Once you decide to grow cannabis, there are two ways to go about it. First, you can work with a seed supplier and grow new crops every year. This option works well because you can get reliable and consistent seeds, meaning you don’t have to guess what your following crop will be like.
The second option is to make your own seeds. Since you’re already growing cannabis, it makes sense to produce and use seeds for your next harvest. However, this method is a bit more time-consuming and requires lots of practice and patience. That said, there are some incredible benefits to producing your own seeds if you know how to do it.
So, with that in mind, let’s go over what it takes to produce seeds and how you can make your operation self-sufficient.
Why Produce Cannabis Seeds?
There are a couple of reasons why it makes sense to produce your own seeds, including:
- Save Money – If you’re growing your own crops and harvesting your own seeds, you don’t need to buy from a seed bank. So, you can cut costs and create a self-sufficient operation.
- Create New Strains – Now that cannabis is becoming legal across the US, consumers are looking for newer and better strains. Producing your own seeds gives you creative control over what you can make, giving you the option to grow the “next big thing.”
- Better Understanding – Although cannabis cultivation is a pretty straightforward process, it helps to know as much about the plant as possible. So, fertilizing and growing seeds forces you to become intimately familiar with your crops. From there, you can figure out ways to be more efficient and effective.
Step by Step Guide to Producing Seeds
Once you decide to breed your plants, multiple steps are involved in creating and cultivating the right seeds. We’ve compiled these steps so you can follow them one by one until you’ve mastered the process. Here’s what you need to know.
Step One: Identify Your Plants
Cannabis is a dioecious plant that needs a male and a female to breed. Choosing female plants is much easier than males because they contain all the characteristics you look for in the final product. Some examples include:
- Aroma – You can sometimes tell how good cannabis buds are based on how potent their smell is. So, females with a stronger scent are likely to have better buds.
- Pest Resistance – Various pests and insects are attracted to cannabis buds, so you must invest in a high-quality pest control regimen. Naturally resistant plants will work well for future generations because you won’t have to worry about damaged crops as much.
- Potency – You won’t be able to tell the strength of your buds until after the harvest. However, by keeping some seeds from different females, you can go back and choose the ones based on which buds you like best.
- Yield – Ideally, you should pick female plants that grow lots of high-quality buds. Even if you practice low or high-stress training, you can tell which ones have a higher yield than others.
Choosing males is a bit harder because they produce pollen, not buds. However, there are some factors to check for, including:
- Strength and Resilience – Look for males with strong, thick stalks that grow quickly. Any weak males should be culled before they even reach the vegetative stage since they won’t last very long.
- Lots of Pollen – While an abundance of pollen doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality, it does indicate that a male has strong genes. So, those plants that drop copious amounts of pollen may be better than those that offer a light dusting.
- Flower Production – Because you need to minimize the risk of accidental fertilization, you should transplant your males before they reach the flowering phase. Once they start to flower, look for plants with dense clusters, as they’ll likely pass that trait to future female plants too.
Step Two: Remove Your Males
One of the biggest challenges you can experience when producing seeds is accidental pollination. So, you need to identify your males and remove them as quickly as possible. Even if you’re unsure which males you want, it’s imperative to transplant them quickly so they won’t interfere with your female crops. A single male can fertilize hundreds of females, especially with fans blowing air around the room.
If you’re not sure how to identify males, look for these traits:
- Thicker Stalks – Males don’t produce seeds or buds, so they can put more of their energy into stalk production. They’ll be taller and wider than females.
- Fewer Leaves – Males will have sparser leaf density than females because they don’t need to produce buds.
- Pollen Balls – Pay attention to the joints where branches meet the stalk. If there are small balls at this joint, the plant is a male.
One thing to point out is that some plants are hermaphrodites, meaning they have male and female parts. Because they can produce pollen, you need to remove them as you would the rest of your male population. Also, hermaphroditic plants generally don’t have positive traits, so you can likely cull them immediately.
Step Three: Collect Pollen
Once you’ve identified the males you’d like to use for breeding, you need to collect the pollen. While you could let the plants fertilize each other naturally, it’s much better to control the process every step of the way.
Fortunately, pollen collection is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is disturb the balls and collect whatever comes out. As we mentioned, virile males will generate lots of pollen, so you shouldn’t have any problems getting enough to fertilize the females.
Step Four: Pollinate Your Females
The best way to pollinate female cannabis plants is to rub some pollen on the buds. Alternatively, you can dust your female plants if you have a sealed breeding room.
Let the pollen stay on the plants for a few hours, then rinse the females with water. Doing this will remove any excess pollen, allowing you to put the fertilized females back into your flowering room. Otherwise, loose particles could get into the air and fertilize other females, ruining a significant section of your crop.
Step Five: Don’t Forget About Back Crossing
One of the main challenges of producing seeds is ensuring consistency. Dioecious organisms have traits from both parents, so you need to breed out any undesirable features. The best way to do this is via back crossing. In this case, you’re breeding offspring with one of the parents to avoid adding any extra genetic materials.
To back cross effectively, only choose child plants that have the traits you want. Then, breed them with the opposing parent and repeat this process until each new generation is stable and consistent. Keep in mind that it may take a handful of generations or several dozen. Therefore, patience and organization are critical, as you need to label everything from your plants to the seeds to the pollen.
Get High-Quality Seeds for Breeding From Us!
Breeding can’t begin without cultivating cannabis. We offer high-quality seeds that can generate stable generations.