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Preventing Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plants: Tips for a Healthy and Stable Grow

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Hermaphrodites

Every grower invests time, money, and effort to get the highest possible yields. No farmer expects to waste time caring for cannabis plants that won’t add value to their venture. But while this ideal expectation is valid, mishaps occur.

Hermaphrodites are some of the annoyances a cultivator will encounter along their growing journey. So how do you detect, prevent, and handle hermaphrodites in your cultivation? This post delves into the details. Read on to learn more and maintain a healthy, steady grow.

What Are Hermaphrodites?

Let’s start by defining hermaphrodites. Hermaphrodites are plants with staminate (male) and pistillate (female) floral structures. All cannabis plants should produce male and female inflorescences on different plants.

Commercial growers prefer growing female plants because they produce more and better yields. They destroy all males because seed formation reduces flower quality. When hermaphrodites occur spontaneously, hermaphroditic inflorescences, in which pistillate flowers are followed by anther formation, cause undesired seed formation.

When this unfortunate event occurs, the male structures release pollen, contaminating the female flowers and becoming seeded buds. You only need seeded buds to breed seeds. Otherwise, you will have difficulties selling your produce. Additionally, seed formation wastes the energy your female cannabis would have used to produce bigger, healthier buds, cannabinoids, THC, and terpenoids.

Formerly, many farmers didn’t find anything wrong with hermaphrodites. They used the seeds to grow more female plants because they could only produce feminized crops. The challenge is that some females that emerge from these seeds also become hermaphrodites. Thus, a farmer ends up in a vicious cycle.

What Causes Hermaphrodites in Cannabis?

So, what causes hermaphrodite cannabis? The answer is that different factors cause it. Thus, your crop can suffer from one, two, or even more causes. Below are the top causes.

Genetic Defects

Cannabis can become hermaphrodite due to genetic defects or a natural genetic trait. Some plants become hermies because of their inherited genetic traits. Others do so because of breeding mistakes that introduce hermie tendencies into strains.

General Stress

Your cannabis crop can become hermaphrodite due to general stress. When you take plants outside their comfort zones during flowing, this stress can sometimes occur. This stress comes in different forms, including the following:  

  • Grow rooms becoming too cold or hot;
  • Overfeeding or underfeeding;
  • Overwatering or underwatering;
  • Feeding plants using poor-quality nutrients;
  • Unbalanced pH levels of nutrient solutions;
  • Root rot;
  • Poorly aerated cultivation mediums;
  • Excessive trimming;
  • Untimely trimming;
  • Pests;
  • Diseases;
  • Disruption during the flowering phase photoperiod, such as light leaks.

Light Stress

Light stress is another hermaphrodite cause among female marijuana crops. Light is essential for your plants’ life. Unreliable light cycles that start or stop at the wrong time can cause this problem. Also, light leaks or penetration interruptions at night can cause hermaphroditism.

So, ensure no light leaks in your grow room and give your blooming photoperiod plants the ideal regime of at least 12 hours of non-stop darkness. Placing artificial lights too close to or far from flowering weed plants also burns or bleaches cannabis.

Aggressive Chemicals

Cannabis can reverse or invert its sex due to certain chemicals. This sex-altering ability comes from an element that inhibits ethylene production in female specimens.

Unnatural Types of Seed Manipulation

Unnatural seed types can create hermaphrodite tendencies in cannabis. Most strains that develop hermaphrodites come from feminized seeds. Creating seeds without following the natural pathway can produce hermaphrodites. This problem also occurs with auto flowering cannabis.

Wrong Harvesting Timing

Harvesting your cannabis late also exposes the females to hermaphrodite tendencies. When females wait to harvest longer than expected, they create pollen. Thus, timing is critical here to avoid over-ripening.

Detecting, Preventing, and Removing Hermaphrodites: Can You Smoke Hermaphrodite Plants?

This section examines practical hermaphroditism detection, prevention, and removal ways. You can get more exciting ideas about hermaphrodite cannabis plants here at https://askgrowers.com/cannabis-growing-guide/hermaphrodite-cannabis-plants.

Detection

Let’s start where it matters the most—spotting hermies in your plantation. Female plants show pistils at their bud sites’ bases, while males have pollen sacks resembling balls. During early budding, these sacks are visible together with pistils.

If you notice that your plants have early floral structures, check them daily with a magnifying device from top to bottom. But if you don’t detect any hermie signs, you can stop the process but check your crops regularly. When approaching the late bloom phase, restart the monitoring process. If you find any hermaphrodites among your crops, don’t kill them because you will soon harvest your crop before they seed their buds. This process might seem cumbersome, but it’s worth the hassle if you want to protect your crops.

Removal

So, what happens if you spot any hermaphrodites within your crop? Here are the steps to take, depending on the stage at which you detect them.  

  • Remove the male structures. You may remove all the male features from the hermaphrodites and check them daily to see if more develop. If the male features keep developing, move to the next stage.
  • Kill the plants. If you are growing cannabis outdoors, kill the hermie and remove the healthy plants of that strain to another location in your cultivation garden where air movement is less likely to reach them. Take this precaution because air movement across the potential pollen crops can spread pollen to other plants in a grow room.

Prevention

You can prevent hermaphrodite tendencies by controlling your seed selection and setting up an optimal environment for the crops.

Start by finding cannabis strains that aren’t predisposed to hermaphroditism. Most high-quality feminized seeds will, most of the time, produce females. That’s why you must be careful with the seeds you find in other flowers because they might carry hermaphrodite tendencies.

We also recommend treating all your cannabis seeds well before planting them. When growing outdoors, don’t overstress your plants because you have limited control over your plants compared to indoor growing. Fortunately, outdoor strains are hardier and well-suited for harsher environments. Therefore, they require more stress to develop into hermies. Below are more suggestions to keep the hermies out of your growing field or garden.

  • Don’t overfeed your plants with nutrients;
  • Inspect your plants’ pH and regularly calibrate your meter;
  • Maintain daytime temperatures around 75º F (24º C) and night temperatures at 64.5º F (18º C);
  • Harvest your crops on time because overripe plants become hermies;
  • Clean your crops because pests also cause stress;
  • Maintain a strict photoperiod, and don’t illuminate your plants at night;
  • Use phytosanitary products carefully because some are very strong and can stress your cannabis;
  • Don’t overcrowd your grow room because it stresses plant roots.

Closing Remarks

Hermaphrodites are common during cannabis growing. If you don’t handle them well, they can mess up an entire crop and cause you losses. But with a proper understanding, you can successfully detect, remove, and prevent this growing menace. We hope our insights in this post will help you deal with these unwanted plants and give you a stable, healthy cannabis plantation.

The author of this article is Denys Svirepchuk, an expert in cannabis growing with many years of experience. Denys contributes to the AskGrowers resource as a full-time blogger and educates the readers about cannabis growing technology, products, and quality criteria.

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