Sugar leaves are the small, resin-coated leaves that buds form around. Sugar leaves are usually saved as “trim” during harvest and can be used for pre-rolls, extracts, and other cannabis products.
Cannabis really stands out in its flowers—or buds—where unique and intricate formations occur: fiery orange hairs, sugary crystals, and chunky buds enveloped by tiny leaves.
Males and females are usually only pollinated when crossbreeding plants or creating new strains.
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.
Seeds are produced in female cannabis plants and carry the genetics of a male and female. Seeds need to germinate to sprout and will grow a taproot, which will become the main root that anchors the plant.
With a clearer sense of why female and male cannabis plants exist, the next step is being able to identify the sex of individual plants. To start, we’ll focus on female plants, which are the ones that provide us with those tasty, smokable buds.
If you aren’t too familiar with growing cannabis, you might think that all the plants grow in the same general way. It’s true in a certain sense, seeing as they’re members of the same species, but things get complicated when biological sex comes into play. So we take a closer look at the differences between male and female cannabis plants.
HOW TO IDENTIFY FEMALE CANNABIS PLANTS
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.
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.
See, they might look similar in the beginning of the growing process, but you’ll notice some differences pop up as they continue to rise towards the sky. It’s key you notice these differences between male and female plants early on, too, as things can get troublesome if you let the male and female plants grow near each other.
Look for plant pre-flowers at the higher stalk/branch junctions, as described above. If needed, use a jeweler’s loupe to get a better look! That is the same magnifying tool commonly used to examine trichomes and determine plant readiness for harvest. Then, locate the stipule, which is a leafy pointed flap that protrudes from the junction. Don’t confuse that for a pre-flower! The cannabis sex parts are located just behind the stipule. Behind the pre-flower sex parts, taller growth tips will emerge – future auxiliary branches that produce buds.
Very early, the male pre-flower (early pollen sacs) simply looks like a more round version than the female pre-flower part. It is often referred to as a “spade”, like the spade suit in cards – squatty with a bulbous bottom and very slight tip. As it becomes slightly larger, the male pre-flower resembles a ball at the end of a stick. The male pre-flower is called a staminate. Then, the staminate eventually develops into a long hanging sack of baby bananas – the pollen sacs. Hopefully you can ID and cull the males before they get to this stage.
I hope you started a few extra seeds, and have plenty of ladies left to grow! Once you determine that you have a male cannabis plant, get rid of it. Again, unless you want pollination and seeds, it is best to cull the males as early as possible. Simply separating the plants isn’t enough. Even if you relocate the male plant to another part of your yard, the pollen can carry in the wind. There are stories of female cannabis plants becoming pollinated from neighbors growing several blocks away.
Identifying a Female Cannabis Plant
Our goal here today is to learn how to tell the difference between male and female cannabis plants early on, so you can get the males away from the females as soon as possible! It will help protect your lady plants – but also spare you the wasted time, resources, and energy of tending to male plants that you don’t intend to keep.
Curious about how feminized seeds are created? In a nutshell: most feminized seeds come from cannabis plants that have been treated and altered in a manner that inhibits male chromosomes. The most common method is to spray the plant repetitively (daily or more) with colloidal silver. Other chemicals and compounds can be used too, but are far less accessible. Colloidal silver is technically “non-toxic”, but you do not want to smoke it! Thus, the plant is sacrificial – used for the production of pollen and seeds only.
Are you growing cannabis at home, but aren’t sure if your plants are male or female? Then you’ve come to the right place! This article is going to show you how to tell the difference between male and female cannabis plants to properly sex them.
Why grow regular cannabis seeds? Well, maybe a particular breeder or strain you want to try only carries regular seeds. Some growers feel that the feminization process is unnatural, and prefer to kick it old school by growing regular seeds only. Some enjoy the gamble and challenge. Whatever the reason, when you grow cannabis from regular seeds, the odds of getting all lady plants are not in your favor. You will end up with some males. Therefore, you need to learn to sex your cannabis plants! Also, we always start several extra “regular” seeds – assuming a 50/50 chance that some will be culled because they are male.