6 Tips for Sexing Your Marijuana Plants

marijuana card

6 Tips for Sexing Your Marijuana Plants

By Robert Bergman, ILoveGrowingMarijuana.com

One of the most annoying things about growing marijuana is that you have to accurately determine the sex of your plant.Marijuana Plants

Many growers want to keep their female plants from being fertilized because it is the only way to ensure sinsemilla buds.

These buds don’t have seeds and they will have ample THC by the time the harvest comes around.

Even then, many marijuana growers just like to get the males out of the garden because they don’t produce that much THC.

Delta Extrax

Determining the sex takes subtle attention to detail and quick action.

Below are a few tips for sexing marijuana plants.

1. Look at the growth patterns.

During vegetative growth, every plant, regardless of sex, will start to flourish.

As the plants age, however, you will begin to notice subtle differences in their sizes. Some marijuana growers have even noticed certain signs early on that can help you determine the sex.

Females tend to have more complex branching when they progress from the seedling stage to the vegetative stage. Males, on the other hand, tend to be slightly taller and less filled out.

Of course, the last thing you want to do is pull plants out at this early stage, but this can help you get an idea so you know which plants to watch later on. (Note: marijuana plants grown indoors under artificial light don’t usually exhibit these tendencies).

2. Males mature faster than females.

This is one of the most common ways to determine sex on sight.

Males will generally reach sexual maturity about two weeks before females. The males will start to grow rapidly and they will be taller than their female counterparts. They will also have these “false buds” which are actually pollen sacs.

Male marijuana plant

The reason the males grow taller is so that the pollen can drop down on to the female reproductive organs. This occurs whether you’re growing marijuana indoors or outdoors.

3. Males have flowers, females have pistils.

Obviously, all marijuana plants have flowers at some point, but, if you can’t differentiate between male and female just by height, then flowers and pistils are good indications of sex.

Those false-bud, pollen sacs will eventually open up to form little yellow or white flowers. Any female plants will not have these. Instead, they will have hairy, whitish pistils that will be sticky enough to trap the pollen dropped from those flowers.

female marijuana plant

If you wait this long to identify the sex of your marijuana plants, then it’s probably too late to get any sinsemilla buds.

Even so, you can still remove the male plants to make room for the continued growth and cultivation of the female plants.

4. Clone the marijuana plants to determine sex.

male female marijuana plants

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This is really the only foolproof way to determine the sex before the plants achieve maturity.

You simply have to take a cutting from any number of plants. Place this cutting into potting soil and let it grow on its own for a few days.

Then, force flowering with a 12-hour period of darkness and 12-hour period of light (the clones must be separate from the host plants). Because the clones share the exact same DNA as their host, they will have the same sex.

Once the clones go into the flowering stage, it will be easy to determine their sex and the sex of their hosts. Make sure you keep track of which clone came from which host so you don’t get things mixed up.

5. Identify where the plant sprouted during germination.

Although it might seem a little strange, some marijuana growers have discovered a method that helps them sex the plants just after germination.

If the sprout comes out of the top or bottom of the seed, it is generally a female. Side sprouts generally turn out to be male. While this hasn’t been scientifically studied, growers who have used this method report a 90% success rate. Even so, you shouldn’t use this knowledge as absolute fact.

Let the plants grow a little and try to notice any distinctly male or female signs. Don’t just throw away the marijuana  seeds if they sprout out of the sides. Instead keep track of your predictions so you can make an informed decision later on.

6. Sometimes, you’ll have hermaphrodites.

Growers can occasionally end up with some hermaphrodites which are basically plants that exhibit both male and female reproductive capacities.

These can be difficult to determine right away because they can send you mixed signals. Hermaphrodites can also come about as a result of environmental stress, making their sex increasingly hard to determine.

Hermaprodite marijuana

Hermaprodite marijuana plant

If you start to notice flowers and pistils on the same plant, try pruning off the flowers to ensure that the marijuana plant doesn’t self-pollinate (or pollinate other surrounding females). Read more about male, female and hermaphrodite marijuana plants.

