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Guide for choosing your marijuana strain

Rare cannabis strains

We love all cannabis plants, but some of them stand out for their amazing look. Either for their leaf shape or growth pattern, some strains develop unique traits that really differentiate them from the rest, capturing the interest of growers and breeders around the world. In this post, you’ll see some of the most spectacular marijuana varieties you can find!

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Most interesting and curious cannabis strains

Throughout the history of marijuana, breeders have strived to find the best possible specimens of each strain in order to get hold of the highest quality plants, refine their lineages, and obtain new hybrids that are as solid as impressive. But the truth is that Mother Nature is unpredictable and sometimes she surprises and delights us with some unique and out of the ordinary plants, which stand out for their morphology or ability to adapt, developing very different traits to what we commonly consider as marijuana.

Botanical inquisitiveness has led some breeders who have encountered these “mutant strains” to investigate whether they possess interesting features that could be used in cannabis breeding, thus popularizing these hybrids’ peculiarities, pros, and cons.

Outdoor marijuana

Outdoor marijuana plants

Dr. Grinspoon, stringy and slender

One of the most popular unusual strains is Dr. Grinspoon, a pure heirloom Sativa which stands out for its vigorous, stringy and slender growth, reaching considerable heights even with a short vegetative period.

This super Sativa produces very airy buds with thin and separated calyxes that look like a weird bud that never compacted, developing independent and far from each other, in the shape of small, hairy, and resinous turrets. This is a very unusual trait, for the plant hardly resembles a cannabis specimen until one smells some of its aromatic “buds”, which will reveal the true nature of this singular plant.

Dr. Grinspoon plants grown indoors

Dr. Grinspoon plants grown indoors

As already stated, at first glance it may not look like a marijuana plant, resembling a hairy bush or some type of stringy vine rather than the usual plants found in our gardens.

Even so, her strange appearance, long flowering period (95 days), and modest productivity are compensated by the strong psychedelic and uplifting high, on a par with the best Sativas, very similar to that of Haze strains…a long-lasting, stimulating effect that sends you straight to the stars after only a few puffs. Highly recommended to improve low mood and for all types of creative and even physical activities… there’s nothing like a nice Dr. Grinspoon joint for some hiking!

Dr. Grinspoon almost ready to harvest

Dr. Grinspoon almost ready to harvest

DucksFoot, leaves that look a duck’s foot?

Ducksfoot originates from Australia and has a rare mutation that makes it develop furled, webbed leaves with attached leaflets, instead of separated and spear-like ones. These leaves really look like a duck’s foot, as if the leaflets were interdigital membranes.

This is due to a recessive gene usually found in Sativa-dominant strains; so if you ever come across a phenotype with this particular gene, you can keep it and do some breeding, as actually did the original creator of the strain, Wally Duck. The cross of a DucksFoot with an ordinary strain will result in about 25% of the offspring with this rare trait.

This unique aspect and the fact that its scent is milder than most strains, makes it go unnoticed more easily, hiding among other plants without drawing attention. It is then an ideal strain for guerrilla and discreet balcony growing.

Ducksfoot is an unusual specimen in every sense since the aroma is a mixture of pepper and incense notes which resembles an aromatic plant rather than a commercial cannabis strain. Last but not least, it must be said that it has a wonderful, relaxing effect.

Ducksfoot by USC

Ducksfoot by USC

Frisian Duck, a hybrid of Ducksfoot

Frisian Duck, a Frisian Dew (Super Skunk x Purple Star) x Ducksfoot hybrid, was created so people could enjoy the legendary Ducksfoot. Frisian Dew is a hybrid especially created for outdoor growers with high resistance to cold and pests, inherited from the Ducksfoot parent. As you can see in the picture, it also develops beautiful purple buds with awesome scent.

Frisian Duck also inherits the Ducksfoot’s webbed leaves, which makes it even more discreet; it’s an ideal strain for low-profile gardening and guerrilla growing, also for inexperienced growers who wish to learn the basics without neighbours and visits noticing about it.

Spectacular Frisian Duck plant by Dutch Passion

Spectacular Frisian Duck plant by Dutch Passion

Bindi Buds or ABC (Australian Bastard Cannabis)

Cannabis Australis is a phenotype discovered in Australia in the 70’s that stands out for its weird morphology, which as you can see resembles cannabis Sativa.

