The Truth About Feminized Seeds

The idea of “feminized” seeds is heralded as a new wave of breeding enabling you to grow only females, but in reality it is a less reliable and less effective method than simply cloning your favorite plant. Feminizing seeds is nothing new; in fact, it’s done from a process that used to be called “hermaphroditic breeding” or “Breeding with Herman”.
Even a leaf can root!Even a leaf can root!
During the 1970s and ‘80s it was often the case that the seeds you grew came from a bag of good bud. The bud usually had a name, but it was often made up by the local dealer trying to make his stash sound more exotic. In truth, you knew nothing about the parentage of the seeds that your bag contained. Sure, the female was great smoke – but you knew nothing of her size, shape, yield or genetics. The male involved was a total mystery; there was no way you could guess what the genetics of the pollen donor was. These seeds generally resulted in a range of plant genetics, which made one believe that there were a variety of males around when the female was budding.

As is often the case when genetics are mixed, you get failures and successes. More than one great breed was founded on a bag of random seeds. You would plant a hundred or so of the seeds you had, wait to see what Mother Nature – and your local dealer – had handed you, keep your fingers crossed hoping for a super-breed, and watched as some of the seeds came up. A few of the seedlings were sickly and didn’t live long, while others were strong, vigorous, and grew like weeds (pun intended), so you culled the sickly, nourished the healthy, and picked your favorites.

Through this lengthy and detailed process you would end up with a number of healthy young marijuana plants, which would be transplanted into large containers and, after ten to fourteen days, introduced to a budding cycle of 12 hours light and 12 hours dark. This causes the plants to elongate and show their sex, so it was easy to quickly find and kill the males and wait patiently (or impatiently!) for the remaining females to develop buds and ripen. Doing this inside grow rooms and greenhouses was easy and effective, but the seed planting and selection Fucking incredible, three weeks into floweringFucking incredible, three weeks into floweringprocedure had to be repeated every year, and crops varied from big and dense to small and weak. We also found that after all that trouble of removing males, we sometimes ended up with females that switched sexes when they were stressed, resulting in accidental cross breeding – female plants were pollinated by females that developed male sex organs (hermaphrodites). We decided to grow out those seeds and, to our joy, we discovered that the ratio of females to males was skewed to a greater number of females. This was our discovery of hermaphroditic breeding.

Around the same time we were re-introduced to the method of cloning – I say re-introduced because while it wasn’t a process we had been using, it was a simple gardening technique my grandmother had shown me years before as “making cuttings”. She would cut off a branch of a plant with a sharp knife and stick it into a hormone rooting solution, homemade from pieces of willow tree branches soaked in water. Growers these days buy rooting hormone, but the process is identical.

I had a crop of 20 young plants of various strain backgrounds. We took two clones from each of the plants, and then used the budding light cycle to force the sex to show. Once we identified the male plants (half of them) we killed them and their clones, which still left us with ten large budding females and their 20 clones.

Now we had ten different hybrid genetics in total with two clones from each to work with and choose from. Even though we were making great strides, we wanted a room full of the same breed with the same size and characteristics. Basically, we wanted many copies of one great female plant so made the decision to play “Breeding Hermans”. We took two clones from one female plant, stressed one of the clones until it developed male sex organs, and then bred it with the other female clone. To our delight it worked – we ended up with seeds that grew into females 85-90 percent of the time and were consistent with the original female plant’s characteristics. We could now plant around 30 to 40 seeds and end up with 30 female plants the same size with the same genetics. We were ecstatic.
Placing clones in the soilPlacing clones in the soil
However, silver linings often have a cloud attached and it was true in this case. The female plants that developed from hermaphroditic seeds had the drawback of being far more likely than ordinary plants to develop male branches – turn “Herman” – when stressed. More than once, a power, pump or light failure caused enough stress to the plants that they easily went hermaphroditic. Outdoors we had even more trouble; in bad-weather years we could end up with a plant from a feminized seed developing male flowers and blowing pollen all over the other plants, ruining our dreams of a sinsemilla crop. We decided that feminized plants might have a place in our business’ industry, but it wouldn’t be in our gardens.

It was our dream to grow rooms full of females of consistent genetics, and we made our dream come true by going back to cloning. It was so simple that we couldn’t believe that we hadn’t thought of it before. We planted ten normal seeds and nourished them with love and care, but this time we took 25 clones from each plant instead of just two. Then we put the mothers into bud cycle and sexed them; within ten days we identified and killed off the male plants and their clones, and found that we had six large females in bud and around 150 female clones. We continued to bud the mothers as we began to grow our female clones, and finally decided there were two plants that stood out from the crowd – they were bigger, denser, and smelled the best, so we kept their clones and culled the others. We harvested all of the mothers then placed the 50 chosen young marijuana plants into two rooms and switched them to the budding cycle. We had developed a process that made our dream a reality: grow-rooms full of consistent female plants.
Rooted clone being transplantedRooted clone being transplanted
It doesn’t take a horticulturist to see that using cloning to procure a room full of female cannabis plants is far more economical than growing “feminized seeds” that easily go hermaphroditic. It is simple to grow numerous female plants with only a few seeds of known genetics. For example, if you get ten seeds from a world-class marijuana breeder/bank, such as Burmese from Vancouver Island Seed Company (VISC), those seeds should become ten seedlings. At three to four weeks, take ten cuttings from each of the plants, then flip the plants to the bud cycle. Kill males as they show their sex and get rid of their clones, and you should be left with about five large budding females (more or less) and 50 guaranteed female clones of the same pure genetics, without any hermaphroditic tendencies.

