Feminized seeds allows control over female to male ratios. Below is the proccess explained on how to make feminized seeds, the tricks and the hard reality of feminized seeds. “To buy or not to buy” & ” to make or not to make” feminized seeds is controversial. I will shed light on why feminized seeds are popular and why you may think twice about growing feminized seeds.
The Simple Process
Without overly complicating the proccess a few growing details needs to be addressed such as lighting, auto-flowering strains, nutrients and container size. The process also needs to consider the frequency of spraying, the strengths in which to spray, as well as, when and how long the proccess will take. Your scope of practice is simple: your trying to make pollen from a gender determined cannabis plant. You will take the pollen and pollinate another regular female plant. Once the female plant is pollinated, continue the flower cycle for healthy seed production. Read more about important considerations before you start your proccess.
Your lighting choice is very important for the proper production of pollen. Lighting is not a controversial figure, its a fact: more light the better. Do not try and get away with less lighting or your pollen sacs will remain empty or with very little viable pollen production. The lighting required should be 55watts a square foot.
If your going to use T5 lighting you must daisy chain a bank of lights together. The 3 foot T5 high-output bulb displays 6400K color spectrum totals at 39watt a bulb. A 4 foot T5 high-output bulb displays 6400K color spectrum at 54watts. If you decided T5 lighting is your only option for pollen and seed production, will require a minimal of (4) T5 39watt high-out put bulbs for a total of 156 watts. This will give you 3 square feet of linear growing; 12 inches wide by 36 inches long. Your total watts for square foot is 52 watts: this is low but the suggested minimal wattage.
Each T5 high-out put bulb + reflector ranges in cost but generally cost around $49.00CAD. To promote healthy, strong pollen & seed production you may want to consider an HID lighting as the initial cost for daisy chaining T5 bulbs is expensive.
There are benefits of using T5 lighting. You will reduce the light burn after spraying your plants. You will be spraying your plants a minimal of 3x a day to begin with. With HID lighting, you will risk leaf burning. The negatives about using T5 is the initial cost of investment. Personally, I was successful under T5 only when I used (6) T5 54watt bulbs, daisy chained together. The bulbs where spaced 1 inch apart and placed about 2-3 inches above the canopy. The success was not based on ‘did my plant hermaphrodite’ but it was based on ‘did I get pollen from the sacs that was viable’? Your colloid silver is what determines your plants ability to hermaphrodite.
With increasing cheap combination packages online such as the Vivosun 600Watt HPS/Conversion Metal Halide bulb and reflector kit for $189.00 on Amazon.ca with free shipping for Amazon Prime members. To note: this is NOT an affiliate link and is subjected to change at anytime.
The 600Watt HID lighting system gives you 100watts for 6 square feet (2 X 3 feet). Not only does this allow you to spray your whole plant but allows you to create pollen from 4 plants. Remember, using 4 plants will bring down the watts per square foot per plant. Your goal is a minimal of 55 watts a square foot. I disagree with the minimal wattage but it appears to be the general consensus for plant growth. It does not appear to be favorable for fruiting, pollen or seed manufacturing.
Personally, I was successful under T5 only when I used 6 T5 54watt bulbs, daisy chained together. The bulbs where spaced 1 inch apart and placed about 2-3 inches above the canopy.
Note: Making feminized seed is really a 3 part proccess: Part 1: Make colloid silver, Part 2) Make feminized pollen, Part 3) Make seeds from feminized pollen.
When choosing which bulb to use for your HID, at this point it does not matter, both color spectrum bulbs will work. The better bulb will be the warmer color spectrum for flower production. The conversion metal halide bulb is better suited for vegetation growth. With either bulb spectrum just be careful when spraying and do not spray under direct HID lighting.
Ultimately growing under the natural sunshine is excellent , if an option. Naturally, the sunshine emits approx 10,000-15,000 foot candles measured upon the earth surface. If growing under the sun all measurements are generously taken care for you. The sunshine is adequate to promote pollen, seed and flower production.
The major benefits of using natural sun light is obvious: reduction of your over all electric bill and an excellent full spectrum light source. HID lighting cannot compare to the full spectrum; although, ceramic metal halide (CMH) does offer excellent spectrum for veg and bloom cycles. HID lighting can create more light intensity than natural sun light; with the increased intensity so does the risk of hurting your plants- so be careful. You must monitor your light output, ideally with a PAR meter.
