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.
How to collect pollen
I searched the archives and can’t find anything on how to collect/store male cannabis pollen. If anyone has advice or a link, it will be much appreciated. I have two White Widow males and I’m going to milk them, then toss ’em. In fact, if there are any patients in the San Diego area who want them, they’re yours. I’m in Pacific Beach. but they’re gone by sunset.
Any help will be appreciated. Thanks.
I searched the archives and can’t find anything on how to collect/store male cannabis pollen.
Really? There is a sticky called Seed Tutorial at the top of this forum.
Come on people. it’s rude and shows your laziness when you keep posting the same old tired questions. If you don’t get a response, you know why.
If anyone has advice or a link, it will be much appreciated. I have two White Widow males and I’m going to milk them, then toss ’em. In fact, if there are any patients in the San Diego area who want them, they’re yours. I’m in Pacific Beach. but they’re gone by sunset.
Any help will be appreciated. Thanks.
Having said that here’s my drill written many years ago (also posted in the tutorial). I have successfully stored pollen that remained viable for a long time. In fact, I mailed a guy some C99 pollen to knock up some Vietnamese Dalat ladies he had. The secret is it to keep it dry, cold, and clean.
You have several choices for collecting and using pollen. Males will show as a football-like “ball” on a small, short petiole (stem) at the nodes. Once the pollen pods form, they will elongate via a stem, droop, and the flower bracts will open. After about one week after pollen pods first start to form, or upon complete opening of the male flower bracts, the males’ anthers will shed pollen which will appear as a pale, yellow dust.
Males do not take much light to survive once they reach flowering stage. Leave your male plant(s) in the grow room until the first male pollen bracts just begin to crack, and then move ’em into another room with a typical 12/12 schedule, this can be simulated with light thru a window, a flor fixture. no big deal.
You have a choice of placing this plant in a very quiet room with NO air movement, set on CLEAN paper, or, you can cut the branches off, making a clean slanted cut with a razor blade, and place the branches in a vase of water over paper. Collect the pollen once it begins shedding by placing a glazed ceramic plate or paper plate under the flowers and GENTLY tapping the individual branches. Pick out any flowers which tend to drop once in a while.
Don’t go visit the ladies until you have taken a bath as the pollen is very clinging. Ya know how da ladies are about cleaniness and clinging males
Collect the pollen over time and place it into a clean vial like a film canister. I really like using a paper plate held under a group of flowers, and then gently thumping the stem. After collecting the pollen, the paper plate can be creased, held over a vial, and the sides and edges thumped until all the pollen is vibrated into the vial. For a pollen carrier, heat about 2 or 3 teaspoons of flour in an oven to 180F for about 20 mins or in a small pot set on low heat, let it cool *thoroughly*, and mix with the pollen to dilute it. I use a ratio of about 1/4 tsp pollen to 3 tsp flour and have very successful pollination rates. Store in small containers like contact lens cases excluding as much air as possible and store in the fridge for long term storage. Remember, it only takes one male to fertilize one female ovule, and there are millions of pollen cells in a 1/4 tsp of pollen so be sure and dilute it.
Take out only enough of the pollen mixture (1/4 tsp.) to use for one session and use your finger, or a small artist brush (my preferred method) to pollinate a few of the lower branches which have fresh, white pistils. Do not contaminate the main pollen source with a resinous, sticky artist’s brush! Clean the brush’s bristles with Isopropyl alcohol after each session and let the bristles dry thoroughly before using it again. I hit the chosen receptor branches 3 times on a weekly basis to insure a good supply of seeds. *Label* the pollinated branches, and harvest your seeds in 3 to 6 weeks. I just cure the seeded branches with the rest of the crop, and tear apart the seeded buds with my fingers. You’ll find the seeds close to the stem. Store the seeds in the fridge or freezer, labeled of course, with a little dessicant like heat treated rice for long term storage.
Hi, I searched the archives and can't find anything on how to collect/store male cannabis pollen. If anyone has advice or a link, it will be much…