How to Breed Your Own Weed Strain

by | May 22, 2023 | Cannabis E-commerce, Seed & Strain Creation

More than 700 cannabis cultivars have been cataloged over the years, with more added every growing season. Each cultivar, or strain, has unique effects, benefits, and characteristics that set it apart from the rest, and each one was carefully bred to express those unique traits. Here, we will discuss how new cannabis strains are created and how Symple Seeds can help you join the innovative horticultural wave. 

Why Experiment with Cannabis Genetics?

There are many reasons a cannabis grower might decide to breed their own strain or work with a strain creation service

1. To Target Strain-Specific Effects and Benefits

Breeding novel cannabis cultivars can be a way to strengthen specific traits, like flavors, aromas, or effects. 

Some cultivators seek to grow the best-tasting flower by combining strains with complementary terpenes and flavonoids. Others breed to try to create their perfect cannabinoid profile. Cannabis cultivators can even breed for traits that will improve their yield, creating plants resistant to disease, with short flowering times, or that are highly prolific. 

2. To Strengthen the Strain’s Genetics

Crossbreeding can also help to strengthen a strain’s genetic profile. Breeding one perfect cannabis plant usually isn’t enough to establish a robust new cultivar since many of the seeds from that first crossbred plant will exhibit different characteristics. 

To solidify a new strain and ensure that every seed or clone taken from it is as perfect as the first plant, growers must go through several rounds of crossbreeding and backcrossing

3. For the Love of the Plant

Finally, many cannabis cultivators try breeding their own strain simply because they love it. Putting in the work to grow, tend, and create a new cultivar can connect cannabis cultivators with their crops, allow them to exercise their creativity, and potentially make the next must-try strain simultaneously. 

How to Breed Your Own Cannabis Strain

It is notoriously easy to cross-pollinate cannabis plants, which can be both good and bad for cannabis crossbreeders. While allowing for an easy combination of strains, it also means keeping male and female plants separate to avoid accidental crossbreeding or fertilization. This can be difficult to do in small growing setups and even more challenging in outdoor cannabis gardens, so it’s often best to employ the help of professionals with dedicated breeding facilities

1. Decide What You’re Looking For

The first step in breeding a new cultivar is deciding your goal. What are your favorite existing strains? What do you like about them? Are you seeking a specific outcome, like a larger yield or a shorter flowering time? Or are you just having fun and trying to create a strain that tastes like your favorite dessert? A professional cultivator can help you clarify your purposes and develop a cultivar that will complement your brand’s current lineup. 

2. Choose Your Cultivars

Once you’ve narrowed down what kind of plant you want to create, you can look through a strain catalog and choose cultivars with traits you want to highlight. Try to select cultivars with effects, benefits, flavors, and other characteristics that will complement each other. Also, selecting strains to complement your growing setup — indoor vs. outdoor, growing zone, etc. — will make cultivation easier.

3. Grow Your Cannabis Plants

Once you’ve chosen your cultivars, it’s time to start growing. Since you will need both male and female plants, it’s best to grow these parent plants from seed. Symple Seeds is a reliable seed distributor with a massive catalog available for cannabis cultivators of every size, whether you own a cultivation company with hundreds of plants or grow a few in a back room. 

4. Separate the Male Cannabis Plants

When your plants have matured enough to be sexed, immediately separate the male plants. This will keep them from inadvertently pollinating female plants or, worse, causing your whole crop to go to seed in unplanned genetic combinations.  

If you find your breeding limited by your floorspace, contact Symple Seeds today so our cultivators can start crossbreeding for you in our state-of-the-art facility. 

5. Pollinate Your Cannabis Plants

Soon, the female plants will be ready for pollination. This can be done in several different ways. Whatever method you choose, pollination requires precision and can be messy and time-consuming. Many cannabis professionals prefer to have another company, like Symple Seeds, handle their breeding for this very reason. Here are three pollination methods:

  • Create a pollination chamber. This is a sealed room where you will place both the male and female plants. Agitating the male plant will cause it to release the pollen onto the female plant. This method is relatively straightforward but inexact and inconsistent.
  • Pollinate with bags. With this method, you place a bag over the end of a male stalk and allow the pollen to collect inside. Then, you transfer that same pollen-filled bag to the end of a female stalk and allow it to rest. This method is relatively neat and provides decent coverage.
  • Pollinate by hand. If you choose to pollinate by hand, you will still need to harvest pollen from your male plant using whatever method you prefer. Once you have gathered the pollen, you can apply it to individual parts of the female plant using a small brush or a gloved hand. This method is precise but labor-intensive.

6. Wait For New Cannabis Seeds to Form

Once the female plant has been pollinated, you must wait for it to fully mature and form seeds. 

Continue to care for your plant as it grows, providing the nutrients it needs to produce seeds. 

7. Harvest Your Cannabis

After the female plant is fully grown and the seeds are done developing, you can harvest your fertilized cannabis plant. 

Each grower uses a different method, so finding the one that works best for you can be difficult. Additionally, harvesting seeds without damaging them can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. If you don’t have the time or energy to handpick seeds on top of your other business responsibilities, contact Symple Seeds today — we can pollinate, harvest, sort, and ship your new seeds when perfect. 

8. Sort Your Cannabis Seeds

Once you’ve separated the seeds from the rest of the plant matter, you will need to go through and inspect the seeds, removing the ones that are damaged, underdeveloped, or otherwise unviable. 

This should leave you with a large cache of newly hybridized seeds ready to be grown. It can be challenging for novice growers to tell which seeds are viable and which should be tossed. If you don’t want to invest in specialized equipment or risk planting seeds that won’t sprout, Symple Seeds’ strain and seed creation services can do the hard work. 

9. Plant, Grow, and Repeat

You don’t get to try your new strain quite yet — you will need to plant the hybrid seeds, wait for them to grow, and harvest the flower before you know if your botanical experiment has been successful. 

Plant as many hybridized seeds as possible since many will exhibit different traits. Once you’ve found the plant with the balance of traits you sought, you can repeat the selective breeding process to create more seeds, fine-tune the plants, and strengthen their genetics. Working with a professional geneticist, like those on staff at Symple Seeds, can help you standardize your seeds and strains and ensure they are as healthy as possible. 

Professional Cannabis Cultivation Services

Breeding your own cannabis strain takes a lot of hard work and careful attention. This process can be hugely rewarding, but if you’re also running a cannabis business, you might not have the time. Symple Seeds offers strain cultivation services so you can focus more on running your business and less on watching plants for the first sign of pollination. 

With Symple Seeds’ strain cultivation service, you can work alongside professional geneticists and experienced cultivators to create the cultivar of your dreams. We offer strain creation services, seed creation services, and a massive library of existing seeds that can get you to market with a new product more quickly. 

Contact us today to get started creating your signature cultivar.

Contact us today for tailor-made cannabis seed solutions.

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