Feminized seeds are one among the defining moments within the expansion of the cannabis market over the previous couple of years. Before feminized seeds were introduced to the market, regular seeds were the norm. These were typically made from 50% male and 50% female seeds. The creation of feminized cannabis seeds meant that the inconvenience of male plants, particularly their size, was not a priority . Today, marijuana seeds are bred during a way that permits them to develop and flower as female plants only. Their breeding process eliminates virtually all male chromosomes; the probability of female plants growing is 99.9%. Because male plants can fertilize many females, the recognition of feminized seeds continues to significantly aid the longer term preservation of cannabis strains for generations to return .
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Feminized Seeds: What they are and the top methods used to produce them
Feminized seeds produce only female plants, and when they germinate there will be few males among them if they are produced correctly. The threat of accidentally pollinating crops by misidentifying a male is minimized. A male-free crop is only one reason to use all-female seeds: another might be the preservation of a particular characteristic or plant type.
The predominant way to preserve the exact genetics of a plant is by cloning. However, a plant crossed with itself produces seeds that retain its parent’s favorable characteristics. Another reason to use this technique is to create a hybrid of two female plants. If a branch of one female is turned “male,” there will be pollen to fertilize the other plant, and to create seed when no male is around. Feminized seeds are produced by inducing a normal female, not a hermaphrodite, to grow male flowers with viable pollen.
The pollen contains only female, or X, chromosomes because the plant has no Y, or male, chromosomes. The progeny will inherit an X from the male flower’s pollen and an X from the egg donor female flower. The resulting seeds can only inherit two X chromosomes, which means that almost all the resulting seeds will be girls! Congratulations!
What Are Autoflower Seeds?
Autoflowering cannabis seeds produce plants that flower on their own after 2–4 weeks of growth. Growers don’t need to worry about switching the light schedule to initiate and maintain the flowering phase, like they would if growing feminized photoperiod cannabis.
Autoflowers also need much less time to grow. Some varieties are ready to harvest in a short 8 weeks after sprouting. Plus, autoflowers are compact, which makes them great for indoor growing. Because they are so convenient, autoflowers are (not just) ideal for beginners to cannabis cultivation. More experienced growers can also take advantage of the unique growing traits of autoflowering cannabis.
Non-Photoperiod Strains: What Does It Mean?
Feminized (photoperiod) cannabis plants flower depending on the hours of light they receive. Out in nature, they start to bloom when the days get shorter at the end of summer. Indoors, cultivators initiate flowering by adjusting their grow lights to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.
In contrast, autoflowering strains flower based on age, independent of light hours, which means they are non-photoperiod strains. Autoflowers have several noteworthy characteristics:
- Plants flower automatically after 2–4 weeks.
- The average period between planting and harvest is 10 weeks.
- Autoflowering seeds are also feminized. No need to worry about male plants.
- Plants stay small (30–100cm).
- They don’t attract too much attention. Ideal for stealthy grows.
- You can harvest several crops per season.
Particularities of Autoflowers
The autoflowers that first appeared on the market in the early 2000s didn’t really impress. They weren’t very potent, their aroma was lacking, and their yields were not great either.
But autoflowers have come a long way since then. Modern autoflowers rival feminized photoperiod strains (and some even surpass them) in terms of potency, yield, and aroma. Yet, they still provide the same great benefits as mentioned above, along with having a reputation for being particularly stable and sturdy.
These days, autoflowers can satisfy even the most demanding of users: Recreational users won’t have difficulties finding automatic varieties rich in THC, and holistic users can get autoflowers low in THC but high in CBD to benefit from the non-psychoactive cannabinoid.