top of page



1. What exactly is polyploid cannabis?

Ok so before we get to polyploid cannabis or polyploid cannabis seeds, let's first talk about bananas.

The bananas we are used to finding in stores are polyploids. Specifically, they are triploids.

Why does this matter to cannabis or cannabis seeds I hear you say. Well it matters to cannabis and cannabis seeds because the characteristics for which we have the banana cultivars we have, are desirable characteristics that make the banana seedless and the trees that grow them, more efficient fruit producers than wild banana plants.

Wild banana plants are not polyploid - they are diploid. Wild banana plants have huge seeds and small bananas - where as triploid bananas are seedless and develop large fruits.

Banana cultivars in use today were all developed because the triploid plants are of better value commercially in terms of yield and profitability, but also for consumption. Imagine going to a shop and finding small bananas full of seeds in comparison to what we actually buy today.

This is why polyploidy is often used in agriculture, for many plants, like bananas, corn, watermelons amongst others. The main reasons are for uniformity, crop yield and crop quality.

In cannabis or with cannabis seeds, because of the restrictions of the last century, there is not enough available information about polyploidy or its impacts and applications. We will try to cover as much of this is as practically possible so that the layman can understand it.

In a normal cannabis plant, the genome is diploid, just like in human beings. What this means is that diploid organisms contain two sets of chromosomes in each cell. You might remember from school that chromosomes are the tiny little bits of nucleic acids in the cell nucleus that carry genetic information. They are like building blocks, in such that when combined they transfer the information they contain, during cell division, which itself is known as mitosis.

Most cannabis seeds are diploid by default, however there can be spontaneous mutants and we'll cover that later.

Nature has evolved plants and other organisms as diploids because diploids offer survival mechanisms and methods of long term organism viability through the copy paste method that we know as DNA.

When diploid organisms breed, one set of chromosomes from one parent, is combined with another set of chromosomes from the other parent. This results in diploid offspring where each cell has two sets of chromosomes - the combination derived from the parents. The possible expressions of a diploid organism are limited by those parental chromosomes.

When we talk about polyploids, we are talking about organisms that received more than one set of chromosomes from any parent.

For example, in cannabis which is diploid, when bred, the chromosomes present are from parent A which supplies 1 set, and parent B which supplies another set. Each set contains 10 chromosomes, so when recombined, making 20 chromosomes, namely two sets of 10 each, per cell of the progeny plant.

However, in polyploid cannabis seeds, one or more of the parents has passed down more than one set of chromosomes. A triploid plant passes 3 sets of 10 chromosomes. A tetraploid has 4 sets of 10 chromosomes and so forth and so on.

So, let's conclude this section with the understanding that polyploid cannabis is cannabis seeds produced where one of the parents had more than one set of chromosomes that were passed to the progeny cannabis seeds.

2. Why does polyploid cannabis have the potential to be better than diploid cannabis?

If we go back to the banana example in the previous section this is very easy to understand. The main potential is to have better quality cannabis flowers and high yielding cannabis seeds obviously, but there are also some other reasons.

Polyploid cannabis plants potentially can be stronger plants overall, sturdier, higher yielding and also potentially more drought tolerant than their diploid relatives. Polyploid cannabis plants can have more available genetic flexibility and hence a broader range of adaptability in comparison to diploids.

But more interestingly in the modern era, its because the available combinations of terpenes synthesized by the plant are exponentially increased through polyploid cannabis.

The other area of interest in cannabis polyploidy is in the retention of polyploid traits in certain parts of the plant but not others. In particular, this applies to flower structure and trichome density.

When it comes to flower structure in cannabis plants, the more available bracts, the higher the potential for trichome production.

On the surface of the bract, where different types of trichomes form, some trichomes secrete cannabinoids and terpenes. It's the density of these particular trichomes that could be improved in comparison with diploid cannabis, that polyploid cannabis seeds provide the opportunity for.

