Male autoflower plant is usually a threat to any cannabis grower and they don’t like to hear about male plants. It is true that these male plants are a big threat to sensimilla (seed less) cannabis flowers and usually males are eradicated right after they show their sex, but looking from the other side male plants can also be useful if you want to produce seeds or create new strains.
Cannabis is one of the few plant species that have two plant sexes each different from another. In most cases all the regular plants that we know can be male or female and have no features that show their sex but cannabis plants are different in this matter as both sexes show different characteristics that can be easily separated.
Regular autoflowering cannabis seeds will produce plants that have 50% chance of being a males or females and there can be variations to this percentage but if you grow large enough sample size it will become closer and closer to the 50/50 of male and female ratio. There are some studies that show that environmental factor can influence cannabis plant sex and usually stressed plants tend to turn into males but it is not scientifically proven why this happens and in fact it is nothing more than an observation. Many growers say that they have a larger % of males if plants get exposed to any kind of a stress (heat, nutrients, humidity) but that also has not been proven.
Autoflowering cannabis shows its sex 2 to 3 weeks after sprouting from seed but male plants tend to show themselves a little earlier than females. Males are usually a bit taller, with less leaves and the branches are further away from each other but sometimes none of these conditions are true and male autoflowering plants look exactly like female plants till they show their sex.
Autoflwoer plants start showing their preflowers when they are about to start flowering but at this point there is no way to tell if that is a male or female plant. You will usually see these pre-flowers at the third of forth set of leafs. These preflowers are usually first spotted at the bottom of the plant branches where the smaller branch grow out of the main steam of your plant.
In a few days these preflowers that look like “balls” or “balls on a stick” will start changing into ball shaped thing that looks like a “crab’s claw”. These are the specific cannabis male flowers that hold the male pollen. These “claw like” ball shaped thing can burst open in few hours to few days and there is no way of telling when it will happen. When those balls open they burst the pollen into air and this pollen then is transferred to female cananbis flowers with the help of wind. This autoflowering cannabis male pollen looks like a golden-white powder and it is very light so wind can easily carry it hundreds of feet outside and inside the fans can transfer it all over the room.
If you are trying to grow seedless crops then you need to get rid of male plants as soon as you can identify them. Usually you will see male preflowers few days before female preflowers and you will be able to take these plants out of your grow area. If you don’t inspect your cannabis plants properly every day you can get an unpleasant surprise in form of seeds in your buds.
In other case if you are going for autoflower cannabis seed production and are trying to get as much seeds as possible you can collect the male pollen and dust it directly on to female flowers to maximize seed growth. In this case you will let the male plant stay in the room for the fist month or so and then remove it because ruderalis plants need at least 20 to 30 days to fully mature they’re seeds and if male pollen gets into female flowers 10 to 20 days before harvest the seeds will be immature and a waste of plants energy so all the older seeds would not get all the energy they need to properly ripen.
If you want to know more about autoflowering seed production you can read how to pollinate autoflwoering cannabis plants!