When growing cannabis for buds, you want to avoid having a hermaphroditic plant at all costs. This is because they will produce pollen in sites that would have been buds, giving you a smaller yield as a result. There are two reasons for the development of hermaphroditic traits: the plant's genetics or stress. The latter is more common for plants that have been feminized, and happens when a plant becomes abnormally stressed.
Identifying Hermaphroditic Traits
To begin, we first need to define what hermaphroditic traits are. A hermaphroditic plant is one that has both male (i.e. staminate) and female (i.e. pistillate) floral structures (Figure 1). Cannabis plants typically grow only one type of reproductive organs (i.e. male or female floral structures), so, having hermaphroditic traits is not common, but can happen.
Fig 1. Here is an image of a cannabis plant with hermaphroditic traits. The male pollen sacs can be identified by their round shape. The female pistils can be identified by their white/translucent hairs.
Dealing with Hermaphroditic Traits
To mitigate the development of hermaphroditic traits, carefully remove the male reproductive organs that form on your plant's nodes. You can do so by gently taking a pollen sac in between two fingers, then twist/pull to take it off. This way, you can still have an awesome harvest from any hermaphroditic cannabis plant without having to pluck seeds from your buds.
Preventing Hermaphroditic Traits
- Do not cause your plant stress over an extended period of time. This can look like interrupting her sleep schedule by shinning lights on her during Dark Mode (i.e. when they lights are off), trimming your plant too much, or having your plant in an environment that's too hot or too cold.
- Pay attention to your plant's root system, as root rot can cause stress that can lead to hermaphrodite flower development. Click HERE to learn more about root rot.
- Don't let your plant's buds overripe. Some plants that have been in Flower for a long time will create male flower structures to make their own pollen. Think of it as a last ditch effort by the plant to ensure it can reproduce.
- Buy seeds from a reliable supplier. Sometimes hermaphrodite flowers will develop due to a seed's genetics, so, to maximize your chance of success, purchase a feminized seed from a supplier with a good track record. Click HERE to see who we recommend.
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