A growing number of experts are making a business out of teaching people how to grow their own pot. Here's what to know to get started. At this point in time, we all know what feminised seeds are, although even today there is some confusion regarding the most common methods to produce Learn how to grow feminized cannabis seeds outdoors, all of the tips and tricks needed for a successful grow.
As marijuana is legalized in more places, here’s how to grow your own
When it comes to growing his own marijuana, Chris Haynie leaves little to chance.
Inside a grow room in Richmond, Haynie has erected a 42-square-foot tent that houses four marijuana plants, the state’s legal limit for personal cultivation. Haynie’s setup is high-tech: An irrigation system releases moisture on a precise schedule; a motorized LED light timed to mimic the rising and setting of the sun moves along a rail across the top of the tent; and a monitoring system tracks key metrics of plant health, such as the moisture level and pH of the soil, and relays the data to an app on Haynie’s phone. If the system senses urgent problems, he’ll receive a warning text. Haynie’s friends are used to him bolting from a room mid-conversation to tend to his plants.
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Haynie, a bearded 38-year-old cannabis connoisseur who tattooed his thumbs with green ink, is no horticulture amateur. As the co-founder of Richmond’s Happy Trees Agricultural Supply, he’s part of a growing number of experts who are making a business out of teaching people how to grow their own pot. Recent laws in Virginia allow for limited cultivation of marijuana for personal use, and Happy Trees, which Haynie launched in 2019 with Josiah Ickes, 36, specializes in setting up growers to cultivate the plant.
Marijuana remains illegal on a federal level, but many states have abolished restrictions, creating a patchwork of rules throughout the country. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing recreational use. Virginia legalized home cultivation in July 2021; under the law, people 21 and older may possess up to an ounce of marijuana. It remains illegal, though, to buy or sell it in any form — including seeds — until 2024, when retail sales are expected to begin.
People still find ways to access seeds. When D.C. legalized the possession of limited amounts of marijuana in 2015, the District lacked the authority to create a legal economic market for sales. So cannabis activists organized seed giveaways throughout the city. At one early event in 2015, lines stretched for blocks.
The regulatory scheme also established what has become an expansive “giveaway market,” in which Washingtonians have used a loophole to provide harvested marijuana as a gift in exchange for the purchase of a legal product. Companies sell cookies, tea or paintings with a baggie of “free” marijuana on the side. One company sells motivational speeches delivered by a person who travels by bicycle.
How to make feminised cannabis seeds
Until the 1990s, any cannabis cultivator was aware that, at some point, they had to separate the male and female plants if they didn’t want the first ones to pollinate the latter, which results in plants completely full of seeds. However, those were the days when pioneering seed banks like Dutch Passion were revolutionizing the cannabis scene with the birth of the first feminized cannabis strains, or in other words, seeds that only develop into female plants. At the beginning of the 20th century, many seeds banks were offering this type of seeds, feminized versions of classics strains that had been cultivated during many years as regular plants.
We are sure that by now you’d probably have grown some feminized seeds, maybe even though you are a purist and the fiercest defender of regular seeds. But. do you know where feminized seeds come from? Are you familiar with the processes used by both breeders and growers to obtain them? In this article we explain everything!
Feminized cannabis seeds quality control
Advantages of growing feminised seeds
Indeed, the advent of feminized seeds brought about a genuine revolution within the cannabis sector. Growers were now sure that all their plants would be females, without the need to differentiate between male and female plants or having to remove the males before they could ruin the crops, which offers a number of benefits of significant importance:
- Space and resources saving: no more growing plants which eventually will be removed for being males.
- Reliability: it’s not that most plants are female, or that they are genetically more likely to produce female plants. The plants grown from feminized seeds have only female chromosomes (XX), therefore this method is 99% reliable.
- Sinsemilla plants: by not having males in the grow room, your female plants won’t be pollinated, so they won’t produce any seeds during the flowering period (something that every cultivator wants, unless they want to obtain seeds)
These advantages were of great interest for the growers, and soon feminised seeds accounted for a large portion of the seeds available in the market. In addition, being able to use only female plants (generally known and selected clones) to produce seeds had another great advantage for seed producers and breeders of new varieties: they no longer need to keep males in their gene pools! And not only that. from that moment on, any female plant they could get their hands on could be used as a male to pollinate other plants, thus exponentially increasing the possibilities of creating new crosses.
