Do Feminized Seeds Produce Feminized Seeds?
Do Feminized Seeds Produce Feminized Seeds? — In the cannabis world, female plants get all the attention, and for a good reason. Only female cannabis plants can produce flowers that are rich in cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. In contrast, male plants produce pollen sacs, which are not ideal for smoking and do not contain high cannabinoid levels. Male plants may also pollinate female flowers, significantly reducing their cannabinoid content and filling them with unsmokable seeds. Given these considerations, most cannabis growers remove males from their gardens or choose only to grow feminized seeds. This ensures that growers will produce sinsemilla (premium seedless) cannabis buds.
Growers and breeders who are unfamiliar with feminized seeds may wonder if these all-female seeds are useful for breeding. One common question is whether or not plants grown from feminized seeds will produce offspring that are also feminized. This article describes what feminized seeds are, how breeders develop them, and whether or not they can produce feminized seeds.
Different Types of Cannabis Seeds
Inexperienced growers may be overwhelmed by the many types of cannabis seeds available on the market today. Although regular seeds, feminized seeds, and autoflowering seeds are all cannabis seeds, each has its own unique characteristics. So, what are the major differences among these types of seeds?
When male and female cannabis plants reproduce naturally, they create so-called regular seeds. Until recently, regular cannabis seeds were the most common type of seeds sold by most US seed banks. To be clear, regular seeds produce both male and female offspring at an average rate of about 50/50.
Regular seeds usually produce photoperiod plants, although some autoflowering varieties are also available. Photoperiod plants begin flowering in response to changes in the light cycle. Indoor growers typically switch from 18 to 24 hours of light during the vegetative growth period to only 12 hours of light (and 12 hours of total darkness) during the flowering period. The reduction in light triggers the blooming of these photoperiod plants by signaling the changing of the seasons. Photoperiod plants that grow outdoors begin flowering in late summer, when the days start to become shorter. However, seasonal changes in light do not limit indoor growers.
Importantly, regular seeds are beneficial for breeding purposes. Breeders can create their own seeds by using male plants to pollinate females. Hundreds of strains are available in regular seed form, including Indica, Sativa, and Ruderalis varieties. Growers can find regular seeds that are high in THC, high in CBD or a healthy mixture of both of these cannabinoids.
In recent years, autoflowering seeds have become increasingly popular among growers. Unlike photoperiod plants, autoflowering plants begin blooming without a shift in the light cycle. Instead, these plants start flowering after a certain amount of time has passed.
Autoflowering seeds are the product of Ruderalis plants or hybrids that contain Ruderalis genes. Ruderalis plants evolved in Central Asia and Eastern Europe’s cold climates, where the growing season is much shorter than in other regions. This subspecies of cannabis adapted to the shortened growing season by flowering without respect to the shifting light cycle.
Indoor growers are fond of autoflowering seeds because they are produce small plants that flower quickly and are easy to grow. Autoflowering strains are available in both regular and feminized forms and are usually high in CBD (although high-THC autoflowering strains are also available).
In the past two decades, feminized seeds have become widely popular and are now the most common type of seeds sold by most US seed banks. Feminized seeds grow under the same conditions as regular seeds, using the same nutrients and light cycles. However, unlike regular cannabis seeds, feminized seeds produce all-female plants. In fact, 99.9 percent of feminized seeds are female. This assures growers that male plants will not pollinate their crops.
Like regular seeds, feminized seeds usually produce photoperiod-dependent plants, though some autoflowering seeds are also feminized. Today, growers can choose from a wide array of feminized seeds, including Indica, Sativa, Ruderalis, and hybrid strains.
The History of Feminized Seeds
Feminized seeds are not unique to the cannabis industry. For many years, farmers used them in various conventional agricultural settings before being adapted for cannabis seed production.
Cannabis growers began experimenting with feminized seeds in the late 1980s, and breeders began selling them in the late 1990s. Initially, however, feminized seeds proved to be expensive and unreliable. Poor breeding practices led to the production of unstable plants that were prone to hermaphroditism. Consequently, most growers and breeders were skeptical of feminized seeds.
Fortunately, feminization techniques improved throughout the early 2000s. As such, breeders were able to create stable and reliable seeds that were 99.9 percent female. The cost of feminized seed dropped as more efficient feminization techniques developed. Today, feminized seeds are widely popular among growers and breeders.
How Are Feminized Seeds Produced?
