Disclaimer: Kingdom of Seeds sells all seeds strictly for souvenir purposes only, for storage purposes in case the laws may change and for the genetic preservation of medically valuable cannabis strains. We will not sell seeds to anyone we think is buying with the purpose to germinate in countries where it is illegal to do so.
You may have noticed that a lot of the cannabis seeds offered for sale are described as “feminised” and you may be aware that autoflowering seeds are always “feminine” but you may not know what that means in practice.
In cannabis, males only matter for breeding
Male cannabis plants exist to pollinate females and that’s basically it.
This is fine if you are actually trying to breed cannabis plants, but it’s horrendous if you’re trying to grow cannabis for therapeutic purposes. The reason for this is that fertilized females put all their energy into developing seeds, whereas what you want is bud.
Female cannabis plants are the ones with all the cannabinoid goodness
This is a slight overstatement; males do have some cannabinoid (CBD and THC) content, but frankly not enough to justify the effort it takes to grow them, especially not given the risk that they will pollinate your productive females.
Hermaphrodite cannabis plants (hermies) have male and female reproductive elements
Hermaphrodite cannabis plants are a complicated topic, however, the key point to note is that for practical purposes, hermies should be treated as males, which means they need to be identified and removed quickly from a growing area to make sure they do not pollinate females.
There are basically three ways you can end up with a hermie.
The first way is to try to grow a strain which is notorious for hermying. These need the most sensitive care to develop successfully and so should only be handled by people with plenty of experience.
The second way is to mishandle a regular strain and create stress for it. Basically, even the most robust strains will start to hermy if you subject them to mistreatment, including “killing with kindness”, for example by overfeeding or over-watering.
The third way is sheer bad luck. This is rare, but can happen.
Avoiding male cannabis plants
You basically have two options for avoiding male cannabis plants.
The first is to buy regular seeds and learn how to sex your plants properly. If you go down this route, remember how statistics work. Over the long term, regular cannabis seeds will turn out to be about 50/50 male and female.
Over the short term, however, it will be entirely down to luck how many of each sex you get. If you’re luck’s good, you could get all females, if it’s bad you could get all males.
The key point to take away is that you need to sex your plants based on what you can see, not what you think the statistics ought to be.
You can also avoid male cannabis plants by purchasing feminised seeds (or auto-flowering seeds). These are more expensive, but should only give you female plants.
The key word here is ‘should’ Some seed banks will guarantee that 100% of seeds will be females, but it’s probably still safest to learn how to sex your plants and double-check in any case.
A reputable seed bank will probably give you some form of compensation if you do end up with a male, but that might not be much consolation if you’ve lost an entire harvest because it’s pollinated your females.
Want to find out more?
Don’t forget to check out our seeds blog for more insights into the cannabis industry. Got a question for us? We’re more than happy to answer any questions you might have on products, so feel free to get in touch.