Feminized Seeds vs Regular Seeds: Which One Should I Choose?

Home growers have a few different choices of what cannabis seeds they wish to cultivate to harvest. However, the very first decision the home grower must make is whether to grow female plants with feminized seeds or to buy cannabis seeds in their regular state in order to embark on their own cannabis cultivation projects. 

Though these two different cannabis seed types both grow into cannabis plants once germinated, they are very different from one another in many different aspects. 

Feminized Seeds & Regular Seeds Both Grow Weed

My buddy Billy Pilgrim has been traveling through multiple dimensions and multiverses his entire life. Basically, the guy lives in multiple realities at the same time–for better or for worse. 

For example, at this very moment, Billy is growing beautiful female plants with feminized seeds inside of the geodesic dome that he lives in. The other reality of Billy’s multi-faceted life is that he’s simultaneously using regular seeds to breed his own cannabis seeds in a completely different place and dimension altogether!

Both types of cannabis seeds ultimately give humanoid growers the ability to cultivate their own cannabis plants in different ways–without any requirement to exist in multiple dimensions like Billy and I do! 

Cannabis Seeds Were Only Regular Seeds Until Recently

Since the beginning of cannabis cultivation several thousand years ago [1], cannabis seeds now known as regular seeds were the only seed type, since feminized cannabis seeds did not come around until just a few short decades ago. Regular seeds are then available as photoperiod seeds and autoflower seeds.

How Are Regular Seeds Produced?

Regular seeds are produced through the natural reproduction and pollination process of a female plant by a male cannabis plant. Like in the wild, male cannabis plants release pollen, which is then used by the breeder to fertilize the flowers on the female plant. This leads to the production of regular seeds. 

Regular Seeds Can Become Male or Female Plants

Once in the vegetative growth stage, plants created by regular seeds have the potential to grow into either a male or female plant. According to many breeders, the consensus ratio for males/female plants is typically in the 50/50 male-female range for regular seeds.

Sexing Cannabis Plants Grown from Regular Seeds

Male cannabis plants can grow from regular seeds as well. These are less desirable to most growers not concerned with breeding work due to their very low potency and very sparse bud structure compared to female flowers. 

Sexing a cannabis plant refers to establishing whether you have a male or female plant. Male cannabis plants are typically identified by their round and oval-shaped pollen sacs that develop along their stems early in the vegetative stage (4-6 weeks) and are removed entirely from the growing area. 

According to one study, “microscopic analysis of male and female [cannabis plants] revealed that their reproductive commitment may occur as soon as the leaves of the fourth node emerge [2]. 

This ensures that pollen from those sacs will not unintentionally pollinate any nearby female plants, whose own pre-flowers develop small, white pistils instead of pollen sacs– which will very negatively affect their optimal potency and bud structure. [3] 

Feminized Seeds are Made to Produce Only Female Plants

The development of feminized seeds–now the top selling variety of cannabis seeds sold in the United States–changed the entire cannabis industry with an easier method to cultivate cannabis. In addition, the more-desirable buds of the female plants can be produced with much higher end yields than previously experienced with just regular seeds. Feminized seeds are also available as photoperiod and autoflower seeds

How Are Feminized Seeds Made?

Up until European cannabis breeders began to experiment with cannabis plant genetics in the 1980s and ‘90s, feminized seeds did not even exist. 

Feminized seeds were developed by letting a female plant continue flowering several weeks longer than needed. This stress was noticed to cause male flowers at the very end of the cycle. Because these male flowers could no longer pollinate themselves, the “female pollen” from these late-blooming male flowers was then collected and used to fertilize with another female plant, which then produced feminized seeds. 

Because both parents of a feminized seed are ultimately female plants, it all but ensures (99%) each seed they produce will be a female plant with female buds, also referred to as sinsemilla.

