You might also find a mature seed that has been physically damaged through poor handling, like rough trimming. In those cases, it probably isn’t worth the effort to try and germinate the seed.
Aside from producing cannabis through seeds, or sexual reproduction, you can also reproduce the plant through cloning, or asexual reproduction. A clone is a cutting that is genetically identical to the plant it was taken from—that plant is known as the “mother.”
Plants grown from seed can be more hearty as young plants when compared to clones, mainly because seeds have a strong taproot. You can plant seeds directly into an outdoor garden in early spring, even in cool, wet climates.
Is the seed viable?
Cannabis plant sex organs appear on nodes, the points where branches grow off from the main stalk.
Pre-flowers can initially be extremely small and hard to identify with the naked eye, but you can use a magnifying glass to get a better look.
Females will have a round structure with long hairs—these hairs will develop into pistils, which will catch pollen in the air.
There are a few indicators that will give you a sense of whether the seed is worth germinating.
Hermaphrodite cannabis plants come in two different forms: true hermaphrodites and “bananas”.
During the early flowering stage, take a stroll around your grow room or garden with a magnifying glass or jeweller’s loupe. Inspect a few nodes on each plant to see how far along into the flowering process they are. At this stage, you won’t see any obvious flowers or pollen sacs. Instead, you’re looking for young pre-flowers. Although these tiny structures look similar, they have distinct features that allow growers to tell them apart.
Of course, growers want to avoid this phenomenon if they’re aiming for the best flowers possible. We’ll dive deeper into what causes hermaphroditism and how to avoid it below.
IDENTIFYING HERMAPHRODITE CANNABIS PLANTS
Even if you have all of these bases covered, plants can still pollinate themselves due to poor genetics. Plants with a bad genetic history and too much genetic variation are prone to becoming hermaphrodites. For this reason, it’s important to shop with reputable companies that offer high-quality seeds with stable genetics.
Cannabis, like those who love it, doesn’t always stick to the rules, though. Sometimes, this dioecious plant species goes against the grain and develops both male and female reproductive organs. These specimens are known as hermaphrodites. Either genetic or environmental factors, or both, can cause plants to develop this unusual trait. Having both buds and pollen sacs, they end up developing the ability to pollinate and reproduce with themselves.
Hermaphroditism stems from two major driving factors: stress and genetics. In regards to stress, hermaphroditism serves as a survival mechanism. If a plant experiences damage, heat, disease, or nutrient deficiencies, they start to freak out. Essentially, plants get the impression that their time is up. In a last-ditch attempt to reproduce, they decide to stop waiting around for a male and get the job done themselves.
Growers identify plant sex by identifying pre-flowers, which are small structures that form at the nodes during late vegetation.
MSNL Team / 3rd February 2017
One of the biggest myths of sexing cannabis seeds comes from a popular chart online.
Can you determine the sex of cannabis seeds?
MSNL Team / 19th July 2018
The chart states that one can determine the sex of a cannabis seed by just looking at them. Within the chart, five cannabis seeds are shown. Three of these are female and two are male, supposedly. This chart says to look for a crater at the bottom of the seed. It explains that females will have a depression that is perfectly round. While males will have a crater that is misshapen and not uniform. However, this is simply not true. The craters found in cannabis seeds have nothing to do with the sex of a seed.
This will mostly happen when a plant is stressed by its environment. When this happens, the plant may think it’s going to die and as a result, will change itself into a hermaphrodite plant. By doing so, it will be able to self-pollinate itself and survive.