Outstanding Orange Candy feminised from Philosopher Seeds
It is not surprising, therefore, that at present, feminized seeds represent virtually all the seeds in the market, since they offer a number of significant advantages for both professional and home growers and breeders, for photoperiod and autoflowering plants. The main disadvantage of this method is a well known and hotly debated issue: the growers who buy this type of seeds cannot produce their own seeds in the absence of male plants, so the only way they can manage it it’s using the same process to obtain this type of seeds. But. what are these processes and what are they based on?
Female crosses: feminised cannabis seeds are born
As we’ve already mentioned, feminized seeds are the result of a process that reverses the sex of a female plant, that is, she is forced to produce male flowers. This way, and once into flowering, the female chosen will start to develop what we know as male flowers (stamens and anthers), which, just like male plants, will release the pollen that will pollinate the female plants. What is then the difference between a male plant and a reverted female plant?
The sex of cannabis plants is determined in the same way as ours, through the so-called sex chromosomes or genosomes. Male plants have a couple of different sex chromosomes called “XY” or heterogametic, while female plants have two chromosomes called “XX” or homogametic. When crossing a male (XY) with a female (XX), we will obtain around half of the plants of each type in their offspring. In other words, when a breeder uses a male and a female plant, the seeds produced by them will be approximately 50% males and 50% females.
After this explanation, many of you will have already figured out that if we cross two female plants (reversing the sex of one of them to force it to produce pollen), the result will be seeds that will produce female plants, as there are only female sex chromosomes in the equation. If crossing XY with XX produced 50% of each class (male and female), crossing XX with XX will produce plants that only exhibit chromosomes XX, that is to say, female plants. No matter how many times we “transform” a female plant into a male plant, we won´t be changing their genetic composition, which will still be female or XX. This way, the pollen produced by this plant will pass down female sex chromosomes exclusively.
Feminised seeds grown indoors, 100% female plants
As you can see, and although we normally use the expression “reversing the plant sex“, that is not exactly what is done, because the sex chromosomes of the female plant (XX) have not changed, even if we managed to produce male flowers. This “sex change” of female plants can be achieved in a number of ways, but usually with the same goal: to reduce the level of ethylene in plant tissues and/or inhibit the ethylene action, which makes the plant develop male flowers on entering the flowering period, as if it were a male from regular seeds. This is because ethylene is a natural regulator of the sex expression in plants!
Let’s see now the most popular ways to reverse the sex of a female plant in order to produce feminized seeds.
Methods used to produce feminized cannabis seeds
There are several ways to secure that a female plant produces pollen, and almost all of them require some type of chemical that is often sprayed on the plant. Once sprinkled with the chosen product and under a flowering photoperiod, the plant will flower normally, but as a male instead of female, producing ‘feminized’ pollen (which only contains chromosomes XX) that can be used to pollinate other females in order to produce seeds. These are some of the most commonly used techniques:
Stress or rodelization
One of the first methods used to obtain seeds that produce female plants was stress or rodelization. There are several ways to stress the cannabis plants to make sure they develop male flowers, such as through temperature, nutrition, photoperiod, and pH. However, supporters of this technique often prefer something as simple as delaying the harvest 2-3 weeks in order to force the plants to develop a few male flowers without stressing them as much as with any of the other methods we have mentioned.
Although this action will produce far less pollen than other techniques like STS, it will be enough to obtain a handful of seeds for the domestic growers to try to create their own feminized crosses. Also, the great advantage of this technique is that is 100% natural, and it doesn´t use any chemicals. It is an excellent alternative for anyone who just wants a few seeds and wishes to keep it simple without any formulas or laboratory products. However, bear in mind that this is the only method listed in this post that may produce some plants with hermaphroditic traits.