Another aspect of certain polyploids, for example triploids, is that they are mostly infertile. So if you grow cannabis outdoors, a field of triploid females from high quality triploid feminized cannabis seeds can never produce cannabis seeds in large quantities like their diploid relatives can.

Let's cover the main points before we move to the next section - in simple terms polyploid cannabis or polyploid cannabis seeds have the potential to produce larger, higher quality, higher yielding cannabis plants that have a far broader range of terpene expressions combined with potential for higher cannabinoid production. Polyploids also have application in cannabis because of higher infertility - this applies to triploids. Polyploids can have more drought and pest resistance than their diploid relatives.

3. How are polyploid cannabis strains made? How much colchicine for cannabis applications?

Polyploids rarely form as a result of mutation in nature. When they do occur, it may be for a brief period only and many if not most will "revert" to diploid as the genome corrects itself. For example sometimes cannabis seeds will sprout with 3 leaves at every node instead of the usual 2. This is a triploid trait. However, the majority of these will "revert" to 2 leaves per node as they approach preflower stage. In cannabis, a natural polyploid that grows to maturity is extremely rare.

Most cannabis polyploids are created by using mutagens.

The most well known mutagen that is used in agriculture overall for inducing polyploidy is a chemical called "colchicine".

Colchicine is typically prescribed for gout and is also available in tablets for agricultural use.

Colchicine requires careful handling during use and thoughtful disposal. Cochicine is a mutagenic poison and restricted chemical in most places.

It is NOT RECOMMENDED to use colchicine for these purposes unless you are a trained agricultural professional.

Producing polyploid cannabis involves some different methods which we will detail below.

a) Colchicine seed soak - cannabis seeds are soaked in a solution of between 0.25% to 0.5% colchicine. Seeds that do sprout are observed for polyploid traits and a separate set of seeds from the same batch should be used as a non treated control to ascertain the success of the treated group. The viability of the treated seeds is far lower than that of untreated seeds.

b) Sprouted seed soak - this is similar to the process described above however instead of soaking cannabis seeds in a solution of colchicine, but instead take seeds that have already shown a tap root and give them a quick dip in a solution of the same concentration. The seeds that continue on to grow into plants need to be assessed for polyploidy in comparision to a untreated control group.

c) Meristem treatment - this method involves a growing plant, where the meristem, apical or intercalary ( the tip at the branch nodes ), is treated with a solution of colchicine. For this type of treatment the colchicine concentration should be between .5% and 1% of the solution. This method is best used with clones because untreated clones can be used as the control to validate the differential in the treated clones. This treatment has to be done with a dropper bottle because colchicine is toxic, it should never be used with a spray bottle or delivered as a mist that can be breathed in by humans.

d) Clone dipping - somewhat similar to meristem treatment, this method involves taking a rooted clone and dipping the entire non root section into a colchicine solution. Similar to meristem treatment, the solution should be .5% to 1% colchicine. Untreated clones have to be used as the control to validate the effects of treated clones.

Typically, these treatments will deliver mostly tetraploid characteristics that are expressed in the surviving plants, depending on treatment method.

Tetraploids that survive and that are fertile, can then be crossed with diploids to produce triploid cannabis seeds, which have the infertility characteristic that many desire - triploid cannabis seeds capable only of producing high quality seedless cannabis flower or sinsemilla, which literally means "no seeds".

In some tetraploid specimens, only certain polyploid traits are expressed. For example, plants could express 4 leaves at every internode instead of the usual 2. Or they could express double or quadruple bract stacks, instead of usual one. Some specimens could express flowers in a fashion where every bract produces 2 sets of pistils ( 4 visible hairs instead of the usual 2 ). There could be up to quadruple the amount of trichome stalks, greatly improving the overall trichome density which in turn boosts both cannabinoid and terpene yield.

The breeders who are well versed in these techniques can then select and breed from these parents to make progeny that are true breeding for those traits going forward.

