We identify early signs of a male plant. If you growing cannabis at home, but unsure whether it’s a male or female, then you’ve come to the right place! This article aims to teach you how to correctly sex cannabis plants by telling the difference between male and female plants.
We cover how to identify and detect male plants, and how they can be a benefit to your crop however, you should separate and isolate immediately for the health of your crop.
It’s important to sex your Cannabis plants while they are still very young; it will become much more obvious as the plants reach maturity and flower. Sexing cannabis plants during their early pre-flower phase can be a bit more difficult. In addition, we’ll discuss why it’s important to determine the sex of cannabis plants, what feminized seeds are, and how we treat our plants until we know their sex.
Table of Contents
Why Sex Cannabis Plants? The Role of Male and Female Plants
The average home grower prefers female cannabis plants. The ladies produce the fattest, most resinous, most potent flowers (buds). A male cannabis plant is only desirable for breeding cannabis and saving seeds (another topic).
The grower will need to identify female and male plants early on and separate them unless they want free cross-breeding and pollination between different strains. We discuss this and other good reasons to identify early signs of male plant in detail.
The males are less desirable, and even one male cannabis plant can interfere with the quality and production of all of your female plants. Males produce pollen that can release through the pollen sacs of the Cannabis plant. When a nearby male pollinates a female cannabis plant, its energy will shift to producing seeds. Unless you desire seed production, eliminate all males.
The female cannabis plant, like most things in nature, has a biological drive to reproduce. She will sit back and relax as soon as the deed is completed. A pollinated female cannabis plant can produce decent-sized buds, but they are usually lower quality and contain less THC and other desirable cannabinoids. They will also be full of seeds, and no one wants that.
A female cannabis plant’s flowers (buds) continue to grow, develop trichomes, and become increasingly resinous if left unpollinated. To catch pollen in the wind, your plant tries to make its buds as sticky and large as possible. Cannabis without seeds and unfertilized, aka sinsemilla.
Only unfertilized female plants, known as Sinsemilla, produce potent cannabis for smoking.
When a crop of only female plants is grown, there is no chance that male plants will fertilize female plants, which would result in seed production.
What Does a Cannabis Plant Look Like?
What do you call the first leaves called on a cannabis plant? Soon after the seed sprouts or germinates, flowering plants produce baby cotyledon leaves. Plants need these embryonic leaves to get started. Cannabis plants appear different throughout the different stages of their lifespan, we have pictures of each stage to help you improve your growing skills.
Cannabis Plant Stages (Pictures)
During the life cycle of a Cannabis plant, there are four stages:
- Germination (3-10 days): When the seed sprouts and emerges from the soil
- Seedling (2-3 weeks): When the plant develops its first cotyledon leaves after germination.
- Vegetative (3-16 weeks): This is when your cannabis plant will grow stalks, branches, stems, and fan leaves.
- Flowering (8-11 weeks): At this point, your plant produces buds.
How To Identify A Female Plant Before The Flowering Stage
In a Cannabis plant’s vegetative stage, young plants show signs of gender or pre-flowering. Four weeks after germination, pre-flowers can appear. The male pre-flowers cannot be distinguished from the female pre-flowers for up to six weeks. A dedicated grower can detect subtle signs of gender with practice. Often, it isn’t easy to distinguish pre-flowers with the naked eye, so a magnifying glass may be useful.
The main giveaway of a female plant during the pre-flowering phase is the presence of fine, white hairs called stigmas that protrude from tiny tear-drop buds. Located at the nodes where the branches meet the central stalk, stigmas are female reproductive organs.
Let’s first examine why to plant gender matters before looking at the signs that indicate gender in the pre-flowering stage.
Feminized vs Regular Cannabis Seeds
The main difference between feminized and regular cannabis seeds is that feminized seeds have over a 99% chance of producing female plants whereas regular cannabis seeds will produce a 50/50 mix of male and female plants. For this reason, regular seeds are only suitable for growers and breeders looking to cross their own strains.
How are feminized cannabis seeds made?
Essentially, feminized seeds are made from cannabis plants that have been altered to inhibit male chromosomes. Spraying colloidal silver repeatedly (daily or more) is the most common method. Some other chemicals and compounds can be used, but they are more challenging to obtain. Although colloidal silver is technically non-toxic, it should not be smoked. Therefore, the plant is sacrificed for the production of pollen and seeds only.
Using colloidal silver repeatedly suppresses the plant’s ethylene, which produces male flowers. A female plant treated with FEMALE pollen (XX rather than XY) will grow pollen sacs instead. Female pollen is then used to pollinate female flowers, resulting in feminized seeds.
