How To Separate Male And Female Weed Seeds

Learn how to tell the difference between male and female cannabis plants, so you can properly sex your cannabis in the early pre-flower stage. It is important to learn when to separate male and female cannabis plants so the males do not pollinate the female plants. 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…

Sexing Cannabis: How to Tell the Difference Between Young Male vs Female Cannabis Plants

Are you growing cannabis at home, but aren’t sure if your plants are male or female? Then you’ve come to the right place! This article is going to show you how to tell the difference between male and female cannabis plants to properly sex them.

In particular, I want to show you how we determine the sex of our cannabis plants while they are still quite young. It gets significantly more obvious as the plants begin to mature and flower. On the other hand, it can be a bit more tricky to sex cannabis plants in the early pre-flower phase, but it is definitely possible! We’ll also talk a bit about why it is important to determine the sex of cannabis plants, the difference between regular and feminized seeds, how we treat our plants up until the time we know their sex, and what to do with unwanted male plants.

If you’re new to Homestead and Chill, be sure to check out our other cannabis-related articles! We primarily grow outdoors, 100% organic, and aim to provide helpful information that is easy to follow – both for new and experienced growers alike. As a disclaimer, this article is intended for those who can legally grow cannabis at home.

Feminized vs Regular Cannabis Seeds

If you are growing from feminized seeds, you shouldn’t need to worry about sexing your cannabis plants all that much. While not 100% guaranteed, there is only a very slim chance that a feminized seed will produce a male plant. About 1% in fact. In all of our years growing, we have never had a cannabis plant grown from feminized seed turn out to be a male – though we only grow a handful of plants per year. Folks who grow hundreds of plants could potentially end with a rare male now and then.

Feminized seeds are highly desirable to most growers. They’re efficient. It is almost sure-fire that you’re spending your energy and resources raising ladies. However, some growers accept or even prefer regular (unsexed) seeds! We grow a little of both.

Why grow regular cannabis seeds? Well, maybe a particular breeder or strain you want to try only carries regular seeds. Some growers feel that the feminization process is unnatural, and prefer to kick it old school by growing regular seeds only. Some enjoy the gamble and challenge. Whatever the reason, when you grow cannabis from regular seeds, the odds of getting all lady plants are not in your favor. You will end up with some males. Therefore, you need to learn to sex your cannabis plants! Also, we always start several extra “regular” seeds – assuming a 50/50 chance that some will be culled because they are male.

How are feminized cannabis seeds made?

Curious about how feminized seeds are created? In a nutshell: most feminized seeds come from cannabis plants that have been treated and altered in a manner that inhibits male chromosomes. The most common method is to spray the plant repetitively (daily or more) with colloidal silver. Other chemicals and compounds can be used too, but are far less accessible. Colloidal silver is technically “non-toxic”, but you do not want to smoke it! Thus, the plant is sacrificial – used for the production of pollen and seeds only.

Repeated colloidal silver treatments cause repression of the plant’s ethylene, which is the stuff that creates male flowers. Instead, the treated female plant will grow pollen sacks full of FEMALE pollen (XX rather than XY). Then breeders use the female pollen to pollinate female flowers, resulting in the development of all-female seeds.

Another way to create feminized cannabis seeds is called rodelization. It is a more natural but unreliable method, and less frequently used by breeders. Near the end of a growing season, an un-pollinated female cannabis plant will sometimes produce pollen sacks in a desperate attempt to pollinate herself. That pollen can be used to try to create feminized seeds, but because ethylene hasn’t been repressed, may also result in male seeds.

Okay, back to sexing cannabis.

Why Sex Cannabis Plants? The Role of Male and Female Plants

For the most part, the average home grower wants female cannabis plants. The ladies are the ones that produce the fattest, most resinous and most potent flowers – aka buds. Male cannabis plants are only desirable if someone wants to breed cannabis and save seeds (which is a whole other topic for another day). Even then, the grower will want to spot the difference between the male and female plants and separate them early on, unless they want free cross-breeding and pollination between many types of strains.

Not only are the males less desirable, but male cannabis plants interfere with the quality and production of your female plant. Males grow pollen sacks, and produce pollen. When a female cannabis plant becomes pollinated by a nearby male, her energy shifts into producing seeds.

Like most things in nature, female cannabis plants have a biological drive to reproduce. After the deed has been done, she will sit back and relax. While a pollinated female cannabis plant WILL still develop decent size buds, they are usually lower quality and contain less THC and other desirable cannabinoids. Not to mention, they’ll be full of seeds. When left un-pollinated, a female cannabis plant’s flowers (buds) will continue to swell, develop more trichomes and become increasingly resinous. She is trying to get as sticky and large as possible to catch pollen in the wind. That sweet sinsemilla – aka unfertilized, seed-free cannabis.

