Male vs Female Cannabis Plants
Did you know there are both male and female marijuana plants? Yes, marijuana plants show gender, and the sex matters a lot to the grower.
That’s because only female plants produce buds. How do you grow female plants?
Regular marijuana seeds will be 50% male, and 50% female. That means half of the seeds will be unusable as far as growing buds.
One way around this is to purchased feminized seeds online. These seeds are available from all reputable online seedbanks, and the plants produced by these seeds are always female.
You can also make your own feminized seeds, but you have to start with two known female plants.
When do marijuana plants reveal their gender?
Cannabis plants go through two stages of life, the “vegetative” stage and the “flowering stage.”
They first go through the vegetative life stage, which you can sort of consider its “childhood” since the plant is only focusing on growing bigger and taller, and gender doesn’t matter. At the beginning of this stage you usually can’t tell what the plant’s gender is.
However, once the plant is about 6 weeks old, it will usually show signs of “pre-flowers” which will alert you to the gender before the beginning of the flowering stage.
Pre-Flowers usually reveal the gender around week 6 from seed
Otherwise you must wait for the flowering stage
Next, cannabis plants switch to the flowering stage which means they stop growing bigger and taller, and instead spend all their effort growing flowers (the buds we want are flowers!). The flowering stage is like the “adult” stage of a cannabis plant since at this point it’s only interested in adult stuff like growing their male and female parts, then pollinating In the flowering stage, plants start growing buds or pollen sacs in earnest. The buds we want are female flowers, so growers generally only want to grow female plants.
Growers Want Female Cannabis Plants – These Produce Bud
Regular Marijuana plants reveal their gender in two situations:
After spending a long time in the vegetative stage – some strains/plants will show preflowers (pistils for girls and “balls” for boys) during the vegetative stage if they grow old enough, even when they are constantly kept under a vegetative light schedule. For example, clones can come from plants that are several years old, so you’ll see a lot of clones have female pistils showing, yet will not continue to flower any more than that until after they’ve been switched to a Flowering (12-12) light schedule
Otherwise, all remaining plants will reveal their gender in the first 1-3 weeks after lights are switched to 12-12, and plants enter the flowering stage of life.
When your cannabis plant is about to reveal it’s gender, what you’re looking for is cannabis “pre-flowers.” These usually show up when the plant is around 6 weeks old from seed, but they always appear once the plant is changed over to the flowering stage.
Male and female pre-flowers look different from each other (though it can be easy to confuse them at first). Sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which at first, and in that case you’ll just have to wait until they develop a few more flowers and it becomes more obvious.
Diagram Showing What Pre-Flowers Look Like
Male pre-flowers on left – Female pre-flowers on right
Female Marijuana Plant Pictures
Female marijuana plants take a bit longer than males to show their first signs after being changed over to flowering.
Female marijuana plants start showing one or two wispy white hairs where their buds are going to start forming.
They usually first show up where the main stem connects to the individual nodes or ‘branches’.
If a female plant is kept in the vegetative stage long enough (the length of time varies depending on the strain and conditions), then she will start showing the first sign of female hairs even before you move the plant into the flowering stage by changing the light schedule.
If you see wispy white hairs appearing on your plant like the ones pictured below, then you know you have a female plant.
Click on thumbnails for larger picture
In this pic, you can see white pistils emerging from the calyxes. Female pistils are white and wispy, never green.
This pre-flower doesn’t have a pistil sticking out at first, but the shape helps tell you it’s a female plant. If you’re not sure about gender after spotting a pre-flower, it’s a good idea to wait and see for a little while, just to see if a white hair appears (which means it’s definitely a girl)
Adult Female Cannabis Plant Pictures
Those buds turn into this!
Male Marijuana Plant Pictures
Male plants have grape-like balls which form and fill with pollen. The balls will first show up a week or two after changing the plants over to the flowering stage. If the male is allowed to continue growing, eventually these pollen sacs will burst open and spill pollen everywhere.
A small male pre-flower – this is what male plants look like when they first reveal their gender
These male pre-flowers are basically immature pollen sacs. When the plant starts flowering, they will grow and turn into bunches that almost look like grapes.
Click on thumbnails for larger picture
Uncertain pre-flower – ended up being female!
