How I make a cannabis seed and pollinate by hand

by Alex Robles

What’s happening my fellow cultivators, breeder and cannabis enthusiast of all stripe, I hope everyone is doing beautifully right now.  Awhile back I posted a rant about auto-flower seeds and I mentioned that every grower should learn how to make a seed.  Now I’m not a breeder by any means but I have made a seed before and today I want to tell you about how I make them.

One of the big rules we learned when we started growing cannabis was “death to all males” and that’s because males will pollinate the females.  Marijuana that’s been pollinated is less potent than marijuana that’s considered “virgin” or unpollinated because once the flower is pollinated it will use nutrients for seed production instead of resin production.  This doesn’t mean the flower isn’t smokable, because we’ve all gotten marijuana with seeds in it and it was decent, it just means it’ll be less strong.  The resin is what holds the medical and psychotropic characteristics, not the plant matter.  As a cultivator/grower of marijuana our goal is to keep the female producing resin on the flower/bud and making sure it stays “sinsimillia” or without seed.

Now if you’re at a point where you feel like you’re ready to make a seed on purpose, there are a few things I want to tell you.  Making a cannabis seed isn’t that complicated, or I should say making a regular cannabis seed isn’t complicated when all we have to do is pollinate the female flower.  Me personally, I try to keep it simple when I do this.  Every so often I’ll get a male sprout up from a batch of seeds and if I have the room and the time I’ll use that male to pollinate.


(male pollen sacs)

The Simple Way

Once the male starts to grow pollen sacs, he’s ready to be paired up with a flowering female.  I discovered that when I cut off the pollen sacs/flowers I could push back pollen production because the plant would have to take time regrow those pollen sacs.  In the wild male plant will start to bloom about 2 weeks before the female will, this way the pollen is available when the female starts to flower.  I’ll wait for the female to show signs of bud formation, that will usually start in week 2-3 of flowering, which will look like little white hairs.  At this point I’ll  find a quiet corner of the world and put the male and female close together and let nature do what it does.  If I’m doing this inside I’ll put a fan on them to help the pollen spread all over the female.  This will more than likely pollinate the whole plant, if you just want to pollinate some of the buds you’re going to harvest the pollen and pollinate by hand.  Seeds will usually mature in 4-6 weeks, depending on the strain.   I know the seeds are ready when seed husks split open, the seed are hard, look green dark in color and most times have dark stripes on it.

Growers Note: Since the pollen is a fine dust and cannabis is pollinated mostly by the wind, I keep my flowering male the hell away from my garden of flowering female plants.  If not I risk pollinating the whole garden.

Harvesting pollen and hand pollinating

Harvesting pollen and pollinating by hand is a little more involved and different precautions have to be taken.  The main thing we have to remember is that the pollen is a fine dust and will get everywhere on our clothes, our shoes and our skin.  If I’m touching my male flowering plants, I’ll wash my hands, arms and face, change my clothes and spray my hair with water before I go into a room of flowering females.  If I don’t do this, the loose pollen on me could pollinate the females.  Water will neutralize (destroy, kill) pollen and make it clump together. That’s why if I don’t want to take a shower, I’ll spray my head and neck using a spray bottle with water.


(male pollen sac after it burst open)

Once the pollen sacs have popped open I’ll be able to harvest pollen for about 8-10 days, 2 week sometimes if I’m lucky depending on the genetics.  Once again, I like to keep it simple when I collect the pollen.  I’ll get an envelope or paper plate and lightly tap (not to hard) the pollen sacs over it and I’m actually able to see the pollen cloud fall on to it.  Since I usually store my pollen until I need it weeks/months later, I’ll put what was collected in a small, clean, glass jar and keep it in a cool, dry, dark spot.  I’ll do this every day for next couple of weeks.

Growers Note:  I don’t store the pollen in the fridge because when the container is coming up to room temp, it will sweat on the inside and cake up the pollen, making it unusable.   I also won’t use plastic containers because they’re porous and pollen seems to degrade faster in these containers when stored for a long time in my experience.

When my females are ready to be pollinated I’ll isolate (separate) them, grab my jar of pollen, a small paint brush or cotton swab and brush the pollen onto the buds.  Only the bud sites that got pollen will make seeds, the other flowers should make sinsimilla buds.  If I can’t isolate them from other flowering female plants, I will spray the surrounding plants and surfaces with a spray bottle of water after I pollinate to destroy any loose pollen.  I’ve added some videos below about hand pollinating and male plants so don’t forget to check them out.  Well that’s it, that’s the way I  make a seed.  Let us know how it works out for you.

Don’t forget to check out the podcast “In My Grow Show” (Click here to link and listen)

“Grow, Learn, Teach”

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