Hemp Seed Gender
Hemp Seed Gender & The Life Cycles of Male vs Female Plants
Like most pollinating plants, cannabis has two genders. Flowering plants usually produce both egg and pollen and cannabis plants are no different. To cultivate hemp for medicinal needs, it is essential for farmers to have female flowers because they produce higher quantities of cannabinoids compared to male flowers.
Understanding the Growing Process
It is not that male hemp flowers are entirely redundant. Many farmers produce cross-breeds where male flowers are essential, but when it comes to producing flowers, they don’t match the numbers of their female counterparts.
Feminizing cannabis seeds is the trend now. This production method makes it possible for farmers to buy batches of seeds that only contain female cannabis plants. So, in a pound, there will be approximately 27,000 seeds that will only produce flowers that will go on to develop female plants. This is known as selective breeding.
Selecting Female Seeds
One of the reasons why farmers avoid male seeds – apart from the fact that they don’t produce as many flowers as females – is that they contain traces of THC. THC is strictly limited by law to a maximum threshold of 0.3%. That is why all hemp farmers must have their crops tested for compliance. Removing male seeds helps to ensure compliance, as the higher average THC production in male plants can cause flower samples to “run hot;” that is, to exceed the 0.3% THC threshold.
The problem with separating female seeds from male seeds is it takes a considerable amount of time which the farmers cannot afford. Since the feminizing process is complicated, the price of the seeds is sometimes on the expensive side. But, those who don’t want to go through the process of eliminating male seeds manually, feminizing seeds is the way forward.
The entire process starts by planting a female plant, which is further induced to produce male flowers. These male flowers contain pollen that can fertilize the eggs in the female flowers. If the flowers in a female plant form male flowers, the new pollen will also contain X chromosomes, meaning they are male flowers that are genetically female. The objective here is to have thorough female seeds without a trace of male in them. So, if a farmer buys 5000 seeds for an acre, all of them have to be females so that they produce a significant number of female flowers.
Unlike female seeds that produce buds, males don’t. They exist only to pollinate the female plants. When female plants pollinate, the focus shifts on seed production. Bud production, on the other hand, takes a backseat. Farmers are always on the lookout to produce more hemp flowers and not buds, and there are a couple of ways to ignore male plants – either purchase or select feminized seeds or include clones of female plants. Creating a clone is still a cost-effective method, but it takes time. The farmer needs to cut off the branch from a female plant and place it in a fertilizing soil that promotes quick root growth. Once the root develops, it will produce female plants because it is a clone of its mother.