Male pre-flowers look like tiny green eggs or “balls”. These young pollen sacs will look smooth and won’t possess any fine hairs, or any distinct point. Later into the flowering stage, pollen sacs begin to form larger and denser clusters. They’ll become easy to identify with the naked eye by this point. However, pollen sacs usually begin to disperse their contents around 2–3 weeks after forming. Be sure to remove them from your space with haste if you don’t plan on crossing your plants.
Cannabis, like those who love it, doesn’t always stick to the rules, though. Sometimes, this dioecious plant species goes against the grain and develops both male and female reproductive organs. These specimens are known as hermaphrodites. Either genetic or environmental factors, or both, can cause plants to develop this unusual trait. Having both buds and pollen sacs, they end up developing the ability to pollinate and reproduce with themselves.
It should also be noted that male pollen sacs and female flowers develop at the same point on the plant. Both structures emerge from nodes, the point at which branches meet the main stem. So, when you see buds starting to form on some plants, start looking for pollen sacs too.
IDENTIFYING FEMALE CANNABIS PLANTS
Hermaphrodite cannabis plants come in two different forms: true hermaphrodites and “bananas”.
Cannabis belongs to a minority of species that are dioecious in nature, meaning they produce separate male and female plants. Specifically, it should be noted that only 7% of all angiosperms (flowering plant species) possess this rare and interesting trait.
During the early flowering stage, take a stroll around your grow room or garden with a magnifying glass or jeweller’s loupe. Inspect a few nodes on each plant to see how far along into the flowering process they are. At this stage, you won’t see any obvious flowers or pollen sacs. Instead, you’re looking for young pre-flowers. Although these tiny structures look similar, they have distinct features that allow growers to tell them apart.
Female pre-flowers also develop at the nodes. You can distinguish them based on one obvious visual characteristic: hairs. Female pre-flowers feature tear-drop shaped calyxes with small hairs protruding from the tip. These small hairs, known as pistils, are the sex organs of female cannabis flowers.
Feminized seeds are super efficient for indoor and outdoor gardeners. Area, time, and resources aren’t being given to plants that will be thrown away two weeks after the 12-12 flip. Similarly, outdoors where a large plant can consume a lot of time and resources in upkeep prior to the autumn show of flowers, feminized plants are also a good way to reduce guerrilla crop pollinating. There’s nothing worse than bush-bashing out to a well-hidden crop only to find a rogue male or two have impregnated every female plant.
- Cover the top of the pot with plastic or card to catch pollen as it falls, or modify a plastic drink cup to shroud the plant and catch falling pollen.
- Fix a clear plastic bag, perforated at the top for air exchange, around the whole plant.
- An experienced eye will remove each flower pod prior to it bursting completely open to be sure of catching every spore.
- Pollinating a female is the easy bit. Depending on how many seeds you want to make, there are a couple of methods that can be used.
- Using a watercolour or other fine, soft brush or even a cotton bud, dip into your pollen collection and gently apply to the chosen flower. Although thousands of viable spores will be on the end of the brush, enough to pollinate a whole plant, the trichomes on the surface of the pistils will greedily glue everything you offer them. So dip into your pollen stash a few times as you dust.
- For lots of seeds, put pollen in a bag and put over a whole branch or a whole plant, shake well, and leave for twenty four hours.
- It is possible to pollinate different branches with different pollens and have a breeder plant that has 1, 2, or 15 different crosses on it.
- It is also possible to self-pollinate the plant from which the male parts were created. This won’t produce as many seeds as pollinating a separate plant because less female flowers are produced and many are nonviable because of the feminization process.
INHIBIT THAT ETHYLENE
“Applications that reduce the ethylene level in tissues or antagonise the action of ethylene causes the formation of male flowers instead of female ones” — Paraphrase, Byers et al., 1972.
Colloidal silver is by far the easiest to source or make. It is non-toxic, non-caustic, and can be bought from a pharmacy or easily online. The other solutions can be dangerous, difficult to get a hold of, and expensive—except gibberellic acid, which can be found in nurseries, but is not as effective as colloidal silver. But if you want to watch some freaky plant growth just for the fun of it, give gibberellic acid a try. It is a growth stimulant and makes plants stretch and stretch.
The easiest and relatively inexpensive way—considering how much money is potentially saved by not growing resource and time-consuming males—is to buy a colloidal silver generator, which is the no-fuss plug and play option. Or, make your own, which is quite straightforward and doesn’t require any special skill.
One of the biggest evolutions has been the appearance of feminized plants; after years and years of work, cannabis plants can be created to have a 99% chance to be female. You need to know how to tell male from female plants when growing regular seeds, as you’ll only get actual psychoactive weed from the female flowers. Male plants pollinate female plants, which fills their flowers up with seeds so if you’re looking to make the most of your plants you’ll want to keep them away from each other. Hopefully we can help you to tell the difference between male and female weed plants by the end of this article; it’s not that hard, but if it’s not explained correctly it can be a bit confusing.
Hermaphrodites are a type of plant that contains both male and female flowers, so they will produce buds but they will also pollinate those buds and the rest of your plants. Plants may naturally become hermaphrodites or be turned into one due to stress. Both female and male plants can turn. Thai strains are more genetically inclined to become hermaphrodites, although any strain can turn when stressed enough. There are many factors that can stress out your plants and end up turning them, such as extra light when they’re supposed to be in the night cycle, too much or not enough water, certain insects or pathogens, watering with cold water, or even a badly done transplant. Hermaphrodites aren’t the best type of plants to keep around, as they can produce buds but it’s definitely a risk because they might pollinate the rest of your plants. We recommend getting rid of them; it’s not worth it just for a little bit more weed.
What’s the difference between male and female weed plants?
Cannabis plants have evolved enormously over the past couple of decades, mainly thanks to human kind. We’ve spent years combining different species from all over the planet. Every strain has its own specific characteristics, such as structure, type of buds, flavor and effects. When you combine male and female weed plants that are different strains, the new creation takes on characteristics from both, allowing us to create totally new plants.
Male plants essentially produce pollen which is needed for cannabis plants to naturally reproduce; seeds occur when there are male plants in the mix. If you want to make your own seeds you will need a male plant However, if you’re growing regular plants and want to harvest flowers, we recommend getting rid of any males as soon as possible. You won’t be able to tell them apart until they begin to flower, which is when plants begin to show their sex. Male weed plants grow “balls” that open up to let their pollen out, ending up looking like a small bunch of flowers. You’ll need to get rid of them way before this happens. If they manage to release their pollen it’ll be too late. They can take up to three weeks to burst. If you’re still not sure how to tell them apart, male flowers do not have any pistils on them at all.
Female plants are basically what everyone is after when growing cannabis, as these are the ones that make buds, which is the part of the plant that contains the most THC. With just one male plant and a miniscule amount of pollen, your plants might end up filling their flowers with seeds. If you have male and female plants in the same growing area, the buds grown there will only produce seeds so you won’t be able to smoke any of it. You can tell females apart due to the fact that their flowers don’t fully close, they’re actually quite open and they produce little hairs called pistils. They’re incredibly easy to recognize, as the first thing they produce are their pistils, which male plants do not have at all.