4. Harvest and Collect Seeds
Keep the desired male plant in isolation throughout the pollen collection process, then terminate the male to be safe. By using a small paintbrush, you can carefully collect pollen into a plastic bag or glass jar.
A Simple Propagation Technique for Small-Batch Breeding
First, you must work within a clean and sanitized environment. Begin by cleaning your isolation chamber in preparation of receiving the female plant. A clean space will both help to prevent cross-contamination and provide a safe and sanitary place for the plant to fully mature. Diluting a small concentration of bleach or isopropyl alcohol with water should do the trick. Don’t forget to sanitize any pollination tools, like your paint brush, as well.
What You’ll Need:
In this guide, we’ll review the basics of small-scale cannabis breeding techniques and illustrate the benefits these techniques may provide to those who want to create their very own unique cannabis seeds and strains.
For instance, a popular breeding practice involves propagating genotypes in large batches (sometimes hundreds of plants in number) to see the widest margin of genetic variation possible. This allows growers to select only the most desirable phenotypes to cultivate further. However, when you have a maximum household plant count of 12, this isn’t possible. Home breeders must work around these issues if they wish to both breed and propagate sinsemilla cannabis (without seed) as well.
One way to harvest your pollen is to gently and carefully remove all the pollen sacs. Let them dry for a week, and then put them in a resealable bag. If you shake the bag the pollen should easily spill out. You may need to cut a few open yourself.
How to Store Cannabis Pollen
It's time to pollinate when your plant has been in the flowering stage for about 2-3 weeks.
Make sure that you're touching all the female pistils/hairs with your pollen. Here's a little video showing you exactly what this looks like!
Example of young cannabis buds that are ready to be pollinated
Obviously, no one wants to smoke seedy weed. When you grow cannabis and learn how to identify male plants and signs of pollination, you can remove these plants to save your remaining females. Likewise, recognising a pollinated female early allows you to start again before it’s too late, rather than finishing a grow that will only result in a poor-quality harvest.
Among the early signs that your female has been pollinated is that her bracts become larger. Bracts are small, leaf-like structures that protect the female’s reproductive parts. These are the sites from which the flowering buds appear. Do not confuse the bracts with calyxes.
HOW TO AVOID POLLINATION OF YOUR FEMALE PLANTS
Pollination requires the presence of males or intersex (hermaphrodite) plants, which are females that will also produce pollen. The first thing you want to do to keep the risk of pollination low is to remove as many males or “hermies” as as you can. Especially during the first three weeks of flowering, it’s important to frequently check for possible male specimens in your garden.
Male plants won’t show hairs at these nodes, but will develop little sacs of pollen. These pollen sacs will look like little balls. These balls can appear on their own or in clusters, depending how far into the pre-flowering stage the plant is. At some later stage of growth, the pollen sacs will burst open, spilling the pollen and possibly pollinating your females.
The typical cannabis grower normally doesn’t have a reason to keep males, and will want to get rid of them as soon as they are spotted. Cannabis breeders, on the other hand, may want to keep males along with their crop of female plants. In such cases, the breeder will normally separate the sexes to avoid any accidental pollination. They may grow females in one tent and males in another. When grown outdoors, such as in a garden, the males are often kept in the most remote corner of their growing area, as far from the females as possible. Even then, because of the wind carrying around the pollen, there is always some risk of accidental pollination.