Hermaphrodite seeds

Should I grow seeds from a hermaphrodite?

I am growing from seeds, not clones. In the middle of my garden's last growing cycle one of the Jack Herer plants popped out a hermaphrodite pod. I immediately turned off all the fans and exhaust vents and removed the hermaphrodite from the garden after covering it with a plastic bag. However, some of the other plants produced a few seeds. I germinated them and am growing them under 24 hours of light. They are in their thirtieth day and already have their fifth set of full leaves.
I read that you should never propagate hermaphrodite seeds, because half of your harvest will turn out hermaphroditic. I don't want to eliminate the garden because it is ready to start flowering.

Can I inspect the garden daily, searching for signs of hermaphroditism? When do plants usually show signs of being hermaphroditic? I don't want to kill all these plants since they are growing so well.

DJ Cowlick,
Mauckport, Indiana

Plants turn hermaphroditic in two ways. Some plants are programmed genetically as hermaphrodites. These plants will produce male flowers on female plants no matter what environmental situations they face. Other plants are induced to grow male flowers under stress conditions. Some plants may be more genetically predisposed to hermaphrodite under stress, but all plants may exhibit male flowers as a sign of stress created by growing conditions. This hermaphroditism is not genetic and does not affect the plant's progeny. Sometimes plants that aren't hermaphroditic outdoors will grow male flowers when grown indoors as a stress response. Stresses can include lighting regimen irregularities, low light conditions or response to hormones.

If a genetic hermaphrodite is crossed to a non-hermaphroditic female, about half of the resulting plants will be hermaphroditic. If the hermaphroditism was caused by environmental factors, then none, some or all of the progeny will exhibit male flowers depending on whether the plants have inherited a tendency towards hermaphroditism under stress conditions and whether the plants face those conditions.

If you have only a few plants and are willing to spend the time making daily inspections for male flowers, you can produce a sinsemilla crop. It's important to remove the male flowers before they open and release pollen.

Readers with grow questions (or answers) should send them to Ed at: Ask Ed, PMB 147, 530 Divisadero St., San Francisco, California 94117, USA. You can also email Ed at AskEd@cannabisculture.com, and send queries via his websites at www.ask-ed.net. All featured questions will be rewarded with a copy of Ed's new book, Best of Ask Ed: Your Marijuana Questions Answered. Sorry, Ed cannot send personal replies to your questions.

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