However, if your main focus is getting the highest-quality buds possible, and the largest amount you can gather, you’ll want to make sure you’re only growing female plants. You can still purchase regular seeds in this situation, although you’ll have to identify and eliminate any males from your garden as we mentioned earlier.
To be more specific, when cannabis plants are able to share their genetics via reproduction, their offspring have a better chance of resisting certain pathogens, diseases, and other harmful presences in their environment. In turn, when those plants with resistances are able to reproduce, the resulting seeds are that much more optimised in turn.
But, what happens if there are no male plants around, then? Well, once a female plant makes its way into the flowering phase, if no pollen is present, it’ll energy into producing bigger flowers at the pistil sites, in the hopes of coming into contact with pollen. By the end, it may not catch any pollen, but it will capture your heart with a hefty yield of resinous bud.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH MALE CANNABIS PLANTS?
Overall, if you want to make sure they don’t reproduce with the females, you’ll want to identify and remove your male plants the second their pollen sacs appear. There’s no need to wait until they’re mature or ready to burst; just get them out of the ground and away from your female plants as soon as you notice those pesky sacs developing.
So, if female cannabis plants can be identified by their pollen-catching stigmas, what factor distinguishes a cannabis plant as male? We hinted at it earlier, but the main sign to look for is the development of pollen sacs. Male pre-flowers behave exactly like the female counterpart: they appear in the pre-flowering stage and look like small, green bulbs situated at the nodes.
But, when would a male plant know it’s time to release its pollen? Is there a certain time when they feel ready to begin the reproductive process?
So, you’ve got the male plants out of the growing space, but what happens now? You spent all this time growing and taking care of them up until this point, so it would be a shame to throw them all away. Thankfully, there are some surprisingly simple ways to use male cannabis plants outside of breeding.
Sativa cannabis plants originated close to the equator, thriving in temperate regions with mild winters and long summers. Sativa strains can reach up to 10 feet tall and are characterized by sparse foliage and light-green, thin-fingered, delicate leaves. They boast a long flowering period as there is no climatic impetus to reproduce rapidly and disseminate seeds. The extended flowering period is somewhat offset by a reduced vegetative period, in which no flowers are present. Sativa is known for generally lower yields than their indica counterparts.
Indica strains flower more rapidly than sativa, forming flowers after seven to nine weeks on average. They continue flowering for up to twelve weeks. Many indica slow their upward growth as they begin flowering, and instead become bushier, with branches and leaves fanning out. Their life span is three to four months.
However, differentiating indica from sativa remains very useful for cannabis cultivators. Using morphology, or phenotype, is the most common way to classify cannabis cultivars . Indica and sativa, the most commonly recognized cultivars, have distinctive physical features and growth traits. Understanding their respective growth cycles and how to tend each plant type will help ensure optimal growth and bud output.
The vegetative phase is characterized by the growth of the stem and leaves. The length of time a sativa or indica plant remains in the vegetative state depends entirely on its exposure to light. Sativa and indica plants move into the vegetative state after three to six weeks.
Flowering occurs when the days shorten, or when the plant receives 12 hours or less of continuous daily light. You can force flowering by reducing the hours of light exposure or photoperiod, signaling to the plant that the nights are becoming longer.
Male cannabis plants grow pollen sacs instead of buds. Male plants are usually discarded because you don’t want them to pollinate the females, which will produce seeds—no one wants to smoke buds with seeds in it.
Often, growers will top, or cut off, the stem after about five nodes, which forces the plant to grow out laterally more, creating more bud sites.
“Herming out,” as some call it, is something that generally happens when a plant becomes excessively stressed. Some stressors include:
Male vs. female marijuana plants
The main stem, or stalk, of a cannabis plant grows straight up from the root system and supports all lateral branches. The stem gives a plant structure and stability.
Cannabis plants show their sex by what grows in between their nodes, where leaves and branches extend from the stalk. Pollen sacs will develop on a male plant to spread seeds and stigma will develop on a female to catch pollen. You can see these differences weeks before they actually start serving their purposes in the reproduction cycle. These are known as “pre-flowers.”
Female plants produce the resin-secreting flower that is trimmed down into the buds you smoke, and males produce pollen sacs near the base of the leaves. Male plants pollinate females to initiate seed production, but the buds we consume come from seedless female plants—these are called “sinsemilla,” meaning “seedless.”
While both result in pollen production, true hermaphrodite cannabis plants produce sacs that need to rupture; anthers are exposed, pollen-producing stamen.