Sexing Weed Seeds

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If you didn’t know by now…girls rule in the world of weed. That’s because female plants are necessary for producing high-quality buds with high THC levels. In fact, unless a grower is breeding – male plants are typically discarded as soon as the sex of the plant presents itself. But, what if you didn’t have to wait for growth to tell the sex of cannabis seeds? There’s a common myth across the industry that you can identify the sex of cannabis seeds before they sprout. So, is it true? We set out for the answers, to find out. Continue reading → Hydroponic Marijuana Sexing Marijuana sexing simply means determining the gender of your marijuana. While cannabis occasionally may be hermaphroditic (having both pistils and stamens), generally, Save up to 8 weeks and reduce operational costs by up to 20% with the LeafWorks Cannabis & Hemp DNA Sex Test. Identify male cannabis & hemp plants as early as 7 days post germination. The LeafWorks Cannabis & Hemp DNA Sex Test is 99% accurate.

Can you tell the sex of cannabis seeds?

If you didn’t know by now. girls rule in the world of weed. That’s because female plants are necessary for producing high-quality buds with high THC levels. In fact, unless a grower is breeding – male plants are typically discarded as soon as the sex of the plant presents itself. But, what if you didn’t have to wait for growth to tell the sex of cannabis seeds? There’s a common myth across the industry that you can identify the sex of cannabis seeds before they sprout. So, is it true? We set out for the answers, to find out.

Identifying A Seed’s Gender

Feminized , regular and feminized autoflowers are now widely available to purchase on the market today, however one question that continues to arise with growers beginning their crops is, can you tell the sex of cannabis seeds upon first sight? The quick answer is no. But, why? Basically, there’s no exterior signs that a seed is female vs. male – no matter what certain myths say.

Debunking Seed Gender Myths

Speaking of myths, the reason some growers think they can identify sex of cannabis seeds, is due in part to misinformation. Here are a few common myths that surround the sex of cannabis seeds, and how they’ve been debunked.

Appearance

Contrary to popular belief (and what an old-fashioned chart may say) a seed’s shape, size, and color has no bearing on the actual sex of a seed. All seeds, female, regular, or autoflower, can vary in appearance, with no actual trait as an indicator of sex, whatsoever.

The Roll Test

Another common myth is known as the ‘roll test’. The same relic that states seeds can be identified by their appearance, states that female seeds will roll more easily across a table, than males. Overtime, we’ve learned that this test is clearly flawed and fails at determining the sex of cannabis seeds.

Environment

Another old growing fable, is that the environment of your room or growing area, can change the sex of a seed during germination/seedling. For now, the jury is still out on whether this is 100% true. What we do know about environments, and cannabis seeds’ sex, is if a plant is stressed due to off-balanced conditions, it can cause plants to hermaphrodite during growth.

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How Can You Tell The Sex?

So, if you can’t tell the gender of a seed by just looking at it, or rolling it. how are you supposed to tell the sex of cannabis seeds? Unfortunately for growers, you’ll just have to wait it out. The only answer to identifying your seed’s gender as early as possible, is waiting for it to show its sex during growth .

Most growers wait until the flowering stage to keep a careful eye on a plant’s sex. Without keeping a close eye, if you let males grow for too long in your space they can end up ‘breeding’ with the other females. This is detrimental to a crop, as it causes female plants to pop seeds themselves, diminishing the quality of the plant overall. Luckily, determining a seed’s sex in the early vegetative stages is possible.

If you’re anxious to know, one trick that some growers implement uses a technique that mimics light cycles from flowering. By placing a black bag over a small part of your veg plant you’ll trick the plant into thinking it’s time to flower. You can then check the sex of this small portion, before fully moving into its flowering stage.

Case Closed On Seeds & Gender

In growing, it’s all about learning and sometimes unlearning certain myths, tricks, or tips that you’ve been told. All in all, while cannabis is nothing new there’s still a lot to learn when it comes to specific questions like – can you tell the sex of cannabis seeds by looking at them? Thankfully, we were able to close the case on seeds and gender, by knowing there’s no way other than letting the plant flower to ultimately decipher sex of seeds.

