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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Feminized cannabis seeds grow under the same conditions as regular cannabis seeds and require no special additional nutrients, techniques or equipment.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Luckily, this has yet to occur with cannabis; feminized cannabis seeds, though a fantastic breakthrough in breeding, are not genetically engineered.
- 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.