Transplant Autoflower from Solo Cup w/o Shock: An Easy Way

It is very easy to shock a plant and stall its progress when you transplant autoflower into a bigger container.

Experienced growers would tell you to avoid autoflower repotting altogether. It means that you plant your seed or sprout straight into the final pot. Otherwise, you may run into two kinds of trouble.

First of all, the final size of your plant may get restricted by a too small pot size because autoflowers tend to start budding as soon as they are root-bound.

Second, repotting autoflowers is a risky procedure. The plant’s delicate root system can be so shocked, that it would stop developing for several days, maybe even until the flowering stage begins. And, as you may well imagine, you’ll have a very diminutive plant with weak side growth at harvest. And the yields wouldn’t be worth the wait.

Still, sometimes, you simply can’t do without a transplant. The obvious example is when you grow your autos outdoors, but start them indoors. This is a common practice because you shouldn’t expose very young seedlings to harsh weather. It’s best to give them two weeks or so of optimal conditions indoors and only then put them outside.

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And here is a very simple method that I use and find very satisfactory.

Transplant Autoflower the Easy Way

Let’s take two party cups to put one inside the other. One of them we leave intact except that we make a couple of small drainage holes in the bottom. As for the other one, let’s cut a lot of slits in the bottom and the sides. After the transplant, the roots will grow outwards through these slits.

To do this, all we need is a sharp knife and 20 minutes of patience (for every pair of cups).

 

autoflower transplant shock, how to avoid it using solo cups with slits

 

Those who know what DWC is will see that the result resembles those net pots that hydro growers fill with clay pebbles or rockwool and put seedlings in them. The net pots also allow roots to freely grow through the bottom and the sides and into the bucket with the solution.

 

marijuana roots in hydro

 

For this experiment, I used 300 ml (10 oz) party cups, but a smaller one would probably be enough, too.

Our goal is to keep our autoflower seedlings in solo cups for two weeks, that is till the moment when a very rapid vegetative growth begins.

Let’s have a look at the roots when our seedling is already big and sturdy. You simply slide one cup out of the other. As you can see, the roots are sticking out the bottom and the sides.

 

autoflower solo cup transplant, roots clearly visible

 

I’m talking about transplanting autoflower strains outside, but in this experiment of mine I actually repotted my auto into a bucket with soil to be grown under artificial lights. Doesn’t really matter because the procedure is exactly the same. Just make a hole in the ground the size of the cup and stick it there.

The Best Time of Day for Repotting Autoflowers

In the past, I used to wonder when to transplant autoflower seedlings. I mean the best time of day for it. Now I do all my repottings before ‘nightfall’. This way, the plant and its root structure will have several hours to get used to their new surroundings before the sun goes up (or the lights turn on). Daytime, with photosynthesis and perspiration and all, is a much more stressful time for a plant.

Transplant Autoflower Results

So I was watching my repotted plant closely, and was happy to see that it never looked ‘tired’ and didn’t stop growing for a single day. In the photo gallery below, you can see daily snapshots of my auto both just before and after the transplant:

 

transplanting autoflower seedlings

 

————- THIS IS WHEN I DID THE TRANSPLANT ————-

 

with this method you can re-pot without issues

autoflower transplant seeds, day 22

grow autoflower transplant, no stress, day 23

 

So Can You Transplant Autoflowering Plants?

You can definitely transplant autoflower plants if a situaltion calls for it, but please be extra careful and make sure that the roots experience the least amount of shock. And our method of using a solo cup with slits cut in it is clearly a simple and effective way of achieving that.

 

Bag Seeds and What to Expect of Them

Novice growers keep asking questions about bag seeds all the time. A girl I know has recently fired at me a series of questions that she thought no one would ever answer. I’m sure at least some of you have been as puzzled by these questions as her. Here it goes:

I’ve been asking everyone about these bag weed seeds, and no one can explain this to me. Because I swear to God I can’t understand it myself. If the buds haven’t been pollinated, then the seeds should be sterile. But they aren’t! I’ve germinated one such seed myself, and it was growing fine.

If the buds HAVE been pollinated, then why the f… they are making me high?!

And if it was a feminized plant, is it normal for feminized plants to produce seeds?

