How to Feminize a Seed: Male and Female Seeds Explained - Happy Hydro

The process of feminizing a seed is an important aspect of growing marijuana plants. Understanding the differences between male and female seeds can help you create a successful harvest.

In this article, we'll explore the basics of male and female seeds and how to feminize them for a high-quality yield.

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What are Male and Female Seeds?

Marijuana plants are either male or female and each plant plays a unique role in the growth cycle. Male plants produce pollen, while female plants produce buds or flowers containing high THC levels. In order to create seeds, the male plant must fertilize the female plant. When growing marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes, growers typically want to avoid male plants and only grow female plants that produce buds.

What are Feminized Seeds?

Feminized seeds are seeds that have been specifically bred to produce only female plants. This is achieved through a process called “feminizing”, which involves manipulating the genetics of a female plant to ensure that it produces female seeds.

Why Use Feminized Seeds?

There are several benefits to using feminized seeds, including:

  • Higher success rate: With feminized seeds, growers can be sure that every seed will produce a female plant, eliminating the risk of male plants appearing in the garden.
  • More efficient use of space: Since only female plants are grown, growers can maximize the space in their garden and get the most out of their grow.
  • Consistent quality: With feminized seeds, growers can expect a consistent quality of buds from each plant, which can lead to a more consistent overall yield.

How to Feminize Seeds

There are three main methods for feminizing cannabis seeds. The rodelization method, chemical treatment, and colloidal silver. We will discuss each below!

Rodelization Method

The rodelization method for feminizing cannabis seeds is a natural technique that leverages the plant's survival instincts. This method is appealing to many growers due to its simplicity and the fact that it doesn't require special chemicals or equipment. However, it's important to note that while rodelization is natural and straightforward, it's also considered less reliable compared to other methods like using colloidal silver or silver thiosulfate. 

  1. Select a Healthy Female Plant: The process begins with choosing a robust female cannabis plant. Ideally, this plant should already be 3-4 weeks into its flowering phase and exhibit a good balance of leaves and buds.
  2. Extend the Flowering Stage: Unlike other methods, rodelization relies on allowing the female plant to remain in the flowering stage beyond its typical harvest time. This extended period induces stress in the plant, which can lead to the development of male pollen sacs.
  3. Monitor for Male Flower Development: As the plant endures this extended flowering period, it may begin to grow male pollen sacs or sex organs. This occurs as a natural response to the stress of potentially not being pollinated.
  4. Collect and Use the Pollen: When these male sacs are mature enough, they can be harvested for pollen. This pollen, which genetically is predominantly female, can then be used to pollinate other female plants. The resulting seeds are likely to be feminized.
  5. Harvest the Seeds: After successful pollination, allow the plants to continue their growth cycle until the seeds are mature and ready to be harvested.

It's important to be aware of the potential downsides of the rodelization method. For instance, not all cannabis strains will naturally produce male characteristics when stressed. Additionally, there's a risk of encouraging hermaphroditic traits in future generations. The amount of pollen produced can also be significantly less than what's obtained from typical male plants.

Despite these drawbacks, rodelization remains a popular choice for those looking for a more natural approach to producing feminized seeds, especially for organic growers.

Chemical Treatment Method

The Silver Thiosulfate (STS) technique is a sophisticated and effective approach for feminizing cannabis seeds, particularly suitable for home growers and professional breeders seeking reliable results. Here's how you do it:

  • Purchasing STS Solution While the preparation of the STS solution is a complex chemical process, it's more convenient for home growers and breeders to purchase ready-made STS solutions. This approach not only saves time but also ensures the correct concentration and composition of the solution, crucial for effective treatment.
  • Safety First Before delving into the application process, it's important to underscore the significance of safety. Handling STS requires protective gear, such as gloves and safety glasses. Remember, plants treated with STS are not fit for consumption and should be handled accordingly.
  • Applying the STS Solution Application of the STS solution is a delicate process. The solution should be sprayed onto the plant, focusing primarily on the nodes and bud sites. The ideal time for the first application is just before transitioning the plant from its vegetative stage to the flowering stage. Subsequent applications are needed every few days until the appearance of male flowers, a sign that the treatment is effective.
  • Pollination and Seed Harvesting Once the male flowers develop and start producing pollen, this pollen is then used to pollinate other female plants. After successful pollination, the seeds developed on the female plant are harvested. These seeds are feminized, with a high probability of growing into female plants.
  • Post-Process Plant Management A crucial note to remember is the disposal of STS-treated plants. Post-treatment, these plants should not be consumed.
  • Start Breeding This method opens doors to creating your own strains by cross-pollinating different plants, allowing for a blend of desired traits and characteristics.

Colloidal Silver Method

Colloidal silver is a solution of pure silver particles suspended in distilled water. It's commonly used in health applications and can be purchased online or from health food stores. For cannabis plants, colloidal silver inhibits ethylene production, which is necessary for the plant to produce female flowers. Instead, the plant develops male pollen sacs.

