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Is my Cannabis Plant Male or Female? Learn how to tell before flowering

One of the biggest and most regular questions we get asked is how to tell if your cannabis plant is male or female before you put the plant into flowering. Once you put your plant into 12 hours of darkness after a week it is quite easy to tell if the plant is a male cannabis plant or a female cannabis plant. However before you do this you may know which is which in order to save room in your growing space. 

There are ways to tell if your cannabis plants are male or female before you switch the lighting to 12/12 to start the plant flowering. 

In this guide we will teach you how to understand if you are growing a female plant before flowering it.

Even if you are Grow Feminized Cannabis Seeds Growers Should Check

Cannabis Plant Male and Female Flowers
Male and Female Cannabis Flowers on the Same Plant

Feminized cannabis seeds typically are female cannabis seeds, however even fully feminized cannabis seeds can end up being male. This is no fault of the breeder or grower, it is just natural trying to reproduce despite the breeders best efforts. 

Most breeders see this happening in about 1 to 100 feminized cannabis seeds, so you may end up with a male plant even with feminized cannabis seeds. It just happens sometimes. 

This is why it’s always a good idea to sex your cannabis plant even with feminized seeds before you start flowing them in your flowering room.

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What is the Difference between Male and Female Plants?

Cannabis is an annual, dioecious flowering herb plant. Its female and male plants will grow two different types of flowers. The male cannabis plant will grow a staminate (male pollen sacs) and the female plant will grow pistillate (female flowers) these will each grow on different plants depending on the sex of the plant.  Cannabis is a wind pollinated plant, and male plants can pollinate female plants by fans indoors, or by wind outdoors.

Male and Female Flowers
Flowering Male Cannabis Plant

Why You Should Sex Cannabis Plants?

It is a good idea to sex you cannabis plants before flowering as you don’t want to find out three weeks into your growing cycle that you have a male plant that has opened up a couple of pollen sacking your flowering room. 

Once this happens it only takes one male to ruin your seedless cannabis crop with seeds. Also if you are growing regular cannabis seeds, meaning that approximately half your cannabis plants will be male and the other half will be female. 

Removing the males before flowering, you will be able to fill your cannabis grow room with all female plants, if you do not sex your plant before flowing half of the space in your grow room will be wasted.

What are the first Signs of Flowering?

Once your cannabis plant is under 12 hours of darkness, some of the first signs of flowering include the plants starting to stretch upwards very quickly towards the lighting or the sun. The plant will get very tall growing almost up to 150% of their original height before the start of the flowering stage.

After about two weeks of flowering the plant will start to show signs of either cannabis staminate or pistillate cannabis flowers growing from the growing tips of the plants. 

Can a Grower make a Male Plant Female?

Male Cannabis Plant Just Starting to Flower
Male Cannabis Plant Just Starting to Flower

The sex of a cannabis plant is determined by genetics in the seeds themself there is no way to turn a plant from male to female or from female to male naturally. Using types of chemicals on the plants can however change their sex from on gender to the other. This is one way that growers can change the sex of their cannabis plants. However this is not recommended unless you are doing your own breeding work, or creating feminized cannabis seeds.

Do Male Plants Bud?

Cannabis buds refer to the female cannabis buds on a female cannabis plant. Male plants will grow pollen sacs on them instead of like on a female cannabis plant. Both male and female cannabis flowers look different on each plant. It is just harder to tell before both plants have started to flower.

Will Seeds from a Female Plant be Female?

When growing cannabis with regular, male and female plants (or otherwise known as “regular seeds”), seeds on the female plant will be approximately half male plants, and half female plants. If the plant turned hermaphrodite, or was pollened from a female, that was turned male then the seeds will be all female. When grown naturally however cannabis seeds will grow to be both sexes.

Female Cannabis Plant Starting to Flower
Female Cannabis Plant Just Starting to Flower

When Can You Tell if Your Plant is Male or Female?

If you have started a cannabis plant from seed, then it will take approximately one month for the plant to start to show it’s sex without the lights turning to 12 hours of darkness. It is never a good idea to start to flower your cannabis plants before you are able to pre sex them for male and female plants. Growers should wait till the plant starts to “pre flower” before starting their dark period to induce flowering.

Once the plant is about one month old and growing vegetatively you will be able to look for pre flowering on the cannabis plant. These pre flowers will start to grow at the nodes of the cannabis plant. This is where the leaves stem meet the main growing stems of the cannabis plants.

Female Cannabis Pre Flowers
Female Cannabis Pre Flowers
Male Cannabis Pre Flowers
Male Cannabis Pre Flowers

When you inspect this area of the plant you will start to see about 4 to 5 nodes up on the main stem, either two little balls, or little white hairs coming out of the plant. The male pre flowers will look like a tiny little “claw” coming out of the nodes on either side of the main stem. Female pre flowers will look like a tiny green cone, with a small white hair coming out of it.

You can look at both of these things when deciding if the cannabis plant is male or female.

Sometimes it can be Tricky to See if the Cannabis Plant is Male or female. You may need to use a small hand looking glass to see the plant up close. The preflowers are very small so you will need to look very closely at the plant to see them.

Flowering Cannabis Plant Female
Female Cannabis Plant Flowering Two Weeks

Other Signs Of Male and Female Cannabis

There are other signs to tell if your plant is male or female, however none of them are as useful as checking pre flowering of the plant. In nature male cannabis plants will grow taller, and have thicker stems then female cannabis plants. They will grow up tall as they will be able to grow up over top of female plants, this is so the pollen from their pollen sacs are able to “rain” down over the female staminate and fertilize them to make seeds and carry on the species.

Is there any Way to Tell Male Cannabis Seeds from Female Cannabis Seeds?

There are ways that scientist can tell the sex of cannabis seeds, this however requires special equipment the is inaccessible to the average cannabis grower. There is currently no way to tell the sex of a cannabis seed just be looking at it. There is no way to tell female cannabis seeds from male cannabis seeds for the average grower. 

Female Cannabis Seeds
Female Cannabis Seeds

How can you tell if a plant is feminized?

The only way for average growers to tell if their plant is feminized is from growing feminized cannabis seeds from a reputable cannabis breeder. Seedbanks will list their seeds as either regular seeds, or feminized seeds. Regular cannabis seeds will need to be sexed, and will have about 50% male plant and 50% female plants. If they are listed as feminized seeds they should all be female cannabis plants, however they are the odd exception to this, as stated above.

The Surest Way to Know if you are Growing Female Plants

One way to know you are growing 100% female cannabis plants is to grow your plant from clones. If you clone your cannabis plant and have already grown it and it was female, then you will know 100% that the clone will also once again be a female cannabis plant. 

The same can also be said if you are growing a male cannabis plant and would like to clone it for breeding, backcrossing or growing seeds for your next year’s cannabis garden.

Conclusion

Once the grower is able to sex their cannabis plant a few time and gain some experience it will be easier to tell male cannabis plants from females from their preflowers. Doing so is a skill that every avid cannabis grower should learn earlier in their growing hobby. We hope this article can help you understand how to do this quickly and effectively. 

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