Questions like these made me realize that people don’t grasp the concept of bag seeds. Moreover, there is a fundamental lack of understanding of how and why cannabis plants produce seeds. Can all of them be grown? Are all of them worth growing? How different types of seeds (feminized, autoflowering, regular, hermies, etc.) fit into the picture? In this post, I’ll try to bring clarity to these issues.

Bag Seeds Meaning

Suppose you buy some buds in a ‘bag’ (a zip lock). You expect the buds to be high quality which means—among other things—that they’ll be without seeds. The buds really do look, smell and taste great, and make you high, too. However, when grinding them, you find a seed or two. And this is what we call ‘bag seeds’.

Will Bag Seeds Grow?

Most seeds you find in a zip lock will definitely grow. For plants, seeds are a means of reproduction. They aren’t just for show. Of course, there are sterile or infertile seeds in other crops that have been artificially modified, but not in cannabis. So these seeds grow like any other: they germinate, they sprout, they get bigger, and then you see your bag seeds flowering as any other type of marijuana would.

This is because the presence of seeds always means that there has been some natural pollination. Either there was some undetected male somewhere near the grow, or there were some stray male pollen sacks in female buds. The latter occurs much more often because female plants often grow a few male flowers due to stress (so called hermies, or hermaphrodites). But, no matter where the pollen has come from, the pollination leads to the production of seeds, and these seeds are fertile.

So, if you ask yourself: “Can I grow bag seeds?”, the answer is always ‘yes’. Can bag seeds grow good weed? Well, it’s another question. Read on.

Are Bag Seeds Worth Growing?

Growing unknown bag seeds is always a toss of a coin. Even if you like the buds in which you have found these seeds, it doesn’t mean you’ll get the same quality. Let’s put it this way: you’ve now met the mother (the buds you’ve just smoked), but you don’t know anything about the father (the source of pollen). It may have been outstanding, it may have been mediocre, or it may have been the most worthless ditch weed that grows in your area.

And don’t forget that the father could also have been another mother (a hermaphrodite plant). So do bag seeds work? Yes, they do. Are bag seeds any good? Well, this depends on the quality of both parents, and you simply don’t have enough information.

Having said that, a bag seed can be a real gem. You probably have heard stories of first rate strains that have been bred from seeds found in a bag of buds. One example is the famous Cinderella. It would be an irreparable loss for the marijuana growing community if the breeders of this masterpiece simply sneered at those seeds and threw them away.

Bag Seeds vs Seeds Bought in a Seed Shop

If you simply want to grow yourself some good bud and expect reliable results, by all means buy your beans online from a reputable seed shop.

The reasons to grow weed from bag seeds are very few:

  • if you suspect that your bag seeds could be amazing and feel lucky (because you’ll need PLENTY of luck),
  • when your budget is strained to spend any money on seeds,
  • if you want to grow a lot plants outdoors in the cheapest way possible.

What we don’t recommend is growing bag seeds indoors. With the cost of the setup and electricity bills and what not, the money you spend on seeds is arguably the least significant expense item.

Some Questions about the Genetics

If you have read carefully what we have said above, you’ve already guessed that bag seeds, like any other type of weed seeds, can be really anything (in terms of their genetics). But, for clarity’s sake, let’s answer any specific questions that you might have.

Are Bag Seeds Feminized?

Whether the seeds found in buds are feminized or not depends on the source of the pollination. If the pollen was from a male plant, the seeds will be regular, meaning that the ratio of male to female plants will be around 50/50. But if the source of the pollen were male flowers (hermies) from the same plant or another female/hermie plant in the garden, the resulting bag seeds are feminized. Please note that such seeds are also very prone to become hermies if you subject them to stress.

Obviously, the only way to tell if your bags seeds are feminized or regular is to grow and flower them.

Are All Bag Seeds Hermies?

Most female plants can become hermies if you subject them to stress. It all depends on the amount of stress needed before you see male flowers in your female buds. If the buds have been pollinated by a male (see above), they will show more stability. If they have been pollinated by a hermie, watch out because even the least amount of stress can make such plants ‘turn to the dark side’.

On average, bag seeds are way less stable than store-bought seeds.

Can Bag Seeds be Autoflower?

If both parents were autos, the seeds are 100% autoflowering, too. The same if an autoflower self-pollinated itself (see our experiment where we produced our own feminized seeds by self-pollination using colloidal silver).

Is it Normal for Fem Plants to Produce Seeds?