There are several methods for creating feminized seeds. However, some methods are more effective than others. Most of these techniques involve causing hormonal changes in female cannabis plants, thereby triggering them to develop pollen sacs. The pollen produced by female plants contains only X chromosomes because Y chromosomes are only in male plants. Below are the most common methods of creating feminized seeds today. After discussing different feminization techniques, we’ll address the question: “Do Feminized Seeds Produce Feminized Seeds?”
Rodelization, the oldest technique for producing feminized seeds, can be done naturally, without human intervention. This method relies on the fact that some phenotypes of female cannabis plants may develop pollen sacs late in the flowering cycle or when exposed to environmental stresses. When these sacs pollinate female plants, feminized seeds develop.
Unfortunately, this method did create some problems. One of which was that many breeders were unwittingly working with plants that were prone to hermaphroditism. As a result, many of the early feminized seeds on the market were sexually unstable. Breeders have since have learned to avoid this problem by selecting plants that do not develop pollen sacs easily.
Silver Thiosulfate Method
Another way to create feminized seeds is by spraying female plants with a silver thiosulfate solution early in the flowering cycle. This solution inhibits ethylene production in female plants, which causes a hormonal shift that triggers the plants to produce pollen sacs. The STS method is highly effective and can cause plants to form pollen sacs with just a few applications.
This method is also advantageous because it can force highly stable plants to produce pollen. Because these plants are not prone to hermaphroditism, their offspring will also be highly stable. Because STS tends to make sexually stable feminized seeds, this method is used by many breeders today.
Gibberellic Acid Method
Another way to create stable and reliable feminized seeds is with gibberellic acid, which can induce hormonal changes. Breeders spray the female plants with a GA3 solution early in the flowering cycle, forcing them to produce pollen sacs.
This method is less effective than using STS because, in some cases, breeders find that they must apply the solution as many as ten times before the plants begin developing pollen sacs.
Colloidal Silver Method
The most common method of creating feminized seeds involves the use of colloidal silver. The solution is affordable and easy to find in most grocery stores. Moreover, growers can make colloidal silver at home. Like the other chemical methods, this involves spraying the plants—in this case, with a solution of colloidal silver—until they begin to form pollen sacs. The silver particles block ethylene production in the plants, causing a hormonal shift that triggers pollen sacs formation.
This method is not as effective as the STS method because it requires a greater number of applications. It usually takes 10 to 18 applications of colloidal silver before pollen sacs start to form. Because of this delay, breeders may choose to begin spraying the plants with colloidal silver late in the vegetative cycle rather than early in the flowering cycle, giving them enough time to produce fully mature seeds by the end of flowering.
It is important to point out that plants sprayed with STS, GA3, or colloidal silver should not be smoked or consumed in any manner. Growers should only use these plants for seed production because the chemical solutions can be hazardous to human health. However, plants grown from feminized seeds are safe to consume as long as these solutions have not touched them.
Do Feminized Seeds Produce Feminized Seeds?
Breeders unfamiliar with feminized seeds may wonder “Do Feminized Seeds Produce Feminized Seeds?” The answer is an ambiguous “yes and no.” Feminized cannabis plants are essentially the same as female plants grown from regular seeds. Feminized plants may produce regular, feminized, and autoflowering seeds, depending on what breeding method the grower uses.
Breeders can create regular seeds by using a male to pollinate a feminized plant. Roughly 50 percent of the offspring will be male, and roughly 50 percent will be female. Feminized plants can produce feminized seeds by applying a chemical solution or the use of rodelization to form pollen sacs. All of the resulting offspring will be female. Finally, growers can pollinate a feminized autoflowering plant with another autoflowering plant to create autoflowering seeds.
To produce sexually stable feminized seeds, breeders should “stress test” their plants before using them for breeding. Stress testing involves exposing the plants to environmental stresses to determine how readily the plants can produce pollen sacs. Plants that readily turn male are not ideal for breeding, as they likely will produce sexually unstable offspring. However, plants that seldom turn male (or turn male with notable difficulty) are ideal for producing feminized seeds. Importantly, their offspring will usually not be prone to hermaphroditism.
Growers can stress test plants in a variety of ways. For example, they can provide an inconsistent light cycle, grow the plants in cramped containers, use excessive amounts of nitrogen fertilizer, provide inconsistent water, or let the plants continue to flower after fully mature. Using one or a combination of these techniques probably will cause the sexually unstable plants to reveal their hermaphroditic tendencies.
