How to produce cannabis seeds
When it comes to cannabis plants, feminized seeds are the most known ones. But do you know what auto and regular means?
1. Photoperiodic Cannabis
Photoperiodism isn’t unique to cannabis plants, many flowering plants sense changes in the length of night and day and use those changes as signals for when to flower. Photoperiodic cannabis plants are just like that, they basically respond to changes in the light cycle. As the night becomes longer at the beginning of autumn (in nature) or when you flip to 12/12 in a grow tent, the plant receives more darkness. This causes the plant to realize that its life cycle is coming to an end and they will start to flower (females) or produce pollen (males) in order to reproduce before winter.
Regular Photoperiodic Cannabis
Regular cannabis is photoperiodic cannabis that produces both male and female plants. They are called regular because they are produced the “natural way”: the pollen from the male plant pollinates the female, resulting in seeds. Back in the day, the only way to grow cannabis was with regular seeds, this way you would get half male and half females plants. There is a big difference between male and female plants, while female grows buds, male plants will only grow pollen sacs.
In nature male cannabis’ pollen sacs will open to release pollen which will pollinate the female flowers, this way producing seeds. But most growers that grow cannabis commercially or for their own consumption only want buds, allowing males to pollinate buds would ruin their harvest because pollination diminishes yield, so they’re mainly looking for female plants.
Feminized Photoperiodic Cannabis
To completely avoid accidental pollination and other problems related to male plants, feminized seeds were created. Feminized seeds come from the cross of two female plants, one of them is stressed so it starts producing pollen sacs, which will fertilize the other female. When you cultivate feminized seeds, the offspring will be only female plants. This takes out a lot of the unnecessary work that you can have when growing males and them not being able to use them. Ever since the boom of feminized seeds back in 1998, growers have stopped buying regular seeds for quite a bit. Nowadays most seed banks don’t even sell regular seeds anymore. With so much focus on feminized seeds, we can’t forget that regular seeds are vital for the creation of new strains.
2. Automatic Flowering Cannabis
You must already know that the characteristic that makes autoflowers an auto is they don’t need a different light cycle to enter the flowering stage. Like their name says, autoflowers start flowering automatically depending on age, and unlike regular and feminized cannabis that needs a change in the light cycle to start flowering. Autos don’t need anything else other than time to start producing buds.
But that trait didn’t come out of anywhere, it appeared as an adaptation to the environment. You’ve probably heard of Cannabis Indica and Sativa…well, the autoflowering gene comes from Cannabis Ruderalis. The Ruderalis species adapted to the extremely cold and harsh climates of Asia, Europe, and Russia. These regions have shorter warm seasons and colder temperatures. Because of this, Ruderalis started mutating from a photoperiodic plant to an autoflowering plant, to guarantee its reproduction before the temperatures reached freezing levels. Thanks to that adaptation, now we have autoflowers that take considerably less time from seed to harvest.
3. How To Make Your Own Seeds
Producing your own seeds is relatively easy if you have what it’s needed but that doesn’t mean the result will be a perfect strain. The good strains or “IBLs” that most seed banks sell are strains that have been developed for years and are far into the third or fourth generation. IBL or stabilized strain means the offspring will have certain characteristics locked down. When you cross two strains for the first time the offspring can have infinite phenotypes and this is not good for commercializing.
Photoperiodic Regular Seeds
When we talk about cannabis, it’s easy to forget about male plants. Everybody nowadays is used to the beautiful flowers we all love, but it’s important to remember that male cannabis plants are just as important as females. Male cannabis plants produce pollen and are an essential element in the production of new cannabis plants. This pollen is super important in breeding cannabis as it allows breeders to create crosses with genetics from different plants and create their own seeds. For producing seeds all you need is pollen and buds. Cannabis pollen is no different from regular pollen produced by other plants. It’s a fine powder that usually has a golden yellow color and is excreted from the pollen sac on male plants.
Collecting pollen is simple. You’ll know when its ready to be collected when the pollen sacks are open and you see pollen floating in the air and on the leaves near them. When this happens, you can gently remove the sacs and store them in a ziplock bag, once you are ready to pollinate just release the pollen onto the buds. Another way is to simply agitate your male plants near the female plants, the pollen will stick to the buds. Pollen is used in order to pollinate female plants and create seeds. In nature, female plants get pollinated by the wind which carries the male pollen. Cannabis seeds develop in the buds about 4-6 weeks after pollination, you will see the calyxes start to round up from the seeds being inside them.
