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 from them, we’ve written a separate post about it. Or, if you are a DIY enthusiast, go get the step-by-step instructions on how to make feminized seeds with a homemade colloidal silver generator.
Are Feminized Seeds Bad?
The short answer is NO, they’re OK.
Maybe, some 30 years ago, when fems first made their appearance on the weed scene, growers routinely ran into problems with feminized seeds and went on to use regular seeds instead. The reason was that, initially, the process of feminization involved too much stress, and 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 and to offer customers very stable genetics. I myself have seen regular plants change sex for no particular reason, while 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 feminised seeds vs regular is a no-brainer.
With regular seeds, you’ll have to plant twice as many seeds as you need (assuming that half of them will produce males and will have to be thrown away). This will leave gaps in your grow room that’ll have to be filled somehow. Besides, it’s a waste of resources (space, electricity, water, nutrients, grow medium, and your time) if you take care of a plant for several weeks to just throw it away.
You’ll also have to watch your plants vere closely after you flip the switch to 12/12 because males must be discarded IMMEDIATELY – as soon as they reveal their sex. You should never risk leaving them in your grow room for an extra couple of days for whatever reason because 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.
With feminized seeds, you’ll have none of these worries.
Feminized Seeds Disadvantages
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 than with 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, and probably a fair share of hermies and mutants from both feminised or regular seeds. But if they stabilize their creations over several generations and make sure to offer a really stable genetic line, 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, you can be sure that the comparison between their feminized seeds vs non feminized by other, less scrupulous breeders will be in their favor.
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.