Have you had any strange or successful experiences with sexing your marijuana plants? Let us know in the comments below. Also, let your friends in one these details by sharing the article on Facebook or Twitter.

Last thing:

If you buy feminised marijuana seeds, you do not have to sex them at all. No weeding out male plants.


  • William
    October 12, 2014

    How many weeks do it take to complete a white widow grow.Flowering weeks.

    • Anonymous
      September 8, 2015

      8 To 12 weeks depending on conditions, my friend also grows widow and his last crop took 13weeks of flower. ive managed to get mine down to 8weeks now with doing my research 🙂

      • Big Lem
        March 14, 2016

        There are a few places that say White Widow can finish in 8 weeks, but almost always that comes from someone who is selling the seed and not someone who is using the seed. If you can finish them in 8, please let the rest of the world know what you are doing.

  • Anonymous
    December 26, 2014

    Nine weeks

  • clay
    April 1, 2015

    I have a seedling that looks like it has a flower starting on the top. Is that a sign of a male?

    • Anonymous
      April 13, 2015


  • Anonymous
    April 5, 2015

    Found two ball on my plant that is budding pretty good, is it possible to remove them. Would that prevent it from pollinating itself.

    • Steven
      June 3, 2016

      Yes if you do not puncture or open the sack also you can buy a solution you spread on the female flowers to keep them from pollinating

  • Eric
    April 13, 2015

    Mine are weird but it is my first time. The tall one seams to be female and the short fat one looks like a male. Can I email a pic to someone to help me out?

  • Eric
    April 13, 2015

    Awesome info mine are weird can I email some pics of mine for some help on sexing them?

    • josh
      May 11, 2015

      send me some pics bro and ill tell you… Typically the tall skinny ones are males and the females usually are wider.. but thats mostly speculation and experience.

      • seattlesmoke
        June 18, 2015

        Would you be able to identify from phone pictures by chance? It’s my first time growing and I’m a little confused looking for some help.

      • Anonymous
        July 16, 2015

        Hey bro

      • John
        May 4, 2016

        Email me so I can send you pics of my pot plant and you tell me the sex

  • raul
    May 19, 2015

    I have like 6 lil plants, but i cant determin if there male kr female.. I planted them like 5 weeks ago… Can i send u some pics so u can tell me?…

  • crypto insuurgent
    May 21, 2015

    Too bad we can’t enlarge the photos.

    • Anonymous
      September 23, 2015


  • Lia baby
    May 23, 2015

    help me

  • justin
    June 19, 2015

    can I send pics for help on the sexing of my babies

  • maryam
    June 27, 2015

    I’m looking on the plant is to find ways of early detection of gender prior to flowering
    I’m your guide.

  • Anonymous
    July 3, 2015

    I’ve had males come as late as end of july

  • Troy
    July 10, 2015

    Is there anything I can feed my plant to insure a regular seed turns female?

    • Ben
      July 24, 2015

      colloidial silver. At about 40ppm. Spray the plant daily starting when you switch to 12/12. It will chemically hermy the plant. When both parents are female the seeds are about 95% female. If you stress them into hermy or if you let them go to the bitter end an sprout a few pollen sacks but that tends to bring out the hermy trait in the offspring.

      • Anonymous
        October 5, 2016

        This response is super funny, if you read it in a Jack Black voice.

  • troy
    July 22, 2015

    I have 6 plants all about 3 months old and cant tell the sex can i send someone pics so u can help me out please let me know

    • Big Lem
      March 14, 2016

      You sex your plants when you flower them. Put your lights on for 12 hours and off for 12 hours. Within a week, you should be able to see the sex. With some plants, (none that I have grown), you may have to use less than 12 hours of light per day.

  • Sosa
    July 24, 2015

    Hey I just started growing my plant its a nice size now buh a bug has been chewing on it will that kill it

    • Anonymous
      September 1, 2015

      Try putting cogs butts in a spray bottle and giving your plant a really light mist. It won’t bother the plant too much but nicotine causes almost instantaneous heart failure in small insects.

