How To Avoid Cannabis Pollination In The Grow Room?

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Added 28 October 2021

Cannabis pollination is the stuff of dreams for breeders, but not so much for home-growers.

Pollinating female plants is a fantastic process as it allows you to get seeds and more yields; however, the opposite is true if your plants are pollinated accidentally.

Imagine growing plants for months only to realize that they are filled with seeds. Nobody wants to use seeded buds. So, how do you avoid cannabis pollination in your grow room? Read on to find out more.

If you're new to growing cannabis, you're probably wondering why you should avoid pollination in the first place. What's the harm in smoking some seeded buds, right?

Why Should You Avoid Seeded Cannabis Buds?

There's no problem in using seeded buds as long as you remove the seeds.

That said, there are a few differences between using sensimilla (no seeds) and seeded buds:

1. Fewer cannabinoids

Why do you use cannabis in the first place? Most users do it because of cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Without the cannabinoids, the buds would be just like grass. Generally, cannabis plants produce resin until the very last week of their life cycle. 

However, once a female plant is pollinated, she begins focusing on seed production rather than producing resin and cannabinoids. Therefore, seeded buds contain very little THC or CBD. In other words, they are not very enjoyable because of their low potency.

2. Fewer terpenes

Terpenes are similar to the essential oils produced by the cannabis plant. The glands that produce cannabinoids also produce terpenes. And, just like a pollinated plant produces fewer cannabinoids, it also reduces the production of terpenes.

Terpenes are present in almost every plant and are responsible for a plant's smell, flavor, and color. For example, the musky taste of most cannabis strains is due to the presence of Myrcene, which is also present in mangoes. 

Most healthy cannabis plants produce a lot of terpenes, but pollinated female plants drastically reduce terpene production, and it invariably affects the taste of the buds. Therefore, seeded buds do not taste as good as sensimilla buds.

3. Harsh taste

Nobody likes buds that produce a harsh taste. For example, sensimilla buds taste superior because of the terpenes; however, seeded buds emit a nasty taste and irritate the throat due to the seeds. In addition, these buds from hell suddenly pop, causing a joint to rip open if you don't remove the seeds before rolling it. 

Whether you're buying buds or growing them at home, it's best to avoid seeded buds since they are inferior to sensilla buds. Even if you're paying more money for sensimilla buds, you will have a far better experience.

Apart from pollination, cannabis plants can develop seeds or become hermaphrodites, making it harder to grow sensimilla buds.

What Is A Hermaphrodite?


You've probably heard of growers referring to the dreaded "hermie" when talking about seeded plants. A hermaphrodite is a plant or an animal that displays both female and male sex organs.

Cannabis is monecious in nature, meaning it can be female or male; however, some plants have both male and female reproductive organs. This phenomenon is called hermaphroditism. Simply put, a hermaphrodite will have both pistils and little pollen sacks

Hermaphrodites are common in the wild, where a female plant gets pollinated due to several reasons. However, cannabis growers avoid this in the grow room because they don't prefer seeded buds.

How To Avoid Hermaphrodites?


Female cannabis plants get pollinated due to several reasons. Unless you're pollinating them intentionally like a breeder, you can prevent cannabis pollination by avoiding stress. The plants can be stressed due to a variety of reasons, including:

1. Light leaks

light leak

Photoperiod cannabis plants grow and flower based on the light they receive. For example, they grow and develop leaves and stems during the 18/6 cycle or when there are 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness. 

In contrast, they begin to produce buds when the light hours reduce to a 12/12 cycle. The problems start when the light cycle gets interrupted. During the 12/12 period, it's important not to expose them to any kind of light. Light leaks even for a few hours can stress the plants and force them to pollinate themselves or become hermaphrodites to continue their generation.

So, how do you eliminate light leaks? First, get inside the grow room and switch off the lights. If you see the light filtering inside the room, you will have to find the source and patch it with duct tape to eliminate the leak.  If you're using a room instead of a tent, check the windows, doors, etc., to prevent light from filtering inside.