Fem plants produce seeds just like any other type of plant (if you pollinate them). It doesn’t matter whether you have grown a plant from fem seeds or regular. Neither type is infertile. Of course, bud growers do everything they can to produce buds without seeds, but shit happens, doesn’t it?

Can Buds With Seeds Make You High?

The potency of buds is a matter of genetics, and not of whether the buds have been pollinated or not. Of course, buds with seeds have inferior quality because a pollinated plant directs all its energy to seed production and not resin production. Seeded buds are smaller, have less resin glands and lower levels of THC, but they DO make you high nevertheless. With many seeds, the quality is significantly worse. With a few, you’ll probably see no difference.

This is it. We hope we have answered all your questions. If not, don’t be shy to ask in comments.

 

External Links:

Marijuana Botany An Advanced Study: The Propagation and Breeding of Distinctive Cannabis, R.C. Clarke

Can Feminized Seeds be Cloned and Kept as Mother Plants?

The feminization technology has been around for close to 30 years now, but some people are still uneasy about this ‘new’ invention. Our personal opinion is that, for a casual grower, feminized seeds are better than non-feminized. It’s true that in some rare cases it’s safer to use genetics that haven’t been tampered with too much, i.e. regular seeds. But cloning and keeping a mother plant isn’t one of those cases.

Feminized seeds can be cloned without any issues and kept as mother plants and a source of more clones. They will be the exact copies of the parent plant, including its ability to produce only female buds. Feminized clones may ‘hermie’ on you due to stress, but so can regular genetics. Read on.

Feminised Seeds Clone as Easily as Regular Ones

Fem seeds are simply those that produce female plants in close to 100% of cases. In most other important ways, they are no different from regular marijuana. So, cloning feminised plants works the usual way. What you CAN’T CLONE (or, rather, don’t want to clone) are autoflowering strains. But that’s a different story.

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As for feminized plants, you can take cuttings from them as soon as the side branches are long enough. When they reach 4 inches (10 cm), the procedure has every chance to be successful. After these cuttings root, you can either veg and flower them or turn one into a mother plant. In short, everything is the same as with regular cannabis.

Can You Clone Feminized Seeds for Professional Projects?

For any amateur grower’s needs, modern feminised seeds have stable enough genetics. But if you want to produce buds or seeds professionally, you may think of building your collection of mother plants from regular seeds instead.

We have written a separate post comparing feminized and regular seeds. The short version is: fems are great, but regs might have more stable genetics. It means that in extreme situations they will be less prone to hermies. Hermies (hermaphroditism) is a situation when a female plant produces male flowers due to stress.

Finding a Stable Feminized Plant to be Cloned and Kept as a Mother

In another post, we’ve outlined a strategy—which we shall briefly repeat here—of finding the most stable plant for clones and mothers. You can use this strategy both for feminized and regular seeds. It goes like this.

First, you germinate a large batch of seeds of a certain strain. Then you grow them till they are big enough, and make them start flowering by switching to the 12/12 light schedule — 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.

For normal flowering, the darkness must be complete and uninterrupted. If you allow light leaks into your grow space during the night or turn on the lights even briefly, you disrupt the dark cycle. This can slow down the process of flowering and often results in hermies in unstable strains.

We Use This Feature to Spot Weaker Genetics

Once the buds start to form, we begin to disrupt the correct 12/12 light schedule on purpose. Let’s say we turn on the lights for an hour in the middle of the night, and the next day, ‘forget’ to turn off the lights completely, and on the third day, we make the dark period longer by a few hours, etc.

All plants that are naturally prone to hermies will sooner or later show male ‘bananas’ in their female buds. These plants we throw away. And those that remain female despite our best efforts to make them change sex, obviously have a very stabilized DNA. So you can use them for cloning or making seeds.

Of course, first you need to revert them back to the vegetative stage—the procedure known as re-vegging—and only then you can take clones. Note that there’s a high-stress method of taking clones from a FLOWERING plant. It’s called monster cropping, and those with advanced growing skills can try this method as well.

 

Growing Cannabis in Eggshells: A Fun Way to Start Seedlings

When you grow cannabis seedlings to be later planted outdoors or transferred into bigger pots, eggshells are a viable alternative to small containers, party cups, or peat pellets. Unfortunately, we haven’t done a side-by-side comparison or anything. However, in our little experiment, the results were more or less the same as in our previous, more traditional grows.

