Lots of growers can see the benefits of autoflowering strains but also see the need to grow them on a fairly large scale to achieve substantial crops. The truth is that there is no great secret behind it. Breeding autos for seed production is the same as with regular cannabis plants.
Of course, the first thing you need to do is to make sure that you buy regular seeds and not feminized seeds. Regular seeds can be either male or female and, given a large enough sample, produce both in roughly equal quantities at a ratio of around 50/50. A variety of environmental factors may affect the actual ratio of your own regular autos.
How to sex marijuana plants
If you are growing autoflowers you should know that cannabis plants come in both male and females sexes and only the female plants are the ones that we grow for their flowers and for that precious medicine inside them. But if you want to create your own seeds you need to grow both males and females so that those male plants can pollinate your female plants and they can produce seeds. In nature this process happens naturally where male pollen is released from their pollen sacks and with the help of wind is transferred to the female plant flowers. But when we are growing plants indoors we usually like to take everything in our own hands and that is why you can select the best male and the best female plants to get the most desirable results and manually apply that pollen to all those female flowers. If you do that properly then in a couple of weeks you should have fully matured cannabis seed inside your autoflower plants that you will be able to store and use for later grows.
With general photo-sensitive plants the process usually ends here and you can simply cross any two strains and get a bunch of offspring that will have some genetic traits from both parents. But with autoflowers it is not that simple because that autoflowering gene is a recessive trait and that means you need to learn more about plant breeding and gene inheritance to create proper autoflowering seeds.
Having selected your best plants for seed production you can either just leave them to grow side by side or adopt active pollination methods as described here. Of course, it can seem like a bit of a sacrifice giving up your best female to seed production and this runs counter intuitively to many growers. However, if everything goes according to plan, and providing the mother and father were both of the same strain, you can look forward to cultivating many of her offspring, all of which should share the same positive qualities that caused you to choose her in the first place.
Breeding Your Own Autoflowering Cannabis Strains
If you want to create your own autoflowering seeds the easiest method is to cross two stable autoflowering plants and preferably both from the same species. In this way you will have very stable offsprings because there is no new traits being introduced and that means all those desired plant characteristics would be Homozygous(stable) and you will not need to worry about multiple cross-breeding cycles. If we look at the third table above we can see that there is a cross between a stable recessive autoflowering trait plant (aa) and another stable recessive plant (aa) and that means that 100% of those offsprings will also be autoflowering and that is great for seed production. You can just order any regular autoflower seeds and grow them out, pollinate those females with the male pollen and get hundreds and hundreds of new regular autoflowering seeds. Because autoflowers usually take less than 70 days to flower theoretically you can start growing your next batch or home grown seeds in less than three months from ordering those first beans. And because you can get more than a 1000 seeds from one autoflower plant you will have a huge inventory of beans to keep your continuous grow operation going and every time you plant those seeds around half of those plants will be males. From those males you can manually pollinate a couple of branches on some female plants and get a continuous supply of, not just a decent home grown cannabis, but also home grown seeds that can be used for future grows. At first this method of creating your own seeds feels a bit tricky but when you get the hang of it you can save a lot of money because autoflower seeds are not cheap and especially those feminized seeds as they can cost as much as 10$ for one bean. But when you make your own seeds the only expenses will be electricity, growing medium and nutrients but that is nothing compared to those saving that you will get creating your own autoflower seeds!
However, creating a new autoflowering strain from a regular cannabis strain can prove to be a little more difficult. The ruderalis autoflowering genetic heritage is inherently unstable. Whilst obtaining a cross may be reasonably achievable, obtaining a cross that is stable and consistent is another matter.
You will have to make multiple generations to stabilize these new strains and that can be expensive and time consuming but if you have the energy and time then this is how you can do it:
First breeding cycle – When you cross both these plant(an autoflower and a photo-sensitive strain) as you can see in the first table you will get 100% plants that have both the dominant Photo sensitive trait and the recessive autoflower trait. And that means that the F1(first generation) Heterozygous(unstable) offsprings would all be photo-sensitive plants and will not flower automatically.
Second breeding cycle – As you can see in the second table when you have grown out some of those first offsprings and crossed the best male with the best female then the second generation (F2) offsprings will have a more diverse genetic make-up and 25% of their kids will give you fully dominant photo-sensitive plants(AA). 50% will give you the same hybrids as F1 generation (Aa) but only 25% will be Homozygous(stable) fully autoflowering plants (aa).
Third breeding cycle – And in the third Punnett table you can see that we have grown out those second generation offsprings and selected only the ones that showed that autoflowering trait and have crossed the best male and best female from those 25% of previous generation(f2) plants. And in the F3 (third generation) all your plants should be completely autoflowering (aa) and all of those offsprings should have that autoflowering trait that you desire.
Breeding autoflowering cannabis is a new and unproven science that is still in its infancy. With a surge in demand for autoflowering strains seed banks have begun to release autos onto the market that are not yet stable and we hear more and more from disappointed growers who have bought seeds that have not performed as advertized. In many ways it is the wild west of the cannabis industry. This can make it difficult for consumers, but it is also a highly exciting time. If you like to experiment with your cannabis cultivation there has never been a better time to get involved. Dive in and see what you come up with.