Cannabis Pollen: How to Collect, Use, and Store

Discover the ins and outs of cannabis pollen: how to collect, use, and store effectively for successful breeding and preserving your favorite strains.

Cannabis Pollen: How to Collect, Use, and Store

When it comes to cannabis pollen, understanding how to use, store, and collect this valuable resource is essential for any serious grower. In this blog post, we will delve into the intricate art of cannabis breeding and provide an all-encompassing guide on how to use pollen for successful cultivation.

We'll discuss the importance of selecting suitable parent plants and creating controlled environments for optimal breeding conditions. Furthermore, we'll explore various methods for collecting and storing pollen safely while preserving its potency. As we progress through our step-by-step guide on using collected pollen for breeding purposes, you'll learn about producing new strains from your favorite cannabis genetics.

By the end of this post on Cannabis Pollen: How to Use, Store, and Collect; not only will you have gained expert knowledge on handling these delicate plant materials but also acquired techniques that can help preserve newly created strains for future generations.

Table of Contents:

What is Cannabis Breeding?

Cannabis breeding involves the process of cross-pollinating two different strains to produce a new hybrid strain with desirable traits. By cross-pollinating two different cannabis strains, breeders can create a hybrid strain with the most desirable traits from both parents such as potency, flavor, aroma and pest/disease resistance.

The Basics of Cannabis Genetics

Comprehending the fundamentals of cannabis genetics is key to comprehending how cannabis breeding functions. A cannabis plant has male and female reproductive organs that can produce seeds when pollinated. The resulting offspring will inherit genetic traits from both parents in varying combinations.

  • Genotype: The genetic makeup of an organism determines its potential characteristics (e.g., height, color).
  • Phenotype: The observable physical properties of an organism result from the interaction between its genotype and environmental factors (e.g., light exposure).
  • Dominant Traits: Some genes are more likely than others to be expressed in offspring; these are called dominant genes.
  • Recessive Traits: Genes less likely to be expressed unless inherited from both parents are known as recessive genes.

Purposeful Hybridization: Creating Custom Strains

Breeding cannabis for specific purposes enables cultivators not only to enhance desired attributes but also tailor their plants' growth patterns according to their needs. For example, a grower may want a strain that is:

  1. High in CBD for medicinal purposes
  2. Resistant to mold or pests
  3. Able to grow well in a specific climate or environment
  4. An enthusiast may want a strain with unique characteristics, such as:
  5. Rare flavor profiles and terpene combinations
  6. Vibrant colors and visual appeal
  7. Potent THC levels for recreational use

To achieve these goals, breeders must carefully select parent plants with the desired traits and then control the breeding process through cross-pollination. This requires patience, skill, and knowledge of cannabis genetics.

The Role of Pollen in Cannabis Breeding

Pollen plays a crucial role in cannabis breeding since it carries the male plant's genetic information required for fertilization. By selectively applying pollen from one strain onto another's female flowers (also known as pistils), breeders can create new hybrid strains that inherit their parents' desirable traits while minimizing unwanted characteristics.

Cannabis breeding is a complex process that requires knowledge and experience to produce desired results. Selecting parent plants is the first step in this intricate journey, which will ultimately lead to successful outcomes.

Selecting Parent Plants

The ideal parents should possess desirable traits that you want to combine and pass on to their offspring. To make an informed decision, consider the following factors:

  • Potency: Choose strains with high levels of THC or CBD, depending on your preference.
  • Flavor and aroma: Look for plants with distinct terpene profiles that contribute to unique flavors and scents.
  • Growth characteristics: Select strains that have favorable growth patterns such as short flowering times, resistance to pests and diseases, or adaptability in various climates.
  • Yield: Opt for parent plants known for producing abundant harvests.

Feminized vs Regular Seeds

In addition to choosing the desired traits from both parents, deciding whether you'll be using feminized seeds or regular seeds in your breeding project is essential. Feminized seeds produce only female plants which ensure higher yields since they are responsible for bud production while regular seeds result in both male and female offspring making them more suited if looking forward collecting pollen purposes.

Genetic Stability

A critical aspect of selecting parent plants is their genetic stability. Stable genetics ensure that offspring will inherit desired traits consistently, making it easier to predict outcomes in your breeding project. To achieve this, look for strains with a history of successful breeding or those that have been stabilized through multiple generations of backcrossing (breeding a hybrid with one of its parents).

