How To Sex Marijuana Seeds


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Regular sexed Cannabis seeds represent a breeding line that expresses an equal balance of male and female chromosomes. Working from seed using regulars is an excellent… Sexing Cannabis seeds has become a hot topic online, but there is no way of knowing if a cannabis seed is female or male by looking at it. Only when the marijuana plant starts to flower will you be able to tell the sex of a marijuana plant. However, there is a cannabis sexing seeds chart floating around on online. Sexing a marijuana plant is really just finding out whether they are male or female. Female plants are the only marijuana plants that will produce the buds growers are looking for; Males are reserved solely for fertilization and creating seeds.

A Guide To Regular Cannabis Seeds and How To Sex Plants

Regular sexed Cannabis seeds represent a breeding line that expresses an equal balance of male and female chromosomes. Working from seed using regulars is an excellent way to grow out large selections of either male or female plants. Knowing which plants belong to which sex, how to identify them early on and understanding the life cycle of a Cannabis plant, will give you the advantage when pheno hunting for an upcoming breeding project.

Why Grow Using Regular Seeds?

There are many reasons a grower may choose to work with regular seeds, despite the practical advantages in terms of growing space, waste of nutrients and medium.

Breeding Projects

For those who have the desire to make your own custom genetic crosses, starting your own breeding project in the comfort of your own home is easily achievable. For this you will need to invest in regular seeds that will allow you to grow either male or female plants. It is a good idea to start with at least 10 seeds to allow for a much wider variation, and greater choice of male to females. Some seedlings may underperform and be discarded early on, however with 10 seedlings, there is a good potential desired ratio. Labeling your pots with numbers and strain names, will make life much easier when sorting through the different plants, especially when taking cuttings before flowering for preservation purposes.

Pre 98 Genetics

There are plenty of old school genetics that have stood the test of time, and due to the marketplace during that era, were never feminized. It was from around early 2000 onwards, when the advantages of feminized seeds were becoming commercially popular. Many cultivars that existed during the last 50 years are often preserved in regular seed form, either as a first generation or as a stable IBL. Back crossing or producing a new generation of cultivar should only be done with regular seeds, especially when in-breeding.

Advanced Phenotype Hunting

When investing the time and money into a large pheno hunt, it is better to work with regular seeds over-feminized seeds. During this process the male and female plants will need to be separated well before flowering. There will be some impracticalites associated with this method such as wasted hydro system space, use of nutrients, growing medium, dedicated space, and maintenance. Working with a large number of plants to select from will allow you to access the best looking plants, based on height, structure, internodal spacing, aroma, leaf pattern, and overall vigor.

There are also commercial advantages when flowers are sold with a dedicated number such as Gelato #33, Gelato #45, KM11, or O.G #18.

Finding A Mother

Working through a bunch of seeds and narrowing down the best female plants to one keeper, will reward you with the ultimate mother plant, and can often soften the blow of paying three figures for a pack of seeds in some cases. If you truly want to find the best of the best, using regular seeds will allow for the most genetic diversity.

Identifying Preflowers

When a Cannabis seedling has been left to grow for up to 5 weeks under 18/6, the plant will begin to exhibit very small preflowers. Typically these preflowers reveal themselves once flowering is induced, however it is possible to see which sex you have when knowing what to look for.

Characteristics of Male Preflowers

Male preflowers will look like a small cluster of green, oval-shaped growth. They will be noticeable between the internodal growth and can even look like a female preflower minus the pistil. By this point there is zero need to worry about male pollen sacs and cross pollination, and after several weeks, it will be evident if you have an abundance of tiny male preflowers forming.

Characteristics of Female Preflowers

Unlike the male preflower, the female will produce a tiny white hair known as a pistil. When you see the first white hair, this will indicate the plant is in fact female, and an abundance of pistils will emerge once flowering is induced. Sometimes there can be a very thin and narrow growth, similar to the tip of a blade of grass, that later pushes out a pistil.

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Top Tips On Sexing Cannabis Plants

  • Make sure you are 100% confident that the plant in question is either male or female, prior to discarding from your garden. Male pollen sacs will not be encouraged to open until weeks 3-4 of 12/12, so take the time to be totally sure of your decision making ability.
  • The conversion rate of female to male plants will be usually around 60/40, so the more seeds you plant then the greater chance you have of finding the elite keeper male or female plants.
  • Use a magnifying glass or high-powered lens, to get up close and personal with your plants. This will make life much easier considering the flowers can be almost invisible to the naked eye at first.
  • Take at least one cutting off each plant if you have the space and time. Make sure that you label and number the clones accordingly to the same numbers from the original plants. Taking clones now will save you from reverting the plants back into a vegetative state once they have been harvested.

