How to Feminize Seeds
The cannabis industry has evolved more in the last 15 years than it has in the last century. Society has also evolved, allowing cannabis and the idea of weed to slowly make its way into pop culture, with more and more strains available as well as accessories for smoking or consuming cannabis. Nowadays, pretty much anyone can grow cannabis in their own house with all of the necessary equipment to make their own strains. Years ago only a select few had access to such equipment. Today we’re going to show you how to feminize seeds. You won’t need many items to do so, and the ones you do need are easy enough to get.
Like most living creatures, cannabis plants need a male and a female specimen to reproduce; the male pollinates the female plant which causes seeds to grow. The resulting seeds have genes from both the mother and father plants, so it has a 50% possibility of being female or male. This is why you need to find a way to get your seeds by using just female plants, completely getting rid of male genes, which only leaves the possibility for female seeds.
How to Feminize Seeds | Tutorial
Many growers know that if you stress out cannabis plants, they can easily become hermaphoridtes (a plant with both male and female sex organs) which end up creating male flowers that create pollen which then “impregnates” the plant and others around it. The issue with stress-caused hermaphrodite plants is that most of the resulting seeds tend to be hermaphrodites too, so it’s not the best method to use and it also stresses your plants out quite a lot.
In order to turn a female plant male without stressing it out, all you need is some Silver Thiosulfate, also known as STS. If you apply STS to female plants it will modify their ethylene levels, which is the hormone in charge of determining the sex of certain plants. This causes female plants to change sex and turn into males without the disadvantage of male genes.
Making your own STS only takes about 15 to 20 minutes and you’ll need two ingredients: Sodium Thiosulfate and Silver Nitrate, both of which can easily be found in any pharmacy and on our webstore. Sodium Thiosulfate is a neutral chemical salt that’s used to reduce side-effects in some cancer treatments and can easily be bought without a prescription.
You can acquire silver nitrate on our webstore, although some people prefer to extract it from other products that contain it, such as Argenpal, a product used to get rid of warts – each one of these little contains a very small amount of Silver Nitrate, so it’s probably better just to buy it directly without the need to spend more money or spend forever trying to extract the Silver Nitrate from the product itself. We stock Panreac Silver Nitrate, which may be a bit more expensive but you’re guaranteed the best quality, and it saves quite a lot of time.
How to Feminize Seeds | Making STS
You’ll need protective material such as gloves, safety glasses and a face mask; STS can be quite toxic when inhaled and it can leave large burns on the skin. Make sure you don’t use any metallic objects when making STS – everything should be plastic, as metal can alter the composition and reduce efficiency.
Do not use metal instruments or tools in this process. The first thing you’ll need to do is grab a plastic cup and pour in 20ml of distilled water. Next, depending on your chosen method, get either 7 Argenpal sticks or 0.35g silver nitrate. If working with Argenplal, dilute the tips delicately in the water (the tip is where the silver nitrate is). Grab another plastic cup and add 30ml distilled water and 1.3g of sodium thiosulfate, mixing it slowly until it’s fully dissolved. Then, mix the contents of both glasses and mix slowly again – make sure to use a plastic spoon, no metal.
The result is 50ml of pure Silver Thiosulfate, much too potent to use on your plants, so you’ll need to water it down a bit. Add your Silver Thiosulfate to 400ml of distilled water, so you’ll have around 450ml of STS. Make sure to shake quite a lot until it’s completely mixed. It’s still much too concentrated to apply straight onto your plants; take 100ml of the mixture you just made and add it to 400ml mor of distilled water. You now have 500ml of a usable STS mixture that’s ready to be used on your plants.
For maximum efficiency you’ll need to use it the same day you make it. If stored in a dark, cool space it can last up to 15 days but each day it’ll be a bit less potent. If you have it for over a week and haven’t used it we recommend making another batch if you want the best possible results.
How to Feminize Seeds | How to use STS
STS is used by spraying it on your plants leaves, making sure that it’s entirely covered and dripping. We recommend taking the plant away from your growing area before beginning the process, or the mixture might end up getting on your other plants too. You’ll need to begin applying it 4 or 5 days after flipping the lights, right before your lights go off. This allows you to spray the plant without worrying about the light burning your plants. After 10 days, you need to respray your plants, using the same process, covering the plant in the mixture and letting it soak in in the dark.
The sprayed plant will begin growing male flowers with pollen with can then be used to pollinate whichever plant you want, causing seeds to appear that have absolutely no male genes in them. You can use the pollinated plant in order to make extracts from its resin; the amount of seeds it’ll produce will render it pretty much useless in as far as smokeable flowers. The plant that you’ve applied the STS to will need to be thrown away, as it’s much too toxic to do anything with and if you consume any of it, even its resin, you could run in to some health issues.
When should you polinate your plants?
In order to efficiently pollinate select plants, we recommend having two completely separate grow rooms or areas to work in. One should be for the plants that you’re planning on switching to male in order to obtain female polen; the other should be specifically for the plants that you plan on pollinating once you’ve reverted the other ones.