Why Use Eggshells for Weed Plants?

Empty eggshells are great starter containers for young cannabis plants because they have the right size for this purpose, are guaranteed organic and non-toxic, are a common household item, and can be very conveniently kept in egg trays.

So, let’s take an egg and a cannabis seed, and see what will happen.

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Weed Seeds in Eggshells: A Step-by-Step Instruction

Crack an egg as close to its ponty end as you can, empty it, and rinse inside. DO NOT try to remove the eggshell membrane. Otherwise the shell will be too brittle to handle. You can make a small hole in the bottom for drainage, but it’s optional.

eggshells for cannabis plants

Fill it with soil, pour about a tablespoon of water, stick a cannabis seed into the soil, with the pointy end down, and cover it with a pinch or two of more soil.

eggshells in cannabis soil

In a few days the seed will sprout.

eggshells cannabis plant; day 1

Keep it under a light (a CFL will be just fine), trying not to let it stretch too much. In our case, the seedling stretched quite a bit by day 7.

growing cannabis in eggshells; day 7

What we did was we crushed the stem with the fingertips in several places, bent it and pressed to the surface of the soil (and later covered it with more soil).

eggshell weed plant; bend the stem

Now the little plant is nice and short again, and you can keep it in the eggshell for several more days if you’re not ready for a transplant.

eggshells and weed plants; day 8

On day 11, we were ready to move the seedling from the eggshell to a more permanent home. Now we cracked the bottom with a teaspoon and removed the pieces of the shell, revealing the membrane.

egg shells cannabis; crack the bottom with a spoon

eggshells in weed plants; now remove the pieces oof the shell

Which we removed with pincers.

eggshells soil cannabis; remove the membrane

You can leave the sides of the eggshell intact or can break them further. It doesn’t matter because all the roots are only at the bottom, and the remnants of the eggshell will do no harm to the plant. On the contrary, the shell is chock full of calcium which plants could probably use later in the growing cycle.

cannabis eggshells calcium source for future needs

eggshells for marijuana is a source of calcium

Growing Cannabis in Eggshells Proved to be Very Convenient

If you grow several seedlings, eggshells placed in an egg tray are very convenient to work with. Especially under T5 lamps, but under CFLs, too. Just don’t keep your young plants in eggshells for too long, otherwise they’ll get root bound, and their growth will slow down. 7 days from sprouts should be enough. Transplanting them into the next container is also a breeze and a very low-stress procedure. By all means, try this method some time, especially if you like organic growing.

 

Autoflowering vs Feminized: What’s Best for a Casual Grower?

When you go to a seed shop, the most conspicuous categories you see there are ‘autoflowering’ and ‘feminized’, so most growers face a difficult choice: autoflowering vs feminized. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Autoflowering vs Feminized Seeds

Let’s start with a disclaimer: it’s not really correct to contrapose these two. A seed can be both feminized and autoflowering, or have just one of these characteristics, or neither of them.

‘Feminized’ means that the seeds produce only female plants. ‘Autoflowering’ means that the seeds will automatically start to flower as soon as they are mature enough (let’s say in 2-4 weeks from sprouts).

What are auto feminised seeds then? Well, those that flower automatically + produce flowers that are always female (i.e. buds).

In contrast, the seeds that produce both male and female plants are called ‘regular’, and those that won’t start to flower until you change the light cycle for them are called ‘photoperiod’.

So, seed shops make the bulk of their sales with the following two:

  • feminised auto seeds (mostly referred to as ‘autoflowering’)
  • feminized photoperiod seeds (mostly referred to as ‘feminized’)

And these two are exactly what we are going to compare.

Advantages of ‘Feminized’ Seeds vs Auto Seeds

They Have More THC

When I myself started growing weed many years ago, I was ignoring autoflowering strains completely. At that time, they really weren’t good enough. Over the years, though, the situation has changed.

Today’s autoflowers routinely have around 20% THC. This is an unheard of level for most photoperiod varieties that I used to grow and considered ‘strong’. Still, if a breeder takes some exceptional genetics with say 25-28 percent of THC and makes an autoflowering version out of it, the THC content in the resulting auto flower is always lower. Compare, for example, such a legend as Gorilla Glue with an autoflowering Gorilla.

