Let’s take a deeper look into male and female cannabis plants. From there, we’ll see what causes some specimens to develop both male and female reproductive organs.
WHY DOES IT MATTER THAT CANNABIS IS DIOECIOUS?
From psychoactive cannabinoids to aromatic terpenes, cannabis features many traits that make it unique within the plant kingdom. However, the uniqueness of the plant doesn’t stop at the phytochemicals it produces.
Of course, growers want to avoid this phenomenon if they’re aiming for the best flowers possible. We’ll dive deeper into what causes hermaphroditism and how to avoid it below.
Hermaphroditism stems from two major driving factors: stress and genetics. In regards to stress, hermaphroditism serves as a survival mechanism. If a plant experiences damage, heat, disease, or nutrient deficiencies, they start to freak out. Essentially, plants get the impression that their time is up. In a last-ditch attempt to reproduce, they decide to stop waiting around for a male and get the job done themselves.
Before we dive into the more complicated matter when it comes to sexing a cannabis plant, let’s start with some basics. Cannabis plants are so called ‘dioecious plants’ (‘di-‘ is ‘two’ in Greek; ‘oikia’ means ‘house’). This means they produce either male of female reproductive organs, known as the flowers. In contrast to ‘monoecious plants’, which produce two different types of flowers on the same plant.
So even if you use feminized seeds, it is advised to keep a close eye and determine the sex of the plant as soon as you can. As there’s always a small chance at finding a male plant in your garden which could screw up your harvest, or for the plant to turn from female to hermaphrodite and develop both sexes on one cannabis plant; as we’ll explain later on.
Male Or Female Cannabis Plants
The cannabis plants most consumers know and love are often female. As these are the plants that produce the smokeable flowers – the dried buds – but which can also be grown at home. These weed flowers, buds, or ‘colas’ are covered in trichomes / resin which holds the plant’s active components, like cannabinoids and terpenes. Male cannabis plants however are less popular with consumers, as their only task in life is to release pollen into the air.
Strong & Healthy Chocolato FEM (White Choco x Gelato)
When growing strains that are sensitive to stress, growers run a risk of their cannabis plants developing hermaphroditic traits – like the well-known Original Glue (Gorilla Glue #4). In our online seeds catalogue, you’ll find certain strains that are particularly resistant to stress.
• Long flowering times
Cannabis plants need the right nutrients to produce great bud. Over/underfeeding can stress your plants, affecting their ability to develop properly and potentially increasing the risk of becoming hermaphroditic.
Plants that turn hermaphrodite late in the bloom phase usually develop what some growers call “bananas”. This is the male stamen (exactly like those you’d find inside a male pollen sac), which has protruded through the female flower and can release pollen at any moment. Technically speaking, these are mixed-sex buds, rather than true hermaphroditic plants.
HOW TO SPOT A “HERMIE”
Do you think you might have a “hermie” threatening to ruin your entire harvest? If so, you’ll need to act fast. In this article, we’ll teach you everything crucial about hermaphroditism in cannabis plants, including how to spot it, deal with it, and prevent it in the future.
• Poor growing medium
Using a growing medium that is too acidic or alkaline is another big stressor for cannabis.
The whole production of sinsemilla cannabis is very unnatural. It takes female cannabis plants and forces them to go unfertilised for extremely unnatural amounts of time. This is essentially what forces the plant to rev up its production of THC and terpenes, giving us the extremely potent and aromatic buds we seek.