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How to Identify a Male Cannabis Plant

Once fully grown, male plants look quite different from female plants. However, if you’re cultivating cannabis for medicinal use, you’re likely not looking to take the time and effort to grow a male plant. In turn, you should keep an eye out for the following early signs of the male plant:

1.) Check the Stalks

Unlike females, male plants will likely have thicker and sturdier stalks. On top of this, they will produce fewer leaves.

Later in the plant’s lifecycle, you’ll notice that male plants grow taller than female plants. This is due to the fact that they don’t need to support as much weight.

2.) Examine Difference Early On

If you’re growing cannabis solely for the THC-rich buds, you’ll want to keep a close eye on their sex early in the growth process. When ignored, male plants will naturally send pollination to female plants. In turn, female plants are less likely to use their energy towards making buds as they garner this energy into seed development.

Luckily, male plants will show their characteristics before females – making it easier to identify and dispose of them. Generally speaking, you can expect to see signs of male plants 7 to 10 days (indoor) or 3 weeks (outdoor) before females.

During these early stages, you’ll want to check for signs as we’ve mentioned above, such as stalks and leaves. However, you’ll also want to examine:

3.) Joints on the Stalk

During the flowering stage, cannabis plants begin to produce buds. These appear right in the middle of new branches and the main stalk.

It’s vital to identify if your plant is producing male or female buds as male buds will send pollen to female plants.

The best way to indicate the difference between the two is by checking for the long, translucent hairs produced by female plants. If you don’t see these hairs, you’re likely dealing with a male plant.

4.) Hermaphroditic Plants

It’s worth mentioning that hermaphroditic cannabis plants exist and should be treated as male plants. This is due to the fact that these plants will also release pollen and diminish THC potency in female plants.

Generally speaking, hermaphroditic plants will create both male and female buds. Therefore, if you have a plant that shows any signs of male buds, you should treat it as you are your other male plants.

5.) Disposing of Male Plants

Unless you’re looking to produce seeds from your marijuana plants, chances are you’re going to want to dispose of male plants before they contaminate your female ones.

The best way to do so is by simply throwing the entire plant out. If you attempt to remove buds manually and keep the plant, there’s a chance you’ll miss a few that will inevitably contaminate female plants.

Some growers like to breed cannabis plants while they also grow for medicinal use. In such cases, it’s best to keep the male and female plants in separate rooms. On top of this, you shouldn’t wear the same set of clothes when caring for both plants as this can bring in pollen.

How to Identify Female Plants

How to Identify a Female Cannabis Plant

Similarly to male plants, there are a number of early signs of female plants you’ll want to keep an eye out for:

1.) Allowing Plants to Grow for 6 Weeks

Within the first 6 weeks of a plant’s growth cycle, male and female marijuana plants will be practically identical. In turn, you’ll after to wait till after this period in order to properly identify your plant’s sex.

2.) Check Out the Body

The best way to identify female plants is by knowing what to look for on the body. Females will develop a fuller body of leaves, have shorter and bushier appearances, and create more delicate stalks.

In comparison, male plants have thicker stalks and fewer leaves. Still, even if you’re having trouble identifying gender through the plant’s body, you can always take a look at:

3.) Joints on the Stalk

Since budding usually doesn’t occur until later in the grow process, it’s not ideal for identification. Still, it’s the budding process most cultivators fear as this is when male plants produce pollen. Therefore, if you can identify plants during these stages (and properly dispose of male plants), you have a better chance at larger female bud yields.

Cannabis buds always grow on the joints of stalks – directly where one branch will meet the main stalk. On female plants, these buds will produce translucent hairs (also called pistils) that appear small and tear-shaped.

On the other hand, male buds will appear smaller and NOT have translucent hairs. Furthermore, if you notice that a plant is developing both female and male buds, then it’s hermaphroditic and should be treated as a male plant.

4.) Ensure Your Female Plants are Separated From Male Plants

If you’re growing cannabis purely for THC-rich buds, it’s important to fully dispose of any male plants. Not only will they not produce buds for consumption, but they will also supply female plants will pollen. Since this process requires energy that takes away from bud growth, your female plants will naturally have less potent THC.

If you’re looking to breed cannabis plants while also developing high-quality buds, it’s best to keep plants separated. On top of this, you’ll also want to avoid wearing the same clothes when tending to each plant in order to avoid pollen contamination.

How to Identify the Sex of Your Cannabis Plant FAQs