The Ultimate Guide To Cannabis Pollen
Pollinating your own cannabis plants allows you to create your own new strains or develop feminized lines of your favourites. You might create the next big thing! Here’s what pollen is all about.
Sources Of Pollen
Cannabis is dioecious, which simply means it produces both male and female plants. The male plants produce a pale yellow pollen, which fertilises female plants to create seeds for a new generation. Pollen production is essential for breeding, whether it be to continue a strain’s lineage or to create novel hybrids. Pollen can be obtained in two different ways; either from genetic males, which have XY chromosomes and produce regular seeds, or from females with XX chromosomes that have been manipulated to produce pollen, which is where feminized seeds come from.
In the wild, cannabis is wind-pollinated, which is why the pollen is extremely fine—enough to be carried by the air. In a controlled environment like a grow room, pollen for breeding is carefully collected from male plants, and females are hand-pollinated. Letting a male have its way with a whole crop of females will produce a lot of seeds, but buds will have no recreational or medicinal value. This is desirable in commercial hemp industry as hemp seed is an invaluable product, but it’s anathema to the marijuana producer.
Males Need Their Own Space
When breeding cannabis, males need to be kept separate from females at all times. This will at very least involve a separate grow space indoors, although keeping males in a greenhouse outdoors is highly recommended. Once true males are identified, or created as with feminization, they need to be cared for just as much as females to ensure production of healthy plants. Male flowers develop in loose clusters and begin as pods that mature and swell over time. When they are ready, they literally burst open to release the pollen from internal structures called anthers.
Big Things From Small Plants
Depending on how much pollen is needed, male plants really only need to be kept small. Each single male flower produces copious amounts of pollen, with only a few flowers providing enough pollen for any domestic breeding operation. To save space, once a breeding male is identified in the grow room, clone it; once the clone is well rooted, set it straight to a 12-12 light cycle. The same rule applies to cloned females for feminization. These small plants will produce more than enough pollen for any domestic use.
Watch plants closely as the male flowers develop. When pods have swollen fit to burst, turn the air circulating fans off. Pollen will easily be blown around the grow environment and lost, or desired genetics might get mixed up when making a number of strains for breeding. In a still environment, pollen will simply drop away from the opened flower onto the leaves where it can be dusted off and collected. Even after the pod has opened, enough useful pollen will still be attached to the anthers. Gently remove the pod and tap onto a piece of clean paper—you will see a little pile of pollen.
Upon gaining a bit of experience making males, it is possible to squeeze the unopened flower just before it’s ready to open itself and extract all the pollen. This requires experienced timing as pollen needs to mature properly to be viable. Forcefully opening a flower too early will only lead to frustration as the pollen will not be potent enough to fertilise a female.
If possible, use pollen the moment it is collected. It will be at its most potent and fertilisation is guaranteed.
How To Use Your Pollen
Using pollen is easy. Simply use a soft brush, Q-tip, or the tip of a clean, dry finger to dab onto female pistils. Females that are at least 21 days into flowering are ripe for fertilisation; pistils are long and still white, and the calyx has developed properly. If fertilised too early when the calyx is not properly formed, seeds will not develop fully and will be small, white, and non-viable.
It is only necessary to fertilise a single bud on a female plant. However, it is also quite possible to fertilise several buds on the same plant with different strains of pollen, or to use a single breed of pollen on several different strains of females. Keep obsessive track of who’s who in your cannabis zoo.
After a minimum of 45 days, a fully formed seed will be seen splitting the calyx seam, and is thus ready for harvesting. Dry plants as normal, and after 7 days, put seeds in a dry, cool place to dry properly for 4–5 weeks, then plant as desired.
The Importance Of Storing Cannabis Pollen Correctly
Pollen is needed to fertilise female cannabis plants and produce offspring. Breeding cannabis, and creating a stable strain, is no easy task, but it is highly rewarding. If you have found the perfect male candidate but are still searching for a female counterpart, it is vital that, in the meantime, you store your pollen correctly. Doing so will ensure that when you do find a female cannabis plant with the right flavour, aroma, and bud density, you can begin crafting your masterpiece on the right foot.
Storing pollen is relatively straightforward as it can remain stable for several months (even years)—provided the right steps are taken. Before we cover off some ideal containers for storing pollen, it is essential to understand the impact of moisture. Allow moisture to take hold of your prized pollen, and you can kiss goodbye to the next cannabis cup winner (it doesn’t hurt to dream big).
Moisture Is Your Biggest Enemy
To guarantee moisture doesn’t wreck your pollen stash, the first step is to ensure it’s completely dry before transferring it to your chosen container. Place your pollen in a cool, dry area with low humidity and spread thinly on the surface of a table or worktop. Ideally, you want temperatures to remain between 20–22°C (68–72°F) during the drying process. If humidity creeps up while your pollen is drying (around 40–50% RH), put a desiccant or silica gel pouch in with your pollen to soak up any moisture from the air.
