Many growers believe that feminized seeds can cause hermies, and there is some truth to that. In order to create a feminized seed, one of the parent female plants had to be forced in some way to produce pollen.
So if you do choose to purchase feminized seeds (or any seeds really), please make sure you get them from a trusted breeder!
It’s important to understand that hermies can happen a couple of different ways. And the different types of hermies affect what genes are being passed on to the seeds.
What’s most important, whether you get feminized seeds or not, is to get your seeds from a breeder who has a reputation for producing quality genetics. That is the best thing you can do for any strain to ensure a smooth grow. With a great breeder, you have a very low risk of running into any sex or gender problems.
You don’t have to throw away half your plants after nurturing them for weeks
The pollen sacs on this masculinized female plant have opened and pollen has spilled onto the leaf below
Cannabis growers are trying to grow sinsemilla (seedless buds). A few seeds won’t hurt anything. But if you have very seedy buds, it significantly lowers your yields because plants are putting all their energy into making seeds. The buds also tend to be less potent if they are full of seeds. Seeds are not the end of the world, but it’s good to avoid if possible.
Pros of Feminized Cannabis Seeds
Choosing the Right Cannabis Breeder
"Hermie" cannabis plants can look like normal female plants at first glance, but they produce pollen that causes seedy buds. Hermies are to be avoided!"
The predominant way to preserve the exact genetics of a plant is by cloning. However, a plant crossed with itself produces seeds that retain its parent’s favorable characteristics. Another reason to use this technique is to create a hybrid of two female plants. If a branch of one female is turned “male,” there will be pollen to fertilize the other plant, and to create seed when no male is around. Feminized seeds are produced by inducing a normal female, not a hermaphrodite, to grow male flowers with viable pollen.
Gibberellins are hormones that plants produce to regulate many phases of their growth. Several of the gibberellins, such as GA3, 4, 5 and 7, induce male flowers when they are sprayed on female plants before they begin flowering. GA3, which is the gibberellin most commonly available commercially, is the most effective. For best results, use a solution of 0.01% (0.1 gram GA3 in a liter of distilled water). Gibberellin must be used carefully. Lower doses result in fewer male flowers. Higher amounts have an inhibitory effect. Lightly spray the tops of the plant for five consecutive days and then force the plants to flower by increasing the uninterrupted dark period to 12 hours a day. The sprayed area will stretch a bit, but within two weeks, the first signs of male flowers will appear. They will be ripe and ready to release pollen in another two weeks.
Silver thiosulfate is more effective than silver nitrate; that is, it induces more male flowers. Sometimes the two chemicals are used together. Spray the plant until the liquid drips off the leaves. Then immediately change the light regimen from vegetative to flowering. The leaves will droop and stop growing for a few days, yellow a bit and then regain turgidity. Male flower growth will become apparent in a couple of weeks. The flowers will ripen a few weeks later.
Hermaphrodite cannabis plant.
A similar thing happens when female plants are treated with masculinizing chemicals. The difference is that while a mature human has already formed her sex organs, every time a plant produces a new flower, it is growing a new sex organ. Plants under chemical influence grow viable male flowers, even though the plant is still a female with two X chromosomes, the pollen has only female chromosomes.
They each inhibit the plant’s production of ethylene, a hormone that promotes female flowering. Without ethylene, female flower production is reduced or stopped. The actions of these chemicals are localized. If only one branch of a plant is sprayed, that branch will be the only one affected. The rest of the plant will continue growing female flowers, not males.
Feminized seeds produce only female plants, and when they germinate there will be few males among them if they are produced correctly. The threat of accidentally pollinating crops by misidentifying a male is minimized. A male-free crop is only one reason to use all-female seeds: another might be the preservation of a particular characteristic or plant type.
Close up: Early male buds.
By far, the noted breeder Soma developed the easiest method. He noticed that when colas of many varieties reached late ripeness (which, by the way, I prefer as the harvest-time) a few viable male flowers appear. This is also a sign that the buds are ripe. Harvest the pollen using a fresh watercolor brush and brush it directly on the flowers or store it in a small glass or metal container. Not all varieties produce male flowers at the end of ripeness, but many do, and they do it reliably. Very small amounts of pollen are produced using this method, but a little pollen applied properly goes a long way.
Feminized seeds are not as mysterious or weird as they might seem.