Modern Feminized Seed Breeding

Nowadays, stressing a cannabis plant isn’t the de facto way to get feminized seeds, which are typically produced by breeders in two other ways that studies have shown as “effective in the induction of male flowers” [4]:

  • Colloidal Silver – This application uses tiny silver particles within a solution of water on female plants during the initial stages of flowering. It works by inhibiting a certain hormone (ethylene) that the flowers require. Male flowers with pollen sacs are developed on the female plants and then used to pollinate other female plants to produce feminized seeds.
  • Gibberellic Acid (GA3) – Known to induce male flowers on female plants, GA3 is a plant hormone used for stem and flower development. As is with the other two ways to produce feminized seeds, the female chromosome-rich pollen of the male flower that develops is used to pollinate another female plant and create feminized seeds. 

Pros & Cons of Regular & Feminized Seeds for a Newer Grower

Ok, so you’ve decided to buy cannabis seeds and start growing some of your own weed, but you’re still not sure which seed type dimension you want to exist in. Let’s do a comparison of both cannabis seed types to fully evaluate which one you should choose.

What Are the Advantages of Growing Weed with Feminized Seeds?

There’s a lot of reasons growers both new and old choose to cultivate feminized seeds.
Besides the obvious, there’s a few other reasons you may want to know as well. Take a look below!

  • No sexing – Skip the uncertainty of whether your seeds will produce any undesirable male cannabis plants (unless you’re breeding, which, if you’re a newer grower, you should probably slow down). All feminized seeds are going to produce female plants 99% of the time.
  • No accidental pollination – With no male plants hanging around there’s no need to be on alert in case any of them pollinate your female plants.
  • Time & space efficient – With no need to determine the sex of your cannabis plant, that means more space and room for female plants to thrive in your growing environment.
  • Value – Even if a pack of feminized seeds may be a little more pricey compared to a pack of regular seeds, over time the higher yield, quality, and potency of your feminized buds will outweigh any of the possible negative factors that come with regular seeds such as accidental pollination, or if a lot of the seeds turn out to be male.
  • Higher yields – Feminized seeds can maximize end yields because growers can focus exclusively on producing their prettier, larger, and denser buds. 
  • More control & consistency – The genetic stability of feminized seeds equates to female plants with more consistent characteristics like size, when they will flower, and terpene & cannabinoid profile. 

What Are Some Disadvantages of Feminized Seeds?

Though many growers both new and old opt for feminized seeds to cultivate their own weed, this cannabis seed type still has a few slight disadvantages:

  • Potential hermaphroditism – The phenomenon known as hermaphroditism is when female plants develop male flowers under certain stress conditions. These hermaphroditic plants can then self-pollinate themselves or any other local female plants unintentionally. [5]
  • Potential instability – Some say that the process of creating feminized seeds puts too much stress on the plant and can create unstable growth, yield, and potency, however this is very rarely the case if you purchase feminized seeds from a reliable breeder and seed bank.
  • Limited breeding – Growers looking to become breeders lean on regular seeds to produce new hybrids and crosses since feminized seeds cannot do so.
  • Reliance on cloning to reproduce – Taking a clone cutting from a female plant can keep the genetics continuing, however clones do have some downsides as well.

What Are the Advantages of Growing Weed with Regular Seeds?

Since we covered the ins-and-outs of feminized seeds, let’s discuss some advantages that regular seeds provide growers and breeders with.

  • Genetic diversity – Because they produce male and female plants, breeders and growers have unlimited possibilities of parental lineages at their disposal to use. 
  • Stability & stress-resistance – Since feminized seeds may sometimes undergo stress to be created, regular seeds by comparison are more stable and less susceptible to stressors since they do not have to undergo the feminization process.
  • Breeding opportunities – Only via regular seeds can new strains and unique original crosses be bred.
  • Seed production – Seeds for future harvests can only be created courtesy of the male plant that lends its pollen to female plants. A perpetual cycle of seed production this way can keep a grower cultivating from his own seed stock for a very, very long time.
  • Cost – Because feminized seeds have quickly become the most popular way for home growers to cultivate cannabis, regular seeds are often found at more affordable prices.

What Are Some Disadvantages of Regular Seeds?

