Feminized plants also are an excellent tool for breeders. They can produce regular, feminized, or autoflowering seeds, depending on how breeders develop them. Feminization allows breeders to quickly develop stable inbred lines and preserve rare, clone-only varieties.
Another way to create feminized seeds is by spraying female plants with a silver thiosulfate solution early in the flowering cycle. This solution inhibits ethylene production in female plants, which causes a hormonal shift that triggers the plants to produce pollen sacs. The STS method is highly effective and can cause plants to form pollen sacs with just a few applications.
Before buying seeds or attempting to grow or breed plants, it is advisable to check local, county, and state laws to ensure compliance.
Who Should Buy Feminized Seeds?
Growers can stress test plants in a variety of ways. For example, they can provide an inconsistent light cycle, grow the plants in cramped containers, use excessive amounts of nitrogen fertilizer, provide inconsistent water, or let the plants continue to flower after fully mature. Using one or a combination of these techniques probably will cause the sexually unstable plants to reveal their hermaphroditic tendencies.
Indoor growers are fond of autoflowering seeds because they are produce small plants that flower quickly and are easy to grow. Autoflowering strains are available in both regular and feminized forms and are usually high in CBD (although high-THC autoflowering strains are also available).
Fortunately, feminization techniques improved throughout the early 2000s. As such, breeders were able to create stable and reliable seeds that were 99.9 percent female. The cost of feminized seed dropped as more efficient feminization techniques developed. Today, feminized seeds are widely popular among growers and breeders.
Regular seeds usually produce photoperiod plants, although some autoflowering varieties are also available. Photoperiod plants begin flowering in response to changes in the light cycle. Indoor growers typically switch from 18 to 24 hours of light during the vegetative growth period to only 12 hours of light (and 12 hours of total darkness) during the flowering period. The reduction in light triggers the blooming of these photoperiod plants by signaling the changing of the seasons. Photoperiod plants that grow outdoors begin flowering in late summer, when the days start to become shorter. However, seasonal changes in light do not limit indoor growers.
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.
Wouldn’t it be sweet if it was possible to grow all females from seed, every plant, every time?
INHIBIT THAT ETHYLENE
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.
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.