The typical cannabis grower normally doesn’t have a reason to keep males, and will want to get rid of them as soon as they are spotted. Cannabis breeders, on the other hand, may want to keep males along with their crop of female plants. In such cases, the breeder will normally separate the sexes to avoid any accidental pollination. They may grow females in one tent and males in another. When grown outdoors, such as in a garden, the males are often kept in the most remote corner of their growing area, as far from the females as possible. Even then, because of the wind carrying around the pollen, there is always some risk of accidental pollination.
To determine the sex of your cannabis plants, you will have to wait until the pre-flowering stage when plants begin to put their energy into reproduction. Female cannabis plants show their gender signs later than males. At the location where they will soon grow their buds (the nodes between the stalk and the stem), females will show wispy white hairs.
Male plants won’t show hairs at these nodes, but will develop little sacs of pollen. These pollen sacs will look like little balls. These balls can appear on their own or in clusters, depending how far into the pre-flowering stage the plant is. At some later stage of growth, the pollen sacs will burst open, spilling the pollen and possibly pollinating your females.
HOW TO SPOT MALE CANNABIS PLANTS
Pollination requires the presence of males or intersex (hermaphrodite) plants, which are females that will also produce pollen. The first thing you want to do to keep the risk of pollination low is to remove as many males or “hermies” as as you can. Especially during the first three weeks of flowering, it’s important to frequently check for possible male specimens in your garden.
Among the early signs that your female has been pollinated is that her bracts become larger. Bracts are small, leaf-like structures that protect the female’s reproductive parts. These are the sites from which the flowering buds appear. Do not confuse the bracts with calyxes.
Pollination of your female cannabis plants will make them produce seeds and spend less energy on producing quality buds. But when you recognise the signs of pollination early, you can avoid putting time and resources into a poor harvest.
A good test to see whether the bracts have swollen is to take a pair of tweezers, grab one bract, and open it up. If there is a seed inside, you have a pollinated plant.
If it’s very seedy the buds may not feel as potent, though a few seeds here and there won’t make much difference in potency. The main problem with seedy weed is that you are getting less smokeable bud for the amount of total mass there. If it is seedless, you will get a lot more bang for your buck. Seedless bud (sinsemilla) is considered to be the highest quality and most potent type of weed.
I’ve seen some growers get impressive results with bagseed, but overall results seem to be hit or miss. Plants can grow in odd ways and often either the yields or quality isn’t as expected. The problem is that seeds often don’t “breed true” to the buds that they came from. That is why many growers either stick to clones (which are exactly the same as the “mother” plant) or purchase seeds of a stabilized strain from a trustworthy breeder, where each of the plants will grow the way you expect, and buds more consistently have the smell, yield and potency they’re supposed to.
Seeds are the result of pollination. That means the seedy cannabis buds (which come from a female plant) may have come into contact with pollen from a male plant. Therefore, it’s possible the grower didn’t identify and remove all the male plants before the released pollen. It’s also possible that the plant self-pollinated (sometimes called herming) which is often the result of plant stress during the budding phase but can also be caused by genetics.
Are seeds good to grow?
There’s a seed in my bud!
What does it mean to find seeds in your marijuana buds? Is it something to be worried about?
It should be dark and relatively hard. Very pale or white seeds, that can be easily crushed between the fingers, usually won’t sprout. However, I have been surprised to find some very flimsy seeds sprout and produce amazing plants (we aren’t breeding them for hard seeds after all) so when in doubt, I highly recommend doing the true test to see if the seed is viable – try to germinate the seed and see if it sprouts!
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