When to Sex Cannabis Plants

Our goal here today is to learn how to tell the difference between male and female cannabis plants early on, so you can get the males away from the females as soon as possible! It will help protect your lady plants – but also spare you the wasted time, resources, and energy of tending to male plants that you don’t intend to keep.

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Keeping in mind that every strain and grow set-up (e.g. indoors, outdoors, daylight hours) creates varying circumstances, most cannabis plants begin to pre-flower as early as 4 weeks after germination. By week 6, the pre-flowers begin to reveal their gender and you should be able to identify the sex using the tips to follow. Once the plants go into full flower (8 to 10 weeks on average, for a natural outdoor grow) the differences between male and female plants will be glaringly obvious. We’ll talk more about exactly what each sex looks like in a moment.

Until we can tell the sex for sure, we continue to treat the plants equally. We start our seeds in small 4-inch nursery pots. About two weeks after germination, we pot the seedlings up into an approximately two-gallon (trade size) “sexing pot” like these BPA-free nursery pots. This enables everyone to continue to grow in a happy and healthy manner for several more weeks*. Then, once we can surely tell the difference between the male and female cannabis plants, only the ladies move into their forever home – 15 to 25 gallon grow bags full of recycled organic living soil. To learn more about our soil recipe and how we maintain it, see this article.

*Note that our feminized seedlings go from a 4” pot to an 8” pot, and then more quickly into large grow bags, using less soil in the potting-up process.

This little girl (or boy) is far too young to tell, but needs to be potted up soon. The two in plastic pots in the background were determined to be male and culled the next day. The two on the left in grow bags are definite females (one from feminized seed, and one we sexed from regular seed).

How to Tell the Difference Between Male and Female Cannabis Plants in Pre-Flower

In order to correctly sex cannabis plants, you’ll need to become familiar with their anatomy in general. Both males and females produce pre-flowers and flowers in the junctions between stems or branches. The very first pre-flowers show up in the crook between the main plant stalk and a fan leaf stem (petiole), usually near the top of the plant. The good news is, the males usually begin to develop and show sooner than females. I guess the idea is that the dudes want to have their pollen ready and waiting for when the ladies join the party?

Look for plant pre-flowers at the higher stalk/branch junctions, as described above. If needed, use a jeweler’s loupe to get a better look! That is the same magnifying tool commonly used to examine trichomes and determine plant readiness for harvest. Then, locate the stipule, which is a leafy pointed flap that protrudes from the junction. Don’t confuse that for a pre-flower! The cannabis sex parts are located just behind the stipule. Behind the pre-flower sex parts, taller growth tips will emerge – future auxiliary branches that produce buds.

Identifying a Male Cannabis Plant

Very early, the male pre-flower (early pollen sacs) simply looks like a more round version than the female pre-flower part. It is often referred to as a “spade”, like the spade suit in cards – squatty with a bulbous bottom and very slight tip. As it becomes slightly larger, the male pre-flower resembles a ball at the end of a stick. The male pre-flower is called a staminate. Then, the staminate eventually develops into a long hanging sack of baby bananas – the pollen sacs. Hopefully you can ID and cull the males before they get to this stage.

A 4-5 week old male cannabis plant in our garden, showing his stick and ball. Note that this is a really early and obvious example. Most of the other males in this age group show a round ball, but protruding less and more nestled flat against the stalk.

A more advanced male pre-flower, courtesy of Dr. Weedly (We never let our males get this far to photograph)

Did someone order a banana hammock? The male flowers are about to open and shed pollen, if they haven’t already. Photo from Green Cultured

Identifying a Female Cannabis Plant

In contrast, the very early female cannabis pre-flowers are more ovate in shape: pear-like, but with a longer slender pointed tip. That is called her calyx. Extending from the tip of the calyx may be a pair of pistils, or white hair-like protrusions. However, please note that not every female cannabis plant in pre-flower produces pistils.

If you are still unsure of the sex of your cannabis plant, wait to make any drastic decisions! Yet if you’re fairly certain, consider some of these other common differences between male and female plants. Perhaps it will help you more confidently make a decision.

Other Common Differences Between Male and Female Cannabis Plants

Aside from the clear-cut flower differences, there are a few (potential) trending characteristics between male and female cannabis plants. In many cases, male cannabis plants tend to be more gangly. They may be tall, narrow, have fewer fan leaves, and longer spacing between branches – also referred to as greater inter-nodal spacing. On the flip side, female cannabis plants are usually more compact and bushy than males.

Please keep in mind that these traits are not guaranteed, and shouldn’t be the only way to sex cannabis plants! Variations among strains and phenotypes can lead to all sorts of crazy things. The general plant structure simply may help give you a clue if you’re on the fence.

My Cannabis Plant is Male! Now What?