Sometimes it takes a day or two for a female pre-flower to release her first pistil, and the female calyx can look like the beginning of a pollen sac. Generally the more “pointy” ones tend to be female, but sometimes you have to wait and see a few more flowers to know for sure.
Marijuana plants go through 2 life stages: Vegetative and Flowering
Quick Key to Light Schedules For Photoperiod (Non-Autoflowering) Strains
This key breaks down some of the terms used in the article below such as “24-0″ or 12-12”
Vegetative – Indoor cannabis plants kept on these light schedules will display only vegetative growth
18-6 – 18 Hours Light / 6 Hours Darkness each Day
24-0 – 24 Hours Light / 0 Hours Darkness each Day
Flowering – Indoor cannabis plants on this light schedule will start growing flowers (buds)
12-12 – 12 Hours Light / 12 Hours Darkness each Day
* Most indoor growers use a timer to turn their lights on and off automatically.
The first stage, “Vegetative” begins when they first sprout, at the beginning of their life.
Most growers give their plants 18-24 hours of light a day during the vegetative stage.
When a plant is about half the final size you want it to be, you should change it over to the “Flowering” stage.
The second life stage, “Flowering,” is the stage your plant will remain in until harvest..
You get marijuana plants start flowering (making buds) by changing your light schedule to 12-12.
That means you use an electric timer to automatically shine your grow lights for 12 hours a day, with 12 hours of uninterrupted TOTAL darkness during the plant’s “night period.”
Marijuana plants should reveal the first signs of their gender within 2-3 weeks after being changed to 12-12.
How Light Schedules Affect Marijuana Life Stages
Marijuana plants have an internal process where they can detect how long they receive uninterrupted darkness each day.
In the wild, as the days get shorter and nights get longer, the marijuana plant “realizes” that winter is coming and will start budding/flowering as it approaches the end of it’s lifecycle.
When growing marijuana outdoors, a grower doesn’t need to do anything to induce flowering because the sun will take care of things on its own. All you need to do is make sure your plant isn’t directly under a street light or other light source, so that the plant receives complete darkness at night.
However, when growing marijuana indoors, a marijuana gardener will have to “fool” their plants into thinking winter is coming to induce flowering and kickstart the creation of buds.
This is done by changing the plant’s light schedule to 12-12, where the weed plants gets 12 hours of light a day and 12 hours of total darkness.
It’s easier to ensure the plant gets the 12 full hours of darkness each night when the start and end time for your lights to turn on and off is exactly the same each day. This is why most growers end up getting a timer to turn their lights on and off automatically.
I tend to set my timer in flowering to shine line from 7pm-7am. This gives me time to check on my plants at night when the lights first come on, and I can also check them quickly in the morning before I go to work. It also keeps things cooler since the lights are on at night. Some people (like myself) also get discounts on electricity that’s used at night.
But ANY 12 hour dark period will work, as long as you prevent your plant from getting light leaks during their “night.”
In fact, with marijuana plants, the length of night period, not the length of day period, seems to make the biggest difference. This makes sense if you consider that in the wild, a stormy or cloudy day could shorten the light period a plant receives, but few things in the wild will interrupt the darkness of night.
This has been experimentally verified by some out-of-the-box thinkers. They gave marijuana plants different amounts of light and dark, then watched what happened.
What they found is that a marijuana plant will stay flowering as long as she gets 12+ hours of darkness on a regular basis. The length of day period didn’t seem to matter at all. In fact, you could give plants 12 hours of dark followed by 24 hours of light, on a regular basis, and plants would continue to flower as long as their darkness was uninterrupted for 12 hours at a time.
Check out my marijuana grow light guide for more info about picking out the right grow lights for your situation!
Photoperiod dependent strains vs. auto-flowering strains
So all strains of cannabis that respond to light in this way (where the light period effects what stage they’re in) are called “Photoperiod dependent” strains.
“Auto-flowering” marijuana strains pretty much ignore how much light they get each day. Generally you don’t run into these unless you buy them particularly from a cannabis seed bank.
Marijuana plants have a gender: Is my plant Male or Female?
(Some marijuana plants can also be hermaphrodites, which means they display both male and female parts on the same plant)
Most growers prefer to grow female plants, as only female plant produce buds/flowers.
Note: Once the plant is about 6 weeks old from seed, it will usually show signs of “pre-flowers” which will alert you to the gender before the beginning of the flowering stage.