Autoflowering vs Feminized Yield Per M2

Autoflowers have a shorter life cycle, so it’s only logical that they produce less buds in the same growspace. Again, some autos can be significantly more productive than some photoperiod strains, but, within the same genetic line, the auto version always yields less grams per m2 than the photoperiod one.

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The Difference in Yields Per Plant Can be Colossal

Photoperiod strains can be vegged for as long as it suits your needs. This allows you to grow your plants into real giants. It’s hardly practical indoors, but outdoors you can harvest as much as several pounds of dry bud from every ‘tree’. Growing fewer but bigger plants is also convenient when there are legal limits as to the number of plants you are allowed to grow.

They Leave More Room for Rookie Mistakes

Novice growers tend to make mistakes from day 1, so they run into trouble long before the flowering stage begins.

With a photoperiod variety, you can simply find a solution to your problem, take necessary measures, and wait till your plant is in good shape again. And only then you change your light schedule to 12/12 to induce flowering.

Autos, on the other hand, don’t wait till you correct your mistakes. Even if they are small and sickly, they are ‘on the clock’ and will start flowering despite their pathetic condition. The result — tiny plants and puny yields.

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That being said, I have seen autoflowering strains that are a little more flexible than that. They start flowering when they reach a certain size and have a certain number of true leaves (let’s say 4 developed pairs of true leaves and the 5th one just forming). This can happen after 3 weeks from sprouts (when everything has gone well). Or, if the initial growth was very slow due to bad conditions, they can postpone the flowering till week 4 or even 5. Not all autos behave this way, but some do.

They Let You Take Clones and Keep Mothers

If you like a particular feminised plant and want to keep it for future use, simply take a clone, root it and keep it under 18 hours of light a day indefinitely. This plant will never flower, but will keep growing new leaves and side shoots which you can use for cuttings.

Theoretically, you can take clones from autoflowers, too, but you can’t stop them from flowering, no matter how many light hours you give them. So the only way to propagate your favorite autoflowering genetics is to force the plant to self-pollinate and produce seeds.

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You Can Re-Veg Them

To reveg means to revert your plant back to growth after harvest.

A harvested plant is hardly more than a stump with a branch or two and some leaves. But you can turn this pathetic remnant into a full-fledged plant. It can then give you a second harvest or be turned into a mother plant and a constant source of clones.

Obviously, autos can’t be revegged.

They Let You Save on Electricity During the Flowering Stage

Feminized plants spend their 8-10+ weeks of flowering under a 12/12 regime, meaning you burn electricity for only 12 hours a day. The saving can be especially significant if your electrical company offers night rates. For autoflowers, the standard light/dark cycle is at least 18/6 (more hours, more money).

Advantages of Autoflowering vs Feminized Seeds

You Can Grow Them Outdoors in Practically Any Climate

I happen to live in a region with very harsh weather, so I know this firsthand. I started with feminized photoperiod strains and only chose those that were early finishers and tolerant of cold and even frost. Nevertheless, it was always a lottery. Some of those ‘quick’ feminized seeds didn’t even start to flower before the first snowfall. Others didn’t reach full maturity.

Later, I would grow from clones using genetics that had proven to really finish early, but even they didn’t perform equally well every year. It all depended on the weather in the crucial 3-4 weeks in late September – early October.

After I tried an autoflowering strain for the first time, I’ve never bothered to grow a photoperiod variety outdoors ever again. Except maybe as an experiment. As an auto grower, you have an opportunity to choose the warmest, sunniest 2-3 months of the year to complete the whole cycle—from seed to harvest—and count on your buds becoming fully mature.

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You Can Have Two or More Consecutive Harvests Per Season Outdoors

It all depends on your climate. If the growing season (with no frosts) in your region is 150 days long, you can easily have two back-to-back auto grows. It’s sometimes very convenient to have several smaller harvests than one large one per season.

One reason is that trimming is a very time consuming procedure. Also it’s nice to have some fresh buds to smoke in the middle of summer, while you’re waiting for the bulk of the harvest that which be mature in fall.

With Autos, You Don’t Worry About Light Pollution

If you grow photoperiod marijuana outdoors, nights during the flowering stage should be dark. Weed plants don’t mind the moon and stars, but react badly to city lights. Indoors, you must make sure that your grow space is completely sealed off and doesn’t allow light leaks. With auto flowers, you don’t have these issues.

