New growers usually start from seeds. When a gardener decides to maintain an ongoing garden, the first step toward consistent results is to make a mother plant Herming: How female plants turn male Cannabis plants are gendered, or for the botanically-inclined, dioecious. Female plants are particularly prized because they form buds that are rich in "Hermie" cannabis plants can look like normal female plants at first glance, but they produce pollen that causes seedy buds. Hermies are to be avoided!"
Female Plant Producing Seeds
New growers usually start from seeds. When a gardener decides to maintain an ongoing garden, the first step toward consistent results is to make a mother plant or plants (this is covered in chapter 2). Once a quality mother is chosen, a gardener can propagate plants by taking cuttings for each successive garden. Since the cuttings or clones are identical to the mother, they are all females. The gardener can concentrate on getting the conditions and harvest time right for optimum results.
When I pick a female for a mother plant, I always choose something that I just adore to smoke, the type of marijuana that one hates to run out of. The thing is, sometimes pot thats great to smoke is a low yielder or takes too long to finish. That’s when the breeder’s creative energy can put a magic touch on the cannabis plants.
Gardeners also decide to try breeding when seeking a more ideal high and flavor. Whether the goal is enhanced qualities of the high or improved growing characteristics, breeding takes time, space and patience.
In order to reproduce an already-great female, all you need is a mother to clone from, but in order to breed you need a few good males, too. Actually, one male can be sufficient to pollinate hundreds of females.
In my opinion, the best way to breed is to start out working with quality genetics. Then you can enjoy the experimental nature of the whole thing. Breeding is an exercise in imagination. Start off with something you like and then think about what would make the plant better to grow or smoke.
It is necessary to start with plants that have already exhibited different desirable qualities. For instance, maybe one variety has a terrific flavor and high but is a finicky grower or takes a long time to finish. Another variety might be a hardy plant and finish quickly, but the high isn’t as mentally stimulating or the flavor isnt as tasty as it could be.
Once the gardener decides which plants have traits that would make a good combination, one variety becomes the donor parent (male) and one the recipient parent (female). These two parents are known as the PI generation.
The female is the plant whose traits you like but want to improve. The male is used to add traits to the female in order to improve a certain characteristic, such as finishing time. In other words, the male is used to “donate” new characteristics to the female.
The best way to identify a good male candidate is to experience a female from the same strain. After a suitable strain is identified, the most vigorous male is chosen. Sometimes it can be difficult to get a male plant of the variety you want. It may require obtaining additional seeds of the variety. If you think you might undertake any breeding, this is one reason to preserve seeds or possibly even males from the varieties you are working with.
When different varieties are crossed, the resulting plants are hybrids; that is, they are a genetic mix of the two parents or PI plants. This cross is the F1 generation. When grown out, the Fl’s have only subtle variations. Significant variety in this generation probably means that the parents were not completely stabilized strains. The F1 generation is like a big family of siblings. They are similar but none are precisely the same. They will exhibit slightly different combinations of their parents’ characteristics, but will still be more alike than they are different.
The first time you cross two different kinds of cannabis together, you get a phenomenon that’s called “hybrid vigor.” F1 plants often exhibit impressive vitality. When F1 plants are made into mothers, their clones possess a near super strength.
It is now possible to go in two directions with the F1 generation. If the desired characteristic is present, the best F1 males are selected and crossed back to the female parent or clones taken from this parent. This is called backcrossing. Usually breeders backcross a number of times to introduce a desirable characteristic to a strain. Eventually, successful backcrossing results in a stable strain.
The other possibility is to cross F1 males and females with each other. Plants grown from the seeds of this cross are called the F2 generation. Whereas the F1 s were fairly uniform, the F2s are heterogenous. This cross increases diversity. The plants will exhibit a wider range of characteristics from which to select.
I basically get three dominant phenotypes and one recessive phenotype in the typical F2 generation. One plant will be like the father, one like the mother, one a combination of both and one a recessive phenotype that may exhibit some non-dominant genetic traits.
Selection is key in winning breeding programs. The hallmark of selection lies in the human ability to choose the best from a cluster of many. Selection is pardy talent and partly understanding the plants. It necessitates that the breeder knows what to look for and also knows his or her plants and their needs.
