How to tell the difference between male and female marijuana plants is something every grower needs to know. Cannabis can be a very moody plant. Females can switch back into males if they are stressed too much. A male can sneak into your crop, pollinating it, turning all your lovely ladies to seed. Luckily, picking out a female vs male weed plant isn't too tricky. With a bit of practice, you may find that you're good at it.
Are male weed plants bad?Males display different characteristic attributes than females. They have different effects, and both serve different purposes. All male cannabis plants aren't bad. In fact, they are an essential part of breeding cannabis. They can, however, be a nuisance to new growers and even a pro.
There are ways to avoid having male cannabis plants all together too. This can help optimize your grow space and help you plan a grow accordingly. Before we go into ways to avoid having male cannabis plants in your grow, let's learn about the differences between male and female plants.
How to tell the difference between male and female marijuana
Male Weed PlantsMale cannabis plants produce pollen sacs. If you see a sac, you will want to pull it or chop it down if it's not already too late. That is, in less, of course, you are breeding cannabis. Then you will want a robust male cannabis plant that has good characteristics. Do male weed plants have buds? Yes, male plants will produce buds, but they will be filled with seeds and very low in THC. They're not good smoking material or material for edibles, vapes, concentrates, etc. Male cannabis plants are pretty much only good for the pollen they produce.
Next, let's look at some important terms about a weed plant:
- Nodes are the part of the plant where a branch grows from the main stem or another branch
- Stipules are thin blades that grow off of each node
Take a close look at the stipules on the nodes of your plant. The more, the merrier because it's believed that male plants have fewer stipules than females. Also, if the stipules you see appear to be rounded rather than pointy, you most likely have a male plant on your hands. What you want to find on female cannabis plants are pre-flower hairs or pistils.
Female Cannabis PlantsFemale cannabis plants are what we consume. We smoke them, eat them, vape them, rub them on us, and more. When you grow cannabis, you want to grow female plants to produce bountiful potent crops come harvest. Female cannabis plants produce the buds we love that are rich in terpenes and cannabinoids like THC.
When growing cannabis, you want female plants unless you are breeding. Even then, pollen is often collected in a separate area and then introduced to female plants to make seed crops. Some growers will put a strong male cannabis plant in with choice female plants when they are looking to make more seeds or create new ones.
Female cannabis plants show their sex with pre-flower hairs or pistils that emerge from a small calyx at the base of a node between stipules. This can happen as early as 3-4 weeks or can take a bit longer, pushing the 6-week mark or more. Factors such as the variety of cannabis you're growing and the environment in which it's being cultivated can determine the amount of time before you can determine the sex of a plant.
Female cannabis plants are said to have pointy stipules, whereas males have more rounded stipules. Female plants are also said to have more stipules than males. You will want to make sure your plants don't have pre-flower hairs and pollen sacs. If they have both, treat that plant like it is a male cannabis plant. Plants that display both male and female characteristics are called hermaphrodites, aka hermies.
Male Cannabis Plants
- Good for breeding
- Can be juiced
- Fibers can be used like hemp
- Low to no THC
- Not suitable for smoking, vaping, etc.
- Can turn females into a seed crop
Female Cannabis Plants
- High in cannabinoids like THC, CBD, etc.
- Produce the buds we consume
- Can be juiced
- Great for smoking, vaping, dabbing, edibles, etc.
- Produce the seeds we grow when pollinated by pollen from male cannabis plants
How to Prevent Male Weed PlantsMost growers want to avoid male cannabis plants. Some people have a very difficult time determining male cannabis plants from female cannabis plants. This can be very discouraging for new growers. If you wish to grow cannabis but would like to avoid male cannabis plants, there are some things you can do to make this possible.
You must always remember that through stress, any female cannabis plant can hermie and turn into a male. If this happens to one plant, it generally happens to almost every other one in the growing environment. Stress factors that cause this are interruptions in lighting cycles, over or underwatering, nutrient burn, etc. With that in mind, let's look at how you can avoid male cannabis plants.
A common way to avoid male cannabis plants is by growing cannabis clones. Cannabis clones offer growers cuttings from female plants. Clones can be grown under long light cycles allowing them to go into the flowering cycle much quicker. Clones are also ready to go into the flowering cycle within a few short weeks, whereas seeds can take much longer. Growing from cannabis clones has its ups, being that the plants are female. However, they are known to yield less, and have more potential issues than plants from seed.
If you want to grow from seed and would like to avoid male plants, this too is still possible. You can buy feminized cannabis seeds. Feminized cannabis seeds produce female plants 99% of the time. Once in a blue moon, you will get a male plant from feminized cannabis seeds. This is a great way to grow from seed and avoid male cannabis plants.
When you're new to growing cannabis, the setup can end up costing a little more than you might think. Don't get me wrong, it can still be done very cost-effectively, but when you're new, there's a learning curve to all the tips and tricks. For a few hundred dollars these days, someone looking to grow cannabis can purchase a complete setup and get their first round of nutrients.
A benefit of growing only female plants using cannabis clones or feminized cannabis seeds is that you are able to plan your grow. For many people, finances are a very important factor in growing. Some people just don't have the money, and others don't see the sense in spending it if it's not needed. When growing from cannabis clones or feminized cannabis seeds, you can more accurately plan out your grow.
Things such as how much space you'll need, the amount of lighting you need, how much nutrients you'll use, and more can be figured out ahead of time. This can help greatly when you're on a budget for your grow. Check out the cannabis forums at THC Farmer to learn more about male and female cannabis plants.