With the leagalization of cannabis in so many states, growing your own can be done. But you need to knwo the basics: autoflower vs feminized seeds. Autoflowering vs Feminized Cannabis – What exactly are the main differences between these two types of cannabis seed? Which one is a better? Ever wondered, what’s the difference between autoflower vs. feminized vs. regular seeds? Here’s how they differ, the similarities & some home grow pointers.
Differences between Autoflower vs Feminized Seeds
If you’re planning on embarking on the wonderful journey that is growing cannabis seeds, there’s a decent amount of information you’ll want to look over before planting that first seed. While it isn’t rocket science, there is still a science to it. And you want your cannabis seeds to reach their full potential, and grow into the beautiful plants you’ve always envisioned. So before that happens, a good place to start is knowing the difference between 2 of the seeds you’ll be choosing between feminized seeds and auto-flowering seeds.
By planting feminized seeds you eliminate the chance of any male chromosomes getting into the mix. This ensures you grow the ever sought out, bud-producing, female marijuana plant. Female plants contain a larger amount of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids when compared to male plants.
Flowering occurs when less sunlight is administered, closer to the change in seasons from summer to fall. Indoor growers can mimic this change in light by adjusting their grow lights. It’s an easy process that requires some research and having an experienced person alongside never hurts if you’re a first-time grower. Plants grown from female seeds produce more buds and fewer leaves than plants grown from auto-flowering seeds. The pruning process is also much easier with plants grown from female seeds.
If you’re just starting as a grower and aren’t too confident with the light adjustment needed for feminized seeds, or someone with experience who wants to maximize outdoor growth yield, auto-flowering seeds are a great alternative according to Leafly.
This variation of cannabis seeds grows with many of the same characteristics as feminized seeds; but unlike feminized seeds, it’s the aging process, not light absorption, that causes them to flower. The growth cycle is short, which makes it a great option for outdoor growers to get up to 4 full harvests, depending on when they first start planting.
Another benefit of auto-flowering seeds is that they are inherently “tougher” than feminized seeds. Compared to their feminized counterpart, auto-flowering seeds have higher resilience to things like a change in temperatures, insects, and mold. Our partner Mosca Seeds sells feminized, auto flower and regular seeds. To purchase Mosca seeds, click here.
Autoflowering vs Feminized Cannabis – Main Differences
Choosing between autoflowering vs feminized seeds is, without a doubt, one of the most important decisions a grower has to face when growing cannabis, whether indoors or outdoors. Nowadays, this botanical discipline offers endless possibilities, making it easier depending on the demands and techniques of each grower, as well as climatology, room and the objective of the grow.
This post is going to address the main differences between autoflowering seeds and feminized strains. There are plenty of things to take into account regarding their morphology and whether the grow takes place outdoors or indoors. This article intends to sort out the doubts that come up when growing strong cannabis plants that grow dense flowers full of resin.
Autoflowering vs Feminized: The Eternal Debate
The first thing worth making clear is that autoflowering and feminized terminologies aren’t fully accurate, although they are popularly among the cannabis community. This is because most autoflowering seeds are actually feminized; therefore it would be more exact to classify them as autoflowering and photoperiod dependent. Their main difference is the light dependence during the different life cycles.
While photoperiod dependent strains require 18 to 12 hours of daily light to start flowering, autoflowering plants can be on the same light schedule throughout their entire life cycle, as they instinctively regulate, moving on to the generative phase, which usually happens around 3-4 weeks after the germination.
Feminized strains were created to avoid male plants within grows; while autoflowering plants are due to the Ruderalis gene and normally aimed at less experienced growers, as they are easier to grow and work with; though less productive than photoperiod ones.
Feminized vs Autoflowering: Grow Differences
Both types of seeds gather numerous differences that make growers choose according to their preferences and possibilities. Hereunder, we are going to explain the main differences that all doubtful growers should know before deciding.
