Male or Female

The vast majority of growers are looking for unpollinated female marijuana plants as these produce the most potent smokable buds. Marijuana sexing early and correctly helps you to remove any male plants that have the potential to pollinate and destroy your marijuana crop.

In this section you will learn everything you need to know about marijuana sexing, particularly when and how you establish the sex of your marijuana plant, as well as the little things you can do to increase your chances of growing a plant that is the sex you want.

Marijuana Male or Female

It’s possible to start telling your plant’s sex as early as pre-flowering which occurs between the fourth and sixth week of vegetative growth. Pre-flowers develop where the leaf stems join the main stem (internodes). You quite often find they develop at the fourth or fifth join (internode) down from the top of the main stem. If you’re unsure of your plants sex during this period, you will be able to tell for certain by the second week of flowering .

Grow tip: Many people struggle to tell the difference between male and female marijuana during pre flowering. This is quite common so don’t panic, wait until the 2nd week of flowering when the the sex organs will be more pronounced.

Why is this marijuana sexing important?

Marijuana sexing enables you to establish whether your plant is going to produce the smokable buds of a female marijuana plant, the pollen sacks of a male for breeding, or whether you have a hermaphrodite. If you’re trying to produce the unpollinated female marijuana (sensimilla) buds for smoking, having a male or hermaphrodite in your grow room will pollinate your female plant which will then start producing seeds instead of THC. If you have no interest in breeding your plants destroy both male and hermaphrodite plants immediately as males produce no buds and very little THC and although hermaphrodites do produce buds, they will be full of seeds and lack potency. You can carefully remove your male or hermaphrodite plant (if the plant is only partly hermaphrodite you may wish to keep the plant) from the grow room without endangering females by covering them with a plastic bag. If you want to breed and make seeds , separate your plants with male sex organs until maturity and introduce to a female marijuana plant when ready.

Grow tip: marijuana sexing simply means determining the sex of the plants in your grow area. Generally but not in all cases males are removed as female weed plants are what you smoke.

Difference between Male and Female or Hermaphrodite?

Female Marijuana

Female flowersYou can identify a female marijuana plant by looking for a pear shaped ball that grows where leaf stems join the main stem. Here the pear shaped ball (calyx) will develop two white hairs (pistils) that will grow out in a “V” shape. It may take a plant until it has been in the full flowering light schedule of 12/12 two weeks before female flowers develop, so be patient. If not you may end up throwing out a plant that was female because it hadn’t shown its white hairs early enough.The main benefit of establishing that you have a female marijuana plant is it produces female weed that gets you high. Keeping a female separate from any male or hermaphrodite plants will mean you grow unpollinated sensimilla, which are the most potent and desirable.

You can encourage the growth of female marijuana plants by using high levels of nitrogen and low levels of potassium, alongside using only blue light and lower temperatures for the first two weeks of vegetative growth. Although they may increase the chances, these techniques cannot guarantee the development of female marijuana as a stressed plant is more likely to grow as a male or hermaphrodite.


Male marijuana flowersYou can identify a male marijuana plant when marijuana sexing by using the pre-flowers that develop where the leaf stems join the main stem (internode). Here they will start to develop what look like little balls and are distinguishable from females by the absence of little white hairs (pistils). A key difference between male and female marijuana plants is that males tend to be taller than females, with more irregular branching and fewer leaves and internodes. It only needs one male to pollinate many females.

The main benefit to establishing a male flower early is that it can be removed from your grow room and destroyed before it has a chance to pollinate your female and ruin your weed. Males tend to be destroyed as they have low levels of THC and smoking them is more likely to give you a headache than get you stoned. You should only keep males if you intend to breed your own seeds.

Male marijuana plants are more likely to occur if you have low levels of nitrogen and high levels of potassium in the first two weeks of vegetative growth. High temperatures along with red light during vegetative growth also increase the chances of your plant growing as a male. Other causes include light leaks, over and under watering and excessive nutrient use early in a plants life.


Marijuana hermaphrodite plantIn most cases, hermaphrodite marijuana plants are females that go on to develop male sex organs. This means they will start to flower showing the pear shaped balls and white hairs of a female plant, but will go on to develop the pollen sacks of a male. This can happen any time during flowering when a plant is stressed.

There are no real benefits to keeping a hermaphrodite plant as they pollinate themselves and the female marijuana plants in your grow room. This, coupled with the fact that the marijuana they produce is weak and full of seeds means they are better off destroyed.
Hermaphrodites normally develop in stressful growing conditions. A common cause of hermaphrodite marijuana plants is interrupting the darkness period during flowering . Also, too little or too much heat or supplying an incorrect nutrient mixes also cause the plant stress. Keeping your females happy during flowering will help you to avoid growing a hermaphrodite.

Only keep hermaphrodite plants if only a small part of the plant has become hermaphrodited. It would also be recomeneded to move this plant away from other plants. If only one arm has hermaphrodited the plant can be kept. If the whole plant is hermie then the plant needs to be thrown away.

