What Are Feminized Marijuana Seeds?

What they are and the top methods used to produce them

It was the 1980s when the first feminized cannabis seeds hit the market.  These days, it’s hard to imagine a world without them! Conquering legal cultivation markets on a global basis at every level, the world has universally embraced the era. Even those who were initially skeptical have accepted and acknowledged the extraordinary value this progress. Immensely popular and representing extraordinary value for money, buying quality females comes highly recommended for amateur and expert growers alike. The term ‘feminized’ refers to a very specific type of cannabis seed, which has been bred not to contain male chromosomes. Buying female seeds eliminate male plants from the equation, along with the potential damage they can do where unwelcome. 

Feminized Seeds; a short introduction in plant biology

Feminized seeds produce only female plants. Therefore the threat of accidentally pollinating crops by misidentifying a male is minimized. A male-free crop is only one reason to use all-female seeds: another might be the preservation of a particular characteristic or plant type. The predominant way to preserve the exact genetics of a plant is by cloning. However, a plant crossed with itself produces seeds that retain its parent’s favorable characteristics.

Another reason to use this technique is to create a hybrid of two female plants. If a branch of one female is turned “male,” there will be pollen to fertilize the other plant, and to create seed when no male is around. Feminized seeds are produced by inducing a normal female, not a hermaphrodite, to grow male flowers with viable pollen. 

The pollen contains only female, or X, chromosomes because the plant has no Y, or male, chromosomes. The progeny will inherit an X from the male flower’s pollen and an X from the egg donor female flower. The resulting seeds can only inherit two X chromosomes, which means that almost all the resulting seeds will be girls! Congratulations!

Feminized Seeds Are Not As Mysterious As They Might Seem 

In mature human females, taking male hormones causes masculinizing changes such as breast shrinkage, muscle bulking, and a lowering in voice pitch. The primary sex organs have already been formed, but they shrink. A similar thing happens when female plants are treated with masculinizing chemicals. The difference is that while a mature human has already formed her sex organs, every time a plant produces a new flower, it is growing a new sex organ. Plants under chemical influence grow viable male flowers, even though the plant is still a female with two X chromosomes, the pollen has only female chromosomes. 

Natural Methods Used To Produce Feminized Seed 

By far, the noted breeder Soma developed the easiest method. He noticed that when colas of many varieties reached late ripeness (which, by the way, we prefer as the harvest-time) a few viable male flowers appeared. This is also a sign that the buds are ripe. Harvest the pollen using a fresh watercolor brush and brush it directly on the flowers or store it in a small glass or metal container. Not all varieties produce male flowers at the end of ripeness, but many do, and they do it reliably. Very small amounts of pollen are produced using this method, but a little pollen applied properly goes a long way. 

Hermaphrodite cannabis plants do occur and they also provide the goods! Some varieties flower normally outdoors but experience indoor growing conditions as stressful and produce hermaphrodite flowers. The pollen from these male flowers can be used for breeding, provided that the resulting plants are going to be grown outdoors, where they won’t exhibit the unwanted hermaphroditism. Plant stresses such as irregular light cycles and heat sometimes induce hermaphroditism. However, stress techniques are not reliable. 

Commercial Methods Used To Produce Feminized Seed 

Laboratories And Commercial Seed Producers Use Three Chemicals To Induce Male Flowers In Female Plants: Gibberellic Acid, Silver Nitrate, And Silver Thiosulfate. They each inhibit the plant’s production of ethylene, a hormone that promotes female flowering. Without ethylene, female flower production is reduced or stopped. The actions of these chemicals are localized. If only one branch of a plant is sprayed, that branch will be the only one affected. The rest of the plant will continue growing female flowers, not males.

Because of market demand, almost all the seed companies offer most of their popular varieties as feminized seed. They are the best choice for most gardeners. The exception is gardeners interested in breeding.