Male flower produced by rodelization
STS or silver thiosulfate solution
Without any doubt, one of the most commonly used methods for both producers and seed banks. This is a solution made of distilled water, silver nitrate and sodium thiosulphate (sometimes called sodium hyposulphite) that, after being sprayed on the female plants, inhibits their ethylene action resulting in the formation of male flowers once flowering has been induced. STS is relatively easy to prepare, although its lifespan after combining the two components is quite limited, barely a few days as long as it´s well preserved (in a dark and cool place).
It is important to mention that you must not consume any part of the plants sprayed with this type of product, although that would be weird, as the plants have “become” males and won´t produce any buds. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t use the reverted plants to make resin extracts; the best thing is to discard them after harvesting the pollen. Both components, sodium thiosulphate and silver nitrate, are also used for photo-development.
This is another way to revert the sex of the plants, but this time using a solution made of 30ppm colloidal silver (that you can easily find in many pharmacies and also online) and distilled water. The solution must be applied for a few days until the plant starts producing male flowers, something that it´s not necessary with STS, where in most cases one single application is enough.
Colloidal silver is formed by electrically charged silver nanoparticles and has antibacterial and antifungal properties. This product was introduced in the market in 1980 for therapeutic use. However, as with STS, you should get rid of the sprayed plants once their pollen is harvested, as colloidal silver is absorbed systemically by the plant and remains in its tissues.
This sativa plant treated with STS started flowering as a female but soon developed male flowers
This is a method researched by Mohan Ram, who also conducted extensive investigations on plant sex reversal with STS. According to his findings, sodium thiosulphate (STS) is more effective in producing male flowers and viable pollen in female plants. Probably because of this, silver nitrate is mixed with sodium thiosulphate, instead of using it in isolation.
Gibberellins are plant hormones that help regulate various processes related to the development of the plants. There are several types of gibberellins available in the market, although the most common and effective is gibberellic acid or GA3 (Gibberellin GA3). This product is used in a very similar way to colloidal silver, sprayed on the plants during several days before switching the photoperiod over to flowering.
It is worth stating that one of the side effects of gibberellic acid is a significant stretching of the treated parts of the plant, so don’t be surprised if this happens to your plants! The recommended dose to achieve the best results is approximately 100ppm.
Urban legends and lies about feminized seeds
Despite the fact that, after two decades of cannabis cultivation, many of the false myths surrounding feminized seeds have been debunked, from time to time we still hear some arguments like the ones shown below. As is often the case, many of these stories are spread by people who have never grown this type of seeds or have none or very limited experience with them. Ignorance is always a bad thing, and that’s why we want to emphasize several points in relation to feminized seeds and the myths that often go with them; myths such as the following:
Feminized seeds produce hermaphrodite plants:
The problem with monoecious hermaphrodite plants has more to do with the parents used (and if they exhibit any hermaphrodite trait) rather than with the type of seeds produced. If to create a feminized seed you use a female plant with a tendency to produce male flowers, part of its offspring will likely inherit that characteristic, whether the said female plant is used as a pollen donor (after reversing its sex) or as a recipient of pollen (letting it flowering as usual). Yet the same thing happens when producing regular seeds: if the male or female parents are not stable in this respect, neither will be their offspring (or at least part of it).
Marijuana and hermaphroditism
Many growers have been surprised by the presence of hermaphrodite plants in their marijuana crops. In this post we will tell you how to detect them and how to proceed if you find a hermaphrodite cannabis plant in your growing space. We will also discuss the causes of this hermaphroditism.
Feminized seeds produce mutant plants:
Nothing could be further from the truth. It is true that sometimes some plants develop weird traits or mutations, although this also happens with regular seeds. Unfortunately, there seems to be not enough studies comparing the ratio of specimens with mutations of one or other type of seeds; however, given the millions of feminized seeds that have been germinated in the last 20 years, if mutations would pose a problem, the quantity of feminized seeds sold would certainly not be so high, and this would be a “public security” issue within the cannabis sector, both for the growers and the producers of the seeds.
