As a whole, flora may have male and female individuals, or single individuals may pollinate themselves. Cannabis plants usually develop as separate male or female plants. Alternatively, an individual, which would normally present as male or female, can unexpectedly produce opposite sex flowers (ie: male flowers on a female plant).
The latter happens primarily when the plant experiences an environmental stressor. The female cannabis plant recognizes it may not survive for the length of time necessary to reproduce, or a male plant may not be near enough to pollinate it, so it pollinates itself. Factors such as temperature fluctuations, light cycle changes, and physical damage can cause this mutation.
The cannabis plant’s ability to react this way makes it a suitable species for the creation of feminized varieties. First appearing on the market in the late 1990s, the original feminized strains were not very reliable. Due to secrecy in the cannabis breeding community, most attempts at their creation failed, more often resulting in hermaphroditic plants that would not produce buds.
New and Improved Feminized Cannabis Seeds
Today, however, feminized cannabis seeds are extremely stable and reliable. They are created by inducing a female plant to produce “female pollen”, which is used to pollinate a second, regular female plant. The seeds from this union will have no male chromosomes – they will produce only female plants.On the market, a feminized cannabis seed is one that is guaranteed (99%) to be a female plant – in other words, it contains no Y chromosomes. Feminized seeds are very useful to growers, as the female cannabis plant is the one that creates the buds for harvest, while male plants only pollinate the females – they do not produce cannabis flowers for medication.
In the past, regular (non-feminized) cannabis seeds have proved problematic for cannabis gardeners. If a grower were to plant 10 cannabis seeds those seeds would, on average, develop into five male and five female plants. In a worst-case scenario, all the plants could be male.
As there is no reliable way to determine the chromosomes before planting, growers of regular cannabis seeds must plant twice as many seeds as desired plants, and wait until sexing is possible. Then the male cannabis plants must be removed before they can pollinate the females; if pollination occurs, only low quality, “seeded” flowers will be produced.
Feminized cannabis seeds allow growers to plant fewer seeds initially. They eliminate the time and knowledge required to identify and remove the male plants, and eliminate the possibility of damaging an entire crop due to one overlooked male plant.
If you want to grow cannabis so you can harvest medical flowers and treat your condition, or just relax – specifically, if you have no interest in harvesting seeds for replanting – go with feminized cannabis seeds. They will:
- Prevent you from having to learn to identify male plants,
- ensure all the seeds that germinate will grow into harvestable plants, and
- save you money on seeds that turn out to be male and have to be weeded.