Some argue that it is an Australian landrace strain derived from the first cannabis sativa introduced into the area, due to its huge genetic differences, but the truth is that there is no conclusive evidence to support this; it could also be an extravagant mutation of an unusual strain which has remained stable over time.

ABC, Australian bastard cannabis

ABC, Australian bastard cannabis (Cannabisculture.com)

ABC plants grow as a bushy shrub with small, crowded and glossy leaves of smooth edges and a maximum length of 5cm, grouped in small clusters of chaotic appearance.

ABC leaf

ABC leaf (Cannabiculture.com)

In fact, this structure (and its citrus and spicy aroma, distinctively Sativa) is very similar to that of Dr Grinspoon, previously seen, and even to that of a hop, a cannabis relative, making it quite clear that it’s a strain like no other.

This unusual structure ensures a high resistance to cold and moulds, as well as total discretion, which is the reason why some breeders have tried to cross it with other strains in order to enhance its cannabinoid levels (its average THC content is around 5%) and thus make it more attractive for the commercial market.

But no stable hybrid has been developed yet, due to the fact that the gene responsible for this trait is recessive and it is not easily found in the offspring, which makes it a very difficult characteristic to fix.

Deep Chunk, the ultimate Afghan Indica

Also back in the 70’s, cannabis breeder Tom Hill launched a new strain for the Californian cannabis market, Deep Chunk, a pure Indica landrace from Afghanistan, which quickly gained recognition for its impressive traits.

It grows strong and robust, developing thick and resistant stems, and it’s ready after a relatively short flowering period, offering medium yields of buds packed with trichomes. The high is intense, relaxing, fun, and long-lasting. The size and thickness of its leaves are awesome, which is one of this strain’s main characteristics taking into account its pure Indica genetic background.

Deep Chunk #10 by Tom Hill

Deep Chunk #10 by Tom Hill

For these reasons – because it transmits its best traits, compact structure, and chocolate, citrus and coffee aroma with earthy and leathery notes – Deep Chunk is highly appreciated by growers who love traditional and high-quality strains. The bad news is that you’ll have to get it in the form of clones or seeds produced by other breeders, since the original Deep Chunk is no longer available in the market.

Without a doubt, these are some of the most interesting and weird strains that the cannabis world have to offer, but you can bet Mother Nature will surprise us with other mysterious strains in the future.

Fingers crossed!

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Guide for choosing your marijuana strain

Smoke Report: Pure Kush Cookies by Mamiko Seeds

Today we present a smoke report for one of the best strains we’ve tasted in recent years, Pure Kush Cookies from Mamiko Seeds. It’s a cross between LA Pure Kush and the famous Forum Cut of Girl Scout Cookies, and the result is an extraordinary mixture of delicious aromas in the form of rock-hard buds completely coated in resin. It’s one of those strains that has you coming back for more once you’ve tried it! “

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Today, we invite you to try an excellent strain that has surprised us in many aspects: Pure Kush Cookies by Mamiko Seeds. A cross between L.A. Pure Kush and the famous Girl Scout Cookies Forum Cut, it represents one of the best hybrids of these two families; though some would say, and not without reason, that they are closely related, as in fact, Cookies contains 50% OG Kush genes.

Either way, and as you are about to see, it’s a strain that stands out for many reasons, including its taste and aroma, and the impressive amount of resin it produces. A generous yielder, it developes a medium-sized, bushy and robust structure (ideal for indoor growing), with a nice calyx-to-leaf ratio. A plant that definitely makes its 10 weeks of flowering time worthwhile… In fact, its hash is one of the best we’ve ever had!

Pure Kush Cookies by Mamiko Seeds


Cultivation information

Organoleptic test

Dry sample

On a visual level, the buds present a thick layer of resin coating their chalices and leaves, and short pistils with a light orange colour. The density of the flowers is especially surprising, as they look like real rocks. The glandular trichomes ratio is very high, with hardly any cystolitic trichomes on the leaves, where they are usually found in higher numbers. It is also surprising the ease with which the resin comes loose, with a sandy texture and an enchanting aroma.

The scent is very pungent and reminiscent of dairy products with earthy tones. The first thing that comes to mind is yoghurt with some clear creamy notes; it’s one of those fragrances that feel as if it could be chewed, and it lingers on the tongue for a long time. After grinding, the dairy nuances are accentuated, as well as the OG Kush notes which come to the forefront. When dry-inhaling before lighting the joint, you can perfectly perceive all of these nuances, and you can’t wait to smoke it!

