The term, “Hermie” is used by those who grow, to identify a plant when it genetically shows signs of BOTH female and male flowers. Early signs of Hermie plant genetics are important to look out for any time you grow. Here is why…
Identifying the early signs of a Hermie plant can save you the frustration of wasting time, growing plants to full maturity, only to discover that the plants are hermaphrodites and essentially useless.
If it has not happened yet, consider yourself lucky, but inevitably there may be a time when your plants will transition into a Hermie. The buds or flowers will display both female and male attributes. At the beginning of plant stages, it can be extremely hard to identify but it is possible.
Early on, your plants might show as female, but with a Hermie, the plant will pollinate itself and then produce seeds, which no one wants to consume. Catching hermaphrodite plants early on is key to saving frustration on growing for months only to discover your plant is useless.
Which begs the question….
What Are Some Early Signs of a Hermie Plant?
Cannabis plants that stray into a hermaphrodite plant can show signs at any point while flowering, but it is the early flowering stage that is the easiest to figure out if you plant will be male, female, or a Hermie.
As the flowers develop and grow larger, identifying if your plant is a Hermie will be a harder task due to the buds becoming large and hiding the factors that make a plant both male and female.
Discovering Hermies in The Early Flowering Stages
Figuring out the sex of a plant is much easier in the beginning stages of flowering. Buds are far less dense and allow you to visibly look at the areas where the sex organs of a plant develop.
How to Tell If Your Cannabis is Female
With female plants, the flowers grow tiny hairs around 4 – 8 weeks past germination depending on the strain. These hairs, or what are called Pistils are a frosty white cluster of little shoots that look like fine hair. During this stage, the plants also produce Calyxes, often confused for male genetics in plants, these can throw off amateur gardeners who decide to throw their plants in the trash without a second opinion. It is important to know what to look for when determining a cannabis plant’s sex.
How to Tell if Your Plant is a Male
Regarding a male plant, instead of the flowers, males grow what are called pods around the 3rd week of growth from a seedling. These pods appear as clusters around the protruding stalk, often confused with the female’s Calyx. This is where the seeds begin to form.
How to Determine if Your Plant is Both Male and Female (Hermie)
Look at the Calyx first. Hard to spot initially, the Calyx will appear as a frosty or crystalized flap that has protruding pistils that look like small white hairs. Examine the area around the Calyx close to the stem. This is where seeds will also grow in a Hermie plant.
As a Hermie plant matures it starts to grow “Bananas or Nanners”. Named for the way they look as they form; these look like little bunches of bananas. They will eventually burst open and then pollinate your plant.
If you can locate these “bananas or nanners” it will immediately tell you that your plants are in fact, hermaphrodites. Often, at this point, it is too late to salvage your plants and will have to start over.
At this crossroads, the real question becomes, “How did this happen and what can I do to stop this from happening again?”.
Dealing with A Hermie Plant
Nothing worse than seeing great growth in your flowers and buds and then realizing there is a mix of pollinated seeds also. A sure sign that your plant is a Hermaphrodite.
If you do discover your plant is a Hermie in the early stages, you have a couple of choices or remedies.
- Take on the task of removing the seeds from the plant. This can be tedious, however. Sifting through every stem and branch will take time and an extreme amount of patience and you may not always be successful with complete removal.
- Destroy your plants and start fresh. Sad, but if you lack patience this might be the only alternative.
- Use plants for an extract. Order a magic butter machine or find a rosin press and extract the oils. The seeds will be forgotten, and you still get the benefits from the terpenes and cannabinoids.
No matter which path you choose, you will want to remove the entire plant from your grow tent as to not influence or pollenate the other plants which can lead to utter chaos in your grow room environment.
What Causes Plants To Become Hermaphrodites?
Knowing how a plant turns into a Hermaphrodite is important to know how to avoid it. So, what causes a plant to become a Hermaphrodite?
Optimal cannabis growing temperatures should be between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 85 degrees Fahrenheit while in the stage of flowering. This temp range should not fluctuate too greatly. At night temps can be lowered to mimic a natural environment, but only slightly.
Maintaining a prolonged and steady temperature is always ideal. Swings in heat and cold can stress plants and create a Hermie through its evolutionary reaction to this condition for the need for self-survival.
Light is the single most important aspect of growing indoors. Light schedules signal the plant to change stages. Plants while vegging should be exposed to light at least 18 – 24 hours a day and during flowering, lights should be on for 12 hours and off for another 12 hours.
If your plants are exposed to light at the wrong increments, this will confuse the plants. The natural reaction to this is a survival mode technique that can cause the plant to produce both male and female parts.
We all want tons of light to hit our plants, but the problem becomes what is to much light, well…to much?
The answer is when you start to burn your leaves from over-exposure. Kind of like a sunburn for us but as we might just burn, plants, through evolution can become a Hermie.
Choosing the best LED grow light is truly an important decision.
Be Diligent in Examining Your Plants Daily
You should already be looking at your plants daily as they grow. This helps you understand how well they are growing and gives you insight on what to do if your plants have a deficiency anywhere. The key to good growth is spotting issues early on and solving them as quickly as you can.
- Nutrient burn
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Yellowing of flowers and where
Finding Quality Seeds
Every journey starts with a good first step. Growing is no different. Always start your grows with quality seeds from reputable seed banks that ship to the USA or whatever location you reside in. Be sure to follow local laws in your area for cannabis seeds.
Saving Your Hermie Plant For Further Production
This is a very debatable topic in the grower’s world. Should you use it for genetics? Should you remove and destroy the plant?
Ultimately there are pros and cons to every decision you make and really trial and error is the best course of action. Plants that have been cross-bred with Hermies have the potential to also become Hermies.
Lastly, do not beat yourself up if a plant with both male and female parts pops up in your garden. This can happen, even if you do everything correctly. Its nature at play. The good news is, you can always find a use for a Hermie if discarded. The leaves themselves are great to add to a daily smoothie or the potential for oil extraction might be a good option to take advantage of its medicinal properties. Not a total loss, but not ideal. Happy growing!