Once pollen has been prepared and placed inside a container, move it to the fridge. Keep your pollen in the refrigerator for 2–3 days (with a silica pouch) before storing in the freezer. This is to ensure that temperatures lower gradually and the drop doesn’t cause a buildup of moisture. As long as there isn’t any moisture lurking inside your container, some growers claim pollen can be stored, without damaging its integrity, for up to 6 years!
When you finally need your prized pollen, follow the same procedure as above, but in reverse. Again, this is to make sure that temperatures rise slowly. As a budget option, if you cannot get hold of silica gel packs, rice is a simple alternative. Before transferring the pollen to a container, fill said container with a small layer of rice. The rice grains will work in a similar way to silica, pulling moisture from the surrounding air.
Choosing The Right Container
With the proper techniques outlined, all we need to do now is pick a suitable container. Thankfully, Zamensia has you covered with options to suit every budget.
• Holy Seeds Bank Pollen
Holy Seeds Bank offers an exclusive range of expertly harvested pollen. Not only do you have the advantage of stable genetics, but the entire Holy Seeds range ships in special protective packaging. The pollen can be stored using the steps listed above, without needing to transfer it to another suitable container. The packaging supplied by Holy Seeds Bank is also reusable, should you decide to try crossing several different mother plants—just make sure everything is labelled so there is no cross-contamination.
• Stashbox Tightvac Mini
Small, discreet, and airtight, the Stastbox Tightvac Mini set is another perfect choice for storing pollen. Easily affix labels to the outside so you can keep track of your breeding exploits, or use the coloured lids as a means of identification. Either way, these containers are large enough to accommodate pollen, but small enough that they won’t take up valuable space in your freezer.
• Weed Curing Jar
Available in a range of sizes, the glass mason jars available from Zamnesia are the cost-effective choice for storing pollen. For only a few euros, you get extra-thick glass construction and a rubber seal with a galvanised bracket to keep things 100% airtight. Not only are our Weed Curing Jars perfect for storing pollen, but once you’ve harvested your chosen mother, you can use the jars for curing your newly created super buds!
Pollen For Your Pleasure
Pollen is the ideal way to produce your own seeds at home. Whether you are feminizing a favourite strain to ensure female plants every grow, or creating entirely new hybrids, by combining the characteristics of your favourite plants, it is quite possible to create the next big thing in cannabis breeding. Just look at strains like Gorilla Glue, Cheese, GSC, and Critical, each of which changed the course of cannabis history forever with their groundbreaking genetics.
Creating and using your own cannabis pollen allows home-growers to become home-breeders! Find out more with our informative guide.
Cannabis Pollen: How To Collect From Male Plants
Are you curious about cannabis pollen? Female Cannabis plants are the gems and treasures that yield the buds that Cannabis growers and enthusiasts love. With this, some people get disappointed when they find out that they have been cultivating and growing a male plant. But, what we do not realize is that male plants are just as important as female plants, especially when it comes to sustainability in growing and producing cannabis pollen. Both varieties participate distinctly mainly in the pollination and reproduction process.
The male Cannabis plants are responsible for producing the pollen, just like all other male plant varieties, which is the key that allows germination with female plants to occur, and subsequently, produce Cannabis seeds. These Cannabis seeds are of great importance especially to experts and Cannabis breeders as they allow them to mix and cross the genetics of several varieties and strains of plants and produce new breeds or strains that possess the characteristics they desire to produce and distribute.
This fact is not only exclusive for breeders. Still, it can also be beneficial for people who have a particular taste in their Cannabis and wish to make a strain of their own, especially that the procedure to do this is laid.
Cannabis Pollen Defined
Pollen appears as a fine powder that is golden yellow produced by the male varieties of plants. This is true for all types of plants with male and female counterparts, including that of Cannabis.
Pollen is the particular component incorporated with the female buds for germination, or the production of seeds, to occur. Necessarily, germination will never happen without the other component so seeds will never be produced if one of the female and male variety is not present.
In a natural environment, pollen is transported from the male flowering plant to the female flowering plant through the blowing of the wind or insects. While in human-made environments such as grow-op facilities, pollens are manually collected from the male plants and applied to the female plants when they are starting to grow flowers.
Also, expert breeders manually collect pollen from male plants if they wish to produce a new breed or if they require Cannabis seeds. Pollens are just easy to collect and can even be stored for over a year.
Ways of Collecting Cannabis Pollen from Male Plants
Collecting pollen only requires a few steps, and many people find it very simple. You will know when a male plant already has sufficient pollen when you see golden yellow powder, the pollen grains, around its leaves or you can observe that its pollen sack is already filled.
Some few simple steps in collecting pollen are as follows:
- One of the simplest methods in harvesting pollen from a male Cannabis is by gently removing the pollen sac that appears to be full already. Have this pollen sac dried for about a week and store it in a resealable bag, for example, a zip lock bag, once it is completely dried. Afterward, shake the bag, and the sacs should split and crack and release the pollen on its own. It will be released to the bag, and then you can gently remove the remaining pieces of sacs and store the pollen grains in the resealable container.