Selecting Winning Plants
Cannabis breeding allows a gardener to come up with an endless number of combinations.
When I choose strains I always select for medical potency first, yield and finishing time second. When assessing cannabis plants, I look for a few main things: the length of stem between nodes, the profuseness of THC trichomes, the finishing time, the aroma, and last but certainly not least, the effect.
It is desirable for the nodes to grow close together. Nodes are the places where branches come off of the main stem. Internodes is the term for the space between the branches. The less stem between branches, the better. Of course, THC glands are best when they are found in massive clusters rather than sparsely distributed. Most people prefer short finishing times. When growing outdoors, the finishing time is especially important and should be suitable to the region. Aroma and effect are more subjective. Some people like fruity, some pine. Whatever the desire, both aroma and effect will be enhanced
This indoor NYC Diesel is nearly ripe and ready to pick. NYC Diesel is a sativa/indica mii It -,: fruit flavor and a sunny creative high with a touch of body stone effect.
This young Buddha’s Sister has a healthy profusion of white hairs and a glossy green glow.
Buddha’s Sister plants have a characteristic powder-puff-shaped bud. Here the plant has started to ripen as evidenced by the appear ance of orange hairs.
Sister bud after being manicured and dried
At 10 weeks, this Buddha’s Sister bud is ripe. A photographer’s loupe would show glands filled with liquid arid slightly amber in color.
This indica variety has a tart cherry flavor arid a powerful cerebral high. This plant looks quite robust with a week or two left to go before it will be ready to harvest.
The Ice-o-lator® (left) from Mila Jarisen’s Pollinator Company, and Bubble Bags® (right) from Fresh Headies are designed to make it easy to process leaf or bud into hash. These products are described in chapter 8. Information about these companies can be found in the resource appendix.
Here you can see that a male flower has formed on a female plant. The plant was flowered for an additional 10 days to 2
weeks beyond ripeness to force male flowers.
When female plants produce male flowers, the pollen creates all-female seeds. Feminizing seeds is described in chapter 10.
Females qrown lonaer for pollen do not usually form seeds.
they do. This plant has both a male flnuuer anrl a seed in close proximity.
Here you can see that a male flower has formed on a female plant. The plant was flowered for an additional 10 days to 2
weeks beyond ripeness to force male flowers.
When female plants produce male flowers, the pollen creates all-female seeds. Feminizing seeds is described in chapter 10.
Females qrown lonaer for pollen do not usually form seeds.
hut occasionally they do. This plant has both a male flnuuer anrl a seed in close proximity.
Here are 4 other Soma varieties: White Willow (upper left), Somango (upper right), Amethyst Bud (lower left), and Lavender (lower right). Stories about the evolution of Soma’s varieties are included in chapter 11.
by using organic methods of cultivation and by harvesting and curing properly.
The first thing I typically notice about a new variety is the shape of the leaf and the tone of green it has. Even before harvesting any buds, I can tell by the shape of the leaf if it is going to be special. Flowering out strains is the ultimate way of knowing the full range of a strains qualities. Most strains take 3-4 months to finish a complete cycle, so seeing how each strain grows takes a good amount of time and space. Once you get to know your plants you can organize your garden by grouping plants according to height or similar harvest time. This can be quite helpful for cross-pollination projects that use many different females and one choice male.
It is usually trickier to select a desirable male than it is to choose a female you want to cross. This is a good reason to select several males and cross each of them with the female variety that you like, and then see which produces the most promising hybrids.
Breeding with NYC Diesel
NYC Diesel is a blend of a Mexican sativa and an Afghani. It tastes like ripe red grapefruits. Everyone I smoke it with loves it, so I thought it would be a great male.
I planted several Diesel seeds and got three males, each one showing a slightly different growth habit. I’d read that it was possible to achieve greater genetic depth by breeding with more than one type of male from the same genetic pool.
With this new information, I conducted a little genetic experiment. I placed fifteen different varieties of female plants in my grow room and crossed them to two of the male NYC Diesel’s. One of the males had closer internodes and wider leaves, and the other had more stretch between nodes and thinner leaves. I put both of these males in the room with the females, and as the pollen flew, the two of them pollinated all the plants.
