Most people grow cannabis for the potent buds. That means growing female cannabis plants. Male cannabis plants do produce THC, but not generally in the amounts worth the inconvenience of growing them. Few people (other than cannabis breeders) want to see seeds in their cannabis buds.
Female plants produce the buds we are familiar with. Male plants produce small pollen sacs, these look like small balls. When they open they look like miniature bananas, releasing cream-coloured pollen dust.
Female Cannabis plants usually start to show sex with small preflowers, around weeks 4-6 from seed. Female preflowers look like a pair of white hairs (stigma) coming out from a green, round calyx. This structure is also known as “pistils”. Many of these small preflowers growing together will become the “buds” we all know, which contain the largest cannabinoids’ concentration. Female Marijuana plants may sprout from photoperiodic, automatic or feminized seeds.
Male Cannabis Plants
Male cannabis plants produce male flowers that look like little balls and appear around weeks 3-4 from seed. Those are actually pollen sacs that contain pollen grains, but no trichomes. Males are not capable of producing buds, but they are able to pollinate the females, which results in more seeds and fewer and smaller buds.
Male preflowers develop first and very fast! Once those pollen sacs are open, they are bound to start pollinating, not only your crop but most plants 5 km around. Look for early signs of male plants: they are usually taller and less bushy than female plants. Just eradicate them, unless you want to produce seeds in a controlled environment.
Now you can easily identify male or female Cannabis plants. If you are still not sure of what you are seeing, just wait another week for the plant to develop more preflowers. Send us a picture and we’ll help you! It’s better to be on the safe side, but don’t sleep on it!
When growing photoperiodic non-feminized (or unknown/random) seeds, it’s useful to set reminders to start checking every plant in your crop when the time comes! One male could pollinate all your female plants and ruin your prospects of harvesting buds, leaving you with lots of seeds, which may or may not produce female plants.