Breed your own cannabis strains!?
Inspired by our last article, you have decided that you want to try something new. Cannabis breeding has caught your attention, yet there is a lot of ground to cover and you might need a bit of help. Always on hand and always helpful, Amsterdam Seed Center is here to guide you through the basics of cannabis breeding. If you're already well on your way to being a master of cannabis genetics, then humour us for a few minutes while we answer a few questions about breeding cannabis.
What is cannabis breeding?
Like with other plants, cannabis can be crossed with other cannabis plants to gain desirable traits. Cannabis breeding is a process undertaken by - you guessed it - a cannabis breeder. Although, it does take place naturally in the wild.
What is a cannabis breeder?
A cannabis breeder either grows professionally or is a very serious grower, growing to improve, diversify or preserve cannabis genetics. A cannabis breeder could be working toward introducing new strains to bring to the market or focused on building and maintaining a personal library of cannabis genetics.
What does a cannabis breeder look for in a plant?
Cannabis breeders might have different aims but they will all agree that not all plants are created equal and that there is a lot to account for when you're about to start breeding cannabis. Here are a few things you want to look for when selecting the right plants.
You don't want to see your plant flopping around like an inflatable outside toyshop, you want it to look strong and be able to withstand the hustle and bustle of your growing environment.
It is not always possible to control the environment that a plant is growing in, so the plants need to adapt to thrive. If the plant you are looking at struggles to adapt to changes in its environment such as the temperature, it is not one you want to be used to breed cannabis.
Let's not forget that a lot of cannabis breeding happens outdoors and, before human interference with, cannabis genetics has been taking place naturally for thousands of years. Making the hardiness of cannabis plants an important feature to protect against bad weather as well as pest and disease.
4. Flower traits:
What is a plant without a flower? After all, are we not trying to breed beautiful flowers? Some breeders will pay attention to certain flower traits and the calyx-to-leaf-ratio to help them select the right plants for breeding.
What do I need to breed cannabis?
To stand the best chance of breeding cannabis genetics that you are proud of, you need plenty of patience. To give you an idea of how long the process of breeding cannabis takes, here is an insight into two of the things you will need to do when you are breeding cannabis.
The selection process will involve you germinating a higher number of seeds than you will eventually grow out. Germinate 16 to find 8, and select 2 of those 8 to grow out, twice. Then you select the mother from one of those two. There are other ways of selecting but this is an easy way to get started.
Unless you're 'selfing',you will want to control pollination. It is a common practice throughout agriculture and involves isolating the flowers you don't want to pollinate and protecting them from the process, thus avoiding any unwanted cross-pollination.
Why do people breed cannabis plants?
The short answer is that there are lots of reasons to breed cannabis plants. Each cannabis breeder might have a different reason. It could be improving or stabilising certain genetic lines, preservation of another strain or an attempt to replicate an old strain. You might also have heard the expression 'different strains for different pains', meaning different cannabis plants can be used to treat different illnesses.
Whatever their reasons for breeding cannabis, cannabis benders, big or small, tend to be dedicated and passionate individuals. All working with cannabis genetics to provide medicinal and recreational rest bite to millions of people around the world. Have you got the patience and the passion to breed the next Super Lemon Haze or the next Zkittlez?