Interested in knowing the sex of your marijuana plant? It doesn't require much but a keen eye and knowledge of what to look for.
The value in knowing the gender of your plant is undisputed. Having wild males in your crop can lead to decreased yields, so it's no surprise people want to know what to look out for.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the gender of marijuana plants, starting with how to determine the sex, going as far as covering hermaphrodite mutations.
So whenever you're ready to continue your journey in the realm of cannabis, keep reading.
How to Determine Gender Of A Marijuana Plant
After the first 6 weeks of growth, you will start to notice small flower-origins near the growth tips. They will appear round or slightly pointed. With some species, it's a bit harder to see this difference.
A female plant will have a slightly pointed end, also known as a calyx.
A male plant will have an oval or rounded end, also known as a pollen sac.
If you cannot tell the difference, wait a little longer. If the green origin-flower gets some white hairs (pistils), it's a female. Pistils are never great, so look for fuzzy and light-coloured hairs.
Females usually take a longer time to show their gender. Because of this, be patient with your flowers and check up on them regularly to make sure you can manage the males when the time arises.
The male plant's green balls will continue to get bigger, filling up with more pollen until they leak after bursting. You need to catch the males before this occurs because the spread of pollen will fertilize all of the females. At this point, the buds will no longer develop, decreasing your yield.
Male vs. Female
Once again, female crops have green calyxes pointed with a wispy and white pistil.
Male crops have green and round pollen sacs that grow in size, they don't have a white pistil. Catch them before they overflow, burst, and contaminate the plantation.
In adverse circumstances, such as the plants being hungry or stressed, portions of the crop can become hermaphroditic. This means they will develop both female and male characteristics to reproduce with themselves.
It's not the end of the world, especially if you grow for personal use because you still get the buds. The downside only resides in the decreased concentration of resin.
It's potentially catastrophic to commercial entities. That's because hermaphrodites have lots of seeds, which are not desired and not sellable for the most part. Keep in mind that the male cannabis crop is not useless either.
There is plenty of use to the male crop, as long as it's healthy enough. Starting with therapeutic creams and ointments, going as far as compost for your future female crops.
If A Cannabis Plant Is Female
If a cannabis plant is female, you will get better nugs. If you choose to cultivate marijuana, you want to get the most smokable, usable, and sellable nugs. Thus, you only want female yield.
That's why the presence of feminized seeds on the market is such a big occurrence. Instead of leaving everything to luck, you know the seed you will plant will produce female plants.
Regular seeds give you about 50/50 odds for each gender. If you plant ten seeds, you will most likely get five male plants. In this case, you waste half of your resources and time on growing male plants. Thus, differentiating between the two is very important.
Feminized seeds do not come with a 100% guarantee either. If you are growing marijuana outdoors, male pollen can easily float over from somewhere, thus ruining the crops. Pollen can travel large distances, even more so in an enclosed environment.
Thus, there is a strong importance of separating the genders in indoor growing locations.
If A Cannabis Plant Is Male
Despite their reputation, male plants are not as bad as you think. These crops are not as potent as those from a female plant, especially in terms of THC content. But they still have enough cannabinoids within them. As some of the leaves are still sugary resinous, you can still enjoy a great high.
If you want an all-female yield, remove all of the male plants as soon as they are identified. Separate them to reduce contamination.
While some growers want to discard these crops, there are some non-bud uses for the males. You can use the water leaves and stems for teas and juices. It's also possible to process the plants into therapeutic lotions and creams.
If you are not interested in producing anything with the males, the easiest thing to do is to compost them. This reduces waste, potentially provides nutrition to other future crops, and is environmentally friendly.
Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plants
As mentioned earlier, hermaphrodite cannabis plants do exist. This plant has both female and male reproductive organs. For instance, it's a female marijuana plant that can produce both male pollen sacs and flowering bus.
Hermaphrodites are as dangerous as the males because they have the capacity to ruin all of your crops. What most people don't' realize is that these plants only become hermaphroditic when they are exposed to damage or unusual stress.
There are many ways that a seemingly healthy female plant can grow damaged and stressed.
Excessive heat, such as above 88 Fahrenheit for long periods of time can make it stressed. The same goes for excessive cold temperatures of 55 and lower. Not to mention, light leaks that push too much energy towards the plant.
Physical damage also caused female crops to turn male. Examples include the breakage of limbs and high wind exposure. You can also consider intruders, such as deer and dogs. Even excessive rain can cause the plants to turn.
The most common cause among the male and female crop growers is over-saturation. It leads to root disease. Make sure to water only when needed, remove stressed plants when you find them.
Check for drainage of the growing locale, ensure the plant container has an appropriate amount of holes.
Some plants develop both male pollen sacs and flower buds, and also those that produce anthers.
While both of these can create pollen and fertilize the entire crop, they differ in the way they store and form the pollen. True hermaphrodites will develop actual sacs.
Whereas, antler herms will produce a pollen-produce stamen. Finally, it's important to understand that low-quality marijuana strains become herms no matter what.
This is down to bad genetics, so don't get overly upset over it. Male pollination is not a joke. A single pollen sac can pollinate dozens of female plants that are hundreds of feet away.
In other words, hermaphrodites will not affect parts of your garden. They will in fact pollinate everything you have.
What Happens When You Don't Know Which Is Which
Here's an interesting thing to consider. Many of the rookies start with a bunch of questions, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Everybody wants to know how long it takes to get buds if they can smoke straight away, and how much weed they will get.
Imagine this, after spending months setting up their growing operation, they are ready to begin. They choose a lovely location for their indoor growth, a spacious walk-in closet that can easily be sealed off. Thus, removing external sources of light.
They even went as far as to foil out the walls and install an external ventilation fan to keep the humidity and temperature at the best possible levels. The first couple of weeks couldn't go better, and they kept their seeds in a vegetative state for an entire month.
Finally, after many weeks of careful love and consideration, they invited their experienced friends to help them with the pleasurable chore of trimming bud. They were disappointed to find that one of the plants did not produce any flowers at all.
Surely, as soon as the experienced mates showed up, they saw that one of the skinny tall Sativa was a hermaphrodite. It pollinated all of the other plants. While they were devastated, they learned a lesson and made a promise to never make it again.
You can still smoke the buds that have seeds, it's just a troubling pain to continue working with them. They also don't have the quality or flavour of a non-seeded bud either.
CBD Products for You
Now that you know how to identify the gender of a marijuana plant, you are well on your way to ensure you optimize your crops to the best of your ability. As long as you know what is a male, what is a female, and what is a herm, you are set.
If you want the best results, remove the males, and if you like let them grow out elsewhere. If you don't mind decreased yield, then leave them be. However, it's usually too early to get any plausible buds because of the pollination.