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.  

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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. 
  6. Feminized cannabis seeds grow under the same conditions as regular cannabis seeds and require no special additional nutrients, techniques or equipment. 
  7. 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. 
  8. 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. 
  9. 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.
  10. 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. 

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. 

  • Disclaimer:
    Laws and regulations regarding cannabis cultivation differ from country to country. Sensi Seeds therefore strongly advises you to check your local laws and regulations. Do not act in conflict with the law.

Comments

9 thoughts on “10 Most Interesting Facts About Feminized Cannabis Seeds”

  1. Would have been good to see something included about the fact using them as mothers may produce intersex clones while limiting (bottle-necking) genetics meaning less chance of finding a keeper pheno.

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hello Calz, thank you for your comment.

      I agree with you, but this is a topic complex and interesting enough to deserve an entire blog post, rather than a point on a list! I will mark it as an idea for a future article. Thanks again 🙂

      With best wishes,

      Scarlet

      1. Brandon Murphy

        Can seeds be used from stress induced hermaphrodite pollinating itself? Would these have more tendency to hermaphrodite vs using this pollen on another non stressed female?

      2. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

        Hi Brandon,

        Yes, there’s no reason not to use those seeds if you want to, but it is likely that they will show more hermaphroditic tendencies if the plants they produce also become stressed. If you can use the pollen on another female, this would give you feminized seeds that are likely to be more stable. Have fun experimenting!

        With best wishes,

        Scarlet

  2. all smugglers and heroin addicted talk about weed ….
    monsanto ….
    and they smoke bad weed and seeds ( Brassica oleracea )….
    a lot of smugglers and heroin junkie speak bad about you…

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Stefan,

      Either I have misunderstood your comment, or it is quite inaccurate. Cannabis is one of the least profitable drugs to smuggle due to its bulk to value ratio. Heroin addicts who are not trying to quit are disinterested in cannabis; many of those who are trying to quit opiates have found cannabis can actually help them to do so.

      Sensi Seeds has nothing to do with Monsanto and we do not endorse or approve of their work (to say the least!).

      Brassica oleracea is, according to Wikipedia, “the species of plant that includes many common foods as cultivars, including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, savoy, kohlrabi and kai-lan. In its uncultivated form, it is known as wild cabbage.” So no, I wouldn’t recommend smoking that.

      “a lot of smugglers and heroin junkie speak bad about you…” About Sensi Seeds? See my comment above. Me personally? I seriously doubt my reputation is that big.

      I hope this has cleared up your questions,

      With best wishes,

      Scarlet

  3. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

    Hi CannaClatch,

    Thanks for your feedback.

    I think it can be inferred from the title of this article that I was not trying to explain why feminized cannabis seeds are sold, simply share a few interesting facts about them based on what customers have most frequently asked when visiting our shops in Amsterdam. Point 8 gives one good reason why, though.

    I absolutely agree that it “should be everyone’s right to grow male and females of what they’re buying and back-cross and pheno-hunt and pheno-cross as much as they like”. This is why Sensi Seeds has focussed on releasing feminized versions of our pre-existing regular strains, rather than creating strains that can only be obtained in a feminized version. Having both feminized and regular seeds available of strains that are perennially popular enables us to meet as many people’s needs as possible. For those with very little room and/or a limited budget, feminized seeds are an option which cuts out risk factors that may otherwise preclude them from even trying to grow a plant.

    The vast majority of Sensi Seeds genetics are exclusive to us, though we are aware that other strains have been created with them, so there is no need to try to create exclusivity. If we only sold feminized seeds, as some seedbanks do, that could be interpreted as trying to create scarcity, but at the time of writing we still have far more regular strains (39) than feminized ones (16) and we have no intention of withdrawing regular seeds from our stock. Our regular seeds only come in packs of ten, for the reasons you have mentioned.

    I hope this clears up any confusion as to the intention of this article.

    With best wishes,

    Scarlet

  4. Canna Clatch - Altruistic StrainHunters

    Sensi Seeds,

    We enjoy your blog and writing a great deal and have been a long-time follower but this article really comes up short if you’re trying to educate people as to the nature of why seeds with a missing chromosome are being sold on the open market.

    Why would you negate the “WHY?”.

    1. To create exclusivity
    2. To create scarcity
    3. To create brand security

    American breeders have largely disbanded the offering of feminized stock and many have standardized their packs to 10 or more so that buyers can be sure their going to get a satisfactory representation of the genetic range.

    It should be everyone’s right to grow male and females of what they’re buying and back-cross and pheno-hunt and pheno-cross as much as they like, this is far more valuable than the luxury of getting 5 seeds that are all known to be females but missing part of their genetic code.

    Breeders worried about having their work get exported and crossed further need to understand that this plant doesn’t abide by scarcity or manipulation, hence it’s weed name. Breeders need to understand they are painters selling portraits and the more painters offering work, the lower the cost of getting a portrait done. Breeders looking to proprietize and copyright their work are no better than Monsanto trying to create exclusivity in food crops. Make a living, have a family, take some trips. There’s no harm in making a fair income off of the complicated undertaking of cannabis breeding, but to want to take ownership and propriety is quote another thing.

    Looking at the explosion of breeders in the last 4 years, it doesn’t appear that the scarcity model of feminizing seeds is going to perpetuate. Are there growers who would like to till a field, buy 800 femanized seeds and broadcast them out as a style of farming, yes. But we know that’s not exactly the best way to grow top quality.

  5. Mark Cantrall

    What if you have seeds produced from a hermaphroditic plant, grow them out, and they also display hermaphroditic reproductive tendencies, which then produces 2nd generation hermaphroditic seeds?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Author

  • Profile-image

    Sensi Seeds

    The Sensi Seeds Editorial team has been built throughout our more than 30 years of existence. Our writers and editors include botanists, medical and legal experts as well as renown activists the world over including Lester Grinspoon, Micha Knodt, Robert Connell Clarke, Maurice Veldman, Sebastian Maríncolo, James Burton and Seshata.
    More about this author
Scroll to Top