science behind how feminized seeds are made. Making feminized seeds isn’t something the average person does. It is a long process that is time-consuming. If your buddy says he’s created some in his basement and has them up for sale for half the price of your local seed bank, I’m not entirely sure I’d risk buying any. The process of making feminized seeds is generally done in a lab in a strictly controlled environment but can be recreated by a careful and patient grower.
How are feminized seeds made?
Usually, a cannabis seed offers a 50/50 chance of producing either a male or female. This is something biologically programmed into the DNA of the plant to ensure the highest odds of reproducing and of course, overall survival. Much like with humans, the gender is determined by the X and Y chromosomes. A plant with one of each chromosome will 99% of the time produces a male. A cannabis plant with two X chromosomes with hasa 99% chance of being female. To create feminized seeds, a treatment of colloidal silver is sprayed on the plants during the flowering stage. This process is used to transform female plants into hermaphrodites (a plant that is both male and female). It forces them to grow seed sacs full of female pollen instead of bud. Those sacs can then be collected and used to pollinate other female plants. Since this process makes two females the mothers, the plant will produce seeds that will only carry X chromosomes. This ensures a 99% success rate of female only plants. While in nature this process does on occasion happen it is incredibly rare, and when it does those plants will also almost always produce more seed that will create hermaphrodites, than seed that is strictly female.
What to look for when buying feminized seeds?
When ultimately deciding where you want to purchase your seeds it is important to look for a few things. Well established trusted seed companies will generally offer a warranty for their seeds. With the high cost that is often associated with feminized seeds it is important to view your purchase as an investment, and when able it is best to go with the highest quality possible to ensure the best results. You will usually get the best deal when purchasing in bulk. There are other things to consider, like the offered variety of strains, the THC and CBD content available, and of course the cost. Sometimes it is best to go local, so the shipping doesn’t kill you. Other times, you will find the most variety over the border in which case it might be worth a little extra.
Trusted feminized seed vendors
Finding trusted seed vendors can be more difficult than it sounds. Even the sketchiest companies will plaster “trusted” across their site like a badge of honor, but that doesn’t necessarily make their statement true. To help, we have compiled a list of the highest rated top three seed vendors that ship to Canada and carry a wide range of feminized seeds that are sure to impress.
Marijuana Cultivation/Producing Seeds
Sooner or later every grower is going to want to produce marijuana seeds. Developing a new stable strain is beyond the scope of this discussion and requires the ability to grow hundreds or even thousands of breeding plants. However, just about any grower can manage to preserve some genetics by growing f2 seeds where they have crossed a male and female of the same strain, or can produce a simple cross which would be referred to as strain1xstrain2 for instance white widow crossed with ak-47 would be referred to as a WW x AK-47. You can produce some excellent seed and excellent marijuana this way.
To Feminise or not to Feminise Edit
There are numerous myths surrounding feminized seeds. Feminizing seeds are a bit more work than simply crossing two plants naturally. However it will save you a lot of time in the end. If you make fem seeds properly then there is no increased chance of hermaphrodites and all seeds will be female. This means no wasted time and effort growing males and it means that all your viable seeds produce useful plants. Since roughly half of normal seeds are male this effectively doubles the number of seeds you have.
Feminized seeds are bred to contain no male chromosomes, which will be able to produce the crop of resinous buds sought by most growers. For gardeners who require a quick and easy cultivation process, feminized seeds are the ideal choice. Some medicinal cannabis users may be deterred from growing their own supply because of the perceived difficulty of growing or of identifying the different genders and removing males early in the blooming period. Feminized seed-strains offer a simple solution to these issues, as there is no need to spend time in the first weeks of flowering checking for male plants.
Other times you will have no choice but to produce feminized seed because it will be a female plants genetics that you want to preserve and you won’t have any males. Perhaps you received these genetics via clone or didn’t keep males.
The new thing on the market for commercial Cannabis cultivation are auto-flowering feminized strains. By crossing of the cannabis ruderalis with Sativa and Indica strains many cultivators have created interesting hybrids which boast benefits from both sides of these families.
The first ‘auto-flowering cannabis seed’ which came on the market a few years ago was the Lowryder #1. This was a hybrid between a Cannabis ruderalis, a William’s Wonder and a Northern Lights #2. This strain was marketed by ‘The Joint Doctor’ and was honestly speaking not very impressive. The genetics of the ruderalis was still highly present which caused for a very low yield and little psychoactive effect. Not very attractive.
Auto-flowering cannabis and the easily distributed seed have opened a whole new market in the world of the online grow-shop, making it easy for home growers with shortage of space to grow rewarding cannabis plants in many different varieties. To grow plants indoors, a growing medium (e.g. soil or growing Potting soil, irrigation (water), fertilizer (nutrients), light and atmosphere need to be supplied to the plant.
Auto-flowers have been rising in popularity fast and there are now auto flower growers communities. These Web properties allow users to get information on how to grow these non photo-sensitive plants and what are the best practices when producing and germinating auto-flower seeds.
Selecting Suitable Parents Edit
There are a number of important characteristics when selecting parents. First are you making fem seeds? If you are then both parents will be female. This makes things easier. If not then the best you can do is select a male with characteristics in common with the females you hope to achieve from the seed.
Obviously potency, yield, and psychoactive effects are critical to the selection process. But some other important traits are size, odor, taste, resistance to mold and contaminants, early finishing and consistency.
