What do I mean by, selecting cannabis plants? For the purposes of this article, I mean helping you guys that like to sprout up some plants, and find the real “gems” within the group. Normally you are looking for outstanding females. Females, are what we will be talking about today.
You want to plant more seeds than you will need to grow out. A lot more actually. Try and start with at least 12 seeds, and 16 would be better. Or more. It depends on your space, resources, and ability to monitor and observe. From 12 seeds, growing good genetics, you are likely to get 6+ females. You will want 5 females minimum, in my opinion. 8 females would be all good. Your odds are fairly decent with 8 females.
As you proceed, you will be killing plants along the way; like, maybe the males, or any obviously weaker females. Using the numbers above, having 8 females to choose from, and using quality genetics, you are fairly likely to end up with at least one stellar female—stellar, not just good! If you are looking for some custom clones for your gardens, or looking for a female breeder(s), selecting cannabis plants correctly is huge. Let’s boogie…
Selecting Cannabis Plants—The Easy Way
Below, (the more efficient way) I will share some good shortcuts, allowing you to up your odds while using less space and resources. This is achieved by narrowing your selected cannabis plants earlier in the process. The easy way is super simple, it just takes more time and resources along the way. Let’s start out with the same 8 females doing this the easy way, first.
Out of the 8 females there may be, say 2, that are less desirable or weak that you will kill/cull. You simply take the 6 remaining females, grow them all the way out and flower them … twice! Doing it twice is an imperative, and only after the second time around do you truly learn everything you need to know to make the final selection(s). Trust me, you will have an intimate knowledge of each female plant by this point. Their strengths, and any weaknesses, or problems. Easy-peasy man. Patience is what you need as a discipline here.
Another bennie here, is that your selected plants will obviously be ones that do the best in your own gardens. So, breeding with these plants will only increase those bennies. Excellent for the true connoisseur artisan home growers, that are also breeders. Selecting cannabis plants that YOU like, with your favorite flavors, looks, smells, and kick. Win-win baybee! It’s bedrock simple, save clones of all females—labeled—for the second flowering run. Keep clones every run. Patience Grasshopper, is all you need for the easy way.
Rev’s Tips for Selecting Cannabis Plants
For either of these ways of doing things, you will always want to label each sprout with their own number or letter. You will need to be able to make clones well—If you truly want to be wicked good at selecting cannabis. Labeling your plants allows you to keep track of their clones. You can select plants that deal with some of your environmental issues best. Plants that flower faster, larger, purple, whatever.
Higher numbers of plants sprouted gives you better odds for stellar plants. However, you can “usually” find at least 1 stellar female, if you start with 8 females. Various factors come into play, like genetics, and growing skills in general. Also, selecting from F2 generations is “the shit” … In a good way. Your overall odds decrease slightly, but HIGHLY unique plants can be found in F2 generations. Just sayin’.
There are some killer lines of cannabis, including F2 generations over at Kingdom Organic Seeds. So, go have a look see. Here’s another article by yours truly you may find helpful with this subject matter as well: Tracking Cannabis Clones and Plants – Skunk Magazine.
Selecting Cannabis Plants—The Efficient Way
Narrowing down the field faster when selecting cannabis plants is a great way to have your final contestants down to several, or maybe even a couple, by the time you flower them for the first time. Doing it this way you would start with say 8 females. Dial in the numbers of female plants your space will allow for, 5, 8, or 80. Whatever. Here’s how we do…
- During transplants pay attention to root systems. The bigger/fuller, the better. Always note plants with superior root systems. This normally indicates larger yields, among other positive things.
- Top all plants when they are about 30-40 days old. Watch for how fast, and full, the axial branches grow out. Note the superior ones that grow fastest, highly aggressively. (See photo below.)
- Be a killer, or a culler, if you will—LoL. Kill any plants that show weaknesses, slowest growth, or stunted growth. Resist the urge to keep everyone. It’s hard, heh heh.
- When you top them, note any that have hollower stems. This is almost always a great thing. Also notice plants with the strongest smells where you topped them. Always good finding super stinky plants. Note these plants.
- Look closely (magnified) at the most recently, fully formed leaves, near the top of the plant. Note any plants that have particularly dense leaf hair formations. Leaf hairs and trichomes are very nearly the exact same thing. Boom! Potential baybee, potential. Higher resin potential, specifically.
Purpose and Application
Having plants that are uber potent, and/or large yielding, is certainly important. If you’ve ever grown a plant that has “fatal flaws” along with high favorability, then you know what I mean when I say many aspects of a plant matter huge. If you want to select cannabis plants with skills, start out with the list above. All of these listed things are good, and the more of them any one plant has, the better. Plus, you can isolate these well before flowering for the first time. This way your first run is more epic with better contenders.
Sometimes you will need to plant seeds in waves in order to get the killer(s) you are looking for. It’s all worth it once you find your target(s). Give your selection process at least 8 months. This allows for you to flower 2 times—always flower them twice when selecting, always. I usually just figure 10 months, myself. That way it allows me some flexibility with clones, timelines, and whatnot.
Stellar plants, are plants that stand well above the rest in excellent/exotic expressions. Easy to grow, resistant, big yields, terpenes, vigorous growth, adaptable, hearty, huge resin production, yada-yada… Now, let’s not confuse stellar plants with ‘Legendary Plants’ which only show up about 1 per 50 females, or so. Again, depending upon genetics here. Legendary plants speak for themselves. Their clones make huge impressions, like, Bubblegum, Panama Red (the Northern California clone), Northern Lights #5 (the Southern California clone), The White (South American) clone, Purple Haze, Metal Haze, and many others.
I hope you enjoyed today’s article amigos. Hopefully it will get your brain juices flowing as to how you can incorporate this methodology into your growing routine. Adaptability in plants is highly advantageous, as it is in peeps—wink. The “popsicle stick plant markers” in the photo above, work super good, and, they are recyclable. Always a good thing. I use dry erase boards to track who’s in what spots in my cloners. Try your hand at selecting some cannabis plants. The whole cannabis genome could use some exotic diversity, I think. Cheers, Happy New Year, and Happy Trails. See ya next week right here at SKUNK. L8r G8rs.
- REvski 😊
I'm The Rev, and I have been with SKUNK for about a decade now. I hail from Southern California, spent mucho time in Northern California, and now reside in Southern Oregon; always coastal. I am an all natural style cannabis grower and I have written a couple books on the subject - check out True Living Organics 2nd Edition on Amazon - I have been growing for over 45 years, and I have been breeding cannabis for over 30 years. Check out kingdomorganicseeds.com to see some exotic selections. Growing connoisseur cannabis is what I teach mostly, growing it in living soil without using liquid organic nutrients to feed the plant. I am also a highly skilled synthetics grower, hydroponics, aeroponics, DWC/SWC/NFT, Ebb and Flow, and soilless, but I cringe when smoking synthetic grown herbs, so for the last 15 years or so I preach the artisan style of all natural growing, specializing in container growing. Cheers and welcome aboard.