How to Identify Male Marijuana Plants
When growing cannabis it is important to understand plant gender and its effects on your harvest. Cannabis is a dioecious plant. This means the plant can produce both male and female - each with distinguishing reproductive properties. As such, your seedlings can develop into three genders: male, female or hermaphrodite. You can tell by inspecting the pre-flowering that develops between the plant's nodes. Naturally male flowers spread pollen. Female flowers are called pistils. They are responsible for receiving pollent. Hermaphrodites grow a combination of both. Hermaphrodite cannabis plants are capable of pollinating and being pollinated. If you are growing for the sole purpose of producing seeds, then all three can coexist perfectly well. However, if you are growing for bud production, then sexing your plants should be a concern. Here are a few things you should know.
Isolation for the sake of production! Female plants produce THC in order to attract male pollen for the act of fertilization. Once a female plant has been pollinated it will cease to produce THC, and instead, direct its energy into making as many seeds as possible. If you isolate a female plant from male plants it will continue to produce more THC than it ever would naturally. This means, if you are growing 6 plants, and one of them is unknowingly male, it will pollinate your 5 female plants and severely lower their production volumes. You should also keep an eye out for hemaphrodite plants because they too will fertilize and limit your crop. However, there are a few reasons you should keep your male plants.
0-4 weeks - First thing you should know is it is not possible to tell a plant’s gender by seed alone. That is, unless you are knowingly using feminized seeds. Which of course, you can obtain by cloning female plant. Otherwise, you will have to grow your seeds together and keep a careful watch on them. The first indicators will be tiny preflowers noticeable on the joints between the main stalk and its various stems. Female plants do not grow as tall as males. Their growth will be more condensed and complex. With this being the cs, you will need to look for more intricate branching of stems. Male plants grow taller and faster so look for more straightword growth. They mature faster as well but you do not want to be pulling out plants this early just because they are growing quickly.
4-6 weeks - Female sex organs, known as calyxes, will spawn slightly later than a male's and are identifiable by their longer and narrower shape. They are tear shaped and will produce two pistils. They are usually white and will group together, forming "buds." Male sex organs look more like the spade, from a deck of cards. The female sex organ is longer thinner and wispy-white in color. Hermaphrodites appear as a combination of both sex organs and need to be paid special attention. What looks like a female one day can grow and clearly indicate hermaphrodite status the next day, it is up to you to keep vigilant watch.
An important thing to consider while growing is consistency. You do not want your plant to experience any unexpected drops or spikes in temperature, watering or fertilizer. This may shock the plant. Shocking the plant will turn perfectly good female plants into hermaphrodites before they have set their sex. This should be avoided. There is no guaranteed method of avoiding male or hermaphrodite cannabis plants. Even feminized seeds have a small chance of turning out hermaphroditic. Keep watch and ensure you are checking your plants daily, remember to pay special attention between 3-4 weeks as the signs will begin to show.
Light cycle manipulation is the process in which, during the vegetative stage of growth, you limit the plants exposure to light. You do this by increasing the amount of time it spends in the dark, up to 12 hours a day for about a week. This assists the plant in setting its sex. As well, it tricks the plant into rushing it’s genetic cycle - good for the worried grower but can prove problematic for your plant’s health and yield. The easiest way to ensure female plants is to buy feminized clone seeds or clone your own females. Without proper attention, even the most experienced grower can misgender a plant.
Goodluck on your next grow and as always - stay botanical!