How to Feminize Seeds
It’s important to learn how to feminize seeds so you can save time on your grow. When the traditional fertilization methods are used to grow your marijuana plants, you have less control over the gender of future marijuana plants.
That is why many marijuana growers take extra steps so you receive female marijuana plants at the time of harvesting. To do it yourself, feminize seeds prior to your harvest.
What are Feminized Cannabis Seeds?
Feminized cannabis seeds produce only cannabinoid- and trichome-rich flower buds on female cannabis plants. Cannabinoids and terpenes are responsible for the potency, aroma, and flavor of cannabis.
A crop that uses high-quality feminized seeds will produce a female-only crop without the presence of male plants, which can pollinate your crop and potentially reduce your yield.
Another type of seed, a regular seed, is a result of natural pollination and breeding male and female seeds together. Cannabis growers working with regular seeds have a 50% chance of either yielding a female or male marijuana plant. Growing from regular seeds isn’t the best option if you’re looking to strictly grow cannabis buds. While male plants serve their specific purpose to pollinate females, they don’t produce the trichome covered flowers that female plants do.
How Are Feminized Seeds Made?
Feminized cannabis seeds serve a major purpose for commercial and home growers. Feminized seeds can be made by inducing a regular female cannabis plant to grow male sex organs that contain pollen. The hermaphroditic pollen will contain only the female X chromosome and no male Y chromosomes.
When used to pollinate a female cannabis plant, the seeds produced between the two plants will inherit two X chromosomes meaning that all subsequent seeds will be feminized.
The Benefits of Growing Feminized Seeds
Growing feminized cannabis seeds has many benefits over regular seeds. For one, growers don’t have to hedge their bets hoping that the regular seeds will produce female plants. Instead of planting more regular strains than needed to get lucky and get enough females for your specific purpose, you can stick with a sure bet using feminized strains. Using feminized seeds can speed up the growing process by eliminating the need to watch out for male plants, saving you time and space.
Male plants run the risk of pollinating female plants causing them to develop hermaphroditic structures and, ultimately, lower your plants’ yield compared to a grow without male plants. Weeding out the male plants, however, takes time and energy. Male plants display their sexual organs when the photoperiod changes naturally or when indoor lighting environments change.
Growers that don’t want to spend the time monitoring the plant every day can use feminized seeds to ensure that their garden will grow flower buds. Otherwise, growers will have to keep their eyes peeled for male plants and remove them from the grow immediately.
Male vs Female Marijuana Plants
Generally speaking, there is no way that you can determine the difference between male and female marijuana seeds in the initial stages of planting. In addition, you are also not able to change the gender of your marijuana deeds. The concept of having feminized marijuana seeds is to maximize the female seeds that will be part of your marijuana crop. Why would you want female marijuana plants? Well, these are known to have a higher level of THC content. Male plants have reduced THC content and for that reason, female plants take precedence over male plants. With cannabis seed feminization, there are several pollination techniques that the marijuana grower can use for a favorable outcome.
Buying the Right Cannabis Seeds
Female marijuana seeds are sold by various companies. So, you don’t have to wait to get your own. You can use the ones available to you and by doing so, you will be sure that your outcome is a female marijuana plant with more THC content. Be careful when buying marijuana seeds from companies online. Make sure this is a reputable company known for selling and delivering the right female marijuana seeds.
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Some “feminized” seeds may produce hermaphrodite plants if the seeds are of low quality. High-quality feminized cannabis seeds from reputable seed banks have been bred to not display hermaphroditic characteristics under optimal growing conditions. If you’re looking for a sure thing, carefully consider your cannabis seed source.
Alternative Methods to Feminizing Weed Plants
If you are going to do the feminization of marijuana seeds yourself, then there are methods that you can use namely:
- Colloidal Silver
- Silver Thiosulfate Solution
Each of these methods should be successful, if used in the right way to produce female marijuana plants. Let’s quickly look at each method briefly.
Pollinating Cannabis Plants
One of the simplest ways to produce feminized cannabis seed is to pollinate your plants yourself. Some cannabis strains can produce male flowers when the colas have reached late ripeness. Side note: Ed Rosenthal, master grower and proud member of the CTU faculty, prefers to harvest plants around this time. Harvest the pollen by using a clean and small painting brush to transfer the pollen into a metal or glass container or in small amounts directly on the flowers.
Some outdoor-friendly cannabis strains may become stressed when grown in indoor environments, which can increase the chance of producing hermaphrodite flowers. Indoor growing environments can stress plants with fluctuating light cycles and heat. Stress training techniques are difficult to pull off, even for experienced cannabis growers. If you do happen to spot a hermaphrodite with pollen, collect the pollen and save it for later use when you feel comfortable using it.
Using Chemicals To Feminize Seeds
Large-scale and home growers have harnessed the power of certain chemicals that can induce male flowers in female marijuana plants. These chemicals are used to hinder ethylene production. Ethylene is a plant hormone that helps cannabis plants ripen and produce female flowers. When ethylene production is stalled, female flowers aren’t produced. Keep in mind, these chemicals must be directly applied to each branch that you want male flowers to grow.
The Silver Thiosulfate Method
The Silver Thiosulfate Solution, also known as STS, is one of the most common methods of generating female marijuana seeds. It is very effective in allowing female marijuana seeds to be available to marijuana growers. Using this method will feminize the seeds in the best way possible, making more available on the market for growers. The solution is made of a combined silver nitrate and sodium thiosulfate. The solution result is a hormonal response to stress found in the marijuana plant. Because of this, gender change is triggered.