Collecting and Storing Pollen Edit
In order to collect pollen you simply put down newspaper around the base of the plant. The pollen will fall from the plant onto the newspaper. You can then put this newspaper into a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator or freeze it. Pollen will keep for a few months in the refrigerator and can be used on the next crop. Filtering the pollen through a silkscreen, drying, and freezing can extend viability for decades. At least one reader indicates success using pollen treated in this manner and stored at -30 c for 17 years. The chance of viability does decrease with time, even in the freezer, so the more fresh the pollen the better. Wrapping the pollen in a layer of aluminum foil and then a layer of plastic should help to protect it from freezer burn. Additionally, oxygen evacuation such as with a heavy gas like nitrogen or vacuum sealing should provide additional assurance of preservation.
Pollinating a Plant Edit
To pollinate a plant you can brush the pollen on a flower with a cotton swab or you can take the plastic bag, then wrap the flower inside it and shake, trapping the pollen inside for easier transportation. In this way you can selectively pollinate plants and even individual buds and branches.
Male Isolation Edit
A male plant or a plant with male flowers will pollinate your entire crop rendering it seedy. You probably don’t want THAT many seeds so how can you avoid it? Moving the male to another room might work but if that other room shares an air path via ducting or air conditioning then pollen may still find its way. One technique is to construct a male isolation chamber.
A male isolation chamber is simply a transparent container such as a large plastic storage tub turned on its side (available at your local megamart). Get a good sized PC fan that can be powered with pretty much any 12v wall adapter, by splicing together the + (yellow or red on fan, usually dotted on power adapter) and the – wires (black on fan, usually dotted power adapter) just twist with the like wire on the other device and then seal up the connection with electric tape. Then take a filtrate filter and cut out squares that fit the back of the pc fan so that the fan pulls (rather than pushes) air through the filter. Tape several layers of filter to the back of the pc fan so all the air goes through the filter. Now cut a large hole in the top of the plastic container and mount the pc fan over top of it so it pulls air out the box. You can use silicon sealant, latex, whatever you’ve got that gives a good tight seal.
This can be used as is, or you can cut a small intake in the bottom to improve airflow. Pollen won’t be able to escape the intake as long as the fan is moving but you might put filter paper over the intake to protect against fan failures. You can also use grommets to seal holes and run tubing into the chamber in order to water hydroponically from a reservoir outside the chamber. Otherwise you will need to remove the whole chamber to a safe location in order to water the plant or maintain a reservoir kept inside the chamber.
Making Feminized Seed Edit
To make feminized seed you must induce male flowers in a female plant. There is all sorts of information on the Internet about doing this with light stress (light interruptions during flowering) and other forms of stress. The best of the stress techniques is to simply keep the plant in the flowering stage well past ripeness and it will produce a flower (with seed).
Stress techniques will work but whatever genetic weakness caused the plants to produce a male flower under stress will be carried on to the seeds. This means the resulting seeds have a known tendency to produce hermaphrodites. Fortunately, environmental stress is not the only way to produce male flowers in a female plant.
The ideal way to produce feminized seed through hormonal alteration of the plant. By adding or inhibiting plant hormones you can cause the plant to produce male flowers. Because you did not select a plant that produces male flowers under stress there is no genetic predisposition to hermaphroditism in the seed vs plants bred between a male and female parent. There are actually a few ways to do this, the easiest I will list here.
Colloidal Silver (CS) Edit
This is the least expensive and most privacy conscious way to produce fem seed. CS has gotten a bad name because there is so much bad information spread around about its production and concentrations. It doesn’t help that there are those who believe in drinking low concentration colloidal silver for good health and there is information mixed in about how to produce that low concentration food grade product. Follow the information here and you will consistently produce effective CS and know how to apply it to get consistent results.
Simply construct a generator using a 9-12 v power supply (DC output, if it says AC then its no good) that can deliver at least 250ma (most wall wart type power supplies work, batteries are not recommended since their output varies over time). The supply will have a positive and negative lead, attach silver to each lead (contrary to Internet rumors, you aren’t drinking this so cheap 925(92.5%) Stirling silver is more than pure enough. You can expose the leads by clipping off the round plug at the end and splitting the wires, one will be positive and the other negative just like any old battery. Submerge both leads about 2-3 inches apart in a glass of distilled water (roughly 8 oz). Let this run for 8-24 hrs (until the liquid reads 12-15 ppm) and when you return the liquid will be a purple or silver hue and there may be some precipitate on the bottom.
This liquid is called colloidal silver. It is nothing more or less than fine particles of silver suspended in water so it is a completely natural solution. It is safe to handle without any special precautions. [ citation needed ] The silver inhibits female flowering hormones in cannabis and so the result is that male flowering hormone dominates and male flowers are produced.
To use the silver, spray on a plant or branch three days prior to switching the lights to 12/12 and continue spraying every three days until you see the first male flowers. Repeated applications after the first flowers appear may result in more male flowers and therefore more pollen. As the plant matures it will produce pollen that can be collected and used to pollinate any female flower (including flowers on the same plant).
Silver Thiosulfate (STS) Edit
Silver Thiosulfate is a substance that has similar principle, application and results of CS, but is more difficult to make. STS is more difficult to acquire, but it can still be obtained directly from a chemical supply company. STS is not an expensive or controlled substance.
Gibberellic Acid (GA3) Edit
This is probably the most popular way to produce feminized seed, but at the same time the least effective. GA3 is a plant hormone that also causes the plant to stretch uncontrollably. It can be purchased readily in powdered form, a quick search reveals numerous sources on e-bay for as little as $15. Simply add to water to reach 100ppm concentration and spray the plant daily for 10 days during flowering and male flowers will be produced.