Feminized seeds have chemicals:
This is another lie that some people believe. As it’s been mentioned before, a female plant is sprayed with some chemicals in order to inhibit its ethylene action. After a few weeks of this and once in the flowering period, the plant will produce male flowers and pollen, which will be harvested to pollinate the female plants designated to produce seeds. Once the seeds are formed, they are collected and packed immediately, so they don’t come into contact with any chemicals or the plants that produce seeds, nor, of course, with the seeds themselves. Also, to produce cannabis seeds, you normally need two separated indoor cultivation areas, one for the reverted plants (treated females) and the other for the females to be fertilized to produce the seeds, so the latter can’t get “contaminated” with any chemicals.
Feminized seeds are GMOs:
Once again, this is a false statement. We have already pointed out that by using these sex reversal techniques we inhibit the ethylene action in the female plant, and under no circumstances the seeds (or plants) are genetically modified. The sex chromosomes of the female plant converted into a male plant are still female (XX), nothing has changed at a genetic level.
We hope you found this article interesting; even today, many people are still unaware of the intriguing process behind this type of cannabis seeds. Do not hesitate to leave your comments; we will be delighted to answer them.
- Marijuana Botany, Robert C. Clarke
- The Cannabis breeder’s Bible, Greg Green
- The Cannabis grow Bible, Greg Green
- Breed your own vegetable varieties, Carol Deppe
- Induction of Fertile Male Flowers in Genetically Female Cannabis sativa Plants by Silver Nitrate and Silver Thiosulphate Anionic Complex, Mohan Ram, Sett R.
The articles published by Alchimiaweb, S.L. are reserved for adult clients only. We would like to remind our customers that cannabis seeds are not listed in the European Community catalogue. They are products intended for genetic conservation and collecting, in no case for cultivation. In some countries it is strictly forbidden to germinate cannabis seeds, other than those authorised by the European Union. We recommend our customers not to infringe the law in any way, we are not responsible for their use.
How to Grow Feminized Cannabis Seeds Outdoors
When it comes to growing cannabis, one of the best ways to harvest quality and quantity is via feminized seeds and by following our advice. If you want to know more, keep reading!
Table of Contents
Most seed Banks have a selection of feminized cannabis seeds and many of them can be grown outdoors unless the manufacturer indicates otherwise.
Feminized cannabis seeds allow you to guarantee female plants, which are the ones that produce buds and the most planted type of cannabis seed. On the other hand, regular seeds produce both male and female cannabis plants and growing them takes more work.
How to Choose Feminized Cannabis Seeds for Outdoors
Nowadays it’s possible to buy high quality feminized cannabis seeds that are easy to grow. These seeds can guarantee a decent harvest at affordable prices, considering the extra expenses involved in obtaining high quality cannabis in a dispensary or by other means.
There are certain factors you’ll need to keep in mind when it comes to choosing the right feminized seeds for outdoor growing.
Size of the Strain
Feminized cannabis strains grown outdoors can grow quite large and produce large yields when given enough time to grow and the proper care. Sativa-dominant strains tend to grow a lot bigger and taller than indica-dominant strains.
If you need a discreet strain for a small area such as a balcony, you’ll need to make sure the strain isn’t going to grow too big. If height and discretion aren’t an issue, you can always train, prune, plant later or plant autoflowering seeds. These last ones produce high yields and slightly less quality than feminized light-dependent strains. Feminized cannabis plants outdoors.
When to Harvest Outdoors
Cannabis plants outdoors must deal with insects, possible fungi and sometimes, bad weather. Therefore an early harvest is a great way to avoid these issues, as well as keeping insects and fungi from having enough time to do damage to your plants. Nowadays there are many different fast-flowering strains such as Critical King (hybrid) and Jamaican Dream (sativa), which have been extremely popular in outdoor grows all around the world.
Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing Feminized Seeds
As well as these factors, you can also choose your seeds depending on the type of effect that they produce (stimulating, relaxing, balanced), as well as different aromas and flavours and other factors such as genetics or cannabinoid proportion.
These last few factors are more personal; we recommend starting off with the size of your grow as a basis for your strain choice, making sure that you keep in mind harvesting times too. Later on, you can narrow it down to other characteristics.
How to Grow Feminized Cannabis Seeds Outoors
In the following section we’ll go over, stage by stage, how to grow feminized cannabis seeds outdoors.
