At the mere mention of the word “hermaphrodites” marijuana growers usually shake their heads in desperation. Hermaphrodites or hermies pertains to cannabis plants that have two genders. As a novice cannabis grower, you must learn all about hermies, how to look for them, what to do with plants with hermaphrodite traits and how to avoid hermies. We’re here to help you out with updated information.
What are hermaphrodite marijuana plants?
Let us define hermaphrodites first. According to a textbook definition of hermaphrodites, it is an organism, which may be a plant or an animal, with both female and male reproductive organs. It is described as an organism with both male and female structures.
Because of having both male and female reproductive parts, the organism is capable of producing male and female gametes. In marijuana plants, usually, female plants develop male reproductive structures. However, this may be avoided by using only female seeds or feminized seeds.
The male and female cannabis plant parts
Before we head on to distinguishing hermaphrodites, let’s find out what male and female plants look like. Female cannabis plants come from regular or feminized seeds. During the vegetative stage, you can’t tell if your plants are female. But as it enters the pre-flowering stage, wispy white flowers will soon develop along the junctions of the stems and trunk. These flowers are female flowers and will either develop seeds when fertilized by male cannabis plants (make pollen pollinates these female parts) or will grow weed as these female flowers mature.
Meanwhile, male cannabis plants grow male structures that look like balls or sacs. These sacs will mature, dry up and will soon crack to release male pollen. This male pollen reaches female flowers and pollinates these to produce seeds. Pollination happens almost automatically with the aid of wind or air, insects or other animals.
To make seeds, males are allowed to pollinate female plants. This is the natural way to grow new generations of cannabis plants or breeding new strains. But if you want to grow weed, male plants are removed from the growing area so that female flowers may grow and mature. When buds are ready these will be covered with trichomes with a dense appearance.
What do hermaphrodite cannabis plants look like?
Now that you know what female and male plants look like, it’s now easy to identify what hermies are. The term usually describes female plants that grow male parts. If you have female cannabis plants with wispy white pistils, these plants will also grow male parts (balls or sacs). And because it has two different gender parts, it is capable of self-pollination.
Some hermaphrodite cannabis plants also grow “bananas.” This is a different kind of male reproductive part that’s ready to produce pollen. Bananas are very small yellow structures sometimes already covered with pollen. Compared to sacs and balls that look green and will need to mature to release pollen, bananas are ready to pollinate.
Can you tell that your cannabis plants will become hermaphrodites? There is no telling if the plants that you’re caring for will become hermies. There is no telling too if the seeds you have germinated will also grow up to be hermaphrodites.
But some strains are more vulnerable to developing hermaphroditic characteristics. Seasoned growers advice novice ones to avoid these strains. This we will learn later on and we’ll also identify these strains as well.
Finally, there are ways to avoid or prevent hermaphrodites from developing and this applies to strains prone to this characteristic trait and for general cannabis strains as well.
What causes hermaphrodites in cannabis plants?
Two ways cause hermaphroditic traits in cannabis plants: stress or environmental factors and genetic tendency. As a cannabis grower, you must try hard to avoid these factors to ensure good harvests and better yields.
Stress is known as the number one cause of cannabis plants developing hermaphroditic characteristics. Developing hermaphroditic traits is one way a cannabis plant tries to save its genes in a stressful situation. There are many triggers and here are some examples.
Example A – consequences of stress
Consider a regular female cannabis plant that’s becoming too big for its pot. You decide to transfer this plant to a larger pot without thinking of possible risks. You pry it out from its old, smaller pot and replant it in a larger, more spacious pot.
It takes longer for the plant to flower, as expected with a replanted plant. But as you watch the female wispy pistils start to emerge (because the plant is indeed female) you also notice some balls, sacs or bananas growing on other stems and branches.
Your female plants have turned to hermaphrodite plants because it has been exposed to stress. It has become a hermie because it sensed that it might be at risk of dying or not being able to flower to continue its genes to its offspring.
Example B – due to delays in harvest
Another regular female cannabis plant is at its flowering stage. You are growing cannabis for weed and thus there are no male plants in your growing area. However, you overlook harvesting it at the right time.
