7. Males Must Die

Male marijuana plant

How Males Can Ruin your Crop

Seeds on male marijuana plants

We’ve already established that our goal with this guide is to grow potent, high quality and valuable marijuana using the power of Mother Nature. As we’ve stated earlier, it’s vital to kill the male plants for two main reasons:

  1. Males have significantly less THC and have essentially no market value
  2. If your female plants are pollinated from the males they will yield significantly less marijuana and lower THC.

Pollinated female marijuana plants focus all their energy on producing seeds rather than growing flowers (where all the resin filled THC is found). Ultimately it results in a harvest with significantly less high value THC laden crop, Snoop Dogg laid out the economics of a harvest succinctly: “No stress, no seeds, no stems, no sticks!”

As we highlighted in the Seed Considerations section, a way to eliminate the stress of a male plant in your garden is to get feminized seeds or take clones from a female plant. However, you can never truly be 100% certain. You must remain vigilant as the plant transitions from vegetative to flowering and starts forming pre-flowers.

It’s absolutely vital that you find the males as soon as possible and make sure you dispose of them far away from your precious female plants. We outline the best methods below.


Identifying and Destroying Males

Cannabis plants first reveal their sex during the early stages of the flowering phase. Pre-flowers that form in the internodes between the branches and stem can reveal a plant’s sex upon closer inspection. Pre-flowers appear around the end of the first month, but they may take a little longer (or never) depending on how quickly the plant sprouted. If all goes well, you’ll be able to see the pre-flowers by the sixth week.

You can inspect pre-flowers more closely with a magnifying glass. Any would do, but you could ideally use a jeweler’s loupe to get a really good look. Scan the nodes of the plant thoroughly, and try to find out whether it’s the early growth of small ballsacks (male) or two petals (female), with a hair-like stalk. This method is by far the most practical for removing males from your garden early on. With a little practice, you’ll be a master of this.

Cannabis plants - male and female plants

The Jack-in-the-Box: Hermaphrodites

Hermaphroditism is a naturally occurring phenomenon. It happens when a female marijuana plant develops both male and female FULLY FUNCTIONAL reproductive organs. You read well: Hermaphrodites (or Hermies) can pollinate themselves (and other plants) when facing extreme conditions. Isn’t nature lit?

‘Herming’ usually happens when plants get overly stressed by their environment. Some factors that can contribute to the formation of hermaphrodite plants are:

  • Nutrient Deficiencies
  • Bad Weather
  • Plant Diseases

Generally, there are two major types of hermaphrodite plants:

  • Plants that develop both reproductive organs
  • Plants that produce elongated anthers (bananas)

Hermaphrodites are as useless as males for our goals, so they’ll have to meet the same gruesome fate. Their pollen-laden sacs can burst at any moment, turning our prized garden to a seed nursery. Remember, hermaphroditism in cannabis is a reaction to stressors like extreme temperatures or damage, so plan ahead. If you suspect that your plants have undergone a lot of stress, check them out immediately.

Chapter 8 – Flowering and When to Harvest

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