Are Your Cannabis Plants Male or Female?
Did you know your cannabis plants can be male or female? Most plants are monoecious, which means they can fertilize themselves and produce their own seeds. Cannabis plants on the other hand can grow male and female plants meaning that there needs to be a male in order to fertilize a female and have her produce seeds.
With cannabis it is important to realize that male and female plants differ greatly and planting any old cannabis seed in the garden might leave you and/or your neighbors very disappointed as a male plant can pollinate a female plant causing females to seed and ruin your crop. Typically male plants can affect female plants with their pollen up to one kilometer away.
With that being said, you might be asking yourself how do I tell the difference? Well first if you have a mature plant it will be very easy to tell. Female plants tend to be bigger and bushier whereas males are usually skinny and not as full not to mention that you will see visible seed pods. The photo below shows a mature male plant on the left and a mature female plant on the right.
With pre-flowering cannabis plants, it is much harder to tell the difference. If you have just finished germinating your seeds you have approximately 6 weeks to go before you can tell the difference between the two. The exact time frame will change depending on growing conditions and the cultivar (strain) you have growing. Both males and females produce preflowers where the inter-node and fan leaf stem meet. Male plants usually develop first and you may see small balls there. It is this ball that contains the plant’s pollen. Eventually, the sack (ball) will begin to grow away from the plant on a small stem and in time you will see what looks like small bananas.
Female plants on the other hand have a more oval shape to them and might have some white hairs protruding from them. You can wait until your plants are older but you do run the risk of the male plant’s pollen sacs opening, pollinating your crop and ruining them. Remember that 1 km radius mentioned above.
If you discover a male plant, it’s best to dispose of it immediately! Disturb the plant as little as possible to prevent the sacs from opening. It is best practice to cover the male plant with a garbage bag completely, tie off the open end of the bag, or tape it shut. However, you decide to destroy the male plant take it as far from your female plants as possible as soon as possible.
We recommend, to avoid this entirely, the best solution is to purchase feminized seeds to begin your growing season. You can view our complete line of seeds here
Anatomy of a pre-flowering cannabis plant
41 Cannabis Budtender – Ryan McPhee