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cannabis sexing

Cannabis sexing

Because this occurs when cannabis is under stress, it’s important to monitor plants after they have been exposed to stressors—indoors: high temperatures or light leaks are often the cause; outdoors: a snapped branch might be repaired and then turn into a hermaphrodite.

When a female plant develops both male and female sex organs, it is considered a hermaphrodite. This means your cannabis plant is now capable of producing pollen that can pollinate your entire garden. “Herming out,” as some call it, is something that generally happens when a plant becomes excessively stressed. Some plant stressors include:
Sexing cannabis plants is easy. Let’s see how to tell.

  • A plant that develops both buds and pollen sacs
  • A plant that produces anthers, commonly referred to as “bananas” due to their appearance

Hermaphrodite cannabis can express both sex organs and self-pollinate. (Amy Phung/Leafly)
Pre-flowers begin to develop four weeks into growth, but they may take a little longer depending on how quickly the sprouting phase occurs. By the sixth week, you should be able to find the pre-flowers and confidently determine the sex of your plant.
The other primary cause of hermaphrodite plants lies in the plant’s genetics. A plant with poor genetics or a history of hermaphrodite development should be avoided to protect your garden. If you notice any pollen sacs or anthers at any point, remove the plant from your garden immediately to prevent pollination of female plants.

  • Plant damage
  • Bad weather
  • Disease
  • Nutrient deficiencies

Trevor is a freelance writer and photographer. He has spent years in California working in the cannabis industry.

Determining the sex of your cannabis plant is vital to achieving your growing goals. Luckily, sexing cannabis plants is easier than one might think.

Cannabis sexing

Although testing can be done as early as week 1 from germination, waiting until week 3 to conduct testing on seedlings can increase accuracy, and some companies won’t conduct testing until week 3.

On the flip side, the following factors may possibly increase the ratio of female plants with regular seeds (learn more):
When starting with “feminized” seeds (which you can usually only get from a breeder), all your seeds should end up being female, so determining male from female isn’t very important. Learn more about buying seeds (including feminized seeds) from breeders online.

This female pre-flower hasn’t released a wispy white pistil quite yet
This is what male pollen sacs look like when the plant actually starts flowering
What you’re looking for is “pre-flowers.” These are tiny versions of adult sex parts, and when you see them you can tell what sex the plant is going to be. They usually show up in the upper parts of the plant, closer to the lights, but sometimes you’ll search the whole plant and only find a pre-flower on a random branch lower down on the plant.
Cannabis pre-flowers appear at the base of leaves when male plants are about 3-4 weeks old, and female plants are 4-6 weeks old.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that different environmental conditions during the first part of life can alter the sex, you can’t look at seeds and definitively know one way or the other whether the plant will end up being female because even the plant doesn’t necessarily “know”.

Certain conditions such as excessive heat, stress, unusual light periods and nutrient problems can cause a greater percentage of plants to produce male flowers.

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)!