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When Does Canabis Show Sex

Written by Neal Brown . Updated: March 4, 2021

How to Determine Cannabis Plants Gender

There are a lot of processes involved in creating bountiful cannabis crops, but none are more important than determining the sex of plants. Whether you are cultivating marijuana for personal use or starting a business growing our wholesale seeds, you need to be able to identify male and female plants as well as those that don’t fit into either category. Determining and even controlling the sex of plants means understanding their reproductive cycles. It is important to know the differences between regular and feminized seeds, whether you are growing classic 710 seeds or medicinal CBD seeds. You will also want to become familiar with options like cloning, so read on to find out more.

Cannabis Plants Have Genders Just Like Humans

Marijuana plants are dioecious, which means they can be male or female. Their reproductive processes are therefore closer to that of humans than other plants. Each cannabis plant has two sets of sex chromosomes. Females have XX chromosomes and males XY chromosomes. In their natural state, crops include about half females and half males, like humans. Some plants have both male and female characteristics.

The environment, as well as genetics, influences the gender of cannabis plants. It is important to understand the traits of each sex so you can decide which gender best fits your needs.

Why Cannabis Gender Matters

The cannabis strains most sought after by consumers are the female plants which produce the large resinous flowers that you are used to seeing on dispensary store shelves. The females produce the vast majority of the cannabinoids and terpenes that give each cannabis variety its own unique effects and flavors. Male seeds are really a lot less useful, and only come into play when you want to produce a new batch of seeds. A recent piece on the Green State site advised that an entirely male-free crop is the surest way to guarantee a healthy harvest.

If you use traditional growing methods, you will need to identify male plants and remove them before they can pollinate female plants. Fertilized females produce less THC, an especially potent cannabinoid. Professional growers, whether in Florida or Maryland,  typically destroy most of their male plants, which means they lose half their crops. Some plant twice what they need to get enough female plants for their needs.

Other growers use male plants to create hemp fibers that become the fabric for clothing and household items. Males can also be planted in gardens to act as pest control. They produce terpenes, aromatic oils that repel pests.

Determine Sex as Soon as Possible

If you grow marijuana naturally using regular seeds, it is important to determine the sex of your plants as early as possible in their life cycles. Males and females have some obvious differences in appearance that can help. For one thing, males are usually taller, and each sex has unique reproductive organs.

However, sexing plants can be tricky because plants may be close in height, and their gender is not always obvious until they are mature. Critical differences might not show themselves until plants are ready to pollinate, and that may be too late.

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