      • Anonymous
        September 10, 2015

        Nicotine is really harmful to cannabis plants

    • youngwolf
      September 19, 2015

      Try using fish imoltion. Plants like it, bugs hate it. Just dilute and spray.

      • Anonymous
        January 21, 2017

        Careful with that one bugs hate it ants love it

    • DPebbs
      March 31, 2016

      Big Time Exterminator. It’s all natural, works well. No need for a flush in your plants, and is effective. Kleen Green and Tweetment (as weird as their names are…) both make for great preventative measures. Foliage once a week under the leaves. Only foliage in flower for first two weeks. Clean your tent(s) with either of them after each cycle. Stay consistent with the preventatives, and you should be just fine. I live in the mountains about 50 yards from a river and no bugs, yet. Hope this helps. 100% organic should be your goal. Think about it… If you’re not willing to eat or drink it yourself. Why would you give it to something that you will, eat, smoke, or use as topical, later? Buildasoil.com is a great place to get all of your growing needs, in ONE website.

  • Daniel
    August 30, 2015

    Hermaphrodite plants are lesbians

    • Anonymous
      November 18, 2015

      No, they are hermaphrodites.

      • Anonymous
        December 18, 2015

        some peoples kids

  • Sue
    September 9, 2015

    If I send a pic to someone can you tell me if it’s a boy or girl? I see a lot of people asking and my plant is very tall and sparse. I’m thinking boy but it I trash it befor I know for sure I’ll never stop thinking about it. I just can’t live like that.

    • youngwolf
      September 19, 2015

      Sue, if you see things that look like little bananas, it’s a boy. If it has hairy buds, and bananas, it’s hermaphrodite. All hairy buds and no bananas it’s a girl, for now. If you stress them, they will think the world is coming to an end and make their own male flowers.
      Even male buds can be smoked if you catch them before they open. Just keep an eye on them or the girls will be nothing but seed.

  • youngwolf
    September 19, 2015

    People discard the males right away. I think that is a waste. Today’s weed is so strong that even the males are good if you catch the bud before it flowers. I found that 3 minutes in the toaster oven and then straight in the bowl works out just fine.

    • Anonymous
      February 16, 2016

      You mean to tell me you can actually smoke the male marijuana plant?!

      • Anonymous
        April 12, 2016

        hard up you are

    • Steven
      June 3, 2016

      Cure it at a minimum come on oven dryed bud wtf

  • Freekshow
    October 26, 2015

    I have a hash plant hybrid, herijuana actually. It has formed a huge lower branch that is nearly the diameter of the main trunk and growing rapidly .it appears to be a separate cola ? Anyone ever experience anything similar? And I’m considering an attempt to cut and clone it ?

    • S.R.
      November 24, 2015

      I have experienced this once, in this last season actually. although i am not sure what caused it, the plant was female the branch was too so its not like it was a danger to the plant as far as being a hermaphrodite branch would have been. i let it grow and it ended up looking like ground cover because it grown towards the bottom and out about half the height of the plant its self maybe a bit more parallel to the ground. its possible that at some point during the flowering process the plant needed more light than it was getting and so it extended a branch to help get more light, it could have been the plant hit a natural nitrogen source but it was only enough to cause one limb to shoot out, it could be do to genetics. (in which cause a clone would do the same thing since they are both exactly the same plant) as long as it doesn’t seem harmful it should be fine, just know that in the possibility that its a genetic thing that all of your clones are going to do the exact same thing which may or may not be a bad thing. that’s up to opinion.

      • Theresa
        September 17, 2016

        I think if you bend them(not break) and more light hits the side of the plant(more plant exposed) from the overhead light it produces several colas instead of growing the plant upright.

    • Steven
      June 3, 2016

      Hermies do that we had an opp a few years ago that did that in one side ended up jut covering plant and cutting off pollen sack without opening or puncturing them

  • Hope
    October 31, 2015

    doing my first grow and have a cuple questions. First is I have a seedling that was germinated with my other plants. This one seedling hasn’t grown past the first 2 seed leafs but has 2 small white hairs coming out of th very top right between the 2 leaves. Does anyone know what this means? My second question is how long before I can tell the sex of the plants?

