How to determine the gender of cannabis?
Even if you are using feminized seeds, it is important to be able to distinguish between male and female plants. When the central flowers first appear they are undifferentiated, which means you can’t tell either sex. Soon the male flowers can be recognized by their curved claw shape, followed by the appearance of round and pointed flower buds with five segments. In male flowers, five white petals approximately an inch (5 millimeters) in length make up the calyx, which is the body of individual flowers. Male petals hang down, and five stamens also approximately an inch (5 millimeters) in length emerge. Stamens produce pollen in structures called anthers.
Tips for Identifying female Cannabis plants
The female calyxes will swell and are easier to distinguish at a younger age than males. The first female calyxes tend to lack paired pistils, which are white pollen-catching structures; however, these soon appear in abundance. As soon as you see two white hairs appear you can confirm your plant is female. Male plants do not produce pistils but some cannabis plants, especially hybrids, produce small nonflowering limbs at each node and these are often confused with male flowers. You must wait until the actual flowers form before positively determining the sex of your plants. Young seedlings can be forced into flower as soon as they reach three
inches (8 centimeters) by placing them in a dark area for 12 hours each day. After two weeks they should show signs of gender, but if they haven’t, remove them from the cycle and place them back into the vegetative cycle, as they will still develop small flowers that can be identified. This technique slows the plant growth rate and can badly stretch young plants. It is also suggested that plants treated in this way yield less.
Cloning cannabis plants
Cloning, or the taking of cuttings, allows you to cultivate all-female crops with known characteristics. When you take a clone from a female plant, the resultant offspring will be an exact genetic replica of the mother. The mother is generally kept in a dedicated grow area under a vegetative growth cycle. You can take cuttings from mothers in early flower but it is not advisable.
The necessary tools for cloning cannabis
Sharp razor or scissors, rooting gel, clear plastic propagator with lid, fine seed compost, plant mister bottle, and small plant pots or Styrofoam cups with drainage holes pierced into the base. Start by selecting a vigorous growing tip for your chosen female. Ensure the tip is at least 2 inches (5 centimeters approximately) long, preferably longer. Cut the tip from the mother plant above the nearest node (the area of a plant’s stem from which the leaves grow). The female will produce two fresh growing tips from below the site you have just cut, doubling the number of cuttings that can be taken next time. Re-cut the clone’s stem at a slight angle to expose more surface area, and dip the same end into a horticultural rooting gel. The clone is then placed into your seed compost and kept in a high-sided propagator. Ensure you have a humid environment for the first few days at least. It is helpful to remove the propagator lid on a daily basis and wipe any excess moisture from the inside using a cloth. Mist the clones daily with a spray bottle for the first few days. Roots should develop within 10 to 14 days.