Choosing the right parent plants is essential to guaranteeing the excellence of your cannabis pollen, as it will determine which attributes are inherited by future generations. With careful consideration and planning, creating controlled environments for pollination can help maximize the desired characteristics from each plant.

Creating Controlled Environments

In order to successfully breed cannabis plants and obtain the desired traits, it is crucial to create a controlled environment for your breeding project. This will help you prevent unwanted pollination from other strains or male plants in the vicinity. Here are some essential tips on setting up an ideal space for cannabis breeding:

Separate Breeding Spaces

First and foremost, designate separate spaces for your male and female plants. This ensures that only selected pollen reaches the target female plant(s). You can use different rooms or grow tents with proper ventilation systems to keep them apart.

Adequate Ventilation

Maintaining good air circulation is vital in any growing environment, especially when working with cannabis pollen. Install exhaust fans and carbon filters in both areas (male and female) to control odor while minimizing cross-contamination risks.

Pollen Control Measures

  • Cleanliness: Keep your breeding area clean by regularly wiping surfaces down with damp cloths or using HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaners.
  • Airlock Entrances: Create an airlock entrance system between your growing spaces by installing two doors separated by a small room or corridor. This helps reduce the chances of pollen transfer via clothing or equipment.
  • PPE Usage: Wear disposable gloves, shoe covers, hairnets, and even dedicated clothes when entering each respective area to avoid accidental contamination.
  • Pollen Collection Tools: Use specialized tools like paintbrushes or pollen shakers specifically designed for collecting cannabis pollen without spreading it unintentionally.

Temperature and Humidity Control

Optimal temperature and humidity levels are essential for successful cannabis breeding. Maintain a relative humidity of 40-50% and temperatures between 68-77°F (20-25°C) to ensure pollen viability, germination, and optimal plant health. Heaters, air conditioners, humidifiers and dehumidifiers can be employed to maintain optimal temperatures and humidity levels for cannabis breeding.

Lighting Conditions

Cannabis plants require specific light cycles during their growth stages. For breeding purposes, provide your male plants with an 18/6 light schedule (18 hours on, six hours off), while female plants should be kept under a 12/12 cycle once they enter the flowering stage. This will encourage optimal pollination and seed production in your chosen strains.

Taking these measures into account when setting up your controlled environment is key to achieving successful cannabis breeding projects that yield new hybrid strains with desirable traits from both parent plants.

Creating a controlled environment is essential to ensure the quality of your cannabis pollen. By understanding and implementing the right techniques, you can successfully collect and store high-quality pollen for future use. Collecting and storing pollen requires careful consideration of temperature, humidity levels, light exposure, air circulation, pest control measures and storage containers.

Collecting and Storing Pollen

Proper collection techniques ensure that you get enough viable pollen for successful pollination, while proper storage ensures its potency and viability over time. In this section, we will explore the different methods of collecting cannabis pollen and discuss tips for proper storage.

Methods of Collecting Cannabis Pollen

There are several ways to collect cannabis pollen from male plants. Here are some popular methods:

  • The Paintbrush Method: Using a small paintbrush or makeup brush, gently brush the male plant's flowers when they open up (usually around day 14-21 of flowering). The collected pollen can be transferred directly onto the female plant's pistils or stored for later use.
  • Pollen Shaker: A specialized device called a pollen shaker, which resembles a salt shaker with fine mesh screens inside, can be used to collect large amounts of pollen efficiently. Place fresh male flowers into the shaker and shake gently over a clean surface or container until all visible pollen has been released.
  • Brown Paper Bag Method: Cover an entire branch containing mature male flowers with a brown paper bag (make sure there is no moisture inside), then secure it tightly at the base using string or tape. After about two days, remove the bag carefully - you should find plenty of dry yellowish powder (the precious cannabis pollen) accumulated at its bottom.

