The reproduction of cannabis
In plants, there are several modes of reproduction. Some are hermaphroditic, meaning that the plant has the pistil and stamens on the same flower. Other plants are monoecious, they are not hermaphroditic, but they have both male and female reproductive organs on the same plant.
The Cannabis sativa plant is dioecious, the female and male reproductive organs are on different plants. The reproduction of this plant can be compared to that of humans, they need both a male and a female.
For the reproduction of the Cannabis sativa plant, the male and female reproductive organs are found on different plants.
For the reproduction of cannabis, it is necessary to go through pollination, the pollen of the male plant being deposited on the flower of the female plant in order to fertilise it. There are also cannabis plants that are hermaphroditic, only one plant is needed for reproduction to take place.
Why are female plants very important?
For the purpose of vaping or rolling a joint, only the flowers of female plants are used, provided they are not fertilised. This technique is called sensimilla. Female plants are chosen because they produce more THC than male plants.
And the fertilisation of the flowers is done in a way that does not interfere with the production of THC.
What about fertilisation in all this?
If you want to grow cannabis, be aware that fertilisation should be avoided at all costs, it is very important for the success of your crop.
You should know that all the energy of the plant goes directly to the production of the seeds after fertilisation and this has several consequences. Firstly, when fertilised, the female plant produces smaller flowers. Also, the development of seeds takes place at the fertilised female plant. These seeds can explode when they come into contact with heat. Also, their smoke can be quite toxic to health when inhaled.
This is why only unfertilised female plants are used. For a successful cannabis harvest, be sure to separate the male and female plants.
The female plants are the ones that are used to produce the cannabis.
Feminised cannabis seeds
It is quite possible to feminise cannabis seeds, this involves artificially selecting cannabis seeds that will produce female plants.
There are many reliable techniques for obtaining feminised seeds, usually the light cycle is adjusted so that only female seeds can develop.
Colloidal silver is also used to treat the female plants or a silver thiosulphate solution. Treated plants will have male pollen, but containing only female genetics so that female seeds are obtained each time. This technique is more reliable than light cycles.
100% of plants are female?
Although high precision treatments are used and they are fairly reliable methods, one cannot achieve 100% success. It is possible that in some cases a male plant may have emerged from a so-called feminised seed. It is for this reason that one will have to remain vigilant and check the plant even if it is from a feminised seed.
Recognising male and female plants
For any grower, knowing how to identify male and female cannabis plants is paramount. Having both male and female plants is not recommended at all, as your crops will not be productive.
Let's find out what is special about plants of both sexes and how to recognize them.
A female plant
Female plants have the peculiarity of being bushier and healthier than male plants, they also have many more branches. They can be easily recognised at the beginning of flowering, as the branches have lots of little hairs where the heads will develop.
But there are also other types of plants that are more common.
But there are methods to determine if your plant is a female even before flowering begins. Simply look at the place where the leaf is born or leaf axils. If the plant is a female, you can see a hair coming out of a small ball. It is recommended to use a magnifying glass to better examine it. This is a fairly reliable method, as the hair in question is visible several weeks before flowering.
After six weeks of the plant's germination, you will be able to fully differentiate between a male and a female plant, so you can separate them to avoid fertilisation.
A male plant
Male cannabis plants are quite different from females. They are less healthy in appearance than a female plant and are less bushy than female plants, they also have far fewer branches and are less tall.
They are also more difficult to grow than female plants.
Also, when looking at a male plant, it is possible to see small balls under the leaf axils, but there is no hair coming out of them and they are usually larger than those of female plants.
Recognising hermaphroditic plants
Although it is quite rare, it is possible for a cannabis plant to develop both female and male sex organs on the same plant, so it will be hermaphroditic. In this case, it is referred to as self-fertilisation.
Hermaphroditic plants are a consequence of bad circumstances, they are a response of nature. They usually develop as a result of disease, damage, lack of nutrients, and even adverse weather circumstances. There are genetic predispositions too, depending on the source. But often, adverse conditions are the first consequence, so you will have to take good care of your cannabis plant, as they are very fragile and sensitive.
Just like with a male plant, having a hermaphrodite plant is enough to fill an entire greenhouse in a short period of time. This is an unpleasant situation for growers who do not like pollen from male flowers. The consequence will be that the female flowers will become small and produce seeds, and above all have a very low THC content.
How to identify a hermaphrodite plant
Generally speaking, two types of hermaphrodite plants can be distinguished. The first plant has the male and female sex organs clearly distinct at the leaf birth. You may observe a small ball with a hair (female) and a larger ball (male).
The second plant has a small ball with a hair (male).
The second plant has a kind of upside down ball in the armpits of the leaves that looks like a banana, this will contain the pollen needed for fertilisation.
Knowing the sex of a cannabis plant is not obvious, but it is a necessary step in order to optimise production, as fertilisation negatively impacts the amount of THC contained in female plants. Only the unfertilised cannabis flower of a female plant is used to produce cannabis. It is therefore essential to identify hermaphroditic and male plants.
Some of these plants have been found to be hermaphroditic.