What is a Feminized Seedling?
A feminized seedling is a small, immature plant that is sprouted from a feminized seed. “Feminized” means that the breeder used a process called “feminization” to create seeds that are 99.5% female (see this earlier post to learn more about the feminization process).
If you’re planting feminized seedlings outdoors early on in the year (March/April) you’ll see the best results with 5-6ft centers to allow your plants to grow to their full potential. If you’re starting with a later harvest outdoors (June/July) you’d be better off using a 2ft center.
Autoflower feminized seedlings, another seedling option available from Dark Heart, are simply feminized seedlings that do not rely on photoperiods to trigger their flowering cycle like traditional cannabis plants do. Autoflower seedlings typically start to flower after a short vegetative period of 2 to 4 weeks if in ideal conditions (pot size and time of year).
Autoflowering plants can be planted outside most months out of the year, but the better the conditions the better your results will be. Cold, harsh conditions can definitely affect your plant’s ability to produce flowers, so it’s best to grow your autoflower seedlings indoors first, under light, and then transplanting them outdoors when the weather is more ideal for cannabis.
You’ll want to be cautious of the size of your autoflower plant’s forever home. Once the autoflower plant is root-bound it will be triggered to flower. We recommend planting your autoflower plant in a 2 gallon pot immediately or 10 inches apart in a bed with multiple seedling, after purchase, as this will keep your plant on track for a short vegetative period prior to flower. With large scale cultivation, autoflower seedlings are a great option for “sea of green” grows or growers looking to grow for biomass as well.
All seeds are bred by Dark Heart’s network of award-winning breeders like the Humboldt Seed Company and Purple City Genetics. They’re germinated in the nursery with optimal levels of light, heat, humidity, and nutrients. Germination is the delicate process where a seed cracks open and its tap root grows downward in search of food, while its stem reaches for the light. Seeds are then placed in a balanced peat and perlite mix that aids with rapid rootball development. Every seedling is checked and watered daily until it has at least 2 sets of true leaves. All seedlings must pass a quality check before leaving the nursery to ensure healthy leaves and roots.
Stability and Phenotypic Variation
When you’re thinking of genetic stability in cannabis consider the analogy of dog breeding. When a Labrador Retriever is considered “purebred” and has a certification or “papers” to prove it, that indicates that the Labrador was in fact bred by two “purebred” Labrador parents whose genetics were purely Labrador. The same goes for cannabis.
For example, Humboldt Seed Company’s stable Blueberry Muffin cannabis seed has been inbred with itself generation after generation until its offspring exhibit little to no phenotypic variation (varying characteristics such as plant size, inter-nodal spacing, bud structure, bud color, smell, cannabinoid profile, etc.) and have the desired phenotypic display the breeders were shooting for. Once stable, Blueberry Muffin became purebred just like the Labrador and now can be used to produce more stable/purebred Blueberry Muffin seeds, just like the Labrador parents can continue to produce more purebred Labrador puppies for generations to come.
Identifying a Male
When it comes to being concerned about male plants, our answer is, “don’t be”. Yes, if you have 1000 plants you will likely have a single male in there as feminized seedlings are 99.5% female. Although, have no fear, detecting a male in your garden early on is easy to do with this video tutorial created by Humboldt Seed Company.
Clones Vs. Feminized Seedlings
Although clones and feminized seedlings are both excellent options when growing cannabis, there are some noteworthy differences. Feminized seedlings, due to their tap root and the presence of germination hormones, are believed to have the most vigor; quicker leaf development, a thicker stem, and larger overall growth. They acclimate to their environment immediately and there’s no transition period like there is with clones, not to mention there’s no additional light needed. With seedlings growers can generally produce a yield that is 20% to 2X greater than a clone depending on the strain and you can expect seedlings to be more pest and disease resistant.
Feminized seedlings can exhibit phenotypic variation between plants of the same strain depending on the degree of stability of those seeds. All of Dark Heart’s feminized seedlings are stable strains that will exhibit little to no phenotypic variation when grown outdoors or in most greenhouse environments. Clones on the other hand are genetically identical meaning that you can expect consistency in the characteristics of your plants, no matter how many of them you grow. Clones tend to be the ideal option for indoor growers or growers who have found a staple strain that they love to grow.
When it comes to ease of growing, feminized seedlings are actually quite simple to grow. Some clone-only strains can be sensitive and require more skill to grow, while seedlings have a “juvenility period,” a period where a plant cannot be induced to flower due to its young age. This means that feminized seedlings are less likely to flower prematurely than clones if placed outside too early or become stressed.
What should be understood though, is that both clones and feminized seedlings have a purpose in your garden and in the cannabis industry. When a strain is discovered that is truly amazing, and this happens often, the best way to preserve those traits is to produce it in clone form. Once in clone form all growers can experience the wonders of that genetic for themselves. So if you’re asking yourself if you should grow feminized seedlings or clones, we say, “grow both!”
Our feminized seedling crosses let anyone enjoy some of the most sought-after strains in the cannabis industry and the strains we offer are organized by breeder:
View our feminized seedlings bred by Humboldt Seed Company here.
View our feminized seedlings bred by Purple City Genetics here.
Please note that feminized seedling strain availability is based on inventory available and is subject to change.
Where to Buy Dark Heart Feminized Seedlings
CA Licensed Cultivators: See our direct order page to learn how to order directly through our website, hassle-free.
Retail Purchase: First, locate your nearby Dark Heart retailers by entering your zip code here. Then sign up for our Drop Alerts to be notified when strains or products you want are available at a retailer near you.
Taking Care of Feminized Seedlings