Are you interested in growing your own cannabis? If so, do you know everything there is to know about the different cannabis cultivars and their associated seeds, including what feminized seeds are and what the benefits of planting feminized seeds over regular seeds?
While on the one hand marijuana is relatively easy to grow, juxtapositionally, success depends on the cultivar chosen, seeds used, and growing environment, whether indoors or outdoors.
Succinctly stated, growing success starts with planting the correct seeds. Therefore, let’s consider everything there is to know about cannabis seeds in relation to the different cultivars available on the market.
What are feminized seeds?
Let’s start this discussion by looking at what feminized seeds are in relation to regular seeds.
At this juncture, it is essential to note that there are both male and female cannabis plants. And it is only the female plants that produce the cannabinoid-rich flowers that are used to create the wide variety of end products with the flavor and effects that weed is known for.
Feminized seeds are cannabis seeds that only carry female genetics and reliably produce female plants.
In theory, when planting a marijuana crop using regular or non-feminized seeds, the ratio of female to male plants should be 50:50. In other words, 50% female plants and 50% male plants. However, the numbers are slightly different in practice. The natural ratio of female to male plants is circa 65:35; ergo, 65% female plants versus 35% male plants.
The reason for this is that only a few male plants are needed to fertilize the female plants. The fertilization mechanism is air transport. Cannabis spreads its pollen through the air. However, there is a caveat here. Poor growing conditions can result in female seeds evolving into either male plants or hermaphrodites.
The benefits of planting feminized seeds
Thus, the raison d’etre for buying female plants is as follows:
- Increase final crop
As described above, only the female plants produce cannabinoid-rich flowers. The male plants are only required to fertilize the female plants. Therefore, if you can buy 100% guaranteed feminized seeds that only produce female plants, you no longer need the male plant for fertilization purposes. Therefore, why risk between 50% and 65% of all plants in a single crop being female when you are virtually guaranteed a harvest of only female plants.
- Male plants take up space, time, and energy
If you are planting a small crop due to both space constraints and legal regulations, planting seeds that produce male plants takes up space, uses up the nutrients in the soil, and adds to the total count of legal plants.
Both male and female plants must be cultivated until it is clear which plants are male and which plants are female. This takes time because most plants only show their sex once they are past the vegetative stage and into the budding stage.
What causes the sex change?
In summary, the sex of individual cannabis plants only shows when the amount of light and dark in a 24-hour period is 12 hours light and 12 hours dark. This takes place naturally in an outdoor garden but can be artificially manipulated in an indoor growing environment. Once the male plants have been identified, they must be removed before the pollination process starts.
In other words, cannabis growers can spend weeks tending plants that they are just going to have to throw away; hence, another justification for procuring and planting feminized seeds.
How are feminized seeds created?
Several methods are used to produce reliably feminized seeds. As an aside, some mechanisms generate feminized seeds, but they are not reliable. It also stands to reason that feminized seeds cost more than regular seeds. Therefore, it is essential to buy seeds that are reliably feminized and virtually guarantee a 100% crop of female plants.
The most successful method is to “spray female plants with a colloidal silver or silver thiosulphate solution”.
Both prevent the production of ethylene, the hormone that facilitates flowering, resulting in a female plant with male flowers with pollen sacs. Since these pollen sacs only develop on a female plant, they carry the female gene. When the pollen from these plants is used to fertilized “normal” female plants, the resulting seeds will be female. Female plants pollinated by pollen carrying female genes can only result in feminized seeds.
Much can be written about the creation, benefits, and merits of feminized seeds. However, it is hoped that this discussion provides a succinct description of the three most essential aspects of feminized seeds: what they are, how they are developed, and the benefits or merits of using feminized seeds over regular seeds