Plants have several different ways to reproduce. The most common method is sexual reproduction. Plants that reproduce sexually with seeds are called angiosperms. Approximately 80% of green plants identified on earth are angiosperms, including cannabis.
Plants can reproduce in a few different ways.
Hermaphrodite plants consist of single flowers that contain both male and female reproductive organs. Tomatoes are a good example of a plant that is commonly hermaphrodite. In rare cases, cannabis can also be a hermaphroditic plant.
Monoecious plants will produce two separate types of flowers within the same plant. Bananas are an example of a monoecious plant.
Dioecious plants, like humans, have either male or female organs. Cannabis falls under this final category which means each cannabis plant has one or the other. It's either male or female.
The sex of your cannabis plant plays an important role. Female plants are much more desired, as they produce the flowers (cannabis buds) that you consume.
Do I Want Male Cannabis Plants?
No, not usually. Removing the male cannabis plants from the garden enables the female plants to grow larger, seedless buds. These seedless buds are referred to as sinsemilla. The term sinsemilla is derived from the Spanish words “sin” (meaning “without”) and “semilla” (meaning “seed”). This is not a strain, just simply cannabis buds lacking seeds. It get considered the highest quality cannabis.
The weed that we consume is produced by the female plant only. If there are seeds in your bud, that means there may have been some interference from a male plant nearby.
Seeded bud typically means lower quality cannabis. If there are seeds in your bud that means a male plant has pollinated the female plant. Smoking cannabis that has seeds is typically harsh and unpleasant. However, even though it may be unpleasant, there is nothing wrong with smoking cannabis that had seeds in it. We do not recommend smoking the seeds, but we are happy to eat them! Did you know that you could survive eating cannabis seeds only? They are a superfood.
This does not mean that male cannabis plants serve no purpose. As a grower you might want to introduce male plants to your female plants in order to collect seeds to grow next year or to breed a new strain of marijuana.
You can guarantee female genetics by getting feminized seeds or obtaining clones. Clones are rooted cuttings from a cannabis plant. If the mother plant is female, the cutting (clone) will also be female as if has the exact same genetics.
It's important to determine the sex of your plant so you know to remove the males if your goal is harvesting flowers. Thankfully identifying the sex of your cannabis plant grown from a seed is a rather simple process.
Male Cannabis Plant
Identifying The Sex of a Cannabis Plant
Female cannabis, during pre-flowering, will grow small bracts that have small stigmas similar to a hair sticking out. Male plants by comparison will produce smaller, round balls located at the nodes.
Most plants will show their sex during this pre-flowering time period, others are a little more stubborn. If you have planted a regular seed (not feminized) you could start noticing male/female genetics as early as 4-6 weeks of age.
Basically, your cannabis plant will indicate to you its sex based on what grows at the nodes. Nodes are where the leaves and the branches start to extend away from the stalk.
The male plant start to produce a pollen sac at their nodes while the female plants start to produce stigmas, which spreads out and catches the pollen. You may be familiar with the orange/ amber hairs on a cannabis nug.. Those are the stigmas!
Another great way to identify female plants is to look at their stems and size. Female plants are always shorter and bushier than their male counterparts of the same strain.
In addition, you can also observe the plant developing a thickening on the branches, next to the stem, before flowering. It's almost like a plant becoming pregnant!
How Soon Can You Tell The Sex?
You can identify these differences and determine the sex of your cannabis plant grown from seed fairly early on. The differences will appear weeks before the respective sex organs start to fulfill their reproductive purpose. You will notice the male or female differences before they start to pollinate. It’s during this stage that you will see what is called preflowers.
Preflowers will develop within about four weeks. However, depending on how quickly the sprouting phase took place, you might have to wait 6 weeks or more before you can confidently tell the sex of your cannabis plant.
The preflowers might be very small at 4 weeks, incredibly difficult to identify with the naked eye so you can use a magnifying glass to take a better look. With a magnifying glass, you can examine each of the nodes on your plant and look for the small, round sacs which indicate the plant is a male or the two bracts with the hair-like stigma in them which indicate a female. The hair-like stigma will appear after the two bracts so you might notice those first.
You can also purchase a plant sex test, which chemically tests if your cannabis plant is male or female. The samples get sent off to a lab and you get the results back fairly quick. Some tests can work in as little as 7 days after germination.
Want to Make a New Strain?
This is when growers turn to male plants. When you introduce a male plant to a female plant, that process results in cross-pollination. Cross-pollination produces seeds. Just like with dog breeding, if you breed one species with another, it will produce a mix of the two species, such as a Golden doodle, which is a mix of a Poodle and a Golden Retriever.
With cannabis plants, breeding two different strains together will have the same result. For example, the strain “Blue Dream” is a mix of the strains “Blueberry” and “Haze”. It can be fun experimenting with breeding different strains together because you will get a genetically different plant each time!
Cross-pollination has played an important role in creating the various strains and new genetic makeup of cannabis on the market today. White Widow, for example, is a super popular balanced hybrid. It was first bred in the Netherlands by Green House Seeds in 1990 and is a mix of a Brazilian Sativa Landrace and a South Indian Indica.
In fact, one of the most common strains that has been created is auto-flowering strains. Those are made by combining an Indica or Sativa plant with a ruderalis cannabis plant to give it that auto-flowering ability. Cannabis ruderalis is a relative to the cannabis sativa plant. It has adapted to live in harsher conditions and has a low THC content. It is hardy, wild species of cannabis that grows in rural regions of Russia and Central Asia.
We do not recommend auto-flowering seeds for Grobo - feminized is your best bet. This is because auto-flowering seeds can be unpredictable, and may start to flower when the plant is too small, or too large and outgrowing the Grobo.
Did You Know You Can Buy Feminized Seeds?
Feminized seeds are actually bred to have a 99.9% chance of being female. It is possible still for these feminized seeds to hermaphrodite if the plant experiences high stress during its growth cycles. Feminized seeds remove the need to check the sex of your plant, no need to worry about fertilization!
Have you ever purchased feminized seeds? let us know in the comments!
Check out our article on why it is bad for weed to have seeds in it HERE.
Are you interested in growing top-notch cannabis like an expert? Check out Grobo.io