Feminized Seeds- What are they?
Regular Cannabis plants are either male or female. Male plants only produce pollen, if this pollen is released and received by a female, she will produce seed as well as bud.
Females have the ability to hermaphrodite and produce pollen so they will produce seed and continue to propagate in the next season even if no male pollen is present. This characteristic is more prominent in some strains of Cannabis than others. Producing feminized seeds is a method of manipulating this common trait amongst female cannabis plants.
There are various methods for producing feminized marijuana seeds including, 'shocking' female plants by spraying them with a liquid solution, fluctuating the light cycle and generally freaking-out the female. Under the stressful conditions the female is triggered to produce her own pollen as a survival response to an inconsistent and unhappy environment.
Feminization processes vary from breeder to breeder. It's important to note this is not genetic modification, it is a way of manipulating and breeding the genetics already present in the Cannabis genome.
Other than being a term for hanging out and relaxing, it's also the term for simulating the Spring light cycle indoors. This is simply done by keeping the plant under light for 18 hours and 6 hours of total darkness. Under these conditions the female plant will grow leaves and branches, gain more girth, but she will not begin to produce bud under these 'Spring' conditions, she will wait until the light cycle changes to 'Summer' or the Flowering Cycle. The vegetative growth time for a plant can vary depending on the grower and the strain itself. Shorter vegetative time will generally produce a smaller plant, while a longer veg time usually yield a taller and branchier plant.
Cannabis is an annual plant that usually germinates, flowers, and dies in a year or season. Flowering time refers to the last part of the female plants' life when she begins to flower and produce bud.
Cannabis plants respond to the light cycles of the day and night to know when to begin starting budding. For a plant growing outside this happens naturally at the end of June when the days begin to get shorter but the summer sun is more intense.
This light cycle is simulated indoors by changing the light cycle from the 'Spring' cycle 18hrs of light and 6 hours of darkness to the 'Summer' cycle of 12 hours of light and twelve hours of darkness. It is better to switch up to a higher spectrum bulb like a 400w or 600w HPS light to truly simulate the heat of the summer sun for an indoor plant.
Autoflowering or Ruderalis
Most Cannabis plants are phototropic - which means they respond to light cycles to know the season and trigger the time to begin to producing bud. Ruderalis - is a type of Cannabis that is NOT light responsive in this way.
Autoflowering strains are unique in that they do not respond to vegetative and flowering light cycles. They cannot be 'tricked' into vegging for a long period or kept as 'mothers' to take clones from. They will begin to flower when they are ready in terms of size and age. Autoflowering strains are popular in warm climates because they can be grown in perpetual harvests all year round. They are also useful in cold climates where the light cycles are unreliable and the season is short.