If you have been doing your research properly or if you have grown marijuana before, you’ll know that marijuana plants can sometimes grow male and female flowers. In other words, they are hermaphrodites. This is an absolutely natural phenomenon but is not ideal for growing marijuana that will be consumed. Let’s look some facts about marijuana hermaphrodites.
Where do hermaphrodites come from?
Hermaphrodites can develop from one of two reasons. The first is genetic. Some marijuana plants are simply predisposed to be more likely to grow both male and female flowers. This is due to the genes from their parent plants, and can vary from strain to strain. Sativas are incidentally more likely to be hermaphrodites than some other types of strains.
The other reason a marijuana plant could become a hermaphrodite is environmental. If it reaches a state that is stressed out enough, it could develop male and female flowers to self-pollinate and therefore carry on the species with or without the presence of a plant from the opposite sex. Any marijuana plant has the potential to become hermaphrodites when it is stressed out enough by difficult environmental conditions.
So what are some of the possible environmental stressors that could cause your marijuana plants to develop hermaphroditic traits? There are all sorts of possibilities. They include:
- photoperiod interruptions (especially when light interrupts the long periods of darkness in the flowering phase)
- an excess of high temperatures
- waiting too long to be harvested (which is the grower’s fault)
- physical damage to its roots, branches, or too much pruning
- too much or too little water
- too much fertilizer
- diseases or pests
- using water that is too cold to feed the plants
- any phytotoxic product use (such as pesticides or fungicides).
How can I keep my marijuana plants from becoming hermaphrodites?
Because hermaphrodites can come from too much stress, the key to avoiding the development of male and female flowers is simply avoiding stress as much as possible. Because too much pruning could easily cause your plants to get stressed out, avoiding this could help keep it from becoming a hermaphrodite. If you don’t want to avoid pruning, make sure you instead are doing it during the vegetative stage or the pre-flowering stage before the buds begin forming.
All aspects of the environment your marijuana plants are living in should be maintained and kept a healthy level. This is easily the best way to avoid stressors for your plants. Keep things clean, make sure you are keeping track of your lighting and other timers, keep a close eye on your plants in case they have mites, insects, or other pests, and keep them properly watered with good nutrients. Then, at the very end of your marijuana plants’ life cycle, be sure to keep an eye on their trichomes to make sure they are harvested at the exact right time.
An additional way to prevent hermaphroditism is to know exactly what you are buying seed-wise. The best way to do this is to read reviews and comments from people who have already used seeds of the same strain. Make sure you are well versed in the seed bank’s information and recommendations as well so you can give these plants the best care possible.
Although it is not always the case, feminized seeds do sometimes have a tendency to be hermaphrodites. So if your number one fear is your marijuana plants turning into hermaphrodites, it is better to purchase regular marijuana seeds.
What do you do if your plants are hermaphrodites?
If you have already reached the point where your plants are exhibiting hermaphroditic characteristics, you can’t exactly take any preventative measures. So, recognizing them quickly is key. Right when the flowering phase is beginning, be sure to check all your females for any possible male flowers. They are not hard to find, as they look like small yellow bananas growing on your plants.
If you see this, the only thing to do is to remove that hermaphrodite plant altogether. If you don’t, the male flowers are going to cause some serious problems by pollinating the rest of the females and ruining your harvest. That being said, if there are only a few male flowers on the plant, you may want to instead try removing those flower with sterile tweezers and then spraying them with water afterward, since water is able to sterilize pollen. Be sure to keep a very close eye on your plants from then on in case any more male flowers develop.
If there are quite a few male flowers, however, it is not worth keeping the plant anyway because pruning them all away would cause too much stress and you would lose the plant in either case. Remember, you have to something soon as possible before the male flower has time to pollinate the females around it.
What do you do if you find seeds?
If you have harvested your buds and they contain seeds even though no male plants in your crop, then you, unfortunately, had an undetected hermaphrodite in your crop somewhere. That means your female plants were then focusing their resources and energy on developing the seeds rather than making the buds into fat, dense, and juicy ones. There is not much to do if you have already harvested your plants.
by Robert Bergman, founder of ilovegrowingmarijuana.com. Robert has been growing cannabis passionately for over 20 years and shares these insights how to grow weed to help educate growers to avoid mistakes and to fully capitalize on a bud’s potential and naturally supports the liberalization of the plant.
Description: When growing marijuana to smoke or eat, you only want females. Learn about how to recognize male plants, and prevent them from ruining your crop.