Sexing your cannnabis:
or How to tell a male cannabis plant from a female cannabis
No, that’s not an invite to get your freak on with a cannabis plant but to talk of the sexing or identifying young cannabis plants as they become sexually expressed as either males or females.
The female produces the bud that we smoke whilst the male produces flower clusters that release clouds of pollen grains as fine as talcum powder: we must identify between the two sexes as early as possible in order to remove the males before they shed pollen. Why? A fertilised female plant stops producing bud and instead puts her energies into seed production – so you need to prevent this from happening.
How to tell a female cannabis plant in early flower:
Female plants are characterised by groups or clusters of calyxes, which contain the unfertilised seed nucleus and out of which two ‘pistils’ protrude. These hairy appendages are the female plants pollen receptors. If a pollen grain from a male cannabis plant lands on either pistil, a germ tube emerges from the pollen grain and goes down the length of the pistil until it reaches and fertilises the nucleus and starts the process of making a seed within that specific calyx. If left unpollinated the buds become Sinsemilla cannabis (bud without seed) and is the most potent form of cannabis.
How to tell male cannabis plants in early flower:
Male plants are characterised by having long shoots emerge from the branch nodes and upon which are loose clusters of males flowers which are a 5 segmented pod that hangs downwards and upon maturity opens up to shed billions of pollen grains which if looked at under a microscope appear as pale yellow opalescent ovoid shapes. Ya know those cod liver oil capsules? Well just like that but very very small. The males shed pollen in mid to late summer so before the females are at their peak as virgin bud plants and so this is why males are removed so as to allow the females to steadily accumulate resin throughout the flowering period.
Once they are removed the females are placed in the spaces vacated by the boys and are allowed to mature until harvest
However, the above describes ‘regular’ seeds as now you can buy ‘feminised’ seed (fems) which means all the seeds are female. Whether to grow fems or regulars is really a matter of personal choice: it used to be the case that poorly feminised seeds had a greater tendency to throw out hermaphrodite plants (a plant which is both male and female simultaneously and a danger to all plants in the grow room). This isn’t the case any more: a feminised cannabis seed will hold true in 99.9% of cases and for many the simplicity of growing ONLY female seeds makes them worth the extra money per seed. (Here in Spain, in the grow shop we only sell fems to local customers)
Traditionalists however will stick with what they are used to: a regular seed comes from a plant which has not been modified in any way. Also of course if you are looking to interbreed your own genetic stock then you need a male plant from a regular cannabis seed to do so.
Here are some of our cannabis seeds that are available as regulars: