Also, autoflower plants are small—perfect for closet grows or any small grow, or growing outdoors where you don’t want your neighbors to see what you’re up to.
Because only female cannabis plants produce buds and you want them to focus all their energy on producing buds and not seeds, it’s important to identify and get rid of male weed plants so they don’t pollinate females. If females are pollinated, it will give you buds filled with seeds, making your weed harsh and unpleasant.
Germinating cannabis seeds doesn’t always go as planned. Some seeds will be duds. Others will be slow and take longer to sprout. But some will pop quickly and grow rapidly.
In some cases, even if a seed isn’t completely mature, there’s still a chance it could be viable. But often these are extremely weak, take long to develop, and express other unfavorable characteristics. Growers usually discard weak plants to free up space.
Seeds for these varieties are now widely available online and through dispensaries. It should be noted, however, that any plant grown from these seeds is not guaranteed to produce high levels of CBD, as it takes many years to create a seed line that produces consistent results. A grower looking to produce cannabis with a certain THC to CBD ratio will need to grow from a tested and proven clone or seed.
Cannabis seeds have genetic information from its two parent plants, which are expressed in a variety of combinations. For instance, you could have a plant that picks up most of its traits from one parent. Alternatively, it could have several characteristics from both.
‘Feminized’ cannabis seeds are produced by causing the hermaphrodite condition in a female plant. You can do this via Rodelization, by spraying gibberellic acid or a colloidal silver solution. What happens is that you use ‘male’ pollen from a hermaphrodite plant to fertilize a female flower. As a result, you end up with plants that are either hermaphrodites or females, but never males.
There are online seed banks located around the world, in countries such as Canada, Spain, Holland, and the United Kingdom. In such nations, it is relatively easy to buy cannabis seeds because the laws are relatively lenient. When it comes to the United States, however, things get very complicated.
What Are Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds?
You can spot male cannabis plants by the pollen sacs they create. These are bulbs that resemble tulips in terms of shape. They don’t have any pistil hairs growing. When you spot a male plant in your garden, remove it immediately. Otherwise, it will pollinate female plants that produce seeds rather than developing a flower.
Although these plants don’t need a specific light cycle, they do require consistent light to produce the highest yields. Please note that the nature of autoflowering strains means you can’t keep them in the vegetative stage.
A cannabis clone is a cutting taken from a marijuana plant. You place it in a growing medium (such as soil or Rockwool) to ensure it grows roots. After the cutting has rooted, you can guide it into a mature plant. Best of all, it is genetically identical to the plant you cut it from.
A high percentage of feminized seeds become hermaphrodites. This scenario results in marijuana flowers with seeds in them and lower overall yield. Don’t use feminized seeds if you intend to breed plants. On the plus side, this type of seed is ideal for beginners who want to avoid male plants infiltrating their cannabis garden.
Spray the plants to be feminized with colloidal silver every day, and three times a day if you can manage. Soak them well. Do this for two weeks, then leave the plants to grow as normal. Some growers report getting results after spraying for only 5–10 days.
- Cover the top of the pot with plastic or card to catch pollen as it falls, or modify a plastic drink cup to shroud the plant and catch falling pollen.
- Fix a clear plastic bag, perforated at the top for air exchange, around the whole plant.
- An experienced eye will remove each flower pod prior to it bursting completely open to be sure of catching every spore.
- Pollinating a female is the easy bit. Depending on how many seeds you want to make, there are a couple of methods that can be used.
- Using a watercolour or other fine, soft brush or even a cotton bud, dip into your pollen collection and gently apply to the chosen flower. Although thousands of viable spores will be on the end of the brush, enough to pollinate a whole plant, the trichomes on the surface of the pistils will greedily glue everything you offer them. So dip into your pollen stash a few times as you dust.
- For lots of seeds, put pollen in a bag and put over a whole branch or a whole plant, shake well, and leave for twenty four hours.
- It is possible to pollinate different branches with different pollens and have a breeder plant that has 1, 2, or 15 different crosses on it.
- It is also possible to self-pollinate the plant from which the male parts were created. This won’t produce as many seeds as pollinating a separate plant because less female flowers are produced and many are nonviable because of the feminization process.
“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.
TECHNIQUE 2: RODELIZATION
Hint: Make two clones once a plant has been selected, one to be feminized and one to be left for pollination. This way, a separate breeding space is created and accidental seeding of other plants, or an accidental sneeze pollinating a whole grow cupboard, is avoided.
Be sure the strength is at least 15ppm, preferably 30ppm. Less than 15ppm produces male sacs with little viable pollen.
Plants bred using feminization are homozygous. This can have two effects that can’t be assessed until the seeds are grown. Homozygosity will increase the dominant or recessive traits of the parent in the progeny, so features you don’t want and do want can be amplified. Genetics is a weird, weird thing.
The general practice behind feminization is that female plants are forced to produce pollen, which is in turn used to pollinate other female plants. The outcome? Resulting seeds will be feminized, with no risk of further pollination.