Feminized Cannabis Seeds Pros And Cons

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Learn the pros and cons of autoflowering and feminized seeds from the pros at Atlas Seed. The disadvantages of feminized seeds vs regular are not so many, and both types have their pros and cons. Let’s compare them! Hint: fems rule! Here's the good and bad about feminized marijuana seeds!

A Growers Guide: The Pros and Cons of Autoflowering and Feminized Seeds

Feminized Autoflowering seeds are becoming a more sought after choice for both small scale recreational and large scale industrial growers for a number of reasons. The most obvious reason they are increasing in popularity is that genetic advancement in the last 5-10 years has finally made them a viable enough option to grow for serious hobbyists or commercial cultivators.

Some of the first autoflowers legacy growers worked with, including low-rider and early girl autoflowering varieties, didn’t perform well enough for these varieties to catch on, and so a generation of growers developed a negative impression of day-neutral varieties. Now that a new generation of hemp and cannabis breeders have brought autoflowering varieties to a market ready standard, it’s up to enterprising cultivators to weigh the benefits of incorporating them into their production model. In this article we will explore some of the pro’s and con’s of autoflowering and feminized seeds so that you can make a decision about what is best for your specific context.

Feminized Seeds vs Regular: Pros and Cons of Both

Let’s compare feminized seeds vs regular to help all you newbie growers choose the right type for your needs

Making a choice for feminized seeds vs regular isn’t always easy.

When you go to a seed shop, all you see is feminized seeds. Most customers just buy whatever everybody else buys, but some people don’t like the idea of their seeds being genetically modified, and so they are suspicious. If you too have second thoughts about buying feminized seeds, our post will help you make an informed choice.

Table of Contents

Let’s Define Feminized Seeds First

Feminized cannabis seeds are the seeds that have been genetically manipulated in such a way that the plants grown from them are almost always female.

In contrast, regular seeds grow into plants that can either become male or female, with more or less a 50/50 chance.

If you want more details and insights into the biology and history of feminized seeds and what to expect of them, we’ve written a separate post about it.

Are Feminized Seeds Bad?

The short answer is NO, they’re OK.

It’s true that some 30 years ago—when fems first made their appearance on the weed scene—growers routinely ran into problems with feminized seeds. The reason was that, initially, the process of feminization involved too much stress. As you might know, stressed marijuana plants often turn into hermaphrodites. And if they later produce seeds, those seeds inherit this feature, too. Meaning the seeds harvested from hermie plants grow into hermies as well if they’re stressed even slightly.

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Fortunately, today’s market—with its huge supply and ruthless competition—forces breeders to eliminate stress from their practices. Most of them offer customers very stable genetics. I myself have seen regular plants change sex for no particular reason. And fem plants that were standing next to them were perfectly alright. So, feminized seeds aren’t good or bad per se. It all depends on the breeder who’s made them.

So Are Feminised Seeds Better Then?

I risk making purists angry, but I think that yes, they are. If you grow cannabis for buds, the choice of feminized seeds vs regular is a no-brainer.

With regular seeds, you’ll have to plant twice as many seeds as you need. Don’t forget that half of them will produce males and you’ll throw them away. This will leave gaps in your grow room that’ll have to be filled somehow. Besides, it’s a waste of resources if you take care of a plant for several weeks, and then it goes in a trashcan.

You’ll also have to watch your plants vere closely after you flip the switch to 12/12. It’s the time when plants reveal their sex, and males must be discarded IMMEDIATELY. You should never risk leaving them in your grow room for an extra couple of days for whatever reason. Even one pollen sack could ruin your whole crop.

And when you grow pot outdoors, guerilla-style, and can’t afford to visit your secret patch very often, the possibility of even one plant turning male in your absence is a major headache. Hell, cross-pollination can happen even if male and female plants are within 10 miles of each other, let alone in the same patch!

With feminized seeds, you’ll have none of these worries.

Are Feminized Seeds Less Potent?