Instead of harvesting 9 to 10 weeks, you continue to delay harvest thinking you’ll get a better flavor at 11 weeks. At this week, you spot sacs, balls or bananas growing along the junctions between the stems and branches of the plant.
The female plant in this scenario is also dealing with stress. Cannabis plants are very sensitive plants in such a way that these can sense if the wind is getting colder and the nights are becoming shorter. And when this happens, the plants think that it will miss its chance to grow seeds and pass on its genes.
It will try to compensate by developing male parts so that it can still pollinate itself and grow seeds. And if this happens, you will end up ruining all your hard work. Instead of harvesting weed or marijuana, you will get seeds.
Example C – because of the effects of chemicals
Aside from stress and environmental factors, cannabis plants may turn into hermaphrodites when these are exposed to certain chemicals. This is how growers and breeders turn regular female plants to cannabis plants with female and male parts or hermaphrodites.
The most common chemical compound used is colloidal silver, a chemical that’s a combination of one part of water and one part silver. When colloidal silver is sprayed on a flowering female cannabis plant, it will soon develop male parts.
These male parts will soon start to mature, dry up and release female pollen (you’ll get female pollen because these were from sacs and balls of female plants).
Growers use female pollen to grow feminized seeds. This type of seeds is used to grow feminized cannabis or all-female plants.
Example D – strains vulnerable to hermaphroditic traits
Some cannabis strains are more vulnerable to developing hermaphrodite characteristics. Some growers think that this is a disease and the consequences of wrong breeding made by very eager growers and breeders.
Experts say that this condition happens more than what we know and when there are hermies; you’re wasting away money, time and effort. The most common problem for growers is that only females are accepted by consumers because these are the only ones that can grow flowers with potent amounts of THC.
Several cannabis strains have a higher tendency of developing hermaphroditic traits. These strains have almost the same factor, which is an individual chosen from involuntary pollination inside a growing area where environmental stress is from female flowers with seeds.
The grower did not remove these seeds but used and sprouted them instead. Meanwhile, these plants may not become hermaphrodites but carry hermie traits to their offspring. The following straits possess high hermaphroditic tendencies:
Kush strains are some of the most potent and very flavorful cannabis strains. It is said that Kush strains don’t need to possess hermaphroditic traits to become perfect recreational and medicinal strains. But most Kush hybrids were from crossing two or more Kush sub-species and this has somehow increased the tendency of these strains to create hermaphrodite plants.
So, if you’re planning to grow Kush plants, you must consider avoiding stress and to provide the best growing environment to cultivate your plants. Most Kush strains and hybrids offer good yields, highly potent recreational and medicinal strains and unique smell and taste.
Blueberry is known as one of the first strains with hermaphroditic traits. These traits were from their parent Thai strain. But still, not all Blueberry plants will exhibit this trait but, surely, this strain has expressed its hermie characteristics when exposed to adverse environmental conditions.
Just like Kush strains, Blueberry strains and hybrids must be grown with very little stress as possible. Provide the ideal growing environment including the right amount of water, the right amount of nutrients especially during the flowering phase and to grow your plants in the best temperature and humidity.
Also, most Blueberry strains offer good yields and flowers quickly. If you want to grow Blueberry or any strains related to Blueberry, you must have at least some experience in growing other strains.
One of the most impressive strains is Gorilla Glue. This is extremely popular because of many reasons however, some growers say otherwise. If grown in an uncontrolled environment or when there is uncontrolled pollination inside a grows room, there is a huge possibility to become hermaphrodites.
Growers have a high possibility to develop into hermies, something that most growers don’t want. Therefore, if you’re not careful, you might end up growing plants with a bunch of seeds.
So do whatever you can to avoid hermies when you are growing Gorilla Glue. Take time to learn about its growing environment so you’ll be able to provide your plants’ needs and prevent hermie traits.
Most cannabis strains that are difficult to grow may tend to develop hermies. Not all cannabis strains are created equal. Some strains are more prone to stress, some are very difficult to cultivate and some prone to mold, mildew, and pests.
