Certain cannabis plants will herm even if healthy and unstressed . This is a genetic trait carried by some strains and particular plants. That’s part of why it’s important to grow seeds from a trustworthy breeder. For example, every clone of the following plant grew bananas in week 3 of the flowering stage, under no stress, in multiple different grow setups. When herming is part of a plant’s genes, there’s not much you can do.
This poor hermie has male pollen sacs growing among the female flowers. It’s recommended to immediately toss any plant that shows both male and female flowers! Did you know there are “male” and “female” cannabis plants? Cannabis plants are “dioecious” plants, which means each plant shows a particular sex, just like humans and many animals. There will occasionally be plants that show mixed-sex and these plants are often referred to as hermaphrodites or “hermies”, which I will explain in much greater detail below. The sex of a particular plant matters quite a bit to growers. That’s because only female cannabis plants produce buds. In fact, the “buds” that we smoke are actually the female flowers of the cannabis plant.
The highest quality bud is considered to be “sensimilla” and refers to female cannabis buds that have not been pollinated by a male cannabis plant. The word “sensimilla” actually comes from the Spanish phrase “sin semilla” which roughly translates to “without seeds.” Regular marijuana seeds will usually be about 50% male, and 50% female. That means half of the seeds will be unusable as far as growing buds. Please note that some male cannabis plants (about 70% of male cannabis plants according to some estimates) may produce a small amount of useable THC via trichomes growing on the outside of the plant. Unless you’ve seen the males in your plant’s family tree, there is no way to know for sure if a particular male plant is going to produce THC/trichomes. Even if it does it will be a much, much lower amount than a female cannabis plant producing buds. If you have a male plant and you are trying to grow bud, I strongly, strongly recommend throwing the male plant away immediately and starting another seed or focusing on your other plants. It’s a waste of time to grow male plants for THC or other cannabinoids – they don’t grow buds! Here’s a picture of a male cannabis plant – no buds or trichomes, just pollen sacs! Quick Tip: How do you make sure you only grow female plants so all your plants produce buds? One way around the issue of having 50% male and 50% female plants is to purchase feminized seeds online. These seeds are available from all reputable online seedbanks, and the plants produced by these seeds are always female. Get your questions about buying seeds online answered! You can also make your own feminized seeds, but you have to start with two known female cannabis plants. It’s difficult to look at a young cannabis plant and know its sex. For the first part of your cannabis plant’s life, it will be in the first stage of growth known as the “Vegetative Stage.” In this stage, your plant will only grow leaves and stems, but no buds or flowers. Think of this as the time when your plant is gaining size to prepare for the second stage of life. A young vegetative cannabis plant is unlikely to reveal its sex until it’s at least 3-6 weeks old, and sometimes even later than that. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to determine the sex of a cannabis plant when it’s a young seedling. Although there is genetic testing that can be used on plants as young as 1 week old, most growers aren’t going to go that route.
At a certain point, most strains will “reveal” their sex via pre-flowers at the joints. This can occur as young as 3 weeks old with male plants, and around 4-6 weeks old for female plants. This is normal and is just a sign that your plant is fully mature and ready to start flowering. Cuttings (clones) taken from a female plant will always turn out to be female.
Sometimes clones are showing preflowers by the time they’re rooted as a clone. We also know that when you breed two female plants together, you end up with feminized (all-female) seeds. So, unless you start with a known female clone or feminized seeds, there’s no way to know what sex your plant will turn out until it actually starts showing signs of sex organs.