How to tell the difference between Male and Female Plants

How to tell the difference between Male and Female Plants
(Last Updated On: December 10, 2022)

In the case of plants, you may be aware that there are differences when it comes to male and female plants. In some instances, these differences aren’t really a big deal, but in the case of cannabis plants, it is very important for you to know the differences, in the event that you want or need to grow your own buds.

You will have to wait a while to be able to tell the difference, since they have to grow first, in order for you to be sure. However, there are things to look for, which will help you identify the sex of your plants and become more informed.

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There is no way to tell from the seeds if a plant is a male or female, so you likely have to plant it and watch it grow in order to be able to determine its sex. However, if you are only working with high-quality seeds, you likely will be getting only, female seeds so it’s good to purchase from a reputable source.

This is because many seed suppliers do everything they can to ensure that all seeds are female, so you won’t be wasting your time growing male plants. To be safe, you should still make sure to check your plants as they grow to be sure that they are females because nothing is absolutely foolproof.

How to tell the difference between Male and Female Plants

How to tell the difference between Male and Female Plants


In the case of male plants, this is the type that is used for growing hemp and other products, but will not be able to produce the type of buds you want. The good news is that you can tell rather early on if a plant is male, although it likely will have to grow for 2 to 6 weeks for you to be able to notice these changes.

Thicker stalks

One of the major noticeable changes is that male plants have wider, thicker stalks. This is because they grow larger and need to disperse the weight, in order to hold themselves up.

Often grow faster

Many times, a male plant will grow faster than female plants. This may seem like a good thing at first, until you realize that you are looking at a male plant, which is why it’s important to know the differences.

Larger leaves

They also have larger leaves than other plants, which you will be able to notice if there are also female plants growing at the same time.

Round nodes at the joints

If you look at the joints on the plant where the stalk meets the branches, there are smooth, round nodes there which indicate that the plant is male.


Grow Bigger Cannabis Buds

Female plants are the type of cannabis plant that has a higher concentration of THC and grows large buds that can be cultivated. Just as with male plants, there are a few ways you can tell that you have a female plant.

Smaller leaves

A female plant will not only have smaller leaves, but there will be a lot more of them. They are denser because they are responsible for flowering and growing the fruit or buds of the plant.

Hairs on nodes

Female plants also have round nodes on their stalks, but they have small hairs growing out of them. They may be more V-shaped than round to let you know that they are not males.

Shorter height

This type will also not grow as tall as male plants, so they will be shorter compared to others. One reason for this may be because they grow a little bit wider instead of taller, compared to males.

These plants are exactly what you want to grow to produce the cannabis that you’re looking for. As you probably already know, in most cases, female plants are responsible for bearing fruit and in this case, cannabis buds are the fruit that this type of plant grows.

Male plants are unable to grow anything, as they are mainly just to fertilize the female plants and to create seeds for different purposes.

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Other plants

Some plants are actually both sexes and may have a variety of these features. If you see any plant that has male characteristics, you should consider it a male. While some male plants are able to grow small buds, they are most likely not the type that you want to grow, and plants with both types of features are no exception.

This type of plant is usually called a hermaphrodite, since they are able to fertilize themselves. At the same time, this doesn’t help you get any cannabis, so they are not really important for your purposes.

What to do with males

If you find that you have male plants in the mix with your female plants, you need to remove the male plants immediately, as you do not need them. If you leave them to grow, they will take away valuable resources from the female plants.

In turn, this can affect the size of the female plants, as well as the quality and quantity that they grow. There’s no need to save them unless you want to use them for something else, so you can either throw them away or place them in your compost pile.

Other things to know

It’s very important that you don’t throw out any plants until you are absolutely sure that they are males. Sometimes as females start to grow, they may look like male plants and then start to change. You don’t want to end up wasting your good plants simply because you couldn’t wait a few days to see them reach maturity.

If you try hard and can’t tell at all if a plant is male or female, you will know once the plant starts flowering. Male plants don’t create buds like females do, although they may grow small nodes. At any rate, it will become obvious that females are growing the fruit and males are not when you see how they flower after a few weeks.

At the same time, you may be wary to venture a guess on what type of plants you have. Keep in mind that you can always purchase books, watch videos, of visit websites to see what plants should look like and for more information.

Having a visual idea of what something should look like may make you feel more confident when it comes to identifying what plants are in your garden.

Even though there are clear differences, it can be hard to tell at times what type of plant it is. The best thing to do is judge all the plants based on what the other plants look like. Hopefully when you’re growing, you have female plants that you can use to note the differences between the two sexes.

This makes it much easier to determine which plants have thicker stalks and large leaves. Give yourself some time to figure it out and make sure you look at your plants each day to note changes.

You must remove the male plants whether you are growing outdoors or indoors, since they can really steal resources away from your important plants. Even if you have a lot of plants growing outside, it is necessary to check on them and remove the ones that you don’t need.

Don’t be concerned that there are spaces in your garden after you take out the males because remember that the females will continue to grow and hopefully will start to fill up that empty space during the flowering process.

Another issue that might come up is that you thought you had female plants and they refuse to bud. If you are giving them the proper amount of nutrients, light, and dark with no results, there may be something wrong with the soil or the plant itself.

On the other hand, you may have not had a female plant when you thought you did. If you have friends you can ask to help you determine the sex of your plants, don’t hesitate to ask them. Sometimes two sets of eyes are better than one, especially if you are looking at a bunch of plants each day.


At times, it may be hard to tell the difference between a male and female plant, but there are certain characteristics that each type will manifest, which can give you a clue as to what sex they are. Once you determine this, you should be able to keep the plants you want and discard those you don’t.

Otherwise you won’t be able to grow the crop you want, or you may end up with something that tastes really bad. It’s important to be informed of all the things to look out for and what to do when you find them.

As you look at more and more plants, it will become easier to determine the sex, so you can save time and resources by only growing the plants you want.


Hey I'm Dennis, Thanks for stopping by. I'm a Horticultural Expert in growing marijuana indoors and hydroponics. I will be sharing my expertise in growing marijuana with LED Grow lights.

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