Pre-Flowers usually reveal the gender around week 6 from seed, or you can wait until the plant switches to the flowering stage.
After 2-3 weeks of the 12-12 light schedule, most marijuana plants will reveal the first signs of their gender (they either are a female plant and start growing buds, YAY! or they are a male plant and start growing balls, NO!).
Why do I not want male marijuana plants?
Only a female marijuana plant makes flowers/buds that contain a usable amount of THC. Male marijuana plants only make pollen sacs that they use to fertilize the females. Most growers will throw away any male plants that they encounter to keep them from fertilizing the female plants. If your female plants do get fertilized, they will use all their energy to produce seeds instead of making buds. This is good if you want seeds, but you will run into the same problem since half of the seeds will also be male.
If you would like to start a breeding program to make your own hybrids, I recommend using a method that creates all-female (feminized) seeds so that you don’t waste time having to identify and throw out male plants.
Getting clones of female marijuana plants or buying feminized seeds online from a seed bank are other ways you can ensure that all your marijuana plants are female.
If you don’t have a choice of seeds, and some of your seeds may be male (like if you just found seeds) than you will want to get your plants to reveal their gender right away so you don’t have to waste time and energy on male plants.
For most marijuana strains, the male plants don’t produce usable amounts of THC, so most growers toss them on sight. Unfortunately, 50% of all regular seeds will become male plants.
These male plants can also impregnate your female plants, which causes them not to produce as many buds, so unless you’re breeding, destroy male plants as soon as you notice them growing grape-like balls where their buds would normally be.
A vigilant grower can carefully watch their plants and remove males when they develop the first signs of pollen sacs.
How to identify female plants if starting out with regular bagseed?
You don’t have to wait for the flowering stage! Below we’ll share two tactics growers use to identify gender in the vegetative stage.
Tactic 1: Preflowers let you identify plants in week 3-6 from seed
Pre-Flowers reveal the gender of your plant by around week 6 from seed, and as early as 3 weeks from seed for some plants.
In this area you’ll find pre-flowers nestled where the “joints” of the plant are.
Tactic 2: Taking a clone and flowering it
The following method can help you identify gender for plants that are taking a while to show their pre-flowers.
If you’re just growing 1, 2, or 3 plants, it can be heartbreaking to find out all your plants are male, and you need to start over in order to make buds.
When marijuana plants are seedlings (or when they’re just seeds), there’s no way to tell which plants are male and which plants are female.
You have to “wait and see.” Male marijuana plants develop pollen sacs (look like little balls or nuts). Female marijuana plants start growing white hairs that develop into the marijuana buds (sensimilla) that contain THC and other cannabinoids. Lots of pictures of male and female parts above.
However, you may want to be more proactive and get rid of the male plants before they enter the flowering stage so you don’t have to waste the time and energy in caring for plants that you will eventually get rid of. If so, then you can use to following technique to identify and remove all the males from your grow.
How to Determine Sex of a Marijuana Plant
You can wait until your plants naturally show the first signs of their gender and then remove all the males, but that means you have to watch the plants closely. You also will waste time and energy growing plants only to find out that some or all are male and have to throw them away. If you want to be more proactive and get rid of all male plants right away, then use this technique.
Take a clone from the unverified marijuana plant
Label both the clone and the mother plant so you know which clone came from which corresponding mother. If you don’t label them clearly, then all your effort will go to waste!
Once the clones have established roots, change just the clones into flowering mode by providing them with a light schedule of 12 hours on, 12 hours off
The clones should start revealing their gender in a week or two. Males will start developing balls and females will start developing white hairs. Click on the pictures below to see some examples of male and female plants.
Once you have determined the gender of your clones, you should make sure you throw away any corresponding male plants.
Cannabis Pre-Flowers: Identify Sex of a Plant as Early as 3 Weeks Old (with pics!)
The female plants will soon produce pistils. Wispy white hairs are a sure sign that you’re looking at female pre-flowers.
How to Determine the Sex of a Young Cannabis Plant
What are cannabis “pre-flowers?” They are little versions of adult flowers that appear on your marijuana plants relatively early in the vegetative stage.
When I first started growing weed, I learned (incorrectly) that there is no way to determine a cannabis plant’s sex until the flowering stage. But I’ve since learned that pre-flowers can reveal the plant’s sex while it’s still in the vegetative stage! Cannabis plants grow pre-flowers as young as 3-4 weeks from germination for male plants, and 4-6 weeks from germination for female plants.
