We’re not saying that you have to become a genetics specialist right away, but we do think that every hobby grower should (try to) make his own cross at least once. Crossing a male and a female cannabis plant is not difficult, and you learn a lot from it. And who knows? Maybe your cross will become the new hype in cannabis land.
The ultimate goal
Imagine discovering the new Girl Scout Cookies, Gorilla Glue, OG Kush, Gelato, or Chem Dawg. A cannabis strain that wins cannabis cups by the mile and is a must-have for everyone. A strain that seed companies are eager to develop further. You could do this if you crossed your own male and female cannabis plants with each other.
Breeding cannabis strains can be very lucrative. But even if you don’t immediately create a gem of a cross, it’s worth doing. You learn a lot from it and build up a collection of cannabis strains, the genetics of which you can also keep for future cultivation. Even if the original seeds are perhaps no longer being produced.
Making your own crosses
To make your own crosses, you need pollen to begin with, and for this, you will need male marijuana plants (unless you want to make feminized seeds, but that is something completely different). Male marijuana plants can be grown next to female marijuana plants in your grow tent, but you will need to remove them from your female marijuana plants before the male flowers open and they release their pollen. This is to prevent unwanted (uncontrolled) fertilization.
Rest assured, however, that for a simple homegrown cross, you don’t need to set up a separate grow room. Once a male plant blooms, you can put it under a simple energy-saving lamp or even in front of a window. You can even cut off a single or a few branches and put them in a vase, and then collect the pollen a week later.
To select a good male cannabis plant, you must have good senses. To start with, go for the plants that grow the best and smell the nicest (strongest). Choose only males with a nice structure and healthy roots. Cut off a few branches to see if you can detect a hollow stem, as this is often an indication of a high THC percentage.
Men who flower first are usually dominant in passing on their genes, so it is better not to select them. Late bloomers are often recessive, so they leave the female plant’s desirable characteristics better preserved. If you are serious about making a good male selection, then make sure you have your own enclosed grow space so that you can leave the males to bloom for a longer period. This way, you will discover more characteristics of a male weed plant.
The next step is to collect the male pollen. This is a fairly easy job since your plant releases pollen easily. Shake out a branch with flowering open buds over a sheet of paper. Make sure that no fans are running because pollen spreads very quickly, and before you know it, all your female plants have been fertilized. Don’t start working on your female weed plants right away, either, because pollen can easily hitch a ride on your clothes or in your hair.
Fertilization itself is also a simple process and works best when the female cannabis plant has been flowering for three to five weeks. Take your selected female cannabis plant out of the grow room for a while to prevent unwanted fertilization of other plants. Put a label around one or more branches that you want to fertilize and apply the pollen to the flowering hairs using a brush. You can fertilize one branch and leave the rest unfertilized for seedless weed production. The label helps remind you which male plant the branch was fertilized with and when.
Selecting female weed plants is easier than selecting male ones since you can judge the weed from them. To ensure a stable plant, you should grow her once from seed and as a cutting. Choose the weed plants that have the characteristics you like. Pay attention to the smell, the structure, the flowering time, the appearance of the buds, and of course, the effect. Use only your best female cannabis plants for seeds.
About three hours after fertilization, you can deactivate any remaining pollen. In the meantime, change your clothes and take a shower just to be sure. Now spray your fertilized female weed plant with water to deactivate the pollen and put the plant back in your growing space.
After fertilization, you can simply let your cannabis plants finish flowering. The seeds will mature in two to six weeks but can simply stay in the top and be dried along with the top. Another month later, they are ready to be sown.
Which cannabis strains to choose?
We have talked about male and female selection but not yet about the strains themselves. You can basically cross all sorts of marijuana strains with each other. A good starting point is always to go for varieties you like yourself, like, for example, the Hulkberry Strain. The more stable the strains are, the better it is for your cross. Some strains (e.g., Gorilla Glue, Cookies, and Diesel) are known for a high percentage of hermaphrodites, so try to avoid those if possible.
The F1 cross is the first cross you make between two genetically different weed species. The more genetically different the weed species are, the better such an F1 cross often turns out. This gives the offspring hybrid vigor (extra vigorous growth) and stability. If you cross two F1 seeds, you get an F2, and if you cross two F2 plants, you get F3 seeds, and so on.
If you have a beautiful cannabis plant with unique characteristics, make seeds! Before you know it, your weed will be gone, and you will have lost the plant (that one unique phenotype) forever.