If you want to buy and use hemp seeds, you should ask first whether you want to purchase feminized or normal hemp seeds. To feminized seeds, regular seeds are specially treated. There are basically two different methods of feminizing cannabis seeds. The goal is to always produce a female plant with male flowers. As a rule, existing plants are cloned instead of being preserved through natural reproduction.
Formation of feminized seeds
One way to get female plants produced from male flowers is to spray them with silver thiosulfate (STS) solution before flowering. It is also possible to put the plant under stress during flowering, for example to expose it to a different light cycle. The stressed seeds begin to hermaphroditic, producing both female and male flowers. The pollen from the male flowers of the female plant is then used to pollinate other female plants during the flowering period. Two female plants are crossed and the resulting seeds only contain female genes. They are now referred to as feminized.
Advantages and disadvantages of feminized seeds for growing
- Feminized seeds allow you not to worry about this problem, as almost certainly any plants you have planted will be female. This saves time (imagine the frustration of a grower seeing that all plants are “male”) and energy.
- Fertilization and thus seed formation is excluded. This could contaminate the end product. If you use regular seeds, male plants can also develop, which must then be selected out before flowering. The workload and the necessary care are therefore significantly higher than breeding purely feminized seeds.
- Plus, unless you’re not an extremely lucky person, planting feminized seeds is more profitable. You no longer need to buy 10-15 seeds in the hope of getting 5 female plants, you just buy the number of seeds you need (we still recommend taking “with a reserve”, 1-2 kernels more, as some of the seeds may not germinate).
However, there are also disadvantages:
- Feminized seeds are, as just explained, produced with the help of hermaphrodites. These plants, called hermaphrodites, have weaker genetic makeup than natural plants. In practical terms, this means that plants from feminized seeds are more likely to have high, lean growth. They can also hiver more easily under stress. Your buds are often smaller.
- Plants derived from feminized seeds cannot become a cloning donor. Rather, you can clone it once or multiple times, but limited genetic resources will quickly lead to the extinction of your plants. They’re the product of a genetic modification of human origin. Often this modification comes at the expense of other characteristics of the plant.
The decision is to be made individually
Each grower has to decide for himself which type of seed makes the most sense for himself. Feminized seeds are usually better for novice and casual growers alike. They are less maintenance-intensive as they do not have to be selected and they produce a good harvest indoors after just three months. Experienced growers usually use regular seeds, but then have to select them, destroy the males and pull a mother out of the females. Seeds can then be cloned again and again and contain consistently good genetic material.