What it the best way to tell the male plants from the females?
Identifying the differences between male and female plants is very important for any grower. A cannabis plant goes through three distinct stages of growth during its life cycle. The first stage is the seedling stage. This is the earliest stage of growth and is when the plant first develops a root system and leaves. The second stage of growth is the vegetative stage. It is during this stage that the majority of the plant’s structural integrity is developed.
The third and final stage of growth for the marijuana plant is the flowering stage. In this stage of growth, the flowers begin to develop and, eventually, mature into the buds that are harvested. Identifying the sex of a cannabis plant is commonly done in the early flowering stage.
For outdoor plants, the flowering cycle will begin as the amount of sunlight per day is shortened to around 14 hours. For indoor gardens, the flowering cycle is triggered when the grower changes the photoperiod to a 12-hour light/12-hour dark cycle.
When a male plant begins to show its reproductive organs, it will appear to have a tiny bunch of green bananas at the inner joints of the branches. These tiny bunches are pollen sacks and will eventually open and release pollen. It is important to remember that the damage done by pollination occurs only after the male plants have released pollen.
As long as the plants can be positively identified as males and removed from the garden before the pollen is released, no seeds will develop.
With the exception of cannabis breeders, the goal of growers is to cultivate seedless female marijuana flowers. Like male marijuana plants, it is difficult to positively identify female plants until they have started to develop their reproductive parts, which happens in the flowering stage of growth.
Once the flowering stage has been initiated, the female plants will develop what look like tiny white hairs at the joints and base of the branches. The white hairs, known as pistils, grow in pairs and protrude from the places where the flowers will develop. Eventually the flowers will get larger and, once fully developed, the pistils will turn brownish-red in color.