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What Are Feminized Cannabis Seeds?

This article is sponsored by Kannabia Seed Company, an award-winning cannabis seed company headquartered in Spain. Using only the highest quality genetics on the market, their grower-oriented approach has made cannabis cultivation simple and satisfying for growers of all skill levels for years.

Anyone who’s ever savored a joint owes their enjoyment to the fruits of the cannabis plant, but moreover, to the female of the species. That’s because only female cannabis plants produce the cannabinoid-rich flowers that deliver the flavors and effects consumers look for.

This is why many North American growers are turning to feminized seeds—cannabis seeds that carry only female genetics, and can be relied on to produce only female plants. By creatively applying technologies to seed feminization, modern breeders like Kannabia can ensure female genetics in seeds with a nearly 100% success rate.

Male vs. Female Cannabis Plants

Diesel Glue marijuana strain grown from Kannabia's feminized marijuana seeds

A bud of Diesel Glue grown from Kannabia’s feminized seeds. (Courtesy of Kannabia)

Cannabis plants that are pollinated naturally or with traditional breeding techniques can produce both male or female seeds. These are known as regular seeds and, as in most species, they occur with about an even split between the two sexes. That means cannabis cultivators starting with standard seeds have about a 50% chance of yielding a female plant from each one.

As a result, growing cannabis from regular seeds isn’t very efficient—it’s akin to running a bakery that has to throw out every second loaf of bread. Growers working from regular seeds have to account for the fact that roughly half of their plants could be males. While those plants are of some value to breeders, folks growing for flower won’t find much to like in them, and too many male plants can spoil a grow.


4 ways to make use of male cannabis plants

Traditionally, the solution to this has been an inelegant one, with many cultivators planting at least twice as many seeds as they hope to harvest with the assumption that about half of them will be useless. However big a harvest you’re looking for, using regular seeds means you’ll have to plant twice that many seeds.

Why Grow From Feminized Cannabis Seeds?

cannabis plants from feminized marijuana seeds growing indoors

Cultivators depend on feminized seeds for efficient growing cycles. (Courtesy of Mr. Sticky Farm)

There are numerous advantages for growers who start their garden using feminized seeds. By removing the guesswork of germinating regular seeds, feminized seeds streamline the growing process, saving space and time.

That efficiency is key for medical cannabis patients and hobby growers. Since most cannabis regulations limit plant counts, growers cultivating a small crop of cannabis for personal use want to ensure they’re getting the most out of their grow.


Beginner’s Guide to Cannabis Breeding, Genetics, and Strain Variability

Male plants don’t just take up space in a garden, either. They can also sap time and resources from growers. When male and female plants are both present, growers need to cultivate both until their sexes are clear. While some strains will show early signs of their sex before flowering begins, most cannabis plants don’t begin to express their sex until they start to mature past the vegetative stage.

This change occurs when the photoperiod, or amount of light and dark that the plant receives, changes to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark. In outdoor gardens this change can happen naturally with the seasons or, in more controlled environments like indoor gardens, by human intervention using light timers.

Once those plants are old enough, growers have to go to the trouble of actually determining their sex, monitoring each individual plant to ensure any males are removed before they can pollinate their female counterparts.


Male vs. female cannabis: How to determine the sex of your plant

Growers can avoid spending weeks nurturing plants with only a 50% chance of expressing as female and maximize the space and plant count in their gardens by using feminized seeds from suppliers like Kannabia. These specially-treated seeds increase the probability of producing a female plant to 99%.

How Are Cannabis Seeds Feminized?

feminized cannabis seeds from Kannabia

Treating cannabis seeds with a silver thiosulphate solution can ensure the resulting plants are females. (Courtesy of Kannabia)

There are a few techniques that can produce reliably feminized seeds. One classic method is stressing out a healthy female plant by interrupting its light cycle during flowering. While that works to an extent, the more common and controlled method is to spray down female plants with a collodial silver or silver thiosulphate solution. This method makes it possible to control the sex of a plant without any genetic tinkering or modification.


Cannabis Genotypes and Phenotypes: What Makes a Strain Unique?

