As you may know, marijuana plants have sexes or genders as do most plants. However, did you know that different genders of the marijuana plant are used differently? For marijuana plants, there are 3 genders namely female, male, and hermaphrodite (aka “hermie”). These three genders play different roles in the cannabis industry. As a grower, it is important for you to know these things if you want to achieve certain goals (like pollinating). Additionally, you would also want to know this information because a mistake with the gender can certainly destroy your whole crop!
To identify the gender of the plant, we can look for certain signs and signals that it is a certain gender. Take note, though, some signs happen later in its stage so if you don’t see them immediately, it’s best to wait for a little while. In general, marijuana goes through two stages namely the vegetative and the flowering stage. In the vegetative stage, plants are focusing more on growing so gender doesn’t matter that much yet. It is in the flowering stage where certain developments can determine whether the plant is male, female, or a hermie.
First off, let’s start with determining if the plant is female!
Female marijuana is actually the ones responsible for that high feeling as they are the ones who has the buds. These buds are important in a recreational type of marijuana as it contains the THC which gives off that high feeling. To identify a female plant, you can look at the stem area for white-wispy looking hairs called pistils. These pistils appear a bit later in the flowering stage which is why some growers make the mistake of disposing of it. In general, the flowering stage of marijuana will start around the 6th week of growing, but female plants often show much later in the stage. Additionally, you can look at the pear shaped part of the plant called the calyx. The calyx will also develop two white hair-like string that forms a “V” shape.
Female plants are extremely important to identify because they can get “contaminated” with male or hermies. Once they are mixed in a crop with male and hermies, pollination will take place and instead of the female plant producing THC, it will produce seeds. This information should be used if you either want to create the recreational marijuana or if you want to create more seeds.
Next, this is how to determine if the plant is male.
If the female has white pistils, the male has “balls”. You can observe them in the crossing part of a stem and the main stalk. It will appear like a ball and it will NOT be surrounded by pistils. Additionally, male marijuana plants also tend to be taller than female ones and they tend to contain more irregular branches. In general, males will also show their features around 3 weeks earlier than a female.
As stated above, the importance of knowing whether the plant is male is crucial because it can pollinate the female plants that produce the THC. It only takes one male plant to pollinate all female plants in the same grow room so be careful.
Lastly, we have the hermaphrodite plant.
Hermaphrodite plants or hermies typically start off as female but as time progresses, they develop male organs. This would mean that hermie will have both the male “balls” and the female white hairs (or pistils). This transformation mainly happens because of certain stresses that the grower can do to promote growth, so be careful when applying those low stress and high-stress procedures. Additionally, hermies are also caused by the poorly-controlled environment such as a disruptive light cycle and being fed with an incorrect mix of nutrients. Since hermies have male organs, they need to be removed if your crops are for the recreational marijuana as they can pollinate the female ones.
As a grower, it is crucial that you know this information unless you want your crops to give out seeds instead of THC. Identification is key and with proper information and training (and patience!) you should be able to separate them early which will ultimately be very beneficial for your crops.