Guide To Cannabis Gender And Reproduction

Looking to get the greatest possible yield from your cannabis? Then you’ll need to know the basics of cannabis gender and reproduction. Are you dreaming of a harvest that’s twice the size of your neighbor’s? The answer is simple: Make sure all your plants are female.

Only female cannabis plants produce flowers, and only flowers can put on a bountiful harvest, so it only makes sense to aim for 100% femme fatales in your grow room. After all, everyone knows that ganja girls never let you down.

But wait—if all you have are female plants, how can there be any males in the picture? What’s the point of even having male plants if they don’t produce buds? That’s a great question because it turns out that both sexes serve an important function. Keeping them around is crucial for the health and development of the ladies.

“Male plants? What’s their connection to femmes?”

In order for a female plant to produce flowers, it has to be exposed to male pollen on a regular basis. In nature, these encounters happen when the wind blows pollen from a stamen in a male flower over a stigma of a female flower. But unless you’re growing organically out in the wilds, your plants are going to need some help.

“So I should keep a few males around to make sure my girls are healthy?”

Yes. Yes, you should. The more successful you are at this task, the larger your harvest will be—up to a point. There comes a time when the male plants have fulfilled their purpose and you need to separate them from your ladies. They’ll start shedding pollen everywhere, which isn’t good news if you enjoy smoking or vaping your bud.

Identifying Males and Females

Taking your plants to the gender-bending point is easy. The moment they’re old enough to grow roots, you can tell if their sex is male or female by looking at the tiny pre-flowers that emerge in early development. You may need a magnifying glass for this operation—the flowers are only one millimeter across!

Fortunately, most reputable seed banks ship their packets with a picture of the pre-flowers that show male and female members of each strain. You can also take your tiny plants into a knowledgeable shop and have an experienced grower check them out for you. But either way, it’s pretty darn easy to tell which one is which.

Male flowers look like small fuzzy balls while female flowers tend to be more rounded and symmetrical. Can you see the stigmas and stamens in these pre-flowers?

Once your plants start flowering, you can check out their buds to see if they have the telltale sign of a pistil, or white hair. If you can see a small white hair emerging from the calyx of each bud, it’s definitely a femme.

Other Methods For Identifying The Sex of Your Cannabis Plants

While pre-flowers are an effective way to separate the sexes, there are a couple of other methods that work well too. One of them is called “breeding by phenotype.” This method works if you’ve got more than one plant of the same variety, and it’s the method growers prefer for very small grows with only a few plants.

Noticing Growth Patterns

Every plant, regardless of gender, begins to thrive during early development. However, as the plants age, you will notice minute variations in their sizes. Some high potency hemp growers have noticed early short photoperiod planttors that can assist in determining the gender.

When a high potency hemp plant matures from seed right into the vegetative state, females usually develop more complicated and interconnected branching than males. Although females are slightly taller and less rounded, males tend to be somewhat taller and thinner.

This approach might not be foolproof, so don’t use it as an excuse to trash a plant. Of course, the last thing you want to do is remove plants at such an early stage.

What Happened During Germination

Suppose you cannot wait and you have to know ASAP. Some cannabis cultivators have found a technique that determines the sex of the plants as soon as they germinate. According to their hypothesis, a sprout emerging from the top or bottom of the seed is usually a female. On the contrary, most male sprouts emerge from the side of the seed. Although there has not been a scientific study on it, growers who have utilized this approach claim a 90% success rate.

Purchase Feminized Cannabis Seeds Today

We have top quality feminized cannabis seeds available on our website from a variety of breeders including Dutch Passion, Soma Seeds, and more! Make a purchase today for fast 3-day shipping.



Mo Smyth, BSN, RN Cannabis Nurse Educator