Some growers refer to the back-crossing process as “BC” or “BX” (B = back and X = cross).
The process of picking males for a breeding program is time-consuming and you’ll need to keep great notes about each offspring of a male plant in order to learn what silent traits the male plant is carrying for its female offspring.
How to Select Male & Female Plants for a Breeding Program
Yet we’ve got strains that people agree smell like pineapple, blueberry, strawberry, bubble gum, sandlewood and more. It’s definitely possible to breed cannabis strains that produce unique new smells that add to the whole cannabis experience.
It can several generations of trying different crosses and seeing the results before growers are able to produce plants that tend to smell like something new.
Are you ready to start searching for your own perfect F1 cannabis cross?
Note: Some growers will take a great female plant and cross it with itself via feminization to back-cross the single plant more effectively and quickly than by using its offspring. Some growers will also cross two different female plants, skipping the process of finding males altogether. Some growers are against using feminization as part of the selection process of a breeding program. These growers believe that by forcing female plants to make pollen sacs for feminization, you may be unintentionally selecting for hermies (plants that show both male and female plants). The jury is still out on what’s best, though many breeders have strong feelings either way. Most growers seem to agree that male plants are an important part of every long-term breeding program.
This is different however from breeding homozygous recessive plants. These can be identified after an additional round of sib-mating or open pollination. These plants can be segregated to form an F2 generation of plants. These plants are also bred with a recurrent parent following the same steps as before until you reach a BC3F2 plant. This can be grown out, sib-mated, and from there, another F2 population can be bred again. These can be bred as you wish, but now they contain 93.7% of genes from the recurrent parent.
A single ampule of pollen can be used to create seeds on select individual buds on a number of different females. Or, several types of pollen can be used to fertilise different buds on a single female. Remember to tag and label plants and branches clearly to keep track of family trees. With enough pollen to create 250 seeds in each ampule, a whole new catalogue of strains can be created in the home garden. Pollen is an exciting new way to customise a unique personal library of exotic and potent cannabis.
Holy Seeds Bank pollen offers the best cannabis seeds, giving professional and amateur breeders alike access to genetics of the highest quality. With only the best provenance assured, all offspring will inherit superior characteristics developed by knowledgeable breeders. Not having to grow and maintain males or create feminized pollen frees up time and space for more female plants.
THE BENEFITS OF BACKCROSSING FOR DOMINANT AND RECESSIVE TRAITS
Many hybrids rely on a ruderalis plant thrown into the mix. This is because they have the endurance to grow in the wild, while also flowering much quicker than the usual plant. So if you want an autoflowering variety of your favourite strain, it often works to breed it with a ruderalis specimen. On the other hand, finding proper, pure landrace seeds can be difficult, unless you have the money for a strain-hunting vacation. It is also worth bearing in mind that breeding together just any two cannabis plants will have variable results. These are termed “polyhybrids” and are unlikely to produce a stable plant.
A method that is increasingly popular for its effectiveness is called “backcrossing”. It could be considered a form of incest, since it involves breeding a plant with one of its parent plants. Typically, a plant cloned from the cuttings of a first generation female is bred with a male donor. The resulting plant is then bred with another clone of the original female. The plant resulting from that may again be bred with a clone of the original female. This process is often repeated a few times before the female plant traits are dominant in your new hybrid. This can be a complicated and time-consuming process, but should be manageable for experienced growers with more space. Let’s look at backcrossing in more detail.
Pollen is easy to apply using a soft brush, Q-tip, or even the tip of your dry finger. Touch the pollen to the pistils of a chosen bud during weeks 4–5 of flowering; this is peak florescence, and fertilisation is guaranteed. The pistils quickly wither, the calyx seam closes, and a seed starts to form—which will be ready after a minimum of 45 days. The next great fluke could be just around the corner in any home garden—a mystical mutant that could go down in cannabis history like Skunk, NL, or GG.
This BC1 plant is then bred with the recurrent parent to form a BC2, which itself is bred with the recurrent parent once more to form BC3. This iteration of the plant should reinforce the dominant traits you sought.
Pollinated buds look quite different to regular sinsemilla. They usually don’t have as many rich trichomes and don’t form into large colas. Instead, they’re usually smaller and a lot more bulbous.
There are a few simple ways to collect the pollen from your male plants:
Pollen is used to fertilize female cannabis plants and create seeds. In the wild, cannabis pollen is transported from male plants to females via the wind. However, in a manmade grow op growers will collect the pollen from males manually and then apply it to the females when they’ve started developing flowers.
HOW TO USE CANNABIS POLLEN
Cannabis pollen is no different from regular pollen produced by other plants.
As we mentioned earlier, cannabis pollen is typically used by breeders and expert growers to create new strains or seeds. They do this by harvesting pollen from their male plants and then applying it to female plants that are about 2-3 weeks into their flowering cycle.
Alternatively, you can try pollinating your female plants using a more “natural alternative.” Simply place your male plant in the same room as a female and give it a few good shakes once or twice a day for 2-3 days. This will help release pollen into the air and onto the bud sites of the female.
When we talk about cannabis it’s easy to get caught up in the beautiful females that produce those cannabinoid-rich buds we all love and treasure. In fact, we have become so focused on the female cannabis plants that it’s almost considered a bad omen if a plant happens to turn out male.