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How to Officially Tell the Gender of a Cannabis Plant

August 3, 2020 02:04 pm ET
How to Officially Tell the Gender of a Cannabis Plant

As legalization and normalization of cannabis continue to spread, many cannabis consumers are making attempts to grow their own. Laws vary by state but increasingly people are choosing to sprout their own green, often by purchasing clones. Clones that are sold are supposed to be female as that is the gender that produces the flower. However if one is growing from seed even the cultivars with the highest feminization rate, will have some males in the bunch.

Monoecious plants produce two different types of flowers on the same plant, and hermaphrodite plants grow single flowers that have both male and female reproductive organs. Cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning male or female reproductive organs appear on different plants.

The Sex of Your Cannabis Plant Plays an Important Role

With cannabis, females are usually isolated away from males—introducing males into a garden will result in pollination, causing females to create seeds. Female plants can be grown with or without help from the male plants. These are the plants that we most-often want to grow since they produce the buds that are consumed and concentrated.

Male plants have low potency and THC content compared to the female plants, and they are kept to mostly produce seeds. Removing the male cannabis plants from the garden enables the female plants to grow larger, seedless buds. Understanding cannabis gender and reproduction is essential to achieving the best possible harvest. However, it can be confusing.

Growers Can Look for Gender Signs Before the Plants Begin Flowering

It’s very easy to identify plant gender once plants have matured and have started to show their reproductive organs. But truthfully, waiting until this point is risky. If the males and females are in the same room, the males could pollinate an entire crop at any moment. Trying to identify a plant’s sex by height and volume alone is not fail-proof.

cannabis-plant-genderMale cannabis plants will mature about two weeks earlier than female plants, regardless of whether they’re grown indoors or out. About two weeks before they fully mature, male plants will grow what is known as “false buds”, sacs that resemble buds but are actually sacs of little, white flowers. While male plants have sacs or false buds, female plants have what many refer to as “white hairs”. These hairs are actually pistils, and they’re quite sticky so that they can catch the pollen the male plants release.

The male flower has a central part that looks like petal-shaped objects, five of which are inside of the sex organs. To the untrained eye, they look like a tiny banana bunch. With a little practice, many can catch and dispose of males long before they have the chance to pollinate females. Even if someone is just starting the homegrown cultivation process, fortunately with a few tips the plants can be sexed before it’s too late.

Look Between the Nodes

A cannabis plant will indicate its sex based on what grows in between the nodes. Nodes are where the leaves and the branches start to extend away from the stalk. depending on how quickly you’re sprouting phase took place, you might have to wait 6 weeks before you can confidently tell the sex of your cannabis plant.

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