This article appears in Volume 5 – Issue 1 of SKUNK Magazine.
THE MAJORITY of cannabis growers worldwide start their crops from seeds. Mother plants and clones are getting more and more popular, but the reality of fact is that apart from The Netherlands and North America, it is rare for crops to be generated from cuttings. Looking at seed sales on a planetary scale, it is evident that during the last ten years, feminized seeds have been slowly but steadily gaining a large percentage of the cannabis seeds market. In some European countries they now represent over 90% of sales, both in grow shops and over the Internet. On the American continent, feminized seeds are somehow less popular than in Europe, but this trend is changing rapidly, with sharp increases in feminized seeds sales all over Canada. Reading the various American and European Internet forums, one can easily see that there are many different views regarding the subject; the same type of categorization that one can make between soil and hydro growers, organic and synthetic growers, sativa and indica growers, now can be made for feminized seed and regular seed growers.
But the fact is that feminized seeds have not been created for breeders; they’ve been created for growers. From small growers dedicated to personal, self-sustainable production programs, up to large-scale growers producing volumes. In my opinion, feminized seeds are a very good tool to produce cannabis in an effective and efficient way. It’s a very simple, basic concept, but one making a whole lot of difference. Both indoors and outdoors, feminized seeds guarantee that space is used in the most productive way possible, by making sure that each and every plant is producing cannabis, not just squatting space waiting to be eliminated. Moreover, feminized seeds allow guerrilla growers more safety, lowering the number of visits needed to the field.
Many myths surround feminized seeds, most of which are false. Over the last five years, as more and more growers in many situations have used feminized seeds, most questions have been answered. It’s now clear that feminized seeds are as good as regular seeds to make mother plants. It’s also clear that feminized seeds present greater uniformity of product on a large scale.
There are different techniques used to make feminized seeds, from hormones to STS reversal, and each company producing feminized seeds has a secret recipe. Some are more reliable than others. The quality of the feminized seeds can be judged by the number of hermaphroditic plants that appear. Some strains are more prone than others to hermaphroditism, but good quality feminized seeds are close to 100% free from hermaphrodites. Only great stress factors (light schedule completely irregular, absence of dark period, extreme feeding intoxication) can produce hermaphrodites, even in good quality feminized seeds.
In conclusion, the most important factor in selecting feminized seeds is their source and professionalism of their producer.
In my opinion, feminized seeds are the future of cannabis production worldwide.