Otherwise, all remaining plants will reveal their gender in the first 1-3 weeks after lights are switched to 12-12, and plants enter the flowering stage of life.
For most marijuana strains, the male plants don’t produce usable amounts of THC, so most growers toss them on sight. Unfortunately, 50% of all regular seeds will become male plants.
You don’t have to wait for the flowering stage! Below we’ll share two tactics growers use to identify gender in the vegetative stage.
A vigilant grower can carefully watch their plants and remove males when they develop the first signs of pollen sacs.
Sometimes it takes a day or two for a female pre-flower to release her first pistil, and the female calyx can look like the beginning of a pollen sac. Generally the more “pointy” ones tend to be female, but sometimes you have to wait and see a few more flowers to know for sure.
The ability to determine plant sex as early as possible is a critical skill for cannabis growers. Know as “Sexing Cannabis”, as you develop this eye for identifying plant sex, you will be able to prevent any accidental pollination.
Cannabis, like those who love it, doesn’t always stick to the rules, though. Sometimes, this dioecious plant species goes against the grain and develops both male and female reproductive organs. These specimens are known as hermaphrodites. Either genetic or environmental factors, or both, can cause plants to develop this unusual trait. Having both buds and pollen sacs, they end up developing the ability to pollinate and reproduce with themselves.
When you grow cannabis plants, they will either turn out as females, males, or hermaphrodites, meaning a hybrid of the two sexes. Knowing the difference between the three is vital to maintaining a strong growing operation, whether you’re planning on crossbreeding strains, maximising the yield of your female plants, or studying each of the types.
IDENTIFYING EARLY SIGNS OF MALE PLANT
It also means cannabis growers have more control when it comes to crossing specific males and females together. They can choose two healthy and vigorous specimens, place them close together, and produce progeny that express certain traits.
Male pre-flowers look like tiny green eggs or “balls”. These young pollen sacs will look smooth and won’t possess any fine hairs, or any distinct point. Later into the flowering stage, pollen sacs begin to form larger and denser clusters. They’ll become easy to identify with the naked eye by this point. However, pollen sacs usually begin to disperse their contents around 2–3 weeks after forming. Be sure to remove them from your space with haste if you don’t plan on crossing your plants.
Of course, growers want to avoid this phenomenon if they’re aiming for the best flowers possible. We’ll dive deeper into what causes hermaphroditism and how to avoid it below.
These protruding structures are designed to capture pollen, which leads to fertilisation. They stick out away from the flower to capture pollen from the air, and to await being brushed up against by pollen-covered insects.