You Can Have Both the Vegging and the Flowering Plants in One Grow Room

For photoperiod feminized varieties, you must dedicate two separate rooms. In one, lights will be on for 18 hours a day (the veg room), in the other — for 12 hours a day (the flowering room). This is something that not every amateur grower can afford. As for autos, you can keep several generations, each at a different stage of maturity, under 18/6.

Autoflowering vs Feminized Size

Autos tend to be much smaller. This is very convenient for tight spaces and micro grows, or if you want your secret garden to be inconspicuous.

Autos Finish Faster

Theoretically, you can find a photoperiod strain that grows very fast in veg and has a very short flowering period. So, by inducing the flowering early, you can make it finish in 10-11 weeks from seeds. But this is what an average auto can do without any hassle, and some are much faster than that. So, if you want to end that T-break of yours a.s.a.p., choose autoflowering cannabis.

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This is it.

Now you have a sort of a checklist that will help you decide if you’ll be better off growing feminized seeds or autoflowering. We’ve also written a separate post comparing feminized seeds vs regular. Be sure to read it, too!

 

Feminized Seeds vs Regular: Pros and Cons of Both

Making a choice for feminized seeds vs regular isn’t always easy.

When you go to a seed shop, all you see is feminized seeds. Most customers just buy whatever everybody else buys, but some people don’t like the idea of their seeds being genetically modified, and so they are suspicious. If you too have second thoughts about buying feminized seeds, our post will help you make an informed choice.

Let’s Define Feminized Seeds First

Feminized cannabis seeds are the seeds that have been genetically manipulated in such a way that the plants grown from them are almost always female.

In contrast, regular seeds grow into plants that can either become male or female, with more or less a 50/50 chance.

If you want more details and insights into the biology and history of feminized seeds and what to expect of them, we’ve written a separate post about it.

Are Feminized Seeds Bad?

The short answer is NO, they’re OK.

It’s true that some 30 years ago—when fems first made their appearance on the weed scene—growers routinely ran into problems with feminized seeds. The reason was that, initially, the process of feminization involved too much stress. As you might know, stressed marijuana plants often turn into hermaphrodites. And if they later produce seeds, those seeds inherit this feature, too. Meaning the seeds harvested from hermie plants grow into hermies as well if they’re stressed even slightly.

Fortunately, today’s market—with its huge supply and ruthless competition—forces breeders to eliminate stress from their practices. Most of them offer customers very stable genetics. I myself have seen regular plants change sex for no particular reason. And fem plants that were standing next to them were perfectly alright. So, feminized seeds aren’t good or bad per se. It all depends on the breeder who’s made them.

So Are Feminised Seeds Better Then?

I risk making purists angry, but I think that yes, they are. If you grow cannabis for buds, the choice of feminized seeds vs regular is a no-brainer.

With regular seeds, you’ll have to plant twice as many seeds as you need. Don’t forget that half of them will produce males and you’ll throw them away. This will leave gaps in your grow room that’ll have to be filled somehow. Besides, it’s a waste of resources if you take care of a plant for several weeks, and then it goes in a trashcan.

You’ll also have to watch your plants vere closely after you flip the switch to 12/12. It’s the time when plants reveal their sex, and males must be discarded IMMEDIATELY. You should never risk leaving them in your grow room for an extra couple of days for whatever reason. Even one pollen sack could ruin your whole crop.

And when you grow pot outdoors, guerilla-style, and can’t afford to visit your secret patch very often, the possibility of even one plant turning male in your absence is a major headache. Hell, cross-pollination can happen even if male and female plants are within 10 miles of each other, let alone in the same patch!

With feminized seeds, you’ll have none of these worries.

Are Feminized Seeds Less Potent?

There is nothing in the genetic makeup of feminized seeds to make them less potent than regular seeds.  The genes that determine the sex of a plant have no influence over potency. And the same goes for terpenes. So, stuff grown from feminized seeds will smell and taste good and will make you as high as the buds grown from regular seeds.

Do Feminized Seeds Yield Less?

The yields that you can expect from cannabis seeds don’t depend on whether they are feminized or not. So, if you go to a seed shop and see two versions of the same genetics—feminized and regular—rest assured that both yield exactly the same. Yields may be high or just average, but either way it has nothing to do with feminization.