The buds appearance is magnificent

Smoke test

For the flavours and aromas to be fully appreciated, the tasting has been carried out according to the usual consumption method; in this case, a cigarette rolled with Raw Organic Hemp paper, a Jilter Filter, and a cardboard roach.

One of the things we best liked about this strain is, without a doubt, its flavour. It’s one of those unusual cases in which taste and aroma seem to improve after lighting the joint. When inhaling you’ll notice its delicious milky taste, and when exhaling your mouth will experience a real flavour explosion, almost as if you are eating cookies and yoghurt. Perhaps the biggest change with regards to the dry tasting is some sour notes, that once you start smoking, give way to sweeter nuances.

If I had to summarize it in a sentence, I would say it’s very similar to having a sugar-free yoghurt with shortbread cookies; very tasty, creamy, and with sweet and sour notes at the same time.

Psychoactive test

Pure Kush Cookies’ effect is intense and noticeable from the first draw. It provides a strong physical and mental relaxation, although not particularly narcotic. It’s an ideal high to enjoy with a film or socializing with friends, or even with a good book or video game. After a while, you’ll feel certain mental sluggishness and a clear sensation of hunger, very common to many other cannabis strains.

A typical effect of many Indica-dominant hybrids: relaxing but not to the extent of being sedative. Powerful, intense, but enjoyable, it won’t cause any negative sensations, such as anxiety or paranoia. Personally, I love to smoke it at night, in a leisurely way, once I have finished my workload!

Extracts production is excellent, and the quality is great

Properties of Mamiko Seeds’ Pure Kush Cookies

On a therapeutic level, this variety could be helpful in different scenarios:

  • Anxiety and stress reduction
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Appetite stimulation

We hope you found this article interesting, and hopefully it has inspired you to enter into the wonderful world of cannabis tasting, which can teach you so much about your favourite strains. If you’ve also tried this strain and would like to give your opinion, or just want to share any doubts or tips, we’ll be delighted to answer any questions. And remember: in our article on introduction to marijuana tasting you’ll find plenty of tips to get you started!

Happy smoking!

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Guide for choosing your marijuana strain

Choosing cannabis seeds for five-star water hash

In this blog article, we talk about the importance of choosing the correct genetics for full melt bubble hash production and offer a list of our own top choices of high-quality seed varieties for solventless resin extractions such as iceolator.

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With the increasing popularity of cannabis concentrates and resin extractions, it’s only natural that more and more growers are looking for genetics that are well suited to these techniques. Whether you’re growing in a small grow tent for your own supply or in a huge legal cultivation facility for a dispensary, it’s always best to be as efficient and effective as possible, and that means getting the best return in terms of quality and quantity from the time, money and effort that you’ve invested cultivating.

Full-melt GG4 bubble hash

Full-melt GG4 bubble hash

The selection of suitable genetics will be greatly influenced by the extraction method being used, as each technique has its own peculiarities and particular demands with regards to, for example, the trichome structure and terpene profile of the starting material. In other words, if you’re growing with the aim of making full-melt bubble hash then you may find that you get better results by choosing different varieties than if you were growing for live resin BHO extraction.

In this series of posts, we’ll talk about the varieties that are most suitable for each type of extraction process, putting you on the correct path to select the ideal hash plant for your particular needs. In this post, we’ll focus on some of the best seed varieties for making high-quality ice water hash, also known as bubble hash or iceolator.

Choosing genetics for full-melt bubble hash

If like us, you keenly follow the ever-changing trends of cannabis consumption then you’ll probably have heard of full-melt hash and how it’s regarded as the “creme-de-la-creme” of resin extractions. In this article, we’ll look at how important it is to choose the right genetics if you want to make the finest quality bubble hash for yourself.

Fresh Frozen full-melt iceolator of a Strawbanana Cream hybrid from TH Seeds

Fresh Frozen full-melt iceolator of a Strawbanana Cream hybrid from TH Seeds

As the name suggests, this classification of solventless hash, also sometimes referred to as “5-star” hash, is so pure that it completely melts when it is vaporised or dabbed, leaving almost no residue behind. The purity of full melt hash is obvious to the eye, with the best examples having a very light colour and an almost-crystalline look to them. Apart from being visually stunning, this high purity means that the flavours, aromas and effects are maximised, making this arguably the most highly sought-after form of cannabis concentrate among true connoisseurs.