I liked the results. While all the crosses had NYC Diesel genetics, i had greater variety from which to make my selections.
When deciding what to breed for, another factor to consider might be what other people want. For instance, many outdoor growers are looking for a fast finishing strain. For some growers, fast finishing strains may be desirable even though they are often less potent. Medicinal users may also be looking for specific characteristics in a strains effect.
How to Cross
Having enough space to breed is important. When working with cannabis you may have to produce hundreds of plants before you discover the winner you have been looking for, so patience is a virtue. The more plants you are able to grow out and select from, the more likely you will find something unique or precisely to your liking.
I put the females under 12/12 lighting a week before the males are added. This gives the female plants a head start, so they have more time to produce flowers. Also, after harvest when all the seeds have been removed, the leftover material makes excellent water hash.
It takes the male cannabis plant about 3 weeks to start throwing pollen. It continues for about 3 weeks. Female calyxes that are the first to get hit make the first seeds. The females continue to make new calyxes. As they become ripe, the male pollen touches them and seeds start to form. The last calyxes to get pollinated usually don’t get a chance to finish, and the seeds come out white.
In my quest for the best medicinal genetics, I am constantly trying new techniques and genetics, constantly learning about this sacred plant and all the gifts she holds. Spreading quality seeds around the world has brought me many new friends and adventures, and I truly think that it changes not only the topography of planet Earth, but her soul as well.
For so many years, I grew only seedless ganja because it smokes the best, but sometimes I have daydreams about what would happen if every ganja smoker grew one seed crop and spread them around
The Soma Way of Female Seeds
Making cannabis seeds is an art. As in any art, there are different methods of application. I have tried using gibberilic acid, pH stress, light stress, and fertilizer stress to force my female plants to make seeds. All of these methods are harsh on the plants, and some, such as gibberilic acid, are not organic.
In my search for cleaner, more earth-friendly ways of working with the cannabis plant, I have found a new way to make feminized seeds. This method of making female seeds is Age Feminization Technique (AFT). I like to call it “Rodelization,” after a friend who helped me realize and make use of this way of making female seeds.
Stressing for Seeds
Female seeds happen from stress, not genetics. That’s right. I am saying that all cannabis varieties have the capability of making male flowers on 100% female plants. Stress is the cause of this phenomenon. In the 32 years I have been actively growing cannabis, I have come to know every form of stress a cannabis plant can experience.
It takes many harvests before you really get to know a type of weed. Just like getting to know human friends, it takes time. Some strains prefer a higher pH, some a lower one. Some like a lot of food some like much less. There is quite a lot of variety in marijuana genetics, and you cant treat every plant the same way.
I have grown the same strains now for close to a decade, and am truly getting to know every bit of body language that my plants exhibit. I can recognize them now from a distance.
After growing crop after crop of the same plants in the same conditions, I noticed that if I flowered the plants 10-14 days
First, match the female plant with the pollen from the same female in the previous crop. Turn off all of the fans in the room. With a fine watercolor brush, remove some pollen from the bag and paint it on the female flower. This is repeated for each variety. I have done this successfully with up to ten strains in the same room.
I pollinate the lower flowers, leaving the top colas seedless for smoking. This method requires two crops to produce seeds, but it is completely organic. It also lets you have great quality smoke at the same time and from the same plant you are using to make female seeds. If you have never grown seeds for fear of not having something good to smoke, you will love this method.
You can also use the collected pollen to make new female crosses by cross-pollinating. This is a great solution when you want to use a variety you like as the “male” part of the cross, but you don’t have access to seeds or males.
The second way is less controlled, or may be used when you are gardening a single variety. Rather than drying and saving the pollen, the females with male flowers are brought directly into the room with a second group of females that are 3 weeks into the flowering cycle. The circulation fans are turned to high and the little particles of pollen circulate around the room for several days. Six to seven weeks later you have ripe 100% feminized seeds. This method does not produce as many seeds as crossing with a genetically male plant, but it is productive enough to keep a variety in circulation.
