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The Cannabis Plant

How To Easily Identify The Gender Of Cannabis Plants

How To Easily Identify The Gender Of Plants

When cultivating cannabis, identifying plant gender is a fundamental skill. It is especially valuable when growing the herb for consumption, as only females can be exploited and its interaction with other sexes is detrimental to the quality of the yield. To avoid undesirable harvest, learning gender classification and segregation are both extremely critical.

Gender-Profiling In Cannabis Seeds Cultivation

Cannabis is a dioecious and hermaphroditic species. It can be male, female, or even bi-gender. Each type of biological sex also has its distinct features and uses. And, because cultivation ventures, whether for personal use, commerce, or research, are for specific purposes, knowing the gender early on is paramount.

Reasons Why Growers Prefer Female-Only

Buds, the constituent most used for ingestion, is solely produced by female cannabis plants. For this reason, she-floras are the most sought-after in both growing and trade scene. These two points explain why the flowers are extremely marketable and why keeping males and hermaphrodites away is vital.

Source of Sensimilla. Cannabis fems produce nugs with the highest concentration of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD as well as terpenes. If the lady plant’s blossoms remain unfertilized, it will mature into sensimillas. These ripe flowers brim with trichomes. While other parts of the flora like the leaves and stem have these beneficial outgrowths too, the amount is not nearly as much as those found in the buds.

Pollinated females, on the other hand, bring forth poor-quality yield. Instead of developing buds, mothers end up dedicating its energy nurturing the seeds, resulting in small florets with mediocre THC or CBD volume. Apart from less than appealing amounts of cannabinoids, seeded flowers also produce harsh smoke. To avoid such outcome, male and bi-gender plants are removed from the grow area as soon as discovery.

Males Have Fewer Cannabinoids. He-cannabis plants may also generate some cannabinoids on the leaves. However, the capacity and strength are significantly less compared to that of female flowers. It is also impossible to tell early on if a male cannabis plant will produce THC or not. That being the case, rather than allotting precious time, money, and effort on caring for male floras that may or may not yield the highly coveted compound – and at an inferior quality too – it is best to discard and focus on the females instead.

Guarantee Female Genetics

Cannabis seeds usually comprise of 50% male and 50% female, which means half will be thrown away once confirmed to be male. Young plants typically reveal gender 3 to 6 weeks into germination through “pre-flowers.” However, there are ways to ascertain the biological sex before the specimen starts fruition.

  • Obtain Clones. Cloning is the process of obtaining cuttings and growing it in the exact environment as the mother plant. Being a replica, the clones can be forced into early flowering to reveal its gender while the original floras stay in the vegetative phase. If the “mother” plant is female, then its genetic copy will grow into a female as well.
  • Use Feminized Seeds. Purchasing feminized seeds from trustworthy seed banks, breeders, and sellers is the most effortless way to guarantee growing female plants. Many suppliers assure 100% female crops while some guarantee up to 80%.
Cinderella 99 Marijuana Strain

Significant Uses Of Male Cannabis

Male cannabis plants cannot produce buds. It could also pollinate female floras and spawn low-quality yield. Due to such reasons, he-weeds are often considered a waste of time and discarded as soon as the male outgrowth sprout. Having said that, geezers also have beneficial uses, some of which are a bit surprising.

  • Breeding. The axiom “it takes two to tango” is especially true in the cannabis breeding scene. Without the pollen from male plants (and bi-genders), female floras cannot produce seeds. The creation of hybrids will also cease to exist.

It is critical to bear in mind, though, not every male cannabis in the garden is viable for propagation. The genetic predisposition of a plant such as its structure, growth rate, and susceptibility to diseases, among others, must also be observed. It assures undesirable traits won’t be passed on to the offspring, enhancing the quality of the future harvest.

  • Producing Concentrates. Around 70% of male cannabis contain some amounts of THC on leaves, stems, and sacs. While significantly less in volume and potency compared to the output of females, the cannabinoids can still be extracted to create concentrates.
  • Making Strong Fiber. Female cannabis plants are known for producing durable yet coarse fiber, the kind utilized for making canvas and other rough fabrics. On the other hand, male cannabis plants yield a more flexible material with increased resistance. Furthermore, fibers from males are softer, making it ideal for manufacturing day-to-day products like clothes, tablecloths and other household paraphernalia.
  • Companion Plants. Reaping the benefits of cannabis is not limited to consuming it. Male weeds are also exceptional pest repellents due to its aromatic terpenes. These compounds that serve as defense mechanism can also protect other plants in the garden. Simply place in strategic points to keep the grow area pest-free. Also separate the she-cannabis floras to avoid pollination.
Pollen Of Male Cannabis Plant

Hermaphrodite Cannabis

In some cases, cannabis plants wield the qualities of both males and females. Also called hermaphrodites, it is further categorized into two types – the true hermies and the nanner producers. Both kinds can self-pollinate or inadvertently fertilize other females, which then leads to an inferior harvest of seeded buds. To avoid potential risks, it is crucial to know what causes hermaphroditism.


Two primary factors contribute to this phenomenon – genetics or environmental stressors.

Growing seeds from a bi-gender mother plant will result in “true hermaphrodites” or progenies with hermaphroditic tendencies. While these offspring are inclined to exhibit both sexes, it may not do so if given an optimal setting to grow. Having said that, even minor environmental stress can trigger a plant to go hermie. Moreover, there are certain strains susceptible to gynandromorphism like Thai Sativa.