Genetics & cultivation skill – the foundation of 5-star hash

While there is no question that it takes careful and conscientious work by a skilled hash maker to achieve such pristine results, the reality is that the path towards full melt water hash begins not in the hash lab but in the grow room, where the care and conditions that plants receive are fundamental in producing high-quality resin for the hash maker to work with.

But as important as your growing skills are, it’s not enough just to have green fingers… it’s crucial that you cultivate plants that produce the correct type of resin to make full melt hash and to realise that not every cannabis plant is capable of doing that. Some plants are simply more genetically predisposed to producing 5-star bubble hash, due to factors such as flower structure, trichome type and the composition of the terpene profile.

This Do-Si-Dos cross shows the kind of trichome coverage every hash maker dreams of!

This Do-Si-Dos hybrid has the kind of trichome coverage every hash maker dreams of!

Finding full-melt cultivars – clone or seed?

With that in mind, the grower who wishes to cultivate a “full-melt quality” cannabis plant is faced with two choices: either track down an elite clone that has already garnered a solid reputation among hash makers or, alternatively, make a new selection from seed. Getting a verified clone is not easy in most parts of the world, so selecting from seed is a very popular option among home growers and enthusiasts, especially if we can get seeds made using these original elite clones. It also has its own advantages, not only giving you a unique and special phenotype that no other growers or hash makers will have but also removing any risk of introducing pests or diseases to your grow area on infected clones.

High-quality Purple Punch x Do-Si-Dos hash (Philosopher Seeds)

Top-quality bubble hash of Purple Punch x Do-Si-Dos by Philosopher Seeds

Once you’ve decided to make a selection from seeds, it’s time to take a look at the cannabis varieties with the best reputation for producing first-grade resin. By getting to know which are the most consistently successful genetic lines in this field, you will be much better prepared when it comes to choosing seeds for your full-melt pheno-hunt and by making the right choices when you buy your seeds, you can hugely increase your chances of finding a keeper. By studying the strains which consistently win the solventless categories of cannabis cups, as well as those that the world’s leading hash makers are working with, you can get a very good idea of the best genetics to start with.

Our choice of the best seeds for full-melt hash

Looking over the results of recent cannabis cups, as well as the most popular hash strains in dispensaries and cannabis clubs, it’s clear to see that, with very few exceptions, the best varieties seem to come from the Cookies, Chemdog and OG Kush families of genetics, and from the seemingly endless re-combinations of these three mainstays of modern cannabis breeding, leading to a mindblowing range of cannabinoid-rich seed varieties with mouthwatering terpene profiles. Searching within these genetic groups is a surefire way to get amazing results in water hash, bit to make things even easier we’ve selected ten varieties that have caught our eye in particular.

Sunset Sherbet by Apòthecary Genetics

This cross of Girl Scout Cookies with Pink Panties (Burmese Kush x Florida Kush) was originally created by San Francisco’s very own Cookie Fam and has since become very famous among growers, smokers and extractors for its extremely high resin and terpene production. Apothecary Genetics Sunset Sherbert offers an intense, full-body effect with a cerebral edge, with a terpene profile that blends the typical GSC aromas with powerful and exotic skunky, citric and sweet berry flavours. It’s a hugely popular variety among solventless hash makers and winner of Best Hash Rosin at the 2019 Spannabis Champions Cup with an entry from Barcelona’s HQ Club.

Sunset Sherbert by Apothecary Genetics

Sunset Sherbert from Apothecary Genetics

Black Garlic by Oni Seeds

As well as creating one of the most popular varieties of the last few years with Tropicanna Cookies, Oni Seeds boast a wide range of top-shelf hash-producing genetics and for this post, we’ve chosen to highlight Black Garlic strain, which crosses two varieties with well-proven hash championship pedigrees. The first is GMO (GSC x Chemdog), a clone-only selection of Chem Cookies from Mamiko Seeds which has recently gained quite a reputation for its huge returns and “loud” terpene profile. The other parent is Sour Dubble (Sour Diesel x Sour Bubble), also one of the parents of the hugely resinous hash strain Gorilla Glue (aka GG#4) making this a hybrid that is guaranteed to delight resin hunters!