Some strains are heaven-sent to growers and will grow no matter what kind of growing environment you have. It is likely that these plants are less prone to stress and will not develop hermaphroditic traits in any condition.
Example E – other stressful conditions
Several factors may also contribute to plant stress. When there are changes in the photoperiod in cannabis plants such as any kind of alterations, interruptions or poor stability during the dark period of the plant’s flowering stage. A cannabis plant may have extended flowering times and thus may stress the plant and this causes hermaphroditic traits to come up.
Extreme heat or constant high temperatures higher than 30 degrees Celsius can cause hermaphrodite traits. Another factor that can stress plants is structural stress that is any condition that can affect the structure of plants including its roots and stems as well as training like pruning, topping, and fimming.
Some cannabis plants can suffer from hydric stress or stress due to poor or excess irrigation. This may also happen when growers use very hot or very cold water. Another factor that stresses plants is a nutrient overdose. Usually, when too much potassium or phosphorous is fed to plants, these may suffer from stress enough to cause hermaphroditic characteristics.
Toxic products may also cause stress. Exposure to pesticides, herbicides and the use of growth regulators can all lead to stress and hermaphrodite traits. Take note that it’s not only cannabis plants are affected by these chemicals.
Even ordinary plants and trees are affected by pests, molds and other stressors and these can also alter their genetic makeup.
What do you do with hermaphrodite cannabis plants?
So what do you do when you chance upon cannabis plants with hermaphroditic traits in your garden? The first thing that growers do when they see these structures is to remove affected plants immediately from their growing space. There’s nothing wrong with removing hermies but experts believe that what you do with these plants depend on the circumstances and the time when these are discovered.
For instance, if hermies were discovered at the end of the flowering phase, you must quickly harvest as much of the cannabis that are on the plants to avoid accidental pollination. You will find this very to separate cannabis from seeds inside the flowers therefore very little will be put to waste.
But if the hermaphrodite structures develop at the start of the flowering period, the best course of action is to remove the affected plants from the growing area. If you overlook removing these plants, you will run the risk of accidental self-pollination. The hermaphroditic traits will be passed on to the next generations of plants.
It is very easy to pick the hermaphroditic plants from regular plants at this stage as well. If your plants have developed yellow bananas then simply remove these as yellow stands out from the green leaves, stems, and branches. Yellow also stands out from the white wispy pistils as well. The way it’s easy to spot yellow banana is an advantage. Bananas are hermaphrodite structures that have ready to use pollen, already ready and able to pollinate female structures.
The problem lies when hermie structures are green sacs and balls. These are incredibly hard to spot and usually, it’s already too late when you find them. The key is to identify the hermies quickly or as early as possible and to exercise diligence. If you have dozens of plants then this is can be a problem but if you have only a few plants then it would be easier to monitor these for hermaphrodites.
Depending on your plants’ strain and how far these are into the flowering phase, you may still get a nice amount of yield when you salvage your current production. Consider that there might still have a good amount of THC in the buds that may have grown so far. THC may also be found in the leaves as well which may not be useful in making concentrates and oils but may still be worthwhile when making edibles.
Meanwhile, expert growers suggest that it’s a smart move discard any hermaphrodite plants. This is to avoid any accidental pollination and from your crops being ruined. This is especially important during the early flowering phase.
And if you find seeds after harvesting cannabis but you’re sure you have removed all the male plants from your growing area then you may suspect at least one hermie in your female garden. Just let this serve as a lesson to you and your growing staff. Never overlook checking and rechecking your cannabis plants for any hermies.
Use this to make feminized cannabis seeds
If for some reason you find hermaphrodites in your garden, and then take this as an opportunity to grow feminized cannabis seeds.
Feminized cannabis seeds are seeds that will grow and become female plants. The counterpart of feminized seeds is regular cannabis seeds that are seeds that may be male or female. When you grow regular cannabis seeds, you will notice that these seeds look similar to feminized seeds and any other cannabis seeds. You can’t tell the gender of your plants until these grow flowers. Only until your plants reach the pre-flowering stage that you will find out if you’re growing male or female plants.
