If you are in a country where hemp cultivation is legal and are planning to plant hemp in the near future, you may have heard of companies that produce feminized cannabis seeds . You may have heard that feminized marijuana seeds are more expensive than regular seeds. What are feminized cannabis seeds and why are they sold at a higher price? More importantly, are feminized cannabis seeds worth the extra cost?
A Quick Lesson in the Biology of Cannabis Seeds
To understand why feminized seeds are so valuable to hemp farmers, it’s helpful to know a little about hemp biology.
Plants in the natural world are hermaphrodites, meaning they are both male and female and can reproduce on their own. On the other hand, cannabis plants are usually female or male. (Note: A cannabis plant can become hermaphrodite during times of high stress.) Male cannabis plants create pollen that they use to pollinate female plants. Female cannabis plants produce flowers, and when the females are pollinated, their flowers fill with seeds.
While male cannabis plants produce trace amounts of CBD and CBG oil, female cannabis plants produce much more! The highest amount of CBD and CBG oil is produced in the flowers of female cannabis plants.
However, if you are growing cannabis for CBD or CBG oil, male cannabis plants have no place in your fields. In fact, they can significantly reduce the yield of your crop.
When a male pollinates a female cannabis plant, she puts most of her energy into seed production – that energy she could use to produce more CBD and CBG-rich resin. Pollinated female plants produce much less CBD and CBG resin. Their flowers are also filled with seeds, which means that farmers will have to spend extra time and money to clean their flowers before processing.
Even just a few male cannabis plants can spread their pollen across a field, pollinating a significant portion of your female plants and drastically reducing your CBD or CBG oil yield. Considering that current research shows that experienced hemp farmers can earn up to $40,000 in income per acre of hemp, even just a 20% reduction in yield due to pollination can result in $8,000 in lost profits per acre.
How can you prevent male marijuana plants from growing in your field and pollinating your female plants? You guessed it: feminized cannabis seeds.
What are feminized marijuana seeds
What does the term “feminized cannabis seeds” mean? Simply put, only female plants grow from feminized seeds. It is important to note that no company can guarantee a 100% feminization rate; however, some feminization methods are very reliable, meaning that leading seed companies can offer feminization rates of around 99%.
How Feminized Cannabis Seeds Are Made
There are several different ways to create feminized cannabis seeds with high success rates. Each company’s methods are slightly different, and these methods are strictly guarded. Two common techniques include stress and silver.
Feminization under stress
By carefully stressing the female plants, usually interrupting the plant’s light cycle, the researchers can get the plant to produce seeds that replicate its own genes. This process practically guarantees that female plants will grow from the seeds.
Researchers have developed several different formulas containing silver and other elements (such as sodium thiosulfate) that can be applied directly to seeds to induce a gene change, turning female plants into male plants. Sounds weird, right? But when these newly transformed males pollinate female plants, they produce only female seeds for hydroponics.
As you can see, growing feminized marijuana seeds takes a lot of work, effort, and experience, which explains why they are more expensive than regular cannabis seeds.
Are feminized cannabis seeds worth the extra cost?
Many growers feel that feminized cannabis seeds are worth the extra upfront cost and are willing to invest. Here are some of the top reasons why feminized seeds are chosen in the US:
When you choose feminized cannabis seeds, you don’t have to worry about a few stray male cannabis plants pollinating your crop and hurting your profits.
When you know you are planting feminized cannabis seeds, you can better estimate yields and predict profits. This will allow you to plan expenses more effectively and negotiate with buyers of cannabis shop.
The most valuable benefit of investing in feminized seeds is that you are more likely to make a higher return on your investment. Please note that normalized cannabis seeds probably contain the same number of males and females. This means that you have to harvest about half of the crop each time you plant, which cuts your ROI in half. When you use feminized hemp seeds, you know that over 99% of germinated seeds will grow into a CBD or CBG resin producer.
If you choose to plant regular cannabis seeds, you will have to wait up to six weeks for the plants to reach the pre-flowering stage. Only at this time will you be able to accurately determine the sex of the plant. You will need extra time to evaluate each plant and cull the males.
Lack of seeds
Female cannabis plants that are not pollinated never grow seeds in their flowers, meaning you can cut and cure the entire flower, or sell the flowers (or “buds”) directly to your customers. In the case of pollinated females, you will have to de-seed the flower, which will take time from your product to market.
Should Farmers Consider Buying Regular Cannabis Seeds
Do you have any reason to consider investing in regular cannabis seeds instead of feminized cannabis seeds? The main advantage of buying regular cannabis seeds is their lower price.
Farmers who work on a tight budget and don’t mind the extra work of removing male plants from their fields may want to consider using regular seeds.
However, buying regular hemp seeds comes with a lot of risks, especially for farmers who are just starting to grow hemp.
There is no reliable way to tell the difference between male and female cannabis seeds, which means you will have to plant the seeds and determine the sex of the plant when they reach the pre-flowering stage.
Inexperienced cannabis farmers may find it difficult to find the small pollen sacs of male plants or the delicate pistils of female plants. We cannot stress enough that if you miss even a few males and they pollinate your females, you will see a significant reduction in the amount of CBD or CBG oil your females produce.
Make sure you choose a reliable seed bank
Many cannabis seed companies are looking to offer feminized cannabis seeds so they can sell these seeds at a higher price.
However, not every seed company can deliver on their lofty promises of high feminization rates.
If you talk to enough cannabis farmers, you are bound to hear some horror stories about farmers who paid high prices for feminized cannabis seeds only to see so many males sprouting in their fields and threatening their crops.