Breeding Cannabis Plants for Beginners

04 Feb 2024

Making cannabis seeds at home is very easy and can start you on the path to becoming a world-class breeder one day. Taking two of your favorite plants and crossing them together can unravel a world of new potential, so in this article we explain the basics of breeding cannabis, the different traits, how to pick the best male and female, taking clones and much more!

The benefits of breeding Cannabis at home
Growing cannabis seeds and watching them vegetate and then flower can be one of the most rewarding things a person can do in life. However, making your own seeds is just as special. There are many benefits to breeding at home on a small scale in the comfort of your bedroom, and those are covered below. 

  • Yields and resin production can be significantly increased.
  • Achieving stability with regular sexed seeds will work best.
  • You can change certain traits such as yield, flavor and effect.
  • Crossing a male and female is straightforward and simple.
  • You can produce enough seeds to store away and last a long time.
  • Seeds can be passed out to friends and tester growers on your behalf.
  • Working the lines further from seed or with clones is easy.
  • There is so much potential to create the next big thing!

Having a goal in advance
Now, before you start to get a pen and paper out and order the most expensive seeds you can find for your breeding project, it is best to start with a goal in advance. Anyone can cross two plants together; however, knowing why you are taking all the time and effort in the first place is more important. 

Different examples of setting a goal may be to reduce the flowering time, enhance yields, increase resin production, increase or reduce potency, change the height, structure, stretching phase once flowered, and so on. It may be the case that you just want to take the best-tasting strains you have and make something that expresses the best of both worlds.

Example #1 - Breeding two plants together to make hybrids that are a mix of indica and sativa.

Example #2 - Reducing the flowering time of a sativa from 13 weeks down to 11 weeks.

Example #3 - Enhancing the structure and resistance of finicky plants such as Zkittles. 

The different expressive traits
To truly appreciate a cannabis plant, you should be aware of all the different traits it has. It is these individual traits that make each plant unique and different. Planning in advance which traits you wish to keep or remove will give you an upper hand as well as help you plan your end goal much better.


The height of a plant will often indicate if the dominant gene is indica, sativa, or a mix of both. Indica-dominant plants will tend to stay low during the vegetative stage and double in height once they have flowered. Sativas will want to grow much taller, and once flowered, they can grow very tall in some cases.


The structure of a Cannabis plant will vary from short, bushy and compact to long, lanky, with lots of side branches. Internodal spacing between each growth shoot will determine the final outcome of the size and structure of the plants.

Leaf size and shape

Each plant will have a different leaf size and shape, ranging from short, fat leaves with a claw characteristic to wide, open, thin and serrated long-fingered leaves. 


This refers to how well a plant can cope with stress, insects, cold temperatures, heat stress, pathogens and diseases. Not every plant is the same, and enhancing the resilience and toughness factor is often a priority goal when working with delicate and sensitive plants.

Yield capability

Everyone loves a big-yielding cannabis plant, and the challenge of adding that trait to smaller-producing strains is often a big incentive. Enhancing the yield of a cannabis plant may take several generational crosses or back crosses. 

Flowering time

There can be reasons why some growers would want to reduce the flowering time of a long-winded sativa or haze strain, especially when breeding for outdoor applications. Indica males and females will reduce flowering time, while sativa males and females will increase flowering time. 

Trichome production

Hash makers and extractors all go crazy for a plant that washes and returns incredible hash, rosin and BHO. There is no better feeling than when all your plants are frosted with fan leaves curling up like resin tacos. 


The terpenes of a cannabis plant play a massive role in its effects when consumed. The aroma that each plant produces can be mixed together, opening up new avenues in the flavour realm. On the other hand, breeding to enhance a certain aroma or flavour is often a good reason for breeding in the first place.


Every grower and smoker is different, and learning which plants produce which effects can take years of experience. Breeding to create a strain that is personally suited to your needs or the needs and requirements of another person can be a highly rewarding project.


Purple coloured buds have become very popular in recent years, especially with Purple Punch gaining so much fame. Breeding for colour is a fun project and can allow you to create some fascinating plant profiles and effects.

So which male is best to use?

There are a few ways to judge which male is best to use, and these can range from a stem rub to leaf characteristics, growth structure and height. You will never truly know until you grow out the next generation of seeds produced by the male. However, a great way that often works is to pair males and females together based on height, leaf size and shape. 

Taking clones of Cannabis from the male and female
Once you have started your breeding project using male and female plants, the next step is to take a genetic replica clone from each plant. The reason for doing so is that you will later on decide which are the keeper male and female plants, allowing you to discard the rest of the less desirable plants.

When taking clones, it is essential that you clearly label each plant with a name and number. This will make life easy, and when you decide to reuse the male or female for creation F2’s or back crossing. 

When it comes to breeding at home on a small scale, there are no set rules on the best way to do things. Our advice to you would be to make a goal in advance, but be prepared to cross many different plants together and learn about desirable traits and how they are passed on to the next generation of hybrids. Be patient, as it can take a long time before you truly get your timing worked out, and start small, using 5-liter pots or less.

Here is also an interesting article to read regarding growing Cannabis at home. For more Breeding articles, you can look it up further here