You can do all of this yourself, but the marijuana plants have to be wisely chosen. You should only take female plants from a single cannabis strain that is almost mature. Then you would separate the plant from the bunch and spray the plant with STS. Allow it to dry and then replace it, making sure it sits alongside the other plants in the bunch.
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3 Best Ways to Feminize Cannabis Seeds
Most people are already aware that cannabis buds we use today come only from female plants.
Male plants pollinate female plants, which produce seeds upon pollination.
Just like children, some seeds end up being female and some male. That’s just how nature works.
A male plant can pollinate a whole room of female plants. Even if there were 50 plants in that area, all the male plant requires is a bit of wind, and each female plant will end up being fertilized.
Getting only feminized cannabis seeds is not an impossible task, you just have to work around the rules set up by nature.
Why are seeds feminized?
Cannabis growers need seeds that are guaranteed to grow into female plants, in order to avoid pollination of the entire crop.
No one wants seeds in their weed and because of this issue we require feminized seeds.
When you’re certain that all your seeds are feminized, you can grow big crops knowing that your plants are safe from pollination by a male plant.
Breeders and seed producers also want feminized seeds for business purposes, as they’re in very high demand in places where growing weed is legal.
As cannabis becomes legal in more places throughout the world, feminized seeds are the first small-time thing new growers will start looking for.
Reliably producing female plants is of great value in this industry, because only female plants produce flowers with medicinal value.
How to feminize seeds?
When breeding cannabis, growers will intentionally pollinate their females in order to get certain traits in the offspring.
How to Start Your Own Marijuana Seeds Breeding Program?
However, sometimes the breeder isn’t looking to cross two strains in hopes of getting a specific trait.
Once the breeder stabilizes a certain trait, he’ll look to mass produce the offspring with precisely those traits. He may do so by feminizing seeds that the “mother plant” produces.
In the wild and without any human tampering, cannabis plants produce mostly female seeds when they “perceive” that they’re approaching the end of their lifetime.
Feminization is essentially a process of pushing the plant to produce as many female seeds as possible, by making it “think” that it’s approaching its last days.
In order to survive and spread its genetic material as much as possible, plants will mostly make female seeds, and a very small percentage of male seeds, because a small number of males plants can pollinate a colossal number of female plants.
This is why the process of pressuring the plant to produce female seeds en-masse is called feminization.
There are several ways to perform seed feminization. Each one is different, although they all boil down to the same thing — getting female seeds.
Some methods are more efficient than others, which is why they are preferred by numerous producers and growers.
Feminizing seeds with colloidal silver
Colloidal silver is a substance made from microscopic particles of silver, which are suspended in liquid. Particles of silver are less than 100nm (nanometers) in size, and completely invisible to the naked eye.
You can get bottled colloidal silver on Amazon, or you can make it yourself, which is also relatively simple.
If you’re going to use it only a few times don’t bother making it, just order a couple of bottles.
Colloidal silver works by inhibiting female flowering hormones in cannabis. The result of this is that the male hormones dominate, and thus male flowers are produced.
By doing so, you turn your healthy female plants into males. Afterwards, you use the pollen that came off that plant to pollinate the other plants.
After you pollinate the other female plants, they will produce feminized seeds. This technique is reliant and yields female seeds in huge numbers.
Cannabis is known to yield hundreds (sometimes even thousands) of seeds after being pollinated. The colloidal silver method guarantees that you consistently get feminized seeds.
Here’s how to use it:
Spray colloidal silver on the branches every three days prior to switching the lights to 12/12 and continue spraying it until you start seeing first male flowers.
The more you use it, the more pollen sacks you will get. As the plant matures it will produce pollen that should be collected and used to pollinate other female flowers.
Collect the new seeds and plant them to get the next generation of the same plant.
Feminizing with Gibberellic acid
Feminizing with Gibberellic acid is even easier than with colloidal silver.
Gibberellic acid can also be bought in stores, and it’s mostly available in powder-form.
Gibberellic acid isn’t expensive at all, you can order it online or buy an entire box for as low as $15 bucks.
Mix the gibberellic acid with water so it reaches around 100 ppm (parts per million, the instructions on the packaging will let you know what’s what), and spray that water/acid mix on the plant once a day, for 10 consecutive days during the flowering phase, and male flowers will be produced.
After that apply the pollen from the “gibberellic acid” male flowers on other healthy female plants.
Those plants will yield feminized seeds after being pollinated.
Feminizing with the rodelization method
The rodelization method is by far the slowest, the least efficient, and the least guaranteed to work out of these 3 methods.
Rodelization entails not harvesting flowers after they’ve bloomed, but rather forcing the plant to turn male, in order to preserve itself.
After the plant has flowered, you need to leave it like that for another few weeks. The plant will then stress itself and grow a couple male flowers, in an attempt to pollinate itself once more.
If your plant succeeds, you’ll need to wait an additional few weeks to get decent seeds that are ready for sowing. Keep in mind that this method is not as reliable as the other two, and yields a smaller number of seeds.
This is “nature’s way of feminizing seeds”, although like everything else with nature, it takes a lot of time. A lot more time compared to the gibberellic acid and colloidal silver.
All these factors make rodelization the most natural, but for growers by far the worst possible feminization method.