Cannabis plants that are put into flowering from the seedling stage, will still require 3-4 weeks before the first signs of pre-flowers appear. These are the very first signs of the Cannabis plant’s sex and will either be a tiny male or female pre-flower.
In this article, we explain how to tell the sex of your Cannabis plants, what traits to look for, and what can go wrong.
2. Male Plant Characteristics
The number one fear any beginner grower has when working with regular sex seedlings is to allow a male to pollinate the entire crop. There is no need to be concerned if your intention is to pheno hunt all the female plants, as removing males before they produce sacs will cause no need for concern.
• Top Tip: It is best to use a magnifying glass, or loupe for checking trichomes to double-check. It may take a week or two before you can confidently say you have a female.
• Large scale Sea of Green operations can be set up, without the need to worry about any male plants. This means the crop will not be cross-contaminated with pollen and become seeded and commercial useless.
If you are trying to grow seedless crops then you need to get rid of male plants as soon as you can identify them. Usually you will see male preflowers few days before female preflowers and you will be able to take these plants out of your grow area. If you don’t inspect your cannabis plants properly every day you can get an unpleasant surprise in form of seeds in your buds.
Regular autoflowering cannabis seeds will produce plants that have 50% chance of being a males or females and there can be variations to this percentage but if you grow large enough sample size it will become closer and closer to the 50/50 of male and female ratio. There are some studies that show that environmental factor can influence cannabis plant sex and usually stressed plants tend to turn into males but it is not scientifically proven why this happens and in fact it is nothing more than an observation. Many growers say that they have a larger % of males if plants get exposed to any kind of a stress (heat, nutrients, humidity) but that also has not been proven.
Male autoflower plant is usually a threat to any cannabis grower and they don’t like to hear about male plants. It is true that these male plants are a big threat to sensimilla (seed less) cannabis flowers and usually males are eradicated right after they show their sex, but looking from the other side male plants can also be useful if you want to produce seeds or create new strains.
Cannabis is one of the few plant species that have two plant sexes each different from another. In most cases all the regular plants that we know can be male or female and have no features that show their sex but cannabis plants are different in this matter as both sexes show different characteristics that can be easily separated.
In a few days these preflowers that look like “balls” or “balls on a stick” will start changing into ball shaped thing that looks like a “crab’s claw”. These are the specific cannabis male flowers that hold the male pollen. These “claw like” ball shaped thing can burst open in few hours to few days and there is no way of telling when it will happen. When those balls open they burst the pollen into air and this pollen then is transferred to female cananbis flowers with the help of wind. This autoflowering cannabis male pollen looks like a golden-white powder and it is very light so wind can easily carry it hundreds of feet outside and inside the fans can transfer it all over the room.
Autoflowering cannabis shows its sex 2 to 3 weeks after sprouting from seed but male plants tend to show themselves a little earlier than females. Males are usually a bit taller, with less leaves and the branches are further away from each other but sometimes none of these conditions are true and male autoflowering plants look exactly like female plants till they show their sex.
In other case if you are going for autoflower cannabis seed production and are trying to get as much seeds as possible you can collect the male pollen and dust it directly on to female flowers to maximize seed growth. In this case you will let the male plant stay in the room for the fist month or so and then remove it because ruderalis plants need at least 20 to 30 days to fully mature they’re seeds and if male pollen gets into female flowers 10 to 20 days before harvest the seeds will be immature and a waste of plants energy so all the older seeds would not get all the energy they need to properly ripen.
By collecting pollen from the male (pictured above), and carrying over his autoflowering tendency to another generation – by fertilizing a female AutoBlueberry plant – we’ll get a batch of seeds that should have a preponderance of autoflowering plants. Among these will be males, of course, who will have even more stable autoflowering tendencies, and we can continue to breed our own autoflowering seeds. You can do this too – it’s not rocket science! You may not always get plants that produce the most amazing buds around, but they will be your babies. And like any good parent, you’ll love them, however ugly they may be!
You can’t hold anything against seed banks/breeders for wanting customers to come back and buy more seeds (as long as they keep prices reasonable), but wouldn’t it be convenient to harvest a few seeds along with your cannabis crop, and have the next round of plants ready to go without the added expense of ordering more seeds? [Growers who propagate new pants from clones off of a mother plant may well know that you can’t clone an autoflowering plant, making seeds a necessity for autoflowering weed growers!]
If you are interested in autoflowering marijuana varieties, you have probably noticed that all commercially available seeds are not only autoflowering, but feminized as well. Often referred to as “autofem” varieties, these fast-flowering plants not only provide an easy grow for beginning green-thumbs; they are fast flowering, there’s no danger of messing up your flowering cycle with lighting accidents, and there’s no need to sort male plants from female plants. What feminized seeds also do – autoflowering or not – is ensure that customers will be back for more seeds.
So, we come to the question – are there male autoflowering plants? How are breeders getting more seeds, if all they seem to have are autofem seeds? The answer is that yes, male autoflowering plants most certainly do exist, and you will see them if you do some breeding for yourself. See out earlier post on the topic, and you’ll see the mother plant, a cross of a male “Double Gum” pant and the “Royal Automatic” from Royal Queen Seeds. We’ve recently grown a few of these seeds, and have some that aren’t autoflowering (and as of yet of undetermined sex), as well as two female autoflowering plants and one male.
[For many, many more grow tips and info about marijuana cultivation, read author Glenn Panik’s “How To Grow Cannabis At Home: A Guide To Indoor Medical Marijuana Growing” – A vailable on iTunes here, for the Amazon Kindle or via Smashwords (for all E-Reader Formats, PDF included) here. You can also order the ‘stealth title’ of our information-packed ebook for the Kindle here.]