Purple Punch x Do-Si-Dos by Philosopher Seeds

One of the most popular hybrids in the Philosopher Seeds catalogue, Purple Punch x Do-Si-Dos combines two strains already well-known for their potency and hash production, offering the best of OG Kush and Cookies genetics alongside the Californian classic Granddaddy Purple. By crossing Purple Punch (Larry OG x Granddaddy Purple) with Do-Si-Dos (OGKB x Face-Off OG), the breeders at Philosopher Seeds has created an Indica-dominant cannabis hybrid that combines a heavily sedative effect with outstanding organoleptic characteristics. The aromas and flavours are notable for their sweet base of grapes, blueberry muffins and Kool-Aid cake, a sugary, candy terpene profile fit for true cannabis connoisseurs.

Purple Punch x Do-Si-Dos from Philosopher Seeds

Purple Punch x Do-Si-Dos from Philosopher Seeds

Banana Cake by Paisa Grow Seeds

By crossing two already famed hash strains in the shape of Wedding Cake (Triangle Kush x Animal Mints) and Monkey Banana (Banana Kush x Banana OG), Paisa Grow Seeds have created the spectacular Banana Cake, a fast-flowering, Indica-dominant hybrid with incredibly dense coverage of the highest-quality trichomes and a truly mouthwatering and exotic terpene profile with touches of banana, vanilla and tropical fruits on a creamy background.

Banana Cake from Paisa Grow Seeds

Banana Cake from Paisa Grow Seeds

Kitchen Sink by Cannarado Genetics

Cannarado Genetics are one of those US seed banks that seem to produce hybrid after hybrid that are perfect for full-melt hash making, and this exciting cross between two authentic resin monsters is no exception! Kitchen Sink brings together the famously trichome-heavy GMO (GSC x Chemdog) with the delicious terpene profile of Sundae Driver (Fruity Pebbles OG x Grape Pie), resulting in a 50/50 Indica-Sativa cross with a huge amount of resin and a complex sweet, dessert, candy terpene profile that makes for the tastiest top-quality bubble hash.

KmintZ  by Ripper Seeds

Ripper Seeds are a Spanish seed bank who, over the last few years, have competed in, and won, countless cannabis cups with their varieties, focussing particularly on the solventless categories where they really have truly excelled and set themselves apart from the competition, taking both first and second prizes in 2020’s Spannabis Champions Cup with KmintZ and OMG, respectively. For this list, we’ve chosen the first-place winner, KmintZ, an amazing cross using the elite clone Zkittlez (Grape Ape x Grapefruit x Unknown) and Seed Junky Genetics’ Kush Mint  (Bubba Kush x Animal Mints) and a plant that delivers an insane quantity of resin with intensely potent and persistent aromas and flavours that make it a worthwhile choice for any hash-making grower.

KmintZ from Ripper Seeds

KmintZ from Ripper Seeds

Papaya x THC Bomb by Purple City Genetics

Papaya is one of those old-school hybrids that had been almost forgotten about until it began to make a comeback in the last few years after winning a few hash prizes and being incorporated into the breeding programme of top US seed banks, most notably Oni Seeds. Here, Purple City Genetics have crossed this Jack Herer x Skunk hybrid with THC Bomb, a plant of unknown genetic origin that has, nevertheless, become a firm favourite with many hash makers due to its big yields, a high percentage of THC and suitability for making bubble hash. The result of this cross of Papaya x THC Bomb is a vigorous Indica-dominant plant that offers highly resinous buds with a flavour profile that references ripe fruit and papayas, strawberry bubble gum with sweet candy and skunk touches.

Sublimator by R-KIEM Seeds

Gorilla Glue #4 aka Original Glue aka GG4 is, as many of you will already know, a strain made famous for its high-quality resin and huge returns in extractions but not always appreciated for its flavour. It does, however, cross very well with other, more terpene-rich varieties and that’s exactly what the team at R-KIEM Seeds have done here with Sublimator, matching GG4 with the intensely flavourful Sour Banana (Sour Diesel x Banana Sherbet). The result is an easy-to-grow hybrid that retains all of the astounding resin production of GG4 but with the welcome addition of an acidic, sour and fruity kush terpene profile that will have your taste buds going crazy!

