by Christine Athens
If there’s one thing that successful hemp farms have in common, it’s knowing how to feminize cannabis seeds. By feminizing their cannabis seeds, farmers and seed banks can ensure the survival of desirable generations. It’s also how they’re able to produce new strains.
Whether you’re growing professionally or for personal reasons, ensuring that your harvest is 100% female is worth your time and energy. Not to mention, it’s the best way to make use of all your materials.
Keep reading to learn more about how to feminize cannabis seeds.
Why Feminizing Seeds is Important
Not only will male plants take up nutrients and space from your harvest, but they’ll also cause smaller yields and seedy buds when left to pollinate the female plants. Feminizing cannabis seeds guarantees that there are no male plants. That means that each seed you plant will yield a robust, bud-bearing plant.
That doesn’t mean the male side of the crop isn’t valuable. Male cannabis plants are important for breeding auto-flowering strains. They also have the potential to pass down traits and characteristics desirable for producing mold and pest-resistant strains. Aside from being a good “breeder parent,” there are several other uses for male plants worth noting.
Of course, if you’re looking to produce CBD-rich hemp products, feminized hemp seeds are what you want for each grow.
How to Feminize Cannabis Seeds
Before getting into the seed feminization steps, let’s talk about the two ways you can go about forcing pollination: chemically or by a process known as rhodelization.
Rhodelization is a natural process that happens to cannabis in the wild. When a female plant in nature is stressed, goes unharvested, or is dying of old age, she will “self-pollinate” by producing her own pollen sacs. It’s a means to preserve the next generation of that species.
Despite being natural, rhodelization isn’t recommended. This process ends up producing hermaphrodite or “hermie” strains which always results in seeds forming on the buds.
The chemical process of feminizing seeds involves using gibberellic acid or colloidal silver for the plants. This is how some of the most reputable seed banks feminize their seeds to create generations of desirable strains. It’s also the process we’re going to cover.
Now onto the seed feminization steps:
1. Spray the Bud Sites
Once you’ve selected a female plant, you’ll want to spray selected buds thoroughly every day with your colloidal silver or gibberellic acid. You must do this during the first three to four weeks of the flowering stage, just until the pollen sacs begin to form and split open.
It’s important to note that it’s not safe to use any of the buds that come in contact with the chemicals. Only the seeds!
2. Start Harvesting the Pollen
When the pollen sacs are ready for harvest, they’ll swell and begin to open. If you harvest too early, you’ll wind up with empty pollens sacs, so make sure you continue to spray until you see them split. You’ll know it’s time to harvest when the leaves surrounding the pollen sacs start to dry and crack.
Once you collect the pollen sacs you’ll need to let them dry for about a week. Once they’re dry you can put them in a bag and shake the pollen loose.
3. Pollinate Another Female
The female you choose to pollinate will be your “mother” plant. When she’s two to three weeks into the flowering stage, use a paintbrush to spread pollen on the pistils (hairs) of the developing buds.
It will take up to six weeks for the feminized seeds to fully develop. During this time it’s crucial to keep your plants alive until the seeds begin dropping. You can use them right away or store them until your next grow.