cannabis seeds

Phenotype Hunting And Breeding Selection From Cannabis Seeds


One of the first things that growers notice the first time they pop seeds is that all plants are not created equal – even from the same seed batch. Just like parents will have children that range in features and talents, your Cannabis babies will vary. Since most growers obtain seeds for the purpose of adding a particular strain for multiple rounds in their garden, some simple steps can ensure you preserve the phenotype you like most to use as your mother plant.

Strains that have been inbred for multiple generations tend express more consistent phenotypes. Less inbreeding causes greater phenotype variance. Just like children can be taller or shorter than their parents, cannabis offspring can sometimes be superior or inferior to the parents. In one pack of seeds, there are many times a runt, a few males, one or two plants that completely stand out as better than the rest and a few in between.

Hybrid vigor is a term that refers to increased vigor, health and yield of a plant that is a result of a fresh recombination of new genetics. The first generation of a new cross is called F1. A breeder will look for the phenotype he considers to be the best and cross it into itself again to isolate that phenotype. Second generation is called F2, third generation is F3, etc. An F1 seed batch is likely to have more vigor than an F3 seed batch but greater phenotype variance. F3s have less variance but also less vigor typically due to “inbreeding depression”. Many of the best classic clone-only strains were the result of amateur breeders finding a vigorous F1 and keeping that plant for future generations.

ukcheeseTo look for the best plant to use as your mother, simply take cuttings from each plant prior to flipping to 12/12 and number each cutting with the corresponding plant. Once you get closer to harvest, it may seem obvious which plant is the best but it is best to smoke a few buds before making your final determination. It may change your mind. Once you make your decision, use the corresponding clone as your mother.

In the wild, Cannabis is naturally hermaphroditic. Since people don’t like seeds in their buds, breeders attempt to breed out this trait but can sometimes pop up in some strains. I have bought seeds from some of the best breeders in the world and have found females growing balls at the nodes early in flower. No matter how much faith you have in the breeder you got the seeds from, always check each plant regularly in flower for balls at the nodes that appear to be on a small stem and pollen “bananas” forming on the flowers. No matter how much you like the plant because of other traits, a hermaphrodite plant needs to be removed from your garden ASAP once it is identified.

Other traits to consider when picking your plant are bud structure, yield, smell/taste, resin production, vigor, etc. Some phenos may be higher yielding but less frosty. Other phenos may be super frosty but smaller yielders. Different growers may choose different phenos to keep in their garden for different reasons.

If you forget to take clippings prior to putting into flower, sometimes you can “re-green” the plant after harvest time. This involves harvesting the top two-thirds and leaving the rest of the plant intact. Trim down the root ball and put back in your veg room with a high nitrogen diet. An 18 hour photoperiod will work but 24 hours can sometimes speed the process. In about a month, you should be able to take clippings.

To get start growing your own, take a look at the quality marijuana seeds that we have at Elev8 Seeds. 

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9 Responses to Phenotype Hunting And Breeding Selection From Cannabis Seeds

  1. growerpal August 26, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

    very good info. i have wished before that i had taken a cutting and didnt, next time i may try re greening. and btw , im growing xtc og right now and they look great. thanks

  2. thomas August 26, 2015 at 8:11 pm #

    I’m looking into strains that will provide superior Dab product(s), product return, flavor, physical effects on an array of “participants” with medical aliments.
    Either hopefully, gathering the right beans, I plan too set out on creating “Dab” strains. Research and personal input is humbly accepted.
    If this has an interest too anyone, contact me, I’m a seasoned grower, who was raised in this environment, in the ’70’s… Hell, my dad, help set up the first pipe shop in Warmbeach, during the Pariquat days..

  3. Matt August 26, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

    Hi Thomas – My new favorite strain is our Blackberry Dream (Kimbo Kush x Super Silver Haze) because the effect is so unique. Its relaxed body with a clear euphoric mind. It was bred specifically for quality of high. We are running final tests on our Sour Patch Kiss (kimbo kush x sour kush)….TONS of smell/flavor and resin. We will have beans ready by 10/1/15. Would love to see how the oil turns out on these. Also, we will have a Strawberry Diesel 2015 which is a high yielder and makes a room smell like strawberries if you want that taste/smell. If you are looking for high CBD, we will have Harlequin seeds ready before the end of the year. Matt

  4. Elev8 Great Lakes September 26, 2015 at 10:44 am #

    I’m currently growing xtc, sherbert cookies and blackberry dream. I have never witnessed the type of genetics displayed during any grow I’ve ever done. The growth rates are phenomenal… After germination, they grew very large, very quickly…After one week they had to be topped and transplanted….I’m so eager to see the end results…I definitely am looking forward to the sour patch kiss and strawberry diesel….keep doing your thing guys!!!!!!

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  6. James Sparks January 26, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

    Thinking about stopping by while in Co. Seriously considering gorilla glue. Wants to know what other strain you would suggest i try for a indoor gardener.

    • john January 27, 2017 at 4:22 am #

      Thanks for your interest in our gear. As you can see we have many great strains so its hard to tell, but the ones i am most excited about right now would be “Tangerine Cookies” or “Gorilla Cookies” Johnny N. Elev8 Seeds

  7. kenny mc donald February 13, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

    hello to all at Elev8 seeds after reading about all your seeds and seeing how much you put into finding the true original genetics in all the seeds you carry I just want them all . this would be the most amazing garden anyone could grow . it would be nice if Elev8 seeds would have a contest for some lucky person . somebody like me to win a pack of all your seed . keep up the great work I look forward to others you will have in near future peace Kenny

    • Matthew February 18, 2017 at 6:31 pm #

      I smell a challenge!! Nothing like a green thumb contest.

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