Feminizing methods can be extremely valuable in the effort to preserve strains, as well as being useful for any breeding program. Having been a farmer who moved my genetics far away from where they started, I know the value of seeds. My friend Adam from TH Seeds in Amsterdam has a motto that I love to borrow: “Drop seeds not bombs.”
Herming: How female plants turn male
Cannabis plants are gendered, or for the botanically-inclined, dioecious. Female plants are particularly prized because they form buds that are rich in cannabinoid content. For most growers, maintaining a crop free of male plants is critical to ensuring that female buds are not pollinated.
Like all plants, however, cannabis has an inherent drive to procreate by propagating seeds. One way that the plant achieves this is by herming, when female plants become hermaphrodite to self-pollinate. The tendency to herm means that growers must take extra care to minimize any stressors that may cause the plant to perceive a threat and change its sex.
What is herming, and why does it happen?
Herming can occur when female plants experience conditions of environmental stress. “Female plants don’t actually turn male, they become hermaphrodites,” says Bruce Perlowin , CEO of Hemp, Inc . and seasoned cannabis cultivator. “You have a female plant that develops both reproductive parts so it can pollinate itself.” A hermaphroditic plant, by definition, contains both female and male sex organs .
A hermaphroditic plant, by definition, contains both female and male sex organs. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
According to Perlowin, stress is the fundamental cause of hermaphroditic plants, or ‘hermies.’ “Some examples of stressors would be not enough water, too much water, not enough nutrients, or too much heat. It can happen at any time in the life cycle of a plant from a new plant to a very mature one,” explains Perlowin. The female plant will develop male flowers in response to stress, to ensure seeds are produced before the environmental trigger can kill the plant.
Other stressors that may incite female cannabis plants to become hermaphroditic include disruptions to the photoperiod, dramatic shifts in temperature, disease or pest infestations, the use of toxic pesticides, and physical damage from vigorous pruning.
Herming can also have a genetic component, with some growers viewing plants that are inclined to herm as genetically inferior.
“Herming can also definitely be a genetic problem, but it is not cultivar-specific,” says Perlowin. “You can get the same cultivars from different seed companies, and they will yield different results.” Reputable breeders are more likely to competently sort and select seeds from genetically robust plants with desirable traits.
How can growers prevent hermaphroditic plants?
The vast majority of cannabis growers cultivate the plant to produce sensimilla . Sensimilla refers to female cannabis buds that have not been pollinated by a male cannabis plant. Sensimilla is more potent than seeded cannabis as it contains greater concentrations of essential oils and psychoactive cannabinoids.
When female plants herm, or develop male flowers capable of disseminating pollen, the entire crop is at risk of pollination. Female flowers that have been fertilized by pollen will halt their development to produce seeds, limiting flower production.
Perlowin advises that growers who wish to prevent female cannabis plants from herming must be diligent throughout the plant’s grow cycle. For starters, purchase seeds from a reputable company or trustworthy breeder that understands cannabis genetics. While potential environmental stressors must be monitored and minimized, growers should also examine their plants every day for any unusual growth.
“With hemp and cannabis, you h ave to walk your fields or monitor your plants every single day to ensure that there are no hermaphrodites or pollen on the plants, as it will affect the rest of your grow,” states Perlowin. “It is surprising how fast something can go wrong so it is important to watch closely. If you don’t find these plants, you could be jeopardizing not only your crops, but also those of other growers .”
Finally, swiftly remove any male flowers that appear. If the plant has very few male flowers, those flowers can be removed, but the plant will need to be watched closely. Plants with many male flowers should be eliminated entirely.
“We found that it is better to remove the entire plant than cutting off the problematic branches,” explains Perlowin. “We do this by using a large plastic bag to cover the entire plant. Without shaking the plant, we move the bag down to the very bottom of the plant, seal it, cut the plant down at dirt level, then take it off the property.”
How can you tell a male plant from a female plant?
To a non-expert grower, all cannabis seeds look alike. The gender of cannabis plants becomes more readily apparent when the plant approaches the flowering period .