Tips for Storing Cannabis Pollen

Proper storage of cannabis pollen is essential to maintain its viability and potency. Follow these tips for effective storage:

  1. Dry the Pollen: Make sure that the collected pollen is completely dry before storing it, as moisture can cause mold growth and reduce its effectiveness. You can allow it to air-dry by spreading the pollen on a spotless surface or utilize a food dehydrator at low temperatures.
  2. Airtight Containers: Store your dried cannabis pollen in an airtight container such as glass jars with tight-fitting lids or plastic containers specifically designed for long-term storage like pollen presses.
  3. Cool, Dark Place: Keep your stored pollen away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and humidity. A cool (below room temperature), dark place like a refrigerator or freezer works best for preserving its potency over time.
  4. Date & Label Your Pollen Samples: Don't forget to label each container with the strain name, collection date, and any other relevant information about the parent plants. This will help you keep track of different strains' genetic traits when breeding new hybrids in future projects.

Collecting and storing pollen is an important part of breeding cannabis. By utilizing the correct methods, you can guarantee a successful harvest. Now let's take a look at how to use this valuable resource in order to create new strains with step-by-step guidance on breeding cannabis using pollen.

Step-by-Step Guide to Breeding Cannabis Using Pollen

Breeding cannabis using pollen is an exciting process that allows you to create your own unique strains with desirable traits. Follow this step-by-step guide to successfully breed cannabis plants and produce a new hybrid strain.

1. Prepare the Parent Plants

To begin, select two healthy parent plants with the desired characteristics you want in your new strain. Select one male (pollen-bearing) and another female (seed-producing) for the parents. Ensure both plants are well-cared for, providing them with proper lighting, nutrients, and water as needed. This will ensure they are strong enough for successful breeding.

2. Collecting Pollen from Male Plant

The next step is collecting pollen from the male plant once it starts producing flowers or sacs filled with pollen grains. You can use various methods like a paintbrush or a pollen shaker. Gently tap on these sacs over a clean container or plastic baggie until sufficient amounts of pollen have been collected.

3. Isolate Female Plant

In order to prevent accidental pollination by other males in your grow area, isolate the female plant before applying collected pollen onto its flowers. Move her into another room or enclose her within a separate tent during pollination.


  • If possible, maintain consistent temperature and humidity levels during isolation period for optimal results.
  • Avoid disturbing isolated female too much while she's being pollinated; excessive movement could cause unwanted stress leading to poor seed production later on.

4. Apply Pollen to Female Plant

Once the female plant is isolated and her flowers have matured, carefully apply collected pollen onto select flowers using a paintbrush or cotton swab. Gently dab pollen onto pistils (the white hair-like structures) of each flower you want to pollinate.


  • Pollinate only a few branches on your female plant if you wish to produce seeds for future breeding projects while still harvesting some bud for personal use.
  • Label the branches that were pollinated with tags indicating male parent strain information; this will help keep track of new hybrid strains created during crossbreeding process.

5. Monitor Seed Development

After successful pollination, monitor seed development in the fertilized flowers over time. Seeds should start forming within two weeks after applying pollen and continue developing until they are fully matured, usually around four to six weeks post-pollination depending on strain characteristics.


  • Mature cannabis seeds typically darken in color and develop a hard outer shell when ready for harvest.

Breeding cannabis using pollen is a rewarding and exciting experience, however it requires patience and dedication. With the proper knowledge of preserving new strains, you can ensure that your efforts are not wasted.

Preserving New Strains

Once you have successfully bred a new cannabis strain using pollen, it's essential to preserve the genetic purity of your creation. By following proper preservation techniques, you can ensure that your hybrid maintains its unique characteristics and remains stable for future generations. Here are some tips on how to effectively preserve your newly created cannabis strains:

Maintain Isolation

To prevent cross-contamination with other strains or plants in your grow space, make sure to keep the breeding area isolated from other growing areas. This will help maintain the genetic integrity of both parent plants and offspring. Consider using separate rooms or tents for each strain.

Properly Label Your Plants

In order to avoid confusion and mix-ups between different strains, always label each plant clearly with information such as strain name, parentage, date of pollination, and any specific traits you want to track. Proper labeling is crucial for maintaining accurate records and ensuring consistent results in future breeding projects.

Create Clones

Cloning is an effective method for preserving a particular plant's genetics without relying solely on seeds. By taking cuttings from healthy mother plants (the original parents), you can create genetically identical copies that carry all desired traits forward into subsequent generations.

