Female cannabis plants are desirable to cannabis cultivators and are more valuable because they produce THC- and CBD-packed buds. Find out the difference between male and female weed plants; now you can grow regular seeds and easily find the male plants in your crop to maximize yield. I have an indoor growroom and in my recent harvest I found seeds in the buds, but I’m sure there are no male plants in the room.
Why Female Cannabis Plants Are the Most Desirable
Female cannabis plants are generally considered more valuable than male cannabis plants. In cannabis plants, the females hold almost all the power, at least when it comes to cannabinoid content. Both male and female plants are needed to breed new genetics and create new strains. But female plants are responsible for the sticky and stinky trichome- and terpene-covered buds that give cannabis its therapeutic potency.
Learn more about the anatomy of female cannabis plants and why they need male cannabis plants.
Considering when planted cannabis seeds will come out 50/50 male to female ratio, this means that only half of your crops will yield the types of buds you’re after. There are ways around this that we will look at later, including cloning and feminized seeds, which exist solely to solve the need for an abundance of female plants.
Male vs. Female Cannabis Plants: What’s the Difference?
The main difference between male and female cannabis plants is that female plants produce buds, and male plants produce pollen. Anyone who uses cannabis medically or recreationally will know that buds with seeds are often less potent and usually considered substandard.
On the other hand, seedless buds, often coated in sticky resin and even a blanket of white crystals, are highly sought after for their aroma, flavor, and most of all, their potent effects. Seedless buds are known as “sensimilla” – female cannabis plants that have been left unfertilized and left to concentrate on producing buds.
Female cannabis plants are responsible for those flavorful THC and CBD-packed buds. On the other hand, it is a male plant that produces seedy buds, often less potent. While seeds are essential to continue growing, more female plants are needed to ensure high yields of quality buds at the end of the day.
However, it must be noted that, while female cannabis plants are generally more cannabinoid-packed, male cannabis plants can contain unique cannabinoid ratios of their own (particularly CBD). Breeders ought to look out for unusually frosty male cannabis plants as this could make them excellent candidates as a partner for a particularly healthy female.
When planted, cannabis seeds will come out in a roughly 50/50 male to female ratio, so only half of your seedlings will yield the types of buds you’re after. There are ways around this, including cloning and feminized seeds, which exist solely to solve the need for an abundance of female plants. You will also want to remove the male plants from your grow space so they do not fertilize your females and reduce the amount of flower you could produce.
In short, female cannabis plants are more valuable than male cannabis plants because they produce the usable part of the plant: the bud. However, male and female cannabis plants need each other and experience a symbiotic relationship in nature as the males pollinate the females’ flowers, and can help provide the genetic diversity plants need to survive in an ever-changing world.
The Anatomy of Female Cannabis Plants
Generally, a cultivator can visually determine the gender of a cannabis plant around four to six weeks into the growth cycle (though this may differ when growing indoors). At this point, the plant is transitioning from its “vegetative” stage to the “flowering” stage when buds are formed.
Cultivators pay careful attention to the space between the plant’s nodes where leaves and branches extend from the stalk. Pre-flowers will begin to form, and the characteristics of those pre-flowers will determine the gender of your plant. In female plants, those nodes will show as almost hairlike, while on male plants, it will be the shape of a small ball. Male plants also tend to have thicker stalks and grow a bit taller than female cannabis plants.
Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plants: What to Know
Though it’s unusual, just like in humans, there are rare cases where a plant is found to have both male and female pre-flowers. Often, hermaphrodite cannabis plants occur when a plant becomes excessively stressed due to damage to the plant, unfavorable weather conditions, disease, nutrient deficiencies, or genetics. Hermaphrodites can occur in indoor grows when the plant receives excessive light during its dark time.
While a hermaphrodite plant is not ideal, it will still produce pollen, so growers need to separate these plants and male plants as soon as they are discovered, as they can potentially ruin an entire crop.
The Bottom Line: Why Are Female Cannabis Plants Important?
Female cannabis plants are considered important because they produce buds, which contain trichomes that produce high concentrations of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Male plants are beneficial for keeping unique genetic profiles alive, creating new varieties of cannabis, and adding variation into the cannabis gene pool. However, for most home growers who are not interested in breeding, keeping males can be a complicated process that’s not always worth the hassle.