More about cannabis lighting can be read here. The details will help clarify bulb types and new market HID options. The article will also explain spectrum, efficiency, measurements and inverse square law. The connection will be made between HID light measurement and LED lighting; as a result, it will help you compare and understand the benefits of both lighting systems.
Follow the feed program you understand. When your plants are in veg, use your vegetation feed chart. When your in flower, follow your feed cycle but remember you can lower your strengths. Your not trying to build bud for 8-9 weeks, your simply spraying your cannabis plant 3x daily until she starts to product male pollen sacks. Than you wait 2 more weeks for the pollen to be produced and ripen; by which, will start to crack and ‘fly’ to pollinate. If your cannabis plant is healthy and not deficient, than you will be successful producing pollen, as long as, provide enough lighting and spray frequently with missing intervals or long gaps.
I have been asked before about container sizes and what is best to use. If you cannabis plant is going to be for pollen production than use a 1 or 2 gallon pot. A 1 or 2 gallon pot is more than enough. Once you have harvested all your pollen and are ready to pollinate your chosen regular female cannabis plant, it would be ideal to use a 3-5 gallon container.
You want your chosen regular female plant to be very strong, vigorous and healthy. One way to think about it is this: to have a healthy plant with limited minimization so the plant can produce large, swollen seed brackets in buds.
Spraying With Colloid Silver
By now you understand the lighting that is required, nutrient requirements and what containers are adequate. At this current point, you should have your favorite, regular female cannabis plant picked. If she is from seed, she will need to show maturity at around 6-8 weeks of age. If from clone, you can start to spray after 2 weeks of age. Some people spray around day 3 but that’s ridiculous as they are to young to respond well and become very stressed.
Spraying Regular Female Cannabis Plants:
When your cannabis plant is mature, start spraying your plant 1-2 days before initiation 12/12 flower cycle. You will need to make sure you pick the best, most convenient times possible and keep that schedule-be persistent. Make sure you have picked the best grow location so you can access the plant easily. So if your planning on using natural sunlight, make sure your plant is not located out in the bush.
Spraying Autoflower Strains:
Autoflower strains can be tricky and some people argue that you cannot create feminized seeds from autoflower. That is clearly a stupid comment because I have created feminized auto’s, as well as, you can buy them from any online seed store.
The trick when working with autoflowers is two things: 1) you should already know the strain well and understand when it is likely to flower. This way you know when you should start your initial spraying. 2) Start your initial spraying at least 1 week before you suspect her going into flower OR you force her into flower.
Remember when you are working with auto’s your likely working with a seed plant as most are to difficult to clone. We have several clonable strains for sale here. I am not arguing the fact the plant cannot be cloned but simply the fact that the clone takes on the mothers maturity and will most likely focus on flowering and not rooting in the dome.
Spray concentrations & Timing
When making feminized pollen to than use on a selected regular female plant you must spray with the correct concentrations at the right time. This is very critical IMO. I cannot stress this enough for several reasons. For instance, if you spray to weak, your plant will not properly hermaphrodite or major decrease in pollen potency and reduction. If you spray to strong, you will damage your plant and possible kill the majority of the effected leaves- this will happen.
Steps for straying should be as follows to some degree as it depends on how stressed your plant is. Do not keep spraying high PPM of colloid silver when you see your plant overly stress with leaves burning and suffocating. Follow the below guidelines as a guideline only.
- First initial spray (before 12/12) should be 35-40ppm of colloid silver. You must spray 3x daily close to the same times.. For example) Spray at 7,8 or 9am when you get up for work. Next spay when you get home such as 3-5pm. Finally, spray before you go to bed around 10-11pm; be consistent as you can.
- During week 1 on flower, spray with 35ppm, 3x a day. You may notice some stress at this point; this is normal and okay. The signs of stress may be leaf curl, twisted and or a bit drier. This is also considered a good sign because it’s one sign of ethanol reduction.
- Week 2 reduce your colloid solution by diluting the solution to 30ppm. This will help reduce the plant damage. If you keep your strength to high you will start to hurt your plant. If you dilute to 28ppm do not worry. It is not exact science. At this time, monitor your plant damage, should you spray lighter with less ppm? Are you seeing little transformation or plant stress? Maybe you should be spraying your plant heavier.
- Week 3 your plant will show signs of progressive flower as well as male pollen sacs. At this point you want your plant to not be in a windy location. At this point I have tested several spraying options: spray 3-4x a day at 22-25ppm if plant is loosing leaves or to much plant damage OR continue to spray with higher ppm such as 28-30ppm. If you choose 28-30ppm you should consider how heavy your spraying. Are your drenching your plants? Maybe lighten up to continue spraying 3x a day at 30ppm.
