Sexing Cannabis Seeds


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If you didn’t know by now…girls rule in the world of weed. That’s because female plants are necessary for producing high-quality buds with high THC levels. In fact, unless a grower is breeding – male plants are typically discarded as soon as the sex of the plant presents itself. But, what if you didn’t have to wait for growth to tell the sex of cannabis seeds? There’s a common myth across the industry that you can identify the sex of cannabis seeds before they sprout. So, is it true? We set out for the answers, to find out. Continue reading → Sexing cannabis plants is really just finding out whether they are male or female, this can be very important for various reasons, ranging from a breeding proje Want to know the difference between male and female cannabis plants? Read on to know what sexing cannabis is and how hermaphrodite cannabis plants look.

Can you tell the sex of cannabis seeds?

If you didn’t know by now. girls rule in the world of weed. That’s because female plants are necessary for producing high-quality buds with high THC levels. In fact, unless a grower is breeding – male plants are typically discarded as soon as the sex of the plant presents itself. But, what if you didn’t have to wait for growth to tell the sex of cannabis seeds? There’s a common myth across the industry that you can identify the sex of cannabis seeds before they sprout. So, is it true? We set out for the answers, to find out.

Identifying A Seed’s Gender

Feminized , regular and feminized autoflowers are now widely available to purchase on the market today, however one question that continues to arise with growers beginning their crops is, can you tell the sex of cannabis seeds upon first sight? The quick answer is no. But, why? Basically, there’s no exterior signs that a seed is female vs. male – no matter what certain myths say.

Debunking Seed Gender Myths

Speaking of myths, the reason some growers think they can identify sex of cannabis seeds, is due in part to misinformation. Here are a few common myths that surround the sex of cannabis seeds, and how they’ve been debunked.


Contrary to popular belief (and what an old-fashioned chart may say) a seed’s shape, size, and color has no bearing on the actual sex of a seed. All seeds, female, regular, or autoflower, can vary in appearance, with no actual trait as an indicator of sex, whatsoever.

The Roll Test

Another common myth is known as the ‘roll test’. The same relic that states seeds can be identified by their appearance, states that female seeds will roll more easily across a table, than males. Overtime, we’ve learned that this test is clearly flawed and fails at determining the sex of cannabis seeds.


Another old growing fable, is that the environment of your room or growing area, can change the sex of a seed during germination/seedling. For now, the jury is still out on whether this is 100% true. What we do know about environments, and cannabis seeds’ sex, is if a plant is stressed due to off-balanced conditions, it can cause plants to hermaphrodite during growth.

How Can You Tell The Sex?

So, if you can’t tell the gender of a seed by just looking at it, or rolling it. how are you supposed to tell the sex of cannabis seeds? Unfortunately for growers, you’ll just have to wait it out. The only answer to identifying your seed’s gender as early as possible, is waiting for it to show its sex during growth .

Most growers wait until the flowering stage to keep a careful eye on a plant’s sex. Without keeping a close eye, if you let males grow for too long in your space they can end up ‘breeding’ with the other females. This is detrimental to a crop, as it causes female plants to pop seeds themselves, diminishing the quality of the plant overall. Luckily, determining a seed’s sex in the early vegetative stages is possible.

If you’re anxious to know, one trick that some growers implement uses a technique that mimics light cycles from flowering. By placing a black bag over a small part of your veg plant you’ll trick the plant into thinking it’s time to flower. You can then check the sex of this small portion, before fully moving into its flowering stage.

Case Closed On Seeds & Gender

In growing, it’s all about learning and sometimes unlearning certain myths, tricks, or tips that you’ve been told. All in all, while cannabis is nothing new there’s still a lot to learn when it comes to specific questions like – can you tell the sex of cannabis seeds by looking at them? Thankfully, we were able to close the case on seeds and gender, by knowing there’s no way other than letting the plant flower to ultimately decipher sex of seeds.

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How To Tell Sex Of Your Cannabis Plants

How to sex male and female Cannabis plants, the different characteristics to look out for and what to consider.

  • 1. The first signs of pre-flowers
  • 2. Male plant characteristics
  • 3. Female plant characteristics
  • 4. Hermaphrodite plant characteristics
  • 5. Using feminized seeds or clones
  • 5. a. The benefits
  • 6. In conclusion

Sexing cannabis plants is really just finding out whether they are male or female, this can be very important for various reasons, ranging from a breeding project to extensive phenotype hunting. Knowing how and when to tell if your plants are male or female will give you an advantage when growing indoors. In this article, we explain how to tell the sex of your Cannabis plants, what traits to look for, and what can go wrong.

1. The First Signs of Pre-Flowers

When growing from seed, Cannabis plants will spend the earliest stage of their life cycle focusing on the root, leaf, and stem production. On the basis that a grower keeps a plant growing under 18 hours of light with high humidity levels of close to 75%, for 5-6 weeks then the plants will begin to show preflowers.