To summarize this section, we have covered the different methods of treatment with colchicine for cannabis seeds or cannabis plants and the types of results we could potentially expect, along with understanding that the grower needs to always have untreated specimens as controls to determine whether the treatment was successful or not.

4. Where do I get polyploid cannabis seeds?

Right now there aren't any specific sources of polyploid cannabis seeds as this is a new area for cannabis seeds. Unlike other plants, where methods and cultivar availability are well advanced, with regards to cannabis seeds, this area is a developing space where breeders particularly in the Americas are now working with polyploidy in cannabis.

Cannabis breeders are acutely aware of the benefits of polyploidy and it is probable that the industry will develop specific polyploid cultivars in the near future.

Comprehensive Pest Management Guide for Cannabis Growers Indoors

1. Introduction to Indoor Cannabis Pest Management

You can have the finest cannabis genetics, the freshest cannabis seeds and the best grow equipment but if you don't know how to manage pests, things can go wrong very fast.

Indoor cannabis cultivation offers growers precise control over environmental factors, but it also presents unique challenges in terms of pest management. Unlike outdoor settings, where natural predators can contribute to pest control, the confined nature of indoor spaces can facilitate the rapid spread of pests. This section delves deeper into the intricacies of indoor cannabis pest management, emphasizing the importance of a proactive and integrated approach.

Indoor environments, with their controlled temperature, humidity, and light cycles, create an ideal breeding ground for pests that can wreak havoc on cannabis plants. The absence of natural elements like wind and rain, which can help limit pest populations outdoors, means that growers must be vigilant in implementing preventative measures.

One key factor in indoor pest management is the necessity of maintaining a delicate balance. While controlling pests is crucial, it's equally important to avoid negatively impacting the plant's health or the overall ecosystem within the cultivation space. This delicate equilibrium often involves a combination of preventative strategies, biological controls, and judicious use of chemical interventions.

Growers must be aware of the common pests that thrive in the indoor environment. Spider mites, microscopic arachnids that feed on plant juices, are notorious for their ability to quickly infest cannabis crops. Whiteflies, tiny insects that can transmit harmful viruses, are another persistent threat. Understanding the life cycles and behaviors of these pests is crucial for implementing effective control measures.

Effective pest management begins with a thorough understanding of the cultivation space. Regular inspections and monitoring help identify early signs of infestation, allowing for prompt intervention. Additionally, implementing quarantine procedures for new plants entering the indoor environment is a preemptive measure to prevent the introduction of pests.

In the context of indoor cannabis cultivation, where the stakes are high due to the value of the crop, preventative measures become paramount. Proper ventilation is a fundamental component of these measures. Adequate airflow not only helps maintain optimal temperature and humidity levels but also discourages the proliferation of pests like fungus gnats, which thrive in stagnant air.

Regular monitoring of environmental conditions, including temperature and humidity levels, allows growers to adjust ventilation systems accordingly. Integrating environmental control systems with automated sensors ensures timely responses to deviations from the ideal conditions, contributing to a proactive approach in pest prevention.

In conclusion, the introduction to indoor cannabis pest management highlights the unique challenges posed by controlled cultivation environments. Growers must adopt a comprehensive approach that combines preventative measures, vigilant monitoring, and the judicious use of biological and chemical controls.

This sets the stage for a more in-depth exploration of specific pests and management strategies in subsequent sections.

2. Common Pests in Indoor Cannabis Cultivation

a. Spider Mites

Spider mites, belonging to the family Tetranychidae, are formidable adversaries for indoor cannabis growers. These tiny arachnids measure less than a millimeter in size, making them difficult to detect until their infestation has reached critical levels. Recognizing the signs of spider mite damage is crucial for early intervention.

Spider mites feed by puncturing plant cells and extracting the contents, leaving behind stippling, a characteristic pattern of tiny dots on leaves. As they continue to feed, leaves may appear discolored, and fine silk webbing may become visible. To monitor for spider mites, growers can use a magnifying lens to inspect the undersides of leaves, where these pests tend to congregate.