If you’re considering growing your cannabis at home, then it is crucial to know the differences between male and female plants and the importance of keeping female plants. If you can purchase clones or feminized seeds from a dispensary, this can simplify things for you incredibly, especially if you’re new to growing cannabis.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How can you tell if your cannabis plant is male or female before flowering?
Before the flowering stage, you can determine if your cannabis plant is male or female by performing a chemical leaf test. Or, you can simply observe your plants and look for clues. Female plants will display fine white hairs called stigmas on their buds. Male plants will show pollen sacs without stigmas. Later on, you’ll notice your male cannabis plants growing taller than your female cannabis plants and displaying fewer leaves.
Can a female cannabis plant turn male?
No, a female cannabis plant cannot turn male, but it can turn into a hermaphrodite displaying male and female sex characteristics. When a female plant becomes hermaphroditic, it develops both male and female reproductive parts in order to pollinate itself. Female cannabis plants usually turn into hermaphrodites when under some type of environmental stress, so take care as you cultivate your crops.
What happens if you don’t separate a male from a female plant?
Putting a male cannabis plant and female cannabis plant together can lead to your female cannabis plants being fertilized. This means that your female cannabis plants will produce seeds rather than buds/flower.
Leafwell can help you find out more about the home growing laws in your state, as well as connect you to a physician in your state to start the process of getting you qualified for medical marijuana.
The Difference Between Male and Female Weed Plants
Cannabis plants have evolved enormously over the past couple of decades, mainly thanks to human kind. We’ve spent years combining different species from all over the planet. Every strain has its own specific characteristics, such as structure, type of buds, flavor and effects. When you combine male and female weed plants that are different strains, the new creation takes on characteristics from both, allowing us to create totally new plants.
One of the biggest achievements has been the appearance of feminized plants; after years and years of work, cannabis seeds can be created to have a 99% chance to be female. You need to know how to tell male from female plants when growing regular seeds, as you’ll only get actual psychoactive weed from the female flowers. Male plants pollinate female plants, which fills their flowers up with seeds so if you’re looking to make the most of your plants you’ll want to keep them away from each other. Hopefully we can help you to tell the difference between male and female weed plants by the end of this article; it’s not that hard, but if it’s not explained correctly it can be a bit confusing.
What’s the difference between male and female weed plants?
Male plants essentially produce pollen which is needed for cannabis plants to naturally reproduce; seeds occur when there are male plants in the mix. If you want to make your own seeds you will need a male plant However, if you’re growing regular plants and want to harvest flowers, we recommend getting rid of any males as soon as possible. You won’t be able to tell them apart until they begin to flower, which is when plants begin to show their sex. Male weed plants grow “balls” that open up to let their pollen out, ending up looking like a small bunch of flowers. You’ll need to get rid of them way before this happens. If they manage to release their pollen it’ll be too late. They can take up to three weeks to burst. If you’re still not sure how to tell them apart, male flowers do not have any pistils on them at all.
Female plants are basically what everyone is after when growing cannabis, as these are the ones that make buds, which is the part of the plant that contains the most THC. With just one male plant and a minuscule amount of pollen, your plants might end up filling their flowers with seeds. If you have male and female plants in the same growing area, the buds grown there will only produce seeds so you won’t be able to smoke any of it. You can tell females apart due to the fact that their flowers don’t fully close, they’re actually quite open and they produce little hairs called pistils. They’re incredibly easy to recognize, as the first thing they produce are their pistils, which male plants do not have at all.
Hermaphrodites are a type of plant that contains both male and female flowers, so they will produce buds but they will also pollinate those buds and the rest of your plants. Plants may naturally become hermaphrodites or be turned into one due to stress. Both female and male plants can turn. Thai strains are more genetically inclined to become hermaphrodites, although any strain can turn when stressed enough. There are many factors that can stress out your plants and end up turning them, such as extra light when they’re supposed to be in the night cycle, too much or not enough water, certain insects or pathogens, watering with cold water, or even a badly done transplant. Hermaphrodites aren’t the best type of plants to keep around, as they can produce buds but it’s definitely a risk because they might pollinate the rest of your plants. We recommend getting rid of them; it’s not worth it just for a little bit more weed.
