There are a number of solutions that can be sprayed on female plants to create male pollen sacs: benzothiadiazole, gibberellic acid, silver thiosulphate, silver nitrate, and colloidal silver.
Treat feminized seeds as you would any other seed from germination to veg, and veg through flower. Observation is where it’s at now, you want the best plants for your garden. Ideally, setting up a separate vegetation/flower space where a number of plants can be grown lets your standard grow space continue with uninterrupted production.
TECHNIQUE 1: COLLOIDAL SILVER
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Be sure the strength is at least 15ppm, preferably 30ppm. Less than 15ppm produces male sacs with little viable pollen.
- Cover the top of the pot with plastic or card to catch pollen as it falls, or modify a plastic drink cup to shroud the plant and catch falling pollen.
- Fix a clear plastic bag, perforated at the top for air exchange, around the whole plant.
- An experienced eye will remove each flower pod prior to it bursting completely open to be sure of catching every spore.
- Pollinating a female is the easy bit. Depending on how many seeds you want to make, there are a couple of methods that can be used.
- Using a watercolour or other fine, soft brush or even a cotton bud, dip into your pollen collection and gently apply to the chosen flower. Although thousands of viable spores will be on the end of the brush, enough to pollinate a whole plant, the trichomes on the surface of the pistils will greedily glue everything you offer them. So dip into your pollen stash a few times as you dust.
- For lots of seeds, put pollen in a bag and put over a whole branch or a whole plant, shake well, and leave for twenty four hours.
- It is possible to pollinate different branches with different pollens and have a breeder plant that has 1, 2, or 15 different crosses on it.
- It is also possible to self-pollinate the plant from which the male parts were created. This won’t produce as many seeds as pollinating a separate plant because less female flowers are produced and many are nonviable because of the feminization process.
The main stem, or stalk, of a cannabis plant grows straight up from the root system and supports all lateral branches. The stem gives a plant structure and stability.
However, cannabis is primarily cultivated for buds, not seeds, so the practice of growing sinsemilla, or “seedless” cannabis, is prevalent today: Females and males are grown separately, or males are even discarded, to prevent pollination. This allows female plants to focus their energies on bud production instead of seed production.
Also known as “buds,” the flowers of a cannabis plant are the fruits of your labor. They contain the cannabinoids and terpenes that get you high or offer health benefits. Flowers only grow on female cannabis plants and must be dried before consumption.
Males are important in the breeding process, but that is generally best left to expert breeders. When pollinating females, males provide half of the genetic makeup inherited by seeds.
Male cannabis plants grow pollen sacs instead of buds. Male plants are usually discarded because you don’t want them to pollinate the females, which will produce seeds—no one wants to smoke buds with seeds in it.
It is impossible to tell if seeds are female or male, and very difficult to tell if a young plant is male or female prior to the plant differentiating. Males do have some differing growth characteristics, but it is not always easy to recognize boys from girls in the vegetation phase.
High and stable humidity levels from germination right on through to vegetation increases female development. Similarly, consistent and stable watering routines maintain ideal moisture in the grow medium. Stable moisture exposure in the air and medium promotes females.
STABILITY IN THE ENVIRONMENT
In the rush to get buds in the jar sooner, it is always tempting to expose plants to 24hrs of light during the vegetation cycle. The plants may grow larger sooner, but this increases the risks of males developing.
Pubescent plants: Maintain humidity at 70% RH. Use a hygrometer religiously to ensure ideal moisture content of the growing medium. Maintaining correct humidity is made easier with a humidifier/dehumidifier unit always at work in the grow space. Continue to monitor the moisture content of the grow medium. Overwatering and overdrying are stress vectors that can encourage males.
Young plants: When plants are young, make sure they maintain a high humidity of at least 70–80% RH. This is easily done with a humidity dome during the infant stage. Make sure the growing medium does not dry out too much. There is a fine line between maintaining a healthy wet-dry cycle and overdrying. The stress of a too-dry medium will encourage male development.