Sublimator from R-Kiem

Sublimator from R-Kiem Seeds

Forbidden Cake by Elev8 Seeds

Wedding Cake (Triangle Kush x Animal Mints) is very popular Cookies/Kush variety that has already made an appearance in our list, and here it forms part of this hybrid from Elev8 Seeds who, to create Forbidden Cake strain, have crossed it with Forbidden Fruit, another of the most highly-prized hash varieties of recent years and winner of plenty of cups and competitions. A cross of Cherry Pie and Tangie, Forbidden Fruit is packed with the intense citric aromas that made it so popular with consumers, as well as being a huge hit with cannabis breeders wanting to inject some seriously fruity flavours into their genetic work. In this case, the combination with Wedding Cake serves to intensify the terpene profile, augmenting the aromas of ripe tropical fruit, gas and cookies and to reinforce the dense layer of resinous trichomes that coats the flowers and sugar leaves of this stunning plant, offering the opportunity for full-melt bubble hash with unforgettable organoleptic qualities.

Stracciatella by TH Seeds

Amsterdam cannabis legends TH Seeds present Stracciatella cannabis strain, a cross combining two very potent and flavourful all-star hash varieties in the shape of Do-Si-Dos (OGKB x Face-Off OG) from Oregon’s Archive Seeds and Strawbanana Cream (Strawberry Banana x White OG) bred by Holland’s Karma Genetics. Both varieties have been proven to work very well in hybrids, readily passing on their most positive characteristics of producing the highest-quality resin in solventless extractions alongside truly outstanding terpene profiles that are sure to satisfy the most choice palates!

Stracciatella by TH Seeds

Stracciatella (Do-Si-Dos x Strawbanana Cream) by TH Seeds

With this list, we hope that we’ve set you out on the right track to success in your pheno-hunt for an epic hash plant, now all that remains is to make your final choice of genetics and start growing them so you can get washing as soon as possible!

Best wishes and happy growing!

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Guide for choosing your marijuana strain

Selecting cannabis mother plants

Choosing a good mother plant is not easy, especially if you have very specific goals in mind. To make it simpler, this article covers the main factors that are usually considered when selecting a mother plant; which, as you will see, can vary a great deal depending on the type of grower.

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Although many cannabis growers use seeds on each and every crop, whether growing under artificial lights or outdoors, some of them prefer to keep their mother plants in an indoor grow space and consistently take cuttings to get them to flower whenever it suits them. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages; on the one hand, when cultivating from seeds you get a greater variety of flavours, aromas and effects than when you grow from cuttings. In addition, plants cultivated from seeds are usually more vigorous and productive.

However, when using clones, you obtain identical plants, with exactly the same flavour, aroma and effect. In some cases, if you are looking for a particular flavour or high, it’s the easiest way to achieve it. For this reason, many growers cultivate from seed in order to choose the best specimen to keep it as a mother plant for their future crops. In this article, we explain how to do this.

Through this selection you can discard the plants that don’t carry the desired traits

Through this selection you can discard the plants that don’t carry the desired traits

Why select a mother plant?

As you already know, seeds from the same variety produce plants that, while sharing the same genetics, will exhibit different traits among themselves, depending on how stable the cross is. Sometimes, there’s hardly any difference between the plants, in which case we will be talking about a particularly stable cross. However, on other occasions, you’ll see huge differences between specimens of the same generation.

Whatever the case, if you want to choose a mother plant, you have to bear in mind a series of parameters in order to ensure it will be a good candidate. As we’ll see later, some of these parameters could be considered almost binding, while others are completely subjective and can be of less importance depending on the case.

The first things you should ask yourself are: why choose a specific plant? What needs should it meet? Many times, the first parameters we take into account are things such as maximum outdoor production, as in the case of large commercial operations. On the other hand, many growers do not care much for these criteria and consider much more important other aspects such as taste or effect, which would be the case for most home-growers.

In a crop grown from seed we often find plants with different characteristics

In a crop grown from seed we often find plants with different characteristics

As you can see, a large part of the selection process is subjective and depends entirely on the grower preferences, while other times it’s determined by commercial or professional factors… a commercial grower, a breeder and a home-grower will be looking for very different things in a plant!

Criteria to select a mother plant

Let’s see some of the parameters most commonly taken into consideration when selecting a good mother plant for future crops from cuttings. It would make little sense to choose your plants from clones, as they are identical. You’ll need to start with feminized or regular seeds; both types are suitable as long as they are not automatic seeds since it’s not possible to keep an autoflowering plant in a permanent vegetative state.

