How to Pollinate Your Cannabis Plants

Learn how to pollinate your cannabis plants so that you can produce your own seeds. This guide will show you the best practices for ensuring a successful harvest.

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Cannabis plants are naturally hermaphrodites, meaning that each plant contains both male and female reproductive organs. However, most growers prefer to grow only female plants because they produce the flowers (or buds) that contain the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (cannabidiol), and other cannabinoids that people enjoy.

Male plants are typically discarded because they don’t produce bud, but they can be useful if you want to breed your own cannabis strains. In order to do this, you will need to pollinate your female plants with the pollen from a male plant. This guide will show you how to do this.

What is Pollination?

Pollination is the process of transferring pollen from the male cannabis plant to the female cannabis plant. This is how the plant reproduces and produces seeds. The male plant produces the pollen and the female plant produces the flowers. The pollen must come into contact with the female flower in order for pollination to occur.

The Male Cannabis Plant

The female cannabis plant is the only one that can produce the flower or buds that contain high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component in marijuana. For this reason, most growers prefer to cultivate female plants. However, in order to produce seeds, you will need to have at least one male plant in your grow room.

Male cannabis plants can be identified by their pollen-producing flowers, which appear in clusters along the stems. The flowers of male plants are not as large or resinous as those of females, and they contain no THC. Once a male plant reaches maturity, it will begin to release pollen, which can then fertilize female flowers and create seeds.

If you are growing cannabis for personal use, you may not want your plants to produce seeds. In this case, it is best to remove male plants as soon as they are identified and before they have a chance to release pollen. This can be done by simply pulling up the males and disposing of them. However, if you are planning on breeding your own cannabis strains, you will need to allow the males to pollinate the females in order to create seed-bearing buds.

The Female Cannabis Plant

Cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning it has distinct male and female individuals. Most strains used for hemp production are sterile, or unable to produce seeds. However, some cannabis strains will produce sexes that are hermaphrodites—plants that have both male and female reproductive organs. Hermaphrodite plants can still produce pollen and can pollinate other female plants, so growers have to be vigilant about keeping them out of their crop if they want to avoid seed production.

The vast majority of the time, growers are interested in producing female plants because they are the ones that produce CBD (and other cannabinoids). Male plants are useful for breeding new strains of cannabis, but other than that, they don’t have a lot of value for CBD production.

To ensure that their crop produces mostly female plants, growers will often use a process called “ environmental sexing ”. This involves manipulating the amount of light the plants receive during their vegetative growth phase. By giving the plants more light, growers can encourage them to develop into females. With less light, they’re more likely to become males.


Cannabis plants are either male or female, and only the female plants produce the flowers that contain THC, CBD, and other active compounds. Male plants exist to produce pollen, which is responsible for fertilizing the female flowers and creating new seeds.

If you’re growing your own cannabis at home, you’ll need to either purchase feminized seeds (which are guaranteed to be female) or remove the males from your grow room before they can pollinate the females. Otherwise, your yield will be much lower as the females put their energy into producing seeds instead of buds.

If you do want to breed your own cannabis strains, you’ll need to allow a male and female plant to grow together and then hand-pollinate the flowers. This process is relatively simple but it does require some patience and a steady hand.

How to Pollinate Your Cannabis Plants

Cannabis plants are either male or female, and only the female plants produce flowers that contain the THC-rich resin we harvest for medical marijuana. However, in order for the female plant to produce the THC-rich resin, it must be pollinated by a male plant.

The Best Time to Pollinate

The best time to pollinate your cannabis plants is when the pistils are 65-80% white. If you wait until the pistils are too brown, your plant will be past its peak for producing THC and other cannabinoids. On the other hand, if you pollinate too early, your buds may not have developed enough trichomes to produce the full effect.

How to Pollinate

Cannabis pollen is very fine, and if you’re not careful, it can escape and float away on a breeze, never to be found again. For this reason, it’s best to pollinate your plants when the weather is calm.

To begin, you will need a small paintbrush or cotton swab. Gather some pollen from the male plant by carefully brushing it off the pistils. Then, go to the female plant and brush the pollen onto the stigma of each flower. Be sure to do this gently so as not to damage the delicate flowers.

You should see pollen grains on the stigma after you’ve pollinated them. The flowers will begin to wilt within a few days, and eventually, they will turn brown and fall off the plant. This is normal! The petals may also change color as they fall off. Within 6-8 weeks, you should see little green “spears” poking out of the flower bracts. These are your baby cannabis plants!


Now that you have a better understanding of how to pollinate your cannabis plants, you can start to experiment with different techniques to see what works best for you. Remember, there is no one “right” way to do things, so feel free to get creative and have fun!

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