By now, you’ve learned how to find and choose the right seeds, some simple germination tips, and how to sex young plants. Now that your plants have begun to flower, it’s time to get ready to breed them. This Cannabis Seeds 101 segment will teach you how to produce your own seeds.
How to produce your own seeds
To begin, you’ll need at least one mature male and one mature female cannabis plant. As we mentioned in our last Seeds 101 segment, male marijuana plants produce the pollen needed to fertilize female plants and create seeds.
Male plants tend to mature about two weeks ahead of female plants. So, you’ll want to keep them alive and thriving while you wait for female plants to mature. You can do this by selectively pruning back your male flowers throughout the growing season until you’re ready to pollinate your females. Prune male flowers that are growing the fastest, while allowing slower growing or late buds to mature.
A female plant will be ready for pollen after she’s begun to produce good flowers. The flowers themselves should have developed numerous long pistillate hairs and be decent in size. Once she’s reached the proper developmental stage for pollination, you have a couple of choices when it comes to how you’d like to go about and produce seeds.
Pollinating your females
Option 1: let nature take its course
If you’ve been following our Seed 101 series, you know that your male plants and female plants should be grown in separate locations to avoid unwanted pollination. One slightly difficult way to pollinate your females is to simply move one of your female plants into the same room as your favorite mature male plant.
Once together, give the male plant a good shake to cause the pollen to spread around the air and fertilize the female. After a day or two and a few good shakes of the male plant, you can then return the female to a proper growing environment so that it has the light and resources it needs to produce seeds. Or, you can continue to grow the two together if there’s enough of the proper light and nutrient resources around.
While this option mimics what typically happens when pollen just-so-happens to reach female plants in the natural world, this method isn’t exactly ideal if you want an easy, controlled way to produce your own seeds. For one, pollinating an entire female plant means that you’ll be doing an awful lot of digging once seed-harvest time roles around.
You also waste some potentially good bud this way. Pollinating an entire plant will produce a whole hell of a lot of seeds. If you’re growing as a hobby or for your own personal use, you really won’t need that many seeds.
Option 2: Pollinating select branches
This option is a little nicer for home growers who may not have very many plants to begin with and don’t want to use an entire female for seed creation. In this option, you’ll only be pollinating a few select branches of a specific plant. This will give you significantly fewer seeds than pollinating an entire plant, but it is relatively easy and will give you enough of a yield to replenish your next round of crop.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 4 to 6-inch flower clippings from a mature male flower
- A female plant with pruned lower branches featuring decent sized flowers
- Long paper wine bags
- String or zip-ties
Once you’ve selected both a male and female plant that you would like to breed, you’ll need to prep each one for pollination. For the female plant, this means pruning back the fan leaves surrounding the branch(s) that you’d like to fertilize.
For the male plant, you’ll need to make some clippings of some good looking flowers and place them into the wine bags. Use at least one sizable clipping per bag. Paper sandwich bags are also OK, but make sure they can fit both male clippings and fully encompass your female branch. Long bags really work the best.
Next, place the bag containing the clippings around the prepped female branch and tightly secure the end of the bag around the branch with either, string, easy-to-peel masking tape, or a zip-tie. Give the bag a good shake. Let it sit for a couple of hours, shaking one or two more times.
Be careful during this entire process. You’ll want to avoid pollinating nearby branches that you’re trying to save for a harvestable crop. It’s advisable to avoid wind, and turn off fans while you’re pollinating certain branches,
After a couple of hours are up, remove the bag very gently. Again, avoiding pollination of other branches. If you’re worried about getting pollen on crop flowers, you can mist off the pollinated bud after about 48 hours.
An alternate variation of this method is showcased in the video above.
Finally, after all of that tricky pollination business, you can expect mature seeds in about 4 to 6 weeks. As the female plant develops its seeds, you’ll notice that fertilized bud looks quite different from an unfertilized flower. For one, you won’t get the huge colas and beautiful, thick, dense trichomes that you’d expect to see from your standard, consumable sinsemilla. Rather, seed buds look a little more bulbous and are much, much smaller.
After several weeks of ripening, you can test to see if your seeds are mature by picking one out. A developed seed will be dark brown or a deep tan, have an incredibly hard outer shell, and may feature visible stripes. If you’ve fertilized only select branches, you’ll want to leave the pollinated branches on the plant a bit longer than your crop flowers.
Once you’ve determined that your seeds are mature, don’t be afraid to really dig into the plant to get them out. The remains from seed-producing flower are significantly less potent to consume than unfertilized plant material.
And there you have it! Those are some very basic tips to produce your own marijuana seeds. Now you’ll be able to crossbreed your best growing male plants with particularly high-yield females to ensure that you’re getting a premium crop with every new batch of seeds you plant.
Do you know of any other pollination tricks to product optimum cannabis seeds? Share them with us on social media or in the comments section below. We’d love to hear them!