Sexing Marijuana Plants – How to see if your cannabis plant is male or female

Sexing cannabis plants is vital for maximising your harvest. In this article, you’ll learn how to sex your marijuana plants (even before they flower), when flowering occurs, and how to induce flowering.

Sexing marijuana plants helps separating male from female plants. It only becomes possible to tell whether cannabis plants are male or female once the flowering cycle has begun. 

Cannabis begins to flower when it receives 12 hours of light and 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness in each 24-hour cycle.

Once this light cycle (or photoperiod) is initiated, plants enter the pre-flowering stage, when they increase in size as the branch structure prepares to bear and support flowers.

How to tell if your plant is male or female before flowering?

During pre-flowering, which usually lasts about 10 days, it is still not possible to identify the sex of the plant. The first flowers should be visible within two weeks.

Female cannabis plant

How to distinguish a female cannabis plant

Male cannabis plant

How to distinguish a male cannabis plant

Using feminized seeds or automatic seeds should eliminate this process as they are bred to produce plants that will flower as females.

Inducing flowering for sexing marijuana plants

Indoors, it is the grower who decides when to alter the photo period and induce flowering. This is achieved by simply adjusting the timers on the lights.

Outdoors, the grower must wait until the natural daylight hours have decreased to approximately 12 per day. Exactly when this occurs will of course vary depending on the locality. In Northern Europe it happens around mid-to-late July.

It is possible to induce flowering outside by allowing the plants 12 hours of daylight each day, then covering them or taking them inside.

This must however be done every day without fail. If the periods of darkness are interrupted by light, this can adversely affect the plants, setting it back to a vegetative state.

  • Disclaimer:
    Laws and regulations regarding cannabis cultivation differ from country to country. Sensi Seeds therefore strongly advises you to check your local laws and regulations. Do not act in conflict with the law.


16 thoughts on “Sexing Marijuana Plants – How to see if your cannabis plant is male or female”

  1. Hello great video I created an app to help beginner growers distinguish male pre-flower from female, it works with pre-flower only and is just a help, regards

    1. Mark - Sensi Seeds

      Good afternoon MasterWeed!

      Thanks for the comment,
      That sounds great – I’m afraid the link in your previous comment was incorrect. What was the application called?

      Best regards,


      1. Mark - Sensi Seeds

        Good morning Linda,

        Thanks for your question, and I hope you’re having a good day,
        The application was created by MasterWeed, and sounds very interesting!
        Unfortunately, the link is broken, so i’m waiting for MasterKush to send us the correct link 🙂

        Have a great day,


  2. So I’m a little over or right at two months of strong growing. My plants look great they are happy and so far I only found on distinct male and he is gone out of the house. I have two more that I’m unsure of because they look like all my other females but started to show something. I wish I could attach a picture. My biggest question is when should I begin my flowering stage.

    1. Mark - Sensi Seeds

      Good morning Rich,

      Thanks for your question,
      Great news, that you could remove your male before it pollinates your females.

      Unfortunately, legal restrictions mean we can’t answer grow-related questions or give grow advice on this blog. However, other readers of this blog will often answer questions like yours.

      In general, flowering can usually be controlled very precisely by simply changing the lighting regime. Indoor cannabis growers typically give their plants 18-24 hours of light per day during the vegetative growth period, and drop down to 12 hours to trigger flowering. Indicas will often double in height, and Sativas can often stretch three times there height in vegetation.

      Please check out the following articles on our blog which I think you may find of use, and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog!

      The life cycle of cannabis: From seed to harvest

      How to Flower a Cannabis Plant

      With best wishes,


  3. A co w przypadku jak zacząłem uprawę od czasu 12 h światła 12 h ciemności rośliny nie urosły duże jedna zaczęła kwitnienie wtedy zorientowałem się że powinny dostawać 18 h światła 6 ciemności teraz po ponad miesiącu naprawiłem błąd czy przez to mogę się spodziewać ,że cos będzie nie tak z rośliną?

    1. Mark - Sensi Seeds

      Dzień dobry Marley,

      Dziękuję za pytanie.
      Niestety ograniczenia prawne powodują, że na tym blogu nie możemy odpowiadać na pytania związane z uprawą ani udzielać porad dotyczących uprawy. Jednak inni czytelnicy tego bloga często będą odpowiadać na pytania podobne do twojego. Przepraszam, nie mogę być bardziej pomocny.

      Ogólnie rzecz biorąc, istnieje kilka powodów, dla których rośliny konopi mogą wcześnie zacząć kwitnąć. W większości przypadków rośliny konopi kwitną, ponieważ zostały umieszczone zbyt wcześnie w sezonie, podczas gdy był okres ciemności wystarczająco długi, aby zmusić odmianę do zakwitnięcia. Dramatyczna zmiana w środowisku oświetleniowym może również spowodować zakwitnięcie roślin.

      W miarę wydłużania się dni rośliny mogą powrócić do cyklu wegetacyjnego, a jesienią zakwitnąć normalnie. Jednak niektóre rośliny mogą nadal kwitnąć i nigdy więcej nie wegetować.

      Ten artykuł zatytułowany „The Life cycle of Cannabis: From seed to harvestw” może Cię zainteresować.

      Jeszcze raz dziękujemy za pytanie i mam nadzieję, że blog będzie Ci się nadal podobał.

      Z najlepszymi życzeniami,


  4. Hi! I starts one little seed the last week of January2021.. I live in Phoenix, Az. I planted the seedling in a small pot in my kitchen window on Jan. 30th and have not moved it. It does get 12 hrs of sun and so far it is only about 3 inches tall, but it is flowering. I can already tell that it’s a female. Am I doing everything ok? First time I’ve tried growing. Thank you and stay safe, healthy, calm and peaceful!

    1. Mark - Sensi Seeds

      Good afternoon Sonya,

      Unfortunately, legal restrictions mean we can’t answer grow-related questions or give grow advice on this blog. However, other readers of this blog will often answer questions like yours.

      In general, there are various reasons why cannabis plants may start to flower early. Most often, cannabis plants flower because they were placed out too early in the season, while there was a period of darkness long enough to force the strain into flowering. A dramatic change in the lighting environment could also cause trigger plants into flowering.

      As the days get longer it is possible that plants could go back to vegetative cycle and then flower normally in the fall. However, it is possible that some plants continue to flower and never re-vegetate.

      Please check out the following articles on our blog which I think you may find of use, and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog!

      What are the best conditions for seedlings

      When can seedlings be put under lights or in the sun

      With best wishes,


    2. sonja Herrera

      I have done the same I’m a new to this but I started with seeds and a grow light and now I have 2 12 inch plants and they are doing well

  5. poi pakeha tipene

    Hi mine are all outdoors I’m in NZ I started from seed in October now they are about 4/5 meters tall now and I can’t tell if they male or female they get sun from about 8.30am till about 4.00pm how will I tell if they will show gender or should I wait till about April or May

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    The Sensi Seeds Editorial team has been built throughout our more than 30 years of existence. Our writers and editors include botanists, medical and legal experts as well as renown activists the world over including Lester Grinspoon, Micha Knodt, Robert Connell Clarke, Maurice Veldman, Sebastian Maríncolo, James Burton and Seshata.
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