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marijuana plant with seeds

In either case, once hermaphroditism has compromised the safety and purity of your sensimilla, the plant should not be propagated further. Remember, once a hermy, always a hermy. The plant pictured here is in the tenth and what should have been the final week of ripening, but a timer failed and one light stayed on continuously for almost two weeks, causing this vegetative regrowth. Because the light was continuous, the plant made no pollen. This method of re-vegging can be used to save a flowering plant you have no copies of, but be careful, as this may cause some strains to hermaphrodite.

Why am I seeing seeds in the buds of my cannabis plants?

I have an indoor growroom and in my recent harvest I found seeds in the buds, but I’m sure there are no male plants in the room. I’ve heard that light leakage can cause plants to become hermaphrodites. Is this true, and if so, do you have any tips for avoiding this?

Cannabis plants are monecious. This means they have the ability to be either male or female. Or in the case of hermaphroditism, they can be both. The reason to make sure there are no males or hermaphrodites in your garden is because male flowers make pollen. When pollen touches the white hairs on a flower, it makes a seed, and seeded weed gives you headaches. Even though there are reasons in nature hermaphroditism could be important, such as continuing the species in case there is no male present, hermaphroditism is generally a bad thing when talking about cannabis plants.

Light poisoning is the most common cause for a normal plant to hermaphrodite. Light poisoning refers to the flowering night cycle of a plant being unnaturally interrupted with light. The best way to prevent this is to close yourself inside your darkened room during the daylight, and then after allowing a few minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark, check for any light leaks from covered windows, door jams, etc. Also cover all timer and appliance lights with tape.

Negative stressors can combine with small interruptions of the light cycle to cause hermaphroditism, especially with less-stable, clone-only hybridized strains. When the night cycle is abnormally interrupted, it sends a mixed hormonal signal to the plant. This can cause a full female plant to throw some male flowers. Male flowers are easy to identify, especially when side by side with female flowers. Male flowers look like small bunches of bananas, which will take a week or two to swell before they burst and release their pollen.

Finding a hermaphrodite in your growroom can happen at any stage of the flowering cycle and is indicated by the presence of male flowers growing on the same plant as female flowers. As with all species in nature this can occur in varying degrees. A plant can become slightly or majorly hermaphroditic. In cases where singular male flowers are found between the branch and stalk nodes, you should be diligently removing them as they grow. You must re-inspect the plant top to bottom every few days to be sure pollination and seeding doesn’t occur. If you find male flowers (anthers) actually growing from within the female flowers (buds) the situation is a little more dire. You can still remove all the male anatomy as it appears, but it will be harder to find and much more prevalent. This is a horrible discovery that leads to a tough decision: Should you let the plant live and risk the whole crop being ruined by seeds?

In either case, once hermaphroditism has compromised the safety and purity of your sensimilla, the plant should not be propagated further. Remember, once a hermy, always a hermy. The plant pictured here is in the tenth and what should have been the final week of ripening, but a timer failed and one light stayed on continuously for almost two weeks, causing this vegetative regrowth. Because the light was continuous, the plant made no pollen. This method of re-vegging can be used to save a flowering plant you have no copies of, but be careful, as this may cause some strains to hermaphrodite.

Purposefully causing a plant to hermaphrodite is called selfing. Gibberellic acid or colloidal silver is typically sprayed onto the female plant. This technique is used to make feminized seeds and uses the plant’s ability to be both male and female to force a female plant to produce male flowers. The pollen contained in these male flowers can only produce female seeds. Just keep in mind that feminized plants should not be used for breeding, as they were produced without a true male, making them genetically inferior.

Marijuana plant with seeds
Female plants take a bit longer than males to show signs of gender after flowering. The plants begin to develop a few wispy white hairs where the buds will soon grow. These flowers begin to form between the stalk and stem. Female pistils are always white (never green).

Cannabis Plants: Male, female and hermaphrodite

Determining the gender of your cannabis plants is the first step to a successful grow. Female plants are the only ones that produce bud cannabis. While it is fairly easy to spot the gender difference, cannabis does come with a curveball. Plants can also be hermaphrodites. And female plants can switch to this state during growing stress.