Cannabis Pre-Flowers Are Small Versions of Adult Flowers. These reveal a plant’s sex.
Knowing the plant’s sex is helpful because most hobbyist cannabis growers would like to identify and remove male plants from the grow room early in the growing process. This is because only female plants make potent buds/flowers, while male cannabis plants make non-potent pollen sacs where female plants would grow buds. Additionally, female buds need to avoid pollen from male plants in order to make the highest quality cannabis (sinsemilla or “no seeds”).
Cannabis pre-flowers appear at the base of leaves when male plants are about 3-4 weeks old, and female plants are 4-6 weeks old.
Even if you’re not 100% sure about every plant from looking at the pre-flowers, it’s nice to know which plants you need to watch closely and which are definitely female. However, if precision is very important…
Chemical Leaf Tests Can Determine Sex & Potency for plants as young as 1-3 weeks
Chemical leaf testing is getting less expensive every day and can be used on cannabis seedlings with just a few sets of leaves to test for sex and future potency.
These tests only require a tiny amount of plant tissue (for example a small punch-out from a leaf, or a single cotyledon leaf), so it won’t hurt or slow down your seedlings to take a test sample!
In general, the tests are available for seedlings as young as 1-3 weeks. Sex testing uses a real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) test, and potency tests use Gas Chromatography with a Flame Ionization Detector (GC/FID) or High-Pressure Liquid Chromatography with a Diode Array Detector (HPLC) for testing.
Although testing can be done as early as week 1 from germination, waiting until week 3 to conduct testing on seedlings can increase accuracy, and some companies won’t conduct testing until week 3.
There are many reasons growers would like to know plant sex as early as possible, as well as be able to estimate the overall THC/CBD ratios of future buds!
Did You Know? There are Chemical Leaf Tests that Can Definitively Determine Both Plant Sex & Future Cannabinoid Ratios of Very Young Marijuana Seedlings!
But for those of us using our eyes…
(these turn into buds)
This female pre-flower hasn’t released a wispy white pistil quite yet
When starting with “feminized” seeds (which you can usually only get from a breeder), all your seeds should end up being female, so determining male from female isn’t very important. Learn more about buying seeds (including feminized seeds) from breeders online.
But for growers starting with “regular” (non-feminized) seeds, about half of the plants can turn out to be male. And unfortunately, there’s no way to look at a seed and be able to tell what sex it is.
Unfortunately, you can’t tell a cannabis plant’s sex for sure by looking at the seeds
How to Figure out Sex of a Cannabis Plant by Examining Pre-flowers
Vegetating plants usually reveal their sex when they’re just 3-6 weeks old from seed, but you have to know where to look.
What you’re looking for is “pre-flowers.” These are tiny versions of adult sex parts, and when you see them you can tell what sex the plant is going to be. They usually show up in the upper parts of the plant, closer to the lights, but sometimes you’ll search the whole plant and only find a pre-flower on a random branch lower down on the plant.
Vegetating cannabis plants reveal their sex with “pre-flowers” that usually appear 3-6 weeks from when the plant first germinated.
Although these are the general shapes of male and female pre-flowers, if you continue looking through the pictures below, you’ll see there’s quite a bit of variation on what pre-flowers look like from strain to strain.
Most male plants have grown a pre-flower by week 3-4 from seed, while female plants don’t show until week 4-6. Basically, all vegetative plants will have revealed their sex by about the 6th week from seed.
So, without further ado, here are pictures showing what you’re looking for when it comes to pre-flowers. Remember, pre-flowers are found at the V where stems meet a main stalk. But pre-flowers don’t usually show up all over the plant. Make sure to look around in different places, especially near the top of the plant and closer to the lights
Note: Pre-flowers show up most often near the top of the plant and closer to the lights but could be anywhere on the plant. There may be just one on the whole plant so you may have to search all over!
Male pre-flowers tend to have a “spade” shape, like the spades from a deck of playing cards. Male cannabis plants often (but not always) reveal their sex sooner than female plants.
Male pre-flowers tend to be shaped somewhat like a spade
This male plant was only 3 weeks when it made its first pre-flower. Notice how tiny it is compared to the giant-sized thumb! Often it’s unclear what the sex is when a pre-flower is this small (unless you’ve got a lot of experience) so if you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to wait and see how it develops, just in case.
