Difference Between Male and Female Marijuana Plants

Difference Between Male and Female Marijuana Plants

Published on: April 9, 2024

Difference Between Male and Female Marijuana Plants

In the field of marijuana cultivation, the sex of your weeds meets a very critical point.

In contrast to many plants with flowers that have both the male and female reproductive organs, marijuana plants are dioecious, which means they have different sexes. 

This manifests notably with a clear difference between female and male marijuana plants.

This handbook presents in detail the crucial facts about female and male marijuana plants in order to enable you to determine their sex, formulate sound cultivation techniques, and get the desired results.

Why does sex matter in marijuana plants?

The essence of sex in marijuana cultivation is actually about the long-longed-for bud production.

Female plants develop these clusters of flowers, which have the highest content of cannabinoids, especially THC, the psychoactive component responsible for the euphoric effects of marijuana.

The Power of the Female Flower

Female Marijuana Plant
Female Marijuana Plant

To maximise yield, control air temperature, humidity, and light levels, which are the most critical factors. Feminised cannabis plants are the aim of most companies.

In the flowering stage, females bring forth thick clouds of buds, riddled with cannabinoids and terpenes—the odorous molecules that give a strain its unique scent and flavor.

These stems are the prime product farmers gather for both recreational and medical purposes.

Male’s Role

Male Marijuana Plant
Male Marijuana Plant

The production of pollen and pollination by male marijuana plants take place, while female marijuana plants produce hairs that can be pollinated through the pollen grains (pollen sacs).

The carbon dioxide from males is absorbed by the female ovaries to make seeds within the female organs.

While some seed producers have specialised in breeding quality buds and others in producing seeds, most growers highly prefer female plants because they do not develop the seeds or have a high-quality product.

Impact of Pollination on Yield and Potency

Pollen from a male plant fertilises a female plant; the plant expends its energy on seeding rather than being lush and vegetative.

It leads to a decrease in the weight of the needles, density, and strength of the buds.

Lower concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes are usually present in seed-filled buds, and hence, such buds tend to have a poorer experience.

Identifying the Sex of Your Marijuana Plant

Identifying the Sex of Your Marijuana Plant
Identifying the Sex of Your Marijuana Plant

Unfortunately, a method cannot be used to differentiate the sex of your marijuana plants during the vegetative stage (the first growth stage).

Even so, there are some common traits when the crop begins to flower, mostly around the change in light cycle (smaller day length).

Visual Cues During Flowering: Pollen Sacs vs. Pistils

The easiest and most definite way of determining sex in plants is by inspecting their buds during the blooming period.

There are white puberous structures developing on the internodes (joints) of the female plants called pistils. These stigmas develop in the early pre-flower stage, and the pistils are from which the sought-after buds produce.

On the contrary, male plants produce balloon-like pollen sacs—small, round, or oval blossoms—that burst open and release the pollen grains into the air to fertilise female plants.

Early Signs Before Flowering (Optional)

Though non-exhaustive, certain growers sometimes see structural signs of plants that may suggest their sex during the vegetative phase.

Such measures serve as signposts and should be applied with an appropriate level of care.

Females may bear dense bushy growth with wider intervals between nodes, while males are taller and have more bare spots on leaves.

Importance of Early Identification and Separation

Identifying the sex of your plants as early as you can will save you a lot of time and trouble later. Once pollen has been carried by males, it can move in the air and possibly fertilize the nearby females.

Thus, it is vital to respond quickly and remove male plants from the grow area to prevent the pollution of seeds and secure the quality and potency of your female flower buds.

Cultivation Strategies Based on Plant Sex

Knowing the gender of your plants helps you develop a production system that will provide the best output.

Optimizing Growth for Maximum Female Bud Production

Female plants, being the main source of top-quality buds, are a are a tribute to techniques used to promote femaleness.

The feminised seeds, which have been triggered artificially to grow only female plants, are one of the most common options.

Gradually, other growers adopt photoperiod manipulation methods to enable sex identification before plants respond to vegetative growth with serious investments.