Cannabis plants are not gender neutral. There are female plants, from which the actual bud flower comes. Male plants produce the pollen. However, the cannabis plant is a bit odd in this respect. Female plants can turn hermaphrodite in certain circumstances – meaning they are both male and female. This happens in a situation where the plant is highly stressed, and fears for its ongoing survival. It becomes both genders as a last resort to self-pollinate and continue to spread seeds.

CANNABIS IS FROM BOTH MARS AND VENUS

Regular cannabis seeds are usually about 50% male and 50% female. The female plants produce bud cannabis. Male plants produce seed pods. They can also produce tiny amounts of THC via trichomes on the leaves. However, if you are not growing your cannabis as a science experiment don’t mess with male plants. It is a waste of time.

Obviously, particularly to the non-expert, all seeds look alike. That is why it is so important when growing cannabis, to buy seeds from a dealer or seed bank. While the plant is in the early stages of growing, it is also impossible to determine gender.

There is only one more problem. Cannabis plants can be both male and female in the right circumstances.

CANNABIS AND THE SEXES

Cannabis is actually much like other plants – with most having this ability. In essence, female plants have the ability to develop male characteristics. This usually occurs thanks to environmental stress. Plants will develop male characteristics at a certain point in the grow cycle in an effort to ensure seeds are produced before the stressor can kill the plant.

Such stress includes changes to hours of darkness during flowering, dramatic changes in temperature, drought and physical damage.

There are other environmental factors which can stress a plant into a sex conversion. This includes as a reaction to insects or disease. It can also occur with the use or overuse of certain kinds of pesticides and fungicides.

However, this tendency is also considered to be a sign of inferior plants. A good mother plant will not show signs of hermaphroditism even when subjected to this kind of stress. All cannabis can turn, but high-quality genetics will resist the urge the most.

As in the human world, hermaphrodite plants are considered a bit strange. In the cannabis one, they are dreaded. Breeders suggest removing such plants from a grow. The reason? They could create accidental pollination of the buds. If a pollen sac from one of these plants is allowed to come in contact with the buds of other plants, those buds will stop developing. They will instead, produce more flowers and seeds.

WHEN DO CANNABIS PLANTS SHOW GENDER?

The first sign of gender appears at the V shape on the plant where stalk meets stem. The plant will develop little green shoots or pre-flowers here. The plant may show pre-flowers when in the vegetative or growing stage. This is also more the case when the plant is a clone.

However, there are other ways to find out if any of your plants are hermaphrodites. The first is to check the kind of flowers they produce. The second comes at the end of the growing process. However, it is important to check before you grow the next time. If you find seeds in your harvested bud and you know you have no males, you have a hermaphrodite plant.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

The first answer is an established breeder. The best way to start with an all-female crop is to buy the feminized seeds from an established source.

However, since this is a problem that will not disappear during the growing process, here are some guidelines for checking your grow.

Female plants take a bit longer than males to show signs of gender after flowering. The plants begin to develop a few wispy white hairs where the buds will soon grow. These flowers begin to form between the stalk and stem. Female pistils are always white (never green).

Male plants literally have grape-sized “balls” of pollen. The balls will show up about a week or two after the plant has entered the flowering stage. They also produce a growth that is a distinct yellow colour and look a bit like bananas.

If the male is allowed to continue growing, the pollen sacs will burst open. The pollen they spill can contaminate your other plants.

Hermaphrodite plants have both male and female flowers. That is also why it is so important to remove them.

ISN’T THIS LIKE ROCKET SCIENCE?

While it sounds complicated, it really isn’t. Growers who start with the right seeds and maintain a healthy grow environment do not have many problems. For this reason, however, it is important to watch your cannabis plants.

It is fairly easy to spot the difference in buds as the plants mature. That is also why it is generally a good idea to grow more than one plant – even the first time. Observation, practice and patience are the keys to a good and healthy grow. Feminized seeds produce femal plants 99% of time, and should one turn hemaphrodite, simply take care to remove it.