What are feminized cannabis seeds? Feminized cannabis seeds were first created in the 1990’s by Dutch Passion; feminized seeds give rise to female cannabis plants. Before feminized cannabis Feminized marijuana seeds can streamline the growing process and ensure that cannabis cultivators get the most out of their hard work. Read all about the process here. Feminized cannabis seeds revolutionized growing cannabis at home. If feminized seeds are new to you, check out this article for lots of interesting facts.
What are feminized cannabis seeds?
Feminized cannabis seeds were first created in the 1990’s by Dutch Passion; feminized seeds give rise to female cannabis plants.
Before feminized cannabis seeds were invented, the only option for home growers was to use regular cannabis seeds , these produce male and female plants in roughly equal numbers. The male plants have to be thrown away to prevent them pollinating the females, which would fill the plants with seeds. Many home growers in the 1980’s & 90’s wanted feminized seeds which would only produce female cannabis plants, but this was widely regarded as impossible, many people had tried and failed.
The introduction of seed feminization means that only half as many cannabis plants need to be grown. This allows the grow-room to be smaller, use less energy and be more efficient In countries where cannabis has not yet been legalized growers prefer to have fewer plants to minimise their risk.
Above, OutLaw grown by Mr Sparkles. OutLaw is one of Dutch Passions most resinous strains
Below, CBD SkunkHaze by Antonio. Any seed variety can be feminized; CBD-rich, automatic or traditional.
The introduction of feminized seeds has been one of those few discoveries that have genuinely changed the way millions of people grow their own weed. Within a few years feminized seed accounted for around 97% of Dutch Passion seed sales. And as other seed companies learned how to create feminized seeds they saw the same effect – nearly all the customers wanted to use feminized cannabis seeds. Today many seed companies only sell feminized seeds.
Here at Dutch Passion, despite inventing feminized seeds we still sell 15 varieties in regular (non-feminized) seeds even though these regular varieties account for just 2-3% of our sales. Selling regular seeds is a service rather than a profitable business for us, we offer regular seeds for the old-school home growers who still prefer them. And our collection of regular seeds is also a valuable source of original genetics for smaller seed banks who like to select plants for their own breeding projects.
Above, AutoXtreme grown by TaNg almost ready to collapse under its own weight. All of Dutch Passions Automatics are feminized.
Below, Blue AutoMazar by Hazy. A super-potent customer favourite characterized by numerous heavy blooms, rich flavours and exceptional resin production.
How were feminized cannabis seeds discovered?
Its a question we are often asked. How did we find out how to create feminized seeds? The question had been asked ever since home growing began to appear in the 1970’s and 1980’s. There were many ideas, some people believed that minute differences in the size or shape of the seeds could indicate whether the seed would produce a male or female plant. But like many of mankind’s challenges the real answer came after years of study, research and hard work.
Henk van Dalen formally established the Dutch Passion Seed Company in Amsterdam in 1987 after many years collecting and working with the best cannabis genetics. As well as offering top quality cannabis genetics to the home grower Henk always had a passion to make it easier and more convenient to grow cannabis at home without being an expert.
Above, Think Different grown in DWC under 600W HPS by Bambud. A strong cerebral high and one of our most established automatics
Three books were to play an important part in Henks work. These were: Mel Frank/Ed Rosenthal`s “Marijuana Grower`s Guide” (1978) and Robert Connell Clark`s “Marijuana Botany” (1981) and Jorge Cervantes “Indoor Marijuana Horticulture” (1983). The comments in Rosenthal’s book about female seed possibilities was especially interesting to Henk who has always looked to make marijuana growing easier and more convenient to the home grower. Henk used his Biology degree and understanding of plant hormones to apply some scientific methods to his work.
Henk noticed something unusual when he left female plants to continue flowering for a few weeks longer than normal. He noticed that female plants grown from regular seed and left to bloom for several weeks longer than normal could produce male flowers at the very end of their life cycle. At the time it was an observation that was puzzling, yet it was also an observation that was repeatable. The male flowers were produced so late that the plant was unlikely to be able to pollinate itself, the optimum point to pollinate a female cannabis plant is after approx. 4 weeks not 12 weeks ++. Henk carefully collected the pollen produced from these male flowers and used it to pollinate other female cannabis plants. The seeds were collected and grown. The process was time consuming but necessary. It was a remarkable ‘Eureka’ moment in cannabis history, all the seeds produced female cannabis plants. At first it seemed too good to be true, it was repeated again and again.
Eventually it was clear that the pollen collected from these late male flowers gave rise to female plants. It was called ‘female pollen’ since all the seeds grew into mature females. Feminized cannabis seeds had been invented and commercially introduced in November 1998. although some people initially refused to believe it was actually possible. The process of collecting this ‘female pollen’ was difficult, female plants had to be grown from regular seed and left for many weeks longer than normal and even then only small amounts of ‘female pollen’ could be collected. Several techniques were subsequently developed to stimulate female plants to create more ‘female pollen’.
Above Skunk#11 grown under HPS by Captain Beefheart in soil. Our first variety to sell 1million seeds and still a classic
Within a few years feminized seed had become the normal way for the home grower to grow their own cannabis. Many people feel feminized cannabis seeds are Dutch Passions greatest contribution to the home grower, but we like to feel that the quality of our traditional, CBD-rich and AutoFem cannabis seeds is an equally important contribution. Henk received the first High Times ‘ Dutch Master’ award for his contribution.
