Although backcrossing is a tried and tested way to stabilise cannabis genetics, excessive backcrossing can cause some issues. By inbreeding plants to such a degree, any recessive genes that produce undesirable traits will also be strengthened and passed down to all plants of subsequent generations.
This is an old school ganja farmer’s method mostly applied outdoors. Although, breeding from the same batch has potential indoors provided the original organic seeds are genuine. If so, not only will the resulting progeny be more or less stable but you will have saved cash on seeds for the next crop.
Female plants are ready for breeding during the early flowering phase when small, white pistils start forming. These “pre-bud” structures are basically little hairs that protrude from the calyx to catch pollen. Next, isolate the chosen female plant to further prevent any unwanted fertilisation. Consider setting up a specific fertilisation area to avoid any mishaps.
Have you ever purchased the same cannabis strain multiple times and noticed that it looked completely different each time? Maybe it even tasted slightly more sweet or sour than before. Or maybe you’ve grown the same strain repeatedly and realised how different one plant looked from the next? These differences within the same strain are referred to as genetic variability. Even though plants share the same lineage, their unique genetic expression, or phenotype, is a result of how their genetics respond to the environment.
Genuine F1 hybrids can only be derived from crossing pedigree stabilised or landrace strains. They express genuine hybrid vigour. Unless you’re planning a strain hunting expedition, tracking down heirloom landrace seeds is hard graft. It’s probably more convenient to stick with the RQS catalogue for awesome hybrids.
To pollinate female plants, place the pollen bag over branches that show bud formation. Seal the bag over individual branches and shake again. Leave it there for around 1 hour and repeat the process with each branch that bears buds.
Cloning is a transferable skill and even more essential to cannabis breeders than growers. You need to have a consistently high success rate with cloning as a prerequisite to breeding.
First off, you’ll need to collect pollen from male plants when the time is right. Pollen is ultimately plant sperm, and is needed to fertilise female flowers to make them produce seeds. When the male pollen sacs have opened, place a sealable bag over the plant and give it a shake.
Taking cuttings from cannabis plants is a great way to preserve a strain. Sometimes prized varieties are available in clone-only form, and the grower has little option other than continuing to take cuttings in order to preserve the genetics.
If you have an amazing strain you want to preserve you need to read this blog. Lets talk about breeding your own weed strain.
The bigger your pool of genetics (the more plants you have to choose from), the easier it becomes to find specific traits that you want to include in your breeding program.
Let’s take a look at an example of the power of selective breeding.
Pollinate Females – Female cannabis plants are ready to be pollinated a few weeks after they first show signs of white pistils. At this point there will be individual buds forming, but the hairs/pistils will still be white. It’s important to avoid pollinating the wrong plant, so before you start, isolate the female plant from other plants and turn off any fans. Take the ziplock bag full of pollen and gently place over a stem with several buds forming. Seal it at the base so no pollen can get out. Carefully rotate and shake the bag to cover buds with pollen. Leave bag on for an hour or two, then carefully rotate and shake bag again. Wait two more hours then carefully remove the bag.
From now on, I’m just going to talk about specific traits that help make up the phenotype of a plant, since these are what most breeders are paying attention to.
In just a few years, breeders were able to take a scraggly hemp plant and breed out everything except the auto-flowering trait. This gave breederd the power to create potent auto-flowering strains around the world.
Breeding New Cannabis Strains – Step-By-Step
Growth Patterns – does the plant grow tall or short, long & lanky, short & bushy, how long until harvest (length of flowering stage), yields, etc
One problem with trying to stabilize a color, is it can cause breeders to pay less attention to how the plant grows, how buds smell, and what the effects will be.
Over time, growers can develop a whole “suite” of new traits that can be consistently bred from their genetic stock.
Have you ever wanted to breed your own strains? This tutorial will teach you everything you need to know to get started breeding like the pros!