Male or Female: Sexing the Cannabis Plant

Many successful techniques can be used to propagate the Cannabis plant, each having it’s own benefits depending on the gardeners preference.  Regular seeds, feminized seeds, clone multiplication and tissue culture multiplication are all used to start a crop with each having its place depending on available resources and gardener knowledge/skill.

July 9, 2015

Many successful techniques can be used to propagate the Cannabis plant, each having it’s own benefits depending on the gardeners preference.  Regular seeds, feminized seeds, clone multiplication and tissue culture multiplication are all used to start a crop with each having its place depending on available resources and gardener knowledge/skill.

When starting from seed, it is important to know how to sex the plant as it is possible to get either a male or female seed. Typically, only female plants are used for cannabis production. If male seeds are grown to maturity with female seeds, the entire room could be ruined due to pollination from the male seeds. As such, always sex plants that started from seeds before they enter the Flower Room. Sexing a plant early on will save valuable time and resources.

Let’s briefly go through a simple and  inexpensive sexing technique commonly used to ensure a seedless flower, or sinsemilla crop.

To Sex a Plant from seed:

  1. Create the parent plant by starting the seed and growing it until plant is mature.  This typically takes 4-6 weeks for most genetic types.  During this time, you should have the plant under enough light to generate several clones.
  2. Take two clones (cuttings from the parent plant)
  3. Put the cuttings in a good medium such as a rooting cube or a mellow soil mix.
    • Note: If sexing multiple parent plants, be sure to mark which cutting came from which plant or you may end up needing to start over.
  4. Place the cuttings directly under 12/12 light (12 hours on, 12 hours off).  This is called “Forced Flowering”.
    • Male cannabis staminate

      At this stage, the only goal is to get the cutting to start its flower cycle and show its staminate (male)  or pistillate (female) flowers .  Male flowers look like little bunches of sacks (these sacks hold pollen), while the female flowers will start by generating what looks like fine white hairs.

    • Depending on the genetic type and vigor of the clone, the cutting will show if it is male or female within 1-3 weeks.
  5. If it is male toss the cutting and the parent plant.
    • If you desire a sinsemilla crop, only female plants should be kept in the grow past this stage.  Male plants will only cause potential for damage to a valuable crop unless you have a genetic breeding program within your garden facility.
  6. If it is a female, keep the parent plant (now mother plant) and multiply it using clone or tissue culture techniques to create a larger crop.

This is a quick and simple method for guaranteeing that you will only have female plants in your flower room. Growing an entire crop to maturity only to find that a large number of the plants are male and have to be thrown out to prevent pollination can be a huge waste of time and resources. Additionally, allowing plants to enter the Flower Room without properly verifying that they are all female runs the risk of a rogue male plant going unnoticed. Always verify the sex of all cannabis plants to prevent crop loss due to pollination.

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