Cannabis is for the most part dioecious, meaning that the male and female reproductive organs exist on two separate plants (although hermaphroditic plants do occur). It is also a wind-pollinated plant, so pollen must be transferred from a male stamen to a female pistil via the air in order for pollination to occur and seeds to form.
Male cannabis plants will produce pollen several weeks into their flowering cycle. Once their pollen sacs have opened up and released, the plant will begin to senesce and eventually die. It is important to collect pollen right as the sacs are beginning to open up, as this is the time pollen is most viable.
The Benefits of Long-Term Storage
Long-term storage requirements for seeds and pollen are similar. Both require cool, dark, dry, and oxygen-deprived environments for optimal preservation.
Separate or sift seeds over the screen to remove any unwanted plant matter from the seeds themselves. Brush off the seeds—they should be completely free of any remaining plant material such as leaves, stem, or trichomes, as these elements put seeds at a higher risk for contamination and spoilage during long-term storage.
Saving space is a big reason to consider long-term storage of seeds and pollen. Mother plants lay dormant in a vegetative state and take up lots of space. Maintaining this extra space is time-consuming and takes extra resources like water, soil, nutrients, light, and other costly elements, all for something that doesn’t produce flower. Even keeping clones of an old strain around will take up space and resources.
You want to take more cuttings from each plant than you think you will need, because not all will root successfully.
That said, you spend the same amount of effort and time to grow any weed plant, be it from bag seed or from a seed bank.
The first change I’d make is to not start your seeds in actual pots. With bag seed, you’ll probably get a few that don’t germinate at all, especially if they have not been stored properly (read our article on how to store cannabis seeds). For that reason, I’d germinate in regular plastic cups.
What Next? Cloning Your Most Successful Plant
This is where you find out if you’ve wasted your time and effort, or if you’ve actually got a usable female plant on your hands.
For that reason, it is worth trying seeds from a bag of low quality bud, if you don’t have any high quality bud to work with.
Worse, the care they give the buds after harvest is almost always terrible and that has the largest impact on bud quality.
When it comes to a rooting medium, you basically have three options. Rockwool, water or soil.
Coco coir, made from coconut fiber, is an excellent cannabis grow medium for many reasons – it is sustainable, nearly impossible to overwater, boasts the perfect pH balance, and is highly reusable in both soil and hydroponic cannabis grows. But, like soil, it must be processed before reuse.
The first step in reusing coco coir is to remove any excess plant matter from the previous crop. Large roots and stems can be removed by hand but smaller roots are best addressed with a special enzyme solution designed to break down roots and improve their bioavailability for future root systems. Thoroughly removing all old roots further ensures that future systems have the room they need to expand and thrive.
After roots are removed and the medium thoroughly rinsed, place in the sun to dry for two to three days. This resting period is necessary to keep the medium sterile. Investing in your own cannabis grow is a big deal. You need lights, pots, ventilation systems, seeds (or clones) and some type of grow media. After gathering your long list of essential growing supplies, cultivating your first crop of cannabis, and harvesting and curing it to perfection, it’s time to reap the benefit of your hard work…and then do it all over again for another harvest in about three to six months.
Remember, reused soil is not only flushed of contaminants, it is also free of all nutrients. Before using your soil again, amend it with things like compost, worm castings and peat moss.
After a thorough rinse, set your soil out in the sun to kill off any diseased spores. Continue to remove plant matter at this point to improve your soil’s consistency. Soil should sit for around 10 days before being used again, more if possible.
Grow medium refers to whatever it is a plant grows from. Different types of grow media include soil, coco coir, rock wool, grow stones, clay pebbles and perlite. Though some grow mediums are not recommended for reuse (rock wool cubes, for example, become very compact which makes them hard to clean and sanitize between grows), many others most certainly are.
Begin by flushing residual nutrients out of the soil using copious amounts of water (and a nutrient flush solution if possible) to remove minerals from the soil. Repeat the process two to three times ideally. If you had a pest problem in the past, rinse with boiling water a few times to help kill them off and if you had mildew in your last crop, add an antifungal to your water, as well.
Just as you must clean and sanitize your grow room between cycles, you must clean and sanitize your soil as well. Cleaning the soil rids it of residual nutrients and salts and helps you better gauge your next crop’s nutrient needs. Cleaning also removes debris like roots and fallen leaves so that new roots can grow without restriction. Sanitization, on the other hand, kills pathogens and pests (and their eggs).