Before we continue, it’s worth noting that a plant selection is not a regular crop, especially if you want to be thorough. Aspects such as the labelling of the plants and their clones, which you’ll have to maintain until the harvest to decide which ones to keep, are more important than ever. It is also a good practice not to rely on your memory and keep a grow diary to record any observations that could be relevant later on, when deciding on one or another plant.

The clones are kept until the mother plant is chosen

The clones are kept until the mother plant is chosen

Let’s look now at some of the parameters you need to bear in mind when making a selection:

Germination and rooting

While vigorous germination is not a key aspect in determining whether a plant is “better” than other, it’s advisable to keep it in mind; trying to always choose between the plants that have germinated first and displayed more strength during that first phase. Of course, it’s always possible that the best specimen takes two or three more days to germinate than its sisters, and thus we stress this is not a key factor. You can’t rule out a potential elite clone because it took a few days longer to germinate!

Some growers could focus more on root production, which is always important, as a healthy, strong and well-established root system is usually synonymous with a healthy plant and a vigorous growth. But it’s even more important when, for example, running commercial cultivation of rooted seedlings or clones! In this case, the cuttings or seedlings rooting speed and root production will be crucial once they are transplanted.

Vegetative vigour

The vigour displayed by the plant during the vegetative phase can be quite an important factor, especially when it comes to commercial crops. Few professional growers would want to work with plants that present a very long growing phase indoors, or produce very little outdoors due to their small size; always preferring specimens with a good vegetative vigour in order to save time and money and – especially outdoors – obtain highly productive plants.

You need to select plants that develop roots easily

You need to select plants that develop roots easily

And the same applies to the so-called nurseries, which are farms mainly dedicated to the propagation and sale of clones. They don’t have any use for a plant that needs several weeks between one batch of clones and the next. They want plants that respond well to pruning and are able to develop new branches and shoots as soon as possible. By contrast, for the cultivators who simply seek flower quality, this could be a secondary factor, as they are willing to sacrifice production time in favour of a superior final product.

Structure

Once again, this is a factor of relative importance which largely depends on the cultivator. Usually, growers prefer plants that branch generously and bear well the weight of the buds, because as we all know, branch means production, whether you want flowers, clones or resin extractions. For a clone producer, this is a crucial factor, as well as for most outdoor growers, since it’s very difficult to obtain large harvests from plants that don’t branch properly or show very little vigour.

However, the growers who use the SOG technique may prefer plants with little branching, a columnar growth pattern, and a single main cola where all the flower production can be concentrated. A breeder could be looking for a plant that won’t develop large leaves with long petioles and will pass this trait on to its offspring. Or maybe they want plants with very flexible stems that can withstand strong winds… Each cultivator has very specific needs that can be diametrically opposed to those of another grower, and that’s something that is reflected in the type of plants selected by one and the other.

Structure can be an important factor when selecting a mother plant

The structure can be an important factor when selecting a mother plant

Flowering time

This factor can be decisive, as every cultivator wants plants that are as fast as possible. Whether a commercial or a home-grower, indoors or outdoors… you’ll always want the flowering period to end as soon as possible! We say it can be decisive because you may not mind a plant that takes a week longer than its sister if you are looking for flavour, effect or structure; but what is certain is that nobody wants to keep a plant that displays the same characteristics as other but takes longer to be ready for harvest.

Resistance

Another key factor when choosing a plant; especially considering it’s not a good idea to select a mother plant that is prone to problems such as pests and diseases, has difficulty to take up nutrients, or does not adapt well to being in the same pot for long periods of time; this latter case is a problem that all breeding lovers would have experimented when trying to keep male plants.

You need to choose from the specimens that show the greatest resistance to this type of problems, trying to preserve a strong and robust plant that will save you many setbacks in the future. There could be growers who, for climate reasons, need plants that are moisture-resistant, or particularly resistant to light stress, but what everyone agrees on is in wanting plants that are resistant to pests and fungi.

Resistance to pests such as red mites and whiteflies is always desirable

Resistance to pests such as red mites and whiteflies is always desirable

Bud production

Without any doubt, a plant’s final production is a significant parameter for many growers. In a similar way to the flowering period, everyone prefers productive plants… very productive! After all, a vast majority of cultivators grow cannabis to harvest the buds, so a good harvest will always be welcome.