Integrated pest management (IPM) is particularly effective against spider mites. Predatory mites, such as Phytoseiulus persimilis, can be introduced as biological control agents. These predators feed on spider mites, keeping their populations in check. Regular release of predatory mites, especially during the early stages of infestation, can prevent a spider mite outbreak from spiraling out of control.

Additionally, maintaining a clean and well-sanitized growing environment is crucial. Spider mites thrive in dusty conditions, so regularly cleaning surfaces and implementing proper hygiene measures can create an inhospitable environment for these pests.

b. Whiteflies

Whiteflies, members of the Aleyrodidae family, are another common threat to indoor cannabis cultivation. These small, flying insects feed on plant sap, causing direct damage through feeding and indirect harm by transmitting plant viruses. Identifying whiteflies early is essential to prevent widespread infestations.

Sticky traps strategically placed around the cultivation area can help in monitoring adult whiteflies. When disturbed, adult whiteflies take to the air, making them susceptible to being caught on the traps. Examination of the undersides of leaves may reveal whitefly nymphs, which are immobile and resemble tiny, oval-shaped scales.

Integrated pest management for whiteflies involves the use of natural enemies such as Encarsia formosa, a parasitic wasp that lays its eggs on whitefly nymphs. As the wasp larvae develop, they feed on the whitefly nymphs, ultimately leading to their demise. This biological control method is effective and reduces the reliance on chemical pesticides.

Furthermore, implementing reflective mulches and companion planting can deter whiteflies. Reflective mulches disorient whiteflies, making it more challenging for them to locate host plants. Companion planting involves strategically placing plants that repel or distract whiteflies, creating a less attractive environment for these pests.

c. Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats (Bradysia spp.) are small, flying insects that are particularly problematic in the early stages of cannabis cultivation. These pests thrive in moist conditions and are often associated with overwatering or poorly drained growing mediums.

To identify fungus gnat infestations, growers can use yellow sticky traps placed at the soil surface. Adult fungus gnats are attracted to the color yellow and get trapped on these sticky surfaces. Larvae, which feed on organic matter and plant roots, may be found in the growing medium upon closer inspection.

Preventing fungus gnat infestations involves addressing the underlying moisture issues. Allowing the growing medium to dry out between watering sessions and improving drainage can create an environment less conducive to fungus gnat reproduction. Additionally, the introduction of beneficial nematodes, such as Steinernema feltiae, can be an effective biological control measure against fungus gnat larvae.

In conclusion, a comprehensive understanding of common pests in indoor cannabis cultivation is crucial for implementing effective pest management strategies. Early detection, coupled with a combination of biological controls and cultural practices, forms the foundation for a resilient and thriving cannabis crop. The subsequent sections will explore preventative measures, biological controls, and chemical interventions in greater detail.

3. Prevention Measures

a. Quarantine Procedures

Before introducing new plants into the controlled environment of an indoor cannabis cultivation space, implementing strict quarantine procedures is paramount. This practice serves as a first line of defense against potential pest introductions. New plants should undergo a thorough inspection for any signs of pests or diseases.

Quarantine areas can be set up outside the main cultivation space to isolate and observe new additions. This allows growers to monitor plants over a predetermined period, ensuring they are pest-free before being integrated into the main cultivation area. Regular visual inspections and the use of handheld magnifying lenses can aid in detecting hidden pests that may have eluded initial scrutiny.

In addition to visual inspections, treating new plants with preventive measures, such as neem oil or insecticidal soap, during the quarantine period can further mitigate the risk of introducing pests. This proactive approach minimizes the likelihood of pest infestations taking root and spreading within the indoor environment.

b. Proper Ventilation

Proper ventilation is a fundamental aspect of indoor cannabis cultivation that directly influences pest management. Adequate airflow serves multiple purposes, including the regulation of temperature and humidity levels, both of which impact the proliferation of pests.

