Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 19, 2023

Cannabis cultivation has turned into an art form over the years as growers keep inventing new ways to maximize the yields and the potency of their beloved crops. Today, there are various methods that are used by growers to make their job a little easier without compromising the quality of the weed, and one of them is using feminized seeds

You’ve probably heard about feminized seeds and if you’ve been wanting to know more, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we cover all about what they are and how they’re produced by professionals, as well as how you can produce them yourself.

Why the Difference Between Male Plants and Female Plants is Important

Cannabis plants are dioecious, meaning they develop male and female organs in separate plants. However, as a grower, you won’t be able to tell which sex your plants are until 5-6 weeks after germination, or right before the flowering stage starts and when the light cycle starts to change. That’s when your crops will start revealing their sex organs. 

The male plants will develop pollen sacs, often called male flowers. These are two green round structures that are filled with pollen. The female plants will develop female flowers, and you can recognize them by the thin white hairs protruding from the calyxes which will eventually grow into mature buds.

Here Are the Details

The main difference between male and female flowers is that the male flowers are very low in resin, and therefore low in THC and CBD. It is, in fact, female plants that produce resinous buds that are abundant in cannabinoids and terpenes, and it’s these buds that are actually consumed.

Here’s how it works: most growers remove the male plants as soon as they identify them to avoid getting the female cannabis plants pollinated. Why, you ask? It’s simple. Once the female plant gets pollinated, it starts producing seeds instead of cannabinoids. Pollination weakens the overall potency of the harvest and produces seedy weed, and no one likes that. High-quality buds are always seedless (sinsemilla) because they’re carefully bred.

When you grow cannabis with regular seeds, the ratio of male to female plants will be roughly 50:50 because that’s just how the cannabis plant is naturally wired. This means that you’ll have to throw away half of your crops when the flowering stage has started just because they’re male. The solution? Use feminized seeds. It’ll change your life.

What Are Feminized Cannabis Seeds?

In simple terms, feminized seeds are seeds produced by breeding two female plants together. One of the plants is chemically induced to grow pollen sacs, like a male plant, whose pollen can be used to pollinate other female plants. The trick is that because these pollen sacs are produced in a female plant, they will only contain female (or X) chromosomes. 

When a female plant is pollinated with “female pollen,” the resulting seeds will be female, or in other words, the resulting plants from these seeds will all be female.

How Exactly Are the Cannabis Seeds Feminized?

As we said, the idea of seed feminization is to force a female plant to produce pollen. To do this, cultivators use select chemicals which hinder the production of ethylene, a plant hormone that promotes the production of female flowers. 

Professionally, colloidal silver and gibberellic acid are the most commonly used chemical solutions. Cultivators spray the chosen bud sites with one of these solutions for the first 3-4 weeks after flowering when the light cycle is switched to equal hours of light and darkness. The buds are sprayed several times per day until the pollen sacs have matured. 

When the pollen sacs are mature enough, the cultivators collect the pollen and manually pollinate the other female plants in order to get female seeds. Only the treated bud sites will develop male pollen sacs, while the untreated ones will still have female buds.

Why You Should Use Feminized Marijuana Seeds

If you’re not a breeder attempting to cross different cannabis strains and want to cultivate marijuana for pure pleasure, using feminized seeds is the better option.

First of all, you won’t have to spend a lot of time cultivating plants of which half will be thrown away. It’s a waste of nutrients and space to grow plants you will eventually not use. This is especially important for home growers who are very limited in space and would rather get the maximum yields in their grow rooms. It’s generally much more efficient to grow with feminized seeds as it saves you precious resources and energy.

Feminized seeds of nearly every popular cannabis strain can be found in many seed banks. If you do decide to purchase some, make sure you buy from a reputable seed bank to obtain high-quality seeds. Otherwise, you may end up with hermaphrodite plants, which are just as useless, as they will pollinate the rest of the plants.

You Can Feminize Cannabis Seeds Yourself With These Methods

If you’re feeling adventurous enough, you can feminize your own seeds. Feminizing the seeds at home is done with the same chemical solutions, you just need to be super diligent with it and hope for the best.

The Rodelization Method

Rodelization is the most natural method to induce the production of pollen sacs in a female plant, but also the least reliable one. Basically, it involves prolonging the flowering stage of the female plant way beyond harvest time. This will put the plant under stress which will cause it to produce its own pollen sacs.

In nature, this is a defense mechanism. When the plant is faced with harsh environmental conditions or any other stressors that can cause extinction, it develops its own pollen sacs so that it can keep reproducing. This is a genius defense mechanism, but when you try to recreate it in controlled conditions, it may not respond well or the resulting seeds may produce hermie plants. Therefore, compared to other methods, it’s not recommended.

The Colloidal Silver Method

Using colloidal silver is way better and more reliable than the rodelization method. Colloidal silver is a solution with microscopic particles of pure silver and distilled water. You can easily purchase colloidal silver online or in commercial stores, and its strength should be at least 15 ppm, or even better, 30 ppm.

A word of caution when you use chemicals for feminization – it’s recommended that you discard the whole plant once you’re done collecting the pollen (for safety reasons). Even though it will have precious buds, you can never be sure that parts of the chemical didn’t end up on them. So, it’s better not to harvest those buds for consumption.

The Gibberellic Acids Method

Gibberellic acids are also effective for feminization, but not as effective as colloidal silver. Still, you can have success with it. Gibberellins are a group of plant hormones that stimulate the growth of the cannabis plant during the germination, vegetation, and flowering phase. 

Some gibberellic acids like GA3, 4, 5, and 7 can induce the growth of pollen sacs when they’re applied on female cannabis flowers. GA3 is the most commonly used, and the recommended amount is  0.1 gram per liter of distilled water.

The Takeaway – Feminizing Your Own Seeds Is Worth the Effort, or You Can Just Buy Them

If you’ve ever grown cannabis from regular seeds, you probably know how tiring it is to constantly check on your crops when they start flowering (just so you can remove the male flowers on time). However, with buying feminized seeds, all your troubles will be gone. You will get seedless female flowers that are much easier to take care of as you can focus most of your time on cultivating them properly and getting the best of their potential.

If you’re feeling brave, you can try feminizing cannabis seeds yourself. It may not be 100% successful the first time, but if you’re persistent, you will soon catch the drift. In any other case, many seed banks offer a wide selection of feminized seeds – just make sure they’re authentic.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


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