Once again, it’s a matter of finding the balance between the desired production and the other parameters that are important to the grower. Of course, finding a plant that performs like a champion and produces high-quality buds is one of the main goals of many plant selections. And if we add to this a decent flowering time, you could be facing a clone to talk about in the future!

Aside from the flowers themselves final weight, another parameter could be the chalice/leaf ratio. Personally, and to give just an example, I have ruled out plants for having too many leaves in the flowers; too much manicure work in exchange for very little bud. I rather keep another plant with a better chalice/leaf ratio and less final weight.

The chalice/leaf ratio can be important when selecting a mother plant

The chalice/leaf ratio can be important when selecting a mother plant

Finally, when selecting male plants for a breeding project, it’s important to focus not only on the production of floral clusters, but also, once they are ripened, on the pollen. You won’t do much with a male plant with lots of flowers and hardly any pollen… This may be not a big problem for regular seed producers, but it’s an issue for producers of feminized seeds.

Hermaphroditism

This is an important matter, especially when selecting plants for breeding. Although there might be some exceptions, as some of the popular elite clones have known tendencies to hermaphroditism, as a general rule you should rule out monoicous specimens from your selection. Nobody likes to smoke cannabis with seeds!

There might be plants that in the late flowering stage start developing a few “bananas”; if the quality of the flowers is worth it this won’t be a big issue, since many times the male flowers are not even fertile. However, if they are “true hermaphrodites,” it’s better to get rid of them at the time of the identification.

Resin production

Resin production had always been one of the main factors to bear in mind, but with the rise in the consumption of high-quality extracts we’ve seen in recent years, now it’s a determining factor when it comes to keeping a plant or discarding it. Resin production can vary dramatically from plant to plant, ranging – broadly – between 10% and 25%. In this the case, it’s a crucial parameter for both concentrates producers and lovers.

Resin concentrates are increasingly popular

Resin concentrates are increasingly popular

When choosing a male plant, aside from the structure and aroma during growth, resin production is a very important factor to decide between one and another plant. Male plants don’t normally have a plethora of glandular trichomes, so in you find one that does, it’s advisable to cherish it and use it often!

Taste and aroma

Again, one of the most important parameters when selecting a mother plant. Whether you are looking for small, robust plants or big monsters with lots of branches, you’ll always want intense and nice aromas and flavours. You can ignore some of the parameters we’ve seen when selecting your future mother plant, and not mind too much its structure or flowering times, but surely no one wants to keep a plant that offers little smell or taste, or with unpleasant or unattractive aromas and flavours.

In many cases, this is the first factor to take into account: the plants with the best aromas and flavours are chosen, and then the other parameters are analysed to decide which of them will be the future mother plant.

A plant’s aroma and flavour is a big part of its personality

A plant’s aroma and flavour is a big part of its personality

Effect

The effect is another factor that can tip the scales one way or the other. Although sometimes you may place more value on other criteria, such as flowering times or bud production for commercial crops or when simply looking for the best possible yields, it’s often an important factor for the person carrying out the selection, who will discard the plants that don’t produce the desired effect.

This becomes especially important for medical cannabis users, for which this factor would be practically the only one to consider; if the plant offers the desired effect, it doesn’t matter how it grows or smells! When selecting your plant, you should only choose plants that offer the effect you are looking for, and then – as always occurs with a key and indispensable factor – you’ll have to analyse other parameters for the final selection.

Cannabinoid content

As with resin production, a factor that has become very important in recent years, cannabinoid content is, for many businesses and medical marijuana users, the main parameter to consider. Especially for producers of extracts and isolated cannabinoids, it’s crucial to find plants with the desired cannabinoid rate.

Cannabinoid analysis chart (CBN) determined by thin layer chromatography

Cannabinoid analysis chart (CBN) determined by thin-layer chromatography

Even in a domestic environment, when more and more people are growing their own cannabis at home to relieve their ailments, you can analyze your flowers with some practical kits that include everything you need, such as the Alpha-Cat Cannabinoid Analysis Kit. This way, you’ll know the approximate content of the main cannabinoids, something that can be very useful when choosing a particular plant.

As you can see, there are a few parameters to consider when selecting a mother plant, although in most cases you can narrow the truly important down to just a few. And, who knows? Perhaps the next elite clone comes out of your grow room!

As always, do not hesitate to share your advice, doubts and experiences on this subject; it will be a pleasure to read them and answer you.

Happy growing!

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