Male vs Female Weed Plants: How To Tell

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If you have ever grown weed before, you will probably be familiar with the issue of male vs female weed plants. Yes, plants also have male and female counterparts, and this does make life a bit harder, especially if you have never grown a plant before.

Although men tend to think pretty highly of themselves, when it comes to weed plants, it is the males which are truly useless, at least when it comes to smoking the final product.

So, what is the difference here, and what is a feminized weed seed? Well, simply put, a feminized weed seed is one that has been specially treated, altered, or bred in such a way that ensures that the plant which grows out of it is a female weed plant, and not a male weed plant. No, this is not sexist, it is just a great way to ensure that you get the right plants that will produce high quality buds.

male female weed plant


What Is A Feminized Marijuana Seed?

Ok, so just to repeat our answer here in the simplest of terms, a feminized weed seed is a seed that has been genetically altered or bred with the purpose of ensuring that it grows into a female weed plant, as opposed to a male weed plant.

Looking in from the outside, without any knowledge, this might seem weird to you, but there are in fact good reasons for this.

If you have ever grown a batch of pot plants from normal seeds, you might have discovered that the males can be very problematic and can actually ruin the whole bunch.

Male vs Female Weed Plants

There are a few different reasons why you want to ensure that all weed plants you are growing are feminine, not masculine.

It might sound a bit off, but male weed plants are very problematic when you are a home grower, hobby grower, or even if you have a big farm too. It can ruin everything.

Generally speaking, male weed plants are good for nothing except for the production of hemp. However, we are not here to make hemp sweaters and hemp toilet paper.

We are here to grow pot that you can bake with, inhale, and have a good time with, you know, the sticky icky ganja.

For one, male weed plants do produce buds, but the issue here is that they are usually always full of seeds.

Male Plants & Seeds

You cannot smoke seeds. They do not get you high, they do not relieve pain, or have any other benefits whatsoever. In fact, weed seeds explode when you try to smoke them.

If you have ever rolled a joint or gone to take a pipe hit with weed that contains seeds, you know what happens. Joints can literally get shredded, just like those Cigar bombs they tried to kill Castro with, except not with quite the same bang.

Moreover, even if the joints didn’t blow up in your face, you still end up picking out the seeds while grinding your weed.

Male Plants & Potency

The next issue with male weed plants is that they just are not potent whatsoever. While a good female weed plant can produce buds with upwards of 20% THC, you would be lucky to get half a percent of THC content from a male weed plant’s buds.

It just won’t get you high and it does not contain any psychoactive or pain relief properties at all, or at least so little that is negligible.

Like we said, it’s the females you want, as the males are good for nothing when it comes to smoking that reefer.

The Issue Of Masculinization or Pollination

The other issue here is that when the plants begin to flower, this is when they will develop their sex, or at least when you can start to tell which ones are males and which are females.

Well, the really annoying part here is that if you do not eliminate the male plants from your crop quick enough, within a couple of days at most, they will actually pollinate the female plants and render them useless too.

Yes, your male marijuana plants can pollinate a female plant, more or less turning it into a male, and thus rendering them useless. Once this happens, they will also begin to grow seeds and they won’t produce THC either.

This is why it is essential that you weed out all male plants and get rid of them, or they will ruin the females and your whole operation will have been a total waste of time and cash.

Why Use Feminized Marijuana Seeds?

Ok, so now we have established that to the average grower, male plants are totally useless. Just some of the reasons why you want to use feminized weed seeds include the following:

  • Female plants are the ones which produce the weed you can smoke, the stuff that actually contains THC. The males do not.
  • Female weed plants do not produce buds that are full of seeds, and therefore you can actually smoke it without having to pick out the seeds.
  • Male weed plants will pollinate the female plants, which is a part of reproduction, but this renders the female plants useless for growers and will ruin the whole batch.

Therefore, the real reason why you want to use feminized weed seeds is so you don’t end up ruining your crop, but there is more to it than that. Say you grow 10 plants, but 5 end up being males.  Yes, when weed plants grow, generally speaking, there will be about a 50/50 split between males and females.