Just to give you an idea how small these can be when they show up…
This is the exact same picture as above, but with the pre-flower made bigger so you can see it. Pretty tiny, isn’t it?
Male pre-flowers are basically immature pollen sacs. When the plant starts flowering, they will grow and turn into bunches that almost look like grapes.
I’ve also noticed that sometimes (though not always!) the stipules on male plants seem more “leafy” and less “pointy” than stipules on female plants (the stipules are the green hair-like growths near where pre-flowers show up). However, this is just a generality, and should be used together with other factors to determine if a plant is male! There are definitely male plants with pointy stipules and vice versa, but it’s sort of a general difference.
This particular pre-flower is really tough to determine. However, in the end, it was a male plant. The little “stem” is one clue it may be male
Just like the above male plant, sometimes you get almost what looks like two tiny little leaves that the pre-flower pollen sac “unfurls” from. In the above picture the pollen sac is still mostly hidden, while in this next picture, the tiny growths have opened up to fully reveal the pollen sac. This can be confusing because these extra growths don’t appear on all plants, and are not a pre-flower or a stipule.
Here’s another male pollen sac pre-flower that’s on a little “stem”
A single male pre-flower appears
Once you see multiple pollen sacs and no white pistils, you can be confident it’s a male plant
Although this plant ended up being male, the stipules are long, pointy and crossed as you’d normally see with a female plant. That’s why you need to confirm sex with the pre-flowers and not just look at other factors on the plant!
Sometimes the pollen sacs look a little unusual when they first start growing in, but you know it’s male when you see several pre-flowers without any pistils stacked on top of each other like bunches of grapes
If you click the following picture and zoom in close, you can see pollen sacs scattered among the leaves
This is what male pollen sacs look like when the plant actually starts flowering
This male cannabis plant has gotten further along in the flowering stage
This is what a male plant looks like at maturity when it’s starting to spill its pollen
Another example of pollen spilling onto a nearby leaf
For those who’ve never seen a male cannabis plant in its full glory
Ok, now that you know what male pre-flowers look like, what do female pre-flowers look like?
Female pre-flowers tend to be longer and narrower than male pre-flowers, sometimes with a fat bottom. They also usually (but not always) have 1-2 white hairs (pistils) sticking out from the top. Sometimes it takes a few extra days for the pistils to appear.
Wispy white pistils are a sure sign that you’re looking at female pre-flowers
This pre-flower doesn’t have a pistil sticking out at first, but the shape helps tell you it’s a female plant. If you’re not sure about sex after spotting a pre-flower, it’s a good idea to wait and see for a little while, just to see if a white hair appears (which means it’s definitely a girl)
Another example of female cannabis pre-flowers that haven’t revealed their pistil yet
Here’s a picture that shows a pistil right as it’s emerging from the calyx!
If the pre-flower is very pointy and thin like this one on the right, it is often a female pre-flower
Some of the time the stipules (green hair-like growths near where pre-flowers show up) will cross each other on female plants. This certainly doesn’t always happen, as you can see from the pics of female pre-flowers on this page, but while girls can go either way, male plants rarely have stipules that cross each other. So although crossed stipules cannot be used definitively as a way to identify female plants, it can be a small clue to help guide you when you’re not sure. For example, the following female pre-flower doesn’t have a pistil, but the long thin shape combined with the crossed stipules help indicate that this plant is a girl. Whenever in doubt, wait a week and look again!
This female plant has a long, thin calyx and crossed stipules, which are typical female plant features
In this pic, you can see white pistils emerging from the calyxes. Female pistils are white and wispy, never green.
Here’s another female pre-flower that doesn’t have a white hair yet, but you can tell it’s female because it’s long and narrow, instead of spade-shaped
One last female pre-flower without a pistil yet. The long narrow shape is the only thing that gives the sex away until pistils begin to emerge
Super close-up picture of a female cannabis pre-flower
Female cannabis calyxes with pistils, under an LED grow light
Did you know that pre-flowers/calyxes/flowers are actually what holds seeds if your plant gets pollinated? Once pollen touches the white pistils, the pollen gets delivered to the inside and a seed starts forming!
