Feminized Cannabis Seeds Vs Autoflowering

You can expect high potential cannabis from good quality seeds whether they are autoflower seeds or feminized seeds. However, feminised seeds are being preferred more and more by growers for indoor cultivation due to its ability to produce only female plants thereby making it a simple cultivation process. There are important differences between regular, feminized (Photoperiod) and autoflower seeds. Curious to the differences and what to choose? The choice of autoflowering vs feminized seeds is easy if you understand the difference between them in terms of yield and other features.

Advantages Of Feminised Seeds vs. Autoflowering Seeds For Indoor Cultivation

When cultivating cannabis indoors, considering every aspect, what would be the better option for the grower?

Indoor cultivation of cannabis is growing in popularity mainly due to its ability to produce high quality weed strains in a number of varieties. This is because the cultivation is done by the grower in an indoor growing area where he can monitor the plants carefully and ensure that they reach their maximum potential. It allows growers to have complete control over the cultivation process, acquire full knowledge of the quality of the product and work in the comfort and security of their own property.

While there are a wide variety of seeds available, the most popular ones are feminized and autoflower seeds. Here is a detailed summary of the two:

Feminized Seeds

Feminized seeds refer to cannabis seeds that are specially bred to eliminate male chromosomes so as to produce only female plants. They are also referred to as “female seeds.” Most growers are looking for cannabis buds, which they can smoke, that are present only in the female plants. The feminine cannabis plant produces considerably more working substances such as THC and CBD as compared to the male cannabis plant. While the parent plant could be considered genetically modified, the seeds themselves are completely natural as they are produced naturally through pollination.

Advantages Of Feminized Seeds

  • Cultivation of feminized seeds ensures that there are only female plants in your garden which allows fast and simple cultivation of the cannabis plant. It eliminates the unnecessary work of pruning and maintaining male plants that ultimately has to be discarded.
  • By making sure that only female plants are produced, feminized seeds ensure that each and every plant is producing cannabis. This ensures higher yield as the available growing space is used in the most productive way possible by eliminating the growth of male cannabis plants.
  • Feminized seeds are as good as regular seeds to make mother plants. Moreover, there is uniformity in the products even when production is carried out on a large scale.
  • The quality of the feminized seeds can be judged from the number of hermaphroditic plants it produces. Feminized seeds from a reputable breeder are almost 100% free from hermaphrodites.

Autoflower Seeds

Autoflowering seeds refer to the seeds that are produced naturally by the cannabis plant through its normal germination. They provide an easy and rewarding yield of high quality cannabis. These seeds produce plants that will change to flowering automatically without the need for change in the light cycle or removal of males. This is good for first time cannabis growers, who do not know how to adjust light cycles. In other words, autoflowering seeds don’t require the same level of complexity of care as the other cannabis seeds in order to yield a bountiful harvest.

Advantages Of Autoflower Seeds

  • Autoflowering seeds yield low height plants that require less maintenance making it suitable for growers who carry out cultivation in less than ideal growing conditions, with limited space or for legal growth that carries a plant height limit.
  • Autoflowering seeds enable to produce extremely fast, easy to grow cannabis plants with excellent resistance to temperature fluctuations. People that have used autoflowering cannabis seeds have reported that their harvest comes sooner, sometimes two harvests in one summer!
  • These seeds are resilient and are capable of resisting mold, pests, and frost because of which they can be grown virtually anywhere almost all through the year as long as it doesn’t become too cold. This ensures reliable, timely crop everytime.
  • While THC levels are quite low; CBD content in autoflower strains is quite high, making them a perfect option for medical users. CBD causes the effects of marijuana to be less intense and milder thus eliminating the psychoactive properties of THC.

Which Is Better?

You can expect high potential cannabis from good quality seeds whether they are autoflower seeds or feminized seeds. However, with passing time and experimentation, feminised seeds are being preferred more and more by growers for indoor cultivation due to its ability to produce only female plants thereby making it a simple cultivation process.

