To become a successful grower, you need to learn how sexing marijuana plants are done. Sexing is identifying whether you have a male plant or a female plant and this may look very meticulous but don’t worry. You’ll be able to do this easily with much practice. This guide will show you how.
Why Sexing Marijuana Plants are Important?
Sexing your cannabis plants is important because you need to identify male plants from the females so you can remove male plants. Removing males is important for growers who want to cultivate weed. But for those who want to grow seeds, they let male plants remain inside the growing room.
Using photoperiod or regular cannabis seeds often leads to the problem of identifying the gender of plants come to the flowering stage. Many growers successfully find male plants but oftentimes it’s a hit or miss especially if you are growing many plants. This is why feminized cannabis seeds were developed.
As you can tell by the name, feminized seeds are all female seeds and will grow only female plants. We will compare feminized plants with photoperiod or regular plants later in this guide.
Where to look for the sexual parts of a marijuana plant?
To be an expert at sexing marijuana, you need to learn how to identify the cannabis plant’s sex organs. It’s quite tricky to do this the first time because:
- The male and female plant parts are very small.
- The male and female parts are not just in one part of the plant but may grow on all parts of the plant.
- The male and female plant parts may grow earlier in the 3rd to 4th week of the plant’s life while some strains may develop these parts later.
- The male and female plants have the same color as the plant and it may be very hard for a beginner to identify without a magnifying glass.
Generally, the male and female plant parts grow along the junction between the main trunk and the branches. This is the very first area/areas that you must look before you check other areas of the plant.
What Do Male Cannabis Plants Look Like?
Have you seen a spade, a suit from a deck of cards? The male sex part looks like this and is known as a sac. This sac is mostly green (light or dark green) and is as small as a kernel of corn or smaller. It stands erect, like a spade, and is covered with very fine white hairs. You will only be able to easily spot male parts by moving the leaves and stems that may cover these on the plant.
Inside the male sac is pollen. When these sacs have just initially appeared on the plant, these contain immature pollen. It can take a few more days for this pollen to ripen; when this happens, the sacs will burst and the pollen will break free. Through wind action and the help of insects, animals, and humans, pollen can be naturally distributed almost anywhere. When pollen reaches a female plant’s female parts, the flowers will become pollinated and soon, seeds will start to develop. The seeds are encased in a tight pod which will break open once the seeds are mature.
What Do Female Cannabis Plants Look Like?
Meanwhile, female plants will bear female plant parts but unlike male parts, females will grow soft, wispy, and white flowers called pistils. There’s no hiding these lovely flowing flowers as these grow also on the same junction as male plants.
Pistils are easy to see and thus, it’s one less worry for growers. However, some female plants grow pistils on other parts of the plant. Some pistils may grow together while some paths cross looking like tangled threads. But as long as it’s not spade-shaped, and it’s long, then you have a female plant. When the pollen of male plants lands on the pistils, it will trigger the development of cannabis seeds.
Can You Help Your Plants Become Female Plants?
The only way to find out if your cannabis plants are male or female is by waiting until the flowering stage. However, experts reveal that there are ways to improve the ratio of female plants when you use regular seeds.
- Use healthy mother plant
When a mother plant is healthy, except that it will grow healthy seeds as well. Health is also measured by the absence of any hermaphrodite characteristics in female plants
- Grow in cooler temperatures
Some expert growers recommend exposing seedlings to a slightly chilly temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit day or night can help produce more female plants. You should avoid exposing your plants to extreme temperatures.
- Maintain high humidity
Keep humidity levels at 50 to 70 percent during the growing phase. Monitor humidity levels accurately using a digital hygrometer.
- Use blue light
Vegging LED light is blue light such as metal halide and expert growers say that this can give you more females come flowering time. You may also use a 6500k CFL/T5/fluorescent.
- Use short but not very short days
Keep your night and day periods consistent with no interruptions especially at night. The days must be at least 14 to 18 hours in the first few weeks of growth.
- Avoid nutritional deficiencies
Follow the age-old rule: provide nutrients/fertilizer with more nitrogen during the vegetative phase. Never let your seedlings starve or develop nutritional problems.
- Avoid stresses
Seedlings are vulnerable to stress and you must do all you can to prevent this. Avoid stress related to heat or light. Take note that when seedlings are not provided with enough light, this will stretch and may have delayed flowering.
- Consider root health
Always avoid underwatering because this can severely stress your plants.
Can You Tell if Seeds will Produce Male or Female Plants?
It’s impossible to tell if you will grow male or female plants when these are still in seeds form. But you can always use feminized cannabis seeds. Feminized seeds will grow female plants and thus, you don’t have to undergo the tedious process of sexing your plants. You will only grow the number of plants you need; no more compensating for possible male plants. With feminized seeds, growers can save money by growing plants that they will need. They can save on resources like lighting, water, and fertilizer.
Sexing marijuana plants can be easy once you know how it’s done. As we mentioned before, practice makes perfect. Start by sexing one or two plants and see if you got it right. We’re sure you’ll find sexing very easy to do in no time.