Hemp plants can produce both male and female inflorescences. As a rule of thumb, most growers do not practice growing male plants. “Boys” can only be useful to breeders who collect pollen to fertilize female plants and then produce seeds. If cannabis is grown for recreational or medicinal purposes, the male inflorescences must be disposed of. Otherwise the “girls” will be pollinated and all their energy will be used to form seeds instead of the dense, THC-rich cannabis inflorescences. This is why it is so important for growers to identify the sex of their plants at the right time. This is also the reason why feminized seeds have emerged, from which there is a 95% chance that female plants will sprout. Buying such seeds greatly (but not completely) reduces the likelihood of male plants appearing, thus saving the grower time and minimizing the risk of pollinating “girls”.
Many cidbanks release seeds of the same variety in both regular and feminized form. If a grower does not want to bother with determining the sex of the plant and destroying the “boys,” the easiest thing to do is to order feminized cannabis seeds. But some growers, such as Mandala Seeds, do not sell females on principle. In addition, regular seeds are much cheaper than feminized seeds, so some gardeners buy them in order to save money. The peculiarity of regular seeds is that they can produce both female and male plants with about the same probability. In such a case, if you want to keep your “girls” from pollinating, you need to learn to identify the sex of the plants in time, and identify the “boys” as early as possible.
How to spot male plants
Key indicators for identifying “boys” include:
height, size, and rate of maturation;
The timing of the appearance of the preflowers;
The appearance of the preflowers.
First of all, male cannabis plants grow and therefore mature 1 to 4 weeks earlier than female plants (most often 2 weeks). This means that if you have a plant which is 10-15 centimetres taller than the others, there is a good chance that it is a “boy”. This is because nature has made sure that the pollen is blown by the wind from the taller male bushes to the shorter female bushes.
For a definitive and accurate diagnosis, you need to look at the inflorescences. Male foreflowers can be found when the plant is about 6-8 weeks old, that is, after the 4th week of the growing season. The inflorescences appear at the nodes – where the leaf stalk attaches to their stem. At first, the male inflorescences will resemble green balls growing on small stems. Such balls will eventually elongate and turn yellow, more reminiscent of bananas. By two to six weeks of flowering, the “bananas” will open up and scatter pollen in the wind, dashing any hope of a normal crop. The female preflowers, on the other hand, grow out of the stem itself, flush with it, and look more like a pear. Small hairs (tendrils) then emerge from these “pears,” which are a sure sign of femininity.
But in practice, things are more complicated. Sometimes both types of inflorescences can be found on one bush – such plants are called “hermaphrodites”. The development of such a plant threatens the grower with hermaphrodite cannabis self-pollination. Often the hermaphroditism problem arises when the grower switches to a 12-hour light regime before the preflowers appear. Such manipulation is stressful for the plants, and this stress can have a negative effect on
the development of the marijuana plant, leading to the emergence of “yin” and “yang” at the same time. Therefore, even finding “pears with tendrils” on the bush, it will not be superfluous to continue to monitor it and look for “bananas” on it. If you find the latter, it is worth plucking the male inflorescences or completely reject the whole bush, otherwise the hermaphrodite will pollinate itself and, at the same time, the “girls” around it.
Having dealt with male plants and hermics, you can finally concentrate all your energies solely on growing the coveted sensimilla.
What is a sensimilla?
Sensimilla (from Spanish sin semilla, “seedless”) is the name given to the mature, but escaped from fertilization, inflorescences of female plants. Grovers value it for its high THC content, something male and pollinated female plants cannot boast. Unpollinated, the female plant continues to increase in number and weight until the end of flowering. Progress is particularly noticeable in the last 2-3 weeks. It is the sensimilla that has the greatest recreational value, as well as medical value.
The THC and other cannabinoid content of male plants and fertilized female plants is quite low, so there is no point in expecting to make them a recreational drug. However, according to some growers, if you chop up the “boys” and cook them in large quantities with food, there is the possibility of a faint but lasting sense of euphoria.