Stagnant air can create an environment conducive to certain pests, such as fungus gnats. These insects thrive in high humidity conditions, and poor ventilation exacerbates the risk of infestation. Installing exhaust fans and strategically placing oscillating fans within the cultivation space helps ensure consistent air circulation.

Proper ventilation also aids in preventing the buildup of heat around the plants. Excessive heat can stress cannabis plants and weaken their natural defenses against pests. By maintaining an optimal temperature range and promoting air movement, growers create conditions less favorable for the establishment and persistence of pests.

Regular monitoring of environmental conditions, including temperature and humidity levels, allows growers to adjust ventilation systems accordingly. Integrating environmental control systems with automated sensors ensures timely responses to deviations from the ideal conditions, contributing to a proactive approach in pest prevention.

In conclusion, prevention measures are foundational to successful pest management in indoor cannabis cultivation. Implementing rigorous quarantine procedures and maintaining proper ventilation sets the stage for a resilient cultivation environment. These proactive steps reduce the risk of pest introductions and create conditions less favorable for their establishment and proliferation. Subsequent sections will delve into biological and chemical controls, providing a comprehensive guide for indoor cannabis growers.

4. Biological Controls

a. Predatory Insects

Introducing predatory insects into the indoor cannabis environment is a strategic and eco-friendly approach to pest management. Various predatory species can be employed, each targeting specific pests without causing harm to the cannabis plants.

For instance, deploying predatory mites like Phytoseiulus persimilis can effectively control spider mite infestations. These tiny warriors feed on spider mite eggs and larvae, preventing their population from reaching damaging levels. Regular releases of predatory mites, timed to coincide with the pest's life cycle, maximize their impact.

Ladybugs (Hippodamia convergens) are another valuable ally in biological control. They voraciously consume aphids, whiteflies, and other soft-bodied pests. Releasing ladybugs in the early stages of pest presence helps keep populations in check and minimizes the need for chemical interventions.

b. Beneficial Nematodes

Incorporating beneficial nematodes into the growing medium is an effective method for managing soil-dwelling pests. Steinernema feltiae, for example, preys on fungus gnat larvae, disrupting their life cycle. These microscopic organisms are applied as a soil drench, seeking out and parasitizing pests without harming the cannabis plants.

Biological controls offer a sustainable and long-term solution to pest management. However, precise application and adherence to recommended release rates are crucial for their effectiveness. Integrating a diverse range of predatory insects and nematodes enhances the overall resilience of the indoor ecosystem against potential pest threats.

5. Chemical Controls

a. Selective Pesticides

When biological controls alone may not suffice, judicious use of selective pesticides becomes a crucial component of the integrated pest management strategy. Selective pesticides target specific pests while minimizing harm to beneficial organisms, preserving the overall balance of the indoor ecosystem.

For spider mite control, acaricides like abamectin or hexythiazox are effective choices. These pesticides disrupt the nervous system of spider mites while posing minimal risk to plants and other non-target organisms. Regular rotation of pesticides with different modes of action helps prevent the development of resistance in pest populations.

b. Application Techniques

Applying pesticides with precision is essential to maximize efficacy and minimize potential negative impacts. Timing is critical, with applications ideally targeted during the vulnerable life stages of the pests. Early detection through regular monitoring facilitates timely intervention.

Adhering to recommended pesticide concentrations and following proper application techniques, such as thorough coverage of plant surfaces, ensures optimal results. Growers should also consider the potential impact on beneficial insects and be selective in choosing pesticides that align with the principles of integrated pest management.

In summary, a multifaceted approach that combines biological and chemical controls is often the most effective strategy for indoor cannabis pest management. Utilizing predatory insects and nematodes alongside selective pesticides allows growers to adapt their approach based on the specific pest pressures encountered. This integrated strategy promotes a healthy and sustainable indoor cultivation environment, fostering robust cannabis plants while minimizing the risks associated with pest infestations.

feminized cannabis seeds herms hermaphrodite

Let's face it, people buy feminized cannabis seeds for the convenience. They take the inconvenience of having to deal with the additional space, light and nutrition requirements when you are growing from regular cannabis seeds.

