After spending years of growing other companies' seeds, you can get to a stage where you are confident enough to start making Cannabis seeds at home. Breeding male and female Cannabis plants together is Mother Nature’s way of evolving this complex plant even further, allowing for new flavors, aromas and effects to be experienced. In this article, we cover 9 top tips on how to make regular sex first generation (F1) seeds at home, allowing you to customize your very own perfect cultivar.
Top Tip #1 - Start with a goal
Before you even purchase any Cannabis seeds, you should have a plan or a goal already in mind. This means that you wish to enhance a specific trait on one strain such as yield, terpene profile, pungency, resin production, internodal spacing, flowering time and so on. Our first top tip for making Cannabis seeds is to have a set goal in advance, to make the selection process much easier, especially when choosing the male and females you wish to work with.
Top Tip #2 - Large plant count
It is always better to start with as many plants as possible when working through a population of regular Cannabis seeds. You do not need to fill an entire warehouse or greenhouse like many of the commercial scale breeders seen on IG when making Cannabis seeds at home, however it is best to work with a minimum of 10 Cannabis seeds of each strain, in order to allow you to get the best results possible. Our top tip here is to use between 20–30 seeds and use small sized pots to reserve space.
Top Tip #3 - Use small pots
If you are limited to space but still want to plant a high volume of seeds, to see which phenotypes you end up with, then you just need to use small sized pots. Our top tip here is to use 3 or 5 liter pots to grow and flower the plants in. When making Cannabis seeds, using small sized pots can save space and will allow you to see how each plant expresses themselves. This also means that the final amount of seeds produced off a 30-45 cm plant will be around 200-400 viable seeds.
Top Tip #4 - Choosing the male
One question that many growers often ask is which male is best to use when making Cannabis seeds? You may end up with several males, all expressing different traits and structures. Our top tip here is to use the male, which is the closest to the female. This means that plants that are the same size, width, leaf shape and internodal space should be used, as pairing up plants that are similar will always produce the best progeny. Another great bit of advice is to use your fingers and gently rub the stems, as this will give you a good idea of the smell and taste the male will pass on.
Top Tip #5 - Pollination techniques
Male Cannabis plants will produce pollen once into the third or fourth week of flowering. You will only need a tiny amount of pollen when making Cannabis seeds. Our top tip here is to try various methods, such as using a small paintbrush to dab the pollen onto the female pistils. You can also use your finger and thumb and gently rub over the pistils. Otherwise, allowing a male to produce clouds of pollen will work fine, however being in control of what is pollinated is also advantageous when making Cannabis seeds at home.
Top Tip #6 - Pheno Hunting
Pheno hunting Cannabis seeds is what makes a breeding project so exciting, and allows you to see which are the best and deserve keeping. When making Cannabis seeds, you should want to start with a high number of seedlings, allowing you a higher rate of phenotypic expression. Our top tip here is to know in advance which phenotypes you are looking for, which ties in with your original plan and goal. Also, working with interbred or stabilized lines, will not offer as much phenotypical variation as a F1 new cross which can express 3 different phenotypes.
Top Tip #7 - When to harvest the seeds
Cannabis seeds have a harvest window in the same way harvesting flowers does. There will be a peak window when to harvest the seeds. When making Cannabis seeds, there are many variables to consider, so our top tip here is to inspect a few seeds and see the color and hardness. You will want seeds that are hard to squeeze, with a solid outer shell that is either dark-colored or with tiger stripe patterns. The other thing to look for is if the seed is bursting out of the calyx and showing part of itself. Usually it takes 6–8 weeks for seeds to mature and become viable.
Top Tip #8 - Storing the seeds
Once you have harvested the Cannabis seeds, the next step you will need to do is clean the seeds up and remove any organic matter, then label them and store away in a fridge. Our top tip here is to make a space in the fridge where you will keep the seeds, with a clear label explaining the cross in detail on the bag. Get into the habit of writing everything in as much detail as possible for reference and storage sake. After storing the seeds for 3 to 4 weeks in a cool and dry place such as a cupboard, you can then place the seeds to be stored in the fridge or freezer for long term storage and access.
Top Tip #9 - The deep clean
When making Cannabis seeds at home, depending on how controlled the pollination was, may result in the tent being full of pollen which has entered the floors, walls and corners. Our top tip here is to give the tent or grow room a deep clean once all the plants have been removed and harvested. It is a good idea to use bleach and make sure the entire area is clean and sterile from top to bottom, especially if your intention is to start making cannabis seeds again.
Mistakes to avoid when making Cannabis seeds!
● Do not just cross any plants together without having a starting plan.
● Avoid pairing plants up which are very different in size and shape.
● Allowing the male to become too big and produce unwanted dust clouds.
● Not labeling the pots and plants from day 1, and discarding note-taking.
● Picking the seeds too early and only having a few viable ones to work with.
● Keeping green or white colored immature seeds, as these will be useless.
● Exposing the seeds to direct sunlight or a warm and hot environment.
Making Cannabis seeds at home can be as complex and complicated as you want it to be. If you are a beginner and are starting out with the intention of making your own custom cross, then start small. Do not over complicate matters and focus on crossing one strain with another to begin, before working with multiple different females and phenotypes. Learn how to correctly store pollen, do stress testing, and most importantly give your seeds out to as many people as possible to test!