Can I guarantee that I get the sex that I want?

Many of the reputable seed banks now sell seeds in both “Regular” and “Feminized” types. This means you can buy seeds that have been genetically predisposed to grow as females and eliminated the need for marijuana sexing. Although these do not come with a 100% guarantee, if your plant is grown in the correct stress free conditions, there is a 95% chance you will grow a female weed plant. It should be noted that many feminized marijuana seeds can hermaphrodite.

The best way to guarantee the sex of your marijuana plant is through cloning . A clone will take on 100% of the characteristics of its mother plant, meaning a female mother will produce a female marijuana clone. You can clone just after a plant’s pre-flowers have shown in vegetative growth.

Using the above guide and pictures will help you determine the difference between male or female marijuana and make the marijuana sexing process a breeze.

28 comments on Male or Female
  1. rich5

    I have a friend in ca who is growing he said the plants have a set of leaves, first being 3 then 5, then 7 and from what he said it looks like more comming from middle, his main concern was that on the two lowest leafs and the set of three leafswhere they meet the stalk if you will hes said there is tqo tiny leaves growing can you tell the sex yet also. Thank you.

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  2. Danny

    Do any of you read books ? Every answer for your questions are in the grow books..check out Marijuana Grow Basics by Jorge Cervantes or any book by him the grow bible is full of Amazon or probably any book store..

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  3. Garth Remmington

    Hi There , is the male plant suitable for juicing?

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    Rating: +2 (from 8 votes)
  4. fitzy

    First effort. Growing au-naturale outdoors in the aussie sun. Seeds have only just sprouted a few days ago in their little seed pod thingy (clearly not dr. Greenthumb). Going to transplant in a nice spot in the garden. How long till i can tell the sex? I have about 8 lil baby plants with just the main stem n some leaves on top…Any tips will be helpful. Thanks.

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  5. Herbalist

    I just realized that from the 6 plants i planted (outdoor) they are all female, the crazy part is that they are all bagseed!

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  6. Reggie

    I see a lot of people trying too hard to get it right. There are a few rules I use with great success. Rule # 1 water with pure rain water captured in the most clean way, nothing impure. or creek or river water that is what I find better results with. City water has chlorine and flourides, don’t water with tap water this will upset the natural chemical compounds needed to help the plant absorb the nutrients from the soil provided. Use a good potting soil that provides the essential nutrients and water with pure natural water.
    #2 if you can poke your finger into the soil the plant is in to a half an inch and feel moisture, there is enough water there for the plant. do this often , once or twice a day given the temperature differential, hotter , dryer climates need checked more often. water only when the soil feels dry to an inch deep or so. and then only a little on a daily basis. If you want good weed you will visit your crop on a daily basis and pay attention to its every need. commonly a plant will need at least 1/4th deep soil as to it’s height.(a four foot plant needs a 12 inch deep pot, an 8 foot plant needs a two foot pot.)
    #3 watch your temperature. in a pot with a lighted indoor situation it is easy to overtemp the roots, keep the soil temp between 50 and 80 degrees F. the roots are sensitive and will not absorb nutrients when they are too hot or too cold.
    #4 germination, Don’t do anything complicated. get a good soil. a good clean water, Put the seeds about 1/4 inch deep in there and use the lighting schedule you expect for the spring ( I use 14 on 10 off to start) Put the seeds in the dirt , keep it moist and don’t over-do it . let nature take its course, no false germination in towels or bullshit. put it in the dirt and let it grow. watch your temperature, on germination a 20 degree differential makes them pop quick , lights out , nominal 60 or 70 deg.F lights on 80 to 100 deg.F.
    If anyone else disagrees with this feel free to comment. :)

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  7. michelle spitler

    Can you tell if a plant is male or female by the number of leaves, 5 or 7?

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  8. shantell

    just realised I have a male plant dammit!! if I grow it to harvest seeds will the seeds all be male or wil I get some females to?

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    Rating: +1 (from 49 votes)
  9. molly

    If you happen to have a hermaphrodite, would it be usable if you groom it and trim off the male parts so it doesn’t self pollinate?

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    Rating: +6 (from 38 votes)
  10. Stewart Smith

    My partner has MS
    They say the thc in weed helps I’m growing two plants for the first time, I think both r Hermes
    My question is this

    Is there THC in the Hermes

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  11. Sonny

    My plant has what I will say clover looking white flowers white like the clover pest plant is 5′ and very healthy what kind has this white clover like flowers HELP ME

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  12. Jack

    This is crap. A hermie will produce 100% female seeds. You need a pure male to provide the Y chromosome. If you don’t want a batch of guaranteed feminized seeds, cut the balls off your plant. Literally just clip the pods off before they crack and drop their “load”. It’s not only possible to breed using only females, but is a very common practice. Most seed shops produced feminized seeds this way.

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  13. reg

    Any idea when a male plant becomes a “danger” to the females? A friend has femine plants nearing harvest and also has unknown sex seeds planted much later in the same room. The thinking is that if the unknown seeds show that they are males the females will be almost ready to harvest so should not be pollinated.

