There are two different types of cannabis seed that you need to be familiar with before you start growing it. These are autoflower seeds and feminized seeds. Put briefly, autoflower seeds will flower no matter what, and feminized seeds mean only female plants will grow from them.
There’s a lot to know about each type, and the purpose of this guide is to explain everything that you need to know.
We’ll be covering the differences between autoflower vs feminized seeds, as well as more detailed information.
That will include light cycles, flowering times, yield amounts, and plenty more. Once you’ve got to the end, you’ll be able to choose which type of seed is right for you.
What are Autoflowering Marijuana Plants?
When you’re comparing autoflower seeds vs feminized seeds, there’s one thing that will stand out the most. The autoflower seeds require much less work to get them through the vegetative and flowering stages.
That’s why when they’re considering feminized vs autoflower seeds, beginners often choose the latter. There is simply less to do and less to think about. Autoflower seeds mature quickly and easily, plus flower automatically.
Another way to tell that a plant is from an autoflower seed is by its shape. Bushy and squat marijuana plants are generally from those seeds. They also don’t live as long, and the yields are slightly lower than for feminized plants.
What’s important to remember is that the quality of the cannabis produced by autoflower plants is identical to that of feminized plants.
What are Feminized Cannabis Plants?
On the other hand, the autoflower vs feminized debate isn’t just about flowering times. Growers also want to boost their chances of getting high yields. That means more female seeds because they’re the plants that have the flowers on.
When you buy feminized cannabis seeds you can typically expect a 99.9% chance of getting a female plant, which is high enough for pretty much everyone.
There are no disadvantages to not having male cannabis plants. It simply means that you’ll have more flowers and therefore more cannabis once the flowering stage is complete.
They’re usually not recommended for beginners simply because they need more input during the vegetative stage. The light cycle has to be specific, and we’ll share more on that later on. They also take longer to flower, and won’t do it automatically.
Autoflowering vs Feminized: Key Differences
You must know the main differences so that you’re prepared for when it’s time to choose your seeds. That’s why we’ve broken this part into different sections. There are 7 key areas to compare feminized vs autoflower cannabis seeds, and these are the following:
- Plant Size
- Upkeep Requirements
- Growth Period from Seed to Harvest
- Vegetative Phase Light Cycle
- Flowering Phase Light Cycle
- THC Levels
- Average Yields
We’ll give you a summary in each category so that you can understand all the differences between autoflower seeds vs feminized seeds at-a-glance. That way, you won’t need to spend lots of time doing extra research after you’ve finished this article. You can simply save it as a reference point to come back to whenever you need it.
The main difference to be aware of in terms of size is that autoflower plants will vary between small and medium in height, whereas feminized plants will vary between medium and tall.
That’s because the feminized plants have a longer life cycle, and require both more nourishment and more time to grow to their full potential.
To get more specific on this, you can expect the average height of an autoflower plant to be 1 meter, and the average height of a feminized plant to be 3-4 meters outdoors. However, this can change depending on how long the plant grows in the vegetative phase.
Regular marijuana plants also reach a similar height to feminized plants, so it’s important to keep that in mind too.
What’s most obvious when looking at autoflower vs feminized plants in this area is that the former require less upkeep than the latter. The main reason for that is autoflower plants will flower no matter what.
That means you don’t have to be concerned so much with light levels and lengthy vegetative phases, which are a priority for feminized plants.
You may want to use certain methods to grow your plants that make effective use of the space you have. The ScROG method can allow you to grow the plants for 2 months and fill an entire screen. At the end of the day, that means more cannabis. However, this isn’t possible with autoflower seeds as their life cycles are shorter.
Growth Period From Seed to Harvest
When you’re thinking about how long autoflower seeds vs feminized seeds will take to go from being put into the ground to producing flowers, then you should know autoflower seeds have an edge.
Their total time from seed to harvest is usually between 10-16 weeks. The seed to harvest time for feminized seeds is 12-24 weeks. That means there is a slight overlap, but autoflower seeds have a clear advantage.
You’ll want to keep in mind that flowering times outdoors tend to be confined to specific months, so you’ll want to plant your seeds at the earliest possible time depending on which type you have.
The specific time will differ depending on location and strain, but to be on the safe side, you should expect the maximum time will be taken.
Vegetative Phase Light Cycle
This is where the autoflower vs feminized debate really heats up. You’ll notice big differences in this area that you won’t want to be unaware of before you start planting seeds.
The light cycle for autoflower seeds is mostly irrelevant. They need light, of course, but there aren’t specific guidelines that you have to follow. They’ll flower regardless.
That’s not the case for feminized plants. During the vegetative phase, only leaves, branches, and roots will grow. 18 or more hours of light every single day is required for this to go smoothly.
No buds will grow until the light is reduced to 12 hours each day. There are also different requirements depending on whether you’re growing indoors or outdoors. That makes timings quite precise when growing feminized seeds.
Flowering Stage Light Cycle
If looking at autoflower vs feminized seeds, another important area is the light cycle during the flowering stage.
For autoflower seeds, this is mostly irrelevant as they will flower 5-6 weeks after they’ve been germinated. That doesn’t mean they require no maintenance, simply that they’re not as time-consuming as feminized seeds.
With feminized seeds, it’s a different story. For the plants to flower, light needs to be on for 12 hours indoors or 13-14 hours outdoors. The rest of the time should be spent in darkness.
This light cycle should continue for feminized plants until they’ve all flowered and are ready for harvesting. If it’s even slightly out of sync, then your plants may not have as good a yield as you were expecting.
In contrast to the other sections in this guide, autoflower vs feminized seeds don’t actually have much of a difference in this area.
You can buy strains of both types of seed that will give THC levels above 20%. It really depends on what your priorities are. If you are all about those high THC levels and the experiences they give you, then you can get strains designed to be high in them.
So long as you grow the plants appropriately, then you’ll get the amount of THC the strain typically has on average.
High-THC strains you might like include:
All of these should provide 20-26% THC levels.
A comparison of feminized vs autoflower yield gives a solid advantage to the feminized seeds.
With autoflower plants, you can expect a yield of several hundred grams, as long as the conditions are decent. With feminized plants, you can expect a yield of over 1kg if the conditions are right.
The reason the feminized vs autoflower yield is so different is that autoflower plants don’t grow for a long time in the vegetative stage. That means the plants are shorter and there are fewer flowers on them.
Feminized vs autoflower yield can be improved if you get a high-quality strain and give it good nourishment, but the best results will always come from feminized seeds.
There you have it. An explanation of the key autoflower vs feminized differences, as well as a definition of each. You should know everything you need to know, but if you don’t, then there’s a place on the Internet where you can go to buy marijuana seeds and learn more.
They have detailed information on specific strains, offer great deals on the ones they stock, and will tell you anything you need to know about marijuana.