- The main difference is in the flowering period. Autoflowering plants do it automatically; while feminized plants grown indoors require manual light adjustment, going from 18 hours of light to 12.
- Outdoors, feminized strains are weather dependent. The perfect moment to grow them in the northern hemisphere is between March and June. The plants are ready for harvest between September and November.
Other important aspects
- The other main difference is the capacity to grow various crops in the same year. While feminized strains under direct sunlight only have one season; autoflowering strains can produce up to 3-4 crops per year, depending on the variety and climatology of the area.
- Another aspect worth considering is their growth difficulty. Photoperiod dependent strains have a longer life cycle. This requires more experience and basic knowledge in order to sow at the right moment and avoid future crop problems. However, being able to control plants’ development in indoor grows means that if there are any nutritional deficiencies, the vegetative phase can be made longer and the flowering period can be delayed until the situation is restored.
- Feminized strainsproduce larger yields than automatic seeds, whether indoors or outdoors, due to their morphology and physiology.
- It’s worth mentioning that automatic seeds are more resistant towards possible over fertilizations; whereas feminized plants require certain precision when it comes to administering nutrients.
- Due to their fast growth and short life cycle, don’t prune autoflowering plants during their vegetative growth. They won’t have enough time to recover from the stress, like feminized strains would. Automatic strains aren’t suitable for transplantation, feminized plants are.
- Autoflowering plants are the result of crossing sativa or indica strains with a Ruderalis. therefore, they are very vigorous in comparison to feminized plants.
- Autoflowering strains can only grow from a seed while feminized seeds can also grow from cuttings or clones. Therefore, feminized mother plants can be growing for as long as necessary.
Morphological Differences Between Both Varieties
Apart from growth techniques and other characteristics previously mentioned, autoflowering and feminized varieties also hold morphological differences. All of them are easily recognizable, thus its very important to know them well in order to choose accordingly.
- Automatic strains are normally quite short in comparison to photoperiod dependent varieties. Most of them don’t grow past 1 meter. This compact appearance could be a disadvantage to some growers. Although for others (especially those with less experience), it’s an excellent solution. They are easy to work with in reduced spaces. They are also more discreet, therefore ideal for balconies, terraces and guerrilla grows.
- Feminized strains do allow all sorts of pruning techniques to control their height and shape their. Therefore, by extending the vegetative period or seeding earlier, plants will reach a greater size.
- The calyx/leaf ratio is also better in feminized strains. Autos tend to form too many leaves, which makes it harder to harvest the buds. On the other hand, photoperiodic strains vary their appearance depending on whether they have sativa or indica genes. Autoflowering strains’ leaves are similar to Ruderalis, with 5 to 7 wide leaflets.
- Regarding buds,feminized strains (specially indicas) feature greater density and produce more resin around the flowers than autoflowering ones. This means more intense flavors and aromas. Automatic strains normally have lower THC content than photoperiod cultivars due to their Ruderalis genes.
Other differences Between Feminized vs Autoflowering Cannabis Plants
Although we have explained the vast majority of the differences between feminized and autoflowering varieties; there are still certain differences regarding stress exposure. For example, light contamination doesn’t affect autoflowering strains; but photoperiodic plants are very sensitive to inadequate light changes throughout each life cycle.
Feminized strains normally feature more cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes’ content, which guarantee a good quality yield. However, thanks to the constant investigation and development that most seed banks perform; the differences have become a bit less obvious over the years.
A Personal Choice
There are no reasons or arguments to categorically assert that one seed type is better than the other one. By knowing all the advantages, disadvantages, differences and similarities, a grower will have to make a decision based on experience, technique, space and available time to take care of the grow. Take everything into consideration before choosing between feminized and autoflowering seeds.
Autoflower vs. Feminized vs. Regular Seeds: What Is The Difference?
If you’ve ever browsed the web looking for cannabis seeds, you’ll know there are various types out there. The most common choices to pick from are autoflower vs. feminized, not to mention old-school regular seeds.
