The Differences Between Feminized and Regular Seeds—and How to Pop Them
If you’re anything like me, when I first heard the term “popping seeds” I was a bit weirded out— but fear not! Popping seeds is just another way of expressing the germination process of cannabis, and not some creepy dermatological procedure.
But before we get into the nitty gritty of how to pop your own seeds at home, let’s go over the different types of seeds you can get and their key differences.
With traditional or regular marijuana seeds, it is virtually impossible to tell whether a seed will end up being a male or female plant before it gets to the flowering stage. With regular seeds, ratios end up being pretty balanced— about half are male and the other half are female. This is great news if you’re a breeder that wants to produce new seeds, but if your sole purpose is to grow quality bud, then the feminized seeds may be more up your alley.
Regular seeds are produced by taking a naturally male plant and using that pollen to pollenate the female. This is why with regular seeds, there are no guarantees in terms of what sex you get.
If you are not wanting to breed them but are stuck with the male plants regular seeds produce— then they will all go to waste. Male plants need to be removed before they pollinate the female plant because it ceases production of all that good resin Cannasseurs know and love!
In contrast to regular seeds, feminized seeds are specifically bred to produce only female plants. How is this witchery done? By eliminating the male chromosome. As simple as that sounds, this process is much easier said than done—and we know first-hand.
Breckenridge Organic Therapy’s sister company Bolder Cannabis has partnered with The Cali Connection (a multiple Cannabis Cup award winning seed company) so we could start selling seeds to you, our loyal customers!
In order to do this, we had to first select 6 of our favorite strains we wanted to use for this process. Then, those strains had to be reversed from female plants in order to grow male buds capable of producing pollen and pollen sacks that are utilized for the creation of new cross strains.
Over the course of the growing cycle, the female pistils (sex organs) begin retracting—initiating the seed creation process. Because these seeds were created from the pollen of a plant that was originally female, they will have a near 100% chance of being female plants. Pretty cool, huh?
After the harvest, the long process of separating, counting, and sorting seeds needs to be done. Once the seeds are separated, they are then counted to be properly entered as inventory into Metrc (Colorado’s seed to sale state tracking system) so they can legally be accounted for and sold to the public.
How to Pop Seeds
In theory, popping seeds is simple because only three things are needed: heat, water, and air. The famous paper towel method is extremely easy as long as you follow the steps outlined below to ensure you don’t end up with dead seedlings. We also have included a wonderful Grow 411 graphic courtesy of Cali Connection, our partners in producing the seeds we now offer at our store.
The big caveat here is to make sure you don’t over-soak the seeds and drown them via oxygen deprivation. Harder seeds can be soaked for up to 32 hours, however, 24 is typically more than enough time to get the job done.
You’ll want to place your seeds in a small glass of water, and you’ll notice the seeds floating at first, but they should drop to the bottom after a few hours. The reason we recommend soaking your seeds is to allow the water to penetrate through the protective shell, and because it helps activate growth hormones.
Take your seeds from the water and place them on 2 plates that are lined with paper towels, making sure the paper towels are completely wet. Then, fold over the paper towels so that they are completely covering the seeds.
Drain all of the water out into the sink that is surrounding the paper towel. You want the paper towel to be moist not soaked—so make sure you drain all of the excess water.
Once they’re all drained and ready to go, you’ll want to find a warm and preferably dark place that is kept around 70 degrees Fahrenheit to store them at.
Routinely check the paper towel one or twice a day to ensure the paper towel is still nice and moist. It is very important to never let your paper towel or seeds dry out, as doing so will likely ruin the seeds.
If you are diligent and make sure your seedlings and paper towels don’t dry out, germination should happen around the 36-96-hour mark. Sometimes weak or older seeds can take a little longer to germinate, so if you have some that haven’t popped by 96 hours, it could be attributed to the age or strength of your seeds.
Once your seedlings have successfully germinated, you’ll see a taproot (small, white tendril) begin to sprout from the shell of the seed. Make sure to plant your seed with the taproot facing down so the roots will not have to reorient themselves when they begin growing.
When planting your seeds, make sure not to place them too deep into the soil. Ideally, you’ll want to plant them just under the surface, so they won’t have to utilize more energy in order to grow through the top soil.
And there you have it! The differences between regular & feminized seeds, and how to successfully “pop” them. We learned that feminized seeds are better for producing more robust cannabis yields for people wanting to grow, but not for breeding the plant. We also learned being diligent and keeping your seeds perfectly moist—not too dry, and not too wet, is key for the successful popping of seeds.
As always, we hope you find our posts helpful in navigating all things cannabis, and feel free to come by and check out our seeds available for purchase exclusively at Breck Organic Therapy!
To learn more about the popping process and about our friends over at The Cali Connection—check out their Instagram page @tcc_colorado and the video below!