Story by Tanya Rondon
One of the struggles of growing cannabis is controlling the population of male plants. When you’re limited to the number of plants you can grow, ideally they would all be females. Well now they can be.
Seed feminization is a modern way to tackle this problem. A few seed companies have almost perfected this process, and while I wait to speak with some of their representatives, I have been doing a little research.
Feminized seeds are produced by reversing the sex of the female plant that will become the pollen donor, then pollinating another female with the pollen from the reversed female. This eliminates the possibility of carrying a Y chromosome to the offspring, and thus all seeds resulting from the cross will be female.
The process is to take a known female cannabis plant and force her to grow male pollen sacs and produce pollen. This all-female pollen can then be used to fertilize other females. Because all the genetic material comes from females, the seeds that result will be 99% female.
Rodelization is using the female plant’s own self-preservation mechanism. Often, when a female plant becomes stressed or is nearing the end of its life cycle without being fertilized, it will grow pollen sacs to fertilize itself. This is the essence of seed feminization: the female plant’s unique ability to fertilize itself without becoming hermaphroditic. While rodelization is the more natural and easier method, it’s not always the most effective. The goal with rodelization is to let the female plant stay in its flowering state long after harvest time. This stresses the plant into survival mode where, most times, it will produce pollen sacs. You now would harvest and use this pollen as usual. The reason this method is not as effective is that you’re waiting for the plant to react on its own. You have to segregate a single plant and force it to flower. Not every plant will react the same when left in the flowering state too long. Realistically, you can’t test every one of your plants to see if they produce pollen. Leaving the plants after peak harvest time degrades the THC content and quality. This results in lost time, profits, and possibly a needto still purchase seeds.
Using Colloidal Silver to feminize seeds is a bit more difficult and time-consuming but it produces better results. This method requires spraying a colloidal silver mixture (instructions below) onto the female plants during the flowering cycle. The mixture reacts with the plants so they start producing pollen sacs. Mist the plant every day after it starts flowering until you see pollen sacs forming. This usually takes 10–14 days, depending on the variety. Once pollen sacs appear, use your usual method of retrieval and fertilization. It is very important to note that colloidal silver in high concentrations is not safe to consume so any part of the plant that is sprayed must be discarded. (While colloidal silver is used homeopathically, it is consumed in lower concentrations than you will be using in this spray.) Some growers only spray certain parts of the plant in an attempt to reduce waste, but it is best to be safe and destroy the whole plant, because to smoke or otherwise use any of the buds can be toxic.
The pollen that is created is 100% safe to use and this method consistently produces high-quality feminized seeds. With this method you can infinitely produce seeds while controlling how many seeds you get.
Ultimately, either way you choose, will give a higher yield of female plants while also controlling strains. The opportunities are endless. While cloning guarantees female plants, you can only produce the one strain. Feminization is the way to effectively hybridize and create a mix between strains.
You will need:
- Distilled water
- Pure silver (coin, wire, etc.)
- 9 volt battery
- 9 volt battery connector
- Alligator clips (optional)
- Soldering iron (optional)
You can probably make due with two pieces of half ounce silver. You can also use silver wires, but most people opt for coins. Just make sure that the silver you use is .9999 or .999 silver. It has to be pure or it won’t function properly.
Connect the battery connector to the battery itself. There should be two wires extending from the battery connector (one red, one black). If you opt for the alligator clips, solder them to these wires to improve the electrical current. (This will, of course, require the use of a soldering iron, but if you don’t have one or you don’t know how to solder, you might be able to get some help at a hardware store.) The other option that doesn’t involve a soldering iron or alligator clips, is to cut holes in the silver coins and then wrap the wires through those holes. In most cases, it’s easier to conduct electricity and hold the current with the soldered-on alligator clips.
Connect the battery wires to the silver coins. Then place the silver coins in a cup of distilled water (but not the alligator clips or the wires). (It is very important to use distilled water and not any kind of other water that might contain impurities.) The electrical current essentially creates tiny silver ions that float in distilled water. This is because the water is deionized and the particles won’t try to bond with anything else.
Leave this concoction as it is for about seven hours or more. The longer the electrically-charged silver coins are left suspended in the distilled water, the higher concentration of colloidal silver created. (Don’t let the colloidal silver generator run for too long because it will eventually produce particles that are too big.) Nothing will appear to happen at first, but you’ll start to see a residue or film on the top of the distilled water over time. Again, do not let the alligator clips or the wires themselves get wet.
(sources: the weed blog)