One of the most important things to know when it comes to growing cannabis is that only the female seeds will produce that beautiful bud that you’re after.
So, if you’re looking to cultivate big and bold buds with that stunning frosty and glistening coating, you’ll need to know your males from your females.
Who even knew that seeds had genders?
Well, they do and cannabis seeds actually have three! Yep, you can get male seeds, female seeds, and hermaphrodite seeds.
If you grow a male seed, you’ll be bitterly disappointed come bloom since they only grow these small sacs of pollen around the base of their leaves.
If you’re looking for those buds that you can grind up, smoke, and experience that euphoric and blissful high with, then you need to ensure that you have the female seeds which are unpollinated (see also “What Does Good Weed Look Like?“).
You’ll get a much higher yield from the friendly females than you will from those malicious males. But is there a way to find out the sex of your seed before you start growing? What exactly are you looking for? Let’s find out.
The Bad News
Okay, so, if you are handed a bag of random cannabis seeds, alas there is no possible way to determine their gender. This is because all the seeds look pretty much identical and it’s not like they’ve got certain genitalia to spot like with humans and animals.
They also don’t really have any defining characteristics. So in this instance, it’s potluck. You’re just going to have to grow your plant and find out once it matures.
Once you’ve planted your seed, about 2-4 weeks later, you’ll notice that your plant begins to pre-flower. Either this or you’ll notice a small bud forming in the crux of a branch.
You’ll be looking for pistillates to indicate you’ve got a female plant. Pistillates tend to be white and look kind of wispy.
If you can’t find any pistillates, look for small rounded sacs with distinct horizontal splits. They’ll look almost like a teeny tiny crab claw. If you notice these sacs, you’ve identified your plant as male and it won’t produce a bud…sorry.
The Good News
Obviously, it’s not great that we can’t really identify male seeds from female seeds. And for growers, it would really be a whole lot of trouble to keep growing plants that end up being useless, right? Of course. And that is why a new solution has been found.
This solution is known as feminized cannabis seeds.
What are feminized cannabis seeds? Basically, they are seeds that have been selectively and carefully bred to ensure that only female plants are produced. This removes a lot of the hassle as you know what you’re planting is going to produce your desired product.
Now, notice I said a lot of the hassle and not all of it. This is because while this solution works pretty well it’s by no means perfect.
This is because during production a small amount of the seeds will actually create hermaphrodite seeds which are still able to produce pollen.
Still, though, despite this flaw it is the more popular option as it ensures a much higher yield than planting seeds blind, waiting, and praying that your buds will bloom.
There are tons of online companies where you can purchase feminized seeds but do so with caution. While most brands are reputable and reliable, there are still many scam artists lurking, ready to pounce and sell you low-quality seeds.
Ensure you do your research before you finalize any purchases.
Feminizing Plants Yourself
If you want to give feminizing your cannabis plants yourself a go, then there are three main techniques that you can try:
- Rodelization Feminizing – For this method, you will essentially stress out your female plant. You’ll do so by interrupting the plant’s light cycle during its flowering process.
- Colloidal Silver Feminizing – For this method, you will mix pure silver and distilled water together and spray the mixture on the female plant when it is flowering.
- Silver Thiosulfate Feminizing – For this method, you will spray an almost mature female plant with a 50/50 solution of silver nitrate and sodium thiosulfate.
Keeping Male & Female Plants Apart
This is pretty important. You don’t want those pesky male cannabis plants anywhere near your lovely females. Why? Because a single pollinator can negate your entire harvest. And we don’t want that.
How this happens is that once a cannabis plant is pollinated it no longer attempts to grow those all-important flowers and also hinders resin production. And in simple terms that means less bud and a lot less THC.
So not only will you have a smaller yield but the quality will diminish too.
So, it’s imperative that you set time aside to separate or kill those male plants before it is too late. Pause in haste, and you’ll have a bitterly disappointing harvest.
Remember that it really only takes the smallest amount of pollen to do the largest amount of damage to your yield so you need to be really thorough and take extensive precautions to eradicate any pollinators from your grow.
If you have a bag of cannabis seeds, the bad news is that unfortunately there is no definite way to determine the gender of your seeds. It will simply be a case of trial and error, waiting to see if your plant produces resin and bud or sacs of pollen.
If you do grow male plants from your seeds, be sure to dispose of them as quickly as possible so that they do not ruin the rest of your plants and suspend the growth of your buds.
The good news, though, is that feminized seeds exist. Sure, you’ll get the occasional hermaphrodite which will need to be disposed of (remember they produce pollen too) but overall, you’ll get a much higher yield as the majority of the seeds will all be female.
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