We start with the vegetative schedule…
Change your vegetative lighting schedule ( could be 18 on 6 off or whatever you use) to the flowering lighting schedule of 12 hours on and 12 hours off
The flowering change can take place from about 3 to 20 days depending on the strain
You’ll see tiny buds forming – those are the female plants
The plants that form little ball sacks are the male plants – remove them ASAP
Change your flowering lighting schedule to the lighting schedule of 24 hours on for about 10 days
Your plants will start reverting back to the vegetative cycle
You will see leaves starting to grow out of the buds – that’s normal
After 10 days, change the 24 hours on back to the vegetative lighting schedule you use, we use GLR
- Be very strict during the off hours – allow no light to come in – don’t open the door – be patient!
A time consuming task but one that has to be done, is figuring out the males from the females when you’re growing from regular seed. We’ve been growing weed for over 40 years and still can’t tell a female from a male until they flower for a week or two.
IMO-growing from regular seed is better than using feminized or auto flowering seeds. Regular seed will give you a larger, more robust plant that you can easily clone.
Many growers can tell, or at least claim they can spot a girl from a boy and there are many articles and videos about it, but we can’t figure it out. So we’re stuck; when we grow from seed, we have to allow seedlings to grow for awhile in the vegetative cycle than start flowering them (switch from 18 hours of light to 12 hours of light) so we can figure out who’s who.
After you switch your lighting schedule to 12/12; to tell a male from a female, look for little balls (male plants) that start to form and get rid of those plants, (we do save one to pollinate 1 female for seeds). Sometimes the little balls start forming in a couple of days and sometimes it takes a week or two.
Now we have to switch back to the vegetative cycle
Once we have our girls (they have white wispy hairs/no little balls) figured out, we change the flowering light cycle back to the vegetative cycle. We start with 24 hours light for 10 days.
You’ll notice weird looking single leafs growing right up through the little buds. Don’t worry about them, just pick them off if they make you nervous or leave them.
After 10 days we change back to our normal veg lighting schedule, we use the GLR (Gas Light Routine) for the remaining time in the veg cycle (now you can see why clones are so much better).
Even though the plants initially look a little weird, they grow out into normal looking plants in a short while. Once you have a group of female plants growing in the vegetative cycle, you can start taking clones when the lower branches get to be around 3″ long or so.
All in all it can take around 3 weeks to differentiate the boys from the girls so it makes a lot of sense to keep a mother plant growing so you can take female clones anytime you need them.