After your plants grow to the 6th or 7th internode, you will be able to identify by eye potential male or female traits. 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. Some cultivars may produce pre-flowers faster than others, however, all plants will reveal themselves around the same time. There is absolutely no need to worry about identifying male plants early on, as they will not be able to produce pollen until a much later time.

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. Male Cannabis plants will produce pre-flowers in the same places as the females. Not only does this make distinguishing between the two early on even more difficult, but it may also take a few weeks before you can completely confirm you have a male plant.

You will notice between the upper internodes, there will be a small cluster of miniature oval-shaped balls. As they mature, you will notice they are attached to a tiny stem and will become bigger and turn green. It is best to wait until you can identify the male characteristics, before throwing any plants out of the garden. Do not be overzealous and potentially discard a female plant.

3. Female Plant Characteristics

It is much easier to spot a female preflower, as you are only looking for a thin, hair-shaped pistil. When these emerge from between the internodes, they will look like a white eyelash or a tiny blade of grass. Over time, white hairs will begin to grow amongst the new growth and can be very hard to spot. Double-check what you identify as the female preflower, and wait until you can clearly see a white pistil.

After the first signs of pistils emerge, over the following weeks, the female plants will begin to display an abundance of pistils. This is where plants require higher amounts of Phosphorus and Potassium encouraging flower production and producing buds. 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.

4. Hermaphrodite Plant Characteristics

So, we have gone over both male and female cannabis plants, and how to differentiate between the two. But, there is a third “gender” option when it comes to cannabis plants – hermaphrodites. Hold up, what the hell is a hermaphrodite cannabis plant? A hermaphrodite (hermie is the common term used in cannabis cultivation) plant develops both male and female reproductive traits. This is a natural feature of cannabis, and it is thought that it happens when the plant becomes stressed or injured. This feature ensures the survival of the specific plant’s genetic code, as the plant can pollinate itself.

But, if you are growing cannabis for consumption then the last thing you want is your crop to turn into hermies. Just one hermie put the entire crop at risk of pollination, which is bad for a few reasons. Pollinated female cannabis plants put a lot of their energy production into seed creation, which means the quality of your buds, the size of the yield, and your satisfaction with the entire cultivation process is at risk.

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How do you stop your plants from turning into hermies?

There are two main factors that can affect a plant’s sex – environmental stress and genetics. Some strains of cannabis (pure Sativas in particular) seem to be much more susceptible to hermaphroditism. In recent years seed banks and commercial growers have gone a long way in trying to breed this genetic anomaly out of the pool, and at this point, it is not something you should worry about if you are buying your seeds from a reputable source (hint – buy them from us, we ensure a zero percent chance of genetic hermies in our seeds). But, even with the best possible genetics, a plant can turn into a hermie through environmental stress or injury. The golden rule is to avoid all types of stress during the flowering period. Let’s list out the types of situations that might cause a healthy female plant to turn into a hermie:

  • Excessive heat (above 28C) in the grow room
  • Over-fertilizing your crop
  • Watering your plants with water that is either too cold or too hot. Always water your plants with room temp water
  • Changes to the light periods. Power cuts can quickly turn a whole grow room into hermies if not remedied quickly
  • Damage to the plant itself. Always be super careful when practicing defoliation and never take more than about 30% of the fan leaves off at any one time.
  • Over or under watering can also cause this issue to occur.

If you do suspect that you have a hermie in your crop, the best thing to do is to just remove it and (unfortunately) kill it. If the plant is already a fair way into its flowering period when you realize it is a hermie then you have two options. If it has only produced a few small male pollen sacs then they can be removed carefully. Separate the hermie plant from the rest of the crop and use tweezers to carefully remove the sac without them popping. If has already grown multiple pollen sacks, it’s time to eliminate it.

5. Using Feminized Seeds or Clones

The only sure way to determine sex before your plants reach maturity is to clone the plant. This could be achieved by taking a clone from any plant. Growing with Cannabis seeds or clones, that are guaranteed to be all-female, has many advantages from the small-scale bedroom grower, to the large commercial ones.

Clones share the same DNA as the plant where it was taken from, the clone will show the sex of the mother plant.

Cut one of the branches then put it into a small cup with medium and let grow for a few days. After the clone’s roots have developed a bit, place it under a 12/12 life cycle. Soon, the plant will reach maturity and show its sex, because clones share the same DNA as the plant where it was taken from, the clone will show the sex the main plant has. Remember that this cannot be used with autoflowers because they start flowering based on age and not photoperiod. If you are not working on a breeding project and your goal is to grow as many female plants as possible, then using feminized seeds or clones is the most practical route to take.