3 Advantages of Feminized Seeds

Using regular seeds have their own unique advantages, however it is also good to consider the benefits associated with female seeds.

Can You Tell the Sex of Cannabis Seeds from Their Appearance

Of all the things that can trip a grower up, sexing marijuana plants may just be the trickiest. Sexing plants is so important because growers are typically after the female plants, that produce the huge THC covered buds. Or the medicinal relief that CBD strains can bring. With such opposite effects of male and female plants, it’s easy to see just how important sexing plants is. But what if growers didn’t have to wait to sex their plants? While it would certainly make life easier, is sexing cannabis seeds possible?

Can you determine the sex of cannabis seeds?

This has been a question that has become a very hot topic online these days. After a quick search, growers can find multiple charts and explanations on how to sex cannabis seeds.

Unfortunately, there’s not much truth to any of these interpretations. It’s simply impossible to tell just by looking at them what the sex of any cannabis seed is. If it was that easy, feminized marijuana seeds would not be as popular as they are. People could simply buy regular seeds and look at them themselves.

Typically, marijuana plants cannot be sexed until they have already begun to grow. Cannabis seeds will look somewhat identical and plants in the vegetative stage will also look identical,. As the plants move into their flowering stage, they will start to show very clear signs as to what sex they are. While it would be much more convenient for growers to be able to determine sex before this point. The sad truth is that it’s just not possible.

So where do all the myths from sexing cannabis seeds come from?

Common myths on identifying the sex of a cannabis seed

One of the biggest myths of sexing cannabis seeds comes from a popular chart online.

The chart states that one can determine the sex of a cannabis seed by just looking at them. Within the chart, five cannabis seeds are shown. Three of these are female and two are male, supposedly. This chart says to look for a crater at the bottom of the seed. It explains that females will have a depression that is perfectly round. While males will have a crater that is misshapen and not uniform. However, this is simply not true. The craters found in cannabis seeds have nothing to do with the sex of a seed.

This same chart states that females will also roll easily across a table or surface, while males will not. While it does say that a magnifying glass and pair of tweezers is needed to examine the seeds. neither of these tools will make it any easier to determine the sex of cannabis seeds.

While growers may not be able to determine the sex of a seed, does the environment have anything to do with it? This is something else that has been hotly contested online.

Environment determines sex debate

We know that determining the sex of cannabis seeds cannot be done. However, it’s unclear as to whether environmental factors have any place in determining the sex of marijuana plants.

Research is carried out all the time to determine if a plant’s environment has anything to do with the sex it will turn out to be. And while there’s research stating that it does not, there’s just as much research stating that certain species do have their sex determined by the environment. This same research also states that using certain chemical treatments can also reverse the sex of a plant.

While environmental factors may not necessarily determine the sex of marijuana plants or cannabis seeds, it is known that certain environments can change the sex of a plant.

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This will mostly happen when a plant is stressed by its environment. When this happens, the plant may think it’s going to die and as a result, will change itself into a hermaphrodite plant. By doing so, it will be able to self-pollinate itself and survive.

Growers know that hermaphrodite plants can be just as harmful to crops as male plants. Therefore, it’s very important that every grower understand how to sex marijuana plants. Particularly if they’re not using feminized marijuana seeds that will give them only females.

While it would be much easier for growers to be able to sex their cannabis seeds, the simple fact is that there’s no way to do it. However, sexing plants early on during their growth period is not only essential, it’s completely possible. Growers can even do it before their plants enter the flowering stage if needed. Then male plants can be removed and growers can enjoy a nice, full crop.

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5 Tips on How to Sex Marijuana Plants

Sexing a marijuana plant is really just finding out whether they are male or female. This is very important information for two reasons. The first is that female plants are the only marijuana plants that will produce the buds growers are looking for; males are reserved solely for fertilization and creating seeds.

The second reason it’s important to know the sex of every marijuana plant because if males are left with females when their pollen sacs are ready to burst open, they will pollinate the females and the growers will be left with only seed.

How to tell if your plant is male or female before flowering

It’s very easy to identify plant gender once plants have matured and have started to show their reproductive organs. But truthfully, waiting until this point is risky. If the males and females are in the same room, the males could pollinate an entire crop at any moment, and even moving them could cause those pollen sacs to split and fertilize any females nearby. Instead, growers are better off looking for signs of sex before the plants begin flowering.

Male plants grown outdoors will exhibit different growth signs than their female counterparts, and this can be a good way to identify males and females. The vegetative stage is the first stage of growth for marijuana plants. This is the time when they get bigger and rounder, and are simply focused on growth. While their reproductive organs won’t yet be present, growers can keep a keen eye out for growth patterns that could be an indication of sex.

