In the wild, male and female cannabis plants grow in close proximity to each other to facilitate pollination. Like all plant and animal species, the main biological imperative of cannabis is to reproduce. Thankfully, the absence of male plants alone isn’t usually enough to induce hermaphroditism.
That’s bad news for serious growers who pride themselves on producing high-quality, seedless sinsemilla buds. However, hermaphrodite plants, or “hermies,” aren’t born that way. That means there are a few steps growers can take to reduce their chances of losing otherwise productive female plants, or even entire crops, to hermaphroditism and its detrimental effects.
How Stress Causes Hermaphroditism
When plants develop hermaphroditism early in their grow cycles, it doesn’t usually cause too much of a disruption. Growers who use regular seeds instead of feminized varieties should be on the lookout for male plants during the vegetative stage, anyway, so they usually notice them early enough to avoid pollination.
When female plants produce bananas as a result of delayed harvest, it creates viable seeds that contain no male genetic information. These seeds are all but certain to produce more female plants. Plant breeders sometimes force hermaphroditism to produce feminized seeds in a process known as rhodelization.
Photoperiod disruptions can cause hermaphroditism in indoor grows. This is especially true if growers interrupt the dark period during the flowering stage. The best solution is to block out all light entirely during the dark period.
In contrast, plants with nanners may revert to 100% female’ floral structures when plant stress is eliminated, especially during early bloom phase.
But the other plant continued to develop new nanners. The grower put it outdoors and let it grow until it was ready to harvest. The buds were partially seeded, but resinous and tasty. He used those buds to make extracts.
Take a look amongst the white pistil hairs slightly to the left of top-center in this bud photo, and elsewhere, and you’ll see the dastardly nanners!
Detect and Prevent Hermie Marijuana From Happening to You!
Nanners (officially called “stamens”) don’t often develop into full-size pollen-dispensing structures like flowers on 100% male marijuana plants, but still dispense enough pollen to seed buds.
“Many growers have had their hearts broken growing strains that might be otherwise desirable, but have the tendency to go hermie,” explains “Paul the Pro Breeder,” who founded and runs legendary North American seed breeding consortium New420Guy Seeds.
However, to be 100% sure you won’t end up with a seeded grow op, the safest strategy is to get rid of hermie plants immediately, and make damn sure that non-hermie plants in the same proximity haven’t been seeded.
We advised the grower to put his lights on a timer and ensure a strict 12 hour on/12 hour off formula, with the same start and stop time each day. He removed the nanners for seven days as the plants got used to the predictable light cycle. Then, his plants stopped producing nanners and were 100% female until harvest.
This banana appeared a few days after the grower used the bud back building technique (they cut off the top tip of buds to try to get them to grow more fat and round). Apparently, the plant felt attacked
Plants with bananas are sometimes called “hermies” or “herms” (shortened from “hermaphrodite”). Learn about other types of herms besides bananas (such as pollen sacs).
If bananas appear while buds are still white and fluffy, remove the plant from the grow room immediately. It will only get worse.
Yellow banana growing among the beautiful buds 🙁
Bananas start pollinating everything in the area as soon as they appear. If you have a major banana problem it may be best to harvest the plants immediately and cut your losses. Seeds take some time to develop, so if a plant starts herming right around harvest time, you’re much less likely to end up with seeds. However, if they appear at the beginning of the flowering stage with plenty of time for seeds to fully form, you may find tons of seeds falling out of your buds after harvest.