- After 21 days of flower, your plant will display pollen sacs and will continue to produce viable pollen. Viable pollen will only happen if you have adequate light and consistent spraying. The ppm is only used now to keep the ethanol reduction and not to shock it. At this point monitor closely for changing pollen sac shapes. Keep spraying!
- Four weeks have now passed. Keep spraying with your solution as required. Monitor very closely for opening pollen sacs. Pollen sacs will crack open and the pollen will start to ‘fly’. At this point, consider harvesting the lateral with the crack pollen pod. If just one pod is open, you may want to wait another 2-3 days for the others to ripen. You can selectively collect that pollen sac.
- Continue as required. Collect pollen and store. Read more below on how to collect.
How To Collect Pollen:
When your pollen sacs have cracked and pollen is visible you have several options on how to collect your pollen. If you have a lot of pollen to collect and your plant is relatively small, simply take some branches and insert into a freezer bag and shake vigorously. Or you can harvest small branches and place them into your freezer bag. Do not blow air into the bag as your air from your lungs are moist.
Moisture is pollen’s enemy number 1!
Once the branches are in the bag you can now shake to release free radical pollen. If pods are not opening wait for several days and try again; you may have to wait 1 week. If you know the pollen is ripe simply because the majority of the pods are ripe, you can cut the remainder pods open and harvest the pollen.
There is more then 1 way to harvest pollen, this is the most simple way I have found. Some people would rather collect each pollen sac or simply collect the free radical pollen on a piece of glass and than store.
Storing Your Pollen
Storing pollen is really simple. All you need to do is focus on eliminating the risk of moisture. You should consider sprinkling a little bit of baking flower with your pollen. Than store in a deep freezer. You can store your pollen in a regular freezer that is -18 or colder. Use your pollen as soon as possible for best viability. Some people have used pollen stored for 2 years with success.
Making Feminized Seeds:
Wow, part 2 of 3 is complete to making feminized seeds. Part 3 is the most easiest stage; your at the finish line now. All you need to do is apply your pollen to your selected regular female plant. Your female plant needs to be approx 2 weeks in flower. You should pollinate each day for 3-4 days consecutively. An easy way to pollinate is to use a paint brush and apply to the pistils of the selected female plant.
Your selected plant once fully pollinated will be 3 weeks old. You must wait additional 4-5 weeks for the seeds to mature. I do not care what anyone else on the internet says. You must wait for your seeds to mature if you want healthy, strong seeds. You want seeds that have high germination rates with strong vigor.
Your seeds will be located in seed brackets, neatly tucked away into their little bud bedding. Harvesting seeds is easy and requires no special training or research. You major consideration should be seed storage and can be read right here on “how to store cannabis seeds”.
Things To Consider
Feminized seeds are expensive. Your paying for the convenience of not having to sex your cannabis seeds. Seed retailers promote feminized seeds as only positive; were as, in reality most grow operations larger than a grow tent do not use feminized seeds. Feminized seeds create many problems for the grower and grow room, if you do not believe me, your still new to the seed breeding world or simply growing.
Feminized seeds have a much higher risk of hermaphrodite-period! There is no way to argue around this simple fact. Common questions are: Why would my feminized seed plant hermaphrodite if I do not expose it to the same environmental factors that caused the mother plant to hermaphrodite for feminized pollen?
Here is the short answer: Your cannabis plant genetics, as a safety, are now prone to hermaphrodite over simple environmental factors. Some breeders say sub par genetics will cause mass hermaphrodites to appear under normal, non stressful growing conditions. Sadly, until this can be figured out, grow stores tend to not carry feminized seeds for this vary reason. Grow stores are tired and embarrassed to endorse feminized seeds when customers complain face to face.
Feminized seeds will hermaphrodite if one of these conditions are met:
- Light bleed
- radical light changing schedules
- high winds, excessive fan speed, resulting in poor Vapor Pressure Defects (VPD)
- bad genetics
- root zone issues, cold temperatures, wetness
- heat stress, bulbs to close, high temperature, temperature swings more than 10 degrees.
These are the common causes for feminized seeds to hermaphrodite. Even if your grow room is near perfect, myself and many other grow rooms I visit have all had bad experiences with feminized seeds. Non will ever use feminized seeds again. Who should use feminized seeds? Honestly, no one, unless you have minimal plant count and the time and ability to pick each pollen sac off each bud before any pollen fly’s. Ask yourself, how long can you expect to keep that up?