Author Robert Connell Clarke’s book Marijuana Botany An Advanced Study: The Propagation and Breeding of Distinctive Cannabis presents clear instructions for differentiating male and female plants. The gender of a cannabis plant is located at the nodes along the main stem.
Male plants can be identified most easily when they begin flowering. The flowers initially appear as a curved claw shape, which soon differentiates into a flower bud containing five radial segments. As the flowers develop, pollen sacs emerge that almost look similar to small bunches of grapes. Eventually, the sepals of the pollen sacs will open to release the pollen.
“When you see a pollen sac, you will know that a female plant is turning male,” says Perlowin. “Oftentimes, you can tell before the pollen sack becomes a problem. You should examine the plant from the very bottom of the plant to the top. It is easy to spot when the pollen sacs are at the top of the plant, but be sure to examine if there are pollen sacs at the bottom.” Male plants additionally grow taller than female plants as they mature and have thicker stems and fewer leaves.
Female plants are generally shorter, denser in foliage, and broader than their male counterparts. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Female plants usually take several days longer than males to develop pistils or female sexual organs. The pistils look like small green seed pods and have white v-shaped stigmas, or thin hairs, which extend from them. Female plants are generally shorter, denser in foliage, and broader than their male counterparts.
Can you turn a male plant female?
The sex of a plant is determined by its genetics before germination even begins. With the sex genetically encoded, there is no way to make a male plant female, or a female plant male. There are techniques that can be used, however, to encourage a male plant to display female characteristics. These techniques require the use of chemicals, such as ethylene , to prompt a hormonal response from the plant.
Elevated levels of female hormones in male cannabis plants can trigger female flowering development. The technique is more effective when applied to male plants that have not yet formed mature flowers. It’s also vital to bear in mind that many male marijuana plants are hermaphroditic plants, and distinguishing true males can be very difficult.
Can you clone a female from a male?
A true female cannabis plant cannot be cloned from a male plant. Cloning is a process that is used by breeders to make genetic copies of robust, healthy female plants, reducing the guesswork that sometimes accompanies cannabis cultivated from seed.
For growers who wish to grow female cannabis plants from seed, the availability of feminized seeds can significantly streamline the growing process. Feminized seeds occur as a result of inducing a female plant to herm, then fertilizing another female plant with the pollen. The pollen from the ‘hermie’ contains only female chromosomes, so that no true males can result from the seed.
Do Feminized Cannabis Seeds Make Hermies?
What Are Feminized Cannabis Seeds? These seeds all grow up to be female plants. That means every plant produces buds. With “regular” or unfeminized seeds, about half the plants will turn out to be male, which don’t produce buds. They can also pollinate your female plants (causing seedy buds). Therefore most growers will remove male plants from the grow room as soon as they’re identified. Learn more about male vs female plants. Feminized seeds let you plan your grow more effectively because you don’t have to throw half the plants away once they start flowering.
Every plant grown from feminized seeds will produce the buds we know and love. This plant was grown from feminized Swiss Cheese seeds.
What Are Hermies? “Hermie” is short for “hermaphrodite.” Hermie cannabis plants usually look like normal female plants for the most part, but they also grow some male parts that produce pollen. This causes seedy buds just like pollen from male plants. Hermies are to be avoided! Read the full tutorial on hermies.
It’s no good if your “female” plants start growing male flowers or parts of male flowers. That can cause seedy buds just like a male plant!
This bud got completely seeded due to a hermie in the grow space. Notice the lumpy round bits. Those are seeds forming.
What’s the matter with a few seeds?
Cannabis growers are trying to grow sinsemilla (seedless buds). A few seeds won’t hurt anything. But if you have very seedy buds, it significantly lowers your yields because plants are putting all their energy into making seeds. The buds also tend to be less potent if they are full of seeds. Seeds are not the end of the world, but it’s good to avoid if possible.
“Sinsemilla” means “no seeds.” Sinsemilla is the highest quality and most potent of all buds
Since most growers are trying to grow sinsemilla, having only 100% female plants in the flowering grow room is crucial to prevent pollination.