But how do you know which one to choose? Join us as we discuss these three seed variants, their similarities and differences, and some of our top suggestions.
What are autoflower seeds?
Before we jump into feminized and regular versions, what are autoflower seeds? Auto seeds are named for their ability to flower automatically, without the need for changing light cycles.
Autoflower cannabis seeds are made by crossing an indica or sativa with a lesser-known subspecies, ruderalis, known for this autoflowering trait.
Looking at autoflowering vs. feminized seeds, autoflowering seeds are easier to grow—if you have experience—and fast to flower; the whole growth cycle typically lasts about 10 weeks. Some can be faster—check our report on the “fastest autoflower plants” to get to know them.
These plants tend to be smaller, have little to no lighting schedule needs, and are more resistant to pests, fungi, and temperature fluctuations.
In the past, most autoflowering strains were low yielders with low THC levels. Luckily, due to extensive breeding, autoflower marijuana seeds can now produce more generous yields and more potent buds.
|Light cycles don’t need to be changed or monitored.||Lower yields|
|Compact and small, ideal for growers with limited space.||Lower THC levels make it less potent than most photoperiod strains.|
|Easy to grow and have hardy genetics.||Difficult to clone—usually, new seeds are required every growing season.|
|Due to its speedy growth, you can have a continuous supply all year round as multiple harvests are possible.||Plants tend to be leafier with fewer buds.|
|CBD levels tend to be higher.||–|
|Due to genetics, the plants are less susceptible to mildew, pathogens, mold, fungi, and pests.||–|
What is a feminized seed?
You now know about autos, but what is a feminized seed? Feminized seeds are genetically modified to maximize the chances of developing into only female plants—around 99% turn out to be fems. Breeders produce feminized seeds by inhibiting the hormone ethylene in female plants, using colloidal silver or other chemicals during the flowering stage.
Feminized seeds produce greater, more potent yields and bigger plants. The moderate difficulty level makes it great for beginners and experienced growers alike. One of the few things to be mindful of is the lighting schedule needed to activate the flowering stage.
|Produces high yields, and seedless buds tend to have a better terpene profile, higher cannabinoid content, and are more potent.||Small chance of plants turning into hermaphrodites due to environmental stress or bad genetics.|
|Eliminates the need for gender profiling and the 50:50 genetic gamble.||The flowering stage is dependent on lighting but can be delayed as needed.|
|High guarantee of producing female plants only.||Not useful for breeding.|
|Significant reduction of accidental pollination as there’s no need to sift out the males in the pre-flower stage.||–|
What are regular seeds?
Cannabis is a dioecious species, meaning that different plants either have male or female reproductive organs. Regular seeds have a 50/50 chance of growing into males or females. Pollen from males fertilizes females, creating a new generation of seeds, making regular seeds popular among breeders.
Regular seeds are untouched and as nature intended. If consumption is your main goal, the females are what you’re after as they produce resin containing the highest concentrations of terpenes, cannabinoids, and other compounds.
Using feminized seeds vs. regular seeds means you have more control over the plant gender, whereas with regular seeds, you have to germinate more seeds to account for the males.
The she-weeds should remain unfertilized if you want to ensure the production of high potency buds. To prevent accidental pollination, you must identify and remove the males in the pre-flower early vegetative stage. Regular seeds tend to be used by breeders and more skilled and experienced growers.
|Needed for creating new strains and breeding.||Germination of seeds is unpredictable, with a 50/50 chance of males or females.|
|Use mother plants to make a continuous supply of stem cuttings. Thereby retaining the best parent traits in these clones.||Being a photoperiod means the vegetative phase can be delayed.|
|A pollen bank can be set up by breeders using pollen from male plants.||Accidental fertilization could take place if males remain in the grow room.|
|Many different strains are available, from classics to modern hybrids.||Need to germinate more seeds to account for the males.|
|No chemical or genetic modification makes them cheaper than other seed types.||Misidentification of males and females could lead to problems.|
What is the difference between autoflowering, feminized, and regular seeds?
