Breeding Your Own Cannabis Strains: How To Do It Successfully
The breeding of cannabis strains has been part of the culture for many years and more and more growers are making use of the knowledge available to create their own strain. Breeding new and different cannabis strains is done for a variety of reasons and can prove to be a worthwhile and satisfying experience for a grower.
Why Breed Hybrid Strains?
Hybrid strains bring with them an array of advantages which make the experience of marijuana growing and use better all around. For users, hybrids carry a combination of desirable strains from different strains while getting rid of the negative effects that may come from the original strains. Refined genetics create better quality cannabis and better quality means the overall experience of a user is bettered.
There is a constant desire to improve the THC and CBD content of marijuana strains depending on whether the cannabis is being developed for recreational or medicinal purposes. The high the content of these cannabinoids, the more potent and effective the cannabis is in the purpose for which it has been developed. Bringing together strains that increase the production of these sought after cannabinoids is a strong factor as to why hybrid strains are created.
The combination of other cannabinoids and terpenoids is also key in influencing the breeding of hybrid cannabis strains. While these may not directly deliver the effects of marijuana, they influence how THC and CBD affect a user and therefore are of great importance.
For growers, hybrid strains are easier to grow and because they carry the good qualities from their original strains, they give a grower a top quality crop and you can get some of these from Sunwest Genetics. The combining of strains also changes and betters some of the factors that are crucial in marijuana plant growth such as flowering periods, yield size, bud size and resistance to mold, pests, and diseases.
The need to achieve a certain appearance, color, flavor, and aroma of the marijuana strain may also be another reason why hybrid strains are created. Although these factors may be considered not so important, they enhance the overall experience of a user and strains which are better in those regards are most likely to gain popularity in the marijuana community.
Hybrid cannabis seeds have been created for some or all the reasons above. Here is how one can go about creating their own cannabis hybrid strain and the things to look out for when doing so.
Steps In Creating Hybrid Cannabis Strains
- Choose Strains
The very first step is choosing the strains that will become the “parent” plants for one’s hybrid strain. This involves careful deliberation regarding the kind of strain ones wants to build and finding the parent strains that have the genetic potential to develop the kind of hybrid one wants. The qualities of the hybrid will come from the qualities of the parent plants and therefore, the right choice of strains to breed is of great importance in the creation of a hybrid strain.
- Identification and Separation
Among the chosen strains, female and male plants have to be identified and separated. One has to make sure that they correctly identify the sex of the plants in their possession as this may affect the breeding process if it’s not done properly. If pollination occurs without the control of the grower, there is no way of telling with plant pollinated which and therefore, there is no control over the breeding process.
When the pollen is ready, it should be collected from the male plants which have been chosen for the breeding process. To collect the pollen, a grower should open the pollen sacs and collect the pollen in ziplock bags. Pollen can be stored in a freezer for up to a month before it loses its viability but it is best that the pollen collected is used soon after collection and while it is still fresh.
As soon as female plants show the first signs of white pistils, they are ready to be pollinated. A grower should isolate the plants they want to pollinate so that they ensure the right plants receive the right pollen. To effectively deliver the pollen to the female buds, switch off any fans in the room and close any windows so that the pollen isn’t blown away.
Maintaining the right conditions for the growth of the pollinated plants is important just like it is when one is growing their plants regularly. The plants need to have good nutrition, water, and air circulation to encourage them to grow to their full potential and produce the optimum amount of seeds.
- Planting and Observation
Once the plants produce seeds, there is only one way to find out if the hybrid seeds have been developed successfully and that is through planting them and letting them grow. Once the plants are grown and harvested successfully, it can then be seen whether or not the breeding of a cannabis hybrid has been done to the desired effect.
Records may be the most important part of the breeding of a cannabis hybrid. Without records, there is no way of knowing which plants have contributed to the hybrid that would have come about. Records about seeds, offspring information, traits and other information about the process will help a grower reflect on the journey and they’ll know what to focus on to further develop their crop and its traits.
Phenotypes and Backcrossing
The process breeding your own cannabis strain does not end after the seeds have been grown and harvested. The breeder will have to identify the phenotypes which they like the best and which they want to refine going forward. Hybrid strains available in dispensaries are a result of repeated breeding processes and choosing the desired phenotypes at each stage.
Although the seeds may be a product of the same plant, they will have slight variations in the properties they possess and it is from these variations that a breeder will have to choose their desired traits. These minor variations in traits are what are referred to as phenotypes.
Backcrossing is the process of cross-pollinating a plant with its siblings or parent in a bid to strengthen certain qualities and traits whilst sidelining undesirable ones. By continuously breeding plants with similar genetic qualities which are wanted, the hybrid eventually created is homozygous and the good genes are passed down from one generation to the next.
The Bottom Line
Breeding your own cannabis strain takes some diligent observation of strains, traits and other desired qualities. The process to breed the required strain involves taking some separation and repeating the breeding of chosen phenotypes and their siblings or parents. This strengthens the desired genetic composition and ultimately, one can have great hybrid cannabis seeds.