Feminized cannabis seeds will grow only females and hence you won’t have to deal with removing any male plants come flowering time. You will save money from growing just the right number of plants.
When you use regular cannabis seeds, you tend to grow more plants than what you need. This is to compensate for any males which may grow out of the seeds you germinated. This is the problem with growing regular seeds; you must spend so much on resources, time and effort only to discard the male plants you have grown.
Another good thing about feminized seeds is you can stop stressing about growing male plants. You can forget about male plants which can ruin your weed farm but still be reminded that hermies can still plague your all-female garden. The best step is to diligently inspect your plants for hermaphrodite traits and structures.
What more can you do with hermaphrodite marijuana plants?
As you try to save any cannabis in hermaphrodite plants especially during the final stages of the flowering phase, you don’t need to throw away hermies plants. You can still use these plants for the following:
Use seeds to grow feminized plants
Instead of throwing hermies away, remove the seeds and gather them. Dry these and keep these to grow feminized plants. Now you don’t need to buy feminized cannabis seeds anymore considering that these seeds are one of the most expensive in the market!
Use pollen to grow feminized plants and seeds
When you spot hermies during the early flowering phase identify the sacs and balls or bananas and collect pollen when these open (in the case of bananas, these don’t need to open to release pollen because it’s already covered with pollen!). Cut the structures from the plant and place these inside a plastic bag or a resealable container You may freeze these if you plan to use these later. And to use your feminized pollen, thaw the frozen or refrigerated container on the counter and never microwave or boil the container with pollen. This will only destroy the viability of the pollen.
Use stems and leaves as the bulk cannabis plant material
Another way to use hermies is to keep the entire plant to be used as plant material. Regardless as to what part of the flowering stage you are in, you can keep these plants, dry them and use these as bulk plant material. This is usually used to make joints, spliffs, blunts and to make various oils or concentrates.
Instead of using pure cannabis flower, bulk plant material has been used to make different products. A pure flower is very expensive and thus it’s more practical to add bulk material. Also, consider that these cannabis plant parts still have suitable amounts of THC which can still give you the high you have been looking for.
Use stems and leaves to make other marijuana products
Stems and leaves of hermie plants may be dried and used in the most unlikely things like cannabis butter, edibles like chocolates, candies, baked products, and teas. These may be dried and baked slowly on low heat to decarboxylate and then added to these food items.
Decarboxylation is baking weed to stimulate THC so that when you eat these food items, you’ll experience the high you want to feel.
Use cuttings to grow more plants
And aside from using the seeds, you can also get cuttings or clones from healthy hermie plants. If you plan to harvest and sell feminized cannabis seeds, why not get cuttings and grow them? There’s no need to grow from seeds which can take too much time. With cloning, you can proceed to the vegetative stage after the cutting has completely grown roots, more stems, leaves, and branches.
How to lower your chances of growing hermaphrodites?
And aside from learning how to deal with hermaphrodites, a smart grower must also learn about how to prevent this condition from happening.
Consider that hermaphroditic traits are normal behavior of cannabis plants, therefore, it is going to be a challenge to prevent this from appearing. Here are some possible ways to lower your chances:
Learn all about the cannabis strain you wish to grow
One of the most important things when growing any kind of strain for the first time is by learning all about the strain before you even buy seeds. This is also the best way to prevent hermaphrodite traits as well as different conditions like mold or mildew growth, odor control, pest control and many more.
Consider that although caring for cannabis plants are mostly generalized, some strains require some unique needs. Some strains will grow better in acidic soils while some prefer a little chill in the evenings. Still, there are plants that are very sensitive to cold, changes in temperature, humidity, nutrient changes, and many more factors. If you don’t meet any of a strain’s growing requirement, these plants could have slower growth, stunted growth and may develop hermaphrodite traits.
So where do you get precious growing information? There are tons of cannabis growing guides online. Different online sites dedicated to growing cannabis feature instructions, a list of the equipment you need and many other important things you need to start growing cannabis. Most guide books are written in simple terms so that novice user can understand.
But if you need a personal guide or a real person to help you with cultivating cannabis, consult a professional from a seed bank or dispensary to help you out.