    • Anonymous
      March 2, 2016

      You have a hermathiate and should be able to tell within 2 weeks of flowing the sex

  • Anonymous
    November 10, 2015

    So if I’m only growing one indoors it should end up female since it won’t be pollinated by a male right?

    • anon
      November 27, 2015

      You’re dumb.

    • Rider
      November 28, 2015

      Read up and get informed-then come back and read your question….that’s your only answer.

    • Anon
      December 2, 2015

      So you were born a female but turned male once you were pollinated right?

    • Anonymous
      December 21, 2015

      Come on now guys there’s no dumb question it’s very rude to answer the way you have.think of it this way you guys had to be told once

      • Big Lem
        March 14, 2016

        It’s a coin flip whether any plant will be male or female. Growing only one plant will pretty much ensure that you don’t end up with a pollinated female full of seeds, but that’s all.

        If I want one plant, I plant two to pretty much ensure one will be a female. It’s easy to be wrong with just two though. Most would plant five or six, wait until they know which ones are female, and then pick the strongest.

        An easy solution for new growers is to buy feminized seeds. These are guaranteed to be female. They cost more, but you don’t end up with males; so the price evens out.

        For a brand-new guy, I would recommend feminized seeds of the auto-flowering variety. Plant them in a pot that is one third worm castings (buy it on amazon), and you really don’t need all the nutrients all the pseudo-intellectuals go nuts over.

        • annoyed
          April 15, 2016

          what is wrong if they are under 12/12 light cycle, and not show sex?

          • Anonymous
            May 19, 2016

            They will show there sex under 12/12 lighting.. Not the best way to identify sex unless your using a clone to determine the sex under 12/12 lighting

          • Anonymous
            January 21, 2017

            Why is force flowering then back to veg bad idea I’ve done it weed was good also can’t u force flowering one branch place a black paper cone on it 12 /12

          • Anonymous
            January 21, 2017


      • Leota
        October 15, 2016

        Exactly, it’s all new, none of it makes sense at first, and dammit when you started you didn’t know either. So stop waiting for a newbie question so you can feel smart. Answer the question, or shut up and let someone else answer. Some people have lives and.can’t spend days at a time reading through your “witty responses” in order to get real info.

    • Anonymous
      July 3, 2016

      I am starting out also , but you’ll have to wait and see! basically the male develops faster and is taller and has pollen sacks , a female develops hair like receptacles from the buds. and even if you remove the males, there is still a chance of fertilization from your dopey neighbor that let his male grow next door. probably a long shot though.

  • Kushmeister
    November 19, 2015

    Anyone tried ORMUS on their plants & any results if so please:)

  • Lhasaus
    December 9, 2015

    I need help determining the sex before I trash …. Can I send a pic to anyone who might be Able to help out..? This is my 2nd “feminized” seed that also seems to be male… Wtf.

  • Lisa
    February 11, 2016

    Can someone tell me if I have male or female PLEASE?

    • Jeff
      February 17, 2016

      I can help you out but see no link

      • Anonymous
        April 15, 2016

        thats part of learning and looking for the signs, get yourself a book, marijuana bible, read it study it and start growing, there is a lot more to know than male female, and if you dont know get a book and read and study it !!

  • don
    March 20, 2016

    So can I have my seed starts under light 24 hrs for about 3 wks. Can I put them in 12 1/2 hours of light with out them triggering? They are 5 in now..
    I want to put out side in green house with no lights?

    • Anonymous
      April 15, 2016

      12/12 will make them flower at about 2 weeks of 12/12. when 14 or less hours of light occurs (lights or sun) they will flower

  • Phinel
    March 28, 2016

    I topped my plant 2 Days ago and I noticed few little yellow flower sprout out where I topped my plant is its normal after 28 days from seed they show sex and I think its à hermaphodite because i saw few white hair and few flower didnt opened yet

    • Anonymous
      October 15, 2016

      It’s a tomato plant!

