How to Identify Female and Male Cannabis Plants

Female (left) and Male (right) Cannabis Plants

This is a common question among new growers. How do I identify female and male cannabis plants? Unless you are planning on breeding plants, most people prefer a female plant. This is because female plants are the ones responsible for growing buds. Most growers are growing for the bud so they would prefer to have female plants. If you’re growing from regular seeds, you have about a 50/50 chance of getting female or male. For indoor growers, you can avoid having to determine the gender of your plants by either buying feminized seeds or buying clones. Since that’s not always an option, let’s go over what a female, male and hermaphrodite plant look like. This will help you identify female and male cannabis plants more easily.

Characteristics of a Female Cannabis Plant

Female Cannabis Plant in Early Flower

Female plants will start to produce calyxes & pistils during early flowering. The calyx will look similar to the male preflower, except it’s slightly more pointed. The pistils look like little while hairs forming at the calyx. They will start focusing their growth to the buds more as it gets later into flowering. They will grow buds along with new pistils. Once they get closer to harvest, the pistils will start to change colour. They usually go a shade of orange, red or pink. Finally, they will swell up towards the end and that’s when you know they’re almost ready to harvest.

Female Cannabis Plant, Almost Ready for Harvest

Characteristics of a Male Cannabis Plant

Male Cannabis Plant in Early Flower

Male plants will start to produce little pollen sacs. These will help you to identify the plant as male. The males do not produce any pistils. So, if you see growth in the nodes but no pistils, it is likely a male. The male plants usually show their gender earlier than female plants. They are also typically bigger in size than female plays, but that should not be the deciding factor. The pollen sacs will continue to grow into they become so full of pollen that the sacs burst open. This spreads the pollen through the air to the potential female plants to be pollenated. The female plants would then stop producing buds and start producing seeds.

Male Cannabis Plant in Flower

Characteristics of a Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plant

Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plant

A hermaphrodite plant can occur when plants are stressed or not given enough nutrients. This can even happen with feminized seeds. So, it’s good to know what to look for. You can easily spot a hermaphrodite plant because it will have both male and female parts. It will be growing both pollen sacs and calyx with pistils. If you’re planning on growing for buds, you’ll likely want to remove any hermaphrodites from the grow area. This ensures you don’t pollenate any other plants in the same area. Although, hermaphrodite plants can still produce buds that can be smoked. They have substantially less trichomes because the plant stopped producing them to focus on producing seeds instead. So it won’t be a complete waste, but it will not be as potent as it could be.