Mutations in weed plants aren’t very common, but when they do happen, it can be a shocker. If you do happen to find a mutant growing among your pot plants, don’t panic. In most cases, simply get rid of the effected plant and you’ll be fine. Here are six of the most common genetic abnormalities that occur to cannabis and how to spot them.
Polyploidism Extra Genes on a Cannabis plant
Typically, cells contain two sets of chromosomes and are referred to as diploid. They inherit one set from each of their parents. However, when cells mutate, they can become polyploid and have more than two sets of genetic markers.
Polyploid pot plants sometimes produce more THC and bigger yields, but none have yet been bred to do this on a regular basis. I recommend leaving experimentation with mutating pot plants to expert breeders and growing healthy non-mutant varieties for personal use.
Variegation—Albino Weed Plant
Some genes control your plant’s production of chlorophyll—the pigment that makes them green. When a mutation switches these genes “off,” the plant will appear white with albinism. While interesting to look at and photograph, this mutation will cause the plant to cease growing because it can no longer absorb light. Kill ’em when you find ’em.
Whorled Phyllotaxy—Three Leaves From a Node On a Cannabis Plant
Some plants are trifoliate, meaning they suffer from a deformity or mutation in which three cotyledons emerge from the first node instead of the usual two. This condition usually only affects plants in the earliest stages of life, and they tend to discontinue the weird behavior as they mature (ie. after the fifth set of nodes or so).
Keep in mind however that trifoliate plants, or those with whorled phyllotaxy, tend to exhibit more hermaphroditic behavior and are also much more likely to turn out to be males when flowered. Best to get rid of them.
Polyembryonic Weed Seeds—One Seed, Two Plants
When two or more embryos emerge from one egg, or seed, this is called polyembryony. You may also know this phenomenon better as “having twins.”
You can try to separate the seedlings from each other but it’s a delicate operation. If you can get them apart, including the twin tap roots, plant them in separate containers to avoid having them compete with each other for space and nutrients.
Buds Growing From Leaf Petioles on a Cannabis Plant
Normally, buds only form at the nodes where the leaf petioles meet the plant stems. In some rare cases, a mutation causes flowers to grow out of the base of the leaves.
You might think this could increase your yield, but in actuality, the buds are quite small and will compete with your larger flowers for nutrients. You can pluck these leaves off and continue to grow your plant, or get rid of it altogether.