During this time, females are known to have more complex branching systems, making them seem rather “filled out”, and widening as the branches continue to grow. Male plants on the other hand, are spindlier and typically focus on growing taller rather than wider. Male plants are often not as filled out, with fewer branches and fewer leaves on them.

These signs are typically displayed only when plants are grown outdoors. These signs are no indication that the plant needs to be removed from the crop, but they can give growers a good idea of what plants to keep an eye on.

Male plants will also mature about two weeks earlier than female plants, regardless of whether they’re grown indoors or out. About two weeks before they fully mature, male plants will grow what are known as “false buds”, sacs that resemble buds, but are actually sacs of little, white flowers.

Female plants do not have these white flowers, as they release the pollen which is to then pollinate the females.

Sexing marijuana plants

Trying to identify a plant’s sex by height and volume alone is not fail-proof, but there is a way to determine a plant’s gender before it matures that works every single time – cloning.

Cloning is a simple process of taking a cutting from a plant and placing it in a growing medium so that a whole new plant grows. Because the new plant is a clone, it will be identical to the plant it was taken from, including its gender.

Cloning plants to determine gender is fairly straightforward when there’s only one plant in question, but when there’s an entire crop it can become a bit more complicated. It’s important to identify which clones came from which plants, so growers know which plants are male and need to be removed from the female plants.

Of course, it does no good to simply clone plants and have them grow at the same rate, as they will show signs of their sex at the same time, or even a bit later, than the original plants. To expedite the process, growers must force the clones into the flowering stage by using a light cycle of 12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of complete darkness. Because sexing clones depends on this light cycle, it cannot be done with auto-flowering plants.

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Female marijuana plant

It’s for this reason that male plants will grow to be so significantly taller than the females, so that when the sacs break open, the pollen can scatter onto the females. This sudden growth, near the end of the vegetative stage, is the best way to determine the sex of marijuana plants before they actually flower.

While male marijuana plants have sacs, or false buds, female plants have what many refer to as “white hairs”. These hairs are actually pistils, and they’re quite sticky so that they can catch the pollen the male plants release.

When this happens, the female plant will then be fertilized and will produce seed instead of the beautiful tightly-packed buds most growers are looking for. For this reason, male plants should be removed from the female plants before either begins to show signs of sacs or pistils.

What to do with male marijuana plants

It is important to identify male plants, and to remove them as far as possible from the female plants. This is because the pollen from males is known to be undaunted in its quest to fertilize female plants, going so far as to travel through ventilation systems and travelling fairly long distances in order to do it.

For this reason, in the past many growers chose to completely destroy male marijuana plants, so there was no chance they could fertilize the females. However, this isn’t actually necessary and growers who do so could be hurting themselves, as male marijuana plants have more uses that might meet the eye.

The most obvious reason for keeping male marijuana plants is that they are necessary for breeding. Once growers become more experienced and familiar with the process of growing, they often want to move on to breeding so they can create their very own strain. Just like in other parts of nature, in order to create a new genetic line, both males and females are needed and a strong male plant will help produce a strong line.

Perhaps a less obvious reason to keep male plants around is that they can be great for the garden. It’s been reported that for centuries farmers around the world have used male marijuana plants in their gardens for the terpenes they produce. These terpenes deter pests from invading vegetable crops, and when the leaves and flowers are dried, they can actually be sprayed onto other plants as a pest deterrent. Of course, male plants should never be used to deter pests, mould and other nuisances from female plants, as they would be too close to them, but they can be used effectively with other crops.

The stalks of male plants are also finer, yet stronger, than female plants, and this is useful when making hemp products. Because the fibers are finer, they produce softer material that can be used for clothing and linens. In Hungary, male marijuana plants are revered for their fibrous stalks.

Lastly, while it’s true that male marijuana plants will not produce buds, this doesn’t mean that they don’t contain any THC, as it was once believed. In fact, while male flowers will have significantly less THC than female flowers, the leaves of male plants have more THC than a female’s leaves.

How to sex seeds

For growers that don’t want to spend the time cloning plants or searching for signs of height, there is a way growers have found to identify sex just from the seeds. While it’s not a scientific method and results are not 100 percent guaranteed, growers who have tried it have reported a success rate of 90 percent.

Sexing seeds is done during the germination stage, when the seed just begins to sprout. It’s thought that if the seed sprouts at the top or the bottom of the seed, the plant is likely a female. However, if the sprout appears at the side of the seed, the plant is most likely male. Again, this isn’t a way to determine a plant’s sex exactly, but it does again, give growers an idea of what plants need a special eye kept on them.

Sexing marijuana can be a longer process than many growers are hoping for, but it’s an important part of the job. When growers are looking for beautiful, potent buds, male and female plants simply cannot be grown near each other, so they need to be identified as early as possible. There are many ways to do it and as growers become more familiar with the process, they will understand which one is easiest and works best for them.

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