This is what you need to know to distinguish Male, Female and Hermaphrodite cannabis plants in your garden or grow room – and avoid seeds in your harvest. When it comes to harvesting home-grown marijuana, female plants are the name of the game. Not only do female plants produce the coveted buds needed for medicinal purposes, but they also have higher potency and THC content compared to their…
How To Spot: Male, Female and Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plants
You don’t have to be an expert on the plant to at some point have encountered the term ‘feminized’ in relation to cannabis seeds. As the name suggests, this means cannabis plants can be either female or male and in some cases have both sexes. This is what you need to know to spot Male, Female and Hermaphrodite cannabis plants in your garden:
Male Or Female Cannabis Plants
Before we dive into the more complicated matter when it comes to sexing a cannabis plant, let’s start with some basics. Cannabis plants are so called ‘dioecious plants’ (‘di-‘ is ‘two’ in Greek; ‘oikia’ means ‘house’). This means they produce either male of female reproductive organs, known as the flowers. In contrast to ‘monoecious plants’, which produce two different types of flowers on the same plant.
The cannabis plants most consumers know and love are often female. As these are the plants that produce the smokeable flowers – the dried buds – but which can also be grown at home. These weed flowers, buds, or ‘colas’ are covered in trichomes / resin which holds the plant’s active components, like cannabinoids and terpenes. Male cannabis plants however are less popular with consumers, as their only task in life is to release pollen into the air.
Feminized Cannabis Seeds
When pollen from a male cannabis plant reaches a female cannabis flower, the female flower will start producing seeds with traits from both plants involved. That’s great for growers that like crossbreeding strains and develop their own cannabis varieties. But if you’re growing for your personal consumption, you might want to avoid pollination. Not only do seeds add a harsh taste to your smoke. Producing them also takes a lot of energy from the plant. Costly energy that should rather be put into the development of cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
The best thing you can do to guarantee you’ll grow female cannabis plants, is to purchase feminized cannabis seeds. In contrast to regular cannabis seeds, which will grow 50/50 males and females, feminized seeds guarantee for 98% to grow into female cannabis plants.
So even if you use feminized seeds, it is advised to keep a close eye and determine the sex of the plant as soon as you can. As there’s always a small chance at finding a male plant in your garden which could screw up your harvest, or for the plant to turn from female to hermaphrodite and develop both sexes on one cannabis plant; as we’ll explain later on.
Female Cannabis Plants
The sex of cannabis plants can be determined by looking for the first signs of bloom on the plant. These are visible a few days to a week after you switch your light to 12/12 and give your plant the sign to switch from the growth stage to the flowering stage of its life cycle . Outdoors, the same signal is given by nature as soon as the days grow shorter than 14 hours after the summer solstice.
Female cannabis plants are easy to spot once they start showing the first signs of flowering
Female weed plants are distinguished by the development of bracts with small white hairs (stigma’s) on their nodes. A node is the part of the plant where branches and leaves emerge from the stem. After a while, the female plant starts pushing out more and more of these hairs until they swell up from the bottom up. This means the plant is now forming ‘calyxes’ that eventually stack up to become the flower as we know it.
Pollination And Seeds
These ‘calyxes’ remain empty as long as the plant is not pollinated by a male plant. When it does get pollinated, these calyxes will fill up to hold and protect the plant’s babies: seeds. It is even thought that the resin on weed plants serves only that purpose in nature: to protect the plant’s offspring from burning in the sun.
Discover our Feminized Chocolato cannabis strain (White Choco x Gelato) here!
Male Cannabis Seeds
Male Cannabis Plants are recognized by the formation of pollen sacs on the plant’s nodes. This happens around the same time as female reproductive organs should be forming. Although female plants tend to develop their reproductive organs a bit faster. Luckily, these male pollen sacs can be distinguished pretty easily. As they look like small balls hanging from the side of the plant; instead of the upward facing hairs from the female plant.
