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? Ever wondered, what’s the difference between autoflower vs. feminized vs. regular seeds? Here’s how they differ, the similarities & some home grow pointers.
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 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.
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.
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)
|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|
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
|Cultivation||Easy – moderate||Moderate|
|Suitable for cannabis pollen||No||Yes|
|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 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.
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 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.
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.