Mother and father plants are kept to provide cuttings.
A lot of people buy feminised seed so that they don’t have to waste time and resources selecting female plants and culling males. Personally I find it easier and better to keep a mother plant and use cuttings from her. The main benefit is the uniformity- all the cuts will grow at a similar rate and provide the same quality of bud.
Normally I’d germinate the seeds, then when they have shown preflowering, take cuttings (see (only registered users can se the link, login or register) section of the FAQs) and then flower the seed plants. (You could flower a cut instead and keep the original plant vegging)
The cuttings are kept under a vegging light schedule (18 or more hrs per day, 24 hrs may be best) and rooted.
The original plants are flowered. If you want to discard the males then do so as soon as sex shows, likewise discard the male cuttings if you don’t want them.
The remaining seed plants are flowered through to the end so the bud can be smoked and assessed. This assessment is fairly easy- you are looking for the one (or ones) which you enjoy smoking the most. It’s your plant, so your opinion is all that matters. Taste, smell, effect, duration, whatever your favoured criteria are.
Other factors to consider when choosing Mothers
– Vigour and health. We want sturdy fast growing plants. Anything which is susceptible to mould, pests, or any other form of pestilence should be discarded.
– Flowering times- generally shorter is better.
– Leaf to calyx ratio. Anything too leafy will be a pain to manicure.
– Hermaphrodism. Any female plant which grows male flowers should be discarded. Unless of course herming was caused by light leaks or other stress. Even then, plants which show the most resistance to herming should be chosen over those which herm easily.
– Growth patterns. Depends on the intended use and the environment the plant is to be grown in.
If headroom is limited then avoid plants which stretch and grow too tall.
Avoid plants which have weak stems; when the buds grow heavy they may snap off the plant unless they are supported somehow (generally a hassle).
– Ease of cloning. If the cuts are reluctant to root then this will be a problem. Also reluctant rooting tends to indicate lack of vigour.
– Aesthetics. This isn’t really that important, but you might as well choose a plant you like the look of. Often the healthiest plants look the best anyway.
– Aesthetics of the finished bud. Personally I couldn’t care less about bag appeal but some do.
Choosing father plants is a bit more tricky. We are interested in the female expression of the genetics- this is not always obvious from the male plant without progeny testing.
A few extra factors to consider when choosing Papa plants
– Smell. It is nearly always the case that a good smelling plant will produce good tasting bud. Or rather a good smelling male’s female offspring produce good tasting bud.
– Hollow meristem (main stem). Don’t ask me why but plants with a hollow meristem usually produce more potent bud. You can only really assess this with the seed plants, clones will usually have solid meristems in any case.
– Resin production. The more the better.
You can smoke the leaves (don’t bother with the fan leaves) to give an idea what the bud would be like if the plant was female.
There is some debate whether hermie males are suitable for breeding. I wouldn’t use them myself but some respected breeders say otherwise.
Generally you will get a better idea how a male plant will turn out if you let it flower through to the end. Of course it (and it’s pollen) should be kept isolated from any flowering females unless you want seeds. Via (only registered users can se the link, login or register)