Identifying Female vs Male Weed Plants—Why It's Important?

Aspiring cannabis growers understand the importance of identifying female cannabis plants for a successful cultivation experience. Female weed plants are those that produce buds containing THC and CBD, while male plants produce flowers containing pollen and/or seeds.

Therefore, it's really important to be able to distinguish between female and male weed plants if you want your plants to produce high-potency flowers. Although it's not possible to determine the gender of a cannabis plant by just looking at it, or when it's still in the seed state, there are more reliable ways to identify the sex! For example, examine your plants during the first 3 weeks of the cannabis flowering stage, also known as the pre-flower stage.

In this article, we'll walk you through the process of identifying male vs female cannabis plants, and delve into differences between the cannabis genders.

Female vs Male Weed Plants

As a potential cannabis grower, you're gonna want to be sure that you can identify a female plant properly. Only female cannabis plants are capable of producing coveted buds that contain high levels of THC and CBD, giving weed a decent level of potency. Male cannabis plants, on the contrary, don't have the ability to produce cannabinoids, as their focus is on producing pollen used for breeding purposes.

How to Identify a Female Seed?

As we mentioned before, when it comes to cannabis growing, female plants are the only plants that produce flowers rich in cannabinoids, while male plants' main purpose is to produce pollen and fertilize female plants.

To ensure you maximize the yield potential and quality of flowers, it's essential to have the necessary knowledge that allows you to distinguish a female from a male weed plant. While it's not possible to visually determine the gender of cannabis seed, there are reliable methods to figure this out:

1. Purchase Feminized Seeds

If you want to guarantee your cannabis plant is female, it's best to purchase feminized seeds from a reputable seed bank or dispensary. Feminized seeds are specifically bred to ensure they only produce female weed plants. Check out these trusted options, recommended by Hey abby growers for their reliability.

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2. Observe Preflower Characteristics

how to identify female vs male plants

What if you already have a bag of seeds, but are unsure whether they are male or female? You'll be able to determine the gender once your plants enter the pre-flower stage (week 1-3 of the flowering stage).

Once your cannabis plants reach the pre-flower stage, which typically occurs around 4 weeks into the flowering stage, you can start observing the following traits to determine their gender:

Stigmas (Female Plants)

female weed plants

Female weed plant develops small hair-like structures known as stigmas - often misnamed as pistils. These stigmas are usually white, and protrude from the calyxes, which are small pod-like structures found under bud sites and branches (axils). The presence of stigmas indicates a female plant, and marks the beginning of the flowering stage.

Pollen Sac Formation (Male Weed Plants)

male weed plants

The calyxes on male cannabis plants quickly turn into pollen sacs, and lack the proturding stigma. These sacs resemble small clusters or balls, and usually form in the leaf axils (where the cannabis leaf meets the stem), or along the underside of branches. As the plant matures, these sacs will open and release pollen, which can potentially fertilize female plants.

Remember, only by clearly distinguishing female vs male weed plants will you be able to optimize your cannabis cultivation and get a bountiful yield.

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What is Hermaphrodite Cannabis (& Why This Happens)

Hermaphrodite cannabis plants have both male and female reproductive anatomy. They can produce both female flowers, and pollen sacs. This can lead to pollenation of surrounding plants, as well as self pollenation. A self-pollenated cananbis plant will have flowers that contain seeds, and will have a much lower cannabinoid concentrations.

Hermaphroditism can be caused by a variety of reasons.

1. Lighting

During the flowering stage, the plant receives 12 hours of light, and 12 hours of darkenss. If the 12 hour dark period is interupted, it can cause the palnt to start reverting the vegetative hormones and force the plant to produce male reproductive organs.

Hermaphrodite cannabis can also be caused by too intense light, or small amounts of light leaking into the grow medium.

2. Stress

Various stress can also cause the cannabis plant to turn hermaphordite, including:

  • extreme temperatures
  • large swings in humidity
  • light stress
  • stress caused by physical damage like pruning or topping
  • exposure to chemicals in pesticides (so be cautious when choosing products to manage cannabis pests)

3. Nutrient Imbalances

Hey abby hydroponic cannabis nutrients.png__PID:53456baa-79df-40be-8790-7591dc3a5360
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Using the right cannabis fertilizer is crucial. Nutritional imbalances like inadequate or excessive EC/PPM can also stress the plant into hermaphroditism.

Hey abby's nutrient solution is high-quality and pre-mixed, featuring a balanced NPK ratio to support growth at all stages of a weed plant.

Each Hey abby grow box kit includes free fertilizers designed to last for a complete growth cycle. Simply toss them in, nourish your plants with this optimal formula, and observe their thriving journey!

When Do Your Cannabis Plants Show Gender?

Cannabis plants generally start to show their gender during the pre-flowering stage, which is the first 3 weeks of the flowering stage. During this time, pre-flowers will emerge at the nodes of the plant where the branches meet the stem. These pre-flowers provide early indications of the plant's gender and can help you identify whether it is male or female.

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FAQs

1. What to Do with Male Weed Plants?

Male weed plants are primarily used for breeding purposes. If you have no intention of breeding, it's recommended to remove male plants from your crop to prevent the pollination of female plants, which can result in lower-quality buds.

2. How to Make a Male Plant Female?

Converting a male cannabis plant into a female plant is not a natural or reliable process. In the normal growth cycle of cannabis, the sex of the plant is determined by its genetics and cannot be altered. However, there are some techniques that have been attempted with varying degrees of success, but they are not guaranteed to work and may produce inconsistent or undesirable results.

3. How to Make Feminized Seeds?

If you want to guarantee female plants, obtaining feminized seeds in the first place is the most reliable method. You can acquire feminized seeds from reputable seed banks or breeders. These seeds are genetically modified to ensure that they will produce only female weed plant, eliminating the risk of growing male cannabis plants.

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