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Moreover, these days most of the autoflower seeds are feminized rather than regular because although autoflower provides 100% flowering, it cannot be cloned. This means that that you have to buy new seeds every time for growing. On the other hand, in feminized cannabis seeds, you may only buy one seed and you can get as many plants from it depending on your choice since feminized seeds can actually be cloned.

Guide to the Differences Between Autoflower, Feminized (photoperiod) and Regular Seeds

When planning to buy weed seeds, you will notice three specific categories. They are autoflower, feminized (photoperiod), and regular seeds. Each one is different in terms of cultivation and yield size, and some are more popular than others. It is necessary to get familiar with each type to determine which one is best for you.

The difference between autoflowering and feminized seeds

As the name suggests, autoflower seeds are designed to bloom automatically. Meanwhile, feminized seeds only have the genetics to become female plants and flower after receiving more than 12 hours a day of darkness.

Both types will produce a quality yield, but they each have notable characteristics.

Autoflowering vs Feminized (photoperiod)

Property Autoflower Feminized
Cultivation Easy Easy to moderate
Plant height Small to medium Medium to tall
Start flowering 2-4 weeks after planting When receiving 12/12 light and darkness
Average time – seed to harvest 10-16 weeks 12-24 weeks
Yield Low – medium Medium – high
Required space Less Medium
Are Autoflower Seeds Less Potent?

Overall, plants from autoflower weed seeds are not less potent than feminized seeds. Originally, autoflower seeds came from the Ruderalis plant. The species of cannabis generally has lower levels of THC, making it less vigorous. So, many growers consider autoflower seeds to be less potent than feminized ones.

Nowadays, it is not always the case. More and more cannabis Ruderalis plants are getting crossbred to create hybrid strains. As a result, you can find autoflower seeds with high amounts of THC. While some strains are still less potent than many feminized seeds, an autoflower plant can still produce a quality harvest.

The difference between feminized and regular seeds

As mentioned before, feminized cannabis seeds are the result of agronomic techniques to get rid of the chance for a male plant. On the other hand, regular seeds are completely natural. They are not genetically engineered and have no chemicals. Regular seeds will produce male and female plants in a crop.

Feminized and regular seeds can be somewhat similar, but they also have different characteristics. Growers usually look at the differences to determine which one is right for them. Traits can include yield size, cultivation, and ability to make new seeds.

Feminized seeds vs regular

Property Feminized Regular
Cultivation Easy – moderate Moderate
Suitable for cannabis pollen No Yes
Chemicals used Yes No
Suitable for cloning Yes Yes
Yield Medium – high Medium
Are feminized seeds less potent?

Some growers believe that feminized marijuana seeds are more potent. Others think that regular seeds win in this department. Overall, there do not seem to be many differences in potency. Some feminized strains can produce higher levels of THC. However, regular seeds can be more potent, especially when talking about hybrid weed seeds.

If a feminized seed is less effective than a regular one, it could be due to lower-quality genes. A less vigorous regular cannabis plant may also be the result of bad parent genetics. Growers still creating the most potent regular and feminized seeds.

What to choose: Regular, Feminized or Autoflower seeds?

Plenty of growers enjoy autoflower and feminized weed seeds for convenience. Others prefer regular strains for potential new versions or because it is natural. The best one may depend on what you would like from it. Several factors could influence which type you choose. For example, you might want buds with a specific flavor or aroma.

The benefits of an autoflower strain are its shorter lifecycle and more resilient genetics. However, autoflower seeds can have a smaller yield size, and they do not create quality clones. Feminized strains are easier to prune, but this type cannot produce interesting hybrids on their own.

One benefit of regular seeds is that they can result in healthy clones. The downside is that they can be unpredictable. Your yield can get smaller if you cull male plants from the crop. Choosing the best seed type also can depend on the person growing it.