Male Cannabis Plants form small ball-shaped pollen sacs on their nodes
When left to grow, these balls will eventually open up like a flower and release pollen into the air. As we’ve explained, this pollen is only interesting when you’re trying to make your own strains or seeds. If you’re not making seeds, make sure to remove every male plant from your garden or grow room before this happens. Do it with the upmost care, as rocking the plant could force it to release the pollen.
Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plants
The first paragraph of this article explains cannabis plants grow only one set of reproductive organs. Although there is still a ‘but’ to this. Because there always remains the possibility that female cannabis plants form male reproductive organs too. This usually happens when the plant(s) experience excessive stress. And in times of stress, they try to guarantee the survival of their species. Cannabis plants can do so by turning hermaphrodite, or ‘herma’ in grower terms.
Hermaphrodite cannabis plants develop both female and male reproductive organs
Because when cannabis plants turn ‘hermaphrodite’, they do so in order to pollinate themselves. Turning hermaphrodite is an evolutionary strategy of cannabis plants, designed to save the species in hard times.It allows the plant to produce seeds no matter what; even when there are no males around (for example, because the source of the ‘stress’ killed off all male plants).
How To Prevent Stress From Turning Female Cannabis Into Hermaphrodites
Some cannabis strains are more sensitive to stress than others. Stress can arise from a number of sources, from overly enthusiastic pruning and topping to environmental factors like excessive temperatures, water shortage or surplus, soil acidity or overfeeding and lack of nutrients. It is good to know that cannabis is called a ‘weed’ for a reason: this is a hardy species with great natural resilience. Still, most cannabis seeds you can order online are crossbreeds cultivated for specific traits like taste or THC content. Years of crossbreeding and hybridization have created some strains that are more prone to stress than their natural ancestors.
When growing strains that are sensitive to stress, growers run a risk of their cannabis plants developing hermaphroditic traits – like the well-known Original Glue (Gorilla Glue #4). In our online seeds catalogue, you’ll find certain strains that are particularly resistant to stress.
Removing Sex Organs From Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plants
If for whatever reason you do spot hermaphrodite cannabis plants, all is not lost. You just have to act fast and be cautious. To avoid hermaphrodite cannabis plants from pollinating themselves, carefully remove the male reproductive organs that form on the nodes. You can do so by gently taking a pollen sac in between two fingers and twisting/pulling it off. Wash your hands thoroughly before you go near your female plants – you don’t want to cause accidental pollination because of your dirty fingers! This way you can still have a satisfying harvest from any hermaphrodite, without having to pluck the seeds from your buds.
TIP: If you want to try and create your own unique strains, you can learn more about growing regular seeds in this blog.
TIP: For anyone trying to avoid raising hermaphrodites, check our info on the benefits of buying feminized seeds here.
How to Identify Female and Male Marijuana Plants
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When it comes to harvesting home-grown marijuana, female plants are the name of the game. Not only do female plants produce the coveted buds needed for medicinal purposes, but they also have higher potency and THC content compared to their male counterparts. You’re in good hands—we’ve outlined everything you need to know about identifying female and male marijuana plants, so you can easily make the most out of your crop at home.
Look for thicker, sturdier stalks with fewer leaves on male plants. A male plant, compared to a female plant of the same strain, generally has a thicker stalk. That is because it gets taller than female plants and needs to be able to support the weight. They also have fewer leaves than female plants.  X Research source
- You need to check every plant to determine if it is male or female, as one rogue male can wreck your harvest.
- In general, male plants show their sex 7-10 days (indoor) or 3 weeks (outdoor) before female plants.
- If you’re trying to create new plants or reproduce, you need to leave these balls undisturbed.
- Female plants will have these bulbs too, but will also have long, translucent hairs on them. If you only see 1-2 on a plant, wait and see if more develop before cutting them.
- “Hermies” are generally undesirable plants, and they can ruin a small crop with their pollen if you’re not careful.
