Cannabis is intriguing in more ways than one. The plant is either a male or female. If you are looking to create seeds for harvesting strains, you will need both species to flower in your garden. Take away the males from the garden soon after and the female plants will sprout large, seedless, resinous buds called sensimilla. These are the buds that are ripe for consumption.
However, seeded buds are not considered high quality. Seeded buds have lesser flavour and a harsher, unpleasant taste when you smoke. But the seeds are required to introduce the next generation of plants to harvest more strains and continue the cycle.
It is essential to determine the gender of your cannabis plant to grow sensimilla. The other way to harvest a particular strain is through clones. But the danger lies in tainted clones. If left unattended, they can halt all growth. The crucial step is to look for clones from a reputable source. Look for them in an authorized dispensary, nursery or get them from in-house cultivars.
If you are purchasing seeds from a third party, find out the source. Only legitimate seeds will yield high quality results or they will fall prey to disease, pests, or chemical residues in pesticides. Incorrectly labelled strains may not get you what you want. Clean your clones gently before transplanting them to eliminate the chance of diseases.
The gender of your cannabis plant is important to develop new strains and seeds. Identifying the gender is not difficult if you know how to. Female cannabis “pre-flowers” as they are called, grow fine hairy stigma whereas male ones produce tiny, round balls at the nodes. Many say that they resemble miniature bananas.
The pollen is released when these banana-like pods split open, getting caught in the fine hair in female plants. Pre-flowers sprout four to six weeks after growth. That is the time you can identify the gender of the plant. The trick is to dispose the males plants before they release pollen into the females so the buds bloom bigger and more healthier.
It might be a bit challenging to spot the gender of pre-flowers with the naked eye but a magnifying glass may help. If spot males, isolate them from the female plants as early as possible so you can create more space to grow bigger, healthier females and stop the males from pollinating them. Feminized seeds grow faster and need less materials for healthy growth.
Hermaphrodite cannabis plants contain both male and female organs. Feminized cannabis seeds are often produced by introducing a hermaphrodite to several female plants and have them generate male organs so you don’t take up too much time to identify the males and isolate them from the female plants.
Outdoor cultivation is usually responsible for hermaphrodite cannabis plants where the environment, weather and temperature cannot be controlled. Indoor cultivation under controlled conditions eliminates the risk of growing hermaphrodite plants. If you take too long to harvest, the plants may turn hermaphrodite by pollinating itself.
When the fine trichomes in the flowers turn amber in colour, you know it’s time to harvest. For a heady sativa strain, wait till they turn milky. Amber trichomes give a more sedating effect.
Cannabis grows best and yields the highest quality flowers when the environment is stable without excessive fluctuations. (Source: Leafly)