Feminized Seeds Q& A
What Are Feminized Seeds and Why Use Them?
Feminized seeds are produced by reversing the sex of female plant that will become the pollen donor, then pollenating another female with the pollen from the reversed female. This eliminates the possibility of carrying a Y chromosome to the progeny, and thus all seeds resulting from the cross will be female. This ensures that all of your plants will be female, and here in CO where we have limits to the number of plants we can grow, you don’t waste any of your plant numbers on males.
Why do some folks claim that feminized seeds are more likely to produce hermaphrodites?
There are 2 different scenarios that lead to feminized seeds having a higher ratio of hermaphrodites, and our method steers well clear of either of them.
1) Sometimes, a hermaphrodite plant ends up seeding a negligent grower’s garden, and in order to recoup their losses in flower harvest, they try to sell the seeds instead of the flowers. The hermaphroditic trait will be passed along to all progeny, and even if it doesn’t show in the phenotype, they are all still carriers of the hermaphroditic gene.
2) In order to get a normally stable female to produce pollen, a grower stresses the plant via changes in light cycle or nutrient regimen to the point that its natural survival instincts kick in and it attempts to self-pollinate. This is a natural defense mechanism inherent to the plant. One must understand just how vigorous this plant really is. It has evolved and survived through some of the harshest conditions our Earth can offer with astounding success, growing on every continent, in some of the harshest climates, and by its highly adaptive nature, it has obtained the ability to self-propagate when the plant thinks there is no other chance of keeping its genetic code going in plant form, so it reverts to trying to basically reincarnate via self-pollinated seeds. This is evolution and adaptation at its finest. This reaction to stress shows just how well this plant has adapted to being able to survive and propagate in even the worst of conditions it can encounter. It is a “weed” after all, and has come up with ways to continue on regardless of what nature (or man) throws at it. The pollen then impregnates other plants from a plant stressed out point will have already undergone a change to its genetic code in order to enable this pollen producing response to an otherwise normal female. This will be carried along to the progeny as well, again as a survival method to ensure the genetic code keeps getting passed down, and continued.
We do not reverse our females through stress factors; we apply a special mineral additive that has been proven to create the pollen producing response in a female without affecting the genetic code in any way. This is a technique proven many times over by responsible breeders, and in no way does it increase the likelihood of hermaphroditism.
I’ve heard that there can be issues with cloning a feminized strain, is this true?
This can be true, but again under improper breeding methods from which we have steered well clear. Plants that have been stressed to the point of trying to self-pollinate will pass on their mutated hermaphroditic gene, but it often doesn’t surface during the first growing out of the progeny. The hermaphroditic gene may not be activated until the true genetic age of the plant reaches a certain point, and it will show up in subsequent generations of clones. This has led some to believe that all feminized strains are not good for cloning. We have run several strains obtain from feminized seeds done in the same manner we have created them for the Confidential Collection, and literally cloned thousands of plants from over multiple mother generations without issue. When feminization is done properly, there is no problem cloning from a feminized strain.