If you are a newbie in the weed cultivation world, one of the first things you learn is that plant sex matters. Scientists have found that male and female marijuana plants produce flowers with different chemical compositions. More importantly, research reveals that female plants are the most valuable for growers because they contain the maximum amount of CBD and THC – cannabinoids responsible for the marijuana effect on the human body.
So, home growers need to have only female plants in their gardens to produce marijuana with the desired effect. Since there is no difference between male and female weed seeds, examining the stems during the pre-flowering stage is the only viable option for growers. Not sure how to distinguish between male and female cannabis? This article provides some basic information about male and female weed flowers to help you maximize your yield.
Cannabis is a dioecious species, which means that there are plants with female flowers only and those with male flowers only. Female plants are in great demand because they produce the most potent flowers. Researchers explain that monoecious plants can also emerge, and these are usually called hermaphrodites. Co-sexual cannabis plants have male and female flowers and typically grow due to unfavorable environmental conditions or genetic factors.
Identifying gender is extremely important when growing cannabis. If a garden contains both female and male plants that were not separated before flowering, pollination occurs. As a result, pollinated female plants shift all their energy into producing seeds, which significantly decreases the quality of marijuana produced from these plants. However, if you remove male or hermaphrodite flowers from the growing space, female plants will develop resinous, large flowers full of cannabinoids.
Home growers use feminized cannabis seeds to produce the all-female crop to make things easier. However, there are still several problems:
- Even feminized seeds are not 100% male-proof
- It is impossible to tell the difference between male and female cannabis seeds.
- Even specifically bred female weed seeds can produce hermaphrodites. All this means that you need to be able to identify sex accurately.
The following information will help you differentiate between female and male flowers and separate the plants timely to avoid pollination.
Female Cannabis Plants: Key Features
Instead of searching for information on how to identify male and female cannabis seeds, focus on flowers. Sex differences emerge gradually at the pre-flowering stage. The first signs of flowers emerge at the junctions between stems or branches. Female marijuana pre-flowers are ovate and have a long pointer tip. These are called the calyx and may be accompanied by pistils that look like white hairs. Find it hard to see the pre-flower parts? Use a magnifying glass and inspect the place behind each stipule. Still unsure? Wait a few more days for the sex to become noticeable.
Characteristics of Male Cannabis Flowers
Male flowers in your garden may flower earlier than their female counterparts. Male pre-flowers are more round than female ones. These can be compared to spades, as they have bulbous bottoms and a very small tip. As cannabis grows, these transform into pollen sacs, which look like baby bananas hanging from the stem. As soon as you see the described signs, you need to eliminate the male plant from the garden to reduce the risk of cross-pollination. If you need male cannabis seeds for further breeding, you can place male plants in a separate growing space. However, ensure it is securely separated from the garden with female cannabis flowers because pollen can travel through the air.
It takes time and skill to be able to select proper female weed seeds and grow strong cannabis bringing the best yield. Here are some more tips to help you achieve your goals:
- Be vigilant during the pre-flowering stage. Flowers can develop very quickly, so check your garden regularly (at least once a day).
- If you see female flowers, don’t let your guard down. Sometimes, marijuana plants can also develop male flowers, and they may be hidden behind the leaves. If you know that your growing conditions were less than perfect (e.g., you did not maintain the right light regimen), watch out for hermaphrodite plants.
- Be careful when working with pollen. If you did not eliminate the males timely, you need to be very careful because the pollen may contaminate the soil and reach the female plants. As a result, all the time and resources you spend will be wasted because you will not produce high-quality, cannabinoid-reach weed.
- Even if you buy high-quality feminized seeds, you need to create excellent conditions in the growing space. These include temperature, light, water pH, watering schedule, nutrients, etc.
As you can see, cannabis cultivation requires much time and energy, as plants should be monitored regularly to prevent cross-pollination. However, this process can be less stressful when you know how to grow an only-ladies garden.