The Importance Of Pistils To Cannabis Growers
Cannabis growers that understand the cannabis life cycle and can tell the difference between male and female plants before flowering will always enjoy more success than the witless weed grower. Pistils can tell you a whole lot about your cannabis plants. In this blog, we take a closer look at why they are so important.
WHAT IS A PISTIL?
A pistil is a female cannabis plant sex organ. To the ordinary decent home grower, a pistil is a hair that protrudes from a calyx on a female flower. They are also known as stigmas. When a pistillate hair comes into contact with pollen from a male cannabis plant, it is then pollinated.
Instead of focusing on producing more resinous flowers the female cannabis plant begins to develop seeds. The cannabis will be less potent, and seeds will form in the bracts that contain the ovule. Sensimilla, which means seedless, is entirely dependent on female cannabis plants not getting pollinated.
WHAT CAN A PISTIL TELL YOU ABOUT YOUR YOUNG CANNABIS PLANTS?
Typically male cannabis plants will develop preflowers sooner than their female counterparts in the cannabis garden. 3-6 weeks post germination you should be able to confirm that your feminized photoperiod seeds really are all females even if they are still in vegetative growth. Likewise, if you have regular seeds, you should be able to identify the male plants for removal before flowering.
Pistils tend to poke out from nodes pretty randomly on young cannabis plants. Carefully inspect your cannabis plants and you will spot preflowers sooner or later during vegetative growth. Sometimes they are obvious, close to the top of the plants and easy to spot. But this is not guaranteed so really examine the plants carefully.
Beside a stipule which is itself a green hair like growth on the stem, you will see the preflowers. You are hoping to see a wispy white hair at the node. If you see any kind of ball and no hair you’ve got a male. Until you can see a white hair emerging from a few nodes you really can’t be sure you’ve got a female cannabis plant.
You may have to wait as long as 8 weeks of vegetative growth with some strains to confirm female cannabis plants. However, after 4-6 weeks most growers can at least weed out the males. And keep an eye on one or two uncertain plants in early bloom if need be.
WHAT CAN A PISTIL TELL YOU ABOUT YOUR MATURE CANNABIS PLANTS?
Autoflowering cannabis plants tend to suddenly erupt with flowers quicker than you would expect. Somewhere between day 15-35 post-germination, your feminized autoflowering cannabis seeds will have multiple white pistils bursting forth from the first flowers. A week or so later and buds are beginning to swell up with calyx’s and sparkling with resin. Pistils will rapidly change colour from white to orange/red in days rather than weeks.
With photoperiod cannabis strains’ flowering has three sub-stages: early bloom, mid-bloom and late bloom. Pistils are a great indicator of how your female cannabis plants are progressing. With the onset of a 12/12 light cycle, the pistils will be completely white. Somewhere around week 4-6, midway through flowering, is when the first orange, red and/or pink colours begin to emerge and proliferate. Not until sometime during weeks 7-10 following a good flush with pure water or a light flushing solution will a majority of the pistils be beautiful ripe shades of red, orange and brown.
DO ONLY FEMALE CANNABIS PLANTS HAVE PISTILS?
Female plants and intersex plants will display pistils. Unfortunately, intersex plants will also produce pollen and are as great a threat to your females as a rogue male cannabis plant. Moreover, stress can cause any cannabis plant to develop intersex traits. Some varieties of industrial hemp are bred specifically for their hermaphrodite characteristics.
Do you want Sensimilla? Then you need to make sure none of your female plant’s pistils get pollinated. This means you must continue to monitor your plants throughout flowering. Disturbances in the dark cycle are perhaps the greatest stress factor that contributes to hermies.
HOW CAN PISTILS HELP YOU DECIDE WHEN TO HARVEST?
Before the advent of microscopes and zoom lenses, ganja farmers had to rely on their intuition when harvesting cannabis. The good old-fashioned eyeball inspection of cannabis flowers is a tried and trusted pre-harvest practice. When 75% or more of the pistils are full of vibrant colours, most cannabis growers will call time on cultivation. Flowers covered in red, orange, pink and brown hairs are definitely mature.
Without advanced optics, you’ll also be able to see the shimmer of trichomes. Besides, buds will be sticky to the touch — although you shouldn’t handle them excessively unless you’re making charras. Furthermore, the pungent aroma of ripe reefer should be a loud cue your female cannabis plant is finished. All five senses have a role to play. Pistils are a valuable visual aid throughout the cannabis lifecycle.
Whether you grow your weed from autoflowering, feminized or regular seeds, it pays to know about pistils. Here’s what every cannabis grower needs to know.
Are too many RED HAIRS a bad thing?
This is the first I have ever heard of this. We have used Phosphorload and never noticed a problem with it. This might be another Marijuana Myth.
The red hairs are the dying pistils of the flowers during the final few weeks of a Marijuana plants life letting the grower know it’s getting close to harvest time.
Phosphor load is usually used within the first 3 weeks of flower, so I doubt it would have any impact on the hairs 5 – 8 weeks later.
Maybe someone else know more about this though.
Yeah, this has been driving me crazy, as I cut the phospho back significantly this time. I do have some heat issues, but run usually around 78 under the canopy. Don’t get the smelliest of final product, but I think I could also cure longer for better end results. But this red hair thing I am hearing, I hope some more people can shed some light.
Some other info I found. For those interestd
Pistils are what you people call “red hairs”. They are the pistillate portion – and EVERY flowering bud you recieve contains pistils. They contain moderate concentrations of CBN –.CBD. The Calyx is what the pistils emerge from , and is responsible for the majority of capitate stalked trichomes that result. These are really what makes bud potent. All ‘red hairs’ means is that the grower let the plant mature enough to allow the trichomes to become amber colored.
I have had someone recently telling me that too many red hairs are bad, and a sign of too hot a grow. Also, that phosphoload will induce too many red hairs…