Where Can I Get The Best Feminized Cannabis Seeds?
If you are looking for feminized or autoflowering cannabis seeds, you are in the right place. We pride ourselves on carrying the best genetics on the market, featuring all your favorite classics, along with exotic strains you may have never heard of. All of our seeds are feminized, including all of our autoflowering seeds. We make sure to understand everything there is to know about every strain we carry to best meet the needs of our customers. Shop today and get 25% off your first order, along with fast, free shipping.
Early Signs Of Male Plant
If you want to know how to tell if your plant is male, you just need to know how to spot the pollen sacs. Once a male produces pollen sacs, it becomes capable of pollinating nearby female plants. This is because the buds are the sex organs of the female plants, and this is how the plants reproduce. Some large scale growing operations make use of chemical leaf testing to be sure that they are only producing female plants.
How To Identify Male Cannabis Plants
While there are early signs of male plants, male cannabis plants tend to tip their hand sooner than females. Around a week or two sooner. Your cannabis plants will enter the pre-flowering stage toward the end of the vegetative stage. At this point, the males will rock up and make their presence known.
What Happens If You Leave Males And Female Cannabis Plants Together?
If you do not remove the male cannabis plants from your crop, your buds will certainly become seeded as their pollen sacs open and reach your females. Not only are these seeds tedious to remove when breaking up the bud to smoke, but they are also less potent as the female cannabis plant has to put energy into producing those seeds rather than THC.
Why Do Cannabis Growers Prefer Female Plants?
Female plants produce the delicious smokeable buds we all know and love and have higher THC content and potency than male plants.
Do Male plants produce buds?
No, male plants do not produce buds. Instead, they produce pollen sacs, which are essentially their reproductive organs. The buds on female plants are also their reproductive organs which is why they produce seeds when pollinated.
What are Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plants?
Cannabis plants are dioecious, meaning there are separate male and female plants. Whereas many plants can pollinate themselves, dioecious plants require a member of the opposite sex for reproduction.
However, the cannabis plant has a fascinating adaptation that allows females who suspect a lack of male pollen to develop male sex organs and pollinate themselves. Known as hermaphroditism, this trait is key to the species’ survival in the wild, but it doesn’t bode well for good harvests! So read on to discover why hermaphrodite cannabis plants appear, and what to do if you find them in your grow room or garden.
How To Spot Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plants Early
In the earlier stages, hermaphrodite plants will develop both male pollen sacs and bud sites at the nodes. Keep an eye out for balls, fine hairs, and banana-shaped structures on your plants as you examine them closely. Often called nanners, these tiny banana-like structures grow in small clusters, much like bananas do.
How Can You Tell if a Plant is a Hermaphrodite?
Cannabis plants can grow as a hermaphrodite, or “hermie,” if their seeds carry the necessary genes. These rare plants have male and female sex organs. A male or female plant can become a hermaphrodite due to inadequate or excess light and water, physical damage, or a nutrient deficiency. Hermaphrodite cannabis plants are valuable for advanced cultivators hoping to breed new strains of cannabis. For at-home growers, hermaphrodites lack THC content and can pollinate surrounding female plants, ruining a harvest.
A true hermaphrodite will either present with both pistils and pollen sacs at its nodes or produce antlers, which are banana-shaped. The antlers eventually burst open with a stamen, increasing the chance of pollination. Hermaphroditic plants do not produce usable cannabis but self-pollinate and produce Cannabis seeds. However, they aren’t regular seeds. Rather, they’re likely to produce more hermaphroditic plants.
You’ll be able to tell if you have a hermaphrodite plant or not as it shows the male pollen sacs and buds, showing both identifying characteristics of each gender. You need to act immediately if you see this in your crop, as it only takes one hermaphrodite to ruin your entire crop. Nanners can mess up your entire female crop almost immediately.
Can you stop a cannabis plant from becoming a hermaphrodite?
Avoid any stress or triggers when the plant is flowering to reduce the likelihood of producing hermaphrodite plants.
Cannabis plants can become hermaphrodites when stressed, so it’s important to monitor them after exposure to stressors, such as high temperatures or light leaks; in the outdoors, a snapped branch might be repaired but then become hermaphrodites. Other primary causes of hermaphrodite plants range from poor genetics to a history of hermaphroditic development.
Avoid cultivating plants with poor genetics or a history of hermaphroditic development. To prevent pollination of female plants, remove any plants with pollen sacs or anthers immediately from your garden.
How soon can you tell if a Cannabis plant is male or female?
