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Sexing Cannabis Plants

After the first 6 weeks, you will begin noticing little pre-flowers near the growth tips, and they will either appear slightly pointed at the ends, or more rounded. With some strains it is more challenging to notice a difference right away, but essentially, a female plant will have a calyx – which is the slightly more pointed option – while a male will have the aforementioned mini pollen sacs that are round or roughly oval in shape.

If you cannot seem to tell the difference yet, wait a few more days. If the green pre-flower grows a white hair, known as a pistil, it is definitely female. Pistils will never be green in color, so look for something light colored and fuzzy.

Females typically take a bit longer to express their gender than the male cannabis plant does, so be patient with your crops and check regularly so you can manage any males in the bunch accordingly and in a timely manner.

The male plant’s “little green balls,” so to speak, will continue to grow larger and larger, filling up with more and more pollen, until they eventually burst and leak pollen everywhere. You’ll want to catch the male before this happens, as the spread of pollen will fertilize the females, at which point their buds will quit developing.

female cannabis plant male cannabis plant

Male Flower (Mid-Stage)-The sole purpose of a male cannabis plant is to pollinate female cannabis plants in order to create seeds. To grow the best cannabis it is essential to remove and destroy all male plants. When males pollinate females, the female uses most of her energy into creating strong, healthy seeds. In turn, she will have lower amounts of THC and overall poor quality. Males are more often to appear in lower pH conditions, so it is important to keep your soil between 6.0 and 7 at all times (if you are using soil). Depending on strain, most males will be your tallest plants, and usually appear very lanky. When growing Auto-flower, males normally show themselves first (around 20 days after germination). When cross-breeding, the newly developed seeds will usually have more of its mothers characteristics.

Female (Pre-Flower)-Female cannabis plants are often misdiagnosed, mistaking the stipules for pre-flowers. It is important to remember that the hairs should be white, and just because you see a white hair doesn’t guarantee that it is a pure female. Hermaphrodites are pretty common among cannabis plants, normally triggered by different types of stress (heat, light). Females normally take a few extra days to show signs of pre-flowers over male plants. Female cannabis is responsible for creating what we know as “bud”, which contains the highest amount of THC, CBN, CBD and other chemicals. It is possible to create female seeds (feminized).

Hermaphrodites- Although sometimes naturally occurring, hermaphrodites are usually triggered by stress (or chemically). In a typical garden set-up, you should remove and destroy a hermaphrodite whenever you see one in order to save your precious garden.


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