- Another common way of collecting pollen grains that will not consume time for drying is by simply agitating the pollen sacs and putting the pollen grains in a bag, or a container, a resealable bag like a ziplock bag will do. The sacs should be bent and slightly inserted into the bag or the box, and then gently tapped to transfer the pollen from the sac to the container. Keep in mind to remove the pollen sacs that might fall off into the storage bag while harvesting the pollen grains.
Pollen is very easy to transport, even when you do not notice. If this happens, germination takes place, and your schedule of harvest gets disrupted. Therefore, it is essential to remember that one should not go near a female plant after having been in close contact with male flowering plants. Besides, male plants and female plants should not be placed close to each other.
Best Methods in Storing Cannabis Pollen
As individuals decide to venture with storing Cannabis pollen, it is essential to know and to keep in mind that moisture is the number one enemy of pollen grains, once pollen gets exposed to humidity they lose all their functionality and essentially become useless. Thus, pollen should be away from all risks of moisture at all times.
The best way to be able to preserve pollen is by situating it inside a new resealable bag and putting it inside a fridge for several days. However, if you wish to store it for a more extended period, the resealable bag should be placed inside the freezer, this method permits storage for around a year.
Another method that will allow Cannabis pollen storage is by mixing it with plain flour with a 1:3 ratio, one part pollen, and three parts flour before putting it in a container. This method aids in the absorption of moisture and makes pollination easier as it increases the volume of pollen collected, which can be utilized for the pollination.
Using silica gel packs, similar to the ones seen in medicine bottles and other storage containers, together with cannabis pollen, is also another effective way of keeping pollen free from moisture.
Lastly, double or triple bagging is also another effective method in preserving the functionality of pollen. This involves putting the bag containing pollen inside another bag and if you wish to do so, putting this bag inside another bag as well.
Recommended Procedure in Utilizing Cannabis Pollen
The cannabis pollen collected from the male plant becomes functional once it participates in germination, which occurs in the female plant. Therefore, to put the pollen grains into use, they have to reach the female plant.
Female Cannabis plants, when they are fit for pollination, will have their developing buds possess wispy white hairs which are naturally used to gather pollen from the male plants driven by the wind when in a wild environment. This phenomenon usually occurs within two to three weeks into the flowering stage of the female plant. This is also when expert growers and professional breeders generally prefer and recommend to apply the pollen from the male plant to the female plant.
The harvested pollen grains are applied onto the bud sites of the female plant using a brush. Bud sites are usually located in the region where the stem and the leaves of the plant meet. It is also a must to ensure that parts such as the pistil and the hairs in the female plant are well pollinated; they should be directly touched if needed.
Only the bud sites that we’re able to be in contact with pollen grains will allow germination to take place and produce Cannabis seeds. For this reason, one can opt to put pollen in other parts of the female plant as well or in the entirety of the female plant to be entirely sure.
Alternatively, more natural methods of pollination can also be done. This method is also very simple which only includes placing the female plant and the male plant in a similar room or within a very close distance with each other and shaking the male plant once or twice every day for two to three days. This will allow the male plant to release some of its pollen grains thus allowing the wind to naturally drive the pollen to the parts of the female plant.
Pollen grains are very easy to transport from one place to another; therefore, it will also be easy to reach the female plant. Because of this same reason, the male plants should be placed away from the female plant during periods when you do not wish for pollination to happen.
Detailed Procedure in Collecting Cannabis Pollen
Four weeks after pollination, one can already check the female Cannabis plant and look for Cannabis seeds that might be available for harvest. Seeds develop in the flowers of the female plant and can be observed in and around a pollinated bud. Pollinated buds do not look very similar to regular sinsemilla. Instead, they do not form large colas and have fewer trichomes. Mature seeds that are ready for harvest; on the other hand, usually look brown or tan and possess an incredibly hard shell that sometimes has light striping. You can check for the maturity of the seeds by trying to pick one from your pollinated bud and examining if it fits the description of mature seed.
If your Cannabis seeds do not look mature, do not harvest them yet and allow it to develop for a little longer as it is normal for seeds to mature up to six weeks. Also, it is normal for some Cannabis plants to develop mature seeds very late in their flowering cycle. During these kinds of situations, it is essential to keep your female Cannabis plants healthy and provide them with enough light and nutrients to ensure the proper development of the Cannabis seeds, as well.
Once you believe that the Cannabis seeds look mature and are available for harvest, you can start collecting the pollinated buds and digging deep to be able to collect all of the mature seeds. These seeds are all ready to use and can be germinated to start the process of growing new plants or developing new strains. They can also be stored in a cool, dry place for several years before being used.
Sustainability is essential nowadays, and it is the time to level up your Cannabis journey by starting to collect cannabis pollen from male cannabis plants.