One of the most commonly asked concerns about cannabis home cultivation is how to discern the difference between male and female plants. These are questions that every grower has pondered at some point. Fortunately, each gender has distinct features that enable gardeners to distinguish between them.
We’ll go through those characteristics in this article so you can know if your plant is female, male, or “hermie” and respond accordingly.
1. THE FIRST PRE-FLOWERING SIGNS
Cannabis plants will focus on root, leaf, and stem formation during the early stages of their life cycle when grown from seed.
If a grower keeps a plant growing under 18 hours of light with a high humidity level of near to 75% for 5-6 weeks, the plants will start to show preflowers.
You’ll be able to tell if your plants are male or female after they reach the 6th or 7th internode.
Before the first traces of pre-flowers show on cannabis plants that have been put into flowering from the seedling stage, it will take 3-4 weeks. These are the first symptoms of a Cannabis plant’s sex and will be either a little male or female before flowering.
Although certain cultivars generate pre-flowers more quickly than others, all plants will bloom at roughly the same time. There’s no need to be concerned with recognizing male plants early on because they won’t be able to produce pollen for a long period.
2. MALE PLANT CHARACTERISTICS
When working with standard sex seedlings, the number one dread of any newbie grower is allowing a male to pollinate the entire crop. If your goal is to pheno hunt all of the female plants, there’s no need to be concerned because removing guys before they form sacs won’t pose any problems.
Male Cannabis plants generate pre-flowers in the same locations as female Cannabis plants. Not only is it more difficult to tell the difference between the two early on, but it may also take a few weeks to be certain you have a male plant.
A small cluster of microscopic oval-shaped balls will be visible between the higher internodes. As they grow older, you’ll see that they’re tied to a tiny stem and will grow larger and greener.
- Pro tip: Before removing any plants from the garden, wait until you can recognize the male features. Don’t get carried away and throw out a female plant.
3. FEMALE PLANT CHARACTERISTICS
A female preflower is considerably easier to identify since the pistil is slender and hair-like. They will resemble a white eyelash or a tiny blade of grass when they emerge from between the internodes.
White hairs will appear among the new growth over time and can be difficult to notice. Double-check what you think is a female preflower and wait until you see a white pistil plainly.
After the first hints of pistils appear, the female plants will begin to produce an abundance of pistils during the next few weeks. This is when plants demand more Phosphorus and Potassium to promote flowering and the formation of buds.
• Pro tip: If you want to double-check your trichomes, use a magnifying glass or a loupe. It could take a week or two before you can determine with certainty that you have a female.
What about Cannabis plants that are both male and female?
Cannabis plants that are both male and female can occasionally be found. This means that a single plant can produce both male and female blooms. Hermies should be removed from your crop as soon as they are discovered, or they will begin pollinating your other plants. Those seeds will, in fact, generate more hermies plants. There will be no mercy!
4. USING FEMINIZED SEEDS OR CLONE
Cloning your plants is the only definite technique to detect sex before they reach maturity. This might be accomplished by cloning any plant.
From the small-scale bedroom grower to the huge commercial producer, using Cannabis seeds or clones that are assured to be all-female has numerous advantages.
Cut one of the branches and place it in a small cup of medium for a few days to grow. Place the clone under a 12/12 life cycle after the roots have developed a little.
Because clones carry the same DNA as the plant from which they were taken, the clone will show the same sex as the main plant when it reaches maturity.
This technique will not work with autoflowers because they flower based on age rather than photoperiod.
If you aren’t working on a breeding project but want to cultivate as many female plants as possible, feminized seeds or clones are the most feasible option.
5. BENEFITS OF DETERMINING THE SEX OF YOUR PLANTS
- This will ensure that the plants you grow are 100 percent female, eliminating the need to remove plants from the grow room prior to flowering. This reduces the amount of space, nutrients, and growing medium wasted.
- Large-scale Sea of Green operations can be established without concern for male plants. This means the crop will not become pollen-cross-contaminated and seeded, rendering it commercially useless.
- Using clones is a great approach to grow something that has previously been proven to work. Highly desirable clones are usually endorsed by another grower or come with a wealth of information to examine online.
When using normal seeds, knowing how to distinguish between male and female Cannabis plants is critical for maintaining an all-female crop.
We urge that you take your time before discarding any plants and that you allow enough time for male plants to mature enough to see pollen sacs form.