Knowing the early signs of hermaphrodite cannabis plants is an important skill that all cannabis growers need to learn. Though you can use feminised cannabis seeds and get a good chance of a female cannabis plant, sometimes, things go a little wrong, and a plant will “hermie”.
When a female cannabis plant turns hermaphrodite, it begins to grow male flowers. These male flowers have pollen in them, and that pollen will get onto your buds (female flowers), this will pollinate them causing the buds to be full of seeds.
If you find a hermie cannabis plant early, before the pollen is viable, you can remove the plant from the grow space, and prevent any other plants being pollinated by it. This is why you need to be able to spot a hermaphrodite as early as possible, and this guide will help you!
A hermaphrodite cannabis plant, grows the reproductive parts of the both sexes.
For example, a hermaphrodite cannabis plant will grow male flowers and female flowers at the same time. If a female cannabis plant is pollinated, the flowers (buds) will be full of seeds.
For many reasons this is undesirable to cannabis users, so it is important to try and avoid it.
Sometimes hermie happen, and you are too late to do anything about it. The buds are already full of seeds. It’s not ideal, but not the end of the world either. You can pick out the seeds and still use the cannabis, but there will be some differences.
The effect on a female cannabis plant after it has been pollinated will differ depending on when the pollination happens. If a cannabis plant is pollinated early in flower, then the plant will not produce as many resins, cannabinoids and terpenes as it could have.
This is because, once the plant is pollinated, it will focus a lot of its energy on making seeds.
So the flavour and high will be better if the plant is pollinated later. But better if it isn’t pollinated at all, as all pollinated buds will contain seeds.
Of course, if a female cannabis plant is pollinated you will be left with a lot of cannabis seeds after harvesting.
This is not so bad if the female plant was pollinated by a male cannabis plant. These seeds will be known as “regular cannabis seed”, and produce 50% males, and 50% females.
But, if a female cannabis plant is pollinated by a hermaphrodite cannabis plant, or even pollinated by itself, it would not be a good idea to try growing these seeds.
For a good grow, you need to start with the best seeds. And you can buy cheap cannabis seeds with good genetics from many seeds banks online.
Cannabis seeds will carry genetics from its parents. One female plant, and one male plant, combine genetics and give seeds that will have a 50% chance of being male or a 50% of being female (regulars).
This is the same for hermaphrodite cannabis seeds. If the parents of the seeds were hermaphrodite, then they will carry that “hermie” gene too. This will increase the chances of the plant grown from that seed being hermaphrodite.
So start off in the right place, with the best genetics possible! The stronger the genetics, the less chance you have of the plant becoming a hermie.
There are many factors that will cause a cannabis plant to hermaphrodite.
The first, and most major one, is genetics! The more stable the genetics are, the less likely the plant will hermie when it is put under stress.
When a cannabis plant is put under too much stress, such as too much heat, irregular light cycles, or too much damage, it has a higher chance of becoming a hermie. The plant will be stressed to the extent where it “thinks” it will not make it to the end of its life cycle, and will not be pollinated.
In a last ditch effort to preserve its genetics, the plant will hermie, so it can make seeds, and pass on its genetics to the next generation.
The most common cause for hermaphrodite cannabis plants is light leaks though.
The night cycle during the flowering period should not be disturbed. If it gets too much light during its night hours, it will confuse the plant and cause it to hermie.
You will not see signs of a hermie cannabis plant, until the plant is flowering.
Some plants will hermie early, and you will see male and female flowers growing together when buds first start to form. This will look like the usual white hairs (pistols), coming out of a small, tear drop shaped calyx, but they will have male flowers on them too.
Male cannabis plant flowers look like a round ball, on the end of a stalk. They are rounder than the female calyxes, but they do look similar.
If you spot any sign of a hermaphrodite cannabis plant early in the grow, then you should remove it from the grow room. Sometimes a plant will hermie later into flower, and you may not be able to see the male flowers until it is too late.
When the buds have formed, it can be much harder to spot signs of a hermaphrodite cannabis plant.
The male flowers will grow, but they can be hidden amongst the buds. As well as constantly looking out for male flowers you should look out for something growers call “Bananas”.
The male flowers on a hermie cannabis plant can often look like bananas. They will even open up in a similar way to peeling a banana. If a female cannabis plant has hermied late into flower, then these are what you need to look for.
It is important you know the difference between male flowers, and a female calyx too. They can look very similar and new growers may assume their plant is hermie, but it isn’t.
If you see male flowers, or signs of hermie, then don’t rush into making a decision. It takes 7-10 days for a male flower to grow, and produce viable pollen.
Make sure what you see are male cannabis plant flowers, and not calyxes.
As mentioned earlier, genetics are a major factor, make sure you buy good cannabis seeds, from a good seed bank.
Next, light leaks! This is another big factor. During the dark hours, a cannabis plant should not get any light that is brighter than a full moon. But preferably none at all! The darker the better. After setting up your grow room, before you put plants into it, you need to check it for light leaks yourself.
Get into your grow room, and close all of the doors, and wait for a few minutes. As your eyes adjust to the darkness you will see light leaks from vents, or equipment in the grown room. Cover all light leaks, this will prevent your cannabis plants turning hermie.
Do not stress the plant out too much with high temperatures either. Prolonged heat stress can cause a cannabis plant to Hermie too.
Once in flower, and the buds are starting to form, keep the dark hours dark, and try not to stress out your plants at all.
This will massively reduce your chances of hermie.
The best option for most cannabis growers, is to cut the plant down and remove it from the grow space.
It is never good when this happens, which is why it is important to try and avoid it in the first place.
Hermie cannabis plants are not all bad though. They can be used in breeding to make feminised seeds. But this takes a lot of time, and a lot of space to grow in. It isn’t ideal for most growers.
If you have found the early signs of hermaphrodite cannabis in your grow room, the best thing to do is remove it, and if possible, start again.
Auto flowering cannabis plants have a far stronger tolerance to light leaks and stress, and can hermie less than photoperiod plants.
If you are having problems, or worried about hermie, then buy some autoflowering cannabis seeds and try those.