So, for the price of ten seeds you end up with dozens of pure female plants, instead of purchasing “feminized” seeds only to get an unstable and unpredictable hermaphroditic breed. You can use regular seeds to grow an all-female crop, and that’s
why we don’t sell feminized seeds.

•?Vancouver Island Seed Company and Liberty Seeds and be found online at



  1. Pingback: Cannabis Feminized Seed « HempNEWS TV

  2. Anonymous on

    In a large cannabis field it would be impossible to stop hermaphrodites from pollinating other plants so after reading this one might think that it would be a cancer on the genetic in the field and that the field over time WILL become hermaphrodite…..WRONG.
    Dutch breeders are now using colloidal silver to hermi plants that dont hermi easy so they may be able to used in breeding.
    Besides doesnt Greenhouse seeds non feminized seeds hermi anyways?
    Many claim they do.

  3. Bring Back Male Plants on

    It is just laziness driving this Herm market. If you breed with those FEM seeds you will see that the offspring F1/F2 do tend to HERM out at the end of the flowering cycle. This is simple Genetics XX times XXY will give you a couple combo’s most leading to xx or xxy. It’s more like a crap shoot but XXY will always be in the background in the Gene’s. GreenHouse used to sell NON FEM seeds but switched, this could be so no other Breeder had a chance to get a solid male plant. As a Breeder I expect Male plants out of seeds I get, They are the most Important in the Stock. I dont think growers now know how to best select a male, and most people in the Bay Area haven’t even seen a male plant before, they too just pick female plants that are easy to identify traits and HERM them out and call themselves Breeders. If this keeps up you will have every breed out there with a large % of XXY Gene’s and that will suck!

  4. PartiMarijuana on

    When the genral trend is to make all agricalture back to nature again why we need all this GMO culture with marijuana

  5. Anonymous on

    Anonymous, It’s funny how you contradict yourself.

    You say all cannabis plants has the ability to go hermie, but greenhouse has seeds that is gurarranteed female. How can they guarrantee that, if as you say all plants can go hermie?

    I’m no expert, but I’ve read that you can find a true XX female (that is a female with no ability to go hermie naturally). The only way to make a true female go hermie is to treat it with gibberellic acid. That’s how you make a feminized seed without being prone to hermafrodizm.

    If you let a plant that is naturally prone to hermafrodizm pollinate itself, it will give you seeds that is prone to hermafrodizm as well. It’s all in the genetics. Kind of logic, right?

  6. Anonymous on

    It might not bring out the best but it helps us deal with pretentious cnuts like you!

  7. Anonymous on

    that was funny as fuck and so true 110%

  8. Anonymous on

    Wrong. A reversed pollen bearing female plant is a natural process. When flocks of female plants in nature have no males around, they will produce bananas.. male flowers. EVERY female plant has this ability.

    If feminized seeds are so bad, why does the greatest company in the industry offer 100% feminized seeds. GUARANTEED no hermaphrodites !

    Can offer from experience, they are the best at what they do. No males seen.

  9. meyesme on

    peoples choices will always be peoples choices. Its safer then a lot of things.

  10. Ben on

    Developmentally arrested ? Please, any one who would make such an idiotic statement are themselves developmentally arrested .

  11. air jordan shoes on

    Came to see you,guys .Welcome to my space?

  12. Sid on

    ….that was F N funny !

  13. Anonymous on

    I would rather be “developmentally arrested” then become a bitter old man. 😉 ROLMFAO

  14. Anonymous on


  15. shark on

    Femenised seeds are obviously not made for bigger grows ops where you have multiple chambers. But if you dont have the opportunity to have two seperate chambers, like me who have to use a rather small very stealthy cupboard, then feminized seeds are a godsent.

    I’ve done 10 or so runs with femaleseeds and only ever once got a hermie. That was from their x-line, which is advertised as their experimental line and those are ofcourse not as stable. Besides i burnt that one pretty bad since it grew into the light when i was away for a cpl of days.

    Stupid article. It’s like saying a ferrari is a bad car cause you can’t go off road with it. Guess what, there are different cars for different occasions. Just the same with seeds.

  16. BreedTruth on

    It’s a unibrow thing that you have over developed.
    You think we should be arrested.
    These plants are here for our benefit to use however we choose.
    So why don’t you have a martini, cigar, down some anti-deppresants, then some Viagra and fuck yourself in the ass with large zuchinni, then take tylenol for the pain and then get a liver transplant and take anti rejection meds, get more depressed and Blow your fucking high brow brains out Bitch!!!!!!!!

  17. Anonymous on

    go away troll

  18. ujai on

    It’s a lowbrow thing.Pot doesn’t bring out the best in society.It just makes for more commonality among the developmentally arrested.