What are the Early Signs Of Male Plant

Following the right way to identify both male and female plants is not an uphill battle. Growers need to know the early signs of male plants especially when they want to get rid of males to let females produce sinsemilla (seedless buds).

Although most of the growers remove male plants to get a better crop of seedless buds, some, on the other hand, create new genetics for breeding purposes. No matter which one is your intention, you can get to know things for what you are here.

Well, we’re done with enough beating around the bush, let’s see what’s there for you.

Early Signs of Male Plant

Growers must know how to identify if it’s a male or female marijuana plant especially if you’re growing this plant for medical purposes. Why? Well, nothing but female marijuana plants can produce the desired buds that are widely used for medical purposes.

However, here are some easy-to-spot early signs of male plants that you will find helpful.

Sturdier, Thicker Stems Having Fewer Leaves

Although we are talking about plants from the same strain, a male plant comes with sturdier and thicker stems. If you are curious for knowing the reason, it’s because male plants have to support their weight as they get taller compared to female plants.

Also, male plants come with fewer leaves compared to female plants.

Early Signs Of Male Plant
Image Credit: Quora

Male Plants Display Their Sex 3 Weeks Prior to Female Plants

To sex your plants, you have to check their look over them from July to September. If you allow the male plants to pollinate, chances are it will drastically reduce the potential crop of the female plants.

The reason behind it is, once you fertilize them, the female plants spend a lot of energy producing seeds rather than producing THC. Consequently, growers need to accept a smaller harvest.

If you are an indoor grower, you can check the flowering easily by visiting all of your plants regularly. And, you have to check each plant very carefully to identify whether it’s a male or female. Because one unwanted male may ruin your harvest.

Generally, male plants appear at their sex 3 weeks prior to female plants.

Male Flowers on The Stalk of Your Plant

To spot the male flowers, look carefully at the joints of the stalk (which is the meeting point of the main stalk and the other branches). You will find little balls on the joint, and yes, this is the key sign of male plants. Male flowers extract pollen and should be removed in order to get a better crop.

However, in case you want to reproduce or create new plants, keep those balls untouched. When it comes to female plants, they also have such bulbs, but they have long hairs on them as well.

Hermaphroditic Plants Are Treated as Males

Hearing the ‘hermaphroditic term for the first time? If you are, then put a pin in it, we will come back later. Saying in some simple words, hermaphroditic means plants that come with both male and female sexes.

So, if you notice any of the significant male buds, the first thing you should do is to trim them as you would trim a normal plant. Because they can extract pollen just like the normal male plants and wreck your crop.

There you have it! These above-mentioned signs will confirm that the plant you are looking over is a male plant. So, once you are sure that it’s a male plant, immediately remove it otherwise it may wreck your crop.

Removing the buds by hand is never a good idea because if there are a few remaining, it’s enough to reduce your crop. So, you can simply throw the male plants out.

However, if you want to collect the seeds for breeding purposes, keep the plants rather than throwing them out. But keep them away from the female plants (maybe in a separate room). Also, be careful so you don’t carry pollen from male storage to the female storage on your hands or clothes.

Male Preflowers vs Female

You can even examine pre-flowers (in the vegetative stage) of marijuana plants and figure out the sex of your plants. Generally, you can notice the sex of vegetating plants 3-6 weeks from when they first germinated.

Male Preflowers vs Female
Image Source: Green CultureED

Male Pre-Flowers

You can notice male pre-flowers by their ‘spade’ shape, the spade is more likely to be a deck of playing cards. Although not always, male plants show their sex sooner compared to female plants.

Pre-flowers are so tiny-sized that your thumb will seem like a giant-sized something beside them. For the pre-flowers being this small, novice growers may find it difficult to make sure of the sex (whether it is male or female). If your case is something like this, you should wait until it develops to become 100% sure.

However, male pre-flowers are nothing unlikely to immature pollen sacs. Once your plant begins flowering, male pre-flowers will grow as well as turn into bunches (look almost the same as grapes). When you will find a few pollen sacs with no white pistils, be sure that it’s a male plant.

Female Pre-Flowers

The first and foremost difference between male and female pre-flowers is, female pre-flowers are narrower and longer compared to male pre-flowers. In fact, sometimes, the female pre-flowers come with a flat bottom.

Sometimes, females contain 1 or 2 white hairs that are called pistils, and those pistils stick out from the top. If you find it taking a few more days to show the pistils, it’s totally normal.

However, be sure that it’s a female pre-flower if you see wispy white pistils there. Also, pre-flowers are thin and very pointy. Over time, you will get to see the typical female plant features- a thin, long calyx, and crossed stipules.

If female pre-flowers haven’t shown the white hair yet, you can identify it’s female. How? Well, female pre-flowers are narrow and long, not spade-shaped like the males.