Pollinated buds look quite different from regular buds. They usually don’t have as many trichomes and are usually smaller and a lot more swollen. 4 weeks after pollination, you can start checking the buds to see if the seeds are ready for harvest by picking a couple of seeds from the bud. Mature seeds will have a hard shell and be a dark brown color, they might also have some stripes on the outer shell.
Photoperiodic Feminized Seeds
Normally, a male cannabis plant has to pollinate a female plant to produce seeds. The resulting regular seeds will contain about half male and half female seeds. The way feminized seeds are produced is the same but instead of collecting the pollen from a male, breeders will stress or spray flowers with colloidal silver, for example. This process forces the female plants to become a hermaphrodite and starts producing pollen sacs. Hermaphrodite plants are females that are halfway turned into males, this means she has both male (pollen sacs) and female (buds) parts.
By picking out the pollen sacs and using a reverted plant’s pollen to pollinate a female plant, you will have only female genes as there is no “father”, this way you get feminized seeds, meaning the offspring will be 100% female plants.
Feminized and Regular Autoflowering Seeds
Regular Autoflowering Seeds
Usually, you can find regular and feminized seeds, and this applies to autoflowering seeds also. This means you can find male and female autoflowers, depending on the type of seed you buy (regular = 50% male and 50% female, feminized = 100% female). Unfortunately the high increase in the production of feminized seeds affected automatic seeds also. Although it’s not common to find regular auto seeds nowadays, they do exist. For producing regular autoflowering seeds all you need is male pollen and female buds, just like for regular photoperiodic cannabis. The process is basically the same, collect the pollen from the male and spread it on the buds, this will result in regular autoflowering seeds.
Feminized Autoflowering Seeds
The process of producing feminized autoflowering seeds is almost the same, the only difference is you will need two female autos instead of one male and one female. You will have to make one of your female autos produce pollen, either by stressing her out or spraying with colloidal silver and pollinating the other female. This will result in a 100% female automatic offspring.
4. Pollen Collection and Storage, and Proper Pollination Techniques
The process of collecting pollen from either a male or a hermaphrodite cannabis plant is a piece of cake, but you do have to be very careful if you have female plants nearby. One male or hermie plant can pollinate a whole crop if you are not alert and aware of the stage the pollen sacks are at, so always try to keep any pollen-producing plants well quarantined from any females that you want to keep seed free. The best way to harvest the pollen is to carefully remove the whole pollen sac flower head, let it dry for a couple of days to a week and then transfer the whole shebang to a sealable container or zip-lock bag. Once in the bag or container, you can give the whole thing a bit of a shake and the pollen should fall right out In terms of pollen storage, there are a few factors to take into consideration. Temperature and moisture levels are the most important things to control. Our tried and true method for at-home storage of cannabis pollen is:
- Collect the pollen and place it in a sealed container or zip lock bag.
- Add regular baking flour – about double the weight of pollen. This doesn’t need to be super exact, but it helps greatly with moisture absorption and spreads your pollen out much further.
- Place the whole thing into the freezer where it can be stored for up to a year.
- Pollen hates temp fluctuations, so leave it be until you are sure you are ready to use it
When you are ready to pollinate your plant the process is again nothing more than child’s play, but you have to be very careful not to spread the pollen to plants that you want to remain seedless. This can be a little difficult if the plants are rooted into the ground, but if they are in pots then the job is much safer.
Just move whichever female plant you want to produce seeds to an area well away from the rest of the crop. There are a few ways to pollinate your plant, but our favorite method is this:
- Wait until the female plant is in her 2nd or 3rd week of the flowering cycle. At this point, you should see pistils forming fully (the small white hair-like growths)
- Grab your pre-collected pollen from the freezer and let it come to room temp over a few hours
- Dip a small, fine paintbrush or Q-tip into the pollen and apply it to the pistils of the budding sites that you want to produce seeds
- We recommend focusing on the budding sites on the lower branches – the popcorn bud producing areas. These buds are usually the lowest quality in terms of smokeability and trichome production, so use these ones for seeds instead!