Throw out or remove male plants unless you specifically want seeds. Once you’ve determined a plant is male, you need to get rid of it or it will ruin your crop. Do not try and remove the buds by hand, as missing even a few will significantly decrease your crop. While most growers simply throw the plants out, a few keep them around for breeding purposes. If you do, put them in a separate room from the females, and make sure you don’t track pollen in from the male room to the female room on your clothes or hands.  X Research source www.theweedblog.com/sexing-your-outdoor-marijuana-plants/
- You can purchase “feminized” seeds as well, which usually create close to 100% female plants. However, there are occasional errors, and you should still keep a close eye on your plants to make sure there are no rogue males.  X Research source www.theweedblog.com/sexing-your-outdoor-marijuana-plants/
Note fuller bodies of leaves, when compared to males, on a grown female plant. If you’re trying to sex mature plants, one of the easiest indicators is how bushy they get. Male plants have thicker, sturdier stalks and very few leaves. A female of the same strain will be shorter and bushier, with more leaves, especially near the top.
- Male plants will have the small buds (pollen sacs) but will not have the associated hair growing out of it.
- Plants can grow both pollen sacs and pistils. If it does, it is hermaphroditic and should be treated like a male.
Separate your females from any males, as only females create buds. Only female plants will produce enough THC to be used as medicine, but they won’t create much if they become fertilized. The pistil is meant to attract pollen. If it gets it, it will create a seed, and all the plants energy and nutrients will be spent making seeds, not making big, THC-full buds. Your female plants are the only ones that will produce a crop, but only if they stay away from the males.
In general it’s not a good idea, because you can bring bugs and other things into your house, but as long as it’s not being kept around indoor plants, it should work. Just make sure to keep an eye on the plant and give it plenty of fresh air, as that is likely what it is used to. Keep in mind that the sun is the best grow light, though, so you should leave it outdoors if you can!
It needs a light cycle with a minimum of 12 hours of uninterrupted, complete darkness every day to trigger and maintain flowering.
Be grateful, because you probably have female plants. Female plants are the only plants that produce buds.
I have a 6 month old indoor plant but it is not budding or showing any male gender. The plant stands about 51 inches tall; it appears to be healthy, very green, most of the nodes are standing up instead of sagging. What could be the problem?
Plants usually need around 12 hours of darkness to bud. That is why they bud at the end of the summer. If you have these indoors where they get light for more than 12 hours, that is your problem.
Cut the smallest branch and make sure it’s one of the young ones that will be flowering. This is called cloning.
A plant with 3 leaves is ruderalis, a wild outdoor variety. There are 5 types: indica, sativa, ruderalis, Australian bastard weed, and duck’s foot.
Many advise metal halide for vegetation and high pressure sodium for flowering. If your want to use blue light for vegetation, use 6500 k (cool white) CFL because you can keep them close and avoid stretch. HPS is fine for the entire grow because the lack of blue keeps them short.
Let the soil dry out before watering again. Cannabis plants are resilient and will usually recuperate from over-watering.
Check frequently once your plants have hit the 6-week mark — you want to know you plant’s sex as soon as you can.
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- ↑ www.theweedblog.com/sexing-your-outdoor-marijuana-plants/
- ↑ www.theweedblog.com/sexing-your-outdoor-marijuana-plants/
About This Article
wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 23 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 2,342,922 times.
If you’re growing marijuana plants, it’s important to be able to tell male and female plants apart, since only the females produce the buds that contain high concentrations of THC. To identify male and female marijuana plants, make sure they’ve been growing for at least 6 weeks, since both types of plant look the same in their early stages. Then, look for male plants to have thicker stalks and fewer leaves than their female counterparts. You can also tell if a plant is male by checking for little flowers or bulbs at the joints of the stalk and branches. By contrast, you’ll see small, translucent hairs on the same areas of a female plant. Once you’ve identified that a plant is male, remove it from your growing area to prevent it from pollinating the female plants, which will result in your THC harvest being reduced. For tips on what to do with plants that have both male and female organs, read on!