What is feminized cannabis?
There's a whole lot of terminology surrounding cannabis, and it can be pretty confusing. "Feminized" is one of the most common, and most important, terms to know. The creation of female-only cannabis seeds changed the weed-growing game forever, and for beginner growers, they're a must! Discover why they're so great, and how they're made.
Growing weed is a very rewarding process. But it can be made incredibly frustrating when half of your plants turn out to be male, which then go on to pollinate the females and ruin your harvest. So how can you ensure a great crop of unpollinated bud? By using feminized seeds.
The days when you had to accept seeds in your bud, or had to painstakingly keep an eye on each plant, ready to dispatch the males as soon as their pollen sacs first appeared, are long gone. Read on to gain an understanding of why feminized seeds are so popular, and how they’re made.
What Are Feminized Cannabis Seeds?
Feminized cannabis seeds are, as the name suggests, seeds that have been altered to (almost) guarantee exclusively female plants. Only around 1 in every 1,000 feminized seeds will produce a male plant. Why would you want feminized seeds, you ask? Because it is only the female plant that produces the THC and CBD-rich buds we know and love.
Male cannabis plants, on the other hand, produce pollen sacs, which, while not containing many cannabinoids themselves, threaten to reduce the yields of female plants if they pollinate them. A pollinated female plant will focus her energy on growing seeds, not dank buds. Feminized cannabis plants, however, will not produce any seeds (unless intentionally pollinated by the grower).
Regular seeds, which have a more-or-less equal chance of producing male or female cannabis plants, are useful for those who want to breed their own strains. For the average grower, though, the threat of pollination is merely a hindrance.
Feminized cannabis seeds may be photoperiod or autoflowering. Likewise, regular cannabis seeds may be photoperiod or autoflowering. The difference lies in the sex of the plant, not in their response to the light cycle.
Can Feminized Seeds Turn Hermie?
Yes, they can. However, unless subjected to extreme stress, female plants are unlikely to become hermaphrodites. Hermaphroditism in cannabis is an incredible adaptation whereby, in response to stress or inhospitable environments, plants develop both male and female sex organs so they can pollinate themselves, thus continuing the species.
Why Should You Grow Feminized Cannabis Seeds?
Unless you intend to breed your very own strains of cannabis, feminized seeds are definitely the way to go. For novice growers, they are an absolute must.
There are two main benefits to using feminized seeds over regular seeds.
No Risk of Pollination
As mentioned, pollinated female plants will produce significantly smaller and less potent yields than unpollinated females. The reason the flowers continue to swell on unpollinated plants is that the bigger the flower’s surface area, the greater chance it has of catching hold of pollen drifting by on the breeze.
Those little orange hairs that cover the buds are actually the female sex organs. Called pistils, or stigmata, they catch the pollen from the male plants.
Once pollinated, a female plant no longer has any need to grow her flowers, and will instead commit her energy and resources to producing seeds in order to create the next generation of cannabis plants.
Wonderful? Yes. But not if you want a bumper crop of high grade.
A Full Crop of THC-Rich Bud!
If you grow from regular seeds, chances are around half of them will turn out to be male plants. Not only do these threaten the yields of your female plants, but they are in themselves basically useless for your purposes. So if you intend to grow 10 cannabis plants, but only 5 are females, you end up wasting seeds, time, and resources.
However, if you grow feminized seeds, and you set out to grow 10 plants, you will indeed find yourself with 10 females.
How Are Feminized Seeds Created?
What kind of dark arts do breeders employ to ensure the seeds turn out feminized? There are two techniques that are used. One uses ionic colloidal silver, and the other is known as rodelization. Though not recommended for beginners, these processes can technically be achieved in a home grow.
Using colloidal silver is a fascinating process. Often, clones are used for this method, though this is not essential.