- Seeds usually take around 4 – 5 weeks to mature fully. A mature cannabis seed is brown in color with tiger-like stripes and a hard outer shell.
A common question asked is – how many seeds a single budding site will produce? This is an impossible question to answer, as it varies widely between strains and the size of the budding site. But a fully pollinated plant can produce A LOT of seeds.
5. In Conclusion
Even though it is fairly easy to produce seeds, we recommend having a bit of experience before trying it. We recommend easy-to-grow strains like Zkittlez Auto to start acquiring experience before going into breeding.
Just an easy to grow, solid packed buds. A heavy feeder and can be a bit prone to light burn at the end but otherwise perfection!
A breeding operation needs a lot of caution, even the smallest amount of pollen may ruin your entire harvest. Remember you should always buy seeds from a reputable seed bank. If you buy bad genetics, your plants can become a hermaphrodite easily and what was initially cheap can end up being surprisingly expensive.
How to Get Seeds from Autoflowering Plants (Useful Tips)
A cannabis plant is the only plant that has the ability to auto flower. This ability is a genetic trait passed down via DNA. Not all cannabis plants can autoflower, but some do. Most plants need a certain amount of light or darkness per day to produce flowers, for instance, 12 hours of darkness and 12 hours of light.
Autoflowering plants don’t produce flowers based on the amount of lightness or darkness they get. These plants can produce buds and flowers according to their size and growth of the plant. Certain strains of the plant are bred to produce flowers from little light and darkness.
Cannabis plants receive one chromosome from its mother and one from its father. These types of plants are known as diploid. The parents of the plant consist of two different genes. Both genes are either non-photodependant or photodependant.
Non-photodependant genes are those that allow autoflowering, whereas photodependant genes don’t allow autoflowering. In simpler terms, autoflowering plants have a recessive trait. Both parents must contribute to the plant to autoflower.
Therefore, if one parent has the gene to allow autoflowering and the other one doesn’t have the gene, autoflowering doesn’t occur.
Autflowering plants make growing cannabis much easier, whether the plants are grown indoors or outdoors. It gives the newbie a chance to grow good-quality plants.
Autoflowering plants are typically ready to harvest within ten weeks from the time of germination, so growers can get the yield faster than non-autoflowering plants.
Getting Seeds From Autoflowering Plants
The most common question growers ask is can I get seeds from autoflowering plants? The answer is yes. The autoflowering plant does provide seeds as long as they are not a feminized strain and are regulars. These seeds can be planted, and you can easily begin your cultivation journey.
If you want your own seeds, you will have to grow both male and female plants so that the male can pollinate the female plants. The female plants will then produce seeds. In the wild, this process takes place naturally. The male pollen is released from the pollen sack, and the gust of winds transfers it to the female flowers.
However, when you are growing the plants indoors, you have to play God and do everything yourself. This allows you to select the best male and female plants and manually do the pollination process.
This means you will have to apply pollen to all the female plants. If the process is done correctly, you will get fully matured cannabis seeds inside the autoflower plants that can be stored and used later.
With photo-sensitive plants, this is the end of the process. You can cross two strains of your choice, and the offspring will have genetic traits from both parents. However, with autoflowering plants, the process is a bit more extensive.
As mentioned earlier, autoflowering gene is recessive, which means you will need to do more research about gene inheritance to produce high-quality seeds.
Creating your autoflowering seeds is not that difficult. All you need to do is cross two stable autoflowering plants, preferably from the same species.
You will have stable offspring since no new traits are introduced. So, the plants’ characteristics would also be stable, and there would be no risk of multiple cross-breeding.
To create a completely new strain by crossing a stable autoflower strain with a regular photo-sensitive plant, then things can get a bit trickier. You will need to make many generations to stabilize the new strains.
It can be both time-consuming and expensive. However, if you have the time and energy to go through the process, then here is how you do it:
When you cross the autoflower and photo-sensitive strain in the first breeding cycle, it results in 100% plant yield with both the dominant strains of recessive trait and photo-sensitive trait. It means the first generation will be unstable offsprings giving you all the photo-sensitive plants that can’t flower automatically.
Once you get the first offspring and crossed the best female and male plants in the second breeding cycle, you will get a more diverse genetic makeup. 50% of the plants will have first generation plants, 25% will be photo-sensitive, and 25% will be autoflowering plants.