Feminized seeds

Feminized seeds are great for beginners and growers who have some experience. After all, the cultivation difficulty is on a moderate level. If a person is new to growing cannabis seeds, they do not need to worry about separating males and females. However, growers have to be more mindful of the lighting schedule since the flowering stage is dependent on cycles.

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Autoflower seeds

Autoflower weed seeds are a good option for people who are new to the cannabis scene. Cultivation is simple, and the flowering stage depends on age. You do not need to pay as much attention as you would to other types of seeds.

Regular seeds

Regular cannabis seeds are likely going to be used by growers who have a more skilled hand. The flowering stage also depends on a light cycle, so you would need to be mindful of how much light and darkness the plant gets. You have to keep an eye on the sex of the plant if you want to prevent unwanted pollination.

Autoflowering vs Feminized: What’s Best for a Casual Grower?

Learn all about the difference between autoflowering and feminized genetics to make an informed choice when shopping for cannabis seeds

When you go to a seed shop, the most conspicuous categories you see there are ‘autoflowering’ and ‘feminized’, so most growers face a difficult choice: autoflowering vs feminized. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.

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Autoflowering vs Feminized Seeds

Let’s start with a disclaimer: it’s not really correct to contrapose these two. A seed can be both feminized and autoflowering, or have just one of these characteristics, or neither of them.

‘Feminized’ means that the seeds produce only female plants. ‘Autoflowering’ means that the seeds will automatically start to flower as soon as they are mature enough (let’s say in 2-4 weeks from sprouts).

What are auto feminised seeds then? Well, those that flower automatically + produce flowers that are always female (i.e. buds).

In contrast, the seeds that produce both male and female plants are called ‘regular’, and those that won’t start to flower until you change the light cycle for them are called ‘photoperiod’.

So, seed shops make the bulk of their sales with the following two:

  • feminised auto seeds (mostly referred to as ‘autoflowering’)
  • feminized photoperiod seeds (mostly referred to as ‘feminized’)

And these two are exactly what we are going to compare.

Advantages of ‘Feminized’ Seeds vs Auto Seeds

They Have More THC

When I myself started growing weed many years ago, I was ignoring autoflowering strains completely. At that time, they really weren’t good enough. Over the years, though, the situation has changed.

Today’s autoflowers routinely have around 20% THC. This is an unheard of level for most photoperiod varieties that I used to grow and considered ‘strong’. Still, if a breeder takes some exceptional genetics with say 25-28 percent of THC and makes an autoflowering version out of it, the THC content in the resulting auto flower is always lower. Compare, for example, such a legend as Gorilla Glue with an autoflowering Gorilla.

Autoflowering vs Feminized Yield Per M 2

Autoflowers have a shorter life cycle, so it’s only logical that they produce less buds in the same growspace. Again, some autos can be significantly more productive than some photoperiod strains, but, within the same genetic line, the auto version always yields less grams per m 2 than the photoperiod one.

The Difference in Yields Per Plant Can be Colossal

Photoperiod strains can be vegged for as long as it suits your needs. This allows you to grow your plants into real giants. It’s hardly practical indoors, but outdoors you can harvest as much as several pounds of dry bud from every ‘tree’. Growing fewer but bigger plants is also convenient when there are legal limits as to the number of plants you are allowed to grow.

They Leave More Room for Rookie Mistakes

Novice growers tend to make mistakes from day 1, so they run into trouble long before the flowering stage begins.

With a photoperiod variety, you can simply find a solution to your problem, take necessary measures, and wait till your plant is in good shape again. And only then you change your light schedule to 12/12 to induce flowering.

Autos, on the other hand, don’t wait till you correct your mistakes. Even if they are small and sickly, they are ‘on the clock’ and will start flowering despite their pathetic condition. The result — tiny plants and puny yields.

That being said, I have seen autoflowering strains that are a little more flexible than that. They start flowering when they reach a certain size and have a certain number of true leaves (let’s say 4 developed pairs of true leaves and the 5th one just forming). This can happen after 3 weeks from sprouts (when everything has gone well). Or, if the initial growth was very slow due to bad conditions, they can postpone the flowering till week 4 or even 5. Not all autos behave this way, but some do.