There is nothing in the genetic makeup of feminized seeds to make them less potent than regular seeds. The genes that determine the sex of a plant have no influence over potency. And the same goes for terpenes. So, stuff grown from feminized seeds will smell and taste good and will make you as high as the buds grown from regular seeds.

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Do Feminized Seeds Yield Less?

The yields that you can expect from cannabis seeds don’t depend on whether they are feminized or not. So, if you go to a seed shop and see two versions of the same genetics—feminized and regular—rest assured that both yield exactly the same. Yields may be high or just average, but either way it has nothing to do with feminization.

Feminized Seeds Disadvantages vs Regular Seeds

The main disadvantage is the higher price compared to regular seeds. However, recently the prices have been going down. At least some breeders sell their feminized beans very cheap.

One more (rather obvious) thing is that if you want to produce your own seeds the old-fashioned way (when male and female plants grow next to each other, and pollination occurs naturally), you can’t do it with feminized seeds.

And even if you want to make your own feminized seeds (which is not so hard btw), you have a choice to use either feminized seeds or not, but it’s probably best to take genetics that are more ‘natural’, that is regular seeds.

Another drawback has more to do with the integrity of a particular breeder. And it doesn’t matter whether they make feminized seeds or regular. If they’re in a hurry to market half-baked strains and make a profit, it’s one thing. In this case, you may expect a great deal of variance of phenotypes. Probably, also a fair share of hermies and mutants from both feminised or regular seeds. But if they make sure to stabilize their varieties over several generations, it’s a totally different thing.

So read reviews about a breeder and their strains, look for how stable their plants are and whether growers have ever problems with hermies. If the breeder checks out, their feminized seeds can be better than non feminized seeds by another, less scrupulous breeder.

Bottom Line: Feminised Seeds Rule!

Purists and traditionalists never win in the long run. Progress always does. So don’t look down on such a wonderful modern invention as feminized seeds. In most situations and contexts, they are your best bet.

The Pros And Cons Of Feminized Marijuana Seeds

Regular marijuana seeds produce male and female marijuana plants, with most growers finding that they get slightly more females than males.

Unless a grower is breeding marijuana strains, the grower has no need for male plants. They just take up space and if their presence is undetected, they may pollinate female flowers, creating seeded buds.

That’s why many marijuana growers use feminized seeds.

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But feminized seeds are a new and unnatural technology. They don’t always work the way they’re supposed to. Sometimes they don’t germinate properly. Or they produce male cannabis plants or hermaphrodite plants (plants that have both male and female flowers).

Many feminized marijuana seeds are the result of pollinating a female plant with pollen created by a hermaphroditic marijuana plants. These seeds have a tendency to grow out hermaphroditic themselves.

To avoid these kinds of seeds, you have to ask the cannabis seed breeder if the breeder used hermaphroditic pollen to create the seeds. If they did, don’t use those seeds.

Some cannabis seed breeders produce feminized seeds by using chemicals and/or hormones to treat female plants so they produce pollen that doesn’t transmit hermaphroditic traits.

Others use colloidal silver.

None of these treatments is guaranteed to produce feminized marijuana seeds that will germinate easily, grow properly, reflect the strain genetics you bought, or be 100% female.

However, if you buy feminized cannabis seeds created by legitimate seed breeders and you germinate 10 seeds of a feminized strain, 7-9 out of 10 of those plants is likely to be female, which is a better ratio than using regular cannabis seeds.

One obvious thing to remember about feminized cannabis seeds is, if they all grow out female, you can’t reproduce those seeds. There’s no pollen.

If you want to keep that cannabis strain going for a long time, you have to clone that strain, or find pollen from a strain you want to combine with your target strain.

Legendary cannabis seed breeder Subcool of TGA Seeds refuses to produce feminized seeds or auto-flowering seeds. He points out that the main beneficiaries of feminized seeds are the seed companies, because growers can’t produce their own marijuana seeds from feminized strains.

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