In this cycle, you have to take the best female and male plants from 25% of autoflowering plants and cross breed them. This generation of plants will give offsprings that will be completely autoflowering plants.
Autoflower Plant Yield
How much an autoflower plant yields depends on the classification and the size of the plant. Standard plants yield anywhere between 10 to 50 grams per plant, whereas the super autoflower plants can produce between 100 and 200 grams per plant.
The massive amount of yield from the autoflower plant is a double-edged sword. For normal-level autoflower and manageable yield, grow in a small space, and for super autos, reserve bigger spaces.
Do Autoflowers Require Nutrients?
Just like any other plant, autoflowers do need nutrients but doing so is a delicate task. Overfertilizing the plants can have adverse effects, and so does feeding the wrong type of nutrients.
Choose fertilizers that are formulated for autoflowering plants and then use microdoses rather than pouring the entire bottle.
Fertilize the soil lightly for quality autoflowering seeds. Also, nourish the plants with supplements like enzymes, Vitamin B, and fungi.
How To Grow Autoflowering Plants Seeds?
Now that the basics of autoflowering seeds have been discussed, let’s explore the growing process’s steps. The growth cycle is usually 10 weeks.
Germination – Week 1
Germination happens within three days and, in some cases, 24 hours. Choose a light soil mix or make your own by mixing compost, peat moss, moistened vermiculture, moistened perlite, and nitrogen-rich tablets as well as a good dose of fungi. The perfect environment for the seeds is 70 to 90% humidity and 70 to 85F degrees.
Put the soil into pots and poke 15mm holes in the soil. Place the seeds in holes and cover them with the soil. In the next several days, you will see the seedlings emerging in your pot.
Photosynthesis -Week 2
At the late-stage of your seedlings, add nutrients. Since you are growing autoflowers, use half the dose of nutrients indicated at the package’s back.
Vegetation – Week 3
Change up the environment for the vegetation stage to happen. Lower the humidity levels to 50% and temperature to 68% and start feeding the plant twice a week. During this stage, the plants should be six inches tall.
Late Vegetation – Week 4
In this stage, drop the humidity even lower, to 45%, and the temperature should be stable at 68%. Water half a liter everyday and feed it two times a week. By this stage, you will witness a few tiny flowers cropping up.
Flowering – Week 5
Sticky buds will start appearing in this stage and give you a preview of what’s to come. Increase the temperature to 71% while keeping the humidity stable at 45%. Start watering one liter and give the plants supplement twice a week. Use supplement tablets consisting of potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. The plants should be 1 foot tall by now.
Late Flowering – Week 6
Flowers will begin forming in each bud after two weeks of being in the flowering stage. Lower the humidity levels to 40% and the temperature to 68%. Increase the water to 1 and a half liter and start feeding the plants three times per week. After this week, your plants will enter the maturity stage.
Maintenance – Week 7
At this stage, you must be extra vigilant of harmful pests such as spider mites and mold to affect your plants. Monitor them frequently. Keep the humidity levels stable at 40% and maintain a strict schedule for feeding and watering. Your hard work will pay off soon.
Defoliation – Week 8 and 9
At this stage, you must stop feeding the plants. Flush with a lot of water and defoliate with shears. Defoliation will help the plant absorb a lot more light, while lowering the risk of getting damaged by mold. After two weeks of the defoliation process, the harvest time will start.
Harvest- Week 10
Once you see red-brown pistils and white trichomes on the buds, that means its time to harvest. Dry and cure them after harvesting the buds.
Benefits of Autoflowering Plants
Autoflowering plants have been gaining popularity amongst the growing community because of how easy it is to grow. The very first strain was known as Lowryder and was introduced by The Joint Doctor, a Canadian company in the 2000s.
At first, the plant was met with a lot of skepticism, but more and more people preferred it over regular plants. Due to the high demand, more potent and stable plants started getting developed.
Today, autoflowering plants have become invaluable to growers with a small space. There are many benefits of the autoflowering plants, and these include:
Quick Harvest One of the most coveted traits of autoflowering plants is the time it takes to harvest. When the Ruderalis strain is mixed with Sativa, the plant can be ready for harvest within eight and ten weeks after the germination stage. Sativa, on its own, takes six months to harvest.
