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Weed 'Em Out - Identifying Male Plants

If you are one of the lucky customers who received a free seed pack from us on 4/20, you may need help identifying the males; don't worry, we got you covered. When growing cannabis, only the female plants produce the bud. If you don't remove the males from your crop, you can fertilize the females, resulting in seeded buds. This section will teach you how to identify male plants, separate them from the females, and prevent your female plants from going to seed. 

01 Fertilization

Image by Alex Jones

Bow chicka wow-wow

Many people don't realize that cannabis plants come in both male and female form. The cannabis you know and love is the product of the unfertilized female plant, the goal is to get all of your females to the end of the growing cycles without being fertilized. To do this it is necessary to remove all male plants from the growing area. It is important to note that if any males are left in the growing area, your female plants will become fertilized and bare seeds. Males pollinate female plants using pollen sacks that grow from their stocks, we will show you how to use these to identify males and females. 

02 Males

Pictured to the right is a male plant in vegetative state. The pollen sacks are the bulbous shapes in the pit of the branch.

One can identify male plants early on by one key feature. About 8 weeks into your grow if you inspect the elbow pits where your branches meet the stock, you should be able to see the start of either pollen sacks or female stigma. If you see any pollen sacks immediately remove those plants from your grow. These plants have little use and can be disposed of or used for compost. If you would like more seeds, you can grow male plants to term and harvest seeds, just make sure you clean aggressively between working with females and males so as not to cross-contaminate. 


03 Females

Pictured to the Left is the Female Stigma

The stigma can be found in the same spot you would look for pollen sacks. Rather than a round bulb like the pollen sacks, stigmas appear as a pair of white frosty hairs. Stigmas can also be visible to the eye within the first 8 weeks of your grow.

04 Hermaphrotidic Cannabis Plants

Some plants can be even fertilize themselves!

There are a few scenarios in which a plant can fertilize itself, even if male plants are not present. One scenario could be that your plant is hermaphroditic, meaning that it manifests the characteristics of both male and female plants. Both stigma and pollen sacks may be visible at different areas of the plant or they may both  be present at the same site. You will want to remove those plants from your grow, as they will fertilize your females and won't produce good bud. We don't recommend using the seeds from these plants, there could be genetic traits that you don't want passed on.

Cannabis plants can also become hermaphroditic during their lifespan, so it is important to continue carefully monitoring your plants all the way through the flowing stage. If you discover one of your plants has begun producing pollen sacks when you are close to flowering, they can be sprayed with water, carefully clipped, and removed from the plant. Do not damage pollen sacks when removing as this could cause pollen to be released those inseminating your female plants and be sure that the plant is still producing stigma.

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