Many things can affect your grow of the cannabis plant. Feminized seeds can save you the time and expenses of sexing the plant resulting in shorter grow times and less materials used. One thing that can affect your grow (and especially your feminized cannabis plants) is hermaphrodites. What are hermaphrodites? Hermaphrodite Definition: noun (1) an organism (plant or animal) having both male and female reproductive organs. (2) An organism having both male and female organs. Therefore, is capable of producing both male and female gametes. Sometimes the cannabis plant will produce male organs on a female plant. This can infrequently happen with your feminized cannabis seeds. Most feminized seeds will not become hermaphrodites.
The two things that can cause hermaphrodites in the cannabis plant are an environmental stress or a genetic tendency. Some strains of feminized cannabis plants have a genetic tendency to be hermaphroditic and some strains have an extremely rare amount of occurrences. Seed from a reputable breeder will have a rare amount of genetically caused hermaphrodites. If you have multiple hermaphrodites in your garden then it is most likely an environmental issue that caused them to get hermaphroditic. If you have just one hermaphrodite it is most likely caused by genetics. Some strains have a tendency toward being hermas. Doing some research on the strains you plan to purchase will help make sure you don't pick one of those strains. There are many strains of the cannabis plant with extremely stable genetics.
Several things can cause your cannabis plant to get shocked and become hermaphroditic, such as light leak during the flowering stages of the light cycle. Severe variations in the PH levels or fertilizer can also cause the plants to create male sex organs. Variations in temperature may cause the problem. Watering incorrectly can shock your plants as well as the introduction of hormones improperly or at the wrong time. Growing past the recommended harvest time can also cause hermaphrodites. If you are going to change something in the grow process it is usually best to do it slowly if you are growing indoors this is much easier. Outdoor grows should not have any problems with hermaphrodites but the climate cannot be controlled as exactly as indoors.
In this video from Jorge Cervantes you can see the release of male pollen:
The male sex organ of the cannabis plant looks like little bananas. If you find sites on your branches that have little bananas on them, the first thing you should do when you find male sex organs on your cannabis plant is to isolate the plant away from the rest of the female cannabis plants. An isolation tent or another room away from the other females is a good ways to segregate the hermas. Make sure to always tend to the hermaphrodite cannabis plants last because you do not want to bring the pollen back in to the room with your female plants. You can just get rid of the plant but that is a waste of time and resources. Pulling the male sex organs off with tweezers is a good option. It is also prudent to take the affected bud or branch entirely off. Often the sex organs "bananas" do not open on feminized cannabis plants but you should treat them as if they are open and take care not to bring that pollen back in to the females. It takes ten to fifteen days for the cannabis plant to develop the male flowers, so you will have to monitor the plants for at least that long in order to remove all of the male sex organs. The pollen is released if the banana like pod opens, so be careful to dispose of them quickly.
Trichromes are the small glands on the cannabis plant and can tell you when to harvest your plants. When using a 60X by 100X illuminated pocket microscope the trichromes will go from clear to milky and then amber. You can also take a good digital photo and enlarge it until you see the trichromes. Some digital cameras have a macro setting, which would do the trick. You can harvest when 50% or more of the trichromes are milky or translucent. Some people like to wait until the trichromes become amber in color. Some sativas are better if harvested when you get to the milky stage; it has more of a heady effect than a physical one. If you wait until the glands turn amber it will have more of a sedate, physical high. This could make a Sativa lose some of its qualities. Some of the blueberry and blackberry strains have purple glands but mostly they will be amber in the last stage. Mostly you would want a mainly amber hue on Indicas or Sativa/Indica hybrids. Waiting too long can cause the cannabis plant to go in to "survival mode" and generate male organs in order to pollinate itself.
Feminized cannabis seed is often made by introducing a hermaphrodite to a number of female plants. This is usually achieved by using hormones to invoke one or more of the females to generate male organs. The resulting seeds will be predominantly female or feminized seed. Feminized seed is an extremely economical choice for growing cannabis plants. Feminized seeds will have a 85% to 99.9% chance of being female. Non-feminized seeds will have a 50% to 70% chance of being female. In most cases you will not have any hermaphrodites. If you do end up with hermaphrodites, it is most likely from some environmental shock. Shorter grow times and less maintenance are a great reason to use feminized seeds. Feminized seeds can streamline your grow process by not wasting time determining sex and does not waste resources on male plants. A stable grow process without wild fluctuation is the best plan for maximum yields of your cannabis plants and will almost guarantee you do not get hermaphrodite.