Cultivate only cannabis that has lower risks of creating hermaphrodites
Consider growing cannabis strains that are more resistant to environmental stress, mold, mildew, pests, and overall stress. You can ask a seed bank proprietor on strains like these or you can check if the seed bank has the following popular strains:
Special Queen 1
Special Queen 1 is the creation of a very popular online and offline seed bank from the UK. This strain is a classic sativa-dominant strain that you’ll find perfect for growing even if you’re new to cultivating cannabis.
This queen is unlike other royalties you may know because it’s low maintenance and can yield a lot especially when its growing needs are met. If you ask a professional grower or seed bank operator, he will likely mention this strain because it is made for beginner growers.
Special Queen 1 blooms quickly too and in just 8 weeks, you’ll have beautiful, dense and delicious buds. Another quality of the Queen 1 that many growers like is that it grows to an average-sized plant at 3 meters tall.
Now for some important growing tips for Special Queen 1: it can grow with very little fertilizer. You don’t need to overdo it and don’t worry if you don’t fertilize regularly too. If you have a moderate to a large area outdoors then this sativa strain will surely thank you for it. When you meet its minimal needs, it will surely finish flowering before the cold weather arrives. It can thrive better in a short Northern European summers
Royal Jack Automatic
Royal Jack Automatic is a combination of potent Jack Herer and an autoflowering strain. Again, this resilient strain was made by one of the most popular cannabis seed banks on the planet based in the UK.
Because of this combination, you’ll get double potency and the most resilient strain ever. If you are new to growing cannabis then this should be the one for you. It does not need training or even pruning because it is an autoflowering strain. All you need is to sow and wait for it to grow.
Because it is autoflowering, you’ll get a strain with just less than a meter in height. You don’t need to apply too many nutrients too so this means there it is less likely to suffer from nutrient deficiencies or toxicities.
By combining Jack Herer with a ruderalis, it has become easier to grow. It will flower in just 9 weeks, therefore, you can grow this strain even twice a year. And finally, you’ll be happy to know that it’s also resistant to poor or cold weather. If you live in a country found along the northern latitude or across southern Europe, this should be the right strain for you.
Northern Lights is a heavy indica strain known for being an ancestor of most popular strains in the world. Many love this strain because of its longevity and its very potent strength.
This is a small plant with many branches. It is a perfect strain for harvesting cuttings and seeds and because of its resilient characteristics, it won’t be affected with stress and hence won’t grow hermaphrodite parts.
Another impressive trait of Northern Lights is that it won’t give you unpleasant surprises. Therefore it’s hermies-free. When grown indoors, this strain may be trained (remember that some strains should be trained carefully to prevent hermies), using the SOG or sea of green method. With this training method, you’ll get fast results and can be vegged in just two weeks.
When grown outdoors, Northern Lights is the perfect stealth plant because it maintains a low profile with very low odors. These plants will never grow taller than 2 meters and therefore it can grow inside e30 liter containers. You may also grow these on the ground without fear of pests, molds, and stress. When using regular Northern Lights seeds, you will be ready for harvest in the autumn.
Lemon Shining Silver Haze
Lemon Shining Silver Haze is ideal for growers in the humid regions of the planet. Known as one of the top-shelf cannabis strains and is an all-sativa hybrid. This Haze strain grows like a vine with irresistible flavors and scents reminiscing of sweet lemon candy.
And despite growing large and dense buds, you won’t have to worry about molds and mildew because it is resistant to mold. Your lovely colas will be protected no matter what climate you are in.
Lemon Shining Silver Haze has 25% THC, one of the most potent in the Haze department. It will flower fast in just 8 to 9 weeks, therefore, you won’t be waiting too long to taste the fruits of your labor. Whether you grow this indoors or outdoors, you need to control its height. Take note that each plant can give you a kilo of the best and the most flavorful cannabis.
And if you live in an area where there’s high relative humidity this is strain will still grow well no matter what humidity levels it is placed in.
White Widow is a strain that can grow even in extreme temperatures and in outrageous growing conditions. These are the reasons why it is one of the most popular strain parents in the world.
