Cultivators depend on feminized seeds for efficient growing cycles. (Courtesy of Mr. Sticky Farm)
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%.
Why Grow From Feminized Cannabis Seeds?
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.
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.
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.
Thus a real revolution in the cultivation of cannabis seeds began. Today, we find several seed companies on the market that offer a wide range of feminized seeds in their catalogs. And, in some cases, there are companies that sell exclusively this type of product. The reason for this commercial strategy is quite obvious: most cannabis growers are not interested in hybridization and their only goal is to produce large quantities of top quality marijuana. This means that the ultimate goal is to grow only female cannabis plants. Buying feminized cannabis seeds avoids wasting time and being overwhelmed by frustration (there is nothing worse than growing numerous cannabis plants for several weeks and then discovering that half of them are male when the target initial was to get only female plants). When introduced to the market, the feminized seeds initially showed a rather poor quality, receiving heavy criticism from the public (given the high percentage of hermaphrodite Cannabis plants that developed from these seeds).
This is what feminized seeds look like
Feminized seeds and the methods
In the current cannabis seed market, it is possible to buy both regular and feminized seeds. But, what’s the difference? Beginners could purchase seeds without understanding the real difference. Further, we explain the main characteristics of each of them and how they can influence cultivation. This is done in order to evaluate which are the most suitable cannabis plants for your needs. Regular seeds are completely pure and natural and produce both female and male cannabis plants. Feminized seeds are seeds obtained from Cannabis plants treated with special agronomic techniques. In this case, the plants produced from these seeds will express only the female sex. The first seed company to introduce feminized seeds to the market was “Dutch Passion” in 1998.
Both of these seeds have their own qualities that make them unique.
For most growers, feminized seeds are the ideal choice when buying a variety of cannabis: they produce excellent quality grass without the risk of running into some male plants. When a professional cannabis grower wants to produce his own seeds and create his own hybrids he needs to work with plants that show both male and female sex. This is necessary in order to pollinate female flowers with male pollen, thus obtaining new genetic crosses and new seeds. This is one of the main reasons why regular seeds continue to be grown.
Whether you’re growing indoors or outdoors, the timing, as always, depends on the strain. Some varieties, like indicas, grow relatively fast, with short flowering periods of 6–7 weeks. Other strains, such as Hazes, take double the time to flower.
When growing indoors, manually adjusting your light/dark schedule is necessary. Growers will usually do this when plants have reached an appropriate height (about ½ of the desired final height). Simply enough, this is because plants will often stretch early on in their flowering phase, so they need room to grow appropriately.
If you are shopping for cannabis seeds, you may come across all sorts of odd phrases and expressions. You may read about feminized cannabis seeds, photoperiod plants, autoflowers, males, females, hybrids, hermaphrodites, and much more. If you’re just starting out with growing weed, there’s no doubt all this can seem quite confusing.
INDOORS VS OUTDOORS
There is another, often unmentioned subspecies to consider called Cannabis ruderalis. Ruderalis strains are “weed-like” and grow wild in northern regions like Siberia. What’s interesting, though, is that ruderalis is naturally autoflowering. As a result, breeders can use ruderalis genetics to make autoflowering varieties of classic photoperiod strains.
In the past, it was believed that cannabis’ effects were contingent on what family a strain belongs to—whether it is more indica or sativa. Indicas were thought to produce a heavy “stoned” feeling while sativas were said to produce an energising high better suited for the day. Recently, however, evidence is mounting that the effect of a given strain has more to do with the terpene profile of a strain—not the subspecies it belongs to.
To initiate flowering of feminized cannabis indoors, the grower will switch the lights to a 12/12 schedule. The longer dark period will simulate autumn conditions and trigger the plants to start flowering.
There are a few distinct types, or subspecies, of cannabis. The two major categories are sativa and indica, but there are also hybrid and ruderalis strains to consider.