I hope you started a few extra seeds, and have plenty of ladies left to grow! Once you determine that you have a male cannabis plant, get rid of it. Again, unless you want pollination and seeds, it is best to cull the males as early as possible. Simply separating the plants isn’t enough. Even if you relocate the male plant to another part of your yard, the pollen can carry in the wind. There are stories of female cannabis plants becoming pollinated from neighbors growing several blocks away.

However, the culled males don’t need to go to waste! One option is to chop up the male plant and use it to mulch other plants – much like we do with borage, fava bean greens, yarrow, and comfrey. You could also juice the leaves, which are full of nutrients. Heck, you could even steep the plant material in water to create a natural fertilizer as we do with stinging nettle. Finally, I’m sure your compost pile will welcome the male plant with open arms. Or would that be… with open worms?

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And that is how you determine the sex of cannabis plants.

In closing, I hope this article is interesting and useful in your homegrown adventures. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments below, and spread the cannabis sex love by sharing this article. Even if you like to grow mostly feminized seeds, don’t you find this stuff fascinating? I sure do. Thanks for tuning in and nerding out with me a bit. Best of luck this growing season!

When to Separate Male and Female Cannabis Plants

Cannabis is an annual dioecious genus, meaning the species within the genus produce distinctly male and female plants each year from seed. In today’s cannabis industry, nearly all cannabis jobs and products focus on the female plant—and for extremely good reasons. It is important to learn when to separate male and female cannabis plants.

Female cannabis plants are the sex that produces the highest amount of coveted cannabinoids, which more often than not is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Females are undeniably the more exciting of the two sexes. Females produce the fragrant and potent flowers that all cannabis consumers know and love.

In comparison, the male cannabis plant isn’t nearly as enticing. Even the male plant structure is comparatively plain, even ugly.

When it comes to the battle of the sexes in the cannabis space, there’s no denying that females win, hands down. That fact aside, males are really just as important as females, although their usefulness is not as apparent. Without males, there would be no cannabis strains, and the industry would not exist.

Each of the two cannabis plant sexes plays a crucial role – meaning there’s a critical need to properly identify each sex, as well as when and how to keep them separate from each other in all but the rarest of circumstances.

First, A Little History on Male & Female Cannabis Plants

In past decades, cannabis—usually imported cannabis—was smuggled into the United States for the black market from countries such as Colombia, Mexica, Afghanistan, and Thailand. Bags of this type of bud were nearly always seeded in varying amounts, because male or hermaphrodite plants would be found within or in close proximity to grows consisting of females.

This abundance of seed wasn’t necessarily undesirable for the growers, because it ensured a ready supply of seed stock for future grows. The downside of this seeded marijuana was that it was low-quality, because female plants halt the production of resin in the form of frosty, sticky trichomes on their flowers once they become seeded by male pollen—and trichomes contain the highest levels of cannabinoids, including THC, the psychoactive property in cannabis.

Eventually, unseeded cannabis began to enter the black market, referred to as “sinsemilla,” which translates in Mexican Spanish to “without seed” (the word is derived from Latin sine “without” [see sans] + semen “seed” [see semen]). This unseeded cannabis quickly got the full attention of cannabis consumers because it was much higher quality from its high resin content.

Very quickly, sinsemilla was in high demand, and people began to shun heavily seeded flower, referring to it disparagingly as “shwag weed.” No one wanted the seeded stuff anymore.

In today’s cannabis industry, all commercial flower is sinsemilla, and it goes without saying that the flowers don’t contain seed. The term “sinsemilla,” although sometimes still heard, has become a somewhat antiquated colloquialism of the past.

How Modern Growers Keep Male & Female Cannabis Plants Separate

Today’s industry also cultivates cannabis under much more controlled environments that the marijuana fields found in other countries. Except for closely controlled and monitored breeding projects, female cannabis and male cannabis plants are segregated and kept apart from one another.

When a choice male plant (typically one with good structure and heavy resin production) is identified and its pollen collected, breeding it to a prime female is done with strict protocol in place.

For the home grower, the practice of culling male plants is extremely important to the overall success of the cultivation project. Today’s home growers typically acquire their seeds from a seed company or bank and have a choice between feminized seed (seed that will produce only female plants) and normal seed (seed that will produce both female and male plants).

Growing From Feminized Cannabis Seed

If growing only female plants is the ultimate goal, there’s much to be said for the merits of feminized seed. This type of seed comes from specialized breeding practices that only utilize female plants, so this seed lacks the male chromosomes to produce male plants. When the plants begin to reveal their sex, they will all be female.

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.

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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. [1] 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. [4] 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. [5] 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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  1. ↑http://www.marijuanaseedbanks.com/female_and_male_marijuana_plants.html
  2. ↑http://www.theweedblog.com/sexing-your-outdoor-marijuana-plants/
  3. ↑http://www.growweedeasy.com/marijuana-boy-girl
  4. ↑ www.theweedblog.com/sexing-your-outdoor-marijuana-plants/
  5. ↑ 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!