  • annoyed
    April 15, 2016

    years ago i grew 1 feminized indica, and a normal afgani 1 plant ,after 4 or 5 weeks of veg, on to 12/22, the feminized showed sex in a week, the afgan 1 went 4 weeks with no sign of sex. i just left it in and hoped for the best. i had to get rid of both due to scared of gettin busted . but after 4.5 weeks the afgan 1 never showed any signs. i used to grow a lot and i know what to look for. is there a reason for this. if the conditions, heat, cold nutes were off both plants would have been goofy right. the feminized was budding hard and looked awesome. it even had a pretty good buzz for bein half done lol. i was and am still puzzled. wish i could of left it go and saw what happened. my timer was as close to 12/12 as i could get it. 11hrs, 55min on / 12hrs 05 min off time. they were in a grow tent in a closet. temps were like never over 85 at the top nearest the 400 w bulb. ph was always 6-7 and ntes were general hydroponics, with the suggested bloom ratio on bottles. S wtf was up. it sort of drove me nuts every day combing each bud site for sex signs.

  • PatchAttack
    April 19, 2016

    Anyone force floweing b to identify females then immediately put the females back into the veg tent to get bigger first??? That possible? Thanks in advance everyone!

  • Anonymous
    April 25, 2016

    How long does it take for a plant to turn male if a light fails?

    • Joe
      May 20, 2016

      Lol.. Plants dont turn male if lights fale.. U can just send it into early flowering. The sex is already determined.

  • jennifer
    April 28, 2016

    Is it true that the faster and taller plants grow they are most likely male?? My uncle planted eight seeds less than two weeks ago and seven of them sprouted and are now in the seedling stage. 5 of the seven grew fast and are quite taller than the other two. One did not sprout until a week after the other ones. It looks like a runt and has a white spot on one of the leaves. Hmmmm…any suggestions would greatly appreciated=)

  • Anonymous
    May 21, 2016

    I have never grow a plant before and for some odd reason I have a plant that is about a month and a half old. It has been broke do to it falling one I put a kinda bandaid on it and it still grow. It has 2 roles of leaves on it but I don’t know if it will get taller I am worried when it fall if I stunted the plant. Do you think I have hurt it some how? Sorry if this is a stuppied question

  • Yours truly
    May 21, 2016

    I have never grow a plant before now I have one that is about 1 1/2 months old. It got dropped off a table but I was able to keep it alive. It has 2 roles of leaves now but it is still short. Does any one know if I have hurt the plant to were it may not bud?

    • Kevin
      May 29, 2016

      If your plant is being held together by a bandaid it could make it, I broke a the base of a large lower branch last year right as I started the flowering on my 8 ft white widow (outdoor in big pots here in Oregon it’s legal), I taped it up (was held together by some skin) and it finished out the season and had giant buds like the rest of the plant.
      On the other hand, with such a small plant, it may hermaphrodite or not make it at all.
      Everyone’s a pot expert, my recommendation, make sure you’re giving it a high quality feeding program. Fox Farms is good I don’t like it, I use Botanicare and Greenfuse. It will blow your mind how fast these plants grow if they’re not lacking any nutrients.
      If it’s a female, and it keeps growing, it will flower. You can’t stop them from doing that. Keep an eye out for little flowers appearing.

      In my experience and everyone I deal withs, anytime you force flower a plant to determine sex, then force back to vegetative, the end resulting medicine is never as good.

      • Anonymous
        May 13, 2017

        Botanicare is now Monsanto/Miracle Grow

    • SonofJefferson
      May 29, 2016

      If your plant is being held together by a bandaid it could make it, I broke a the base of a large lower branch last year right as I started the flowering on my 8 ft white widow (outdoor in big pots here in Oregon it’s legal), I taped it up (was held together by some skin) and it finished out the season and had giant buds like the rest of the plant.
      On the other hand, with such a small plant, it may hermaphrodite or not make it at all.
      Everyone’s a pot expert, my recommendation, make sure you’re giving it a high quality feeding program. Fox Farms is good I don’t like it, I use Botanicare and Greenfuse. It will blow your mind how fast these plants grow if they’re not lacking any nutrients.
      If it’s a female, and it keeps growing, it will flower. You can’t stop them from doing that. Keep an eye out for little flowers appearing.

