In the early stages of a cannabis plants life cycle, you can not tell if it is male or female. If you are growing from feminised seeds, then the chances are your plant will be female. But when grown from regular seeds, your chances are 50/50. This guide will teach you how to tell if a cannabis plant is male or female.
Male cannabis plants are usually only useful to breeders. Because of this, most cannabis growers, only grow females. If growing from cuttings, you should already know if the plant is female. But, you still need to keep looking out for sign of hermaphroditism.
If you are having trouble identifying the sex of your plant, or suspect a hermie, then feel free to ask for help in our cannabis growers forum
What Does a Male Cannabis Plant Look Like?
During veg, a male plant will look the same as a female. But when they start to flower, the reproductive organs will begin to show. For the best idea, you should wait for 10-14 days after the flip. This means the flowers have started to form, and easily identifiable.
How to Tell if a Cannabis Plant is Male
If you find an unwanted male in your grow room, and breeding isn’t your intention, you need to remove it straight away! The male cannabis plant produces pollen. If this was to come into contact with your female flowering plant, it will produce seeds.
If this does happen, then your plant will be less potent, the flowers will be full of seeds, and it will massively reduce the overall quality of your finished product.
What you see in the picture above, are the reproductive organs of a male cannabis plant. Once these have started forming, they will take around ten days to reach maturity, and open up. When the sacs open, their pollen will be released into the air. It will then land on the pistols of a female cannabis plant.
In nature, this is how cannabis plants reproduce. By taking the pollen from these sacs, and manually pollinating the female, you can have a huge supply of seeds. But these seeds will have a 50/50 chance of being male or female.
Most growers prefer feminised seeds, as these have a 99% chance of being female. Feminized seeds are much prefered by percy growers. The process of making them is a little more complicated, but you can do it at home.
What Does a Female Cannabis Plant Look Like
The female cannabis is the one we all know and love, and it is easily recognisable. The female, is what brings us the flowers, the buds, the colas.
Everyone can recognise a female cannabis plant because we all know what buds look like.
However, to be able to tell the difference between a male and female cannabis plant, you need to know what these plants look like in the early stage of flowering.
How to Tell if a Cannabis Plant is Male or Female
Some plants may show signs of “pre flower” after they have reached maturity, which is about 5 weeks into veg. But to be sure of your plants sex, you should induce flowering. By changing the light cycle to 12/12, and waiting for a week or so, you will see flowers forming.
The tell tale sign of a female cannabis plant is white hairs. If the plant has white hairs coming from the calyxes, then you have a female plant.
On the other hand, if you see a group of “balls”, that hang together like grapes, you have a male plant. The male cannabis plant will usually show flowers a few days sooner than a female. It will also stretch a bit taller too. Keep an eye out for these signs, but as previously said, the best way to tell is to flower your plants, and see the actual flowers! Then you can be certain of the plants sex.
What is a Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plant
On some occasions, a cannabis plant can develop reproductive organs of a male and a female plant. This is a hermaphrodite. The male parts will still produce pollen and pollinate the rest of the crop. But the genetics will carry a “Hermie” trait, and you risk growing more buds that will also hermie.
During later stages of growth, a male flower can be harder to see amongst the buds. Some growers assume that once a plant is female, it doesn’t need to be checked for balls any more.
This is not the case, a cannabis plant can hermaphrodite at any time, especially if the genetics are weak! If you have grown a cannabis plant from a “bag seed” then it is most likely to hermie at some point through its life cycle.
A high amount of stress from things like: too much heat, not enough water, not enough food and an irregular light cycle, can change a plant to hermie. You must buy good genetics from the best breeders to ensure a good genetics backline. The better the genes, the less likely a hermie will occur.
How to Spot a Hermie Cannabis Plant
In the early stages of flower, it will be easier to Tell if a Cannabis Plant is Male or Female, as the reproductive organs can still be seen. What you will need to look out for are signs of male, and female parts growing on one plant:
As you can see, on this plant, there are male, and female flowers growing together. This is a clear sign of a hermie cannabis plant, and if this is found, it needs to be removed from the grow room straight away.
Sometimes, this can happen later on in the life cycle when the buds are much bigger. Because of this, you may not see the male parts forming. Instead, you will need to look out for “nanas”.
“Nanas” (short for bananas) will be seen protruding for the flowers of a female cannabis plant. Obviously, by their name, you will expect to see something that resembles a banana.
If you have found bananas on your cannabis plant, there is a huge chance that is has hermied. Also, your plant may already be pollinated, and will be growing seeds. You can remove the bananas to reduce the risk of pollination. But this must be done carefully, if the pollen is released into the air from the “nanas”, then you plants will definitely be seeded.
There are certain steps you can take to reduce the chances of your crop being seeded. If you find a hermie, or a male in your grow room and it isn’t wanted, check out our guide to removing them from the grow room.
Final thoughts on Cannabis Plant Sex
For most growers, buying feminized cannabis seeds is the normal thing to do. It gives you a good chance of having feminised seeds. As long as the genetics are strong, it is rare to encounter a male, or a hermie.
If you have a hermaphrodite cannabis plant, there is usually an environmental factor causing it. To reduce the chances of future crops going hermie, read our guide on how to reduce the chances of hermaphroditism in cannabis.
Our Cannabis Growers Forum
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