How are Feminised Cannabis Seeds Produced?
Do you remember the last time you savoured a joint and couldn’t help but vividly remember the feeling of being on cloud nine? Well, you can thank the female cannabis plant species for that.
The euphoric high that you feel is due to the female plant’s ability to produce lots and lots of cannabinoids – and this is what delivers the flavour and affects that consumers seek.
As you might imagine, majority of U.S. growers are resorting to feminised seeds for this reason – that is, seeds which carry the female genetics only and do not need any male genetic intervention to produce the flavour and resin-rich as well as high-inducing cannabinoids. And, by applying certain technologies and processes to seed feminisation, most modern breeders are able to ensure that female seed genetics boast a 100% success ratio.
Before we move on to discussing how feminised seeds are produced, it’s important to understand what they really are at the core. How are they different from regular seeds, for instance?
What are Feminised Seeds?
Feminised seeds are bred in a away so that all resulting plants have female genetics only. It should be noted that only female cannabis plants have the ability to produce buds. In contrast, regular seeds are capable of producing male and female plants on a 50/50 basis.
So the question is why do most growers go with feminised seeds only? While having males seeds can certainly be an asset to any breeding program, you need to constantly watch over them, and many a times, half the plants need to be thrown away once breeding is complete. If these male plants are still left behind, they can be directly responsible for causing seedy buds and lower yields. This can be a waste of space, time and energy for many growers.
If you grow feminised cannabis seeds, an immediate benefit you can enjoy is no longer worrying about plant gender – because you’ll know that each one of your plants will be capable of richly producing buds.
Long story short, the main idea behind feminising seeds is to force a female plant to produce pollen sacs, much like a male plant. The male plants which are growing on a female plant start creating pollen, which can then be harvested and used to pollinate more female plants. Inevitably, all the resulting seeds will become female.
Male vs. Female Plants – Important to Know
Cannabis plants that undergo traditional breeding techniques or natural pollination produce either male or female seeds. These are what we refer to as regular seeds in which there is a near 50/50 split between the two genders. This means that cultivators who start with regular seeds have a roughly 50% chance of yielding a female plant from every male one.
So as it turns out, growing cannabis plants from standard seeds is not actually that efficient. In a manner of speaking, it’s the same as having a bakery that must throw out every second bread loaf. Growers who work with regular seeds already know that about half of the plants could very well be males. Even though these male plants offer some value to certain breeders, those who are after the flower won’t find anything valuable to be had, really. Furthermore, too many male plants tend to spoil a grow.
Traditionally speaking, the solution to this has been an unorthodox one, with cultivators planting nearly twice as many seeds for harvest, under the assumption that perhaps nearly half of them will be useless males. This isn’t very practical if you’re looking for a big harvest because using regular seeds means that you have to plant twice as many seeds just to get the desired results.
Reasons to Grow from Feminised Seeds
There are actually many advantages to be had for growers who start their harvest with feminised seeds. Think about it: since you’re removing all the guesswork associated with germinating regular seeds, you are actually saving up quite a bit of time, space and particularly, energy. As a matter of fact, feminised seeds can significantly streamline the growing process.
This improvement in efficiency is not just important to medical cannabis users but also cannabis hobbyists. Majority of cannabis regulations have placed a limit on plant counts – therefore, growers who are cultivating a small harvest for personal use need to absolutely ensure that they’re getting the most ‘bang for the buck’ as far as the grow goes.
Male plants actually do a lot more than simply take up space in your garden. They demand a lot of time and resources for one. And, in gardens where both male and female plants are present, growers are tasked with the cumbersome process of cultivating both plants until their sexes are apparent.
Even though some strains can show early signs of their gender before flowering actually begins, majority of cannabis plants will not express their gender until they start to mature, which comes after the vegetative stage, it might be noted.
The change occurs when the amount of light and dark the plant must receive, changes to a 12-hour light/12-hour dark cycle. In outdoor gardens, this change happens naturally as the seasons change. In a controlled indoor garden, this change must be exerted through timed grow lights.
Once the plants are mature enough, growers must go through the painstaking task of determining their sex and monitoring each and every single plant to ensure that Males are removed before they have a chance to pollinate the females (which can prove disastrous).
By using feminised seeds only, growers no longer have to spend weeks nurturing their plants where there is only a 50% chance of those plants expressing themselves as females. In addition, they can also maximise the space and plant count within their grow space.
How are Feminised Cannabis Seeds Produced?
There are quite a few techniques that can be employed to produce feminised seeds in a reliable way. A well-known method is to stress out a healthy female plant which is accomplished by interrupting the light cycle during the flowering stage.
While this might work to a certain degree, a more common and controlled way of feminising seeds is to spray down the female plant with a silver thiosulphate solution or colloidal silver. This happens to be a popular method because it lets you control the plant’s sex without the need for any modification or genetic tinkering.
Both substances are more or less water blended with fine silver particles and they pretty much work along the same principle. The silver thiosulphate solution delays ethylene production – a key hormone that is involved in the flowering process. This results in a female plant, but it will produce male flowers which contain pollen sacs. These pollen sacs can develop only on a plant which has female genetics, and therefore, they only carry female genetics, so to speak.
And when these flowers pollinate another female plant which has not been treated by colloidal silver/ silver thiosulphate solution, the resulting seeds will most definitely be female.
Therefore, creating plants with one of these silver solutions will produce seeds that grow feminised plants almost 100% of the time.
The colloidal silver method is actually the easiest and most inexpensive way to produce feminised seeds. You can always buy a ready-made colloidal silver generator or you can make your own, which doesn’t actually require any special skills.
Make Your Own Colloidal Silver
In order to form your own colloidal silver, you need to pass a current through distilled water using a pure silver electrode. And this simple electrolysis process gets the job done.
Even though distilled water is not a good conductor of electricity due to its insufficient mineral content, it is still capable of creating silver ionisation and micros silver particles.
Here’s what you need:
- A 9-12 volt power adapter or 9-volt battery.
- A length of wire each for the positive and negative terminal.
- Distilled water which can be easily found at the local supermarket. Tap water is an absolute no-no as it contains way too many impurities which can muck up the process.
- At least 99% pure silver – silver coins which are inexpensive and ideal. You can get this from coin dealers or eBay.
- Small crocodile/alligator clips to hold the silver in place.
- PPM meter.
Here’s how you’ll make it:
- Set your adapter to output 9-12 volts.
- Using wire strippers or a pair of scissors, strip each end of wires.
- Hook up the alligator clips securely to each wire end to encourage a steady flow of current. If you can solder it in place, even better.
- Attach the wires to the positive and negative terminals of the battery.
- Now place a piece of silver in each clip’s jaws, being careful not to touch them together. Fill a glass beaker with three-quarters distilled water. About 500ml can easily do two plants.
- Suspend each alligator clip and silver combo in the water but on the opposite sides of the glass beaker.
- Turn on the adapter. In case of a battery, the process already began as soon as the electrodes were exposed to the water.
- Remove the electrodes after 20 minutes and have a look at the PPM meter – 15ppm or higher is the end goal. The solution should take a pale gold hue.
- Store the colloidal silver in a cool place, preferably in an amber-coloured bottle; avoid putting it in the fridge.