Whether you’re starting your garden from seed or diving into the exciting world of cannabis breeding, sexing your plants is crucial to maintain a successful garden.
Just like most types of plants and animals, cannabis has continually propagated itself over the centuries sexually, and occasionally, asexually. Having both male and female sexes allows for all types of selective breeding practices, but in the garden you need to be able to differentiate and separate the males from the females. Luckily, they look completely different even in their early growth stages.
Cannabis plants are photo dependent, meaning they won’t start flowering until the light cycle lessens to around 12 hours. Rather than having to wait on flowering, or inducing growth just to discover a largely male crop, cannabis plants begin to show their sexes as early as 4 weeks into the vegetative period from seed. Just look at the base of the nodes: a small white, or sometimes pink or purple, hair (pistil) indicates you have a female. A small ball or banana-shaped protrusion (stamen) often stretching out from the node itself indicates a male. If you plan on vegging your plants for a while, this early detection can save soil, space, plant count and time.
Still not sure? An easy way to 100 % guarantee your plant’s sex is to take clones* from each plant and put them into flower. Though it may take up to two weeks for your results, you’ll know precisely what you’re getting into, and if there might even be some hermaphroditic plants!
*Make sure you keep track of what plant each clone came from. I find it best to number them, regardless of strain, for easy identification. There’s nothing worse than finishing the clones, only to realize you don’t know their parent clone.