Once you know what each seed type offers, you’ll need to know: what is the difference between autoflowering and feminized seeds? How do they differ from regular types?
It’s best to compare cultivation skill level, flowering period, average grow speed, and yield size. Here’s a comparison table to simplify the process.
|Cultivation||Easy (With previous experience)||Easy to moderate||Moderate|
|Plant height||Small to medium||Medium to tall||Medium to tall|
|Start flowering||2-4 weeks after planting||When receiving 12/12 hours of light & darkness||When receiving 12/12 hours of light & darkness|
|Vegetative phase||Flowering phase starts based on age.||Photoperiod, vegetative phase can be extended as desired||Photoperiod, vegetative phase can be extended as desired|
|Average time – seed to harvest||10–16 weeks||12–24 weeks||12–24 weeks|
|Suitable for cannabis pollen||No||No||Yes|
|Suitable for cloning||No||Yes||Yes|
Are autoflowers less potent?
When autoflower seeds first appeared on the grow scene, they were generally considered less potent. The Ruderalis subspecies responsible for the autoflowering trait have very low levels of THC and, therefore, low potency.
So are autoflowers less potent? Fast forward to the present, we can thank breeders for crossbreeding Ruderalis plants with strains that are extremely high in THC. Due to their dedication, autoflower plants can have similar potency.
Some autoflowering strains are even as potent as feminized strains. Generally, though autoflowering strains tend to be less potent, luckily, autoflower plants can still produce a quality harvest.
Autoflower vs. feminized vs. regular seeds: which to choose?
It’s important to note that not one seed type is necessarily better than the others. Choosing the best option for you depends heavily on what you want from the plants. Several factors influence what seeds you choose from autoflowering seeds vs. regular or feminized.
Some of the factors include your preference, purpose, skill level, yield size, and available resources. Questions to consider are:
What is your skill level?
If you’re a beginner, our advice is to use feminized seeds. The cultivation process for feminized vs. regular or auto is way more streamlined, increasing your success rate in producing a great harvest.
On the other hand, regular seeds are ideal for veteran growers or those wanting more experience. Autos are easy to grow but are unforgiving to newbie errors due to the quick flowering times—so a little gardening knowledge is a must.
Indoor or outdoor cultivation?
When looking at indoor or outdoor cultivation, the biggest difference between autoflowering and feminized plants is that auto plants tend to be smaller and bushier. This characteristic makes auto strains ideal for indoor cultivation. Feminized and regular plants generally grow taller and bigger, working better outdoors.
Keep your growing situation in mind when selecting your seed type. If you have limited space, time, and a little knowledge, autoflower seeds might be the easiest way to ensure a bumper harvest. If space isn’t an issue, you might want to consider regular or feminized seeds, meaning bigger harvests.
Remember to pick the best outdoor auto seeds if you ever choose to grow them outside.
What is your purpose for growing?
Feminized seeds are great for those seeking bountiful yields and maximum potency. With the chances of males appearing minimized, feminized plants have the best potential of producing canopies full of potent colas.
If speed is your goal, autoflower strains are the way to go, with their shorter life cycle and resilient genes. The difference between autoflowering and feminized seeds is that auto plants can’t handle stress, negatively impacting quality and plant health. Whereas regular and feminized plants respond well to high-stress training.
If breeding new and exciting strains is your dream, regular seeds are the answer. Regular seeds are more natural and produce genetically sturdy clones. Feminized strains are easier to raise, but interesting hybrids are out of the question. On the flip side, regular plants can be unpredictable and produce smaller yields as the male plants get culled.
What are the differences in lighting demands and harvest times?
Many growers choose seeds depending on the length of the grow cycle. Autoflowering plants have no lighting demands and flower based on age. This factor makes autos great for multiple year-round harvests.
Feminized and regular seeds have strict lighting demands and only begin flowering once their lighting schedule is changed. You have to account for this lighting demand and adjust as needed when growing outside.