  • Preparing for the Process: Choose a robust female cannabis plant as your "mother" plant. This plant should exhibit desirable traits as it will contribute to the genetic makeup of the feminized seeds.
  • Application of Colloidal Silver: The colloidal silver solution should be sprayed onto the plant, focusing on the branches where bud development is desired. This application should be done during the vegetative stage of the plant. It's recommended to use a colloidal silver solution with a concentration of at least 30 PPM (parts per million) for effectiveness. Spray the plant thoroughly, ensuring all intended areas are covered, and continue this process daily for about 10 to 21 days, starting when you switch to a 12-12 light cycle. For auto-flowering strains, more frequent application may be necessary.
  • Development of Male Pollen Sacs: After regular application of colloidal silver, the female plant will start to develop male pollen sacs. These sacs contain pollen with female genetics. Once these sacs begin to swell and the leaf section protecting the pollen starts to crack, they are ready to be harvested.
  • Pollen Harvesting and Usage: Carefully collect the pollen sacs and let them dry in a cool, dry place. The pollen can then be used to pollinate other female plants. The seeds produced from this pollination will be feminized.
  • Safety and Disposal: It's crucial to understand that any part of the plant treated with colloidal silver is not safe for consumption. After the pollen is collected, the treated plant should be discarded. Additionally, ensure thorough cleaning of any equipment used to prevent accidental contamination with colloidal silver.
  • Pollination of Female Plants: Once you have the male pollen, you can pollinate a female plant of your choice. This can be done by isolating the plant or branch you want to pollinate and applying the pollen, for example, using a Q-tip. The pollinated plant should then be given adequate time to produce viable seeds, which can range from 3 to 6 weeks depending on the strain.

Best Practices for Feminizing Seeds

When feminizing seeds, it's important to follow best practices in order to achieve the best possible results. Some tips include:

  • Choose the right method: Determine which is best suited for your needs, experience level, and resources.
  • Use high-quality equipment: Make sure you have the right equipment for the method you're using, and that it's in good working order.
  • Follow instructions carefully: Be sure to follow the instructions for the feminizing method you've chosen, and ensure you understand how it works.
  • Be patient: Feminizing seeds can be a slow process, so be patient and give it time.


Feminizing seeds is an important aspect of growing marijuana, and understanding the basics of male and female seeds can help you achieve a successful harvest. By following the right methods and best practices, you can ensure that your plants will produce high-quality buds and a consistent yield.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced grower, feminizing seeds is an essential step to creating a successful garden.


Q: What is feminized cannabis seed?

A: Feminized cannabis seeds are seeds that have been bred to produce only female plants. Female plants are the ones that produce buds, which are the flowers that are harvested for their THC, CBD, and other therapeutic compounds.

Q: Why should I choose feminized seeds over regular seeds?

A: Feminized seeds are popular among cannabis growers because they eliminate the risk of growing male plants, which can reduce the yield and potency of the final harvest. Additionally, female plants are known to have higher THC and CBD levels than male plants, making feminized seeds a good choice for those looking to maximize the potency of their crop.

Q: How are feminized seeds created?

A: Feminized seeds are created through a process called "feminization." This process involves manipulating the genetics of female plants so that they produce pollen that contains only female genes. The pollen is then used to pollinate another female plant, producing seeds that are guaranteed to be female.

Q: What are the benefits of growing feminized seeds?

A: The main benefit of growing feminized seeds is that it eliminates the risk of growing male plants, which can reduce the yield and potency of the final harvest. Additionally, female plants are known to have higher THC and CBD levels, making feminized seeds a good choice for those looking to maximize the potency of their crop.

Q: What are the drawbacks of growing feminized seeds?

A: One potential drawback of growing feminized seeds is that they may be less genetically diverse than regular seeds, which can make them more susceptible to disease and other environmental stressors. Additionally, some growers report that feminized seeds are not as hardy or vigorous as regular seeds, and may be more susceptible to stress and damage during the growing process.

Q: Can feminized seeds be used to produce clones?

A: Yes, feminized seeds can be used to produce clones, just like regular seeds. To produce clones, you'll need to take a cutting from a healthy female plant and root it in a growing medium. The resulting plant will be a genetic clone of the mother plant, and will be guaranteed to be female.

Q: How do I choose the best feminized seeds for my grow operation?

A: Choosing the best feminized seeds for your grow operation will depend on a variety of factors, including your grow setup, the strains you prefer, and your personal growing style. Some popular feminized seed strains include OG Kush, Girl Scout Cookies, and Granddaddy Purple. It's important to do your research and choose a reputable seed bank that offers high-quality, feminized seeds.

Author | Chris McDonald

With two decades of expertise, Chris leads Happy Hydro in redefining sustainable gardening and delights in backpacking adventures, mind-expanding journeys, and creating memories with his loved ones.

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