Growing to harvest cannabis seeds is an easy and simple process once a grower learns how the cannabis plant works. Harvesting Cannabis Seeds is something that any grower can do with cannabis to get next year’s crop of seeds for your garden.
Sometimes you may not have any money to buy cannabis seeds from a breeder, or you will not know someone that has cannabis seeds to give. Many you just want a new strain to grow from scratch.
What do you need to grow Cannabis Seeds?
Depending on the type of seeds you would like to grow, all you will need is a male cannabis plant and a female cannabis plant. With these two types of plants you will be able to grow your own cannabis seeds.
Why Do Growers Need a Female and Male Cannabis Plant to Make Seeds?
When growing cannabis there are two types of cannabis sexes, a male and a female. Before you can know if you plant is a male or a female you will need to let them mature for approximately a month before you are able to sex the plants.
When sexing the plants you will be looking for male cannabis flowers or female cannabis flowers; these will be located at the nodes of the plant where the branches meet the leaves.
The male flowers will look like little sacs hanging from the nodes, while the female flowers will look like a funnel with a little white hair sticking out of it in the same place.
What to do with your male and female plants once you have sexed them?
Now that you know which plants are which you can start to flower both sexes. To do this you will want to turn your grow room lighting to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.
Once this happen the plants will start to grow more flowers, for each sex. Growers will notice that the male plant is growing pollen sacs and the female plant is growing female flowers. The white hairs (called pistils) are what will catch the pollen to start the seed growing process.
How long will it take before the Male will Pollinate the Female plants?
This is somewhat strain dependent, as some strains can take longer to flower then other strains. On average it will take about 3 weeks of 12 hours of darkness for the male pollen sacs (Flowers) to start and open to release pollen to your female plants.
It is best to have a small fan in the grow space as cannabis is a wind pollinated plant. When the pollen sacs open the pollen will just drop to the lowest leaves. If you have a fan in your grow set it will help to move the pollen around in the grow space and get to all your female cannabis plants.
Once the pollen hits the female pistils, they will start to turn red or brown in color. This is one of the signs that the female flowers have been pollinated.
How long should Growers let the male Pollinate the female plants?
Once the male plant has started to open its pollen sacs you can leave the male plant in with the female plants as long as you like. However after a couple of weeks most of your female plants will have been well pollinated.
Now is the Time to Collect and Store Pollen for future Seeds
Before you dispose of the male cannabis plant, it’s a great time to collect some pollen for later use, growers can store the pollen and it will be good up to a year if stored properly. Take a male plant branch that has many pollen sacs on it. You will need a cardboard envelope and open it just enough to let the pollen from the branch fall into it. Be careful that no pollen sacs get into the envelope, as they will mold and ruin your pollen. Now that the pollen is in the envelope, seal it up well.
If you are planning to store it for more than a few months it’s a good idea to add some microwaved rice in the envelope before adding the pollen. Any humidity in the package will kill the pollen’s effectiveness when you use it.
How to Store Your Fresh Pollen?
Take the pollen and place it somewhere cool and in a dark place. A freezer works really well for storage, also a fridge. To keep it even more secure from moisture you can place the envelope into a plastic sandwich bag to keep even more dry.
Using The Stored Pollen
Now that you are ready to use the pollen, take a small paint brush and stick it in your pollen envelope. Many pollen spores will stick to the brush and you can use this to paint the female flowers. As soon as the brush hits the pistils it will stick to them and pollinate the plant.
When will growers start to see cannabis seeds on the Female Plants?
After two weeks you should start to see developing seed pods on your female plants. The female pistils will now be dead and red or orange in color. They should be starting to swell in size as the seeds start to grow inside them. Growers may even see the start of seeds inside the female seed pods.
How long does it take for Cannabis Seeds to Develop
Typically on a 8 to 9 weeks cannabis strain (not fully seeded) it will take about 6 to 8 weeks for all the seeds to fully develop on the plant and the grower will be ready to harvest cannabis seeds. Before you harvest cannabis seeds you will want to check to make sure they are healthy and fully developed because of cutting and drying.
Take a few seed pods off the female plant and let them dry for a few days. They should be healthy, be dark brown in color, be firm when doing the squeeze test. You don’t want any white or green seeds. Growers can also look at the seeds in the seed pod themselves. Do they look like they are brown and healthy and a good size seed? If so, then you are now ready to harvest cannabis seeds!
Now it’s time to Harvest Cannabis Seeds
Now that your seeds are ready to be harvested, it’s time to cut the plant for drying. We recommend you cut the plant in branches and dry on a cannabis buds drying rack. This is because if you hang the plant upside down, like a normal drying, as the plant dries the seeds will start to fall out. Who knows where they will end up on the floor.
Drying them on racks allows you to keep the seeds so they don’t fall away from the plants. Just be careful with your cut branches full of seeds.
How to Remove Harvest Cannabis Seeds
Once the plants are good and dry it is pretty easy to harvest the cannabis seeds. Most of them will just fall out onto a table if you give each branch a gentle shake. Once all the seeds are removed that came out of their seed pods easily, you can then get a screen to remove the rest of the seeds. If you like you can collect the cannabis trichomes from the plant and save them for use later.
What to do with the Cannabis Seeds Now
Now you have your seeds, they are dry and should be ready to plant if you would like. They will never have a better germination rate. However most growers are looking to save their new fresh seeds for another time, to trade, give away or sell. If this is the case you will need to store the seeds, this will work much the same way as storing pollen.
How to Store the Harvest Cannabis Seeds for Longer Terms
Find a good air tight container, you will want something where the seeds will not be able to bounce around alot. There are lots of cheap small containers at any dollar store for crafts. This will damage your seeds making them less viable down the road. Try to touch the seeds as little as possible. Getting the oils from your fingers on them will also make them lose viability.
Like with the pollen, adding some dry rice will also help to keep moisture out of the container. Once again take the seeds and put them somewhere that is cool and dry, you can freeze them, or put them in the refrigerator for safe storage.
How Long Will My Fresh Harvest Cannabis Seeds Last?
Once your seeds are harvested and dried they will have, or close to, a 100% germination rate. Everyday they are in storage their germination rates will slowly reduce over time. While people have been able to germinate seeds that are 1000’s of years old this takes special equipment that most growers don’t have access to.
In proper storage you can expect to have your seeds have about a 80% germination rate for about 3 years or so before they will start to drop in viability. With the right storage some growers can have seeds that last over 10 years and still have them germinate. We recommend that you replace your stored seeds about every 3 years, if you would like to keep those genetics.
Can you tell a Strain by Seed?
Currently there is no way to tell a cannabis strain by their seeds. All cannabis seeds that look healthy and have matured will mostly look the same with only a few differences. This is why it is very important when you harvest the seeds that you label them well so years down the road you will know which genetics are in each bottle.
How to Use your Stored Seeds
Everytime the grower removes the seeds from their storage, the seeds will lose more vitality because they will warm up, and receive some moisture when the grower opens them. For this reason you will only want to open your stored seeds as little as possible. This will help to keep them fresh longer.
When you do open them to get some seeds for your growth, do so as quickly as possible, and then replace the cap and put them back into long term storage. If you have frozen or stored them in the fridge, it is a good idea to let them sit out in room temperature air for a few hours before planting them or placing them in your paper towel. This will give the seeds time to warm up and give better germination rates.