Both substances are a blend of water and fine silver particles, and they work in largely the same fashion. The silver solution impedes the production of ethylene, a hormone involved in flowering. The result is a female plant, but one that produces male flowers with pollen sacs. Since those pollen sacs develop on a plant with only female genetics, female genetics are all they carry. When those flowers pollinate another female plant (one untreated by silver solutions), the resulting seeds are nearly certain to be female.

Treating plants with a silver thiosulphate solution results in seeds that will produce feminized plants nearly 100% of the time, and Kannabia’s breeders have found this method to be the most effective way to maintain the stability of the seeds and future feminized plants.

Feminized Varieties to Try in Your Garden

Russian Doll marijuana strain from feminized marijuana seeds

Using feminized seeds can make it easier for home growers to cultivate strains like Russian Doll. (Courtesy of Kannabia)

Growing cannabis in your home is legal in an increasing number of states and provinces throughout the United States and Canada. To make starting a home garden easy, growers can start with feminized seeds for many popular strains from providers like Kannabia.

“In our search to find new genetics, Kannabia paired us with their feminized Russian Doll seeds,” say growers at Canada’s BlueSky Organics. “Every seed germinated, and now that we are in the late vegetative stage, these plants have an extremely hardy trunk preparing themselves for some massive buds.”

If you have more questions about strains or seeds, keep digging through Leafly’s resources. And to learn more about the variety of feminized seeds available to you, visit Kannabia’s website to see its full line of feminized genetics, including strains like Diesel Glue and the award-winning Mataro Blue.

Promotions are offered solely by Kannabia Seed Company. Terms and conditions may apply—contact Kannabia for full details.

  • Raul Tsi

    do plants grown from feminized seeds have healthy genotypes that will endure long term propagation via cloning i.e. a clone mother grown from feminized seeds?

    • justadbeer

      Yes. Absolutely. Remember, not all seeds are created equal, even from the same plant. You still need to grow and LAB TEST them to find your best mother plant, thus “weeding out” (no pun intended) unwanted results, giving you the best of the best. Growing from seed will give you a different results every time and you’ll have no idea what your getting until it’s to late. There are advantages & disadvantages to both sides of the coin and obviously outdoor growers tend to use seed. But in my experience, medical users want consistency in a product that they rely on, which is where clones shine. Rec users needn’t be as picky. By the way, our cloned plants have a thick woody base that are an 1-1/2″ or more in dia, with a massive root system inside the res.

  • Truepatriot_56

    i tried making my own feminized seeds. the female plant made bunches of big male flowers on the branch i treated, but not a speck of pollen to be found. they were big, fat male flowers, but nothing. i don’t get it.

    • MyNameIsTaken

      Sometimes you have to take something, like tweezers, to open the little “bananas” to get at the pollen for use.

      I have had a couple of failures but mostly success. Keep trying and you’ll get there. Also, start spraying the branch before cutting the light back and keep spraying at least once a day.

      Best of luck.

  • William

    I have seen Sativa growing wild, by the tens if not hundreds of thousands of plants. They were all in scattered groups of about 15-30 plants. There would be one male plant in the middle of the group; every one of the hundreds of “groups” within my site at any point. Many female plants, one male, in the middle. I don’t know why, but, and that’s the way they grow, at least where I saw them. It would appear there is some kind of chemical process going on to produce such a growth. Any suggestions as to what and how that is happening? One male, in the center, not the edges, every clump. Thanks

  • Rod is on the Gas

    Planting seeds derived from hermies (hermorphodites) produces many, many sexually deficient hermies. While being transgender may be a mammal adaptation, it’s absolutely detrimental to flower quality of cannabis by self pollination. Hermie clones are a crop destroyer.
    The finest flower comes from pure females. The finest seeds come from the same pure females pollinated by pure males. Producing Frankenstein style plants benefits nobody.

  • RadRadley

    Aren’t plants from hermie seeds more likely to be hermie themselves?

  • Chris

    Super article. Heads up: thiosulfate is misspelled

  • frambley1

    Does anyone know anyone who sells feminized seeds for reasonable prices? I am in California.