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Cannabis Pre-Flowers: Find the Gender Sooner (with pics!) (Viewed 9344 times)
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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Dear Fellow Grower,

In today's issue...

  • Cannabis pre-flowers allow you to know the gender of your plants much sooner! Learn how to master this technique!
  • Do you like making things easier? Like, MUCH easier? Skip having to determine the sex of your plants and get feminized seeds!
  • A quiet grower sent us some stunning pics and didn't include any info about them. We can all enjoy them just the same!

Nebula Haze & Sirius Fourside (founders of

"A weed is no more than a flower in disguise, which is seen through at once, if love give a man eyes."
 ~ James Russell Lowell
Cannabis Pre-Flowers:
Find the Gender Sooner (with pics!)
What are cannabis "pre-flowers?" They are little versions of adult flowers that appear on your plants and can help you figure out the plant gender as soon as possible.
Cannabis pre-flowers diagram - chart shows difference between male and female preflowers
Why do you want to find out if your plant is a boy or girl? The reason is because only female plants produce buds, while male plants only produce pollen (which no grower wants to harvest - pollen is only used for germinating female plants, and shouldn't be smoked).
When starting with "feminized" seeds (which you can usually only get from a breeder), all your seeds should end up being female, so determining male from female isn't very important.
But for growers starting with "regular" (non-feminized) seeds, about half of the plants can turn out being male. And unfortunately, there's no way to look at a seed and be able to tell what gender it is. 
In fact, to this day scientists are still not sure exactly what causes certain plants to be one gender or another. Gender seems to be somewhat fluid in cannabis plants, as certain conditions such as heat, stress, unusual light periods and nutrient problems can cause more of the plants to show male pollen sacs. Take good care of your garden to ensure the highest levels of bud-producing plants!
Unfortunately, you can't tell a cannabis plant's gender by looking at the seeds :(
So when growers start out with regular cannabis seeds, they have to be aware of gender while the plant is alive, and try to determine gender as soon as possible. Growers don't want to spend a lot of time on a plant only to realize that it's male and has to be thrown away.
All cannabis plants reveal their gender in the flowering stage (the second stage of life, when cannabis plants produce buds or pollen sacs), but for most growers, it's much more helpful to determine the sex of the plant as soon as possible.
There are a few different methods to determine gender of young, vegetative plants. One is to take a clone of the young plant, and force it to start flowering. The gender revealed by the clone will tell you the gender of the plant it was taken from.
But that's not the only way to figure out the sex of your plants. Vegetating plants usually reveal their gender when they're just 3-6 weeks old from seed, but you have to know where to look.
What you're looking for is "Pre-flowers." These are tiny versions of adult sex parts, and when you see them you can tell what gender the plant is going to be. They usually show up in the upper parts of the plant, closer to the lights.
Vegetating cannabis plants reveal their gender with "pre-flowers," which usually appear 3-6 weeks from when the plant was germinated.
While week 3 is early for most seedlings, nearly all vegetative plants will reveal their gender by about the 6th week from seed.
So without further ado, here are pictures showing what you're looking for when it comes to pre-flowers. Remember, pre-flowers are found at the V where stems meet a main stalk. But pre-flowers don't usually show up all over the plant. Make sure to look around in different places, especially near the top of the plant and closer to the lights
Note: Pre-flowers don't usually appear all over the plant in veg; they show up the most often near the top of the plant and closer to the lights

Male Pre-Flowers
Male pre-flowers tend to have a "spade" shape, like the spades from a deck of cards. Male cannabis plants often (but not always) reveal their gender sooner than female plants.
Male pre-flowers tend to be shaped somewhat like a spade
Male cannabis plants make pre-flowers that look somewhat like a "Spade"
This male plant was only 3 weeks when it made its first preflower. Notice how tiny it is compared to the giant sized thumb! Often it's unclear what the gender is when a pre-flower is this small (unless you've got a lot of experience) so if you're not sure, it's a good idea to wait and see how it develops, just in case.
 Just to give you an idea how small these can be when they show up...
This is the exact same picture as above, but with the pre-flower made bigger so you can see it. Pretty tiny, isn't it?
A closeup of a male preflower on a young cannabis plant
Another male pre-flower 
Another male pre-flower on a vegetative cannabis plant
 These male pre-flowers are basically immature pollen sacs. When the plant starts flowering, they will grow and turn into bunches that almost look like grapes.
This is what male pollen sacs look like when the plant actually starts flowering
This is what a male plant looks like at maturity, when it's starting to spill its pollen
Ok, now that you know what male pre-flowers look like, what do female pre-flowers look like?
Female Pre-Flowers
Female pre-flowers tend to be longer and narrow, and usually, but not always, have a white hair (pistil) sticking out from the top.
This pre-flower doesn't have a pistil sticking out at first, but the shape helps tell you it's a female plant. If you're not sure about gender after spotting a pre-flower, it's a good idea to wait and see for a little while, just to see if a white hair appears (which means it's definitely a girl) 
Some of the time the stipules (green hair-like growths near where pre-flowers show up) will cross each other on female plants. This certainly doesn't always happen, as you can see from the pics of female pre-flowers on this page, but while girls can go either way, male plants rarely have stipules that cross each other. So although crossed stipules cannot be used definitively as a way to identify female plants, it can be a small clue to help guide you when you're not sure. For example the following female pre-flower doesn't have a pistil, but the long thin shape combined with the crossed stipules help indicate that this plant is a girl. 
This female plant has a long, thin calyx and crossed stipules
In this pic, you can see white pistils emerging from the calyxes. Female pistils are white and wispy, never green.
Here's another female pre-flower that doesn't have a white hair yet, but you can tell it's female because it's long and narrow, instead of spade shaped
One last female pre-flower without a pistil yet. The long narrow shape is the only thing that gives the gender away until pistils begin to emerge
Determine the sex of your cannabis
before you plant the seed!
I know, I know! We said in BIG BOLD letters that you can't tell if a seed is male or female...
But you can get seeds that are genetically predisposed to only be female!
And when you're growing cannabis, females are what we're looking for since only females produce bud!
Now this is my kind of bouquet!
Think of it like the all-female males at all!
And much like the Amazons of myth(?), feminized seeds are bred to be stronger, healthier, more potent, and more productive than the competition!
  • AUTO Sour Diesel by Dinafem
    • ​While not as potent as Reserva Privada's Sour Diesel (due to it being an auto), it will change your mind about how strong/smelly an auto can be.
  • Sour Diesel by Reserva Privada
    • An absolute powerhouse. It's smell is only matched by its potency!
  • Liberty Haze by ​Barneys Farm
    • ​Wow! No waiting here! This strain is a steamroller and doesn't take any time to take effect.
  • Critical Kush by Barneys Farm
    • ​Imagine Liberty Haze as a creeper and you have Critical Kush. Wait a bit after using this strain as the effects tend to pile up after a few minutes!
  • Wonder Woman by Nirvana
    • In our opinions, Wonder Woman is easily one of the best strains on the current market. Unbelievable yields, a borderline offensive smell, and ridiculous potency. A sure winner!

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