2. Over and under-watering

watering cannabis

While over-watering can stunt the plants and render them incapable of absorbing nutrition, under-watering them is equally dangerous. The plants get stressed if you water too much or ignore to water them. To prevent stress, ensure that you water them only when the soil at the top is dry. You can also pick up the pots to figure out if they are light and water them.

3. Excessive nutrients 

Many growers tend to over-feed their plants with nutrients, hoping that they perform to their maximum potential; however, feeding excessive nutrients can only backfire and stress the plants to become hermaphrodites. Therefore, it's important to remember that the plant will not struggle if you provide fewer nutrients. Mark the dates on your calendar and provide nutrition only when required.

4. Accidental pollination

Cannabis pollen is so fine that it clings to clothes and hair. If you've handled a male plant, you must change your clothes before entering your grow room, or you may end up pollinating the females accidentally. You can also take a shower to prevent accidental pollination.

All the factors described above ultimately results in the plants producing seeds. But, can you plant them? After all, seeds are expensive, so what can you do with seeds? Well, this depends. If you pollinated your plants accidentally with male pollen clinging, you have just crossed one strain with another, and it's okay to use those seeds. However, don’t expect the plants to resemble the parent too much because breeding is tricky.

On the other hand, what if your plant has turned into a hermie? No, it’s best to avoid planting such seeds because the resulting offspring may carry the same characteristics further down the lane, and you will always have to deal with seeded buds.

Male cannabis pollen can also pollinate the female plants if you don't weed out the males on time. But, first, you should identify the males.

How To Identify Males?

cannabis male

Apart from hermaphroditism, the female plants can be pollinated naturally if there's another male plant present nearby. Although breeders grow male plants to cross one strain with another, home growers need to weed out the male plants as soon as they appear. Therefore, check the plants frequently to look for males so you can remove them before they pollinate an entire room of female plants.

Identifying males seems like an easy job for experienced growers, but beginners may struggle to do so. While it's difficult to determine the plant's sex initially, you can do it easily once it enters the pre-flowering phase as the plant begins to focus on reproduction.

Generally, male plants are faster to show changes compared to females. One significant difference between males and female plants is that the female produces small hair-like structures called pistils. 

In contrast, the male plant does not produce pistils. Instead, it begins to make sacs or balls that fill up with pollen and burst at some point. Therefore, it's essential to eliminate males to avoid seeded buds.

How To Recognize Signs Of Pollination?

cannabis tract, calyx and pistils

Female plants produce pistils through their bracts. Typically, bracts look like leaves that develop right below the calyx. Calyxes are tear-drop structures that have pistils. Bracts are usually thin, but they tend to get bigger after pollination. If you suspect pollination, simply break up a tract to inspect the contents inside. If you see a seed, the plant is pollinated.

In addition, keep an eye on the pistils of the plant. Generally, they are white and maintain the same until the plant enters the last few weeks of flowering. However, if you see the pistils turning brown while the plant is weeks away from harvest, the plant may be pollinated. Also, only the tips of the pistils shrivel when they are pollinated, whereas the pistils of a plant close to its harvest date will completely turn amber or red.

What To Do If Your Plants Get Pollinated?

No matter how careful you are, your plants may get pollinated at times. It can occur due to various factors, as explained above. 

What now?

Well, don't throw them away because you can still use them. If it's so harsh that it irritates your throat, you can use the buds to make edibles. Sure, it won't be as potent as sensimilla buds, but it's better than throwing the buds away.


There are many ways to prevent pollination but pay close attention to stress. While pollination due to a male is considered okay, stressing the plant will force the plant to turn into a hermaphrodite, which is simply not desirable. To avoid stressing the plants, ensure that you feed the plants on time. Do not over-feed, overwater, or under-water the plants. Last but not least, catch males on time and weed them out to prevent pollination.




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