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Growing feminized cannabis seeds under stressful conditions can result in male plants or hermaphrodites. In this blog article we explain how to recognize the first stages of male flower development so that you can take the proper measures in time. We also discuss different types of stress you should avoid to minimize the chances of your feminized cannabis seeds turning into a hermie.
Male Cannabis Flower
Male cannabis flowers are beautiful to look at, but they are a nuisance for most growers!

How Do I Recognize Male Or Hermie Plants?

So you’re growing feminized cannabis seeds and  the days are becoming shorter, your plants are about ready to flower. Despite the activation of flowering hormones, cannabis plants will still keep growing during the first two weeks of flowering. After that, the exact timing is different per strain, the first signs of flowering called the “primordia” will become visible. Primordia can appear after two weeks of flowering, but can sometimes take up to 5 weeks. These primordia will appear at the nodes of the cannabis plant, at first it can be difficult to distinguish between male and female primordia. A few days later however, male and female primordia start looking very different. Male primordia resemble a claw, while female primordia have a more oval shape that resembles a rugby ball. Once opened, male flowers have five flower petals with five anthers containing pollen. Female flowers consist of calyxes with pistils sticking out.

Male Cannabis Primordium
Male preflowers are claw-shaped, eventually developing into little balls that hold the bananas.
Female Cannabis Primordium
Female preflowers are shaped like a rugby ball and will produce “hairs” after a while.
The first female structures (calyxes) will usually not have pistils, which can make them difficult to distinguish. Once you see pistils you know your feminized cannabis seeds are producing female flowers too. But if a cannabis plant has both male and female flowers they have become a hermaphrodite.
Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plant
This is our clearest picture of a hermaphrodite. Because it is such a small flower, you can clearly see the male and female parts.

Other Male And Female Traits To Look For When Growing Feminized Cannabis Seeds

Female plants are generally shorter and will have less branches than their male siblings. Female cannabis plants will usually also have more leaves in general and many leaves around the flowers. Male plants are taller and have less leaves in the top of the plant.

I Found Bananas In My Plants From Feminized Cannabis Seeds

If you do find male flowers when growing feminized cannabis seeds don’t panic. Male flowers need about two weeks before they are able to start pollinating female flowers. If you find bananas towards the end of the flowering phase you will usually spot them around week 7 or 8 of flowering. If a cannabis plant starts producing bananas at this late stage this is usually a last-ditch effort for a plant to produce seeds by pollinating itself. For this same reason you will often see male flowers in a female cannabis plant if it is grown beyond its harvest window. This process is called rodelization and can also be used to produce female cannabis seeds. If bananas start to form in very late stages they usually remain closed and won’t be able to pollinate female flowers. This late-type male flower will generally not fully develop and will often only contain a single anther with sterile pollen or no pollen at all. And if they do manage to pollinate female flowers this will usually be limited to the female flowers that are very close to the banana. This will usually be localized in the bottom portion of the cannabis plant.

Hermie Bud
This flower has been treated with chemicals to produce male organs in a female flower. You can clearly see the shape of a female flower, but it is full of pollen sacks rather than calyxes.
If you find complete male flowers with five anthers per banana you do have a problem. These pollen sacs are fully formed and will be able to pollinate other plants. If you find bananas in the early stages of flowering (week 3-5) you are dealing with a hermie (or male) plant!

What Should I Do With The Bananas?

If bananas start to form during the first stages of flowering this is usually caused by unstable genetics. If hermies start to pop up towards the end of flowering however, this is often caused by stressful circumstances. Avoiding stress is very important when growing feminized cannabis seeds. A common example would be light leaks from using a low-quality grow tent, this can cause hermies quickly. Here’s a short list of potential stress factors that can cause hermies and how to avoid them:

  • Overfeeding: Make sure you don’t feed too much too early!
  • pH swings: The pH of your feeding solution/medium should remain stable!
  • Training/defoliating: Be very careful when topping, training or defoliating plants from feminized cannabis seeds towards flowering!
  • Transplanting: Don’t transplant during the flowering period!
Banana In Female Cannabis Bud
If you look closely you can see a banana poking out of the bud on the left. If you find a couple of bananas this late into the flowering phase you shouldn’t worry. Carefully remove them and make sure to check for new ones every day! 
So if you find a hermie in your grow space it really depends on how long your plants have been flowering for! You can choose to keep it and carefully pinch out male flowers or ditch the plant altogether. If you find hermies during weeks 3-5 we would advise you remove the plant from your grow space. If you do decide to keep it you can remove the male flowers safely with tweezers and hope they don’t come back. This is a good option if you think the hermies were caused by stress and you have since fixed the issue. If you choose to take this route make sure to check your plants every day! It is also a good idea to look for reviews of a strain online to see if your female cannabis seeds are known to hermie often. Some strains can be very susceptible to stress or are simply genetically unstable. Spliff Seeds wishes you the best of luck with a hermie-free grow! You can always contact us for advice and more information regarding our strains!