Because of the binary nature of regular seeds, they also offer some disadvantages to the newer home grower as a result. However, for any experienced humanoid breeder or grower, these are merely things to keep in mind when cultivating regular seeds.

  • Risk of male plants – As per the typical 50/50 ratio for regular seeds to end up as either male or female plants, there is also the risk that an even higher ratio can turn out to be all males. While this doesn’t happen all the time, there’s certainly incidents where most of the seed pack turned out to be male plants. As mentioned, unless breeding, male plants do not have much redeemable value to a grower or consumer.
  • Sexing – You will need to determine if your cannabis plants are male or female plants during the vegetative stage, whether for breeding or standard growing purposes. Lack of experience with this process can lead to a less than desirable growing experience and harvest.
  • More space – Bottom line, regular seeds will require more space to evaluate each plant during the sexing phase, whereas with feminized seeds you already know the sex and can organize and maximize your space accordingly.
  • Limited availability of some genetics – Because many exclusive breeders don’t wish for home growers to be able to breed and cross their strains themselves, they only offer some strains as feminized seeds for home growers. Regular seeds are often not available for many fresh and popular strains.
  • Unintended pollination – Should you grow with regular seeds know that a male plant will develop to produce pollen. If you are not going to be breeding, you must remove the males from the grow area as soon as the sex is determined to eliminate the possibility of unintended pollination of a female plant. If your female plant gets pollinated, it will produce really unsavory bud.

Should I Grow Feminized Seeds or Regular Seeds?

Most humanoids I know only live in one dimension–the one where they are familiar with their immediate environment and most of what it takes to interact within it. The same goes for growing weed–seriously!

Knowing how to cultivate cannabis with either feminized seeds or regular seeds can make all the difference in what kind of dimension you want to grow in and what it takes to manage your cannabis plants should you choose either type. 

New Growers Should Choose Feminized Seeds

For a grower new to the entire experience, feminized seeds have been developed especially for you. This is so that you may gain a solid understanding of the vegetative, flowering, and other processes of growing weed, without any need for sexing or breeding your plants. This takes a lot of extra time, effort, and anxiety out of the equation, and allows for you to just focus on growing good weed!

Breeders & Experienced Growers Looking for A Challenge Cultivate Regular Seeds

For any grower wishing to gain an understanding of how to grow weed the way people have for thousands of years, regular seeds are your jam. Taking part of the sexing, pollination, and breeding aspects of regular seeds takes you into an entirely different dimension of cultivation that you just can’t get with feminized seeds.

Either way, Billy and I will continue to use both seed types to grow our own out-of-this-world weed, while you figure out which dimension you want to be in! 

Contact Us

If you have any questions or need further information about choosing between feminized and regular cannabis seeds, feel free to reach out. We’re always here to help you make the best decision for your cultivation needs! Check out our online seedbank to buy cannabis seeds today.

Email: support@multiversebeans.com
Phone: (530) 433-9409 – text or call!

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References

  1. Pisanti, S., & Bifulco, M. (2019). Medical Cannabis: A plurimillennial history of an evergreen. Journal of cellular physiology, 234(6), 8342-8351.

2. Moliterni, V. M. C., Cattivelli, L., Ranalli, P., et al. (2004). The sexual differentiation of Cannabis sativa L.: A morphological and molecular study. Euphytica, 140, 95–106. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10681-004-4758-7

3. Thomas, B. F., & ElSohly, M. A. (2016). The botany of Cannabis sativa L. The analytical chemistry of cannabis, 1-26.

4. Flajšman, M., Slapnik, M., & Murovec, J. (2021). Production of Feminized Seeds of High CBD Cannabis sativa L. by Manipulation of Sex Expression and Its Application to Breeding. Frontiers in Plant Science, 12, 718092. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2021.718092

5. Punja, Z. K., & Holmes, J. E. (2020). Hermaphroditism in Marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.) Inflorescences – Impact on Floral Morphology, Seed Formation, Progeny Sex Ratios, and Genetic Variation. Frontiers in Plant Science, 11, Article 718. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2020.00718