Well, you just used a whole lot of soil, nutrients, lighting, and other materials to grow all of that, but only half is going to turn out usable. This is of course a big waste of time and waste of money too.

There is also the fact that you will have to work fast to separate the males from the females before pollination occurs, which is easier said than done, as telling them apart is not the easiest task in the world.

How Are Weed Seeds Feminized?

Now, weed seeds do need to be feminized manually. This is not just something that occurs naturally.

There are a few different methods of feminizing weed seeds, so let’s take a quick look at each of them.

The Rodelization Method

One method here is to cause stress to a female plant by interrupting the light cycle during the flowering stage. This has the potential of creating a feminized weed plant which also produces seeds.

The reason for this is because stressed out female plants will often grow male pollen sacs when they are not fertilized and stressed out. The resulting marijuana seeds come from pure female genetics, and will therefore usually be female.

The Colloidal Silver Method

Another method to follow is to spray down female plants with a mixture of distilled water and colloidal silver.

You have to do this when the plants are flowering. The female plants will then develop pollen sacs, which then allows the marijuana seeds to produce female plants.

The Silver Thiosulfate Method

The other commonly used seed feminization method is the silver thiosulfate method. Here, a solution of silver nitrate and sodium thiosulfate is used to spray down a female plant.

This will cause a hormonal change and will cause the female plant to produce pollen sacks and seeds, but because it is from a female plant, the seeds will usually always be female in nature.

An important thing to note for all of these methods is that because you are causing hormonal changes in the female plants, they will no longer produce really potent or good buds, or at least usually they won’t.

In other words, don’t feminize a plant if you plan on smoking the buds. However, a weed plant can produce hundreds of seeds, so sacrificing a plant or two for this is usually not a big deal for most people.

Telling Apart Male & Female Pot Plants

In case you have not bought feminized seeds, and now have what is likely a split of 50/50 male and female plants, you need to get rid of the males before they pollinate the females and render them useless.

But, how do I tell male and female plants apart? Sexing weed plants is not the easiest thing in the world, but if you know what you are looking for, it can be done.

Whatever way you go about this, it is very important, because if you want to be able to smoke the weed you grow, males absolutely need to be removed from the equation before they get a chance to pollinate the females.

First and foremost, cannabis plants display their sex by what grows in between the nodes, where the leaves and branches attach to the main stalk or stem.

With female plants, you will notice 2 bracts which produce little growths that look like hairs, whereas males will grow these little round sacks, which is where the pollen is.

You will notice that the male marijuana plants will develop their sexual organs, so to speak, or in other words, those pollen sacks, about 2 weeks before the females begin to develop their flower bracts.

Generally speaking, the male weed plants will grow a bit faster than the females, but this is not foolproof.

A modern way of sexing plants, according to some, can be done right after germination. For the most part, female weed plants will sprout of the seed either at the top or bottom of the seed, whereas a male weed plant sprout usually cracks through the seed somewhere along the side of it.

A Note On Hermaphrodite Marijuana Plants

You might notice that your plant develops both the female and male properties or sex organs. Yes, weed plants can be hermaphrodites, although it does not occur too often.

If you notice that your plants have buds and pollen sacks, or sometimes little banana-like appendages, they are most likely hermaphroditic.

These are also useless in terms of smoking, just like females. They can also pollinate females and ruin your whole crop, and therefore also need to be removed.


At the end of the day, as a grower who wants to smoke your weed, female weed plants are what you need.

Both hermaphrodite and male plants are useless when it comes to producing potent buds, so if you have not grown your plants from feminized seeds, take great care to properly sex your plants and remove any males or hermaphrodites the very second you notice them.

You definitely do not want them ruining your whole crop. This is why many people choose to buy feminized weed seeds. The end results is much more surefire.


My passion for the sticky icky started nearly a decade ago, and it all began when I first laid my eyes on the beauty that is the marijuana plant.

I cover all aspects of growing from equipment recommendations to plant health/care tips to help both new and experienced growers.