Hydroponic Marijuana Sexing

Marijuana sexing simply means determining the gender of your marijuana. While cannabis occasionally may be hermaphroditic (having both pistils and stamens), generally, plants are wholly male or female. After four or five weeks you will start to have a chance at sexing the plants. Although generally considered one of the trickiest parts of growing your own marijuana. Marijuana sexing is quite straightforward and will become easier as you gain more experience. The reason for sexing your plants is so that you can remove male plants before they have a chance to pollinate the females. If this occurs the females will start to develop seeds and this will divert their energy from THC production. Which if course is not cool. Left to their own devices plants will develop pre-flowers after around 4 – 6 weeks. This is the right time to remove the males and commence the flowering stage. Marijuana is a dioecious plant which simply means that the males will produce pollen and the females will produce seeds. Although, as in other forms of life, hermaphrodites do occur. Unless you are a breeder or otherwise growing for seed stock, it is preferential to have all female plants as it is the unfertilized calyx or buds which are the most psychoactive and potent part of the plant, the THC, CBN and CBD. So your seedless buds (sinsemilla) are the most preferred harvest for smoking as no energy or weight has gone into making seeds. Therefore, to use energy, time and space on male plants is wasteful of limited resources; thus they should be identified as early as possible and either segregated (for breeding) or destroyed before they release their pollen. Occasionally marijuana will show pre-flowers (immature indicators of the sex of the plant) while still in the vegetative state, but generally require the shift to the flowering phase (shortening the light regimen to 12/12 – 12 hours of light and 12 hours of total dark).

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Flowering is the only true way to sex your plants

Although you may get a clue from their growth patterns before flowering. Male cannabis plants tend to be leggier than female plants with a longer internodal length. Female plants are squatter with more leaves and a bushier aspect. Male pre-flowers should be clearly visible to the eye, although a magnifying glass will make your job easier. Male flowers form at the junctions of the branches and stem and the pollen sacs form little balls. Female pre-flowers will also form at the junction of branches and stem but will normally start to form at the fourth or fifth branches up from the base. They are easily distinguished by the appearance of pairs of tiny white hairs, known as pistils. Some growers force flowering by changing the light cycle before the appearance of pre-flowers. They then watch their plants closely for the appearance of flowers and remove the males. However, others believe that this can stress the plants and is not a proven way of speeding up the process as plants forced in this way may spend longer in the flowering phase, cancelling out the advantage.

Identifying gender

A magnifying glass is helpful though not necessary. Look near the top branches right where they fork from the stalk. The male sex organ will look like a small playing card-type club. The female sex organ will display a calyx with two small white hairs protruding from the top. If you are unsure or unable to determining the sex, then simply wait a few more days until the organs are more mature and easier to identify. The males are still way too young to create pollen so there is no danger in waiting.

Early sexing

  1. Force flowering by putting the plant under 12/12 light cycle. The drawbacks of this are that two separate rooms or grow spaces are required. More importantly the plant gets hormonally confused being switched between vegging to flowering, then back to vegging and finally flowering once again. This method allows you to cull your males early, but most likely will delay your harvest for a few weeks.
  2. Cover a lower branch with black plastic cut from a garbage bag. Do not use a thin bag that allows light to pass through. This must be put on every 12 hours and removed every 12 hours at the same time. The branch will show its sex long before the rest of the plant while still allowing it to ‘veg’ otherwise normally.
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Hermaphrodites

Occasionally a plant will exhibit both sexes. This usually occurs when a female plant is late into flower and remains unpollenated. In a last ditch effort to create seeds, marijuana plants have an emergency back-up plan: they sometimes create a small number of male flowers in an attempt to pollinate themselves. Some growers pinch off the few visible ‘bananas’; others may remove and/or destroy the plant so as not to pollenate a whole crop. Marijuana sexing is not difficult once you familiarize yourself with some basic plant physiology.

Cloning

Cloning marijuana is a great method to use as all shoots are genetically identical to the parent. Thus if you find a donor parent plant that you like (one with desirable genetic traits) and is large and healthy enough to remove branches for cuttings, you may skip the whole sexing ritual as they are 100% the same sex as the parent.

Feminized marijuana seeds

These are a relatively new phenomenon on the cannabis culture scene, and while looked down upon by some old-timers, purists and large-scale growers, are a great boon to the small grower with limited space and time. It is currently not possible to tell the sex of a cannabis seed by examining it (though many untested myths abound), but the mix of males and females is roughly half and half. The larger the amount of seed purchased and/or planted, the closer the ratio will be to 50%. However, if you purchase a small quantity such as five seeds, it is possible to get all males, all females or any mix in between. Feminized marijuana seeds are not foolproof nor 100% guaranteed, but ratios of 90%+ female are quite common.

LeafWorks Cannabis & Hemp DNA Sex Test

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The LeafWorks Cannabis & Hemp DNA Sex Test is 99% accurate and because we use more biomarkers than the competition, we greatly reduce false positive test results allowing you to confidently remove male plants quickly.

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3-7 business days after the lab receives your samples, depending on volume of cards to be processed.
LeafWorks only accepts samples through the LeafWorks DNA submission kit. We will not test or receive Schedule I tissue.

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