How to identify your plant gender

cannabis plants

Hey :) In this guide we're going to help you figure out how to sex your plant and understand differences between male and female cannabis plants.

tldr: we recommend starting out with feminized photoperiodic seeds

What you'll need

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#1

Male vs female why it matters

Cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning your plant can be either male or female. The resinous buds that will get you high are produced by female plants, males role is to pollinate flowers.

The fact that genital organs can be set apart will allow you to isolate female plants and grow higher quality flowers without seeds in it: Sinsemilla flowers.

If you're growing with regular cannabis seeds or "bagseeds" approximately 35% of your plants will end up being males, but why?

That's because cannabis spreads its pollen through the air - without the need for pollinating insects - 1 male can pollinate a large area thus not needing as many males as females to perpetuate the species.

Resulting in the actual ratio of Females:Males when growing a regular seed being 65:35 .

To avoid wasting time growing a male you'll need to remove, you should look for feminized seeds, this type of seed will 100% end up as female plants.
To keep things simple, we recommend growing feminized seeds 🌱

If you want to grow regular seeds, the next steps will show you how to determine your plant's sex.

Key takeaways:

  • Feminized seeds: 100% guaranteed female plants, no wasted time growing a male 👌
  • Regular seeds: 65% female 35% male
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#2

Male and female genital organs

Male and female cannabis plants will both look the same during seedling and vegetative stages.

Gender reveal starts during pre-flowering, females will work on producing calyxes and pistils while males will grow pollen sacs or "balls".

Both genital organs look alike during pre-flower and can be easily confused; wait a bit and check regularly until you can tell the difference or ask for help on the SuperGreenLab Discord.

Once your plant enters the flowering stage, gender will fully reveal and you'll be able to separate male and female. If your not planning to pollinate/breed your plants you should throw out your male plants to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Now let's see what each sex look like during their different stages.

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#3

Male and female pre-flower

Male pre-flower looks like small balls that will grow as pollen sacs. At this point they cannot pollinate females yet.

Female pre-flower are cup-like shaped, it's where the seed will develop if pollinated. They will develop white hairs on the tips to capture pollen. At this stage females cannot be pollinated either.

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#4

Male and female mid-flower

Both genitals will develop and expand, pollen sacs and calyxes will multiply and stack up.
At this stage, both are near ready to pollinate and get pollinated.
If left to ripen pollen sacs will burst, releasing pollen everywhere...

⚠ This is your final chance to spot males before spread pollen in the air.

Tips&Tricks to remove a male plant that has already developed pollen sacs;
gently place a trash bag over the plant to prevent pollen to spread if a sac were to burst open 👌

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#5

Male and female late-flower

During late flower, females expect to be pollinated, boosting flower growth to increase their chance of capturing pollen and the males' pollen sacs will burst.

If pollinated, females will stop putting energy into making buds and will instead focus on producing seeds which ruins the overall quality of the buds.

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#6

Hermaphroditism

Okay you're now able to distinguish cannabis gender and you know that it's a dioecious plant, however it can also be hermaphrodite.

I know what you think, indeed this is the complex part of this guide, but not as complex as it seems.

First, let's explain what hermaphroditism means for cannabis plants.
When stressed, female plants which haven't been pollinated can start producing their own pollen sacs to self-pollinate as a last resort to perpetuate their genes before winter kills them.

"Hermie" flowers will develop both male and female genital organs (pollen sacs and calyxes) and will self-pollinate and likely other female plants around.

If your looking for quality seedless bud aka sinsemilla: set your "hermies" apart from your female plants as soon as you spot them. Buds will mature and can be consumed, however they'll be filled will seeds and you risk pollinating your other females.

We recommend getting rid of "hermies" when you spot them like we do for males.

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#7

How to avoid your plant to turn hermaphrodite

tldr : To avoid "hermies" you must stress your plants as little as possible.
tldr : To avoid your whole grow space getting pollinated by a herma you should regularly check your plants and the buds looking for ball and banana sacs that contain pollen.

Hermaphroditism can be caused by two things : genetics and stress

  • Genetics: can affect cannabis on many points, buds aspect, taste, potency or density. Thus hermaphroditism can come from genetics (hybrid, indica, sativa) or breeding techniques. At this point, you cannot do anything to prevent your plant to turn herma except choosing stable genetics, good quality seeds.
  • Stress: a cannabis plant can turn herma when exposed to stress. Hermaphroditism is a survival instinct and work as a way to protect the plant and it's persistance over time.
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