Growing Marijuana 101: Feminized Seeds

Marijuana plants growingDid you know that the marijuana buds you know and love, that you smoke, vaporize, or bake into edibles, come only from the females of the species?

Marijuana plants which grow in the wild are 50% female and 50% male. Up until very recently, growers had to estimate the number of plants they wanted and germinate double that amount of seeds. When the plants matured and began to show their gender, growers would then weed out the males and continue growing the females.

Feminized seeds, however, were created to simplify this process and produce only female plants. They have been something of a revolution for marijuana growers.

Why Don’t Growers Want Male Plants 

One of the main reasons that growers don’t want male plants is because male plants do not produce THC, which is the main psychoactive component in cannabis. Male plants have no recreational and limited medicinal value.

Furthermore, male plants will pollinate any surrounding females. A pollinated female will put some of its energy into producing seeds instead of THC production. Pollinated female plants can and do still produce potent buds, but will likely not reach the same THC levels as unpollinated females.

How Are Marijuana Seeds Feminized?

The process of seed feminization has always been something of a secret. Individual breeders and seed companies usually have their own unique methods, as well as varying results. Nevertheless, the underlying process is usually the same.

Seed feminization starts with at least two plants that have conclusively shown their genders to be female. One of these plants is then induced to produce male flowers, essentially creating what is known as a female hermaphrodite. When the female plant is pollinated with pollen from the hermaphrodite plant, the seeds that it produces should all be genetically female.

Will Feminized Seeds Always Produce Female Plants?

Many seed companies have an excellent reputation of producing feminized seeds, often with success rates above 95%, meaning that 95% of the marijuana plants grown from their seeds do, in fact, turn out to be female.

However, feminized seeds may also turn out to be hermaphrodite from time to time, or may be more likely to turn hermaphrodite due to environmental stresses. It is also not unheard of for growers to end up with a male plant from what was supposed to be a feminized seed.

If the feminization process was done correctly, then males should not be a genetic possibility. So, if you’re purchasing feminized seeds, then check out the seller’s reputation first.

Are Feminized Seeds Worth It?

Feminized seeds are definitely worth the money, especially for new growers. The majority of crops are started from seeds, and it is only after a grower has some experience under their belt that they may start making clones out of certain favorite mother plants. Even then, growers need to purchase seeds if they wish to start growing a new strain.

Feminized seeds have become the market standard and, because they do deliver on their promise of producing female marijuana plants, this is not likely going to change anytime soon.