Today feminized cannabis seeds have become the normal way to grow cannabis whether you are growing traditional varieties, autoflowering or CBD-rich varieties. Dutch Passion are extremely proud and grateful to have made a contribution to the cannabis world that has affected the way so many people grow their own cannabis.
What Are Feminized Cannabis Seeds?
This article is sponsored by Kannabia Seed Company, an award-winning cannabis seed company headquartered in Spain. Using only the highest quality genetics on the market, their grower-oriented approach has made cannabis cultivation simple and satisfying for growers of all skill levels for years.
Anyone who’s ever savored a joint owes their enjoyment to the fruits of the cannabis plant, but moreover, to the female of the species. That’s because only female cannabis plants produce the cannabinoid-rich flowers that deliver the flavors and effects consumers look for.
This is why many North American growers are turning to feminized seeds—cannabis seeds that carry only female genetics, and can be relied on to produce only female plants. By creatively applying technologies to seed feminization, modern breeders like Kannabia can ensure female genetics in seeds with a nearly 100% success rate.
Male vs. Female Cannabis Plants
A bud of Diesel Glue grown from Kannabia’s feminized seeds. (Courtesy of Kannabia)
Cannabis plants that are pollinated naturally or with traditional breeding techniques can produce both male or female seeds. These are known as regular seeds and, as in most species, they occur with about an even split between the two sexes. That means cannabis cultivators starting with standard seeds have about a 50% chance of yielding a female plant from each one.
As a result, growing cannabis from regular seeds isn’t very efficient—it’s akin to running a bakery that has to throw out every second loaf of bread. Growers working from regular seeds have to account for the fact that roughly half of their plants could be males. While those plants are of some value to breeders, folks growing for flower won’t find much to like in them, and too many male plants can spoil a grow.
Traditionally, the solution to this has been an inelegant one, with many cultivators planting at least twice as many seeds as they hope to harvest with the assumption that about half of them will be useless. However big a harvest you’re looking for, using regular seeds means you’ll have to plant twice that many seeds.
Why Grow From Feminized Cannabis Seeds?
Cultivators depend on feminized seeds for efficient growing cycles. (Courtesy of Mr. Sticky Farm)
There are numerous advantages for growers who start their garden using feminized seeds. By removing the guesswork of germinating regular seeds, feminized seeds streamline the growing process, saving space and time.
That efficiency is key for medical cannabis patients and hobby growers. Since most cannabis regulations limit plant counts, growers cultivating a small crop of cannabis for personal use want to ensure they’re getting the most out of their grow.
Male plants don’t just take up space in a garden, either. They can also sap time and resources from growers. When male and female plants are both present, growers need to cultivate both until their sexes are clear. While some strains will show early signs of their sex before flowering begins, most cannabis plants don’t begin to express their sex until they start to mature past the vegetative stage.
This change occurs when the photoperiod, or amount of light and dark that the plant receives, changes to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark. In outdoor gardens this change can happen naturally with the seasons or, in more controlled environments like indoor gardens, by human intervention using light timers.
Once those plants are old enough, growers have to go to the trouble of actually determining their sex, monitoring each individual plant to ensure any males are removed before they can pollinate their female counterparts.
Growers can avoid spending weeks nurturing plants with only a 50% chance of expressing as female and maximize the space and plant count in their gardens by using feminized seeds from suppliers like Kannabia. These specially-treated seeds increase the probability of producing a female plant to 99%.
How Are Cannabis Seeds Feminized?
Treating cannabis seeds with a silver thiosulphate solution can ensure the resulting plants are females. (Courtesy of Kannabia)
There are a few techniques that can produce reliably feminized seeds. One classic method is stressing out a healthy female plant by interrupting its light cycle during flowering. While that works to an extent, the more common and controlled method is to spray down female plants with a collodial silver or silver thiosulphate solution. This method makes it possible to control the sex of a plant without any genetic tinkering or modification.
Both substances are a blend of water and fine silver particles, and they work in largely the same fashion. The silver solution impedes the production of ethylene, a hormone involved in flowering. The result is a female plant, but one that produces male flowers with pollen sacs. Since those pollen sacs develop on a plant with only female genetics, female genetics are all they carry. When those flowers pollinate another female plant (one untreated by silver solutions), the resulting seeds are nearly certain to be female.
Treating plants with a silver thiosulphate solution results in seeds that will produce feminized plants nearly 100% of the time, and Kannabia’s breeders have found this method to be the most effective way to maintain the stability of the seeds and future feminized plants.
Feminized Varieties to Try in Your Garden
Using feminized seeds can make it easier for home growers to cultivate strains like Russian Doll. (Courtesy of Kannabia)
Growing cannabis in your home is legal in an increasing number of states and provinces throughout the United States and Canada. To make starting a home garden easy, growers can start with feminized seeds for many popular strains from providers like Kannabia.
“In our search to find new genetics, Kannabia paired us with their feminized Russian Doll seeds,” say growers at Canada’s BlueSky Organics. “Every seed germinated, and now that we are in the late vegetative stage, these plants have an extremely hardy trunk preparing themselves for some massive buds.”
If you have more questions about strains or seeds, keep digging through Leafly’s resources. And to learn more about the variety of feminized seeds available to you, visit Kannabia’s website to see its full line of feminized genetics, including strains like Diesel Glue and the award-winning Mataro Blue.
Promotions are offered solely by Kannabia Seed Company. Terms and conditions may apply—contact Kannabia for full details.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
10 Interesting Facts About Cannabis Seeds
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.
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.