Growers who have successfully cultivated White Widow say that it can grow in warm or hot regions where there’s too much sunlight. It can also thrive in dry countries where wind can completely dry out the ground and plants. White Widow will also prevail even when there are pests, especially during the long and hot summers.
A very distinct gooey resin cover is found in the buds of White Widow. This is why it’s called White Widow in the first place. Experts also say that this frosty appearance is the plant’s defense mechanism, protecting it from high temperatures, fungi, and pests.
Every first-time grower should consider White Widow. Also, if you have had no luck in successfully growing cannabis, always seems to be harvesting hermaphrodite plants, then you should try the resilient White Widow.
Understand the ideal temperature conditions to cultivate the strain
Now that you know what cannabis strain can be cultivated efficiently and thus may be grown free from hermaphroditic traits, it’s time to check out common factors that can seriously contribute to hermies characteristics.
Temperature plays an important role in plant growth. There are many strains that have specific temperature requirements not just to thrive but also to bring out their impressive qualities like their exotic colors, flavors, scents, and some effects.
When these strains are not grown in their specific growing temperatures, these strains can become very stressed and thus can grow hermaphroditic characteristics.
To avoid this, learn all about the temperature requirement of a strain first before you decide to grow. Consider comparing a bunch of strains and decide which can grow well in your country or region’s climate.
Also, if you plan to grow your plants indoors, use the best setup: use the best lighting, humidifier, exhaust fans, and reflectors. These components will make sure that your plants will be growing in a comfortable indoor environment. You’ll be able to prevent hermaphrodites by eliminating temperature-induced stress.
Understand the right nutrients for cannabis plants
Cannabis plants are usually very hungry. These don’t just need water and sunlight but will crave different kinds of nutrients as well. The kind of nutrient present in your plant food depends on the phase of growth of a cannabis plant.
For instance, a marijuana plant in the vegetative stage will need a different kind of fertilizer, one with more nitrogen. Nitrogen is needed for growing more, healthy leaves, stems and branches. It is needed by plants so it can grow taller, wider and achieve their full potential.
When the cannabis plant is at its flowering stage, it will stop growing and will need a different set of nutrients to create large and dense buds. Flowering plants will now need potassium and phosphorous, two nutrients needed for growing the best buds and the best yields. It won’t need nitrogen anymore because it has ceased growing.
Considering these nutritional needs, providing the ideal fertilizer mix lets you avoid hermaphrodite characteristics. Use only commercially-prepared nutrients and fertilizer mixes instead of using homemade mixes. Commercially-prepared products are perfectly designed for plants and use will avoid costly mistakes of growing.
Always follow the instructions on how to apply fertilizer or nutrients to cannabis plants. This can greatly prevent any incident of hermaphrodites developing from a crop. Also, depending on reliable or reputable fertilizer brands. Look for good ratings and reviews and ask for recommendations from growers and breeders as well.
Grow your cannabis plants in large, final pots
Another cause of stress in cannabis plants is replanting. Usually, this happens when a grower starts his plants or seeds in small party cups. Although there’s nothing wrong with starting your plants on small cups you need to be extra-careful when transplanting these in larger pots.
Why do you need to transfer your plants from a smaller container to a larger pot anyway? Transplanting is needed because the roots of plants need to expand so that the plants can grow better, healthier. You need to transplant so that your plants can consume nutrients from new soil.
Also, growing plants will need oxygen and it can only be delivered to the roots with a larger growing container and new/fresh soil.
Consider a large pot during germination. A large pot made with any material and with holes at the bottom to allow water and excess nutrients to drain. You may also consider germinating your seeds in peat pellets. There is no need to use a small pot or a party cup to place peat pellets in. After a short while, roots of the seed and new leaves and stems will grow from the pellet signaling that this is ready to be planted in a large, final pot.
You may also consider germinating and growing your cannabis plants in hydroponics, which is directly exposing plant roots in nutrient-rich water.
Learn how to train cannabis plants before actually doing it on your plants
You might have heard about training cannabis plants and how this can improve yields but there are some precautions.
