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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.
There are a number of different causes of hermaphroditism in cannabis plants. These include:
Now, is this good or bad? Well, that’s an interesting topic that unfortunately lies far outside the scope of this article. For the purpose of this read, it’s simply important that you realise that cannabis cultivation isn’t exactly “natural”, and that this can influence why some plants turn out hermaphroditic.
WHAT KIND OF STRESS CAN CAUSE CANNABIS PLANTS TO BECOME HERMAPHRODITIC?
Using a growing medium that is too acidic or alkaline is another big stressor for cannabis.
Unfortunately, there’s no telling whether a plant has hermaphroditic genes. The only thing you can do to prevent hermaphroditism is this: give your plants the best possible growing conditions and avoid stressing them at all costs. If you use training techniques (both low and high stress), make sure you know what you’re doing.
Sometimes, cannabis plants can inherit hermaphroditic genes. This can occur naturally or as a result of breeding, the stress of which can introduce hermaphroditism into a strain.
Plants naturally seek out environmental conditions that allow them to grow healthy and strong. When those conditions aren’t met, they suffer from stress. For cannabis, this stress can push a plant to become hermaphroditic.
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.”
Want to read about a real example?
Male vs Female Cannabis Plants: Introduction
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. This happens in the second stage of your plant’s life, known as the “flowering stage.” The first sex organs that appear are often called “pre-flowers.”
What should the grower do? It is recommended that you remove plants showing bananas from your grow area immediately to prevent accidental pollination of buds. If the pollen being formed is allowed to make contact with your buds, those buds will stop focusing on making more buds and will turn all their “effort” into making seeds. If the plant self-pollinates, you will end up with a bunch of sub-par seeds that are likely to have the same problem.
Younger plants (that are less than 6 weeks old or haven’t shown preflowers yet) tend to take a little longer to switch into the flowering stage compared to older, more mature plants that have been vegetating for a while. Other than that, you can pretty much force a cannabis plant to start flowering no matter the age, even 2-3 weeks after the seed was germinated.