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They Let You Take Clones and Keep Mothers

If you like a particular feminised plant and want to keep it for future use, simply take a clone, root it and keep it under 18 hours of light a day indefinitely. This plant will never flower, but will keep growing new leaves and side shoots which you can use for cuttings.

Theoretically, you can take clones from autoflowers, too, but you can’t stop them from flowering, no matter how many light hours you give them. So the only way to propagate your favorite autoflowering genetics is to force the plant to self-pollinate and produce seeds.

You Can Re-Veg Them

To reveg means to revert your plant back to growth after harvest.

A harvested plant is hardly more than a stump with a branch or two and some leaves. But you can turn this pathetic remnant into a full-fledged plant. It can then give you a second harvest or be turned into a mother plant and a constant source of clones.

Obviously, autos can’t be revegged.

They Let You Save on Electricity During the Flowering Stage

Feminized plants spend their 8-10+ weeks of flowering under a 12/12 regime, meaning you burn electricity for only 12 hours a day. The saving can be especially significant if your electrical company offers night rates. For autoflowers, the standard light/dark cycle is at least 18/6 (more hours, more money).

Advantages of Autoflowering vs Feminized Seeds

You Can Grow Them Outdoors in Practically Any Climate

I happen to live in a region with very harsh weather, so I know this firsthand. I started with feminized photoperiod strains and only chose those that were early finishers and tolerant of cold and even frost. Nevertheless, it was always a lottery. Some of those ‘quick’ feminized seeds didn’t even start to flower before the first snowfall. Others didn’t reach full maturity.

Later, I would grow from clones using genetics that had proven to really finish early, but even they didn’t perform equally well every year. It all depended on the weather in the crucial 3-4 weeks in late September – early October.

After I tried an autoflowering strain for the first time, I’ve never bothered to grow a photoperiod variety outdoors ever again. Except maybe as an experiment. As an auto grower, you have an opportunity to choose the warmest, sunniest 2-3 months of the year to complete the whole cycle—from seed to harvest—and count on your buds becoming fully mature.

You Can Have Two or More Consecutive Harvests Per Season Outdoors

It all depends on your climate. If the growing season (with no frosts) in your region is 150 days long, you can easily have two back-to-back auto grows. It’s sometimes very convenient to have several smaller harvests than one large one per season.

One reason is that trimming is a very time consuming procedure. Also it’s nice to have some fresh buds to smoke in the middle of summer, while you’re waiting for the bulk of the harvest that which be mature in fall.

With Autos, You Don’t Worry About Light Pollution

If you grow photoperiod marijuana outdoors, nights during the flowering stage should be dark. Weed plants don’t mind the moon and stars, but react badly to city lights. Indoors, you must make sure that your grow space is completely sealed off and doesn’t allow light leaks. With auto flowers, you don’t have these issues.

You Can Have Both the Vegging and the Flowering Plants in One Grow Room

For photoperiod feminized varieties, you must dedicate two separate rooms. In one, lights will be on for 18 hours a day (the veg room), in the other — for 12 hours a day (the flowering room). This is something that not every amateur grower can afford. As for autos, you can keep several generations, each at a different stage of maturity, under 18/6.

Autoflowering vs Feminized Size

Autos tend to be much smaller. This is very convenient for tight spaces and micro grows, or if you want your secret garden to be inconspicuous.

Autos Finish Faster

Theoretically, you can find a photoperiod strain that grows very fast in veg and has a very short flowering period. So, by inducing the flowering early, you can make it finish in 10-11 weeks from seeds. But this is what an average auto can do without any hassle, and some are much faster than that. So, if you want to end that T-break of yours a.s.a.p., choose autoflowering cannabis.

Now you have a sort of a checklist that will help you decide if you’ll be better off growing feminized seeds or autoflowering. We’ve also written a separate post comparing feminized seeds vs regular. Be sure to read it, too!