Always study something as intensive as cannabis training. We are telling you to know that this is not as easy as described. If you don’t follow this closely, you could end up ruining your plants and even your plants dying because of improper training techniques.
And the most important thing you should know about training your cannabis plants is that this can cause hermaphroditic traits. So as much as possible, do this to your plants after training or practicing on other plants.
You may also train your plants using very easy, less-stressful techniques like trimming and pruning. The most common is trimming the larger fan leaves located at the bottom of the plant. Removing these can improve humidity and light distribution along with these areas. Trimming can, therefore, improve yields, enhance growth and reduce mold development inside the plant canopy.
A warning before training/pruning/trimming, your plants will flower a bit later than expected after training. This is because your plant will need to adjust to training first before it continues to grow or to flower.
Use a watering schedule
Another cause of hermaphroditic characteristics in cannabis is incorrect watering (overwatering or underwatering). Cannabis plants should be watered at least once a day, preferably during the early morning to prevent water from evaporating quickly and thus giving plants time to absorb water.
Overwatering and underwatering can stress plants. You must avoid watering when there is still a pool of water on the ground or when your plants look plump and well-watered. Wait till the soil is dry before you water.
Keep mold and mildew at bay
Mold is another thing that stresses cannabis plants. When mold is overlooked, this can eat your plants and will waste all your efforts as well. Mold is a type of fungi that thrives in moist and dark environments. To be able to stop mold, you need to fix moisture problems in your growing area and to improve lighting without compensating on the health of your plants.
There are many ways to deal with molds. Once you prevent molds, you’ll be reducing stress on your plants which also keeps hermies away.
- Improve humidity levels inside the growing area. Use a dehumidifier especially in large indoor growing areas. This will effectively reduce humidity digitally. Use a digital hygrometer and thermometer to monitor humidity levels accurately.
- Open windows and doors to dry up an indoor area and to improve humidity.
- Use fans to take in the fresh air and one to blow out stale and humid air. There are cheap, easy to install PC fans available in different sizes. You can use these to greatly improve humidity inside your growing area.
- Water your plants correctly. Water only when the soil is dry not when it’s wet. When growing your plants outdoors, it’s best to water when it’s still early morning. At this time, water will be absorbed by your plants faster and evaporation is slower.
- Be mindful of overwatering and underwatering signs in cannabis plants.
- And sometimes it’s not just about how you water and how much or how little you water, it’s also about what type of water you used. As much as possible, use clean and pH-balanced water. Avoid well water, rainwater or tap water unless you have properly tested these before you apply on your plants.
You can use a DIY home testing kit to test the water or you may ask a local company to test your water for you.
When you use healthy, clean and pH-balanced water, you’ll be able to prevent one very important factor that may cause plant stress.
Be vigilant when it comes to pests
Another very important thing to control is the onslaught of pests. Pests like insects are very hungry and can eat your buds as well as all the plant parts in just a night. Sometimes pests can also cover buds and even the entire plant with a web as they eat precious leaves.
Spider mites, for instance, are too small to see but will spin webs to cover everything. If this pest is overlooked, you might not be able to save your crops! Pests small or large are very stressful to cannabis plants.
There are some ways to deal with pests effectively and safely
- Be diligent and check each plant for pests. These are mostly found underneath leaves where the surface is softer, juicier and easier to bite on.
- Use a spray bottle with water to spray water on pests. Once the insect is down and with water, pick it up with a piece of tissue. Dispose of it or kill it at once.
- Use neem oil; a special oil that must be diluted in water. This is sprayed all over the plant but not on the buds as it can affect the smell and aroma of the buds. Neem will kill pests but won’t harm pets, humans and other plants. Use neem sparingly until harvest time.
- Use soap and water to remove pests. Place this solution in a spray bottle and spray these on plants.
- Use cannabis-friendly pest control products to kill pests. These are available at your local cannabis dispensary or garden supplies shop.
- Use live pest control like ladybugs. These insects devour common pests but will never eat plants. You can release a few of these bugs in your garden and it’s a guarantee that these will be vigilant in removing pests in your cannabis growing area.