Auto vs Feminized vs Regular: 9 best strains you should try
Whether autoflowering or feminized vs. regular seeds, each grower has their own opinion on which is best. It boils down to available space, personal preference, and growth expectations.
If you’re a little overwhelmed by all the technical cultivation talk, don’t worry! Here are 3 of the best sellers in each seed type category to help you along the right path.
Homegrown Cannabis Co. provides numerous autoflowering cannabis seeds, many of which are feminized. Here are three of our top sellers.
1. Bruce Banner autoflower cannabis seeds
Bruce Banner autoflower is as massive and potent as the green superhero it’s named after. It hits both the brain and the body, sending you into a deep state of relaxation.
- Lineage: (OG Kush x Strawberry Diesel) x ruderalis
- THC: 21–26%
- Terpenes: Camphene, d-limonene, myrcene
- Flowering Time: 8–10 Weeks
- Yield: Medium–high: 17.5-21 oz./m2 indoor; 2.5-5.5 oz./plant outdoor
- Taste/Aroma: Sweet, berry, earthy, diesel
- Effects: Creative, energetic, focused
- Medical: Anxiety, depression, pain relief
2. Gelato autoflower cannabis seeds
Gelato autoflower cannabis seeds are the cream of the cannabis crop; this cultivar has incredible flavors and potent THC levels. A great pick-me-up with an uplifting and euphoric effect alongside the initial energy surge.
- Lineage: (Sunset Sherbet x Girl Scout Cookies) x ruderalis
- THC: 19–21%
- Terpenes: Limonene, myrcene, terpinolene
- Flowering Time: 8–10 Weeks
- Yield: 14-17.5 oz./m2 indoor; 2-3.5 oz./plant outdoor
- Taste/Aroma: Sweet, blueberry, orange, woody
- Effects: Creative, uplifting, hungry, relaxed
- Medical: Anxiety, arthritis, migraines, muscle spasms
3. Sour Diesel autoflower cannabis seeds
Easy to grow and ideal for limited spaces, Sour Diesel autoflower is robust, zesty, high in THC, and a great all-rounder. Able to induce an energizing high, this strain helps keep you focused and motivated.
- Lineage: (Chemdog 91 x Super Skunk) x ruderalis
- THC: 16–23%
- Terpenes: Myrcene, limonene, camphene
- Flowering Time: 8–10 Weeks
- Yield: 12.5-14 oz./m2 indoor; 2–6 oz/plant outdoor
- Taste/Aroma: Diesel, lemon, skunk, herbal
- Effects: Relaxing, energetic, focused
- Medical: Depression, stress, inflammation
Hopefully, your question “what is feminized seeds?” has been answered. Our store offers various feminized strains, three great options being:
1. Shishkaberry Kush feminized cannabis seeds
Shishkaberry Kush feminized has the fragrance and flavor of a fresh fruit platter, making it one of the tastiest feminized cultivars. Easy to grow virtually anywhere this cultivar contains high levels of THC and is popular in the medical community.
- Lineage: Blueberry x Afghani x OG
- THC: 16–21%
- Terpenes: Camphene, d-limonene, linalool
- Flowering Time: 8–10 Weeks
- Yield: 16 oz./m2 Indoor; 17.5-21 oz./plant Outdoor
- Taste/Aroma: Berry, earthy, pungent
- Effects: Relaxing, mood-booster, euphoric
- Medical: Insomnia, depression, nausea
2. Strawberry Cough feminized cannabis seeds
This sativa-dominant cultivar, Strawberry Cough feminized, is named for its delicious prominent strawberry flavor and, true to its name, is prone to make you cough. This award-winning bud sharpens your sensory awareness, making you feel happy, peaceful, and uplifted.