When using the pollen that you’ve collected from your reverted plants, you need to make sure that the plant that you plan on using it on is fully ready for it; this can depend on the strain you’re growing. The right time to begin applying feminized pollen is actually right when your plants begin to flow real flowers.
You generally want to use the pollen as fresh as possible on a plant that is fully ready to take it on, or else it simply might not work – it’s kind of like people, in that sense. Certain things need to be just right. To harvest large amounts of high quality seeds, you’re probably better off doing a few tests in order to find out when the right moment is. You can do this by testing it out on the same strain before going big.
How to Feminize Seeds | Make your own strains
When making your own seeds you can combine your favorite strains, resulting in a plant that you’ve created yourself that is 100% feminized. When you combine two strains, you’ll get various phenotypes with varying qualities and structures. It’s important that you use regular seeds to do this, as feminized ones are much too weak and might have issues such as stress and end up becoming hermaphrodites.
In order to stabilize the genes in your resulting plants, you’ll need to select the phenotypes you like the most, meaning that you’ll need to grow quite a lot of the seeds that you get from your feminized plant. Then, take a clone from each plant and set them to flower in order to study their characteristics. Once you’re done, you’ll need to pick two mother plants, revert them and cross them with each other to get a more balanced version. This process is repeated as many times as necessary in order to create a balanced strain that has the characteristics you’re looking for.
Feminizing cannabis seeds is quite the process. You need to be able to keep perfect track and control of the timing when it comes to flowering and pollen yield if you want the best possible results. Take your time, do a few controlled tests and then you can start making large amounts of your own seeds.
Learn how to feminize seeds at home. Use silver thiosulphate to make your very own cannabis hybrids with your favorite strains for the best results.
How To Make Feminized Cannabis Seeds Like The Pros
Growing from feminized cannabis seeds is a space and resource-efficient way of getting all girls, all the time. Find out how to create your own feminized cannabis with Royal Queen Seeds.
MAKING FEMINIZED SEEDS
Growing cannabis is all about resinous flowers, trichomes, and rich cannabinoid profiles. These splendid characteristics can only be found on the female flowers. Having gardens full of robust, un-pollinated sinsemilla females means jars full of mind and body-friendly, crusty nuggets.
The only bummer, unless you grow from clones, is that cannabis is wired to produce about 50% male seeds and 50% females. It is just the nature of the beast.
Wouldn’t it be sweet if it was possible to grow all females from seed, every plant, every time?
Well, that is where the feminizing technique comes into play: two methods of manipulating the cannabis plant to produce only females from seed, every-time. To be truthful, it isn’t every single time. But 99% of the time is a pretty good number, and could be considered entirely male risk-free.
The general practice behind feminization is that female plants are forced to produce pollen, which is in turn used to pollinate other female plants. The outcome? Resulting seeds will be feminized, with no risk of further pollination.
Feminized seeds are super efficient for indoor and outdoor gardeners. Area, time, and resources aren’t being given to plants that will be thrown away two weeks after the 12-12 flip. Similarly, outdoors where a large plant can consume a lot of time and resources in upkeep prior to the autumn show of flowers, feminized plants are also a good way to reduce guerrilla crop pollinating. There’s nothing worse than bush-bashing out to a well-hidden crop only to find a rogue male or two have impregnated every female plant.
INHIBIT THAT ETHYLENE
“Applications that reduce the ethylene level in tissues or antagonise the action of ethylene causes the formation of male flowers instead of female ones” — Paraphrase, Byers et al., 1972.
There are a number of solutions that can be sprayed on female plants to create male pollen sacs: benzothiadiazole, gibberellic acid, silver thiosulphate, silver nitrate, and colloidal silver.
Colloidal silver is by far the easiest to source or make. It is non-toxic, non-caustic, and can be bought from a pharmacy or easily online. The other solutions can be dangerous, difficult to get a hold of, and expensive—except gibberellic acid, which can be found in nurseries, but is not as effective as colloidal silver. But if you want to watch some freaky plant growth just for the fun of it, give gibberellic acid a try. It is a growth stimulant and makes plants stretch and stretch.
TECHNIQUE 1: COLLOIDAL SILVER
Colloidal silver is a distilled water-based solution in which microscopic particles of silver are suspended. The nature of colloids means the particles will never settle out and can’t be removed by normal filtering. Colloidal silver is available commercially, or you can make your own if you want to totally geek out (see how-to section at the end). It has numerous uses as an alternative medicine. For example, it is used to soothe burns, as an antiseptic and digestion stimulant in people, and as a fungal control in horticulture.
Be sure the strength is at least 15ppm, preferably 30ppm. Less than 15ppm produces male sacs with little viable pollen.
To begin with, select a plant that has the characteristics you want to preserved. Feminizing clones is the usual practice as the growth, flowering, and resin characteristics from the mother are already known. There is no need for any vegetation time once a clone is well-rooted. Simply pot the clone into a small pot, give it a day or two to recover, and begin a 12-12 light cycle right away. A pollen-producing plant only needs to be small as cannabis produces copious amounts of pollen.
