When looking for genetics on Strainly, you might have noticed the filter “Gender”. You can pick either Regular or Feminized seeds. But what actually is a feminized seed? How are they made? This is what we’ll cover in the below article…
Cannabis plants reproduce when a male plant releases pollen which will fertilize female plants’ flowers (or buds). When pollination occurs naturally, the female plant will produce seeds that are going to give both male and female plants with a probability of 50-50.
This means that growers starting from regular seeds have 50% chance of growing a female plant. While male plants are useful if you intend to start a breeding program and make your own seeds, most growers want to produce buds (not seeds!). Therefore, having male plants is often seen as a waste of time and energy.
The purpose of feminized cannabis seeds is to make sure that all the cultivated plants are females.
By propagating feminized seeds, you don’t have to worry about sexing your plants and can be confident that all the plants you’re growing will produce flowers.
How’s that possible?
Breeders create feminized seeds by breeding female plants together or self-breeding a female plant. But how can a female plant pollinate itself or even another female plant?
Self-pollination can happen naturally when a female plant is exposed to extreme stress. A very stressful situation will put the female plant in survival mode and cause it to “herm”, meaning to grow pollen sacks in order to pollinate its own flowers.
Under controlled conditions, breeders induce self-pollination by spraying colloidal silver or gibberellic acid onto the flowers. The stress caused by these compounds will force the female plant to grow pollen sacks the same way male plants do. The plant will self-pollinate its own flowers with its own pollen. The resulting seeds will produce female plants with an above 99% probability.
Alternatively, breeders can also harvest such “female pollen” to pollinate other buds on one or several female plants. This is how breeders create feminized hybrids.
Should I grow feminized seeds?
You may be wondering “are these perfect seeds? or is it too good to be true?”.
The obvious advantage for growers is that they are guaranteed to harvest buds from all germinated seeds. No more wasted time, space, nutrients and energy on male plants!
With feminized seeds you don’t need to watch your plants several times a day during the first weeks of flowering. No more hidden male pollinating your female plants and no more seedy buds!
Feminized seeds are inappropriate if you intend to breed seeds yourself, since you won’t be getting any male plant.
You need to make sure to procure such seeds from an experienced breeder or you risk growing hermaphrodite plants (that are both male and female at the same time), which will produce seedy buds. Not cool!
In conclusion, feminized seeds are increasingly popular due to the convenience they offer. For beginners, they remove a source of uncertainty and improve yield predictability simply because of the predictable number of female plants that will reach maturity.
For growers who have limited space and cannot (or do not) want to start from clones, feminized seeds are a great option. They are pest-free propagation material of 100% female plants.
While feminized seeds are sometimes a source of frustration for breeders wanting to work with a line, they are a very convenient choice for the majority of growers. Some breeders specializing in feminized seeds ensures a certain level of quality and stability.
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