Cannabis Gender: Male Versus Female Plants
Cannabis Gender:
Growing from Seeds? Here’s how to tell if you have a male or a female cannabis plant!
Many growers believe they cannot correctly identify the sex of their cannabis plant until the flowering stage. Good news! Cannabis “pre-flowers” will help you to identify the sex of your plant within 3-6 weeks of germination. These pre flowers can show up on male plants as early as 3-4 weeks from germination and on female plants as early as 4-6 weeks from germination. These results may not always be accurate so it is always best practice to wait until flowering to be 100% sure on the sex.
A grower inspects a cannabis plant to identify it's gender
Does the gender of cannabis plants matter?

Yes! Female cannabis plants will create seeds when a male plant pollinates them.


Only female cannabis plants produce buds!


How to tell if your cannabis seeds are male or female?

Cannabis seeds are normally 50% male and 50% female. If you are wanting to grow a female plant from seed, you can order feminized seeds online. If male cannabis plants are introduced into a garden with females, this will cause pollination which will result in the female plants producing seeds. Buds with seeds produce a harsh smoke and a low quality product.


It is possible to get hermaphrodite cannabis plants. That would be a plant that developed both male and female sex organs. So the plant is capable of pollinating itself, and every plant in the grow room!



A cannabis plant rests atop a spoonful of seeds.



Male cannabis plants produce pollen which can fertilize female plants and cause them to produce seeds.


How to identify the gender of your cannabis plants?

Male cannabis plants will develop their pollen sacks before the females produce buds. It only takes 1-2 weeks for pollen sacks to show up on the male plant. Females show their gender around 2-4 weeks. 


When looking to tell what sex a cannabis plant is, you have to look at where the branches grow off the stalk. These are called nodes. If your plant is a male, it will have round balls on the nodes. If your plant is female, it will have small flower clusters with long “hairs” poking out. These differences will be apparent around 4 weeks into plant growth, they are called pre-flowers. 


Examine your plants carefully as identifying sex in the first month of grow can be very difficult. 


Things to look for when determining gender:

  • Male plants are normally taller 
  • The calyx (center part of flower) on female plants will be large and have white hair. On male plants it will be small with no hair. 


* You may need a magnifying glass to tell the distinction at this stage!


To get the highest quality buds, growers will want to do everything they can to prevent pollination!


A male cannabis plant



How to identify a male cannabis plant:

Male plants will mature much faster than female plants. They will grow faster and within 2 weeks should be taller than the female. They will begin their flowering stage almost a month before the female plants. 

Features of Male Plants:

  • Less flower development 
  • Straight growth
  • Flowers will be close knit green clusters 



Group of female cannabis plants




How to identify a female cannabis plant:

Male plants have what is often referred to as “false buds” but they are in fact pollen sacs! 

Female plants, on the other hand, have flowers that will resemble sacs. These sacs open to have yellow or white flowers. Additionally, they will have pistils (resembles hair). 


Features of Female Plants:

  • Flower development
  • Pistils



You can guarantee females by getting feminized seeds or female clones! 


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What about hermaphroditic cannabis plants?

Some cannabis plants can be hermaphrodites. This is when the female plant will develop both the male and female sex organs! A hermaphroditic plant can result in the plant pollinating itself and your entire grow. This most often occurs when your plant is stressed out. Monitor the temperature, humidity, and pH closely! And always look out for pests, pathogens, diseases, and other factors that may cause your plant stress.



A cannabis plant



Male and female cannabis plants must be separated unless you want to produce seeds! 



What to do when you get a male cannabis plant?

Most growers find and terminate all male cannabis plants in their grow. This is understandable if you want to ensure no female plants get pollinated. However, male plants are still of value. If you want to continue to grow your male plants we recommend growing them in a separate room from the females to discourage pollination. Male cannabis plants can be used for breeding, concentrates, hemp, and more. 


When a male and a female cannabis plant are bred, the male provides 50% of the genetics. This can be helpful in breeding strains that are mold resistant, have more resin, higher THC content, etc. 



A spoon, bowl and table covered in cannabis seeds.



Most growers dispose of male plants



While male plants often contain less THC than female plants, you can still find cannabinoids in the leaves, stems, and flowers. You can extract resin from male plants to create concentrates like hash, oil, and wax. Even the pollen contains THC! Male plants produce copious amounts of pollen, which can be collected, pressed, and consumed to give you an adequate high. 



DID YOU KNOW? Pollen can get you high!





Any other questions? Email us at or send us a message on Instagram @futureharvestdevelopment and we’ll help you as best we can!

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    Published by Future Harvest

    Future Harvest | Grow Better |


  • Oct 14, 2020
  • Category: Articles
  • Comments: 5
Future Harvest March 22, 2022

Hi Jiggins,

Thanks for reaching out.

Yes plants are susceptible to cold weather and deer will eat them. So if you’re in a colder climate it may be best to grow indoors. Here’s a link to an article on indoor vs outdoor growing that should help you out

And the optimal temperature is between 15-30°C, but each grow is it’s own thing.

For more info on growing here are a few articles that will help you out:

Best nutrients for growing cannabis:

General questions and growing guides

Happy growing!

Jeffery and Nancy Lonero June 14, 2022

My pot plant is growing good in this late spring stage! At 1 foot high! A very cool yellow green color! I use fresh bong water! And Tomato paste as fertile ground some sugar, Table, cinnamon, oregano, coffee, The cool weather is slowing down its growth! It’s growing in my back yard alongside my other wild flowers! I’m hopeful it will be a 12 foot plant!

imelda brophy July 26, 2022

Would it be more accurate not use the word ‘gender’ at all in the context of male and female plants. It may be that you have a particular reason. Could you say why you use it interchangeably with ‘sex’

Future Harvest July 26, 2022

Hi Imelda,

Thanks for reaching out. So we actually find it more accurate to use gender/sex interchangeably when talking about cannabis because in botanical terminology it is a dioecious plant (has both male and female plants), so it’s important to identify the gender so that you don’t get a lot of male plants pollinating the grow.

Thanks for the question and have a great day.

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