Using Your Own Marijuana Seeds From A Previous Grow
We get a lot of questions about cross-breeding your own marijuana strains and saving seeds. Here are a few thoughts on what you can do, and what you can expect.
First of all, saving your own seeds is entirely possible, and really rather easy to do. If you have ordered a non-feminized cannabis strain (maybe this is a reason to finally do so?) all you’ll need to do is keep a strong male plant after you separate males from females (see our post on sexing plants here).
You’ll need to collect pollen from the male plant and selectively pollinate a few buds on a female plant. Of course, I’m assuming that a few dozen sees will be enough for you. If you want lots – and I mean lots – of seeds, then you can pollinate the main buds of a female and you’ll have enough for a major crop.Male cannabis flowers quickly, producing pollen just as the females begin to show their first pistils. In the wild, they would likely become pollinated at this point, generating a few seeds and never growing large buds. This is one of the main reasons that we separate male and female plants as soon as we can sex them! Here’s a female from the wild in the Himalayas near Kuari Pass that was in a mixed wild field with males:
A beautiful view, and despite the extra effort required to pick out seeds, a tasty smoke! Pretty as it may be, this is not what you want when you are growing for bud production.
We can have the best of the both worlds with selective pollination. You simply need to save that pollen for a couple of weeks, and then use a paintbrush to carefully apply the pollen to a couple of buds just below your precious main bud(s). By doing this, you’ll be able to simultaneously produce a nearly full harvest yield and plenty of seeds for a future grow. Keep in mind that you’ll need an extra dose of patience for the grow. If you want viable seeds, you’ll need to let teh seeds fully mature on the plant. This means letting flowering continue until the pistils fully “retract” and the calyxes begin to split on the pollinated (seed carrying) buds. No worries, though, most bud is harvested rather early. The current “wisdom” is to harvest when a majority of the trichomes take on a milky look and only a few are amber-colored. The fear is that too much THC will oxidize or the bud will lose potency. In truth, this “oxidation” will have to occur at some point – at the very latest when you light it on fire and inhale it. Just relax and wait an extra 10 days, you’ll like the results.
If you do this using both male and female from a particular strain, you can expect the offspring to be fairly consistent with that strain. Naturally, you may really dig a few different strains, and are burning with curiosity about what will happen if you cross “Sleeping Dragon Kush” with “Hendrix Sativa”, or similar…
What essentially happens is that you can expect all sorts of traits to appear – anything from either side of the family tree! I’ve generally stuck to seeds from professional breeders, but have recently tried my hand at producing seeds from some of my favorite strains. After crossing Critical+ with Afghan Kush, the following siblings appeared. One clearly Indica-dominant, the other clearly favoring Sativa physical traits. Here is an overhead shot of the seedlings, and then a closeup of some of the vegetative leaves:
Notice the lighter color and wider leaves of the Indica-dominant plant (left) and the darker color, slimmer leaves, and “sharper” serrated margins of the Sativa-dominant sibling (right). Here are some closer shots of the leaves:
Above, Indica-style leaf, below, Sativa-style leaf. Both plants are Critical+ x Afghan Kush
These plants will now be put outside to grow. Check back to see how they develop.
Wishing you a very green summer!
[Author and Medical Marijuana Grower Glenn Panik’s “How To Grow Cannabis At Home: A Guide To Indoor Medical Marijuana Growing”, is available on iTunes book here, or for the Amazon Kindle . You can also order the ‘stealth title’ of our information-packed ebook for the Kindle here. Protect your privacy!]
How do I know if the seeds are already mature and ready for harvest?