So you’ve decided to enter the world of cannabis growing and start producing your own harvest – good on you! It’s an amazing plant that has so many benefits for you to enjoy. But it’s not as simple as planting marijuana seeds and adding water. Did you know that marijuana plants have genders? That is correct! Your plant could be male, female, and even hermaphroditic; and knowing how to determine that before flowering gives you a lot more control over the quality and type of strain you produce at the end of the harvest.

Characteristics of a Male Plant

Both male and female plants have their distinctive sex organs that we call “flowers.”  On male plants, pollen sacks form where the branches meet the main stem. These parts of the plants are called the “nodes.”  Once fully mature the pollen sacks explode and pollen is sent off into the surrounding atmosphere. If you’re trying to produce a high-quality harvest, you don’t want male plants. However, you need male plants to create new cannabis strains. You can search different strains breeders have grown at our marijuana seed bank.

Characteristics of a Female Plant

Before flowering, male and female plants look almost identical. Like male plants, the sex organs of female plants are also located on the nodes, but they look very different. Instead of pollen sacks, female plants have something called bracts. These are little extensions with tiny white hairs on them and are an easy way to identify a female plant even before flowering occurs. The bracts (today’s grower uses the word calyxes) with their dense covering of large, stalked resin glands, contain the highest concentration of THC of any plant part. Thus calyxes on the female plant make up most of the substance and weight of high-quality marijuana buds.

Characteristics of a Hermaphroditic Plant

A plant of one gender can grow opposite sex organs on itself. This depends on if the plant is stressed during its growth. This isn’t an issue for a male plant since the worst-case scenario is that the plant self-fertilizes. However, if you have a hermaphroditic plant around a bunch of female plants, it could cause a lot of unwanted seed growth. You can easily check if you have a hermaphroditic plant by checking multiple nodes on the plant to see if it has both male and female sex organs. Another way to know if your plant is hermaphroditic is to check for things called “nanners” (Also known as “bananas” due to their banana-like shape). Anthers can pollinate female plants without bursting, so it’s a good idea to carefully remove them as soon as they are spotted.

Knowing how to spot the gender of your cannabis plant before flowering gives you more control of the strains and quality of the harvest you produce. Be sure to check thoroughly and carefully and most of all, enjoy the process!