    Is this a good approach? We are guessing that any male plant will only pollinate a female when it (the male) has reached the flowering stage. Is that true?

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  14. Rob from renton

    cutting the tops off of 20 oz gatorade.and cutting small holes in the bottoms and gonna try to do away with the small (2-3 shot size) little seedling pockets.. but gonna try to keep the heated mat it came with.. we’ll see.
    what am I doing wrong? what am I doing right?.. I get the seedlings to about 6″.. tthen they go limp … (this is almost an off and on 22 hour job.. maybe I need to leave it alone more?.. .. when the dirt pulls away from the side wall that means it needs more wah wah right? seems like Im watering often… but not alot.. rarely if it ever comes out the bottom

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  15. Rob from renton

    Im trying different lights… one of the flouresent that supposed take over the halogen and I have a halogen… I gotta go back and find out what color I need and when.. I have a 2000 and a 5000 color rating… right now Im cutting the tops off of

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  16. Rob from renton

    I got the cheapo 1 pound of seeds.. and Ive gone through about a 1/4 or so and I cant get anythig to grow,, it seems like Im constantly growing more and more seedlings to replace,, right now I have one thats about 3 1/2″ but is pretty bushy . one thats 6″ but about to die cause its its like broke and skinny.. can a crimped and dying seedling come back to live?.. so far Ive learned try not to touch it much … Ive even gone as far as trying urine to feed my plants (some have looked better).. ok after they grow their root, i transplant into a tray setup where theres a couple dozen pockets that are about 2-3 shots… then I try to replant in a bigger like a 3 gallon bucket that I cut holes i the bottom of…. I tried outside for a bout a week and that was alot of rain and down in the 40s overnight.. assuming too cold yet… the tray I got has a heater underneath… I think I read some where on this site or somewhere close said to light 24hrs a daY..I forget what the dark time is for… is it to let it rest and grow solid?…thats another big problem.. they grow.. then they fall over.. is whtat what the dark time is for.. sorry for the book… throw me some good hint my way greenie.. theres an indoor growing store right down the street.. I gotta check it out.. Im using a 60watt I think incandecent(?) its a grow light… I have foil everywhere

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  17. James

    Where is the best place to order high quality seeds? Been to many sites just can’t decide

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  18. Phil

    I’ve heard that you should never clone from a clone. It will loose it’s potency. Is this true ? Are there other reasons also?

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  19. Danny Vernon

    ;I live in rsbg. ore.I had a terrible growing experence.I grew some huge plants that became very disapointing.One started polinating the other ha noticable seed pods both turned out males Im getting dis.

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  20. Green Man

    Generally not. If it has white hairs it sounds like you’ve got a female.

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    Rating: +5 (from 9 votes)
  21. Green Man

    How long is a while? Has the plant stopped growing or is it still putting on mass?

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  22. dawna casebier

    One of my plants has been showing female hairs for awhile but hasn’t flowered. It shows no signs of balls, however. Show I chuck it or keep waiting?

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  23. Madchiller

    Thank you for your comments for the record the girls went hermie (uhhgg) little over 2 oz yield and seeds….ouch.Does have a fair smell and flavor and great medication properties.All in all not so bad but my time could have much better spent.Sticking to high quality seeds and clones from now on :)

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  24. ranj

    Actually when professional seed banks “create” their guaranteed female seeds the process they use is a strange one….

    they actually use a quality hermaphrodite to pollinate their female crops..

    the seeds that come from the pure females (seeded by the hermaphrodite) are what they use as the guaranteed females..

    WHEREAS the seeds that come from the hermaphrodite itself will almost definitely become a hermaphrodite when grown as it has seeded itself… normally the hermaphrodites taste reaaaaaally bad but theres the odd one that ive found taste sweet.. i guess it depends how bisexual they are… some plants will only put out a few male flowers and normally this happens from plant stress….. but still ya never know… plants are amazing, one day one of your females might just figure out she wont get pregnant unless she does it herself……. and wala

    it is also good to remember that if you are cloning from a female mother plant, eventually after many a cycle the plants will take on mutations, this can include bad tastes, slack growing, weird leaves bad stalks and the odd male flower… this is where one would renew their genetics and start again…

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  25. Green Man

    Marijuana plants can hermie for a number of different reasons, just because your friends plant turned hermaphrodite doesn’t mean the seeds from that plant will do the same. If the marijuana plants are female and they are flowering then there’s a strong possibility they will remain female until harvest. You have to be careful not to stress the plants too much as this tends to cause plants problems and can make them hermie.

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  26. Madchiller

    A friend had his whole crop turn hermie the quality of the bud was still very high taste buzz every thing good.Im now growing from the seeds of his crop they are all female and flowering very well and showing no sign of male parts. My friend tells me to give it up but they look like they are doing so well I just cant. Am I wasting my time?

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  27. Dave Campbell

    I live in Portland Or. it is legal here to grow, if you get a card, I’m growing my first plant this site is helpful. thank you

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