herming cannabis plants
herming cannabis plants

What is Herming? - How Female Cannabis Plants Turn Male

How can a marijuana plant go from female to male in one grow cycle?

Posted by:
HighChi on Thursday May 13, 2021

Herming: How Female Plants Turn Male

herming marijuana plants

Feminine seeds are majorly used in cannabis farming because of their high cannabinoid content, as well as their resin-rich trichomes.

Cannabis Cultivators all over the world have one major end-point, which is to produce a high yield of harvest with the best sinsemilla buds. This can only be done by planting feminized seeds and there is usually a lot of work involved in trying to have this perfect yield.

However, despite sowing feminized seeds, some of these cultivators notice plants bearing pollen that go on to pollinate other plants close to it. When these plants are found in time, they are quickly uprooted. The ones that are not found go on to corrupt the yield with seeds.

This can be frustrating!

After much research, farmers have been able to attribute this to herming. You might wonder what herming is…

In this article, I will be letting you in on everything that has to do with herming in cannabis plants, and how feminized seeds end up becoming plant stalks with pollen on it.



Like all living things, plants also have a craving to procreate. In a feminized crop of cannabis, this urge persists.

Hence herming…

Herming is the process through which female plants propagate their seeds by developing pollen.

In other words, herming is the term used to describe the natural conversion of female plants to hermaphrodites. In this event, female plants can self-pollinate their own seeds as well as the seeds of other feminine plants around them.

Female plants do not turn into male parts, neither do they lose their pistils. Instead, they develop the male reproductive parts while retaining their female reproductive parts.

Hermaphrodite cannabis plants are referred to as "hermies". They both the male and female sex organs. These plants can potentially pollinate the other female plants around, reducing the quality of the yield to be harvested.

Having hermies on your marijuana farm is not as damning as having only male plants with no females. But, it is just not ideal.

They produce buds that have seeds, with a lowered cannabinoid level. Smoking these plant buds is also not as satisfying.

A farmer's best shot at having the best yield with guaranteed profits is for him to do his best to make sure his feminized seeds remain as female plants.

Before we proceed, can you tell if your plant is male or female?

You can only confirm the sex of your plants when it is at its flowering/bud phase of growth. At this point, you begin to notice buds along the tip of the plant stems.


Female Cannabis

The female cannabis can be easily identified by the formation of spider-like pistils. These whitish pistils grow where the stem and branches join.


Male Cannabis

The male cannabis possesses seed sacs that contain pollen. They are not long, neither are they white nor spider-like.

These seed sacs later burst open to release the pollen.


Hermie Cannabis

These have both spider-like pistils, as well as seed sacs. They can both be found along the stem of the plant two to three weeks into the flowering stage.


How Do Female Plants Turn Into Hermies

Biologically, this anomaly can be attributed to the feminized seeds used. When feminine seeds are developed, a parent plant is needed to propagate the seeds of the other with pollen.

That is, one of the female parents is forced to produce pollen to create all feminine seeds. This process is called rodelization. It instills a recessive hermie gene in all feminized seeds.

Different causative agents allow this gene to be dominant.


Causes of Herming


This is not the same for all strains of weeds. Each strain reacts differently to different stressors.

Some of these stress agents include;  inadequate or excess hydration, excess heat levels, restricted airflow, inadequate or excess nutrients, irregular light leaks, disease pathogens as well as pests, etc.

The plant's response to these stressors is to ensure its seeds are pollinated before it dies due to the stress.



Some plants come from a naturally producing hermie generation. That is their hermie-producing genes are dominant in the plant's line.


Delay In Harvest

Cannabis plants should be harvested at their flowering stage. Leaving them to get more mature would enable them to have more time to attempt self-pollination.


Human Error

When errors like excessive pruning, chemical exposure, or ineffective cultivation techniques are made, they promote the stimulate the production of male sex organs in the plants.


How To Prevent Herming

As you've come to understand herming can put an entire crop of cannabis at risk. Cultivators must always do their possible best to ensure they prevent herming or detect the hermie plants as early as possible; before any real damage is done.

First of all, a cultivator must procure seeds from reputable seed banks. To ascertain the source of the seeds used, as well as details about their genetic makeup. In cases where the grower has no access to reputable seed banks, he can first of all plant a sample of the procured seeds to know its sex.

Stress is the major cause of herming. Growers must ensure that the plants are not stressed in any way throughout its stages of growth till it is harvested. All environmental factors must be considered and put at stable degrees for the plant to be optimally cared for.

The crop area should not be too dark. This would allow the farmer to easily detect unusual growth along the stem of the plant. Regular checks must be done, especially during the flowering stage to monitor the plants' growth.

Finally, as soon as a male plant or hermie plant is detected, it must be uprooted gently without bursting open its pollen sac.


Bottom Line

Discovering hermies in your crop is not the end of the world, neither does it signify your failure as a cannabis grower.

Nevertheless, the crop must be monitored daily and not be exposed to extreme environmental conditions that will predispose it to herming.

Remember, a female plant can not turn male. It can only turn into a hermaphrodite cannabis plant bearing both male and female sex organs—That is the pollen sac and pistils respectively.

A quick tip: The harshness of the hermie plant buds can be reduced by increasing the curing time when processing the buds.








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