Choosing males

This is the fifth year I am growing and I am planning on breeding this season. How do you choose the best males?
Tusket, Nova Scotia

First decide on the characteristics that you are looking for. Aroma and flavor, growth habits, potency and quality of high, ripening time and resistance to pests and disease are some of the factors that you might track.

Although males don’t produce buds, you can learn a lot about them by the way they grow and mature, and by their odor. Look for the odoriferous plants. They are more likely to be potent. Unless a plant has specific novel or unusual traits, choose only the progeny of healthy, vigorous plants. Be merciless in your selection process and don’t let sentimentality interfere with your goals.

Look at the plant parts under an 8x or greater magnification loupe to see which has the most glands. Look at the leaves near the flowers to see which has the most glands and note their bulb size. Dry some of these leaves and test them.

You should also consider how the male compliments the female it will be used to pollinate. Will the two plants’ styles fight each other or produce a vigorous hybrid? Will the plant you are considering help to get you closer to the plant you are trying to develop?

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