Variability of Cannabis Plant Sex – How to Increase Ratio of Female Plants with Regular Seeds
In fact, to this day scientists are still not sure exactly what causes certain plants to be one sex or another after sprouting. We’ve identified several factors that predict the overall likelihood of male/female plants (for example feminized seeds always produce female plants no matter what), but sex seems to be somewhat fluid in cannabis plants when they’re first germinated.
Certain conditions such as excessive heat, stress, unusual light periods and nutrient problems can cause a greater percentage of plants to produce male flowers.
You may be able to increase the percentage of female plants with regular seeds during the first few weeks of life
On the flip side, the following factors may possibly increase the ratio of female plants with regular seeds (learn more):
- Healthy Mom – Only grow seeds from a vigorous, healthy mother plant who never showed any signs of herming or male pollen sacs (seeds are more likely to grow pollen sacs if the mom plant had a tough start in life, or hermed during the flowering stage)
- Cool Temperatures – Give seedlings slightly cool temperatures (65-75°F day and night) and avoid excessive heat
- High Humidity (50-70% RH)
- Short but not too short days. Keep consistent day and night periods with no light interruptions at night, and days should be 14-18 hours long (between 14/10 and 18/6) for the first few weeks
- Blue light. Always start seeds under a vegetative grow light (something with plenty of blue like a Metal Halide or a 6500k CFL/T5/fluorescent)
- Avoid Deficiencies – Make sure to provide plenty of Nitrogen and don’t let seedlings become nutrient-starved or run into other types of deficiencies
- Prevent Stress, especially heat or light stress during the first few weeks
- Happy Roots – Avoid over (and especially) under watering
Once a cannabis plant is about 3 weeks old, its sex is pretty much completely set and can be determined either by visual inspection or by chemical leaf test.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that different environmental conditions during the first part of life can alter the sex, you can’t look at seeds and definitively know one way or the other whether the plant will end up being female because even the plant doesn’t necessarily “know”.
For example, say you take a clone of a seedling before it’s 3 weeks old. It’s possible that one clone will be male, and the other clone will be female. However, if you take a clone after week 3, the sexes of clones will always match each other. This is further evidence to indicate that the environment can affect sex expression in some cases.
Pictures of Male and Female Marijuana Seeds
The journey to flowering starts at the seed. When you are planning on starting to grow your own weed, it is important that you are buying the right kinds of seeds. People often tend to underestimate the importance of a healthy seed and the kind of impact that it can have on the growth of your plant. This is more because of the lack of clarity and knowledge that people have about seeds which gives rise to such ignorance.
Over the course of this article, we shall be taking a closer look at why it is important to start really well – and more importantly, how to choose the perfect seeds for your marijuana plant.
Marijuana Seeds: Male vs Female Seeds
The first and the most basic of things that you need to know before we head any further into this article is the difference between male and female marijuana seeds. The bud that you smoke comes from female marijuana plants. This is because the male marijuana plants carry a pollen sac which bursts open and pollinates the female plants – and if that happens, the buds don’t grow. This is why it is important to not keep any male plants around female plants while growing weed.
Male and Female Marijuana Seeds
When it comes to seeds, however, how do you differentiate between male vs female marijuana seeds? The fact is, you cannot tell by just looking at the seeds. There is absolutely no way in which they can be identified visually and you have to either buy feminized seeds (more on that in the upcoming section), or you have to grow all your seeds at once and then wait for them to grow old enough to develop sex organs.
The moment you see marijuana plants with pollen sacs, start separating them from the growth that you have else they might end up pollinating your female plants and you will not be able to grow your weed then.
How Do You ‘Feminize’ Marijuana Seeds?
Almost all seed banks today sell you something called ‘feminized’ seeds. These are seeds that go through a special process that ensure that upon germinating, they turn out to be female plants.
When marijuana plants produce seeds naturally, you do not know if they are male or female seeds. Mathematically speaking, there’s 50% chance the seed that you have is going to be a male. This means that if you do not have an idea about the gender of your plants, there’s a chance you have to remove 50% of your harvest midway as and when the gender becomes apparent. This is too big a risk to take, especially if you are growing at a large scale. Hence, people prefer using feminized marijuana seeds.
With plants, and particularly with the cannabis plant, there is actually a method via which you can actually change the gender of the seeds. Spraying your female plants with silver thiosulphate solution can result in the plant producing only female seeds. While nothing guarantees a 100% reliability that the seeds produced are going to be female, the chances shoot up drastically.