Hint: Make two clones once a plant has been selected, one to be feminized and one to be left for pollination. This way, a separate breeding space is created and accidental seeding of other plants, or an accidental sneeze pollinating a whole grow cupboard, is avoided.
Plants can be induced to grow male sex organs as late as four weeks into flowering. Though spraying one week prior to the light changeover is recommended for clones. If a plant grown from seed is being used, wait until the plant has sexed before spraying so you can be sure it is female.
Spray the plants to be feminized with colloidal silver every day, and three times a day if you can manage. Soak them well. Do this for two weeks, then leave the plants to grow as normal. Some growers report getting results after spraying for only 5–10 days.
When sexing begins, male pollen sacs will develop instead of female calyxes and pistils. Male plants mature much faster than females, and viable pollen can be expected within 3–4 weeks once the plant has been sexed. Some growers will spray until the plant shows sexual growth, just to be sure the method has worked. Make sure these plants are well-isolated from any flowering females. A burst pod can release millions of pollen spores, and it only takes one spore per hair to create a seed.
DON’T SMOKE IT
Once the plants have been sprayed with colloidal silver and the pollen is collected, they are write-offs—86 them and don’t smoke them. Giving them a thorough rinse will not work. The colloidal silver is a systemic treatment absorbed into the plant through the foliage and not a topical application. Be safe and bin them.
TECHNIQUE 2: RODELIZATION
Sinsemilla is an unnatural state for cannabis. Without human intervention, it would be rare to find an unpollinated female in the wild—unless it was sterile. When sinsemilla plants are left to go beyond their desirable maturation stage by a number of weeks, the plant, through whatever amazing processes evolution has bestowed, knows it has not been pollinated. As a last ditch effort at propagation, it will produce male pollen sacs in an effort to self-pollinate.
This is not the result of genetic or stress-induced hermaphroditism. They are genuine XX chromosome male bananas. With all the genetic information from the female and no Y chromosome, using rodelized pollen creates female-only seeds, although as with colloidal silver, an occasional male may appear.
HARVESTING POLLEN AND POLLINATION
There are a number of harvesting methods employed to catch pollen.
- Cover the top of the pot with plastic or card to catch pollen as it falls, or modify a plastic drink cup to shroud the plant and catch falling pollen.
- Fix a clear plastic bag, perforated at the top for air exchange, around the whole plant.
- An experienced eye will remove each flower pod prior to it bursting completely open to be sure of catching every spore.
- Pollinating a female is the easy bit. Depending on how many seeds you want to make, there are a couple of methods that can be used.
- Using a watercolour or other fine, soft brush or even a cotton bud, dip into your pollen collection and gently apply to the chosen flower. Although thousands of viable spores will be on the end of the brush, enough to pollinate a whole plant, the trichomes on the surface of the pistils will greedily glue everything you offer them. So dip into your pollen stash a few times as you dust.
- For lots of seeds, put pollen in a bag and put over a whole branch or a whole plant, shake well, and leave for twenty four hours.
- It is possible to pollinate different branches with different pollens and have a breeder plant that has 1, 2, or 15 different crosses on it.
- It is also possible to self-pollinate the plant from which the male parts were created. This won’t produce as many seeds as pollinating a separate plant because less female flowers are produced and many are nonviable because of the feminization process.
GROWING FEMINIZED PLANTS
Treat feminized seeds as you would any other seed from germination to veg, and veg through flower. Observation is where it’s at now, you want the best plants for your garden. Ideally, setting up a separate vegetation/flower space where a number of plants can be grown lets your standard grow space continue with uninterrupted production.
Plants bred using feminization are homozygous. This can have two effects that can’t be assessed until the seeds are grown. Homozygosity will increase the dominant or recessive traits of the parent in the progeny, so features you don’t want and do want can be amplified. Genetics is a weird, weird thing.
Just as with standard male to female crossings (which is a heterozygous process), a number of plants will need to be grown and the best selected for mother plants and future breeding. With enough room, hundreds if not thousands of new plants can be grown in order to select the best of the best phenotypes.
With a bit of aforethought, it is possible to set up an efficient feminization breeding programme—and have female seeds from your favourite phenos on hand all the time. You never know, you might discover the next big thing!
MAKING YOUR OWN COLLOIDAL SILVER
The easiest and relatively inexpensive way—considering how much money is potentially saved by not growing resource and time-consuming males—is to buy a colloidal silver generator, which is the no-fuss plug and play option. Or, make your own, which is quite straightforward and doesn’t require any special skill.
Colloidal silver is formed by passing a current from a pure silver electrode through distilled water. This simple electrolysis is all there is to it. Although distilled water does not conduct electricity very well due to its lack of mineral content, enough is passed through to create micro silver particles and silver ionisation. Sounds technical, but it really isn’t.
Feminized cannabis seeds only produce female plants, which has a number of advantages. Find out how to do it with Royal Queen Seeds.