Autoflowering plants show incredible speed when it comes to growth. They transition from the germination stage to the flowering one only in two weeks. These traits are highly desired by the growers who need to yield a lot of harvest in a limited amount of time.
Many growers choose larger space for growing plants because they can grow up to fifteen feet tall. These large-sized plants require a lot of water, nutrients, pruning, and attention during every growth stage.
However, the result is a highly potent and massive amount of buds. This type of plant is great for people who have bigger spaces and are willing to spend immense time and energy, but it’s not a good option for those with smaller growth areas.
When autoflowering plant seeds are mixed with regular plant seeds, the size becomes much smaller. They are ideal for smaller spaces.
Growing autoflowering plants will require smaller pots, less nutrients, water, light, and more. However, they won’t result in a massive yield of buds, unlike their photoperiodic counterparts.
There are many benefits of autoflowering plants, and one of them is, as mentioned earlier, the short growing season. Besides that, another benefit is multiple harvests. This benefit is perhaps the most talked about when it comes to autoflowering plants because you keep reaping the benefits.
You can marvel in the joy of getting multiple harvests even if the plants are grown outdoors. Multiple harvests allow for maximizing the yield you get each year. You can grow new plants back to back, which allows them to yields 50 grams per plant every 50 to 70 days.
Unaffected By Change in Temperature
Other plants are easily affected by temperature changes, but an autoflowering plant is robust and hardy. It can withstand different temperatures, and that’s why an ideal indoor plant is.
The resilience of this plant is what attracts growers all across the globe. They can even grow outdoors in places that have short warmer days and long colder nights.
Tips for Growing Autoflowering Plants
Growers who have experience with the regular cannabis plants are often dumb-founded by different growing strategies of an autoflowering plant.
Although many of the elements are similar such as nutrients required at each growth stage, there is still a huge difference between growing regular plants and autoflowering plants.
Without extensive research, you are bound to fail. Here are some crucial tips to help make your growing experience go smoothly.
Opt for the Best Strain
Genetics plays an important role in growing autoflowering plants. It doesn’t matter if you are a veteran grower if the plant’s genes are low quality, you will not get the desired result. You should first determine what you want from the plant and then grow it accordingly.
Keep in mind the characteristics of the plant. Some plants are easier to grow and can deal with inaccurate amounts of nutrients. They will still yield high-quality buds, whereas some plants might require vigilance.
There are some drawbacks of autoflowering plants. Despite blessing us with a myriad of benefits, some things are unforgiven by autoflowering plants, such as repotting the plant.
These plants don’t take well with that. Since they don’t have enough time to recover from broken limbs and damaged roots, repotting them can be very risky.
Autoflowering plants don’t require large-sized pots because they don’t need so much space to grow. Therefore, purchase smaller pots, plant the seeds in them, and then allow them to grow.
Use another small pot for your next batch. Use Air-pots for your plants. They have a breathability feature and are used by many growers.
When growing autoflowering plants, it is crucial to take care of the soil being used. Autoflower plants prefer airy and light soils that have plenty of access to air and easily penetrable roots.
This type of plant requires a lesser amount of nutrients than regular cannabis plants since the ratio of nutrients in the regular plants is not ideal for the late stage of autoflowering ones.
If average potting soil is used with autoflawering plants, it won’t have enough time to release all the nutrients due to the short growth time, and that will eventually harm the flowers at later growth stages.
Due to quick and multiple harvests, autoflowering plants do not get a lot of time to develop a robust and extensive root system. If the plants don’t have a sturdy root system, they will not produce good quality potent buds.
Therefore, it is recommended you use a root stimulant to establish healthy roots in the early stages. Doing so will maximize your plant’s yield.
Autoflowering plants are great and will produce as many seeds as the regular cannabis plant.
However, it won’t do well without your help. Growers who plan on breeding autoflowering plants will require both female and male plants for the pollination process. If done properly with the above steps and tips, the plant will produce hundreds and thousands of seeds provided the growing conditions are good.
However, the seeds have a merely 50% chance of being female. If you want to get quality seeds, you should focus on getting high-quality plants, so you don’t have to weed out any male plants. Source your seeds and plants from a reputable seed bank.
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I am Elsa, love gardening. I spent lots of time with plants, flowers, it gives me lots of happiness.
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