Feminized cannabis seeds are seeds that have been genetically created to produce only female cannabis plants. Feminized seeds have been a revolution for growers and have changed home grow operations forever. This article is the story of the process by which we finally arrived at feminized seeds. Read here to find out more.
Most growers are familiar with the term “feminized” marijuana seeds, and these seeds have basically revolutionized growing cannabis at home. Feminized cannabis seeds have enabled growers to maximize the ratio of female plants to male to increase yield. But this genetic process didn’t happen overnight, and required a lot of observation of the gender selection of marijuana plants.
So how did one of the grower’s biggest helpers come to be? It really is a story of genetic experimentation with the best weed on the planet at the hands of some very intelligent Dutch geneticists. A mixture of understanding the way the plant chooses its sex and adjusting the environment accordingly, along with some very clever genetic tricks, is effectively what created the feminized seed. This is the story of how they did it.
Understanding the basics of gender selection
The first step in creating feminized seeds was for geneticists to understand how it is that the plant even chooses to be female. Of course, this boils down to a lot of factors. Most of these are environmental. Basically, the plant uses gender selection as a survival mechanism just as much as it does any other genetic selection. Depending on the environment, weed will choose the gender that makes it more likely to survive.
If you’ve grown cannabis before, you might have noticed that you get more hermaphrodite or male plants when the conditions are stressful. This is one of the basic principles that was applied when trying to create feminized seeds. Marijuana’s ability to grow female and male plants separately makes it hard to study its gender selection. The truth is that we don’t know exactly how it chooses gender. With this knowledge, Dutch geneticists designed an experiment in 1999 to produce seeds that would grow more female plants than male plants.
The 1999 Experiment
Unfortunately, there are no seed banks out there that are willing to disclose their exact process for getting feminized seeds, but the principle is understandable by anybody. The experiment was conducted in 1999 in Holland and was designed using the following process.
Two female plants were selected, one of which was prone to being a hermaphrodite when stressed. This means that any interruption in light or any other variable could encourage the plant to grow male flowers, containing pollen. That pollen is then used to pollinate the true female plant, theoretically producing seeds that are more likely to grow up to be females.
The Dutch seed bank started this experiment with 15 different varieties of seeds and ran the experiment 30 times per variety. Their results were completely astounding. Nine out of fifteen of the seed varieties selected produced completely 100% female plants. From the results collected from the other six varieties, there were then genetic hurdles to work through. For example, some seeds inherited more genes from the hermaphrodite plants, and then went on to produce more hermaphrodites. Thorough work through this means that feminized seeds have arrived at being almost 100% reliable at producing female offspring. Of course, extremely stressful environments can still create a hermaphrodite, as environmental conditions play such an enormous role in gender selection. However, maintaining a feminine breeding program pretty much guarantees a grow room full of female plants.
So why would a grower choose regular cannabis seeds?
Most of the worldwide sales of cannabis seeds are feminized seeds, but there are still a lot of growers out there using the old school method with regular seeds. For those growers out there who have an interest in cannabis genetics and creating strains, regular cannabis seeds are usually a better option. When creating strains, it is important to have male plants to pollinate so that seeds can be produced. Plus, genetic variation is more likely in a batch of regular seeds than in a batch of feminized seeds, and these spontaneous irregularities are usually what excited those creating new strains.
At the end of the day, if you are growing at home for personal use, then feminized seeds make growing weed a whole lot easier. The technology means that basically anybody can ensure a totally female garden and not have to waste energy or nutrients on male plants. Unless of course, you are on a really tight budget (regular seeds are cheaper), or you are interested in experimenting with genetics or crossing strains – then regular cannabis seeds would be a better fit for you!