Autoflower vs feminized, engineered vs regular, trained vs untrained seeds. No matter how you slice it, there is a dizzying variety of seed types to select from when growing your own marijuana.
Which is better, which produces the dankest buds, which grows the fastest?, which is the easiest to maintain?
Well, that depends on a multitude of factors because, fundamentally we are all very different people with different goals and objectives in life.
Translated to cannabis, the type of seed you should buy depends upon what your goals are as a grower.
Are you a hobbyist who enjoys the process of natural cultivation as much as you do getting high? Or are you a THC thrill seeker looking to grow the dankest, stickiest, highest yielding marijuana plant you can?
Well, before heading on over to your favorite online cannabis seed vendor and start buying seeds, make sure to read the following “choose your own ending” guide to determining which seed is best for you!
If you’re looking to buy seeds online ASAP we highly recommend checking out Seedsman Seeds simply because they have one of the largest inventories out there and offer competitive pricing even on more popular/high demand strains.
Growing cannabis is more than just setting yourself up with a solid stash. Growing is an art that rewards those who are willing to learn and are curious about everything that goes into getting a truly satisfying yield.
In this article, we’re going to give a simple break down of the differences between feminized and autoflowering cannabis seeds so you can know which one is right for you.
While you do not have to be a cannabis expert to be a successful grower, there is some basic knowledge you should be aware of if you want to avoid time-consuming and expensive mistakes! Let’s begin.
What are Autoflower Cannabis Seeds?
Autoflower cannabis seeds are a popular choice for beginners as they bloom automatically, are easier to cultivate, smaller in size, and are quicker to harvest than feminized seeds.
They also require a simple lighting schedule and are more resistant to temperature fluctuations, pests and fungi, offering a perfect way for beginners to get into cannabis growing.
These days, just like feminized seeds, autoflower seeds will develop into female plants which deliver the smokeable cannabis that most growers are after.
What are Feminized Cannabis Seeds?
While autoflowers require less attention and allow for quicker harvests, feminized cannabis seeds come with their own set of advantages.
Needless to say, with feminized seeds, you don’t have to worry about producing male plants (which will not give you smokeable cannabis high in THC and CBD).
You can expect bigger plants and a greater yield with feminized seeds, with the smokeable cannabis often being more potent than cannabis grown from autoflower seeds.
Given the greater yield and the fact that feminized plants can be cloned (autoflowers cannot be, meaning you will have to buy new seeds every time), most serious growers choose to grow with feminized seeds and are not put off by the fact that they require more space, more care and attention, and a more demanding lighting schedule.
What are the differences in harvest time and lighting demands between feminized and autoflowering seeds?
The length of the grow cycle is an important factor for many growers. If you are looking for multiple harvests a year all year round, then autoflowers are definitely your best bet.
Generally, the average time from seed to harvest for an autoflower is between 8-12 weeks.
Feminized strains usually require 12-20 weeks from seed to harvest and only begin their flowering period when they receive a light cycle of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness a day, as opposed to auto flowering seeds which flower based on age (usually 2-4 weeks after planting).
If you are growing feminized seeds outdoors, you will have to adjust your light schedule or wait until autumn to ensure that the plant gets the right amount of light to reach the flowering stage.
However, this is not the case with autoflowers, making them much easier to grow and an attractive option for those who want a simpler, less involved grow process.
What are the differences between male and female plants?
Male and female cannabis plants have distinct differences, and it’s essential to understand them for successful cultivation. Here are some of the key differences:
- Anatomy: Male cannabis plants have small, round structures called pollen sacs that produce and release pollen. Female plants, on the other hand, have a more complex structure with pistils that catch pollen to produce seeds.
- Purpose: Male cannabis plants are grown primarily for breeding purposes. Their pollen is used to fertilize female plants, resulting in seeds for future crops. Female plants are cultivated for their buds, which contain the highest concentrations of THC and other cannabinoids.
- Appearance: In general, male cannabis plants are taller and have thinner stems than female plants. Females are usually shorter and bushier, with wider leaves and more branches.
