Growing Cannabis: Everything You Need to Know About Feminized Seeds
Are you interested in growing a crop of cannabis or marijuana? If so, do you know where to start, what seeds to buy, and how to prepare the growing environment?
The answers to all of these questions are outside the scope of this discussion. Therefore, let’s start by considering the seeds, especially feminized seeds, that you need to buy as your crop’s starting point.
At the outset of this discussion, it’s important to note that growing a cannabis crop from seed can be very rewarding. You get to take the plants through a complete growth cycle instead of planting clones or cuttings from an existing marijuana plant. While cloning is the quickest way for cannabis growers to harvest a marijuana crop, it is not nearly as satisfying as planting seeds, watching them germinate, and then grow until they bud.
What are feminized seeds?
Feminized seeds are cannabis seeds that are bred to only produce female plants once they have been planted, as opposed to regular seeds that have a 50% chance of growing male plants.
The best quality bud is the unseeded bud from a female plant. A seeded bud produces harsh smoke. Additionally, only female plants have consumable buds. Male plants produce pollen sacs instead of flower buds.
As highlighted above, it is possible to plant regular seeds, but then you have to be able to sex the plants to remove the male plants from the crop before they mature and pollinate the female plants.
Therefore, it is not in any cannabis grower’s interests for a male plant to get into the crops and fertilize the female plants. Secondly, because male plants do not produce flowers, even if they do not pollinate the female plants, it is still a waste of space and soil to allow male plants to reach maturity.
Consequently, breeders and growers developed the feminized seed to increase the likelihood that only female plants will grow when these seeds are planted. This fact also reduces the risk of accidentally incorrectly sexing a male plant as female and leaving it to grow among your crop of female plants, pollinating the female plants, resulting in worthless seeded buds.
Note: While feminized seeds usually only grow female plants, there is no guarantee that every seed will incubate into a female plant. Therefore, it is essential to keep an eye on the plants to ensure that if there are any male plants, you can remove them before they pollinate the female plants.
Where to find feminized seeds
Feminized seeds are a mainstream item. Therefore, it is possible to buy them from your cannabis seed banks around the world. If you live in a city or country where it is legal to grow your own cannabis, you should be able to buy feminized seeds from your local cannabis seed dealer or online.
Feminizing marijuana seeds
While it is probably better to buy feminized seeds from a reputable dealer, it is also possible to feminize your own cannabis seeds.
Succinctly stated, feminized cannabis seeds are formed through the process of genetic manipulation. In summary, the idea is to get the female plant to make pollen. Only male plants produce pollen under normal circumstances, but if you can get the female plant to produce pollen, you have pollen that only contains female chromosomes. Thus, you have female plants that will pollinate the female plants growing the flower buds. Ergo, female plant + female plant equals feminized seeds.
There are three ways to force female plants to start producing pollen.
- Colloidal silver
The first approach is to spray the female plant with colloidal silver while it grows and transitions into the flowering phase. This chemical promotes the growth of pollen sacs on a female plant. After the pollen sacs on the female plant have matured, use it to pollenate the female plants that have not been sprayed with colloidal silver. As a result, these female plants will produce feminized seeds.
Colloidal silver is defined as a solution of tiny particles of silver suspended in a liquid. The size of these particles differs, but some are so small that they are known as nanoparticles. It is perhaps worth noting that colloidal silver was used as an all-purpose remedy to treat infections and illnesses before modern antibiotics were developed.
- Silver Thiosulfate
In a method similar to the colloidal silver approach, spray the young female cannabis plants with silver thiosulfate. The silver thiosulfate suppresses the production of ethylene, necessary for flowering. As a result, these female plants are encouraged to grow pollen sacs, and the resultant pollen can be used to pollinate other female plants, resulting in feminized seeds.
While this is an all-natural method, it is not as reliable as colloidal silver or silver thiosulfate. It takes advantage of the fact that an unpollinated female plant will sometimes form its own pollen sacs. In other words, when put under stress, a female plant will sometimes become a hermaphrodite and produce both male and female reproductive organs. In the natural order, it is “normal” for female plants to reproduce, so if not pollinated by a male plant, the female plant will grow its pollen sacs to ensure it pollinates itself. In the rodelization method, you force a female plant to develop pollen sacs and use this pollen to pollinate regular female plants, resulting in feminized seeds.
Lastly, it is worth noting that plants grown from feminized seeds do not usually produce seeds. They should only grow, mature, and produce unseeded, resinous buds, which is the end goal of raising a marijuana crop.