The Cannabis plant is dioecious, that means that it has different genres with different characteristics. Male and female to be exact and to simplify, since both sexes can also be displayed at the same time. Most growers focus their work on females, and that makes male Cannabis plant the great unknown and discriminated against in this world. But without a doubt, males are fundamental to the future of Cannabis. Keep reading if you want to know more.
Differentiate the female cannabis plant from the male cannabis plant
Male Cannabis plant flower showing bells grouped in branched clusters with flowers that hang downwards and when they open they give off pollen. While the female plant show calyxes from which two hairs come out, called pistils, which when grouped together form the buds.
In general, upon reaching two months from germination, the plant reaches its state of sexual maturation. Which means that in some of its between knots you can already distinguish sex early. It will not be until the flowering phase, when the night photoperiod lengthens, that they express their full sexual potential. One detail to note is that many males can be difficult to retain without producing viable pollen. Much like an induction of flowering automatically. A good tip would be to separate the males from the females once you have them differentiated, this will avoid possible unwanted pollinations. This also makes keeping males over time more difficult than a female Cannabis plant.
Select a male cannabis plant
Selecting a good male for breeding is as difficult or as difficult as selecting a good female. In fact, both are important at the same level, the quality of the male can make the hybrid over-protruding or totally nefarious. The first and best advice is to study the line. Observation is key, that will give us experience and understanding of what we are doing at all times. We will start from a large number of seeds to make the selection, this number can also vary, but in more domesticated lines 100 seeds may be sufficient, while in wilder lines it may not be. So the quality of our seeds will be a very important factor. Getting seeds from a reliable and quality source will be essential to start a breeding project. Take a look at our latest blog about our 100 Cannabis regular seed packs, now at a single price.
Selecting a quality male does not have to be difficult, you have to look for the same qualities that you would look for in a good female. Thus there will be very important aspects; such as high vigor, good growth rate with robust structure, good root production, odor, and of course flowering capacity. An important fact is finding males that release a large amount of pollen, something essential to achieve good pollination, but it is also talking about the quality of flowering of this male. It is key to know what you are looking for, plan and anticipate. Something highly recommended is trying to keep an accurate record of the positive and negative traits of the individuals, in order to obtain a good trait base of the parents of the project.
Breeding with males
If the only thing you are looking for is to maintain a female plant over time, your best option will be cloning and keeping a mother plant. But for many other reasons you may want to reproduce this female plant and obtain seeds from it. For that purpose, males are fundamental. And since the male will contribute 50% of the genes to the offspring, the quality of this male will be essential. Obviously you can also allow random males to pollinate the female, and nature will take its course with the natural selection process. But if you are here reading this, it is because you are really looking to make your own reproductive selection.
For a female plant to reproduce, it will need the male’s pollen. Otherwise, it would die without getting seed and without offspring. In nature, pollen travels with air, reaching directly to female plants. And these fill their flowers with seeds, which when they fall to the ground, will germinate giving rise to the new generation. Obviously we are not interested in this, we are interested in keeping the entire process under control. So with that goal, the ideal would be to separate the males from the females, collect viable pollen and finally selectively pollinate the females.
Collection and storage of pollen
Indoor or greenhouse pollen collection is one of the most widely used techniques in the professional breeding sector. Once the male begins flowering, it is mandatory to turn off all ventilation, extraction or intraction. In this way, by controlling the temperature and cultivation parameters, we can place trays, pieces of paper or bags under the branches that produce the pollen and thus collect it. You can also sift flowers to separate pollen from any plant debris. This also allows you to store it longer, in an airtight tube to which we recommend introducing an absorbent silica ball. And put this tube in a fridge or freezer. We do not recommend using it for more than a year, since its quality is decreasing.
Get to know the males of your project
Do you want your seeds to make a difference? Get to know the males of your project in depth. If you are trying to preserve a line or if you are trying to make a new hybrid, only the experience and knowledge of the line can help us guess what traits a male will transmit until the offspring are observed. So the ideal is not to trust a single male for the breeding project. By selecting several males with good qualities, open pollination is performed ensuring that the best of the line is transmitted, rather than blindly relying on a single selection with their genes and traits. Still, more advanced breeding techniques allow limiting the traits and genes that the offspring will show.
The importance of males in the future of Cannabis
Genetic diversity is essential in nature. The more variety you have to choose from, the better traits will be transmitted. It is a game of adaptation to external factors. This is very important in terms of resistance to pathogens, adaptation to adverse weather conditions or different grow media. But it also affects genetic improvement, this gives us higher productions or even different profiles of cannabinoids and terpenes.
If we discard male cannabis plant to produce offspring, we would be playing with the future survival of the plant. Only using females, either by cloning or by reversing the sex of the females, we would be forcing inbreeding, weakening the offspring and forcing the extinction of some strains. That is why pollination becomes necessary to obtain strong and healthy offspring that can continue to improve the Cannabis plant.
At Tropical Seeds Co we have always maintained the importance of male in the cannabis plant and the preservation of ancient strains and hybrids. Thank you very much for reading this far and for all your support for the project since its inception. Help us spread the importance of males in breeding projects and if you have any questions about our Cannabis seeds, please contact via firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our online store www.tropicalseedscompany.com/shop