Remember, when you completely eradicate pests in your garden or growing area, you will solve one factor that can stress your cannabis plants. Don’t hesitate to get help for pest control if needed.
Provide adequate growing space for each plant
The lack of space inside a growing area is another reason why cannabis plants may get stressed. This is mostly due to poor planning causing plants to compete on nutrients, air, lighting, and water. Here are some examples to better understand what happens when space is not provided to cannabis plants.
Sativas are the tallest cannabis strains and most require an outdoor growing area because it will grow taller and wider. When grown indoors inside a restricted area, you will only end up stressing your plants big time.
Indica plants are smaller than sativas and thus will grow well indoors. But underestimating the size of mature plants can lead to competition for nutrients and resources. For instance, growing more plants inside a small closet growing space will lead to poor growth, stunted growth and slower flowering times.
Crowding can lead to competition for lighting as well especially when your plants are grown indoors. When there’s poor lighting due to competition or the use of inefficient lighting systems, your plants can stretch and this is not good for plants.
Stretching is a coping mechanism for cannabis plants so that these may reach any lighting source. Stretching produces weak stems and branches which will not be able to hold large and dense buds. Also, you can’t trust weak stems to hold the plant altogether. You may need to tie your plants to a trellis or support just to compensate for weak stems.
Another possible sign of stress due to competition for space is delayed flowering. Your plants may not flower on time and this stresses plants thinking that it has missed its flowering time and may need to grow hermaphroditic parts.
To deal with space issues, base the number of plants to grow on the amount of space you have. Allow ample space in between pots or containers for plants to grow wider or taller depending on the strain.
If you can’t grow more plants or larger plants, settle with tiny ruderalis plants or autoflowering cannabis strains instead. With this kind of strain, you can grow more plants even inside a limited growing space without getting overcrowded.
Invest in a larger growing tent or cabinet and appropriate lamps, fans, dehumidifiers, and nutrients to go with your plants. Overcrowding may be avoided easily using careful planning.
Provide the ideal lighting for your plants
There are so many different types of indoor lighting solutions for cannabis growing. You’ll find people using fluorescent lighting, HPS lighting and LED lighting. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages but most growers these days prefer LEDs.
LEDs have many advantages to offer. LEDs are brighter but won’t cost money to burn even all day, won’t turn your indoor growing area into an oven and will last a long time. LEDs may be expensive compared to other lighting solutions but the benefits outweigh the negatives. LED lamps are available almost anywhere and are available in different colors and styles. The latest LED lamps will minimize stress to plants because the intensity of the light is adjustable, the color of the lamps are also adjustable and the height of the lamp is also easier to adjust.
Meanwhile, fluorescent lighting is cheaper and available in almost all hardware stores and are easy to install and use. However, the light emitted by fluorescent lamps are weaker and thus you may need more lamps just to light a small growing area. This can be very costly and may only make the area hotter.
HPS lighting is a kind of lighting that uses high-powered compounds to provide light. No doubt that the light emitted by HPS lamps are very strong and perfect for growing cannabis BUT these can be too hot and may burn plants’ tips. Also, HPS lamps consume too much power and hence is not an economical choice.
And aside from the type of lighting, consider the position of your lamps with regards to the placement of your plants. LEDs are often placed only two inches from the tip of the plant. These lamps are often hung on adjustable brackets which can be lowered or made higher depending on the needs of your plants.
Choose the right lamp well and remember that as long as you provide the right lighting, you’ll keep your plants happy and stress-free.
Harvest on time
Possibly the most important tip is to harvest on time. If this is overlooked, your plants may think that it’s becoming too late and it needs to self-pollinate. These can result in the growth of hermaphrodite growths on female plants.
To avoid these, identify the right time to harvest. First, determine through growing tips the harvest time for the strain you’re growing. Next, use the trichome method: the crystal-like structures covering the buds can change from being crystal-colored to dark amber. The latter means that it’s the best time to harvest a THC-rich strain. Another method is the pistil color which can turn yellowish if the plant is ready for harvest. Combine these methods and you’ll be able to harvest your plants and avoid hermaphrodites from developing as well.