The Benefits

  • This will guarantee that the plants you produce will be 100% female, meaning that prior to flowering, there is no requirement to pull plants out of the grow room. This eliminates any waste of space, nutrients, and growing medium.
  • 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 commercially useless.
  • Working with clones is an excellent way to grow something that has already been verified. Usually, highly desirable clones can be vouched for by another grower or will have lots of information to research online.

6. In Conclusion

Knowing how to identify male and female Cannabis plants when using regular seeds, is vital to ensuring an all-female crop is maintained. We recommend you take your time before throwing out any plants and be prepared to allow male plants to mature enough to see their pollen sacs forming.

Sexing Cannabis: How to tell if your plant is male or female?

If you grow regular cannabis seeds you will find the resulting plants to be a mix of male and female cannabis plants. Apart from breeders, most people discard the male plants as soon as they are identified. This prevents them pollinating the female plants, which would fill the buds with seeds.

But before you throw any plants away, you need to be confident about the differences between male and female cannabis plants. Identifying male and female cannabis is known as sexing cannabis plants.

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Difference between male and female cannabis plants

Most people grow cannabis for the potent buds. That means growing female cannabis plants. Male cannabis plants do produce THC, but not generally in the amounts worth the inconvenience of growing them. Few people (other than cannabis breeders) want to see seeds in their cannabis buds.

Female plants produce the buds we are familiar with. Male plants produce small pollen sacs, these look like small balls. When they open they look like miniature bananas, releasing cream-coloured pollen dust.

What does a hermaphrodite cannabis plant look like?

Hermaphrodite cannabis plants, also known as ‘hermies’, display characteristics of both male and female cannabis plants. Just like males plants, hermaphrodite cannabis plants are also usually removed from grow rooms to prevent pollination (and therefore unwanted seeding) of buds.

Sexing cannabis plants pictures

Male vs female cannabis plants look different and grow a little differently too. Male plants are often taller, giving them a pollen distribution advantage when their pollen sacs eventually open. The pollen sacs form at the nodes on the stem. Pollen can be collected and frozen if required e.g. for breeding purposes.

Pictures of male and female cannabis plants are a useful reminder to the novice grower should there be any doubt identifying male and female cannabis plants. Sexing cannabis, and understanding the difference between male and female cannabis plants prevents the disappointment of finding seeds in your buds later.

Male cannabis plant picture

Female plants produce the buds familiar to cannabis growers. Ensuring that no pollen is present keeps the buds seed-free, just the way the connoisseur grower likes it! Male or female cannabis seedlings can’t usually be separated/identified by sight alone. Cannabis professionals sometimes use DNA testing of leaf material from a young cannabis plant to determine whether it is male or female. This gives the professional cannabis grower the opportunity to identify his cannabis plants as male or female many weeks before the plant sex would normally be revealed.

Those interested in learning more about the various forms of DNA testing of cannabis plants may wish to check out Delta Leaf Laboratories. As well as offering a $10 DNA test for plant sex, they can also test for the types of future cannabinoids that are likely to be produced by your plants.

Cannabis sex is usually clearly visible soon after the plant is placed in bloom conditions. However, the observant cannabis grower may also occasionally notice that some plants can be identified during veg growth.

Male and female cannabis can be grown from regular seeds. Feminised seeds tend to give rise to around 95% female plants. Images of male and female cannabis plants are useful if the less experienced grower is unsure. Cannabis male female identification is an easy skill to learn.

Female cannabis plant picture

Hermaphrodite cannabis plant pictures can show varying numbers of pollen sacs. Small numbers of them can be plucked off and the plant can be saved. Heavily affected hermies are often simply removed. Any seeds produced by cannabis hermaphrodite plants should be treated with caution – they may give rise to hermaphrodite cannabis plants if germinated.

Hermaphrodite cannabis plant picture

How and when to tell if your cannabis plant is male or female

If you grow from feminised cannabis seeds or autoflowering seeds you may rarely see male plants. Male pollen sacs are easy to see, allowing males to be easily identified. Sexing cannabis pictures are a useful reference if you are new to the subject.

Sometimes, if bloom has only recently begun, it can be difficult to know for sure if you have male or female cannabis plants. If unsure take another look a day or two later, it may be easier to tell the difference.

Male and female cannabis seeds

Simply looking at a cannabis seed appearance can’t tell you whether you will have male or female plants in future. Only the genetics inside the seed will determine the final plant type.

Some old school growers and breeders prefer to use regular cannabis seeds which will produce male and female cannabis plants. But 95% of cannabis seeds sold are feminised seeds or autoflower seeds. These will usually only produce female plants.

Few cannabis growers can be bothered with the hassle of producing their own seeds. It’s easier to buy the best cannabis seeds they can get from a seedbank they can trust. If you grow good quality photoperiod feminised seeds, or autoflower seeds you should be assured of female plants and a great harvest.

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