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marijuana seeds soaked in ethylene

Once the plants have been sprayed with colloidal silver and the pollen is collected, they are write-offs—86 them and don’t smoke them. Giving them a thorough rinse will not work. The colloidal silver is a systemic treatment absorbed into the plant through the foliage and not a topical application. Be safe and bin them.

To begin with, select a plant that has the characteristics you want to preserved. Feminizing clones is the usual practice as the growth, flowering, and resin characteristics from the mother are already known. There is no need for any vegetation time once a clone is well-rooted. Simply pot the clone into a small pot, give it a day or two to recover, and begin a 12-12 light cycle right away. A pollen-producing plant only needs to be small as cannabis produces copious amounts of pollen.

“Applications that reduce the ethylene level in tissues or antagonise the action of ethylene causes the formation of male flowers instead of female ones” — Paraphrase, Byers et al., 1972.


The only bummer, unless you grow from clones, is that cannabis is wired to produce about 50% male seeds and 50% females. It is just the nature of the beast.

The easiest and relatively inexpensive way—considering how much money is potentially saved by not growing resource and time-consuming males—is to buy a colloidal silver generator, which is the no-fuss plug and play option. Or, make your own, which is quite straightforward and doesn’t require any special skill.

When sexing begins, male pollen sacs will develop instead of female calyxes and pistils. Male plants mature much faster than females, and viable pollen can be expected within 3–4 weeks once the plant has been sexed. Some growers will spray until the plant shows sexual growth, just to be sure the method has worked. Make sure these plants are well-isolated from any flowering females. A burst pod can release millions of pollen spores, and it only takes one spore per hair to create a seed.


Spraying commercial spray on a group of plants.

By far, the noted breeder Soma developed the easiest method. He noticed that when colas of many varieties reached late ripeness (which, by the way, I prefer as the harvest-time) a few viable male flowers appear. This is also a sign that the buds are ripe. Harvest the pollen using a fresh watercolor brush and brush it directly on the flowers or store it in a small glass or metal container. Not all varieties produce male flowers at the end of ripeness, but many do, and they do it reliably. Very small amounts of pollen are produced using this method, but a little pollen applied properly goes a long way.

Close up: Early male buds.

There are several methods used to produce feminized seed

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.

Silver thiosulfate is made by combining two water solutions, one containing silver nitrate and the other, sodium thiosulfate. Silver nitrate alone can also be used to induce male flowers. Spray a solution of 0.02- 0.03% on the plant, and then turn the lights to a 12-hour flowering cycle. The leaves will droop for a day or so and then resume turgidity. Male flower growth will become apparent in a couple of weeks and ripen a few weeks later. To make a 0.02% solution, add 0.1 gram of silver nitrate in 0.5 liters of dis- tilled water.

They each inhibit the plant’s production of ethylene, a hormone that promotes female flowering. Without ethylene, female flower production is reduced or stopped. The actions of these chemicals are localized. If only one branch of a plant is sprayed, that branch will be the only one affected. The rest of the plant will continue growing female flowers, not males.

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.