HI BOYS AND GIRLS, heh heh. I have seen a bunch of confusion lately when it comes to taking care of your male cannabis plants, used for breeding with. So, today in this article I will hopefully clear up some of those misunderstandings, per my extensive hands-on knowledge of the subject matter. I have been breeding cannabis for almost as long as I have been growing it (about 35 years of breeding at the time this article is written). Let me impart some cool things, and not so cool things, when it comes to males, especially as breeders. Also, I will share with you how to easily get a male plant to start coming back out of flowering mode in about 10-14 days, and stay that way. Let’s rock and roll…
Coaxing a Male Back into Vegetative Mode
As male (or female) cannabis plants enter into flowering mode, the number of blades per leaf becomes fewer. As you can see in the photo of the male returning to vegetative mode, he was down to single leaf blades, but at the growing tips you can see the newest leaves have 3 blades, indicating he is returning to vegetative mode. Male plants that are clones and older than a year (all clones or clones of clones are the same age as the seed plant would have been) will be wanting to flower badly, and even under a photoperiod of 18/6 (lights on for 18 hours and off for 6 hours every 24 hours) sometimes males will start to enter flowering mode if they experience a little bit of extra stress. Even first season males (less than 1 year old from sprout) can have these same responses to stress due to their genetics/breeder habits.
Having your male plant in a container too small for its size, is one of the common ways growers will induce flowering unintentionally; drought stress from underwatering these plants exacerbates the situation. 18/6 is a good photoperiod and plants should not flower under this light schedule, if they are sexually healthy and not an autoflowering variety. If you screw up and accidentally cause a male to flower prematurely, here’s how ya fix it as fast as possible:
BRINGING THE BOYS (or GIRLS) BACK TO VEG
- Make sure your lighting schedule is at 18/6 with 18 hours on/6 hours off.
- DO NOT underestimate the ability of pollen from these males being able to fly/travel to your flowering plants close by and pollinate them to some degree. Misting down the male every morning after lights are on will help mitigate this issue, as contact with water kills pollen quickly.
- Transplant the male into good soil in a larger container—just a little bigger works fine—and make sure to give him a little nitrogen kicker in a light topdressing using bat guano, alfalfa meal, etc.
- Take care not to over or under water the plant for the next couple of weeks, and I like to use a little bit of liquid fish fertilizer (Alaska brand 5-1-1) like 4 drops per gallon for the next few times I water, in a row.
- Always a much better idea to put those plants that you are looking to come back into veg mode underneath a bluer spectrum of light, often called “Daylight Spectrum” and somewhere around 5500K is all good; I also have a pink-hued LED (140w) I use now and then for this out of necessity, and it also works fine, just not quite as fast.
Male Breeders the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Essentially males are pretty straight forward when selecting. Weak individuals are easy to spot and remove. If you have an eye for this sort of thing, you can look at the females and actually fairly accurately “see” their (male) similar phenotypes if you are looking for certain morphology traits like yield, node distance, stretch, height/size, calyx to leaf ratios, etc. then this is a good method, as long as the females have already been flowered once so you know what you are looking for. Now, let me tell you some things about the bad boys…
I always run all my potential male breeders through a simple test for their sexual health, as far as hermaphroditic tendencies are concerned. All I do is keep a male plant (I use a clone here) in too small of a container for too long, once it is around 40 days old from sprout (all clones are considered the same age as the seed plant would be, even clones of clones) using an 18/6 photoperiod, and then I also add some drought stress and let him slightly wilt (from lack of water) a couple of times in a row, before watering him. He will likely produce some flowering expressions due to the high levels of stress. Some males will just go bonkers and fully flower, plus they won’t go back into veg mode even under a radicle photoperiod of 24/0. These males are garbage amigos, pure and simple, in my opinion.
I have seen males that are hard to stress into flowering, and I love those. Or males that only flower a little bit before they turn around back into veg easily; I love these too. Symmetry is always a good thing for males to have. I love me some hollow stems too, as males with hollow stems are almost always packing some SERIOUS resin production potential, and fairly often big fat yields too. If you keep this male in clone form for longer than a year (calculated by the age the seed plant would have been) you will want to do the drought stress in the small container trick again one more time to make sure he’s all good along those lines. I normally don’t keep any plant around longer than a couple of years, myself. I’m a seed planting maniac! Cheers everyone, I hope you found some interesting chit here today, see ya next time, same Bat channel! Revski out.