  1. Select healthy mother plants displaying desirable traits.
  2. Cut off branches containing multiple nodes (where leaves meet stem).
  3. Dip cutting ends into rooting hormone gel or powder before planting them in soilless medium like peat moss or rockwool cubes.
  4. Maintain high humidity levels around cuttings by using a humidity dome or plastic bag until roots develop.

Store Seeds Properly

To ensure your new strain is preserved for future use, keep cannabis seeds in an airtight container at low humidity levels and a cool, dark place. Store cannabis seeds in a cool, dark place with low humidity levels (around 20-30%) to prevent premature germination and maintain viability. Airtight containers like glass jars or vacuum-sealed bags work well for seed storage. You can also add silica gel packets or uncooked rice inside the container to help control moisture levels.

Document Your Breeding Process

Maintaining detailed records of your breeding process is essential for preserving genetic information and ensuring consistent results over time. Document every step, including parent plant selection, pollination methods used, environmental conditions during breeding, and any observed traits in offspring plants. This documentation will serve as an invaluable resource when planning future breeding projects or sharing information with other breeders.

By following these tips on preserving new strains after successful cannabis breeding using pollen, you'll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor while maintaining genetic purity and stability for generations to come.

Heading 7: Tips for Successful Cannabis Breeding

Cannabis breeding can be a rewarding and enjoyable hobby, but it requires patience, attention to detail, and knowledge of the plant's biology. To help you achieve success in your cannabis breeding endeavors, here are some tips:

  1. Choose quality parent plants: As mentioned earlier in this article, selecting the right parent plants is crucial. Look for strains with desirable traits such as potency, flavor profile or resistance to pests and diseases.
  2. Maintain a controlled environment: Ensure that your breeding space has proper lighting, temperature control and humidity levels. This will help prevent unwanted cross-pollination from other plants and maintain genetic purity.
  3. Pollen collection techniques: Experiment with different methods of collecting pollen like using a paintbrush or a pollen shaker (learn more about pollen shakers here). Find what works best for you to ensure efficient pollination without damaging the female flowers.
  4. Pollen storage: Store collected pollen in an air-tight container at low temperatures (around 32°F / 0°C) to prolong its viability. Ensure pollen is kept in a dry, shaded area to prevent exposure to direct sunlight or moisture which could diminish its potency over time.
  5. Fertilization timing: Apply collected pollen onto receptive female flowers within their optimal fertilization window (usually between days 10-20 after flowering begins). This increases the chances of successful seed production.

Taking all these factors into consideration will significantly increase your chances of creating unique hybrid strains with desired characteristics while maintaining genetic purity. Remember, practice makes perfect - so don't be discouraged if your first attempts at cannabis breeding aren't successful. Keep learning and experimenting to refine your skills and eventually create the hybrid strains of your dreams.

Frequently Asked Questions Cannabis Pollen: How to Use, Store, and Collect

How do you collect and store pollen?

To collect cannabis pollen, gently tap the male plant's flowers over a clean container to release the pollen. For storage, place the collected pollen in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag with silica gel packets to maintain dryness. Store it in a cool, dark place like a refrigerator for optimal preservation.

Can you collect and save pollen?

Yes, you can collect and save cannabis pollen for future use. By following proper collection and storage methods such as using an airtight container and storing it in cool conditions away from light exposure, your saved cannabis pollen can remain viable for several months up to two years.

How long does cannabis pollen stay viable?

Cannabis pollen viability varies depending on storage conditions but generally lasts between six months to two years when stored properly. Keeping it dry with silica gel packets, sealing it tightly in an appropriate container, and refrigerating will help prolong its shelf life.

What is the best way to harvest pollen?

The best way to harvest cannabis pollen is by tapping mature male flowers over a clean surface or collecting them directly into small containers while wearing gloves. This method ensures minimal contamination of female plants nearby while maximizing the amount of usable collected material for breeding purposes.


By following the steps outlined in this article, you can successfully breed cannabis using pollen. From selecting parent plants to creating controlled environments and collecting and storing pollen, there are many important considerations when breeding with cannabis pollen. Understanding how to use, store, and collect it is essential for producing high-quality hybrid strains that have desirable traits. By mastering these techniques of cannabis breeding with pollen, you will be able to create unique new strains that offer a variety of effects.