Feminized Seeds Disadvantages vs Regular Seeds

The main disadvantage is the higher price compared to regular seeds. However, recently the prices have been going down. At least some breeders sell their feminized beans very cheap.

One more (rather obvious) thing is that if you want to produce your own seeds the old-fashioned way (when male and female plants grow next to each other, and pollination occurs naturally), you can’t do it with feminized seeds.

And even if you want to make your own feminized seeds (which is not so hard btw), you have a choice to use either feminized seeds or not, but it’s probably best to take genetics that are more ‘natural’, that is regular seeds.

Another drawback has more to do with the integrity of a particular breeder. And it doesn’t matter whether they make feminized seeds or regular. If they’re in a hurry to market half-baked strains and make a profit, it’s one thing. In this case, you may expect a great deal of variance of phenotypes. Probably, also a fair share of hermies and mutants from both feminised or regular seeds. But if they make sure to stabilize their varieties over several generations, it’s a totally different thing.

So read reviews about a breeder and their strains, look for how stable their plants are and whether growers have ever problems with hermies. If the breeder checks out, their feminized seeds can be better than non feminized seeds by another, less scrupulous breeder.

Bottom Line: Feminised Seeds Rule!

Purists and traditionalists never win in the long run. Progress always does. So don’t look down on such a wonderful modern invention as feminized seeds. In most situations and contexts, they are your best bet.

 

Feminized Seeds Explained: Let’s Separate Fact from Fiction

Today, feminized seeds are everywhere. You can grow weed for years without actually laying your eyes on anything else. As if marijuana were a single sex (female) plant all along. But it isn’t so, and it’s best to have clear answers to the following questions about feminized seeds: what does it mean and what exactly to expect from them? These questions are not just theoretical, but have a real practical value.

What is a Feminised Weed Seed Exactly?

Here’s a very short and pragmatic feminized seeds definition for you. Feminized seeds are cannabis seeds that turn into female plants only. This is how they differ from regular seeds which can turn either female or male. Now let’s talk about it in more detail.

As you may know, cannabis has two distinct sexes. Take a bunch of seeds from plants grown in nature and sow them. Some of them will grow into male plants and some — into female plants. The ratio will be around 50/50. Growers call such natural seeds regular.

For some time, regular seeds were all that was available to weed growers. The first small batches of seeds that deserved the name ‘feminized’ started to appear in the beginning of 1990s in Amsterdam. It was the founder of Dutch Passion who first offered them. Today, Dutch Passion is one of the oldest commercial seed banks that are still around.

The feature of this new type of seeds was that they grew into female plants more than 95% of the time. In fact, closer to 100%. It was a God’s gift for bud growers because now they didn’t have to throw away half of their plants at the beginning of the flowering. They knew that there would be only females in their garden and that they would harvest buds from every seed they had sowed.

Are Feminised Seeds Always Female?

Well, ideally they should be, and serious breeders go to great lengths to ensure that ALL their feminized seeds become female, but in reality they never are. Not 100%. Even the best feminized seeds produce males occasionally. Fortunately, such occasions are rare. Statistically speaking, you should grow close to a hundred of plants before you see a male intruder in an all-girl team. So can feminised seeds turn male? Yes, they can, but it’s highly unlikely for you to have this issue with your very first attempt.

What Makes a Feminised Seed?

The feminized seeds definition we’ve given above doesn’t explain how exactly breeders manipulate the beans into producing only females. In a few words, cannabis plants can change their sex in response to stress or when exposed to certain chemicals. It means that females can turn into males and produce pollen sacks instead of flowers.

Growers have long noticed this phenomenon. It’s called hermaphroditism and is a very unwelcome thing in your garden because you want buds without seeds and ‘female’ pollen will make all the buds go to seed and your whole crop will be ruined.

So, growers had been fighting ‘hermies’ for a long time, but they didn’t immediately realize that the seeds that they got in their buds because of female pollen would grow into female plants only. Well, hermaphrodite plants to be exact. Meaning that they will mostly produce female buds, but also some pollen sacks whenever they experience too much stress.

Believe it or not, the very first batches of feminised seeds marketed by Dutch Passion in the early 90s were made exactly this way. The plants were stressed to the point that they hermied and then hermies-prone seeds were harvested and sold. No wonder that those initial barbaric methods gave feminized seeds a bad reputation and still make some purists use only regular beans. You can read more about ‘feminised seeds vs regular’ controversy in a separate post.

