Beside a stipule which is itself a green hair like growth on the stem, you will see the preflowers. You are hoping to see a wispy white hair at the node. If you see any kind of ball and no hair you’ve got a male. Until you can see a white hair emerging from a few nodes you really can’t be sure you’ve got a female cannabis plant.
Before the advent of microscopes and zoom lenses, ganja farmers had to rely on their intuition when harvesting cannabis. The good old-fashioned eyeball inspection of cannabis flowers is a tried and trusted pre-harvest practice. When 75% or more of the pistils are full of vibrant colours, most cannabis growers will call time on cultivation. Flowers covered in red, orange, pink and brown hairs are definitely mature.
Autoflowering cannabis plants tend to suddenly erupt with flowers quicker than you would expect. Somewhere between day 15-35 post-germination, your feminized autoflowering cannabis seeds will have multiple white pistils bursting forth from the first flowers. A week or so later and buds are beginning to swell up with calyx’s and sparkling with resin. Pistils will rapidly change colour from white to orange/red in days rather than weeks.
With photoperiod cannabis strains’ flowering has three sub-stages: early bloom, mid-bloom and late bloom. Pistils are a great indicator of how your female cannabis plants are progressing. With the onset of a 12/12 light cycle, the pistils will be completely white. Somewhere around week 4-6, midway through flowering, is when the first orange, red and/or pink colours begin to emerge and proliferate. Not until sometime during weeks 7-10 following a good flush with pure water or a light flushing solution will a majority of the pistils be beautiful ripe shades of red, orange and brown.
A pistil is a female cannabis plant sex organ. To the ordinary decent home grower, a pistil is a hair that protrudes from a calyx on a female flower. They are also known as stigmas. When a pistillate hair comes into contact with pollen from a male cannabis plant, it is then pollinated.
You may have to wait as long as 8 weeks of vegetative growth with some strains to confirm female cannabis plants. However, after 4-6 weeks most growers can at least weed out the males. And keep an eye on one or two uncertain plants in early bloom if need be.
Pistils tend to poke out from nodes pretty randomly on young cannabis plants. Carefully inspect your cannabis plants and you will spot preflowers sooner or later during vegetative growth. Sometimes they are obvious, close to the top of the plants and easy to spot. But this is not guaranteed so really examine the plants carefully.
Cannabis growers that understand the cannabis life cycle and can tell the difference between male and female plants before flowering will always enjoy more success than the witless weed grower. Pistils can tell you a whole lot about your cannabis plants. In this blog, we take a closer look at why they are so important.
Instead of focusing on producing more resinous flowers the female cannabis plant begins to develop seeds. The cannabis will be less potent, and seeds will form in the bracts that contain the ovule. Sensimilla, which means seedless, is entirely dependent on female cannabis plants not getting pollinated.
Whether you grow your weed from autoflowering, feminized or regular seeds, it pays to know about pistils. Here’s what every cannabis grower needs to know.
If you have been growing the same strain and all the seeds at the same time, then you may notice that some plants are taller than others. This is a sign that the smaller plants are female and the taller ones are male.
Figure 7.2 – A Picture of an indoor grow by
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If you have pre-flowers and want to flower you only have to do one thing. You must put your plants under a 12/12 schedule.
You have been watching the height of your plant every week and now the plant is becoming more like the picture of the strain that you viewed in the seed-bank brochures. Then one day you notice that the plant is not growing much taller anymore. It seems to have stopped. You take a closer look and see that there appears to be small new growths at most of the nodes between the stem and the branch. This is new to you. These have not developed before so you ask yourself, “what are they?”
Early induced flowering is not technically forcing your plant to flower. If you force flower on one strain that has not pre-flowered it will flower at roughly the same time as an exact copy of the same strain which has been flowered only when the pre-flowers appear naturally. Force flowering simply acts by stressing the plant into a crisis condition.
Figure 7.3 – This is what hermies look like. Notice that both male pollen pods and female pistils are present on the plant. Picture by Rasta Linus.
Problems with 12/12
Figure 7.7 – This is a female plant by BigIslandBud.
By now you have managed to set up the basic environment in which your indoor plant will grow. You have your plants in some pots under a grow light with some