Feminized cannabis seeds can be a blessing for small-scale growers. While male plants produce pollen sacs, feminized seeds ensure all your plants will end up being bud-bearing females (instead of growing half male and half female plants like with regular seeds).
If you don’t have room for extra plants, feminized seeds can make planning your grow a lot easier!
Good feminized seeds should produce only 100% female plants, with no hermies or male plants. So starting with feminized cannabis seeds lets you make the most efficient use of your grow space. You don’t have to worry about identifying male plants and throwing them away before they pollinate your female plants. With good feminized seeds, you know that if you’re growing 10 plants, all 10 of them will make buds, and that makes it easier to plan out your grow ahead of time.
With all these bonuses, why would any small-scale grower use any other type of seeds?
Pros of Feminized Cannabis Seeds
All plants produce buds
You don’t have to throw away half your plants after nurturing them for weeks
You don’t have to worry about your buds getting pollinated, causing seedy buds, reduced bud quality and lower yields
But is there a dark side to feminized cannabis seeds?
One of the biggest worries growers have about feminized seeds is that they will produce hermies instead of 100% female plants as advertised.
This hermie is growing both male and female flowers. Can this be caused by feminized seeds?
Unfortunately, hermies can be a lot easier to miss than a male plant since it may just be a small part of the plant that’s affected. A male plant makes itself known at the beginning of the flowering stage, but a hermie plant may grow only buds except for just one or two tiny pollen sacs. A few yellow hermie bananas hidden in the buds can also produce pollen. Any type of male flower part that grows in your garden can add seeds to your buds, and hermies are some of the worst offenders.
This grower didn’t notice that the buds had been seeded until harvest. As he was trimming, he noticed seeds popping out. Since there were no male plants, chances are this was caused by an unnoticed hermie somewhere in the grow space.
Is it True that Feminized Seeds Sometimes Cause Hermies? Yes!
Many growers believe that feminized seeds can cause hermies, and there is some truth to that. In order to create a feminized seed, one of the parent female plants had to be forced in some way to produce pollen.
That pollen is used to pollinate another female plant, and the offspring of those two plants will all be female since both of the parents were female. That’s how you get feminized cannabis seeds. But that also means every time you have a feminized seed, that seed had a plant that produced male flowers in its recent genetic history.
There are different ways to feminize seeds, but only some methods produce seeds that turn hermie on you.
It’s important to understand that hermies can happen a couple of different ways. And the different types of hermies affect what genes are being passed on to the seeds.
This swollen calyx has a seed developing inside
What Causes Hermies?
Hermies can be caused by many things, including…
bad genetics – the plant comes from a line of plants that naturally create hermies for no reason, even in good growing conditions
high stress – high temperatures, light leaks, inconsistent light schedules, as well as other types of major stress can cause a healthy plant to hermie, though some plants/strains are more susceptible than others
letting buds over-mature – this is also known as “rodelization;” basically when the plant’s buds have gone past maturity without being pollinated (if the grower waits way too long to harvest), a female plant may make male pollen within its buds as a last ditch effort to pollinate itself and make seeds for the next generation
chemical stimulation – by exposing a female plant to certain substances like colloidal silver or gibberellic acid during the early parts of the flowering stage, you can force any female plant to create pollen. This is how seedbanks get female pollen to produce feminized seeds.
Seeds created from “female” pollen will turn out being female (or at least as female as the parents).
The pollen from a hermie plant makes feminized seeds
The pollen sacs on this masculinized female plant have opened and pollen has spilled onto the leaf below
Another type of hermie: a yellow “banana” can appear in your buds and make pollen. This male flower part would normally be inside a pollen sac. When it’s in the open like this, it becomes a little pollen generator.
Feminized seeds are susceptible to becoming hermies themselves when exposed to the same conditions as their female “father” who produced the pollen. But since any plant can be chemically induced to produce pollen, it doesn’t mean that the ability to hermie in a natural environment is passed on to the seeds.
So only some feminized seeds come from parents with bad genetics, and that’s what’s the grower cares about most.