Silver thiosulphate solution is essentially a mix of water along with silver particles, and the presence of silver basically triggers the production of certain hormones in the plants (primarily ethylene) which ensures that only female seeds are produced. This will lead to the generation of pollen sacs on plants that have female genetics, leading to the production of only female genetic traits. When you pollinate other (non-sprayed) female plants with the pollen from this one, the seeds generated as a result of this are almost always female.
Feminized seeds are very common and there’s nothing unnatural or out of the ordinary about them. Pretty much every seed bank today offers only feminized seeds as no one wants to risk their reputation by providing seeds that may result in male plants.
What are Autoflowering Seeds?
Now that you have understood what feminized seeds are, let us also delve a little deeper and understand what autoflowering seeds are. In order to understand the concept of autoflowering plants, you need to understand the concept of photoperiod first.
Under natural sunlight, marijuana plants tend to bloom best at the time when the sunlit hours reduce. This is basically the early winter period where the hours of natural lighting begin to lessem and nights start getting longer. Under artificial conditions, you can actually recreate this setup by turning off your light for a longer number of hours. However, in case you’re not sure about how to go about this, or if someone wants their weed to grow faster – you should check out autoflowering seeds.
Autoflowering seeds belong to the Cannabis Ruderalis strain – and it is neither indica nor sativa to be accurate. These are low-THC strains but ones which don’t really rely on photoperiod-based growth, and flower earlier compared to regular indica or sativa plants. These are season-agnostic and light-agnostic and can be grown anywhere. However, these plants have an extremely short vegetative phase. Autoflowering seeds are also ideal for people who live in places where summers are short or where it rains rather frequently.
These autoflowering seeds can be easily found at your local seed stores or even at seed banks that deliver online. There’s absolutely no risk in using these seeds and they are often recommended if you are a first-time grower or someone who isn’t really sure about how to set up the lights and how to change them based on the phase of growth your plant is in.
How to Choose the Best Marijuana Seeds?
Knowing everything about marijuana seeds that we do now, let us take a closer look at some factors that need to be kept in mind before such a seed is bought. You can use this list as a checklist of sorts while buying your seeds –
A good seed generally has a somewhat harder covering and a rough texture. The best way to identify a good seed from a bad is to take it between your thumb and the index finger and give it a twist and a pinch. A good seed will generally be a little hard and you won’t be able to press it easily. A seed that isn’t mature yet would be a little pulpy and softer. Even in terms of the texture, a seed that isn’t really ready yet would be much smoother.
Color is a good visual identifier of whether your seed is ready. A good and healthy marijuana seed is generally brown/golden brown in color, as opposed to a ripe seed which hasn’t matured yet, which is generally very light in color. If you see seeds that are light green, yellow or white, you might just want to ignore them altogether as they aren’t ready to be grown yet. Light brown, dark brown, golden yellow or even black in some cases are the kind you should be going for.
Before you buy a seed, try and check its genetics. Which are the parent plants that it comes from, and what is the composition of the parent plants. Most good seed banks will have the entire lineage of the seed presented to you either on their website, or via their customer support team. It is best advised to go through the lineage to know if this is the kind of seed that you want, because in case you don’t prefer the parent plants, or the parent plants of the seed’s parent plants, you might want to avoid it as it will carry some properties from those plants along.
Another important thing that you need to know beforehand is – which strain of cannabis is your seed going to result in? Is it a sativa-dominant seed or is it an indica-dominant seed? There are some cases in which seeds can actually have an even 50/50 split between sativa and indica and will end up giving you the best of both worlds. Others which are dominant on either strains will carry more characteristics of the dominant strain – this is why you need to check that before you buy your seeds.
You also need to know if you are planning on growing your weed indoors or outdoors. Seeds of different strains and lineages respond differently to their growth environments. Some seeds are better suited to grow outdoors, while others thrive in an indoors setup too. Hence, it is important for you to first know where you are going to be growing your cannabis plants and then choose the seeds based on that so that you can get the maximum yield per square foot, as well as your plants can thrive.
- Autoflowering vs Regular
Based on your preferences and your level of experience, you might want to go for autoflowering seeds vs regular seeds. The benefits that you get with autoflowering seeds are that here you don’t really have to monitor too much or too closely as the plants that emerge from these seeds are rather low maintenance and don’t require you to change the lighting conditions, etc. Furthermore, they tend to grow faster compared to regular seeds.
