A Comprehensive Guide to Sexing Marijuana Plants

sexing marijuana plants

Being able to choose a good strain to cultivate does not end there. As a good cannabis cultivator, you should also know the secrets to sexing marijuana plants. 

Sexing marijuana plants is the process of knowing if a plant is a male and female. Being equipped with the knowledge of knowing how to differentiate them plays a big part in reproduction. Female plants are in charge of producing high quality buds, while the male plants are the ones producing pollen sacs. These pollen sacs fertilize the female plants, thus, leading to the creation of seeds.  This article will discuss five comprehensive guidelines on sexing marijuana plants, which will help you gain a bountiful harvest.

Sexing Marijuana Plants Through Flowers 

What sets cannabis plants apart is because they are classified as dioecious. Like human beings, it can be a male or a female. If you were listening to your science teacher, you might have heard of chromosomes as well. Humans are made up of X and Y chromosomes. The ladies are made up of XX chromosome combination, while the gentlemen are made up of XY chromosomes. The same pairing of genes applies to cannabis strains as well. 

In line with this, you should be able to identify if your plant is male or female. This is not an effortless job, as cannabis plants do not conduct a gender reveal party right away. They do not show if they are female or male in the beginning of the plant cycle. The gender only manifests until the plants are exposed to twelve hours of darkness every 24 hours. Patience is really a must.

The reproductive organs are only shown by cannabis plants upon maturity, and that is the only time you can start assessing which one are males and females. Male cannabis plants have flowers and are usually taller in height. The female plants possess pistils. However, both male and female have flowers, so you have to be very critical in differentiating them.

It is easy to identify female plants from male plants. Male plants produce flowers faster, while you will notice female plants staggering a bit behind. Female flowers also resemble sacs where two stigmas originate. These stigmas have a resemblance to feathers. You can find it in the node area of the main branch. As for the color, female plants can be yellow, cream, or white in color. It could be one, two, or a combination of the three colors. The pistils are white in color and are hairy. The pollen from male plants is trapped in this area. Also, female plants tend to grow bushier.

Male plants are also easy to identify due to its fast maturity. Aside from the fact that they grow taller in height than female plants, their flowering phase comes a month before the female ones. They also have fewer flowers than female plants, and these little flowers are usually situated at the plant’s top. In terms of color, male plants produce compact green flowers, unlike female plants, which produce much more colorful ones. 

Flowers produced by male plants have a central area. If you look closely, there are five objects inside the sex organs that resemble petals. For novice growers, it could look like a smaller version of a banana bunch. The flower cluster will soon open up to release pollen sacs and fertilize the female plants.

Sexing Marijuana Plants Through Growth Patterns

It is understandable to still be confused in identifying gender, especially various cannabis strains that have different genetics and growing behavior. This makes growth pattern observation a reliable way to identify the plants’ gender. 

While the plant is in the vegetative phase, you can already tell the differences in their size. Female plants have more branching, while male plants have focused its energy more on growing taller, so their branches are lesser. 

Sexing Marijuana Plants Through Seeds

You can also identify their gender during the germination period. According to marijuana growers, if the sprout originated from seed’s top or bottom part, most of the time, it is a female. Sprouts that originated from the sides of the seed indicate that the plant is going to be a male one. This is not proven by laboratories, but experienced growers have reported a growing success rate of 90% through this method.

Once you have identified which ones are female and male, it is best to keep them at separate grow rooms to avoid male plants pollinating the females, unless you really intended to cross their genetics.

Now that you have identified which of your plants are male and female, it is time to get to the actual act of sexing marijuana plants. 

Sexing Marijuana Plants Through Cloning

There are times that no matter how much you’ve looked, you still cannot identify the strain’s gender. It is either the female, and male plant flowers or structure looks so similar, or you might have missed observing its growing phase, so you wish to turn back time. Also, we should also take automatic flowering strains and feminized strains into consideration.

No need to worry as you can also sex marijuana plants even before they have reached the maturity period by cloning. You just need to take some cutting from a mother plant and plant it. Expose it in 12 hours of darkness and light for it to produce flowers. Flowers from clones are usually easier to identify than mother plants.

What if My Strain is Neither a Female nor a Male?

You might have done the four guidelines above but still unable to succeed in sexing marijuana plants. It could also be because your plant is a hermaphrodite. Hermaphrodite marijuana plants show both male and female plant characteristics. They are produced when there are issues with the light and dark schedule. It could be because there is too much lighting, the temperature might be too hot for the plants, feeds lack the required nutrients, issues with the pH levels, underwatering, incompatible parent strain genetics, or seeds were feminized during rhodelization.

There are two types of hermaphrodites:  True Hermaphrodites and Female Hermaphrodites. True Hermaphrodites look much more like a male plant but can be trained to be female plants, which can be an advantage to you. Female Hermaphrodites initially look like female plants but suddenly grow bananas. 

You have to observe and check your plants thoroughly to detect hermaphrodites right away. They could have pollen sacs that have elongated stamen inside, resembling a banana. They could also be compact, yellow in color like small bananas, and also lime green. They pollinate fast, so early detection is recommended to remove them from your garden right away.

Choosing the right strain, watering, feeding, and curing is important in growing the best performing marijuana plants, combined with your diligence, patience, and knowledge. Also, having the knowledge that sexing marijuana plants is one of the open secrets that can help upgrade your yield, will surely earn you a bountiful harvest for the season. It can be challenging at first to differentiate male and female, but nothing is easy right away at the first try. Keep trying, and you’ll surely master this open secret overtime.

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About The Author:

James Carico

James Carico

James is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger whose expertise is in the medical marijuana realm. His goal is to break the stigma towards marijuana and share knowledge and information about its brilliant characteristics that offer recreational benefits and boast medical benefits. He is an advocate of marijuana legalization worldwide as he believes everyone should have access to nature’s wonder herb. James enjoys a pot of Super Silver Haze marijuana in his free time as it not only brings him in a good mood but also relieves his body from pain and tension. He writes mainly on medical marijuana’s history, uses and benefits, and cultivation.