- Smell: Male plants have a less potent smell than females, and their scent is often described as musky or earthy. Female plants have a strong, pungent aroma that is prized for its terpene profile.
- THC content: Male plants have low levels of THC and other cannabinoids, making them less desirable for consumption. Female plants, on the other hand, produce the highest concentrations of THC, making them the preferred choice for recreational and medicinal use.
- Growth: Female plants take longer to mature than males, typically taking between 8-12 weeks to reach full maturity. Males reach maturity faster and typically begin to produce pollen around 3-6 weeks.
Which is better for indoor/outdoor cultivation?
Autoflowering seeds are more suitable for indoor cultivation while feminised seeds work better for outdoor cultivation.
Generally, female seeds grow a cannibus crop that’s bigger and taller than autoflowers. But remember: No matter what the seeds you choose to plant are – bigger pots generally make space for bigger cannabis plants and bigger buds.
Which seed type is right for you?
Now that we’ve seen the main differences between most autoflowering seeds and feminized seeds, you should have an idea of which choice suits your preferences, resources and level of expertise.
If you’re looking for maximum potency and the greatest yield possible, then feminized seeds are definitely the way to go.
If you’re just starting out growing or are limited in knowledge, experience, space and time, then autoflower seeds might be the choice for you as they provide the quickest and easiest way to a bountiful yield.
Keep in mind that your growing situation/farm design can impact what seed type you get. For example, growing outdoors seasonally is different then running a year-round grow operation indoors, say in a grow tent or grow cabinet.
Are autoflowers less potent?
When autoflower seeds first appeared around ten years ago, they were generally considered less potent due to the fact that the autoflower gene originates from the Ruderalis species of cannabis (which has very low levels of THC).
While much more than THC goes into how a plant looks, smells and ultimately smokes and the effects it has (like its terpene profile or CBN percentage). Understanding THC can be done at home using simple test kits and devices and can help you evaluate the quality of your seeds.
However, in the past decade, Ruderalis plants have been crossbred with strains extremely high in THC, producing autoflowering strains that are as potent as anything else you might find.
Are autoflowers leafier than feminized seeds?
Plants grown from feminized seeds tend to produce fewer leaves compared to autoflowers.
Autoflower seeds also have a tendency to grow denser foliage, meaning they are typically leafier and therefore have fewer buds.
This can vary depending on the training style, such as LST vs HST for example.
However, this is not true if you grow autoflowering seeds in optimal conditions, without pruning them, and with sufficient time to complete their automatic flowering growth cycle without rushing or interfering with the process. If you do it right there is nothing to worry about!
Which Seed Type is Best for You?
Congratulations on informing yourself of the differences between feminized and autoflowering cannabis seeds!
This is a critical decision in the grow process and both seed types have their unique advantages and drawbacks.
Generally speaking, autoflowers work well for beginners and those looking for a fast yield, while feminized seeds are the choice of more experienced growers who want maximum potency and quantity from their harvest.
It is worth mentioning that if your seeds are of a high-quality, you can expect a good yield of smokeable cannabis regardless of whether you have chosen autoflower or feminized seeds.
Most online sellers, From I Love Growing Marijuana to Seedsman Seeds will have plenty of variety for whatever seed type you end up deciding on planting and cultivating.
If you’re new to the world of cannabis, you’ll soon find that the more you learn, the more likely you’ll be to enjoy the grow process and get the kinds of yields you’ve been dreaming about. We hope this article has been helpful!
I am new to the cannabis industry & would appreciate some advice. I am 66 yrs old and have had 3 back / spinal fusion surgeries. I suffer from severe back pain & would like to know what type of seed you recommend ?
The Herb CEO
Hey Mark! Best bet is to first go to your local dispensary and tell them you’re looking for pain relief. I’d try a few different strains (buy a gram of each) to take home and test. Once you’ve found the effect you’re looking for THEN it’ll be easy to buy seeds with higher confidence.