- Leaf Sample Testing (Bonus) – Identify sex in just 1-3 weeks from germination
- Male Pre-Flower Pics – Appears 3-4 weeks from germination
- Female Pre-Flower Pics – Appears 4-6 weeks from germination
These tests only require a tiny amount of plant tissue (for example a small punch-out from a leaf, or a single cotyledon leaf), so it won’t hurt or slow down your seedlings to take a test sample!
What are cannabis “pre-flowers?” They are little versions of adult flowers that appear on your marijuana plants relatively early in the vegetative stage.
If you click the following picture and zoom in close, you can see pollen sacs scattered among the leaves
Once you see multiple pollen sacs and no white pistils, you can be confident it’s a male plant
Here’s a picture that shows a pistil right as it’s emerging from the calyx!
But for those of us using our eyes…
When I first started growing weed, I learned (incorrectly) that there is no way to determine a cannabis plant’s sex until the flowering stage. But I’ve since learned that pre-flowers can reveal the plant’s sex while it’s still in the vegetative stage! Cannabis plants grow pre-flowers as young as 3-4 weeks from germination for male plants, and 4-6 weeks from germination for female plants.
Although this plant ended up being male, the stipules are long, pointy and crossed as you’d normally see with a female plant. That’s why you need to confirm sex with the pre-flowers and not just look at other factors on the plant!
Learn how to find tiny pre-flowers at the base of each leaf to determine the sex of your plant in the vegetative stage (at only 3-6 weeks from germination)!
- Germination (5-10 days)
- Seedling (2-3 weeks)
- Vegetative (3-16 weeks)
- Flowering (8-11 weeks)
Buds typically grow the most toward the end of the flowering cycle, around week 6-7. You probably won’t notice much budding out at the beginning of flower, and it will slow down toward the end of the cycle, when buds become fully formed.
Vegetative plants appreciate healthy soil with nutrients. Feed them with a higher level of nitrogen at this stage.
As the roots develop, you will begin to see the first iconic fan leaves grow, at which point your cannabis plant can be considered a seedling.
Spacing between the nodes should represent the type of cannabis you are growing. Indica plants tend to be short and dense, while sativas grow lanky and more open in foliage.
When your plant becomes a seedling, you’ll notice it developing more of the traditional cannabis leaves. As a sprout, the seed will initially produce leaves with only one ridged blade. Once new growth develops, the leaves will develop more blades (1, 3, 5, 7, etc.). A mature cannabis plant will have between 5-7 blades per leaf, but some plants may have more.
You can observe the quality of the seed by its color and texture. The seed should feel hard and dry, and be light- to dark-brown in color. An undeveloped seed is generally squishy and green or white in color and likely won’t germinate.
Different stages call for different amounts of light, nutrients, and water. They also help us decide when to prune and train the plants. Determining a plant’s sex and overall health rely on stages of growth as well.
- Your plants shouldn’t be pruned after three weeks into the flowering stage, as it can upset the hormones of the plant.
- Plants should be trellised so that buds will be supported as they develop.
- Consider feeding plants with blooming nutrients.
It’s important to understand the changes a growing cannabis plant undergoes during its life cycle, as each stage of growth requires different care.