To carry out the feminization process, a foliar spray of 20ppm or greater of colloidal silver is administered on female plants for 18–20 days in a row. The silver ion solution inhibits ethylene production, which is necessary for plants to produce flowers. As they cannot produce flowers, these female plants then produce male pollen sacs. And as the females have no male chromosomes, the pollen produced is 100% feminized.
Rodelization is a natural, chemical-free method of creating feminized seeds, but it's much less effective than colloidal silver.
This method deliberately causes female plants to become hermaphrodites and pollinate themselves. Sometimes, as with colloidal silver, they will produce fully feminized seeds.
However, there are two main drawbacks to this method. Hermaphrodite pollen is less potent, and so pollination can be less effective. Second, the seeds produced have a higher chance of becoming hermaphrodites themselves compared to normal cannabis seeds.
Also, breeding generation after generation of hermaphrodite plants can ingrain bad genetic traits. It is, literally, the plant inbreeding with itself.
Top 3 Feminized Cannabis Strains for Beginners
Most strains are available as feminized seeds, so there are literally thousands to choose from. However, for both beginners and advanced growers, this can be as daunting as it is exciting. So here are three standout feminized strains to get you started.
Sherbet Queen is a hybrid of Pink Panties and Sunset Sherbet. A wonderful plant with sky-high levels of THC and great effects to match, it tastes amazing too. The flavours are tart and fruity, and more than a little moreish. The aroma is likely to bring in enthusiastic smokers from miles around, so prepare to share!
At 85% indica and 15% sativa, you can expect a heavy, relaxed stone from this plant. Nonetheless, the small portion of sativa genetics contributes a heady, cerebral high that makes it a little more interesting than just a deep body stone. With 24% THC, go steady, as it’s capable of flooring all but the most hardened of smokers.
In terms of yield, if grown indoors, you can aim to achieve a maximum haul of 450–525g/m². Outdoors, you can expect a staggering 500g/plant! Flowering should take a brief 7–9 weeks indoors, whereas it should be complete sometime in October outdoors.
Lovers of purple buds and Kush strains look no further! Purple Queen is a 100% indica strain bred from Kush genetics, and she’ll produce delicious purple-pink flowers; a delight for your eyes and your mind.
Purple Queen delivers you to a place of full-body relaxation—a classic stone. Not only this, but Kush strains are renowned for their copious resin production, making this a perfect candidate for hash or concentrates.
After 8 weeks of flowering indoors, or during late September outdoors, you can expect a mighty haul of 450–500g/m² and 700g/plant, respectively. Given the fast flowering time, growers in cooler climates can still achieve a hefty harvest without risking heavy rain and subsequent bud rot.
If you’re after a cerebral buzz, Purple Queen may not be for you. If, however, you want a deep, full stone that inspires a dreamy, hungry state, don’t wait another minute.
Naming a cannabis plant LSD means it has a lot to live up to. Fortunately, she won’t disappoint. This 80% indica, bred from Original Skunk #1 and a genuine Afghan indica, delivers a nearly psychedelic journey.
Expect elevating and mind-altering effects from this plant. Alongside “psychedelic”, “euphoric” is another word that aptly describes LSD. If you like a smoke that sends you places, this is the one for you!
Not only are the effects incredible, but LSD is easy to grow and productive to boot. Thanks to her wild Afghan indica roots, she can adapt to many environments and flourishes without fuss. Growing short and bushy, expect a harvest of around 500–600g/m² indoors, and commensurately larger outdoors. She takes about 9 weeks to flower after being put under a 12/12 light cycle. Outdoors, she’ll be ready in mid-October. Thanks to her genetics, she should cope well in cooler climates.
Grow Your Own Feminized Cannabis Plants
If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re just embarking on your cannabis growing journey—the most exciting stage! Given that, it is highly recommended that you begin with feminized seeds. Created by some of the best breeders around, you can reap the rewards of their hard work while you hone your growing skills.
After all, for most people, tending to their crop and harvesting the (hopefully abundant) fruits of their labour is what it’s all about. And feminized seeds are the best way to achieve this.