      In my experience and everyone I deal withs, anytime you force flower a plant to determine sex, then force back to vegetative, the end resulting medicine is never as good.

  • Steven
    June 3, 2016

    I think I got a bitch it’s been a month and a half short with all branches on every node connection six. To be exact but I don’t count the small newbies which is just two nodes female??

    Hydroponic deep water culture under 400 w metal halide

    15 hrs light

    Idk if those effect anything but I’m sure it plays a role in size and shape I know it was a bottom germination of the seed

  • Gentlhart
    July 22, 2016

    If you run your light cycle on 12 hrs, off 5 1/2 hrs, on 1 hr, off 5 1/2, it will show the sex but will not flower. Cannabis will grow well with this lighting schedule. It needs 12 uninterrupted hours of darkness for flowering so when you’re ready to flower it, just flip that one hr on to off so it will be 12/12. This schedule saves on electricity.

    • club80d
      February 11, 2018

      sounds like what causes hermaphroditism, does it not?

  • troy
    July 25, 2016

    Ive got a question instead of a set of leaves on opposite sides of plant i have 3 what is wrong

    • Steve
      September 28, 2016

      This is a genetic abnormality. I don’t know where you got your plant from but I would waste my time with a plant like that. Those sort of abnormalities are a sign of poor breeding.

    • Anonymous
      February 27, 2017

      Actually Steve you are wrong not to put valued time into it. Troy the mutation is actually quite exciting.. at this point you have no doubt forgotten all about this. It’s called whorled phyllotaxy, and almost always produces a much much larger yield. If you are breeding and cross straining, the mutation will no doubt lack the ability to sustain. Though it would have been a great harvest if you kept it Troy.

  • troy
    July 25, 2016

    I have a plant that has three leaves are stems instead of 2 alternating on the stock is there something wrong with my plant.

  • nate0420
    September 17, 2016

    why are my plants showing sex on a 16-8 light

    • Steve
      September 28, 2016

      Virtually all plants will show pre-flowers as they mature whether they are on a 16-8 or 24-0 veg cycle. This does not mean that the plants are beginning to flower.

    • Anonymous
      October 17, 2016

      it’s 18/6 for veg

      • club80d
        February 11, 2018

        16/8 is also a common time variation (the decrease in light is believed to be an environmental factor that favors an outcome of a female plant; during the time plants mature beyond their seedling cotyledon, which are not real leaves, and until the time they have 3-4 sets of leaves, these environmental factors contribute to Females: lower temps, higher humidity, lower light volume (nearer to 14 hrs) and higher Nitrogen levels.. the reverse for all favoring male plants; note: as opposed to Nitrogen, Phosphorous is it’s polar nutrient!).

  • Aj
    September 30, 2016

    My plant was grow from brick weed from Mexico and it is growing hairs on the top and leaves with long hairs between the 3 rows of leaves

  • Johnny Reed
    April 20, 2017

    What is it that actually marks the beginning of the flowering phase?

    Like, does the flowering phase “officially” start as soon as you can determine the plant’s sex?

    First time grower, outdoors, trying to figure out how many weeks they’ve been in flower (I know I figured out the sex almost exactly eight weeks ago, before any real flowers or buds had formed).

  • Cindy
    May 6, 2017


  • Andrea Bartlett
    May 7, 2017

    I have a similar plant from seed, it made 3 leaves around the 5th set…now making 4 at once! This 3 week old plant just graduated to a 3 gal pot. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Also hope it’s a girl. I have pix too

  • jw
    May 10, 2019

    I do not buy this sprouting from the top or side crap….will determine sex.

    October 21, 2019

    With alot of time invested is it going to be easy to sex plants after going 12/12 lighting in 1/3 weeks after switching

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