Advantages of Feminized Seeds
Feminized seeds offer many benefits for growers and breeders. Using feminized seeds ensures that 99.9 percent of the plants grown will be female. This eliminates the need to monitor plants and promptly separate males and females. It also makes it easy for growers to keep their plant counts low—they know that almost every seed they sprout will produce female buds.
For breeders, feminized seeds help to create stable inbred lines quickly. Developing an inbred line from regular seeds can take many generations and years of selective breeding. Breeders who use regular seeds also find it challenging to determine which traits a male plant will pass to its offspring, as the male plant does not produce buds.
By “selfing” a specific female phenotype, breeders can create stable inbred lines in just a few generations. Selfing consists of using a female plant to pollinate itself or to pollinate a clone of itself. The resulting offspring will closely resemble the mother plant. Selfing is also an effective way for breeders to preserve clone-only or feminized strains.
Who Should Buy Feminized Seeds?
Because feminized plants require the same light cycles, nutrients, and growing environment as regular plants, they are an excellent choice for growers and breeders of any skill level. Inexperienced growers can benefit from not identifying and separating male plants, and breeders can benefit from the ease of finding female plants to breed.
Before buying seeds or attempting to grow or breed plants, it is advisable to check local, county, and state laws to ensure compliance.
Where to Buy Feminized Seeds
Purchasing feminized seeds from a reputable US seed bank is essential for a successful harvest. This ensures that the plants have been adequately stress tested and bred to produce viable and sexually stable seeds. Greenpoint Seeds offers the USA’s most diverse and reliable selection of high-quality feminized seeds.
Final Thoughts About Feminized Seeds
Feminized seeds are a useful tool for growers of any skill level. They make the growing process easy by eliminating the need to identify and remove male plants. Moreover, female seeds ensure a bountiful harvest of pure sinsemilla flowers.
Feminized plants also are an excellent tool for breeders. They can produce regular, feminized, or autoflowering seeds, depending on how breeders develop them. Feminization allows breeders to quickly develop stable inbred lines and preserve rare, clone-only varieties.
At Greenpoint Seeds, we offer a wide variety of premium feminized and regular seeds. Some of our most popular feminized varieties include top-tier hybrids such as Purple Cake, Gorilla Punch, and Periwinkle Pie. Contact us today to learn more about feminized seeds, and check out our full selection of feminized cannabis seeds.
Have you tried any of our feminized cannabis seeds? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below.
Breeders unfamiliar with feminized seeds may wonder "Do Feminized Seeds Produce Feminized Seeds?" The answer is an ambiguous "yes and no."
10 Most Interesting Facts About Feminized Cannabis Seeds
Feminized cannabis seeds are taken for granted by some growers, but they are still a source of confusion for others, especially for beginners! Here are 10 interesting facts about these feminized cannabis seeds to share with your friends.
Anybody who has ever used cannabis owes their delight to the female aspect of the plant. This is because female cannabis plants contain greater concentrations of the much-loved cannabinoid, THC. For this reason, growers separate male and female cannabis plants to protect the females from pollination. Feminized seeds remove the need for this kind of “sorting”, as plants are basically guaranteed to be female.
- Creating feminized versions of plant seeds did not originate with cannabis, but was a technique used in agriculture for many years before being successfully adapted for cannabis in the 1980s.
- There are several different methods of creating feminized cannabis seeds, but they all rely on stressing a female plant until it becomes hermaphroditic and produces pollen, which is then used to fertilize another female plant.
- When feminized cannabis seeds were first released, there were concerns from some growers that the plants they produced would be unstable hermaphrodites. These fears proved mostly groundless, and as feminization techniques continue to improve, this problem now rarely occurs.
- Feminized cannabis seeds produce feminized, not female, plants, according to the proper scientific definitions. However they are still sometimes referred to as ‘female seeds’. As all the plants they produce should grow and flower like females, it is easy to see how the two names are used interchangeably.
- When feminized cannabis seeds were first introduced for sale, they were more expensive – sometimes much more so – than regular cannabis seeds. Fortunately, nowadays there are many different varieties of good quality, very affordable feminized cannabis seeds available, giving growers a wide range of choice for their money.
- Feminized cannabis seeds grow under the same conditions as regular cannabis seeds and require no special additional nutrients, techniques or equipment.