The bagseed gamble… When you find seeds in your buds, that usually means that the buds were pollinated by accident. Seeds that were accidentally created are suspect. It could be that a stray male plant caused them, which means there were no hermies and you will get about half male and half female plants. But accidental seeds could also be the result of herming by an indiscriminate grower, and that means you have feminized seeds, sort of. Some of them may produce pollen on you just like their parents. Growing with bagseed is a big gamble… you never know what you’re going to get.
Are your cannabis bagseeds viable? Viable, good seeds usually appear either dark and striped or solid gray/beige.
If a seed is pure white it usually means it’s underdeveloped and won’t sprout. But it can sometimes be hard to tell. In the end, if a seed sprouts and grows it’s a viable seed! I’ve had very pale, flimsy seeds sprout into gorgeous fast-growing plants, so if you’re not sure the best thing to do is try to germinate it!
Seed Banks & Breeders
Commercial breeders and seed banks use chemical stimulation to create feminized seeds. What that means is they put specific compounds on developing female plants to force them to produce pollen. You can actually do this yourself at home.
This technique works on nearly any female plant, including plants that would never hermie naturally. So it can be used to take two plants with great genetics to produce female seeds. But the same process will also work incredibly well on plants that do hermie easily all on their own. That means it’s up to the breeder to test and make sure that they have a solid plant with unbeatable genetics before using the feminization technique.
The pollen that results from chemical stimulation is used to pollinate another female plant and make feminized seeds. If the parent plants would never hermie without chemical stimulation, then you have created feminized seeds that won’t ever make pollen in your grow room.
But if one of the parent plants was chosen because it does hermie easily, you’ll end up with seeds that likely will herm. The breeder might not have done any testing on the parents or the resulting offspring to even know.
Without testing, a breeder can’t tell whether they’ve created quality feminized seeds
Choosing the Right Cannabis Breeder
Unfortunately, some cannabis seed breeders are more trustworthy than others. The great ones have created stabilized strains that have been bred over several generations to produce a consistent product without any problems with plant sex.
Less scrupulous breeders might breed two random female plants together and sell the resulting seeds as a new strain without any testing. In this second case, you don’t know what to expect, and neither does the breeder.
If the breeder hasn’t tested their strains extensively in many situations, they won’t know whether their seeds tend to hermie or not. If they have carelessly bred plants that have a tendency to herm, then it’s really likely that at least some of the resulting seeds will have the same problem.
Breeder choice is important!
I have to admit I may be biased towards feminized seeds. I’ve grown almost exclusively with feminized seeds over the last decade. It has made my life so much easier! I only purchase seeds from breeders that I trust and all the resulting seeds have been bud-bearing females. I haven’t had any real problems with hermies.
On the flip side, I’ve heard of growers buying feminized seeds from untrustworthy breeders and having a big portion of their seeds turn male or become hermies even in perfect growing conditions. So there is truth to the fact that you can run into hermie problems with feminized seeds.
Yet there are good and bad breeders out there, and with good breeders, you have a very low chance of running into cannabis sex problems.
So if you do choose to purchase feminized seeds (or any seeds really), please make sure you get them from a trusted breeder!
Conclusion: Feminized seeds from a trustworthy breeder have a low chance of producing hermies, but the odds are much worse with feminized seeds from an untrustworthy source
The truth is it takes a hermie of some sort to create feminized seeds. That means that you always run the risk of running into hermies when growing feminized seeds… yet that is true for non-feminized cannabis seeds, too! Lots of regular seeds produce hermies.
What’s most important, whether you get feminized seeds or not, is to get your seeds from a breeder who has a reputation for producing quality genetics. That is the best thing you can do for any strain to ensure a smooth grow. With a great breeder, you have a very low risk of running into any sex or gender problems.
I personally prefer feminized seeds, and that’s the only type of seed I grow. It makes it easier for me in my limited grow space. I haven’t run into any significant problems with hermies, so I’m satisfied with growing only bud-bearing plants.
Yet a lot of growers grow with regular seeds because they’re easier to breed and produce at home. Many growers have created a system for weeding out male plants that is more convenient for them than using feminized seeds.
In the end, when it comes to feminized cannabis seeds you need to decide whether the small chance for hermies is worth the convenience of all-female plants. It’s up to you to figure out what’s best for your needs!