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While it’s basically not possible to determine the sex of a seed from a random bag of seeds, a practice known as feminizing is becoming quite popular. Feminized seeds are selectively bred to produce female plants, however, some growers do worry about some feminized seeds turning into hermaphrodites.
What are your thoughts on feminized seeds? If you’ve used them before, how did it go? Share your experiences in the comments below!
Determining if a Seed is Male or Female
In the colloidal silver feminizing method, distilled water is mixed with pure silver and sprayed on female plants. This method works best when the plants are flowering. This results in pollen sacs being formed, which will allow the seeds to produce female plants.
If you’re looking for more precise, science-based methods to tell your plant’s gender, there are several labs that can sex your plant right after germination – eliminating the lengthy (usually around 6 weeks) wait to learn its gender. Portland, Oregon start-up Phylos Bioscience is in the business of studying cannabis genetics, and they sell a “plant sex kit” that’s pretty simple to do, even for the not scientifically-inclined. Simply press a cotyledon, or embryonic leaf, onto the kit’s filter paper and send it to their lab. They then test the leaf for the “Y” chromosome to determine its gender, just as would happen for a human male.
If what you’ve got is a handful of seeds, it’s pretty much impossible to tell which ones are male or female. The only way true way to tell the plant’s gender is to plant some seeds, then wait. After a period of several weeks, it will begin to pre-flower, or form a small bud in the crux of a branch. One of the first signs your cannabis plant is female is the appearance of pistillates that are wispy and generally white in color.
While some growers want to dump these plants, there are some non-bud related uses for the male cannabis plant. You can use the stems and water leaves for juicing and teas. It is also possible to process male plant parts into material for therapeutic creams and lotions.
Unplanted, regular seeds will typically possess a 50/50 chance of producing a male or female plant. Most seed banks and companies offer genetically altered feminized seeds, which diminishes some of the risks of pollination if a male phenotype lacking resinous buds gets mixed in.
Some individuals call the vegetative stage the “childhood” of the plant because the primary purpose of the crop during this time is to grow taller and stronger. It is not yet necessary for the crop to focus on yielding or flowering.
What Can You Do with a Male Cannabis Plant?
Only the female marijuana crop is capable of producing potent buds. Additionally, it is useless to sell product from male plants, as they will not provide much of a high.
It takes years and years of experience. It is worth it because knowing what to look for in the pre-flower formation is often as important as merely removing males, in terms of overall yield quality.
When growing indoors, you can’t go wrong with clones if you want to avoid the male weed plant altogether. They’re a little more fragile than seedlings (mainly because they don’t produce a strong taproot). However, for efficiency and “ease-of-use,” they’re typically your best bet. As long as they’re appropriately rooted, clones are pretty hard to screw up.
Anyway, after spending almost a month setting up his operation, he was ready to get started. He chose a lovely spot for an indoor grow, a nice walk-in closet (probably about 8 ft x 4 ft) that was easily sealed off from all external light sources. He even went to the trouble of “foiling out” the inside walls and installing an external ventilation fan to keep the temperature and humidity at optimal levels.