General advice for growing feminized cannabis seeds
- Whenever you can use white flowerpots or smart pots; this allows for your plants’ roots to grow out more and cooler, while also feeding more.
- Excess heat can cause your plants to begin consuming nutrients stored in their leaves, causing nasty symptoms and colours.
- Protect your plants right from the start using natural preventive products such as neem oil, or using bio or chemical insecticides and fungicides if you already have an infestation.
- Make sure to keep in mind the seed bank’s recommendations in regard to when to harvest and the plants’ nutritional needs – make the most of your strain.
- Choose your flowerpot sizes based on the amount of space that you have; make sure not to place too many plants, they need enough space to grow out properly.
- Whenever you water, check and adjust the pH in your water as needed. Also, if possible, you should also check EC levels. If you need more information about watering your plants, you can check out our post how to water cannabis plants.
- If you use tap water or give your plants a lot of nutrients you should get used to using enzymes in order to get rid of unwanted salts and dead roots.
- When it comes to growing in flowerpots, use nutrients in liquid format – they are absorbed rapidly and allow for more control over dosages.
- On the other hand, if you’re growing out in the ground, you should used powdered fertilizers which cover more space and are slow-releasing.
Make sure to keep the flowerpots up off the ground to allow for more airflow and so that the heat from the ground doesn’t reach the roots.
- During the summer, keep in mind that temperatures rise, and evaporation is faster when watering plants. The hotter it is, the more moisture evaporates; you’ll need to water more often, although if you keep fertilizing as usual you can easily cause overfertilization. We recommend using the same amount of nutrients as always, divided into more feedings, or using more enzymes.
Germination involves the seed changing from inactive, to a seedling. It can take just over 24h or even up to 7 days for seeds to germinate, depending on the strain, the germination conditions, how they’re stored and the state of the seeds.
In order to guarantee healthy germination and proper rooting before the growth stage, we recommend germinating your seeds separately and once they’ve become saplings, place them in their first flowerpot. If you need more information about germinating cannabis seeds, you can check out our post on how to germinate cannabis seeds.
Planting cannabis seeds after germination
Once your cannabis seeds have been germinated, you’ll need to plant them in their first flowerpot. Once your plant has around 1cm of roots, it can be planted – we recommend starting with a small pot, around 0.2 – 0.4L, with an airy, high-quality substrate. Before planting, moisten the substrate and make a small hole for placing the root.
During the first days, we recommend keeping plants in a propagator, inside with direct light, or in a growth grow tent indoors. We recommend keeping them protected until the first 4 leaves have developed and they can begin growing properly.
We also highly recommend using some sort of root stimulant such as Rootfast in order to increase root growth, as well as Trichoderma and mycorrhizae like Top Crop Micro Vita in order to protect and stimulate plant growth. Cannabis plant with three cotyledon leaves during the first growing days.
As your plants grow, their roots will begin taking over the substrate. There will come a point when your plants’ roots will end up filling up the substrate and growth will stop. Your plants might even end up with certain deficiencies when this happens as they won’t be able to find enough nutrients in the soil, and they’ll begin absorbing nutrients from their leaves.
In order to prevent this you’ll need to transplant periodically, moving your cannabis plants to larger flowerpots until right before the flowering stage. Every time you transplant, we recommend using a rooting stimulant, as well as mycorrhizae and Trichoderma as we mentioned earlier.
Keep in mind that the bigger the flowerpot, the larger the size of your plants and the larger the yield – so you’ll need to plan out your growing area accordingly. If you’re growing in the ground, we recommend transplanting from your flowerpot to the ground once they’re around 15 – 20cm tall; this allows it to grow more robust.
If you need more information on transplants, you can check out our post; when and how to transplant cannabis plants. Cannabis plants growing outdoors after a transplant.
Feminized light-dependent cannabis plants grow until adulthood (around 30 days). They’ll keep growing as long as they don’t get less hours of light. If you grow outside of the right season, your plants will grow for around a month and then they’ll start their flowering stage.
This is why we recommend growing feminized cannabis seeds towards the start of the season; if you want, you can also harvest again towards mid-summer. We recommend planting feminized seeds over autoflowering seeds, as they offer larger yields and quality.