It seems like every time you check in with the cannabis laws in the US, more states are legalizing the use of marijuana for either medicinal or recreational purposes. While the laws in each state differ, in some US states you are actually allowed to grow your own cannabis.
In fact, there are 17 states plus the city of Washington D.C. where they allow people to “home grow” their own weed.
Growing your own cannabis can be a rewarding project and also a great way to save money. However, it isn’t as easy as just throwing a seed in some soil and waiting.
An important part of growing cannabis is being able to distinguish between a male vs female marijuana plant. Let’s take a look at how to tell the difference.
Cannabis Life Stages and Sex
For people who are not intimately involved in the cultivation process of cannabis, they might not be aware that there are male marijuana plants and female marijuana plants. This is actually a very important distinction to the grower, and if you are growing your own cannabis you will want to learn how to tell the difference.
The reason this is important is that only female plants produce those desirable buds. If you grow male plants by accident, you will be disappointed when harvest time comes.
If you simply use seeds that you find in your existing stash, they will be 50% female and 50% male. That means that only half of the seeds will be usable for the purpose of growing buds. You can feminized seeds on your own, but it’s a bit of a project.
However, you can purchase feminized seeds online. You’ll want to find a reputable online seedbank, where you’ll be able to purchase seeds for plants that you can know are female marijuana plants with certainty.
There are several main life stages that all marijuana plants will go through. These are seed germination, the seedling stage, the vegetative stage, and the flowering stage.
When Is the Sex of a Marijuana Plant Revealed?
Marijuana plants will start to show their sex organs a couple of weeks into the flowering stage. It is absolutely essential to separate the female marijuana plants from the male marijuana plants at this point so that the flowering females do not become pollinated.
However, you can start to tell the difference between male vs female marijuana plants earlier than this. Once the cannabis plant is roughly 3-6 weeks old, you will be able to see signs of “pre-flowers” which will give you a sense of which gender your plant is.
Are you wondering what the differences between sativa and indica are? You can learn all about it here.
Male Vs Female Marijuana Plant: How to Determine the Sex of a Cannabis Plant
Looking for pre-flowers is a good way to determine the sex of your cannabis plant earlier than the flowering stage. However, you’ll need to know where to look.
“Pre-flowers” are tiny versions of the adult sex organs that will later develop. They typically appear on the upper parts of the cannabis plant where they are closer to the lights. However, it’s a good idea to search the whole plant because they will occasionally appear on lower branches.
When you initially see the difference between female vs male marijuana plants, you might be confused about how to tell the difference. However, there is actually quite a bit of variation between each sex’s pre-flowers. It’s important to understand that the pre-flowers can actually look a lot different between strains, too.
Start looking for pre-flowers around 3-4 four weeks after the seed has germinated, as this is typically when male plants will have grown a pre-flower. Females won’t start showing pre-flowers until weeks 4-6.
Pre-flowers grow at the “V” where the main stalk and stems meet.
Male pre-flowers will have more of a spade-like shape. When they first appear, they are truly tiny, so you will have to look carefully.
Male pre-flowers are basically pollen sacs that haven’t matured yet. Once a male plant enters the flowering stage, the pollen sacs will turn into bunches that almost have a grape-like look.
If you’re unable to determine if a plant is male at this stage, you’ll want to regularly keep checking your plants. It will become more clear over time if these pre-flowers are turning into pollen sacs.
Female pre-flowers are generally narrower and longer than male pre-flowers. Sometimes you will notice that they’ll have fat bottoms. Not always, but usually, they will have one or two pistils, or white hairs, that stick out from the top of the pre-flower.
What Are Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plants?
Cannabis plants are considered hermaphroditic when a female plant develops both female and male sex organs. What this means is that the cannabis plant is able to produce pollen that could end up pollinating your whole garden. This is typically something that happens if your plant becomes super stressed out. Stressors include bad weather, damage, nutrient deficiencies, and disease.
There are two different types of hermaphrodite cannabis plants. The first is a cannabis plant that develops both pollen sacs and buds, while the second produces anthers.
Male Marijuana Vs Female: Knowing the Difference Might Be the Most Important Part of the Growing Process!
At first it can seem intimidating to try and tell the difference between male vs female marijuana plants, but over time it will become second nature.
However, if you’re germinating your seeds today, you’re going to wait a while before you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. The life cycle of a plant typically takes 3-5 months!
If you don’t want to wait that long, you might be wondering where there’s a dispensary near you. Are you wondering where you can get cannabis products in your city? Check out RollinNow, the app that will help connect you with the best products at the best prices!