However, the biggest benefit that regular seeds have, which is a big advantage over autoflowering plants – is that they generally tend to contain a higher THC%. Hence, if you want a stronger high, you need to go for regular seeds, but if you want an easy and fast growth, go with autoflowering seeds.
- Male vs Female Marijuana Seeds
This is what we’ve discussed in quite some detail in this article. You need to ensure that you are buying feminized seeds as the male plants are anyway going to be of no special use to you and you will have to separate them from the other plants in order to ensure they don’t end up pollinating your female plants. However, even if you accidentally end up growing some male plants, don’t worry too much about it and don’t throw them away. Check our last section where we talk about what you can do using these plants.
The seed bank where you decide to buy your seeds from also matters a lot. As much as possible try and purchase your seeds from a reputed seed bank like ILGM or Crop Kings Seeds or any other major such name. This is because getting them from a good seed bank gives you a peace of mind that in case something goes wrong and in case your seeds don’t germinate, you can always get a refund or a replacement. Moreover, these seed banks also have a much larger number of seeds that you can choose from.
Where to Buy the Best Marijuana Seeds From?
Seed Banks are absolutely the best places to buy marijuana seeds. In many parts of the world where it is legal to grow weed and to grow marijuana plants in your home, you can actually find physical seed banks where you can walk in and choose the seeds of your choice based on the strain that you want to grow. These seed banks also deliver seeds online to most other countries, often discreetly in case the laws of the land are a little too tight. We strongly insist that if your country doesn’t allow growing or possessing weed, you do not buy it.
However, in case someone still wants to order it, the seed banks ship seeds very discreetly, often hiding them inside a pen or a t-shirt or something similar. Most seed banks also promise a certain germination success rate. In case the promised percentage of seeds don’t germinate, or produce male plants, they also offer refunds and replacements.
When you buy seeds from seed banks – you have some distinct advantages. You know the complete lineage of the seed and you know what kind of a result you are going to get when you grow it. This means you know the THC/CBD composition of the resulting buds, the smell, and flavour that the buds will have, how tall your plants are going to grow, and a few other similar factors before you actually grow the plant.
Seed Banks have one more unique advantage – some seed banks (especially the top 10 ones) tend to hire their own specialized ‘breeders’ who cross-pollinate different types of marijuana plants and keep crossing the offspring plants until they get to a very distinct kind of a strain that becomes their proprietary strain and is available only with them. This gives you a very unique taste and a high that you can only experience when you buy from these seed banks.
What to Do with Male Cannabis Plants?
We know that the female cannabis plant is the one that is of primary importance given it bears flowers and buds that we smoke. However, what about the male cannabis plants? Are they totally useless? In case you’ve grown male plants and then later separated them before they pollinate the female plants, you don’t really have to toss them away. There’s so much more that you can do with these male plants as well.
One of the best things that you can do using the male cannabis plant is to make use of it to create hemp. Given that the stem has matured by the time you can differentiate between the male and female plants, you can use them to create high-quality hemp. Many fabric makers actually prefer the male plant hemp and they use it to make tablecloths and other different fabric products.
Given how much nutrition and minerals go into growing a marijuana plant, you might just want to return it back to the soil. You can make use of the male cannabis plants as mulch, by either simply chopping it and spreading it over the ground waiting for it to get assimilated on its own, or by putting it in a composting pit and then preparing finer compost using it. In any case, it adds to the quality of your soil.
While male plants carry very little THC compared to female plants, they still carry some THC – which means they are not completely rid of psychoactive elements. Cannabinoids in male plants are located in their leaves and stems. In fact, some sources claim that leaves of the male plant tend to have a higher THC concentration than female plants. Basically, you can use these leaves and trace THC content by extracting the resin out of them and putting it to use for different consumable products such as hashish, butane oil, or dabs, etc.
We hope that this article helped you understand cannabis seeds in a better way, including the difference between male and female marijuana seeds. The journey of a marijuana plant begins at the seed level and this is why it is critical for all growers to know and understand different aspects of a seed. If you still have any more questions or want us to cover something even more specific, feel free to leave a comment or drop us a mail and we shall get back to you as soon as we can!