“In our search to find new genetics, Kannabia paired us with their feminized Russian Doll seeds,” say growers at Canada’s BlueSky Organics. “Every seed germinated, and now that we are in the late vegetative stage, these plants have an extremely hardy trunk preparing themselves for some massive buds.”
There are a few techniques that can produce reliably feminized seeds. One classic method is stressing out a healthy female plant by interrupting its light cycle during flowering. While that works to an extent, the more common and controlled method is to spray down female plants with a collodial silver or silver thiosulphate solution. This method makes it possible to control the sex of a plant without any genetic tinkering or modification.
That efficiency is key for medical cannabis patients and hobby growers. Since most cannabis regulations limit plant counts, growers cultivating a small crop of cannabis for personal use want to ensure they’re getting the most out of their grow.
How Are Cannabis Seeds Feminized?
Cultivators depend on feminized seeds for efficient growing cycles. (Courtesy of Mr. Sticky Farm)
Once those plants are old enough, growers have to go to the trouble of actually determining their sex, monitoring each individual plant to ensure any males are removed before they can pollinate their female counterparts.
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.
This is why many North American growers are turning to feminized seeds—cannabis seeds that carry only female genetics, and can be relied on to produce only female plants. By creatively applying technologies to seed feminization, modern breeders like Kannabia can ensure female genetics in seeds with a nearly 100% success rate.
The way breeders create feminized seeds is they breed two female cannabis plants together, which means that all the resulting offspring will be female. This is done by spraying developing flowers with a substance that changes flower development (often colloidal silver or gibberellic acid). This process is used to force one of the female plants to start producing pollen sacs just like a male plant.
Non-Feminized Seeds Produce Half Male, Half Female Plants
(learn more more about cannabis plant gender)
Pros of Feminized Seeds
By starting your grow with feminized cannabis seeds from a reputable breeder, you can stop worrying about plant gender altogether, and know that every single one of your plants is going to be female and make buds!
Since I started growing cannabis nearly a decade ago, I’ve only grown with feminized seeds! I’ve never had a single plant that didn’t grow buds!
Feminized cannabis seeds are produced in a way to make sure that all the resulting plants are female (since only female cannabis plants make buds).
“Regular” (or non-feminized) seeds will produce about half male, and half female plants.
Most of the time, fast-flowering strains are bred by crossing a photoperiod strain with a ruderalis/autoflowering one. However, fast-flowering strains are different from autoflowering strains, the latter of which blooms based on age instead of light cycle.
Male plants produce seed pods, and, if they stick around long enough, they’ll pollinate the female plants and dramatically reduce their yields. Because of that, those growing regular seeds had to identify the sex of their plants as soon as possible in order to cull the males.
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.
THE IMPORTANCE OF TERPENES IN CANNABIS
• Sativas grow taller, slimmer, and with thin, elongated leaves. These sun-loving plants usually do best in a hot climate. The flowering time is usually longer compared to indicas.
• Recreational users enjoy the stoning, relaxing, euphoric, or uplifting high induced by feminized strains. Given the vast variety of options out there, users can find some chill time in the evening or enjoy an energetic daytime buzz, depending on what they’re after. Also, since many strains feature different ratios of cannabinoids, terpenes, and sativa/indica genetics, you can experiment with different feminized strains to find a sweet spot in terms of effect.
Feminized seeds tend to be designed to produce photoperiod plants. Photoperiod cannabis blooms depending on the daylight/darkness hours. Out in nature, cannabis starts to flower at the end of summer when the days get shorter. Indoors, photoperiod cannabis is kept in the vegetative phase until the grower is ready to induce bloom by reducing light hours.
What is known, though, is that terpenes (limonene, myrcene, pinene, etc.) give cannabis strains their distinct taste and aroma. They’re why one cannabis strain will smell fruity when another smells citrusy, floral, sour, or woody.