The short answer to whether or not male cannabis plants produce female seeds is no. The longer answer is also no, but requires a little more explanation. Male cannabis plants serve many important purposes and can provide pest control and gene pool diversity. Follow this quick guide on how to tell the difference between male and female cannabis plants to help you start growing big and beautiful buds right at home!
Do Male Cannabis Plants Produce Female Seeds
While cannabis is a dioecious plant (meaning it can be male, female or hermaphroditic), the short answer to whether or not male cannabis plants produce female seeds is no. The longer answer is also technically no, but requires a little more explanation. No worries, we’ll introduce you to the basics of feminized cannabis seeds as well as what you can do with male cannabis plants. Let’s dive into it.
Understanding male, female and hermaphroditic cannabis
We mentioned cannabis is dioecious. While that may not seem out of the ordinary since humans are also dioecious, it’s an incredibly rare trait. Only about 7 percent of all flowering plant species produce separate male and female plants. And this matters because all the cannabis we consume is sinsemilla (seedless females). Our guide to sexing cannabis makes identifying what you’re working with quick and easy. In brief, male cannabis plants produce pollen sacks, and females produce pistils. It’s also possible to have hermaphroditic plants, although these tend to be a result of stress. However, there are full-genetic hermaphroditic strains that produce both pistil and staminate.
Most of the time, non-genetic hermaphrodites are either fully hermaphroditic or females with some male flowers. Male cannabis plants will very rarely produce female parts, but it can happen. In the rare event that this happens, the seeds would also likely be nonviable. Because if the plant is predominantly male and manages to produce viable seeds, the odds of getting female seeds are next to impossible. The offspring in this scenario should only be XY.
So how are feminized seeds produced?
Bottom line, cannabis is genetically wired to produce an equal 50:50 split between male and female seeds — unless growing from clones. Still, the methods we have for producing feminized seeds aren’t bulletproof. Feminized seeds will be about 99 percent female, but it’s still possible (albeit unlikely) for a rogue male to sneak in. Put another way, a 99 percent guarantee is better than pretty much any birth control I’ve ever used in my entire life, and I still don’t have kids. Those are pretty good odds.
The feminization process involves forcing the female plants to produce pollen and thus pollinate other females resulting in only XX offspring. There are basically two routes to feminized seeds. The first is using topical solutions to spray onto female plants, forcing them to produce male pollen sacs. Keep in mind these plants are non-usable for smoking after spraying — consider them a write-off. The second route involves taking advantage of the unnature state of sinsemilla.
It would be very unnatural to see a sinsemilla plant in the wild. The pollen from a male’s pollen sacs can pollinate female plants up to 2000 miles away, although realistically, it’s about two miles. If left past the prime harvesting stage of maturation, sinsemilla will produce male pollen sacs as a final attempt to self-pollinate. Self-pollinated sinsemilla will naturally produce all XX female seeds.
So what’s the point of keeping male cannabis plants?
Can’t produce feminized seeds or enough cannabinoids to be consumable, plus the potential to ruin a harvest? It seems like the cannabis grower is on a crusade to wipe out males! Realistically, there are still a few purposes for male plants other than to be diced up as fertilizer. Male plants are essential for breeding and can actually be used to produce cannabutter for edibles and infusions. It may not result in as intense of a high, but there’s certainly some value in keeping your boys around. Of course, nowhere near your females unless you’re looking to breed.
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Do Male Marijuana Plants Produce Seeds
Article written by
Tina Magrabi Senior Content Writer
Tina Magrabi is a writer and editor specializing in holistic health. She has written hundreds of articles for Weedmaps where she spearheaded the Ailments series on cannabis medicine. In addition, she has written extensively for the women’s health blog, SafeBirthProject, as well as print publications including Destinations Magazine and Vero’s Voice. Tina is a Yale University alumna and certified yoga instructor with a passion for the outdoors.
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How to Tell If A Cannabis Plant Is Male or Female
When it comes to growing cannabis, it truly is essential that you learn the difference between male and female cannabis plants. By learning this simple technique, you can easily decide what you want to pollinate and what you don’t.
Understanding Plant Reproductive Morphology
First, let’s take one step back to fully grasp why we need to separate cannabis plants by male and female in the first place. This is commonly referred to as the plant reproductive morphology, which is simply the study of the physical form and structure of a plant’s sexual reproduction parts.
While there are actually many complex forms of morphology, for the sake of keeping it simple, we’re only going to cover three of the most common ones.
This is a type of plant that forms both male and female parts on the same plant. Therefore, this plant will be able to reproduce on its own. However, in cannabis plants, you can discover a “hermied” plant by banana looking shoots, which form on the flowers. While this can be the genetics of the cannabis strain, it may also be an indication of the plant getting too stressed out. When a plant gets too stressed and fears it will die, it may begin to form male reproductive parts. This is to ensure that seeds can drop for its survival (keep reading for more info on detecting “hermied” cannabis plants).
For this type of plant, it will form both male and female reproductive parts. However, they will not be on the same flower as they are with hermaphrodite plants. Within monoecious plants, you will find one flower has female parts, while another has male parts. In cannabis, this is very uncommon to find. Actually, it’s only been reported a few times in history and something that we’ve never personally seen. If this were to happen, you would find one stalk with definitive male characteristics and other branches of the same plant with definitive female characteristics.
Now, with a dioecious plant, you will find that the plant either produces all male parts or all female parts. This means that no single plant can reproduce on its own. The female actually needs its male counterpart to continue producing seed for the following year. And, you guessed it, this is the category cannabis falls into and why you must separate your males from females. If you fail to separate them all, you will likely find that the male plants pollinated your females. Therefore, leaving you with a handful of buds chalked full of seeds.
How to Tell the Difference Between Male and Female Cannabis Plants
Now, with an understanding of the various sexual organs within cannabis plants, let’s get to the fun part – separating your lady friends from their male counterparts.
After the seeds have sprouted and the plants have had a chance to grow, it will be time to find out which ones you’ll be keeping to flower out and which ones you will be chopping down to avoid seeded buds.
Usually, when starting from seed, you will need to wait about four to six weeks before the male and female parts will be formed well enough for you to see the difference.