Feminized Seeds Without Hermies Are the New Norm

The time when ‘fems’ and ‘hermies’ were practically synonyms is long gone. Now, breeders produce feminised seeds in a totally different way. They use special chemicals for this. It could be gibberellic acid or silver thiosulfate or such a simple solution as colloidal silver water made with the use of a homemade 9V battery feminisation kit. Anyway, none of these techniques involves any stress. It means that the resulting seeds are no more prone to hermies than their regular counterparts.

There is even a special method to make sure that a plant you choose for making feminized seeds isn’t predisposed to hermies at all.

How to Select a Feminized Plant That Won’t Hermie?

It works like this. You take a bunch of regular seeds, grow plants from them, put them into the flowering mode, and when they reveal their sex, discard all males. As for the remaining females, you wait till they begin to flower in earnest and then start to stress them. You can doi it by constantly changing the light cycle: when today it’s 12/12, tomorrow — 18/6, then — 14/10, etc. All weaker genetics—when ‘punished’ this way—will turn hermies at some point. And the ones that stay female despite all the stress are definitely keepers. Meaning they are your best choice for feminized seeds production.

Do Feminized Seeds Produce Different Phenotypes?

Making seeds that always turn female and making seeds that grow into very uniform-looking plants are two completely different things. So, with feminized seeds, a breeder never guarantees that you will get only one pheno. The phenotipic variance can be as huge as with regular seeds. And if you want feminised seeds that don’t have different phenotypes, make sure that the breeder or reviewers describe the strain as stable.

So, we did our best to define feminized seeds’ meaning. Now let’s take a few moments to dispel some misconceptions that people have about this type of marijuana seeds.

Feminized vs Autoflowering

Some people, when they choose a strain, wonder what they should rather buy: feminized seeds or autoflowering. As if these were opposing terms. In fact, they are not. The confusion is understandable: seed shops offer seeds in two large categories:

  • feminized autoflowering seeds -> usually shortened to just ‘autoflowering seeds’,
  • feminized photoperiod seeds -> usually shortened to just ‘feminized seeds’.

The fact that the words not marked in bold are too often omitted has created this confusion. In fact, there are also regular autoflowering seeds and regular photoperiod seeds, but neither category is very popular. Most newbies don’t even see them when they shop for seeds. All they see are the words ‘feminized’ and ‘autoflowering’, and so they feel like they should choose either one or the other. The good thing is you can have both. Autoflowering feminized seeds produce only girls, and they all start to flower automatically.

This confusion aside, we’ve written a separate post discussing pros and cons of autoflowering vs non autoflowering seeds.

How to Tell Feminized from Non Feminized Seeds

Another misconception is that feminized seeds somehow look different than other types of seeds. Not by a long shot. A seed is a seed. It can be small or large, or it can look mature or immature, but, other than that, you can’t tell anything about the seed’s genetics by just looking at it.

It can be medical cannabis or hemp, sativa or indica, an auto strain or a photoperiod one, it can be a high THC or low THC variety, or CBD rich etc. and all of them will look just the same.

And if you insist on knowing what type of seeds you have—feminized or not—the only sure way is to wait till they flower.

Do Feminised Plants Produce Seeds?

If feminized seeds catch some pollen, they do produce seeds. After all, they are feminized, not castrated. The reason why people have seed-free harvest of buds from feminised seeds is because they don’t have any males in their grow room and no male pollen. But if you get some pollen inside your grow space (from outside or from hermies), your plants will get pollinated, no matter feminized or not. So, if you bought only fems and still your feminised plant has seeds, look for the source of pollen.

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How to Grow Feminized Seeds

There is a whole group of questions from novice growers regarding germination and planting of feminised seeds, their grow time and flower time, light cycle, phenotypes and what not.

We’ve already said that feminized seeds look exactly like non-feminized. Well, they also grow the same and should get the same treatment as regular seeds. The only real difference is that you won’t have to cull the males when the plants in your garden show sex.

Maybe there is one more difference. If the breeder hasn’t done his job properly and his fem seeds genetics are unstable, the seeds will be more prone to become hermaphrodites. In this case, take extra care not to stress your feminized plants at any point of their life cycle. Other than that, take care of them just the normal way and you’ll be alright.