Skip to main content

If you're looking to breed a cannabis strain or produce cannabis seeds, you might be unsure about the process of collecting pollen and effectively pollinating the plant. Fortunately, it's a straightforward task with these simple instructions.

How to Choose Male Cannabis Plants

As a dioecious plant, cannabis produces female and male plants unlike monecious plants, which produces plants that can have male and female flowers. Breeders can easily examine the bud size, yield, aroma, and color of a potential female parent.

When selecting males, however. breeders factor in the male plant’s only visible traits: pollen sac size and density. Since most of the male’s bud traits are hidden in the genes, choose to collect pollen from a male plant that has parents that express strong vegetative growth.

What You Need to Collect Cannabis Pollen

If possible, use latex gloves when you’re working with cannabis pollen to prevent the pollen from sticking to your fingers. Latex gloves can be thrown away afterward to avoid cross-pollination. For extra protection, a face mask or respirator can prevent you from breathing in the cannabis pollen you’re collecting and storing for later use.

Finally, use goggles and mask if you have allergies or don’t want any pollen on you. Don’t forget to store your tools in a separate and sealed compartment when you’re done to prevent cross-pollination. Wearing loose clothing can accidentally come in contact with pollen. Wear tight-fitting clothing to avoid this problem.

Open Pollen Sacs

Once the male cannabis plants begin to flower, you can collect pollen. If the female plant is feminizing its seeds, you can do the same. As soon as you see the pollen sacs cracking on the marijuana plant as if they are going to open, you are ready to harvest the pollen.

One way that you can tell if your pollen is ready to be harvest is to carefully and gently remove the pollen sacs and allow a week for them to dry. After they are dried, you would then place them all in a re-sealable bag. To know for sure that they are ready, just shake up the re-sealable bag with the pollen and it should spill out easily. It is possible that you might have to cut some of the pollen open.

Collecting pollen is a crucial element of the breeding process. It’s important to eliminate any distractions and set up an environment where you can focus. If you have pets, keep them in another room and close the door so they don’t accidentally run in while you’re trying to tap the pollen into your container. You must also eliminate all wind movement. Turn off all of your nearby fans and close all the windows to avoid blowing cannabis pollen away.

Pollen collecting should be performed in a separate room from any of your female marijuana plants to avoid producing hermaphroditic plants. Hermaphroditic plants limit bud production and produce cannabis seeds. Keep a garbage bag nearby or in one of your grow tent pockets to store your cannabis pollen-collecting tools after. When you’re done collecting the pollen, make sure you’ve changed your clothes to avoid cross-pollination when you visit your grow room with your female plants.

When is Cannabis Pollen Ready

Cannabis pollen is ready to be extracted when a mature anther (on the stamen) opens up and releases cannabis pollen grains into the air. Check your plants for powder-like and yellow pollen grain on leaves below the male marijuana flowers.

You can collect pollen by using a small container such as a cup, parchment or wax paper, or foil to catch the falling pollen as you gently shake the male flowers. Some flower parts may fall into your container. Carefully remove them with some tweezers before storing your pollen.

Storing Your Cannabis Pollen

Now that you have harvested your pollen, it is now time to store them. The enemy to storing your pollen is moisture. It can greatly damage your cannabis seeds. It helps to add cooking flour to coat the collected pollen, keeping the moisture away.

The flour will absorb any moisture as the pollen is being stored. It will also make it easier for you to pollinate your marijuana plant later. If you add more flour mixture and put it in the freezer, you can actually store your pollen for one year or even longer. Use freezer bags instead of plastic bags and make sure to label the freezer bags.

Some growers choose to let their pollen dry for up to 48 hours before storing it for long-term use. If you’re planning on drying your pollen, spread out the pollen with a brush across your parchment paper and place it in a dimly-lit room with no air movement, temperatures between 65º and 75º F and humidity levels between 30 and 60 percent. When it’s dry enough, you can funnel your pollen into an airtight storage container.

Female Cannabis Plant Pollination

Wait until your female plants are up to three weeks into their flowering phase before you consider pollination. Now that your mother plant is in its third week of flowering, use a paintbrush and apply the feminized pollen where the buds are developing. Where the leaves of the plant meet the stem is where the bud sites can be found. By the third week, the bud sites should show lots of thin white hairs.

You will put the pollen on these thin white hairs. Then you will notice that the buds that touch the pollen are the only ones that will grow marijuana seeds. You can decide to pollinate a few of the buds or all of them. Be sure that all female hairs are being touched with pollen.

You can apply cannabis pollen from multiple male strains on the same plant at individual flower sites. Make sure to label each branch with the cannabis pollen type you applied to document its unique traits and keep a comprehensive record of the parents. That way, you will know the exact parents to the seeds produced.

Throughout the entire process, your pollinated female cannabis plant should be isolated from the rest of the non-pollinated plants while the seeds are growing to avoid accidental cross-pollination.

Mother plants require an optimal supply of nutrients, especially nitrogen. Your mother plant may need more nitrogen than the concentration in your bloom nutrient solution. If needed, include more nitrogen in your nutrient solution to stimulate seed production.

There are over 300,000 jobs in the cannabis industry. CTU trained me for one of them!

marijuana extraction course - Johanna Rose
Makes $24.50 @ THC +

Some growers choose to adopt a vegetative nutrient schedule to help produce seeds. Seeds will develop in a few weeks after you have pollinated your mother plant. A fews after that, the seeds will be breaking open from their calyxes.

To learn more about pollinating and harvesting cannabis seeds, enroll in Cannabis Training University's marijuana classes today.

Luis Cordova
Luis Cordova

Luis Cordova is a distinguished author, and renowned expert in cannabis cultivation, who possesses a Master's degree in Plant Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Science. As a valued contributor to highly esteemed publications such as Cannabis Training University and Maximum Yield Magazine, Luis has emerged as a trusted source of guidance and knowledge in the cannabis industry. Having written thousands of informative articles, Luis is widely recognized for his comprehensive expertise on cultivating cannabis, both indoors and outdoors.

Enroll Now