- The storage conditions required for feminized cannabis seeds are exactly the same as those for regular seeds. They should be kept perfectly dry, at a temperature of between 5 and 7 degrees Celsius, and in the dark. The door of a refrigerator is usually an ideal place.
- Feminized cannabis seeds have advantages for pretty much all growers, but especially for people growing their own medicinal cannabis as they may have less time and energy to spend checking for and weeding out male plants when they begin to appear, as is necessary with regular cannabis seeds.
- There is a misconception about feminized cannabis seeds, namely that they are genetically engineered. Genetic modification describes selective breeding processes that could also occur naturally – Skunk #1 and all other cannabis hybrids could be correctly called ‘genetically modified’. Genetic engineering, on the other hand, is when the DNA of one species is directly infused with the DNA of another – tomatoes with fish genes, for example.
- Sensi Seeds has an ever-growing selection of feminized seeds, in response to many requests from our fans for feminized versions of our most popular and award-winning strains. For some of the most affordable and high quality feminized seeds available online, you can also explore the selection from White Label.
Still curious about feminized cannabis seeds after reading this top 10 list of interesting facts? Great – that’s exactly what we were hoping would happen! There’s a lot more to know about feminized seeds and how they are used to minimise intersexuality. So if your curiosity is piqued, keep reading for some more in-depth information.
Feminized seeds – Breeding to minimise intersexuality
When you purchase a regular cannabis seed, there is a 50/50 chance that the plant will grow to be female. However, under certain stressful conditions, even a female plant can mature and develop intersexual tendencies.
In fact, this forms the basic principle of how feminized seeds were developed. But mitigating these intersexual tendencies is also the objective of developing stable feminized seeds. Sensi Seeds has been perfecting the process of feminized breeding for years now, all so that home growers can minimize the chance of intersexuality in their plants.
Unlike more complex organisms, cannabis is not firmly one sex or the other. It’s a very unusual species in that it is an annual plant that is also dioecious (producing separate male and female flowers on different plants). However, every cannabis plant has the ability to produce flowers of the opposite sex under certain conditions. It’s a survival mechanism for the species, allowing cannabis to succeed and reproduce while being both annual and dioecious.
Some plants become intersexual quite easily, in response to stress in the growing environment such as temperature fluctuations, light cycle irregularity, physical damage, etc. This is a survival response. The plant detects that growing conditions are not favourable, which means that its chances of reproduction are lower. Poor conditions mean that a plant is less likely to survive the full season, and also that there’s less chance a plant of the opposite sex is close enough to cross-pollinate.
In these conditions, some female plants will grow staminate (male) flowers in order to produce their own pollen. They could then fertilise their own pistillate (female) flowers and produce seeds which will grow again the following season. Male plants will sometimes grow pistillate flowers, but this is less common.
10 Interesting Facts About Cannabis Seeds
Old and new methods for breeding feminized seeds
When feminized seeds were first being developed, breeders used two female plants to cultivate feminized seeds. One was identified as having hermaphrodite tendencies (prone to producing male flowers when stressed), while the other did not have this tendency. Light cycle irregularity and pruning were used to stress the intersexually-prone plant into producing male flowers. The pollen from this plant was then used to pollinate the other female plant.
There was a costly disadvantage to this method. As the “pollen donor” was a plant with strong intersexual tendencies, there was a very high likelihood that this tendency was passed on to the subsequent seed.
By the time Sensi Seeds and White Label decided to offer feminized seeds, the process was already infinitely better. Using different techniques, female plants with a very minor tendency to turn intersexual were forced to produce male flowers. This meant that their offspring had no more tendency than a normal female cannabis plant to turn intersexual.
For this technique, there was no need for a female plant that had a strong intersexual tendency, unlike earlier, developing methods. Therefore, the possibility that a plant grown from a feminized exhibits intersexual traits was drastically reduced. This is how the feminized seeds offered by Sensi Seeds and White Label are produced.
In short, intersexuality is a fundamental part of the cannabis genome. Each individual plant simply has a greater or lesser tendency to turn hermaphrodite in response to different conditions. There is unfortunately no way of predicting a plant’s predisposition to hermaphroditism. With that being said, feminized seeds are no more likely to be hermaphrodites than any other seed, thanks to new techniques and technologies.
Feminized cannabis seeds revolutionized growing cannabis at home. If feminized seeds are new to you, check out this article for lots of interesting facts.