Growing Cannabis: How to identify a female seeds for better yields

The biggest determining factor for a good cannabis flower harvest starts with high-quality seeds.

Knowing how to spot bad seeds will allow you to react early to potential warning signs in the growing process which will save you countless hours and disappointment.

Multiple factors can determine the quality of the seed which can result in a flower that has a weak therapeutic effect, and in some instances not even germinate at all.

These drawbacks will not damage the entire crop, however, it does end up costing you valuable time and energy.

Another cause for concern amongst growers is that every batch of new seedlings usually contains some male and hermaphrodite plants.

While male plants are considered a potential danger for degrading the quality of the harvest, it’s useful in terms of nutrition.

Other than the health benefits from eating raw cannabis, you generally want to stay away from seeds that are genetically male or hermaphrodite.

While this is a common issue that can not be avoided, there are some good practices you can follow to increase your chance of rising pure female plants.

In this article, I will help you to identify which is the best cannabis seeds to plant for the highest flower yields.

Hopefully, this article can help you make better preparation decisions for your next cannabis growth cycle.

How to determine if cannabis seed is male or female?

An easy method to show you how to identify a female seed

Growing cannabis from seeds has some major advantages over using a clone.

One of the biggest advantages of growing cannabis from seeds is that there is a wide variety of high-quality feminized seeds readily available with the dial of a button.


Approximately 50% of unfertilized cannabis crops will turn out to be male, but with a little bit of preparation, that number can be drastically reduced to about 5%.

Even though sexing cannabis seeds are 100% accurate to determine if a seedling is male or female, you can’t entirely eliminate males out of the grand total harvest because of the plant’s hermaphrodite gene.

When sexing cannabis seeds, a magnifying glass and a pair of tweezers can go a long way.

Female seeds have a near-perfect round volcano-like shape at the bottom. The volcano-like depression is where the seed was connected to the plant.

If the depression is shaped oddly like a football, in fact, anything other than a circle, the seedling may be male or hermaphrodites.

There is one great big misconception among new growers that cannabis seeds can be sexed only by looking at their size and color pattern.

From years of growing experience, I concluded that this is not the case, the size or color has no impact on the sex.

However, the shape of the seedling does have some relationship with the sex of the seedling.

Male seeds are often lopsided like a football and are challenging to roll across a table.

Whereas the female seedling has a rounder shape and can easily roll over a flat surface.

What is the difference between regular and Feminized Cannabis Seeds?

While regular unfeminized seed is cheaper they have one major drawback. That is if you mind having male plants in your crop.

It is common to get approximately 50% males when planning unfeminized seed.

While planting unfeminized seed is not entirely a disaster, it might be something to avoid as a beginner because it takes a high level of expertise to identify and isolate a good female bloodline.

Whereas with feminized seeds, you have a better chance to grow a successful female cycle.

Amongst growers, feminized seeds are known to yield up to 95% pure female plants.

If you are not in a fortunate position to get hold of feminized seeds, luckily there is a way to physically look at regular seeds and tell if they are female or not.

While this method is not perfect, you will notice that the number of females produced in your next crop will drastically increase to approximately 95% density, which is a big step up from 50% density.

Difference between male and female plants

What are the major differences between male and female cannabis plants

Cannabis plants are commonly male or female and similar in anatomy, but 5% of all seeds have the hermaphrodite gene.

For now, we are mainly going to focus on what is the difference between male and female plants.

The most notable difference between the two genders is that male plants produce pollen seeds, whereas female plants grow flowers that yield buds.

Unless you want to make your own seeds, male plants are generally not a welcome sight within your cannabis crops.

Female plants are the only one of the three sexes that produces a significant amount of cannabinoids which are mostly concentrated within the female buds.

Generally, growers keep the two sexes separate because pollinated female plants produce bad-quality buds that are full of seeds.

Essentially, producing lame-duck flowers since the plant uses its energy to develop seeds instead of flowers.

While flowers from a pollinate female can still have some therapeutic value, it packs a weak punch.

How to know if the plant is male or female

The earliest you will be able to see signs if the plant is male or female is within the first month or two during the vegetative stage when the nodes start to develop pre-flowers.

If the plant develops pods with notable fine white hairs, the pant is a female.

Female cannabis plant with fine white hairs


Whereas the male will grow round oval balls shaped much like an American football.

young male cannabis with undeveloped pollen sacs

Once the plant reaches the flowering stage the differences become more apparent.

In this stage of the plant life cycle, the white hair that grows on the female nodes turns into flower buds.

Whereas the sacs on the male plants increase by substantial numbers and grow in size until they finally open up and release pollen dust in the air.

During the flowing stage growers usually take a cloned sample from plants because this is the only way to 100% verify the sex of the plant.

What are Hermaphrodite Plants

hermaphrodite plant with pollen sacs and flowers

Hermaphrodite cannabis plants are females that develop both seeds and buds.

While multiple factors can cause hermaphroditism, external stressors and genes are the main contributing reasons.

It is not until the flowering stage that Hermaphrodite cannabis plants can be detected when the plant starts developing flower and pollen sacs simultaneously.

Can I still use the flower from a hermaphrodite plant?

While the therapeutic effect of these hermaphrodite flowers is extremely diminished, there might be a way to turn the tide to produce bud cannabinoids.

While there is a way to train the hermaphrodite plants to yield more quality buds, it does take time and effort.

If you only have a couple of plants to treat this method might work for you.

The key element for success with this process is to catch the pollen sacs early in their development.

Caching the pods in their early stages will redirect the plant’s growth efforts much sooner in the flowering stage, giving the plant more time the grow buds.

How to treat the hermaphrodite plant to get better yields.

Firstly, to cover all bases, separate the hermaphrodite from other females and make sure that pollen is unable to impregnate your female crop by escaping through ventilation systems.

Pollin and female plans have an extremely strong gravitational pull towards each other which is invisible to the naked eye.

This fine dust power can easily navigate air and ventilation systems in houses like a private sailing in stormy weather.

Now that you secured your female crop, you can start to treat the hermaphrodite plant.

Final Step

Look for the viable pollen sacs and start to remove them one by one. While this procedure is extremely time-consuming, it might be the difference between usable or unusable bud.

Start by removing these pollens sacs one by one, using a pair of tweezers or two-finger.

I usually do this every other day but might often check days on end.

If everything went smooth sailing, the harvest yield should be bigger and more potent buds compared to the untreated hermaphrodite plant.

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