It may seem confusing, but it really isn’t hard to tell male and female weed plants apart; they are quite different. Planting regular seeds has its benefits, as well as feminized has its inconveniences; you can get much larger yields with feminized plants as you’re guaranteed no male plants. Although, keep in mind that feminized seeds haven’t been through a 100% natural process to become female, which may affect the quality of your weed. This is why many cannabis connoisseurs haven’t made the leap from regular to feminized yet; they prefer to harvest slightly less yield that’s more potent and delicious.
However, feminized strains are a great option for rookie growers. Some seed banks, such as Nirvana seeds, Seedsman, Barney’s Farm, Ministry of Cannabis, Exotic Seeds or GB Strains offer amazing and affordable seeds that will provide fantastic results. If you are on a budget, check out our Cheap Seeds section. CBD Seeds are a great alternative for users interested on cannabis therapeutic uses.
Hemp Seeds, on the other hand, are perfect to produce sustainable fibers and make CBD products.
I have an indoor growroom and in my recent harvest I found seeds in the buds, but I’m sure there are no male plants in the room. I’ve heard that light leakage can cause plants to become hermaphrodites. Is this true, and if so, do you have any tips for avoiding this?
Cannabis plants are monecious. This means they have the ability to be either male or female. Or in the case of hermaphroditism, they can be both. The reason to make sure there are no males or hermaphrodites in your garden is because male flowers make pollen. When pollen touches the white hairs on a flower, it makes a seed, and seeded weed gives you headaches. Even though there are reasons in nature hermaphroditism could be important, such as continuing the species in case there is no male present, hermaphroditism is generally a bad thing when talking about cannabis plants.
Light poisoning is the most common cause for a normal plant to hermaphrodite.
Light poisoning refers to the flowering night cycle of a plant being unnaturally interrupted with light. The best way to prevent this is to close yourself inside your darkened room during the daylight, and then after allowing a few minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark, check for any light leaks from covered windows, door jams, etc. Also cover all timer and appliance lights with tape.
Negative stressors can combine with small interruptions of the light cycle to cause hermaphroditism, especially with less-stable, clone-only hybridized strains. When the night cycle is abnormally interrupted, it sends a mixed hormonal signal to the plant. This can cause a full female plant to throw some male flowers. Male flowers are easy to identify, especially when side by side with female flowers. Male flowers look like small bunches of bananas, which will take a week or two to swell before they burst and release their pollen.
Finding a hermaphrodite in your growroom can happen at any stage of the flowering cycle and is indicated by the presence of male flowers growing on the same plant as female flowers. As with all species in nature this can occur in varying degrees. A plant can become slightly or majorly hermaphroditic. In cases where singular male flowers are found between the branch and stalk nodes, you should be diligently removing them as they grow. You must re-inspect the plant top to bottom every few days to be sure pollination and seeding doesn’t occur. If you find male flowers (anthers) actually growing from within the female flowers (buds) the situation is a little more dire. You can still remove all the male anatomy as it appears, but it will be harder to find and much more prevalent. This is a horrible discovery that leads to a tough decision: Should you let the plant live and risk the whole crop being ruined by seeds?
In either case, once hermaphroditism has compromised the safety and purity of your sensimilla, the plant should not be propagated further. Remember, once a hermy, always a hermy. The plant pictured here is in the tenth and what should have been the final week of ripening, but a timer failed and one light stayed on continuously for almost two weeks, causing this vegetative regrowth. Because the light was continuous, the plant made no pollen. This method of re-vegging can be used to save a flowering plant you have no copies of, but be careful, as this may cause some strains to hermaphrodite.
Purposefully causing a plant to hermaphrodite is called selfing. Gibberellic acid or colloidal silver is typically sprayed onto the female plant. This technique is used to make feminized seeds and uses the plant’s ability to be both male and female to force a female plant to produce male flowers. The pollen contained in these male flowers can only produce female seeds. Just keep in mind that feminized plants should not be used for breeding, as they were produced without a true male, making them genetically inferior.