It doesn’t take long to tell whether or not a Cannabis plant is male or female. In the pre-flowering phase, the main giveaway of a female plant is the appearance of fine, white hairs known as stigmas protruding from tiny tear-drop shaped buds.
Can a female plant turn male?
A female cannabis plant can become a hermaphrodite if exposed to stress. Inadequate or excessive levels may prompt the plant, at any phase of its growth cycle, to develop male sex organs. It’s important to monitor for changes in sex because they may signal sub-optimal growth conditions.
Identifying a Female Cannabis Plant
Male plants tend to show their signs before females do, but in the pre-flowering phase, the main giveaway of a female plant is the appearance of fine, white hairs known as stigmas protruding from tiny tear-drop shaped buds.
Can you tell the gender of a Cannabis seed?
There is no way to tell the difference between male and female cannabis seeds by looking at them. In fact, it is widely accepted that the sex of a cannabis plant is not determined until a few weeks before flowering.
If you are working with random seeds you found in your bud or got from your buddy, there is no way to know the gender of that seed until you germinate it and plant it. The only way to know the gender of your seed is to buy feminized cannabis seeds from a reputable seed bank.
What Are Cotyledon leaves?
The first tiny leaves that appear when a cannabis seed sprouts, or germinates. Cotyledon leaves are round with smooth edges and usually grow in pairs. As the cannabis plant matures, the cotyledons will fall off and fan leaves will grow.
My Cannabis Plant is Male! Now What?
Cannabis Plants are dioecious, meaning they can be male or female. If your interest is to grow Cannabis for consumption, then the female plants are what you should focus on, as they grow the “flower”, or buds, that people smoke. Males, on the other hand, do not produce buds. That’s not to say they’re without their uses, though. Male cannabis plants are necessary for breeding, but they have several other benefits besides this.
Male vs Female Cannabis Plants
Only female Cannabis plants produce buds, the most obvious difference between them. Buds represent a form of “crown jewel” of Cannabis plants because you can dry, cure, and consume them! An important reason to learn the early signs of male plants. However, male plants produce flowers that are visible and help distinguish the plant’s gender.
The flowers on male plants are characterized by small, bell-shaped clusters that dangle and open to release fertilizing pollen. Female Cannabis plants, on the other hand, produce teardrop-shaped flowers that produce buds during harvest.
Aside from not producing smokeable buds, the male plant produces lower levels of therapeutic cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. For many cannabis lovers, this difference presents a double whammy since male plants have fewer therapeutic and psychoactive properties. Lower levels of cannabinoids also means less intense flavors and aromas.
Instead of male sex organs, cannabis plants produce pollen sacs that fertilize the female buds. Seedy female buds are undesirable as they provide lower-quality cannabis. These sacs have no THC, CBD, or trichomes and only exist to release pollen to fertilize female plants.
Characteristics of Male Cannabis Plants:
- Pre-flowers tend to have small sacs
- Thicker stalks
- Fewer leaves
- Do not produce usable buds
- Small, dangling, bell-shaped clusters characterize the flowers
- Produce lower levels of potentially therapeutic cannabinoids (e.g., THC)
- Produce less psychoactive effects
- Weaker flavors/aromas
Characteristics of Female Cannabis Plants:
- Pre-flowers tend to have pistils or hairs
- Thinner stalks
- More leaves
- Produce usable buds
- Flowers are teardrop-shaped
- Produce higher levels of potentially therapeutic cannabinoids (e.g., THC)
- Produce more psychoactive effects
- Stronger flavors/aromas
Other Common Differences Between Male and Female Cannabis Plants
Stigma and pistil
Stigmas are the hair-like substance on the flower. They grow on the pistil, or the part containing the reproductive components of the plant. Together, the stigma and pistil change color as the plant matures: from white to yellow to orange to red, and finally, to brown.
How To Reduce The Chances Of Male Cannabis Plants
If you work with feminized cannabis seeds, you have over a 99% chance of producing only female plants since they are not made using male DNA. Another great way to reduce the chances of male plants is to grow indoors. If you grow your plants outdoors, there is always a chance of pollination from another male cannabis plant.
Early Signs Of Male Plant – Key Takeaways
Early signs of the male plant or female plant is not visible for at least 4 weeks after germination. Working with random seeds is inefficient. Male pre-flowers are indistinguishable from Female pre-flowers for up to 6 weeks, so the best way to prevent wasted time and energy is to just work with feminized seeds. By doing so, you have over a 99% chance of producing female Cannabis plant’s and you won’t have to wait until your plants are in the vegetative stage to know their gender. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more on growing from OG Seeds