How To Tell Sex Of Your Cannabis Plants
Sexing cannabis plants is really just finding out whether they are male or female, this can be very important for various reasons, ranging from a breeding project to extensive phenotype hunting. Knowing how and when to tell if your plants are male or female will give you an advantage when growing indoors.
In this article, we explain how to tell the sex of your Cannabis plants, what traits to look for, and what can go wrong.
1. The First Signs of Pre-Flowers
When growing from seed, Cannabis plants will spend the earliest stage of their life cycle focusing on the root, leaf, and stem production.
On the basis that a grower keeps a plant growing under 18 hours of light with high humidity levels of close to 75%, for 5-6 weeks then the plants will begin to show preflowers.
After your plants grow to the 6th or 7th internode, you will be able to identify by eye potential male or female traits.
Cannabis plants that are put into flowering from the seedling stage, will still require 3-4 weeks before the first signs of pre-flowers appear. These are the very first signs of the Cannabis plant’s sex and will either be a tiny male or female pre-flower.
Some cultivars may produce pre-flowers faster than others, however, all plants will reveal themselves around the same time. There is absolutely no need to worry about identifying male plants early on, as they will not be able to produce pollen until a much later time.
2. Male Plant Characteristics
The number one fear any beginner grower has when working with regular sex seedlings is to allow a male to pollinate the entire crop. There is no need to be concerned if your intention is to pheno hunt all the female plants, as removing males before they produce sacs will cause no need for concern.
Male Cannabis plants will produce pre-flowers in the same places as the females. Not only does this make distinguishing between the two early on even more difficult, but it may also take a few weeks before you can completely confirm you have a male plant.
You will notice between the upper internodes, there will be a small cluster of miniature oval-shaped balls. As they mature, you will notice they are attached to a tiny stem and will become bigger and turn green.
• Top Tip: It is best to wait until you can identify the male characteristics, before throwing any plants out of the garden. Do not be overzealous and potentially discard a female plant.
3. Female Plant Characteristics
It is much easier to spot a female preflower, as you are only looking for a thin, hair shaped pistil. When these emerge from between the internodes, they will look like a white eyelash or a tiny blade of grass.
Over time, white hairs will begin to grow amongst the new growth and can be very hard to spot. Double-check what you identify as the female preflower, and wait until you can clearly see a white pistil.
After the first signs of pistils emerge, over the following weeks, the female plants will begin to display an abundance of pistils. This is where plants require higher amounts of Phosphorus and Potassium encouraging flower production and produce buds.
• Top Tip: It is best to use a magnifying glass, or loupe for checking trichomes to double-check. It may take a week or two before you can confidently say you have a female.
4. Using Feminized Seeds or Clones
The only sure way to determine sex before your plants reach maturity is to c lone the plant. T his could be achieved by taking a clone from any plant.
Growing with Cannabis seeds or clones, that are guaranteed to be all-female, has many advantages from the small-scale bedroom grower, to the large commercial ones.
Cut one of the branches then put into a small cup with medium and let to grow for a few days. After the clone’s roots have developed a bit, place it under a 12/12 life cycle.
Soon, the plant will reach maturity and show its sex, because clones share the same DNA as the plant where it was taken from, the clone will show the sex the main plant has.
Note: This tip cannot be used with autoflowers because they start flowering based on age and not photoperiod.
If you are not working on a breeding project and your goal is to grow as many female plants as possible, then using feminized seeds or clones is the most practical route to take.
• This will guarantee that the plants you produce will be 100% female, meaning that prior to flowering, there is no requirement to pull plants out of the grow room. This eliminates any waste of space, nutrients, and growing medium.
• Large scale Sea of Green operations can be set up, without the need to worry about any male plants. This means the crop will not be cross-contaminated with pollen and become seeded and commercial useless.
• Working with clones is an excellent way to grow something that has already been verified. Usually, highly desirable clones can be vouched for by another grower or will have lots of information to research online.
5. In Conclusion
Knowing how to identify male and female Cannabis plants when using regular seeds, is vital to ensuring an all-female crop is maintained.
We recommend you take your time before throwing out any plants and be prepared to allow male plants to mature enough to see their pollen sacs forming.
Sexing cannabis plants is really just finding out whether they are male or female, this can be very important for various reasons, ranging from a breeding proje