On the other hand, environmental irregularities may cause female cannabis plants to develop male projections called the “nanners.” Unlike regular male pollen sacs, the banana-like outgrowths may pollinate the females.

When a cannabis, whether with hermie genetics or not, detects stressors that may jeopardize its survival, it will instigate hermaphroditism as an attempt to preserve its genetics. After which, the plant will try to self-pollinate and generate seeds. The environmental triggers include:

  • Extreme heat
  • Extended flowering period
  • Physical trauma due to excessive pruning and fractures
  • Pest and pathogen infestation
  • Diseases such as nutrient deficiency
  • Improper moisture levels
  • Inappropriate use of potent pesticides
  • Inconsistent light schedules
  • Excessive much light (light burn)

How To Deal

When a plant starts displaying signs of hermaphroditism, do not fret as there are still ways to rescue the plant.

  • Learn more about the biological sexes. It is essential to understand the factors that may potentially trigger hermaphroditism, as well as the early warning signs that accompany it. In doing so, the plants can be provided with better environmental conditions conducive for growth.
  • Check for male flowers at the onset of the flowering stage. Watching out for the pre-flowers is a standard way of identifying plant gender. Once ascertained to be male, the cannabis plant must immediately be removed to avoid fertilization.
  • Isolate the hermaphrodites. After eradicating the male cannabis, plants with bi-gender qualities must be identified. If present, then it should be segregated from the females to prevent pollination.
  • Treat or eliminate. Hermaphrodites can either be kept or thrown away. If the plant has a substantial number of male outgrowths, it is better to dispose. If the quantity is low, the plant can be nursed with a pair of tweezers using the following steps:
    1. Sanitize the tweezers with alcohol or peroxide.
    2. Use the tweezers to remove the male protrusions.
    3. Sterilize with a few squirts of water to avoid pollination.
    4. Routinely check the plant for any signs of new male flowers.
  • Look out for nanners. Nanners are unpredictable and can emerge even in ideal growing conditions. Worse, it could pollinate nearby plants soon after appearing. A few nanners would not cause much harm. However, if there are copious amounts, it is best to opt for an early harvest to inhibit the flowers from forming seeds.

Identifying Gender Of Cannabis Plants

Proper identification of plant gender can mean the difference between a premium harvest and a stash of mediocre, seeded buds. To avoid this undesirable scenario, establishing the gender of cannabis plants as soon as possible is a must.

High Potency Cannabis

Know The Early Signs Of Individual Gender

Pollination is the most dreaded when cultivating cannabis for consumption. That being the case, it is vital that the males and hermies are removed before contaminating the females. To do this, identifying gender in the initial phase is critical.

  • Male. Around 3 to 4 weeks from germination, a male plant will produce tiny grape-shaped outgrowths. The bumps will develop into sacs which will soon be filled with pollen. Upon reaching maturity, these follicles will rupture and spread pollen everywhere.
  • Female. She-cannabis plants pop its pre-flowers about 4 to 6 weeks from germination. The calyxes initially resemble a pollen sac, but with a pointy top. Within a few days, one or two white pistils, in charge of catching the pollen, will come into view from the teardrop-shaped outgrowth.
  • Hermaphrodites. There are two ways of figuring out if a plant is a hermaphrodite. During the early flowering period, a true hermie will display both buds and pollen sacs in different nodes. Nanners, on the other hand, often emerge much later and always among the buds. It appears yellow or lime green and are elongated in shape, hence the name “bananas.” These protrusions can sprout singular or in clusters.

Perform Gender Check

There are two ways to determine the sex of cannabis. The traditional method is through observing the pre-flowers, thereby allowing nature to its course. Forcing the clones to flower, on the other hand, is a more proactive approach that requires ample experience to execute. Either way, patience is crucial for both of these techniques.

Pre-Flower Technique

Waiting for the pre-flowers to emerge is the most common type of gender check. These outgrowths come into sight once the plant enters the budding stage, which is often around 3 to 6 from the time the seedling sprouted from its seed. If males and hermies are identified, quickly remove from the grow area to avoid any likelihood of pollination.

Flower-Forcing Clones Technique

Obtaining and growing cuttings comes with zero risk of pollination, hence the safer of the two. The clone is just the smaller version of the source plant, and it shares the same gender. So, by inducing the little replica to produce pre-flowers while the donor stays vegetating, the sex can be determined without exposing the mother plants to pollens.

Cannabis Attached To A Trellis

As with most workaround, this technique is slightly more challenging to do. Here are the step-by-step instructions on carrying out this procedure:

  1. Obtain a clone from the plant.
  2. Label the clone and its corresponding mother plant.
  3. Once the clones have formed roots, ease into the flowering stage by providing a 12/12 light schedule (12 hours light, 12 hours darkness).
  4. The clones will begin to reveal its gender in a week or two.
  5. Once the sex of the clones is determined, remove all male and bi-gender plants. Continue nurturing the females, and start another batch if there’s a need to increase the headcount.

Yield Quality Cannabis With Acumen And Patience

Before venturing into the meticulous practice of cannabis cultivation, it is best to be armed with the necessary knowledge and understanding to circumvent potential risks early on. Arguably, the most basic skill to learn is gender-profiling, which requires keen eyes, quick judgment, and patience to be successful. It will take some time and effort to refine, but once it is fully grasped, dealing with gender-related issues becomes elementary. Moreover, it ensures that buds remain unseeded until harvest-time comes.

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