Techniques for Managing or Eliminating Male Plants

Upon growing regular seeds (50/50 chance of male or female plants), identify and remove the male ones from the grow place as soon as they show any indication of a sac of pollen.

This plays a key role in avoiding cross-pollination between your female plants and maintaining desired female buds.

Other cultivators select to shunt male plants isolated into a different area to breed progenies and seeds.

Considerations for Seed Production (if desired)

Many breeders are interested in seed production as they have to cultivate both male and female plants. But on the other hand, close monitoring of pollination will be needed in order to avoid running pollination outbreaks.

Isolation of a specific female plant with a suitable male and manipulation of airflow are the techniques that are reliable in the process of seed production.

Beyond Basic Sex: Additional Cannabis Plant Variations

While the distinction between male and female is the primary concern for most growers, there are a few additional variations to consider:

Hermaphrodite Plants

Hermaphrodite plants can form male-only pollen sacs or female-only pistils alongside both on the same plant or even on the same bud.

Some cats, being predominantly pollen producers, pose minimal risk of fertilisation, but others are very active and will plague themselves or neighbouring females, so the quality of the buds will be significantly reduced.

This is the reason that most growers remove their hermaphrodite plants to provide a safe environment from male pollen for their females.

Feminised Seeds

To avoid the dilemma of regular seeds, which sometimes result in male plants, many growers prefer to use feminised seeds.

The seeds of the female plants are generated through several methods that make sure they will be flowers after they grow up.

Feminised seeds mean that the gardener can be assured of the quality, and the plant with this type of seed will not include the hassle of identifying and removing males.

Autoflowering Strains

Lengthening a light cycle is one of the methods present in the agricultural process of cultivating cannabis.

Nevertheless, some of the growers prefer to put their hands into the entire process of cultivation. Auto-flowering strains of cannabis are an especially advanced species that germinates and blossoms from age as opposed to a light cycle.

These are low in lighting demand due to their construction, which eliminates the need for mimicking sunlight and thus offers a good option for beginner growers.

Choosing the Right Plants for Your Needs

The right choice of plants mainly depends on whether you have needs or are just practicing, and the target is different for already experienced people.

For beginners

Seeds or autoflowering strains represent a really good choice because it is simple to grow female flowers with high levels of THC without complicating the problem of managing males or changing the light cycle.

For experienced growers

Choosing regular seeds as a cheaper alternative may be an option, but these require monitoring and prompt removal of males. This can be used for such purposes as plant breeding projects or seed production programs.

For seed production

The application of alternative breeding techniques such as crossing regular seeds and not self-pollinating is needed. The knowledge of isolating plants, controlling the airflow, and applying selective breeding techniques is vital in the production of new seed products.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Why is the sex of marijuana plants important?

A: The sex of marijuana plants is vital to be determined as it determines bud production.

It is female marijuana plants that produce the buds with the most cannabinoids, including mainly THC, which is responsible for all the marijuana effects.

Q: How will I know if the gender of my weed plant is male or female?

A: You can determine the sex of your marijuana plants once they begin to flower through visual inspection.

The females develop white hairs called pistils, and later those are called buds. Pollen sacs are produced by males, and they burst to fertilise females during their reproductive period.

Q: What should I do if I have male plants?

A: If you have male plants, make sure you get rid of them immediately to prevent the male plants from pollinating the female plants.

This will allow female buds to maintain their seedless and superior quality.


One of the most important aspects of successful marijuana plant production is the knowledge of the sex of the crop and its ability to produce quality yields.

By organising the sex of both male and female plants, using an identification method that is pertinent to them, and implementing the strategy with a specific regard to their gender, you can increase your yields and cultivate amazing dark buds with lots of resin.

Whether you are a professional grower or just a beginner, this guide can equip you for success by helping you make the right choice and achieve your ideal goal.

It should be noted that the production of cannabis plants may be under one or more legal structures in your area. It is best to investigate local regulations and laws prior to starting the planting or growth of cannabis.

About the Author

Gaanja Heal

Gaanja Heal’s goal is to give people easy access to medical marijuana resources and qualified doctors. These doctors can evaluate patients to see if medical cannabis may help treat their health conditions.

View all posts by Gaanja Heal

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