- Lineage: Strawberry Fields x Old Haze
- THC: 19–23%
- Terpenes: Myrcene, alpha-bisabolol, pinene
- Flowering Time: 10–12 Weeks
- Yield: 14 oz./m2 indoor; 14 oz./plant outdoor
- Taste/Aroma: Strawberry, sweet, spicy, earthy
- Effects: Calming, mood-booster, uplifting
- Medical: Anxiety, depression, fatigue, nausea
3. Green Crack feminized cannabis seeds
Famous for its unique smell and effects, Green Crack feminized plants have incredibly high THC levels. This potent cultivar gives users an amazing energy boost—not for the faint of heart.
- Lineage: Skunk #1
- THC: 17–25%
- Terpenes: Limonene, terpinolene, camphene
- Flowering Time: 7–9 weeks
- Yield: 21 oz./m2 Indoor; 28-42.5 oz./plant outdoor
- Taste/Aroma: Tropical, citrus, sweet, earthy
- Effects: Creative, energetic, happy
- Medical: Fatigue, appetite, migraines, anxiety
Now that we’ve covered autoflower vs. feminized, all that’s left are regulars. Whether you want to breed new strains or keep your growing experience all-natural, there are several regular strains to choose from. Homegrown Cannabis Co. has some well-known regular seeds, including:
1. Blueberry regular cannabis seeds
The fruity punch of Blueberry regular is well-loved among those with a sweet tooth and those looking for an uplifting, relaxing, cerebral buzz. Naturally resistant to diseases and pests, these plants can provide generous yields once fully grown.
- Lineage: Thai x Purple Thai x Afghani
- THC: 15–20%
- Terpenes: Myrcene, limonene, eucalyptol
- Flowering Time: 8–10 Weeks
- Yield: High, 21-24.5 oz./m2 indoor; 24.5 oz./plant outdoor
- Taste/Aroma: Sweet, blueberry, vanilla, woody
- Effects: Relaxing, focused, uplifting
- Medical: Arthritis, anxiety, depression, stress
2. God Bud regular cannabis seeds
This indica-heavy cultivar induces a warm, peaceful state of relaxation. God Bud regular is one of the most potent regular strains able to produce buds with up to 30% THC. They’re also known to reward you with some of the largest harvests.
- Lineage: Hawaiian x Purple Skunk x Unknown Canadian Strain
- THC: 24–30%
- Terpenes: Limonene, terpinolene, camphene
- Flowering Time: 8–10 Weeks
- Yield: High, 19.5-21 oz./m2 indoor; 35.5 oz./plant outdoor
- Taste/Aroma: Sweet, chocolate, pine, woody
- Effects: Calming, giggly, hungry, relaxed
- Medical: Insomnia, pain relief, anxiety
3. Tropic Thunder regular cannabis seeds
The cultivar has a chocolaty kick alongside a tropical sweetness, best for nighttime use. Known to produce a psychedelic high, Tropic Thunder regular chases away depression, stress, chronic pain, and insomnia.
- Lineage: Hawaiian x Purple Skunk x Unknown Indica
- THC: 20–24%
- Terpenes: Myrcene, limonene, camphene
- Flowering Time: 8–10 Weeks
- Yield: 16 oz./m2 indoor; 16 oz./plant outdoor
- Taste/Aroma: Chocolate, earthy, skunk
- Effects: Happy, relaxed, talkative
- Medical: Arthritis, migraines, stress, insomnia
Know the difference, make an informed choice
Now that you know the difference between feminized and regular seeds vs auto, the ball is in your court. Take the time to carefully consider your needs, resources, and preferences and, of course, the yield and potency you’re after.
With high-quality seeds, you can expect decent harvests regardless of the seed type you choose. At Homegrown Cannabis Co. we have a wide variety to pick from, no matter what seed types you’re looking for. Head over to the store and select your next batch.
If you still have some doubts, head over to our Homegrown Forum and chat with other home growers about how they choose their seed types.
About the author: Derek LaRose
Also known as Kronic from The Cannabis Kronicles, Derek LaRose is a young ambitious cultivator and a staple educator for indoor cultivation.