But feminized cannabis seeds can present problems for some cannabis growers at times. There can be many causes for feminized cannabis seeds to turn hermaphrodite - we will explore the reasons and background as we go through the detail of this interesting facet of feminized cannabis seeds.

First, lets understand what a hermaphrodite is.

Cannabis, has distinct male and female plant types that result from any typical regular cannabis seed.

Usually, in nature, the ratio of male to female is usually 50 / 50. However in certain circumstances these ratios are altered.

What that reveals, is that environmental factors can impact the sex of cannabis plants.

For example, the ratio of males to females can be altered if the root zone temperature is warmer, or if the hours of light for seedlings is greater than 16 when the plants are very young.

What these environmental factors are doing, is stressing the seedlings in some way so that the average ratio changes away from 50/50 to something else.

Is it true that hermaphrodites in feminized cannabis seeds are based solely on genetics?

No, this is untrue. As a matter of fact, all cannabis seeds have the potential to exhibit hermaphrodite or intersex traits.

Cannabis is a plant where in its natural state, it is possible to have both males and female blossoms on the same plants.

In some strains of cannabis, hermaphrodites are a common part of the population. In hybrids, indicas or sativa, there is a tendency towards being able to host flowers of both sexes on the same plant, in some specimens within a large volume of plants.

This is an inbuilt mechanism of the plant to avoid becoming extinct. It is a survival mechanism.

When it comes to feminized cannabis seeds, we know that if they are produced well, that they are going to be mostly 100% female to begin with.

However, similar to regular cannabis seeds, feminized cannabis seeds are also impacted by environmental factors from the seedling stage.

Where a regular cannabis seed is affected, it may change to either more males or more females depending on the type of environmental stimuli. Regular seeds can also produce hermaphrodite plants depending on the type of environmental stimuli.

But when it comes to feminized cannabis seeds, when there is an adverse environmental stimuli, they cannot fully change their sex because of how they are bred, so they respond to the stimuli by making some male flowers amongst their mostly female blossoms.

Usually this happens mostly at the time when the plants are starting to bloom, especially in artificial light situations. There can also be late stage male flowers but this is common to both regular and feminized cannabis seeds.

This can happen to any feminized cannabis seed, irrespective of the genetics or breeder.

Even the highest quality feminized cannabis seeds can be turned hermaphrodite given the correct environmental and or chemical triggers.

So, how do you reduce the chances of hermaphrodites when using feminized cannabis seeds?

  1. Sprout seeds under 14 hours of light a day, only increasing to 16 hours gradually once the true leaves have grown two full sets.

  2. Grow the plants in vegetative stage until they show pistils - usually 4 to 5 weeks minimum

  3. Do not change the artificial light schedule from the vegetative schedule to the flower schedule abruptly, rather, do it gradually over a number of days

  4. Do not over prune the plants at any time. Some feminized cannabis seeds can be stressed by over pruning, causing them to exhibit some male flowers

  5. Avoid extreme temperatures, both hot or cold for your indoor environments

  6. Avoid interruptions to your artificial lights and ensure that your timers are correctly programmed and working as expected

  7. Avoid excessive bending, scrogging or knuckling as this changes the hormones present at the tips of the plant and can lead to male flowers at internodes in feminized seeds

  8. Avoid overly concentrated nutrient mixes if running with coco or hydroponics

  9. Avoid excessive EC and PPM in hydroponics

  10. Avoid excessively acidic root zones

What chemicals or plant hormones promote male flowers in feminized cannabis seeds?

  • ethylene inhibitors - silver, cobalt, aminoethoxyvinyl (AVG)

  • gibberellins

  • boron


We've looked at how environmental factors affect feminized cannabis seeds and learned the reasons and circumstances under which feminized cannabis seeds may tend to show hermaphrodite traits.

To assist growers to avoid these issues we've gone through ten steps to avoid hermaphrodites when growing from feminized seeds.

bottom of page