Plant Gender Test- Leaf Sample Testing

Are you looking for a test that will help you to determine the sex of your cannabis plants when they are only 1-3 weeks old? Okay, there’s a test named ‘chemical leaf testing’ that can help you with identifying the sex and future potency of your cannabis plants.

To go with the test, you will need a little amount of plant tissue such as a cotyledon leaf or a tiny punch-out from a leaf. So, if you think this test is going to hurt your seedlings anyhow, no it’s not going to.

Through this test, you can get to know whether they are male or female at an early age as this test requires seedlings that are only 1-3 weeks old. Both the sex testing and the potency testing use different routes.

The first one works using a Polymerase Chain Reaction whereas the second one works through Gas Chromatography (GC) or High-Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). The duration of this testing may be one week from germination.

So, if you want to be sure about your plant sex as soon as possible, you should consult with a reputed company and go through the leaf sample testing process.

What is A Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plant?

As we said before, you will get to know details about hermaphrodite plants here. In the simplest words, if a female plant contains both female and male sex organs, you can call it a hermaphrodite plant.

Hermaphrodite Cannabis
Hermaphrodite Cannabis

What it means is, in this case, your cannabis plant can produce pollen that may pollinate your whole garden. People call it ‘herming out’ when a plant is hermaphrodite which leads it to become excessively stressed. Here are some more plant stressors you may need to know:

  • Bad weather
  • Nutrition deficiencies
  • Plant damage
  • Diseases

And, hermaphrodite plants are divided into two types:

  • Plants that develops both pollen sacs and buds
  • Plants that produce anthers- they are often mentioned as ‘bananas’ for their appearance.

Both types produce pollen, however, true hermaphrodite plants come with sacs that need to break. On the other hand, anthers will become exposed as pollen-producing stamen, over time.

Since it typically happens with cannabis when they are under stress, make sure you monitor them once they are exposed to stressors.

Is it Possible to Turn a Male Plant Female?

Since it’s possible to have two different organs in one plant, you may ask whether it’s possible to turn a male plant female. Actually, a plant’s sex is set on by its genetics from the very beginning (even before the germination begins).

So, you can neither turn a male plant female nor turn a female plant male. However, you can apply some tricks to stimulate a male plant for displaying female features.

And, those techniques require using chemicals like ethylene. The chemicals result in a hormonal response from the plant. If you insert a fair amount of female hormones in male plants, chances are male plants will stimulate female flowering development.

And, this technique will work better if male plants are not yet shown mature flowers. However, it’s only applicable for true male plants, not for hermaphroditic plants.

How To Make Use of Male Cannabis Plant

Although only female cannabis plants are famous for producing large, coveted buds that people dry, cure, and consume, male plants do not only belong in a compost bin.

Here are some more useful information of male cannabis plants:

  • Breeding: If growers don’t want to produce more cannabis plants using clones, they need to consider pollination by male plants. Because male cannabis plants are essential for breeding purposes.
  • Concentrate production: Although male cannabis plants come with less potency than female plants, male plants also can show psychoactive nature. Yes, male plants don’t produce buds but their stems, leaves, and sacs contain a small amount of cannabinoid that produce hash.
  • Hemp fiber: Hemp fiber that comes from the male cannabis plant is softer compared to female plants. And, this soft material is widely used for making household items like clothing and tablecloths.
  • Garden enhancement: When it comes to garden enhancement, cannabis plants have a lot to contribute beyond bud production. ‘Terpenes’ is an aromatic oil that both male and female plants produce. This aromatic oil works great when it’s about disease and pest control. As male plants also can produce terpenes along with the female ones, males are not that useless, right?

Also, cannabis plants have long taproots that improve soil quality. The taproots break the low-quality soil apart and allow nutrition and moisture to penetrate. Consequently, soil can be in place, and the risk of losing soil in order to heavy rains reduces.

FAQs regarding the early sign of Male Plant

How long before male pollen sacs open?

Generally, it takes 2-3 weeks after 12/12  that seed vessels begin to open as well as drop pollen.

How can I tell a male plant is early?

Although you can get a better look using a magnifying glass, it’s hard to identify male pre-flowers with the naked eye as they are too small to identify. You need to look over the nodes of your plant and search if there’s an early growth of sacs that confirm it as a male plant. You can easily distinguish it from a female plant as female plants come with two bracts that produce hair-like stigma.

Can I smoke hermaphrodite plants?

Yes, you can. Although hermaphrodite plants are not as potent as pure female plants, you can still smoke them.


Voila! Now, you know what the early signs of male plants are. Cannabis plants’ sex is pretty much set when they are only 3 weeks old. If you know how to properly examine, you can determine their sex quite easily. Since we have shared informative ways to determine male plants, hopefully, you’ve got all of it.

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Good luck!

Plant Expert: Botanist